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Dec 27, 2009 - Away From the Manger
Dec 20, 2009 - Angels, Shepherds, and Glorious Lights
Dec 13, 2009 - Right Place, Right Time
Dec 6, 2009 - In Remembrance of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Nov 29, 2009 - What's Wrong with Mommy and Daddy?
Nov 22, 2009 - I Thank My God...
Nov 15, 2009 - The Sad Results of the Hidden Gospel
Nov 08, 2009 - Calvary
Nov 01, 2009 - The Word of the Lord Endureth For Ever
Oct 25, 2009 - “All” in the Commission of Christ
Oct 18, 2009 - Abraham's Family Values
Oct 11, 2009 - Jesus Christ, the Righteous Servant
Oct 04, 2009 - The Testimony of Erdenebayer
Sep 27, 2009 - The Friend Who Refreshed Paul
Sep 20, 2009 - This is the Day which the LORD Hath Made
Sep 13, 2009 - Righteousness Exalteth a Nation
Sep 06, 2009 - Laborers Together with God
Aug 30, 2009 - Why Do You Want to Go to Church?
Aug 23, 2009 - This Day is a Day of Good Tidings
Aug 16, 2009 - A Workman Not Ashamed
Aug 09, 2009 - The Willing Servant
Aug 02, 2009 - Christ, the Son of the Living God
Jul 26, 2009 - To Walk and to Please God
Jul 19, 2009 - Weeds and Thorns in the Garden
Jul 12, 2009 - Another Side of Freedom
Jul 05, 2009 - Baptist Influence in American Independence
Jun 28, 2009 - Heartily Serving the Lord
Jun 21, 2009 - A Father Shows His Love to His Family
Jun 14, 2009 - The Treasure in the Field
Jun 07, 2009 - Mongolian Report: Week 3
May 31, 2009 - Mongolian Report: Week 2
May 24, 2009 - Mongolian Report: Week 1
May 17, 2009 - God's Purposes and the Use of Means
May 10, 2009 - A Thankful Mother: The Song of Hannah
May 03, 2009 - Clarification on the Subject of Sanctification
Apr 26, 2009 - New Birth, New Life, and New Body
Apr 19, 2009 - Physical or Unseen Evidence
Apr 12, 2009 - Resurrection Glory
Apr 05, 2009 - The Character of the Antichrist
Mar 29, 2009 - Notes on a Sermon
Mar 22, 2009 - Flee, Follow, and Fight: A Lesson on Staying out of Trouble
Mar 15, 2009 - I am Crucified with Christ
Mar 08, 2009 - The Throne of Grace
Mar 01, 2009 - An Unusual Financial Promise
Feb 22, 2009 - Qualified Help Needed
Feb 15, 2009 - Three Times in a Year
Feb 01, 2009 - Two Gardens
Jan 25, 2009 - Jesus Prayed
Jan 18, 2009 - Much More the Grace of God
Jan 11, 2009 - God's Grace is Sufficient
Jan 04, 2009 - Satan Deceives and Blinds

Away From the Manger

Luke 2:21-23
Dec 27, 2009

“And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;)” (Luke 2:21-23).

Luke 2 shows some very important events that occurred after Mary, Joseph, and Jesus left the stable. The reference to the circumcising of Jesus and the purification of Mary shows their obedience to God’s law of Leviticus 12:3-4. The law of Moses given by God was still their rule of conduct, and Mary and Joseph, who trusted and loved the Lord, were careful to serve Him according to that law. Paul later wrote about God’s law. “Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good” (Romans 7:12). We need to be just as faithful to God’s New Testament law, our standard of faith and practice.

The sacrifice of the turtledoves or pigeons, one for a sin offering and one for a burnt offering (Luke 2:24 and Leviticus 12:8), needs to be considered. A lamb could be offered but “if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons...” (Leviticus 12:8). This shows the poverty of this family. Also, please note that the sin offering of Luke 2:24 was not for Jesus, who had no sin, but for Mary, highly favored of God, but still a sinner in need of the sin offering. The sacrifices on that day were just a picture (figure or shadow). Mary's own son, Jesus, would be the real sin offering.

Luke 2:23 is a fulfillment of the law given in Exodus 13:2, “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine” (see also Numbers 8:13-19). The teaching of these verses is that Israel belonged to the Lord. The Levites were especially given as a gift to God, and the sanctification of all the firstborn as holy to God was symbolic of God’s ownership. The New Testament parallel is recorded in I Corinthians 6:19-20 and shows that Christians are bought with a price and are not their own.

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Angels, Shepherds, and Glorious Lights

Luke 2:6-14
Dec 20, 2009

6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

An angel of the Lord brought the wonderful news to Joseph. The angel said, "Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:20-21). How this message must have eased the troubled mind of Joseph!

Mary also received a message from the angel, Gabriel. "And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:30-32).

Please notice how all of the New Testament scriptures connect with the Old Testament promises. In the readings from Matthew 1 and Luke 1-2, there is a common message in all three angelic messages: "fear not." This was an awesome time and event, but God's message was a message of comfort and not fear. God's message was of peace and good will.

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Right Place, Right Time

Galatians 4:4-5
Dec 13, 2009

"But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (Galatians 4:4-5).

Far back in time, in the days when sin first entered into the human family through Adam, God first spoke of the seed of the woman. God did not specify at what time the seed would come and bruise the head of the serpent, who represents Satan (Genesis 3:15).

As the years went by and the Old Testament developed, God made the promise that the seed of the woman would be of the lineage of Abraham (Genesis 12:3-17:7, Galatians 3:16). In the final days of the life of Jacob, it was made known that Shiloh (another name for the Messiah) would come through the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10).

In the days of David, the second king of Israel, God made this promise concerning the seed of David: "He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever" (II Samuel 7:13). "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:32). "After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up" (Acts 15:16).

Then Isaiah gave this remarkable prophecy: "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14). "And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us" (Matthew 1:21-23).

Daniel gives us the timeline for the coming of the Messiah in relation to the restoration of Jerusalem after the destruction by the Babylonians. "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times" (Daniel 9:25).

Micah, 710 years before the birth of Jesus, the Christ, gave this important detail about the place of his birth. "But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting" (Micah 5:2).

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In Remembrance of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Luke 22:19-20
Dec 6, 2009

"And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you" (Luke 22:19-20).

  1. Remember His offer of eternal life. "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (John 3:14-15).
  2. Remember His promise of an eternal home. "In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 14:2-3).
  3. Remember His willingness to go to the cross for us. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself..." (John 10:17-18).
  4. Remember His compassion while suffering on the cross. "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do..." (Luke 23:34).
  5. Remember his agony when Jesus, bearing our sin, was forsaken of God, the Father. "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).
  6. Remember that the unleavened bread that he broke with his disciples in the upper room pictures His sinless body and life (Luke 22:19).
  7. Remember that the fruit of the vine that He offered to his disciples pictures the precious blood of the new testament (Luke 22:20).

When we assemble as a New Testament church to observe the Lord's Supper, may we honor and remember our wonderful Savior.

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What's Wrong with Mommy and Daddy?

Ephesians 6:4
Nov 29, 2009

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

A little girl with shining eyes,
Her upturned face aglow,
Said, "Daddy, it's almost time
For Sunday School, you know;
Let's go and hear of Jesus' love
Of how He died for all,
To take them to His home above
Who on His name will call."

"Oh no," said Daddy, "Not to-day;
I've worked hard all the week;
And I must have one day of rest,
And fishing's find they say;
So run along, don't bother me,
We'll go another day."

Months and years have passed away,
But Daddy hears that plea no more--
"Let's go to Sunday School..."
Those childish days are o'er.
And now that Daddy's growing old,
And life is almost through,
He finds some time to go to church,
But, what does daughter do?

She says, "Oh, daddy, not to-day.
Was out almost all night;
I've got to get a little sleep:
Besides, I look a fright."
Then daddy lifts a trembling hand
To brush away the tears;
Again he hears that pleading voice,
Distinctly through the years,

He sees a small girl's upturned face,
Upturned with eyes aglow,
Saying, "It's time for Sunday School.
Please, Daddy, won't you go?"

Author: Unknown

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I Thank My God...

Philippians 1:3-5
Nov 22, 2009

"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now" (Philippians 1:3-5).

There were many precious Christian friends and partners in the life of the Apostle Paul. He was not ashamed to express to them and to God his thankfulness to God for them.

"Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers" (Ephesians 1:15-16). "We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father" (I Thessalonians 1:2-3).

As I count my blessings, I too am reminded of wonderful faithful loving people in churches where I have served. I think of many fellow pastors and missionaries who have been close friends for more than fifty years.

A letter received from Sister Carolyn Cooper in Mongolia on Thursday reminded me of how much the Lord's people need the support and love of each other. There was news of Brother Cooper "running around like crazy, getting the new buildings ready for the cold weather." She also wrote, "I got to hold 'your grand-baby' the other day. Erdenbayer and Davamaa were here for Bible School. Isn't it grand that the baby was born the day two churches were organized. They send their love too!"

She also wrote these words, and they touched my heart. "You and the Lakewood church are such an encouragement to us. As much as we love the people and know it is a privilege to serve here, there are times that I just have to go into the bathroom and cry. Knowing that there are people like yourselves holding us up in prayer gives us comfort during the difficult times. Thank you. Come and see us again. Love, Carolyn."

Please go to the Lord in prayer for these faithful servants and do not forget to offer thanks for them.

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The Sad Results of the Hidden Gospel

II Corinthians 4:3-4
Nov 15, 2009

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

In verse three, Paul writes of "our gospel" because he had received the gospel of Christ for himself and then was called to preach that same gospel to the people of Corinth, who also received the message. In verse four, he speaks of "the glorious gospel of Christ."

Romans 1:16 tells us of the dynamic power of the gospel. "The power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." When Christ is received by faith, wonderful changes are experienced by the believer. The dead in sin are made alive with everlasting life (Ephesians 2:1-9). This change is described in John 5:24, "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." To have everlasting life means an eternity in heaven with our Savior. The lost person who rejects the free gift of God will know eternal condemnation in hell.

Lost sinners need the true gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24). It is a terrible sin against God and against lost souls if we obstruct, obscure, corrupt, change, or defile the true gospel of Christ. We must not be passive, we must not be quiet, we must not be unfaithful, we must not put stumbling blocks in the way of those whose minds are blinded by the god of this world, Satan.

Let us do all we can with God's help to let the light of the glorious gospel of Christ shine forth. "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ" (II Corinthians 4:6). Look back to II Corinthians 3:13-18 to understand the reference to the "face of Jesus Christ." Moses came down from the mountain where he had been with God, and the face of Moses was shining so brightly that he had to wear a veil. Jesus Christ was sent from the Father, he came down from heaven, and was the very "brightness and express image" of the Father (Hebrews 1:3).

We have a message too glorious to keep hidden.

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Luke 23:33
Nov 08, 2009

"And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left" (Luke 23:33).

In Matthew 27:33, the same place is named "Golgotha," which is the Aramaic word, while "Calvary" is the Latin word.

A beautiful old hymn "Crimson Calvary" has these words in one stanza:

Would I be condemned forever, if I to the Lord draw near?

If I sue for peace and pardon, would He deign to hear my prayer?

Would He scorn my heart's petition? Would He not His grace bestow?

Would I be condemned forever? Crimson Calvary answers, "No."

Crimson Calvary answers, "No." Crimson Calvary answers, "No."

For the blood of Jesus cleanses whiter than the fallen snow.

Jesus went freely and voluntarily to the cross. "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father" (John 10:17-18).

Consider how the word "joy" is connected to his suffering on the cross. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2).

Our Lord is not asking too much when he asks us to deny ourselves, take up our cross daily, and follow Him (Luke 9:23).

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The Word of the Lord Endureth For Ever

I Peter 1:25
Nov 01, 2009

"But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you" (I Peter 1:25). "The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever" (Psalm 12:6-7).

In my early Christian life and in my early pastoral service and seminary training, the lessons on the Bible centered on these areas:

  • Inspiration under the direction of the Holy Spirit (II Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:21)
  • Truthfulness because the Bible is the word of God, who cannot lie (Hebrews 6:18)
  • Preservation because Jesus promised that His word shall not pass away (John 24:35)
  • Relevance because after all these years, the Bible still shows God's one way to have eternal salvation (Acts 16:30-31) and the Bible still shows the way to live a faithful Christian life (James 1:21-25).

I have never doubted or changed my position on these truths, and my study of the Bible has increased my faith to an even stronger assurance.

In 1973, I began teaching in the Gulf Coast Baptist Institute (GCBI). Young preachers began to ask questions about different Bible translations. Their interest in the subject prompted me into more research and the accumulation of many books on the subject.

A small paper that I wrote on the issue of Bible translations was first presented to my church in Hattiesburg, MS (now the sponsoring church for GCBI) and later to many other churches in the Gulf Coast area, in Arkansas, and in the Rocky Mountain area. I am now working on expanding that paper and bringing it up to date with material that is now being debated. I see the need of giving more attention to the issue of "The Historical Critical Method" of Bible Study, which considers the Bible not as a God-breathed, Holy Spirit directed book but sees the Bible as "merely human writings which teach contradictory theologies and contain errors."

The importance of the issue can be seen in the previous quote and the following quote from Robert Preus, President of Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Dr. Preus, who teaches the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible, is an opponent of the Historical Critical method. He writes of the supporters of this method, "They have denied the authenticity of many of Christ's sermons and discourses, they have denied his deity and every miracle performed by him" (The Proceedings of the Conference on Biblical Inerrancy, Broadman Press, 1987, pages 57 and 60).

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“All” in the Commission of Christ

Matthew 28:18-20
Oct 25, 2009

"And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20).

This commission is also given in different words in Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-48, and Acts 1:8. When we consider all these scriptures, we can give this short summation of the commission.

In Matthew 28:18, Jesus speaks of ALL power, which shows his authority from the Father to commission and direct the work of his church. He has all the authority, and no man can scripturally change his commission.

ALL nations (ethnic groups), ALL the world (cultural groups), and ALL parts of the earth (geographic areas) are included in this command. Christ died for all mankind (Hebrews 2:9), and the invitation to come to the Saviour is offered to ALL as captured by the word "whosoever" (John 3:15).

ALL who are converted to salvation in Christ are to receive his baptism in obedience to his example (Acts 2:38 and Romans 6:3-5). The words "baptized into (eis) Christ" mean to be baptized "with reference to Christ" or "on account of Christ."

ALL the disciples are to be taught to observe ALL that Christ commanded those early disciples. Jesus was a master teacher and was always instructing his disciples. Ephesians 4:11 shows that pastors are to be teachers. Paul taught publicly and from house to house in Ephesus (Acts 20:20). Timothy learned from Paul and was told to teach others so that they could in turn more disciples (II Timothy 2:1-2). The work of teaching to help the Lord's disciples to grow in grace and knowledge continues even now.

ALWAYS, the word used in the commission along with the words "unto the end of the world," shows that we are commanded to keep doing the work till the end of the age.

What an awesome work we have to do, and, in the words that often close the mission report of Brother Neil Morley, "You can be a part of this work."

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Abraham's Family Values

Genesis 18:17-19
Oct 18, 2009

"And the LORD said, Shall I hide from Abraham that thing which I do; Seeing that Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him" (Genesis 18:17-19).

The word "household" used in this verse and the word "house" used so many times in the scriptures have the meaning of "family." For example, in the words of Joshua, "...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD" (Joshua 24:15).

We cannot completely look into the infinite wisdom of the LORD and see all the reasons that he chose Abraham for this important covenant, but Genesis 18:19 does show us that God did consider the fact that Abraham had the character and leadership to command his children and his family, with the result being that "they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment."

Christian family values and responsibilities are woven through all the pages of God's holy word. God himself established the first marriage and the first family. Later, God would establish civil government, the nation of Israel, and the first New Testament church. From the days of Adam and Eve until the end of this age, the God-given order and pattern for the family is a vital part of our Christian service.

One of the most destructive elements of our governmental and social system today is the weakening and breaking down of the family structure. Satan is an enemy to all that is godly and scriptural, so he is bitterly opposed to good families that will "keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment."

We remember Abraham for his faith in God (Romans 4:1-3) and for his obedience in the time of severe testing (Hebrews 11:17-19). Let us also remember him as a man of family values.

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Jesus Christ, the Righteous Servant

Isaiah 53:11
Oct 11, 2009

"He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities" (Isaiah 53:11).

Isaiah 53 is one of the most complete Old Testament descriptions of the suffering of our Saviour. Philip applied these verses to Christ as he explained the gospel message to the Ethiopian in Acts 8:26-40. In our text verse, Christ is described as the righteous servant of God, the Father.

The servant position of Christ is even more remarkable when we consider his exalted position described in Philippians 2:5-11. The words, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God," (Philippians 2:6) show us that Jesus Christ has the very nature, essence, and divine personality as God the Father. He submitted himself to the will of the Father, took upon himself the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men. "he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross" (Philippians 2:8).

To his own disciples, Jesus said, "I am among you as he that serveth" (Luke 22:27). In this verse, the Greek word for "serve" is "diakoneo" from which we have our word "deacon." Yes, Jesus was a deacon, that is, a ministering servant.

In Philippians 2:7, the Greek word "doulos" is used, which indicates bondage and obligation. In the Covenant of Redemption, Jesus placed himself as a bond servant to come into this world and do the will of the Father. "Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God" (Hebrews 10:7).

In the example of Jesus Christ, the righteous servant, we see these qualities:

  1. Humility (Philippians 2:8),
  2. Obedience (Philippians 2:8), and
  3. Faithfulness to the will of the Master (Hebrews 10:7).

What a great privilege to be a servant of the LORD.

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The Testimony of Erdenebayer

II Corinthians 8:11-15
Oct 04, 2009

The following letter was sent from Mongolia to our church by way of Brother William Jones of Leesville, LA who recently returned home from his trip there.

Hello to all. I wish you all the peace and goodness of God for you and your church. I hope that your work in God and all families, and the work and lives of every member of your church are good. When we received your generous offering, we were very thankful and happy. I want you to trust me that I am going to spend this offering God sent through you for the work of the good news of God as needed.

I accepted Christ six years ago since 2003. Before that, I lived a life of emptiness and had nothing, too. When I came into the hands of God, I become having beautiful family, three sons, and pastor who serves according to word of God and church and especially my Lord Jesus Christ. So that I thank to God through the blessing of the Lord that we connected with Brother Jim and your church. Even now I have errors that I am trying to fix and things not yet to understand from the word of God. My desire is to live by the word of God daily and being a faithful servant of the Lord.

It was such a great opportunity to learn from you many things when I traveled and ministered with you [pastor Jim] and pastor Egi and Brother Bill's family. We are going to move to Ugiinuur today. Your offering and your love and Jesus are coming with us into this country. I am going to thank God for you always. Please pray to God for my family and the country of Ugiinuur. Sincerely Respect you. Erdenebayer, the Missionary to Ugiinuur of Richheart New Testament Baptist Church and my family. On July 28,2009.

Since this report we have received word that regular services are being conducted. The ger for the family is being used also for the services and they are working on getting the second ger set up. Six people have requested membership and were to be baptized this past Sunday. Thank God for these wonderful blessings. The offering from our Mission Dinner for this missionary was sent on Thursday 10/01/09.

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The Friend Who Refreshed Paul

II Timothy 1:16-17
Sep 27, 2009

"The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me" (II Timothy 1:16-17).

Paul gladly sacrificed and served the Lord (II Corinthians 12:15). In II Corinthians 11:23-33, we read of the dangers, pains, and false accusations that he faced. Verse 27 sums up some of Paul's trials. "In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness."

What a blessing for Paul to have a friend like Onesiphorus who gave comfort to him. The expression used in II Timothy to describe this comfort is "he oft refreshed me." Vine's Dictionary of New Testament Words defines the word "refresh" in this manner: "to give intermission from labor, to give rest, refresh,...to lie down,...to make cool." The word is found in I Corinthians 16:18 to describe the help given to Paul. "I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such."

Paul expressed his desire to visit with his brethren in Rome with these words in Romans 15:32, "That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed." To fellowship with his brethren would be a great encouragement to Paul.

Paul also used the word in II Corinthians 7:13, "Therefore we were comforted in your comfort: yea, and exceedingly the more joyed we for the joy of Titus, because his spirit was refreshed by you all." Notice how the words "comfort" and "joy" are used with the word "refresh."

We need friends like Onesiphorus who will encourage, comfort, assist, and lift us up.

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This is the Day which the LORD Hath Made

Psalm 118:24
Sep 20, 2009

"This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it" (Psalm 118:24).

At sundown on Friday, September 18, 2009, the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, began. Scriptural references for the Old Testament laws regarding the special days for the nation of Israel are found in Leviticus 23. Some of the modern Jewish customs of Rosh Hashana are:

  • Wearing white at the prayer services to indicate faith that the Judge of Judges will arrive at a true judgment
  • Eating apples and honey to express the desire that the New Year will be good and sweet.

These special days were opportunities for the nation to learn spiritual truth.

Among Jewish people, Rosh Hashana is known as the Day of Judgment. God's forgiveness through the blood of atonement was taught ten days later on the Day of Atonement. God's power to deliver from bondage through the blood of the Passover Lamb was taught on each Passover day. Israel was prone to forget God's blessings, and these holy days were a reminder to them. In a similar way, New Testament Churches have Baptism and the Lord's Supper to remind us of Bible truth.

They were reminded each day that God had made that day and that we should rejoice in each day (Psalms 118:24). Jesus reminded us that each day is the time of harvest (John 4:35). Jesus also reminded us that each day brings us closer to that blessed day when our work here on this earth will be done (John 9:4).

Are you joyfully looking for that resurrection day? It will be more than the beginning of a New Year. It will be the beginning of a new dispensation of Christian service.

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Righteousness Exalteth a Nation

Proverbs 14:32
Sep 13, 2009

"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people" (Proverbs 14:34).

This week marks the eighth anniversary of the attacks on our nation by Islamic terrorists. More than three thousand died in the attacks in New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Three hundred forty-three firemen died in New York in rescue efforts. In the wars on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands more of our military men and women have died.

Early on Friday morning, Fox News has repeated the news coverage of 9-11-01. One unidentified reporter watching the people running from the burning World Trade Center pleaded with a shaking voice, "Pray for our nation!" Do you remember that shortly after the attack we had visitors in our services who said, "We thought it would be good to be in God's house today"? Editorials were written in religious papers expressing the view that a revival might begin in our country. Some wrote about the revival of gospel preaching that had influenced Philadelphia in 1739. Benjamin Franklin wrote, "It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious, so that one could not walk through the town in an evening without hearing psalms sung in different families of every street" (United States History In Christian Perspective, page 82).

As we look at current conditions in our nation, we can see our nation moving farther away from true Biblical principals. God has told us about this condition. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 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" (II Timothy 3:1-4).

You might accuse me of lack of faith, but I do not expect a great nation-wide revival of people coming to true Biblical teaching. However, I do believe that lost sinners can still be reached with the gospel and lives can be changed so that people will live decent, godly lives as they follow Jesus Christ.

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Laborers Together with God

I Corinthians 3:9
Sep 06, 2009

"For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building" (I Corinthians 3:9).

Throughout the Bible we find references to different occupations that are used to illustrate some aspect of our working for the Lord.

Farming: Preparing the soil, planting the seed, watering, and cultivating the crop is compared to our spreading the gospel message. "I [Paul] have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase" (I Corinthians 3:6) "But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Matthew 13:23).

Shepherding: Watching over the flock, protecting the flock from wolves, and leading the flock to good pasture is used to illustrate the care that Jesus Christ has for his people. "I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine" (John 10:11, 14). The pastor is also compared to a shepherd. "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood" (Acts 20:28).

Building: The establishment and growth of a New Testament church is compared to the construction of a building with Jesus Christ being the solid foundation. "According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 3:10-11).

Soldiering: We are in warfare with weapons that the Lord will provide. "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds" (II Corinthians 10:4). "Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11).

We have a tremendous and difficult work to do, but we have a partner in the work because "we are labourers together with God" (I Corinthians 3:9).

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Why Do You Want to Go to Church?

Aug 30, 2009

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This Day is a Day of Good Tidings

II Kings 7:9
Aug 23, 2009

"Then they said one to another, We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now therefore come, that we may go and tell the king's household" (II Kings 7:9).

This lesson from II Kings, chapters six and seven, is a good illustration of the responsibility that the Lord's people have to get the good tidings (the gospel of Jesus Christ) to the people who are starving for the Bread of Life and the Water of Life.

Benhadad, the king of Syria, held the city of Samaria under a terrible siege. The famine was so severe that the Israelites were eating children (II Kings 6:29). There was no hope for victory over the Syrians until the Lord intervened and caused the Syrians to flee when they heard the noise of horses, chariots, and a great host.

Four leprous men came into the camp of the enemy and found an abundant supply of food that the frightened Syrians had left. The people inside the city wall were still starving and did not know the good news. The text verse teaches us that the good news needed to be delivered to the starving people.

Many, many lost souls are behind the walls of confusion, unbelief, and lack of knowledge. God, through Jesus Christ, has provided all that is needed for eternal salvation and an abundant Christian life. We do not well if we hold our peace (keep silent). Let's get the good tidings out to the world.

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A Workman Not Ashamed

II Timothy 2:15
Aug 16, 2009

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (II Timothy 2:15).

This verse teaches us to be diligent in examining and analyzing the word of truth, the word of God. Berry's Interlinear translates the word "dividing" as "straightly cutting." The idea is to correctly get into the very heart of the meaning of scripture.

The person who is admonished to study is also described as a "workman," a laborer who applies himself to understand what God teaches. One who spends hours prayerfully digging into the treasure lode of God's word to find the will of God knows that it is hard work.

Jesus rebuked those who twisted the word of God, drew nigh unto him with their mouth, but their heart was far from him (Matthew 15:8). Shame on these scribes and Pharisees.

Paul wrote to the Romans that they should practice what they teach. "An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?" (Romans 2:20-23). Shame on these hypocrites.

May we study God's inspired word and live our lives in God's service so that we need not "be ashamed" of our teaching or our practice.

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The Willing Servant

Matthew 16:24-25
Aug 09, 2009

A. The change of heart in conversion (Acts 15:9), the spreading abroad of the love of God in the heart (Romans 5:5), the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 6:19), and the transforming and renewing of the mind in Christian growth (Romans 12:1-2) make it possible for his disciples to willingly obey their Lord (Luke 9:23-24). "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).

B. In Old Testament times we see the examples of faithful servants.

  • Enoch walked with God and pleased God (Genesis 5:24 and Hebrews 11:5)
  • Joseph was true to God despite severe trials (Genesis 37:28 and 45:1-8)
  • Moses chose to suffer affliction with the people of God (Hebrews 11:25)
  • Jeremiah preached the true message when others were willing to compromise to please the ungodly king and people (Jeremiah 26:7-11)

C. In New Testament times, we see dedication to God's calling.

  • No greater example can be found than that of our Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-8)
  • Stephen gave his life for the Lord (Acts 7:54-60)
  • Paul was willing to spend and be spent in the Lord's work (II Corinthians 12:15)

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Christ, the Son of the Living God

John 6:68-69
Aug 02, 2009

"Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God" (John 6:68-69).

This statement of Simon Peter was in response to a question from Jesus, "Will ye also go away?" (John 6:67). Jesus had fed the multitude of about five thousand men using five barley loaves and two fish in this miracle (John 6:10). This multitude wanted to take Jesus by force to make him their king (John 6:15). To have a king capable of such miracles would surely make life easier. Jesus gave this crowd the wonderful lesson about the bread of life. "For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst" (John 6:33, 35).

After this lesson on the bread of life, the multitude went back and walked no more with him (John 6:66). Only the twelve remained with him. Notice the last three words of the response of Simon Peter: "the living God" (Jesus also uses the phrase "the living Father" in John 6:57). This description of the one true God is often found in the Old Testament. For example, see Deuteronomy 5:26, Joshua 3:10, Psalm 42:2, and Jeremiah 10:10. Several examples in the New Testament are Matthew 16:16, Romans 9:26, II Corinthians 6:16, and I Timothy 3:15.

Our God is ALIVE. He is the self-existent JEHOVAH. He has eternal being and consciousness. He has the attributes of love, holiness, justice, wisdom, and power. He is described in Revelation 4:8 with these words. "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come."

Our God is the Creator of all things and the source of all life. "All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men" (John 1:3-4).

Our life is precious and has a divine purpose, which is to bring glory to the LIVING GOD.

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To Walk and to Please God

I Thessalonians 4:1
Jul 26, 2009

"Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more" (I Thessalonians 4:1).

The word "pleased" is used in reference to God's actions in Psalm 135:5-6. "For I know that the LORD is great, and that our Lord is above all gods. Whatsoever the LORD pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep places." The word "gods" is used here even though the false gods were not real, but they were worshiped by the heathen as real. The meaning is that the LORD was able to do whatsoever he desired to do.

In I Thessalonians 4:1, the two words "please God" are used to show the satisfaction and pleasure that God receives from our godly walk. Notice the statement, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification" (I Thessalonians 4:3). Pleasing God, sanctification, and walking in the will of God are linked together in these verses. The word "holiness" in I Thessalonians 4:7 has the same meaning as "sanctification" in verses 3 and 4, which is to be separated from the sinful desires of the flesh and to be devoted to the Lord.

Enoch, the seventh from Adam walked with God and "had this testimony, that he pleased God" (Hebrews 11:5).

Romans 8:8 also shows us plainly that the life that is lived in the desires of the flesh and is controlled by the flesh (i.e., our old corrupt, sinful, Adamic nature) is not pleasing to God.

By God's grace and strength we can bring pleasure to our heavenly Father.

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Weeds and Thorns in the Garden

Genesis 3:18, Matthew 13:22
Jul 19, 2009

"Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field" (Genesis 3:18). "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).

Back in the middle of May, we prayed for rain, and God gave "exceeding abundantly above" all that we asked (Ephesians 3:20). The record-breaking rainfall caused serious damage to classrooms in our basement and has required that we take care of problems in the south back yard of the church property. Promises were made that my large garden would be properly weeded and cultivated while I was on my Mongolian Mission trip. That promise could not be kept because of the weeks of heavy rain. Vegetables could barely be seen among the waist-high weeds. I saw God's curse of Genesis 3:18 fulfilled, and I saw the destructive effects of the thorns and thistles of Matthew 13:22. Early morning hours have been spent in getting the weeds and thorns removed and the garden back in proper order.

God's work is compared to a farm (husbandry) in I Corinthians 3:9. " For we are labourers together with God: ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." God desires that his servants take care that his fields be productive. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:8). Consider the fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law."

In the parable of the sower, Jesus describes the thorns as "the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches." These thorns will hurt our Christian life and testimony. God's way is to "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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Another Side of Freedom

John 8:32, 36
Jul 12, 2009

"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:32, 36).

In the bulletin of July 5, 2009, we discussed the blessing of freedom to worship God that we enjoy in our nation. This article will discuss the freedom that we enjoy in Christ.

With the new birth by faith in Christ, we have the freedom from the eternal penalty of torment in the flames of hell. The rich man in hell 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" (Luke 16:24). Because of our eternal salvation, we are no longer condemned (John 3:18). "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). Without faith in Jesus Christ, you cannot go to where Christ is (John 8:21). Without faith, you will die in your sins with the condemnation of sin still on your soul (John 8:24).

If you follow the instruction of Romans 6:11-14, you can experience the freedom from the domination of sin in your life. "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace" (Romans 6:11-14).

Finally, when we have our glorified resurrected body and are with Christ forever, we will be free from all the influence, presence, and power of sin. "And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4).

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Baptist Influence in American Independence

I Timothy 2:1-2
Jul 05, 2009

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (I Timothy 2:1-2).

Many Baptist people and even entire Baptist churches had come to the American colonies to find religious freedom where they could live the "quiet and peaceable life." Only Rhode Island and Pennsylvania had charters that allowed freedom of religion. Dr. John Clarke, Baptist pastor and medical doctor, was the representative for Rhode Island in its petition to the British king, Charles II. That petition included these words: "We have it much at heart to demonstrate by means of an efficacious experiment that there can be a very flourishing civil State, and, indeed that it can be better maintained with complete liberty in matters of religion" (A History of the Baptists, Vol. II, page 44, John T. Christian).

The lack of freedom for the Baptists is illustrated by this account from the same book, pages 230-235. A group of Virginia Baptists (Where the Church of England was the State church) met near a river for a baptismal service, prayers, and a sermon. The chief officer of the town interrupted the service and ordered the congregation to depart. When the minister opened his Bible, the officer shouted, "Don't quote scripture here." One ungodly citizen of the town carried a dog into the river and plunged him into the water to show contempt for the Baptist sentiments. The Baptists moved to another place to continue the services but were again interrupted. For their own safety, they moved to another location where six persons were decently baptized, though further abuse was offered at the close of the service.

Prior to the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, Baptist associations in Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Georgia, the Carolinas, and Massachusetts were expressing their whole hearted support for the efforts to secure complete independence for the colonies.

Even with all its flaws, these United States of America have been a great blessing in the advancement of the Lord's work in this world and a blessing in the cause of human freedom. I Timothy 2:1-2 teaches us that we still need to pray for the leaders of our civil government.

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Heartily Serving the Lord

Colossians 3:32
Jun 28, 2009

"And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men" (Colossians 3:23).

Getting to visit with friends that I have made in the Lord's work over the past fifty years is one of the great blessings in attending the meetings that were held in Springfield, Missouri. Colossians 3:23 is demonstrated by two of the men with whom I shared meals.

Brother Joe Harper, pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church of Port Salerno, Florida, is full of enthusiasm for life and the Lord's work. He is seventy-nine years old, pastors a great mission minded church, and follows a schedule of exercise that would leave younger men in the dust. His church is the sending church for missionaries to Columbia, South America, Mexico, and Costa Rica. While others were having bacon and eggs for breakfast, Brother Harper ordered a bowl of fresh fruit and a bowl of oatmeal. He works heartily in his own community and in the foreign countries to promote the work of his church's missionaries.

Another friend that showed the spirit of Colossians 3:23 is Brother B. J. Bennett, pastor of a country church near Loranger, Louisiana. I first met B. J. when he was eleven years and attended Victory MBC in Madison, Mississippi. He is a student at the Gulf Coast Baptist Seminary in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. On Tuesday, he had engaged in conversation with a waiter at the restaurant. Their discussion quickly developed to the point where the waiter was asking some serious questions about salvation and the Christian life. By Wednesday, B. J. had written a four page letter to give to the waiter. He gave his testimony of salvation and explained the great satisfaction that he had in serving Jesus Christ. The letter was well written and gave a clear explanation of some key scriptures.

God deserves our best service, done from the heart.

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A Father Shows His Love to His Family

Ephesians 5:25
Jun 21, 2009

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25).

Can you imagine Christ breaking a promise to his church? Remember that the marriage vow is a promise made to your mate and made to God. You can show love to your family by staying faithful to that sacred vow.

Instructions in I Peter 3:7 also show how a husband and father can show his love. "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." The word "honour" means to esteem highly, to count as valuable. The word "weaker" is not referring to physical endurance but means that the wife is to be treated as a delicate prized vessel. 

A father can show his love to his family by providing the material and financial support that the family needs. Consider I Timothy 5:8. "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." God holds Christian fathers to a higher standard, so the Christian father that does not provide the support needed by his family is worse than the unbeliever that fails in this responsibility. Remember, we are to love as Christ loves, and he provides for us.

Many families suffer need because of lazy fathers or because of fathers who waste their income on drugs or liquor.

A father can show his love by having a tender forgiving attitude. "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).

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The Treasure in the Field

Matthew 13:44-46
Jun 14, 2009

"Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it" (Matthew 13:44-46).

In the kingdom parables of Matthew 13, the phrase "kingdom of God" can be used to describe the special relationship of those saved by grace and working for the glory of God in a New Testament church. For example, those early disciples of Jesus Christ.

The main lesson in these verses is that both men (the man who bought the field and the man who bought the pearl) had obtained something worth "selling all that he hath" in order to have such a valuable possession.

My three weeks in Mongolia and the precious fellowship enjoyed with the people in the true churches there have stirred within my heart a fresh commitment to do all that I can, with God's help, to get the message of salvation and Christian service in one of the Lord's churches to as many people as possible.

The true gospel message is so precious that we cannot change God's message, compromise the truth, or preach any other gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

We cannot neglect any part of the commission we have received from Christ. We must make disciples of all nations, baptize the disciples, and teach them all things commanded by Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20).

We cannot let the sinful desires of the flesh and selfish ambition cause us to put our light under a bushel (Matthew 5:15). Christ calls us to deny ourselves and take up our cross daily (Luke 9:23).

We cannot waste our valuable time in arguments about such minor issues as eating only herbs or eating all things. The same principal applies to one man who esteems one day above another (Romans 14:1-10).

A good soul-winner said, "Let's keep the main thing, the main thing."

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Mongolian Report: Week 3

Philippians 2:15
Jun 07, 2009

A highlight of this past week was attending classes on Friday and Saturday with the Rich Heart Bible Institute. One of the classes, taught by Brother Carrell, was just a men's class, and Pastor Egi translated for me. The subject was the moral conduct of the men. The plain honest discussion by the men showed their concern that each man in the membership would uphold the reputation and testimony of the church. Their convictions on I Timothy 5:19-20 ("Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear") would be too hard for loose-living church members in America. They want their church to be a shining light of gospel truth and Christian decency in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation (Philippians 2:15).

Only six more days are left for my visit here in Mongolia. They will be very busy days with the special services planned for the three day Bible Conference and the organizational services on Sunday afternoon for the missions in Chore and Chingeltei. Members of the two missions will travel to Rich Heart for the service.

Monday, June 1, was a National Holiday, Children's Day, somewhat like our Christmas Day and New Year's day combined. Celebrations began on Sunday with the children dressing up in their very best, some with new clothes, and all receiving presents. We had a great day of services at Rich Heart Baptist Church. The Sunday School classes for the Kindergarten and Grammar School kids continued on as the rest of us had the preaching service. At the end of the preaching service, more than fifty children came into the sanctuary and presented a beautiful music program. I had preached the morning message, and Pastor Egi helped by translating the message into Mongolian. He had asked that I write out the message with all the scriptures being used so that he could prepare a PowerPoint presentation. He will work with me in the same way for the three-day Conference.

The Coopers and I are using Monday and Tuesday to visit interesting sites in and around UB. On Monday afternoon, we had a birthday party for Pastor Egi's youngest child, Bika. He is now four years old. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends gathered for this joyous celebration. Bika got his first haircut, and each guest got to cut some of his hair. Naraa, his mother, had prepared a delicious banquet of Mongolian food. I ate some things that I never thought that I would eat.

Pastor Egi, his wife, and five children are a living lesson on the blessings of a loving dedicated Christian family. Our church in Lakewood is blessed in being able to help these precious people in Mongolia.

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Mongolian Report: Week 2

Genesis 24
May 31, 2009

Since the report of last week, we have had the following schedule: On Friday, 5/22/09, I sat in with the team of translators as they reviewed previous work done on Mark 15. Pastor Egi and Brother Sanhou would read from their Mongolian translation, then give the English, and have me to read the King James and Berry's translations as they compared word for word to make sure their Mongolian words conveyed the same meaning. They have a great love and respect for the doctrine of the inerrant, verbal inspiration, and preservation of the Scriptures.

On Saturday morning, 5/23/09, Brother and Sister Cooper, the translator, Sister Zoola, and I drove to Chore to be present for a special children's program. Brother Augie, recently ordained by Rich Heart, is the Pastor. His wife, Olzzi, and teenage daughter have moved with him to Chore. They live in a ger set up on the church property next to the church house ger. This whole family just radiates the love of Jesus Christ. Sister Olzzi was in charge of the twenty five children for the program with much music and Bible quizzes. After the program, the church members set up tables loaded with yogurt and different cheeses. The yogurt was delicious and reminded me of rich fresh buttermilk that I had with my mom and dad. After the services, as the people were leaving, I saw four elderly women go around to the side of the ger away from the others. I thought they were going to look at the concrete work being done for the new church building, but I saw these four women get down on their knees, their arms wrapped around each other, praying to the LORD. I could not hold back the tears at such a beautiful sight. Sunday services began at 9:30 with the children. At 11:00, the service for adults and older teens started with thirty present. Prayers and music filled the first hour. Pastor Augie brought a lesson followed by a song and prayer, then Brother Cooper brought a lesson, and then I brought a thirty minute lesson. At 2:00 P.M., the service ended, and we enjoyed a Mongolian barbecue. The lunch had been started on an outside stove before the services for that day began. A goat was dressed, rocks the size of tennis balls heated in the ashes, and carrots, potatoes, garlic, and onions were placed on the stove in a large pot with an airtight lid. This cooked for four hours and was so tender and tasty. The drink was a mixture of hot milk and hot tea. The meal was eaten outside with the atmosphere of a joyous celebration.

These are precious people who love the Lord. The older ones would hug me and give a kiss on both cheeks. Through the translator, Sister Zoola, they would say, "Tell your church we love them and thank them for helping us."

Early on Monday 5/25/09, the Coopers, Pastor Egi,and I started our 300 mile trip to Ugginor. We had paved roads as we headed northwest out of UB. Soon, we were on very rough gravel and dirt roads. We stopped for the night in the old city used by Chingis Haan as his capital. Our motel rooms were gers. We forded rivers that were 50 feet wide and 18 inches deep. We saw thousands of horses, cattle, sheep, and goats. Part of the way, we went across the country side, with no trail to follow, just keeping our eye on the compass to make sure we were headed northwest. The four wheel drive Hyundai SUV is an amazing vehicle. Brother Erenbayer had made the trip several days earlier to prepare for the Tuesday night service. His testimony is that he was a wicked drunkard and thief before his salvation. He is now making plans to move to Ugginoor with his wife and children to work as a missionary for the Rich Heart church if God opens the door for him. He and his wife had lived in this town and he knows most of the people in town and out in the country. He had made plans with a shepherd family for us to visit and present the gospel message. The setting and atmosphere of that home made me think of Abraham's servant going to Haran to find a wife for Isaac (Genesis 24). The shepherd, his wife, and three beautiful daughters gave close attention as Pastor Egi and Brother Erenbayer presented the basic lesson of the gospel of Christ. Please pray that the whole family will be saved and work for the LORD in this area. The shepherd offered us a sheep but Pastor Egi and Brother Cooper did not accept it at this time.

The evening service was in the dining room of the hotel where we had rooms. It is a very old building with no plumbing or water. Thirty people of all ages, some already saved, met for a service in which God's word was presented by Pastor Egi and Brother Erenbayer to people who are hungry to learn the gospel message. I was surprised at the number of teens in the service. This town has a high school with 500 students. Many students come from the herding families and spend most of the fall and winter in the school dormitories. The four members of Rich Heart MBC who traveled to Ugginoor have a great burden and vision to reach many people for the Lord. They do need the help of Landmark MBC in Lakewood and other true churches to fellowship in the efforts.

We left from Ugginor at 6:00 A.M., made the 10 hour trip back to UB in freezing rain and snow, dropped off Pastor Egi at the Rich Heart building, and then rushed to get to Chingeltei in time for the Prayer Meeting and Bible Study from John 17. Chingeltei is an extremely poor district on the North outskirts of UB. The homes are gers and very closely crowded little shanties. The people buy their water from vendors and bring it in. There are some precious saints of God in this congregation that in the face of poverty and sacrifice remain true and faithful to Christ.

Each day brings more understanding of how God is pouring out His blessings here in Mongolia.

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Mongolian Report: Week 1

Acts 17:11
May 24, 2009

It is now Friday, 7:15 AM, in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia (3:15 PM Thursday, in Colorado). After being awake for 28 hours, I arrived here on Wednesday at 10:40 PM local time. Brother and sister Cooper picked me up at the airport, and we were soon at their apartment on the second floor of the church facility. They provided me with a very comfortable bedroom where I was able to get five good hours of sleep.

Early on Thursday morning, Brother Cooper and I attended a meeting with Pastor Egi, Brother Tovshin, one of the church's teachers, and members of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) team. The NGO is an organization required by the Mongolian government and sponsored by the Martinez Missionary Baptist Church. The NGO provides humanitarian aid to the people here and has been an effective tool in the evangelistic outreach of the church. The devotional at this meeting was brought by Brother Toolga who used I Chronicles 28:9. "And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the LORD searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever."

There was a good discussion on this verse. I was asked to speak, with Sister Zoola serving as the interpreter. This was a time of good Christian fellowship and prayer.

At noon, a meeting of some of the teaching men was held and we enjoyed lunch together. Brother Toolga, a teacher, wrote out the lesson outline for this coming Sunday's lesson on the white board. Scriptures used were from I John 4 and James 4. The theme was "Showing our love by obedience to God." The discussion with sincere love and respect for the inspired word of God reminded me of Acts 17:11, which tells us that the disciples in Berea searched the word of God daily.

Later in the day, Brother Cooper and I walked to the market where he bought lamb chops for supper. Sister Cooper was teaching an English class as part of the NCO, so Brother Cooper did the cooking. He is a good cook.

Early Friday morning, we attended another devotional meeting. Brother Byrabat brought the lesson based on I Timothy 5:20-21. Thirteen were present. There were expressions of sweet Christian fellowship and love.

Today, we will see some of the sights in Ulaanbaatar. On Saturday, we will drive to Chore to spend the night there. Brother Augie is the pastor of this small congregation, and they are getting ready to start their building. I will preach there with the interpreter. I am having a wonderful time and seeing many interesting things, which I will write about in another report.

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God's Purposes and the Use of Means

Joshua 1:3, 2:1
May 17, 2009

The following outline is from a small paperback book of sermon outlines by J.N. Hall, influential Missionary Baptist pastor, debater, and editor. Brother Hall was born in 1849 in Pleasureville, Kentucky. The word "means" as used in this outline refers to the efforts and the work that we use in the work for the Lord.

"Every place that the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you, as I said unto Moses" (Joshua 1:3). "And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho" (Joshua 2:1).

  1. Joshua had the unconditional promise of God that the land should be his.
  2. Still, Joshua sent spies to discover its vulnerable parts so that he could know what advantages to take, just as if all of it depended on his skill in battle.
  3. We learn from this:
    1. That God's purposes do not interfere with the best use of means.
    2. That God's purposes embrace the use of means.
    3. The use of means is no proof of lack of faith.
    4. To stand aloof from labor and expect to see God's purposes work themselves out without our interest is to die in idleness.
    5. To ignore God's help and purposes, and undertake to do all Christian work in our own strength is to sin in presumption.
    6. The true philosophy is to pray as if all depended on the Lord, and work as if all depended on ourselves.

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A Thankful Mother: The Song of Hannah

I Samuel 2:1-10
May 10, 2009

I Samuel 2:1-10

1 And Hannah prayed, and said, My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation.
2 There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty men are broken, and they that stumbled are girded with strength.
5 They that were full have hired out themselves for bread; and they that were hungry ceased: so that the barren hath born seven; and she that hath many children is waxed feeble.
6 The LORD killeth, and maketh alive: he bringeth down to the grave, and bringeth up.
7 The LORD maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up.
8 He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD'S, and he hath set the world upon them.
9 He will keep the feet of his saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall he thunder upon them: the LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; and he shall give strength unto his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.

Please read I Samuel 1, and you will better understand why Hannah rejoiced greatly when God answered her prayers by giving her a son, Samuel. In the last verse of her song, the word "anointed" is the Old Testament word that means "Messiah" or "Christ" (John 4:25).

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Clarification on the Subject of Sanctification

Hebrews 10:8-10
May 03, 2009

"Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (Hebrews 10:8-10).

In the bulletin article for April 26,2009, we studied the words (1) Regeneration, (2) Sanctification, and (3) Glorification.

The article applied the word "sanctification" exclusively to the sanctification and dedication of our life in Christian service. The word does apply to dedication, but it also applies to more than just that. We can see another way that the word "sanctified" is used in the Bible in Hebrews 10:8-10. Jesus, the Son, yielded his will to the Father. "Lo, I come to do thy will, O God." God's will was that the Son be offered as a sacrifice on the cross of Calvary. By the submissive will of the Son who offered himself on the cross, we are sanctified. We are redeemed and purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ. This sanctification described in Hebrews 10:10 takes place at the same time as our new birth and our receiving eternal life. This aspect of sanctification is "once for all."

We have a similar situation with the word "faith." Faith can apply to our believing on Jesus Christ for eternal salvation. "For by grace are ye saved through faith" (Ephesians 2:8). Faith can also apply to the trust in God that a child of God has in his Christian walk. "(For we walk by faith, not by sight" (II Corinthians 5:7). A third way that the word "faith" is used is illustrated in Jude 1:3 where we are admonished that we "should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." The words "the faith" refers to the complete harmonious system of Bible doctrine.

These scriptures are a reminder that our Bible study needs to be done carefully and diligently. Pray for understanding as you search the scriptures. "...they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).

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New Birth, New Life, and New Body

John 3:3, Romans 6:13, Philippians 3:21
Apr 26, 2009

This past week, a group of Missionary Baptist men enjoyed a retreat at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, previously a military outpost in the eighteen hundreds and now a state park. We took part in Bible lessons, fellowship, and good food. Many of the lessons were about God's work in regeneration (the new birth), sanctification (the new life), and glorification (the new body).

Regeneration: Salvation is described by Jesus to Nicodemus as "being born again" (John 3:3). The new birth is also described in this manner. "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: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:12-13). We also learn that the new birth is accomplished by the power of the Holy Ghost. "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). You receive eternal life at the very moment that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31).

Sanctification: This word means "to set apart and dedicate to God's service and glory." We still have the old sinful flesh nature after we are saved, but the Bible teaches us to yield ourselves "as instruments of righteousness unto God" (Romans 6:13). We can "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ" (II Peter 3:18). Romans 6:4 teaches us not to live and walk as we did when we were lost and condemned, but to "walk in newness of life." Sanctification is not sinless perfection, but it is walking in the Spirit and by God's strength turning away from the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:19-26).

Glorification: Our bodies are described with these words: mortal, weakness, corruptible, dishonor, earthy, and natural (I Corinthians 15:42-54). We are subject to disease and death. Glorification is that wonderful work of God by which he will change these vile bodies into resurrected new bodies like unto his glorious resurrected body (Philippians 3:21).

Why would anyone refuse and reject Christ as Savior and miss out on all these gracious blessings?

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Physical or Unseen Evidence

John 20:24-28
Apr 19, 2009

"But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God" (John 20:24-28).

Thomas knew Christ as his Savior, and he had been called by the Lord to serve as an apostle. This scripture passage indicates a weakness that his Savior corrected in a loving way. Jesus had plainly told the apostles that he would be condemned to death "and the third day he shall rise again" (Matthew 20:17-19). This truth should have been accepted completely. Thomas and the other apostles should have eagerly waited for that promise to be fulfilled on the appointed day. Thomas wanted more than the Lord's word. He wanted the physical evidence of touching the wounds in the hands and side of Jesus. There is a gentle rebuke in the words of Jesus, "Be not faithless, but believing" (John 20:27).

Thomas learned a great lesson as seen in his answer to Jesus. "My Lord and my God" (John 20:28).

Do you need to see physical evidence to believe? Jesus gave this blessing. "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed" (John 20:29). Compare this scripture, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (I Peter 1:7-8).

We can have strong faith, based on the inspired word of God.

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Resurrection Glory

I Corinthians 15:42-44
Apr 12, 2009

"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: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body" (I Corinthians 15:42-44).

In his life and his ministry, Jesus Christ demonstrated his divine glory. "And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). His miracles showed his glory. "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him" (John 2:11).

His resurrected body is described in Philippians 3:20-21. "For our conversation [or citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself."

Another promise that we as children of God will have a glorified body like unto his glorified body is found in 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."

The most wonderful promises of the change of our vile body in a body fashioned like unto his glorious body are found in our text verses and in other verses of I Corinthians 15.

"O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Corinthians 15:55-57).

What a blessed hope we have. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ" (Titus 2:13).

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The Character of the Antichrist

II Thessalonians 2:3
Apr 05, 2009

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (II Thessalonians 2:3).

The following seven statements that describe the antichrist are adapted from pages 430 through 437 of the book "The Seven Dispensations" by J.R. Graves published in 1928 by the Baptist Sunday School Committee Bogard Press in Texarkana, Texas.

  1. He will be a man, that is, an individual human being. He will not be some system or religious body. He is distinctly called and declared to be a man, "that man of sin" (II Thessalonians 2:3).
  2. He is a liar and will deny that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (I John 4:3).
  3. The Antichrist will deny both the Father and the Son (I John 2:22-23).
  4. The antichrist will exalt himself, sit in the temple of God, and show that he should be worshipped as God. "Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:4).
  5. He is a great deceiver and by the aid of Satan will work signs and lying wonders. "Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie" (II Thessalonians 2:9-11).
  6. In addition to the sinful nature common to man, in him will dwell and operate all that can be communicated of the evil and energy of Satan. The word translated "working" in II Thessalonians 2:9 is the Greek word that means "energy."
  7. The antichrist will exercise a world-wide influence. "...and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast" (Revelation 13:2-3).

We do not know when Christ shall descend from heaven and the dead in Christ shall rise, but we can be watching and eagerly waiting for his return.

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Notes on a Sermon

Ezra 8:21
Mar 29, 2009

"Then I proclaimed a fast there, at the river of Ahava, that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance" (Ezra 8:21).

One chapter in the history textbook I used at Mississippi State University in 1957 is from the journal of William Bradford (History of Plymouth Plantation By William Bradford, Charles Deane, Jared Sparks). In his journal, he describes the departure of the Pilgrims from Leyden, Holland on their journey to Plymouth.

Governor Bradford wrote, "So being ready to depart, they had a day of solemn humiliation, their pastor taking his text from Ezra 8:21.

"Upon which he spent a good part of the day very profitably and suitable to their present occasion. The rest of the time was spent in pouring out prayers to the Lord with great fervency, mixed with abundance of tears.

"When they came to the place, they found the ship and all things ready. That night was spent with little sleep by the most but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse and other real expressions of true Christian love. The next day, the wind being fair, they went aboard, and their friends with them, where truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting.

"But the tide (which stays for no man) calling them away that were thus loath to depart, their pastor, falling down on his knees, and they all with him, with watery cheeks commended them with most fervent prayers to the Lord and his blessing."

Notice the words of Ezra, "that we might afflict ourselves before our God, to seek of him a right way for us, and for our little ones, and for all our substance." This verse shows the attitude of the people in Ezra's day and the attitude of the Pilgrims in their journey to this land. Christian people still need to seek of God "a right way for us."

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Flee, Follow, and Fight: A Lesson on Staying out of Trouble

I Timothy 6:11-12
Mar 22, 2009

"But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" (I Timothy 6:11-12).

Flee. We are surrounded by temptations, snares, and many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition (I Timothy 6:9). The love of money, which some covet after, will pierce some through with many sorrows (I Timothy 6:10). The best course of action will often be to flee like Joseph did when Potiphar's wife tried to snare him (Genesis 39:7-12). Joseph did not run because he was a coward. He ran because he was wise.

Follow. The things we are to follow -- righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and meekness -- are listed in verse 11. A similar list -- the fruit of the Spirit -- is found in Galatians 5:22-23. Another list is found in II Peter 1:5-9, where we are instructed to grow in grace by adding these qualities to our faith. Please note that staying out of trouble is not just running away from the snares and temptations, but the positive action of growing in grace as we depend on the Lord to help us live a Christian life.

Fight. Paul instructed Timothy, "Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ" (II Timothy 2:3). Paul also wrote, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (II Timothy 4:7). Paul is not recommending a fleshly, physical battle, but he is encouraging a warfare with spiritual weapons against spiritual wickedness (II Corinthians 10:3-5).

Let's get busy in the Lord's army using our time, talents, energy, and resources to advance his kingdom.

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I am Crucified with Christ

Galatians 2:20
Mar 15, 2009

"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20).

Paul uses the pronoun "I" five times and the pronoun "me" three times in this verse, but this verse does not exalt Paul. This verse praises and exalts Jesus Christ.

This verse shows us that Paul identifies with Jesus Christ in a close personal way.

He is telling us, "Jesus loved me, Jesus gave himself for me, Jesus Christ lives in me, I live by the faith of the Son of God, and when Jesus was crucified, that was for me and my sins were laid on him."

In Philippians 1:21, Paul said, "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain."

His salvation, his ministry, and his purpose in life were centered in Jesus Christ. His love for Christ and the cause of Christ made him willing to sacrifice. He wrote to the church at Corinth, "And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved" (II Corinthians 12:15).

No doubt, Paul was a faithful servant for Christ. "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake" (II Corinthians 4:5).

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The Throne of Grace

Hebrews 4:16
Mar 08, 2009

"Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

"But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom" (Hebrews 1:8). In this verse, God the Father addresses the Son with the title, O God. We see in this verse the throne of the Divine Son.

"Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens" (Hebrews 8:1). In this verse, we have God the Father identified as the "Majesty in the heavens." Christ, our high priest, is at the Father"s right hand, the place of honor, to make intercession for us.

"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). This verse shows our Savior, his suffering and shame finished, at the right hand of the throne of God.

It is no wonder that God"s throne is called the "throne of grace" (Hebrews 4:16). By grace, Jesus, the Son of God, suffered and died for us. By grace, he is our great high priest. "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-15).

When your heart is heavy and you are in need of mercy and grace, you can approach God"s throne with the assurance that he will provide the "grace to help in time of need."

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An Unusual Financial Promise

Leviticus 25:19-22
Mar 01, 2009

"And the land shall yield her fruit, and ye shall eat your fill, and dwell therein in safety. And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store" (Leviticus 25:19-22).

The economy of the nation of Israel was based on agriculture. Herds of cattle and sheep were raised. Orchards provided grapes, olives, and other fruits. Grains and vegetables were grown.

Notice the conditional promise of Leviticus 25:18. "Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety." One of God"s statutes commanded a Sabbath year for the land each seventh year. "But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard" (Exodus 23:11). Keeping this commandment required faith in God"s promises.

The forty-ninth and fiftieth years were Sabbath years, so God promised that he would bless his people by commanding that the land produce enough in the forty-eighth year for three years (Leviticus 25:21). When this Sabbath year law was ignored, God used Babylon to provide the Sabbath for the land (II Chronicles 36:15-21).

New Testament Christians are not under the law of Moses with the Sabbath laws, but we do have sure promises from God that are similar to God"s Old Testament promises. Consider these two promises.

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

Just as was required in the Old Testament days, receiving the blessings of God"s promises still requires faith.

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Qualified Help Needed

Acts 6:3-4
Feb 22, 2009

"Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:3-4).

The Lord"s first church at Jerusalem was having tremendous growth in the membership. The apostles needed help in the responsibility that the church was facing in its care of widows. Notice these three qualifications for this job.

  1. Men of Honest Report. These words are translated from one word which means "having had witness borne" with reference to their character and reputation. In their responsibilities, they needed to be men who could be completely trusted.
  2. Full of the Holy Ghost. This expression is used of Jesus Christ in Luke 4:1, of the Jerusalem church in Acts 2:4, of the Apostle Peter in Acts 4:8, of Stephen in Acts 7:55, of Barnabas in Acts 11:24, and of Paul in Acts 13:9. These words mean that the servant of the Lord is so surrendered to do God"s will that the Holy Spirit will control and guide as the person yields to the Lord"s leadership. Each child of God is born of the Holy Spirit, but being filled with the Holy Spirit requires those qualities of dedication that are described in Luke 9:23. "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me."
  3. Full of Wisdom. These men needed to be "filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Colossians 1:9). Their decisions, their judgment, and their comprehension of the situation needed to be based on that heavenly wisdom that is described in James 3:17. "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."

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Three Times in a Year

Deuteronomy 16:16-17
Feb 15, 2009

"Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty: Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee" (Deuteronomy 16:16-17).

These three great feasts were times of rejoicing as the people assembled to keep these feasts and bring their offerings unto the LORD. These feasts teach us about God"s blessings and God"s work.

One day before the feast of unleavened bread, which began on the fifteenth day of the first month, the nation observed the Passover, which pictures redemption and deliverance through the blood of the Lamb of God. The use of unleavened bread for the Passover and for the following seven days pictures the sinless body and life of Jesus Christ. According to I Corinthians 5:8, the unleavened bread also teaches the Lord"s church to serve the Lord in "sincerity and truth."

The feast of weeks, Pentecost, was observed fifty days after the Passover. One of the offerings on that day is called a "new meat offering" (Leviticus 23:16). "Meat" in this verse refers to bread which was to be baked with leaven. The bread is also called "the firstfruits unto the LORD" (Leviticus 23:17). The Lord"s first church had been established, the world-wide commission had been given, but the church was to "tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). This first church, "the firstfruits unto the LORD," was now equipped with the power to go into all the world. The leaven in the bread shows that they were sinners saved by grace, still in sinful flesh, but able to love and serve the Lord in a scriptural way.

The feast of tabernacles (Leviticus 23:39-43) came at the end of the harvest season, beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and lasting for seven days. The people of Israel were to build booths of "goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook" (Leviticus 23:40). The fields are now white unto harvest (John 4:35), but the days of harvest are coming to an end. "The night cometh, when no man can work" (John 9:4). Israel was reminded that they wandered in a land that was not their own and living in tents (Leviticus 23:43). We are reminded that this world is only our temporary home.

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Two Gardens

Genesis 2:7-8 and John 18:1
Feb 01, 2009

"And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed" (Genesis 2:7-8).

"When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples" (John 18:1).

God prepared this beautiful Eden garden to be home for Adam and Eve. In that garden, they had productive work to do (Genesis 2:15). They were also to have children (Genesis 1:28).

Satan, working through the serpent, was intent on bringing death and destruction into the first family. Eve was deceived, and Adam willfully disobeyed God (I Timothy 2:14). From that garden came the sinful act that touched the entire human race. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12).

The garden of Gethsemane, the garden of the olive press, became the scene of intense agony for our Savior, the second Adam (I Corinthians 15:45-47). Near the place where the olives were crushed to yield the beneficial oil, his heart and soul felt the pressing burden of the sin of the whole world. He prayed to his Father, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26:39).

"The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven" (I Corinthians 15:47). In the garden of Eden, there was disobedience by the first man, "of the earth, earthy." In the garden of Gethsemane, there was complete surrender to the will of the Father by the "second man"the Lord from heaven."

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Jesus Prayed

Luke 6:12 and 11:1
Jan 25, 2009

"And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God" (Luke 6:12).

"And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples" (Luke 11:1).

Jesus gave us the wonderful example of being regular in prayer to his Father. He also made promises regarding our prayers. "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Luke 11:9).

Jesus prayed to communicate with the Father. When we carefully examine his prayer in John 17, we see that much of the prayer is just his speaking to the Father without making a request. For example, Jesus prayed, "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word" (John 17:6).

Jesus did make requests for himself. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was" (John 17:5).

Jesus offered intercessory prayer on behalf of others. "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24).

Here is just another reminder that obedience is an important element in the Christian receiving answers when he prays. "And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight" (I John 3:22).

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Much More the Grace of God

Romans 5:15
Jan 18, 2009

"But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (Romans 5:15 KJV).

"But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many" (Romans 5:15 AMP).

God"s grace is much more amazing when we consider what sin has done to the human race. The effect of sin in the whole human family is often described as "Total Hereditary Depravity." The word "total" expresses the truth of Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." The word "hereditary" indicates that we are all sinners by nature because of our kinship to the first man, Adam. "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Romans 5:12). The word "depravity" describes us as unrighteous and guilty before God. "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 3:19). Because of this depravity, we are desperately in need of the grace of God. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6).

Romans 5:15 tells us that God"s grace abounds and overflows. "Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound" (Romans 5:20). What a blessing to sing with truth, "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me!"

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God's Grace is Sufficient

II Corinthians 12:9
Jan 11, 2009

"And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (II Corinthians 12:9).

In the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the nation of Israel faced what seemed to be an insurmountable problem. The city of Jerusalem lay in ruins with homes destroyed, the wall around the city torn down, and most of the people carried away as slaves. God answered Nehemiah"s prayer (Nehemiah 1:4-11). By God"s grace, Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem, surveyed the damage, organized the workers, and directed the rebuilding of the walls and the city. "So built we the wall; and all the wall was joined together unto the half thereof: for the people had a mind to work" (Nehemiah 4:6).

The church at Corinth faced a serious moral problem in the membership of the church. By inspiration of God, Paul gave instructions to the church that would take care of the problem (I Corinthians 5:1-13). The information given in II Corinthians 2:1-11 indicates that the church took the appropriate steps to solve the problem.

The problem that Paul faced is described as, "a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure" (II Corinthians 12:7). Paul sought the help of the Lord in prayer, which is always the right step. "For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me" (II Corinthians 12:8).

God did not remove the problem, but He did answer Paul with another solution. He promised Paul that His grace would be sufficient for the problem. God"s purpose in failing to remove the thorn in the flesh is shown in II Corinthians 12:10. "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Consider these scriptures when you face problems that seem beyond your control. God"s grace is still sufficient.

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Satan Deceives and Blinds

II Corinthians 4:3-4
Jan 04, 2009

"But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them" (II Corinthians 4:3-4).

I have been questioned about the troubling events that are happening in Israel. I am not an expert on many of the end-time events, but I have listened over the years to some very informed Bible scholars. Dr. I. K. Cross (1917-2008) is one of the best, and the following information is from page 238 of his book, "O Israel."

"Satan began his rule as the "prince of this world" (John 14:30-16:11) as a deceiver, and has continued his reign as "god of this world" as a deceiver ever since (II Corinthians 4:4). He has counterfeited God"s plan all through the ages, and he isn"t about to give up as his days grow short and his eternal abode in the lake of fire draws near.

"The Devil is well aware that Israel is looking for a coming Messiah and that Christians are expecting the return of Christ as King. Satan will take advantage of this expectation to deceive the world concerning this climactic event in God"s plan by entering upon the scene as the false Messiah, the Antichrist. Christ warned his disciples, "Take heed that no man deceive you" (Matthew 24:4).

"This period in Christian history is going to experience the greatest apostasy of all time. Paul wrote, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God" (II Thessalonians 2:3-4)."

The passing of another year brings us closer to the return of Christ. The assurance that Christ is your Savior and that His inspired word is your road map for these perilous times will keep your heart calm in the midst of confusion and deception.

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