Weekly Bulletin Article 2011
By Bro Jim Brasseal, Pastor Landmark MBC
Dec 25, 2011 - Glory to God in the Highest
Dec 18, 2011 - A Savior, Which is Christ the Lord
Dec 11, 2011 - The Link Between Christ and Abraham
Dec 04, 2011 - The Desire of all Nations Shall Come
Nov 27, 2011 - You Cannot Count That High
Nov 20, 2011 - Prayer and Supplication with Thanksgiving
Nov 13, 2011 - A Blessing or a Curse
Nov 06, 2011 - Be Ye Warmed and Filled
Oct 30, 2011 - Reflecting the Glory of Jesus Christ
Oct 23, 2011 - God Has a Purpose and a Plan
Oct 16, 2011 - The Glory That Excelleth
Oct 09, 2011 - How Did They Know?
Oct 02, 2011 - Paul's Enlarged Heart
Sep 25, 2011 - Plenty of Food for Starving People
Sep 18, 2011 - Whiter than Snow
Sep 11, 2011 - Grace That Precedes Judgment
Sep 04, 2011 - A Door of Opportunity in Bulgaria
Aug 28, 2011 - Out of the Miry Clay
Aug 21, 2011 - God Communicates with Mankind
Aug 14, 2011 - Jesus Has Beautiful Feet
Aug 07, 2011 - Precious in the Lord's Sight: A Tribute to Brother Chuck Hanes
Jul 31, 2011 - A Day to Remember
Jul 24, 2011 - Bible Answers to Questions about the Holy Spirit
Jul 17, 2011 - A New Church in Uginoor, Mongolia
Jul 10, 2011 - A New Creation in Christ
Jul 03, 2011 - Jubilee: A Celebration of Liberty
Jun 26, 2011 - The Influence of Witnessing One to One
Jun 19, 2011 - Partners in the Lord's Business
Jun 12, 2011 - Working Together in the Gospel
Jun 05, 2011 - God is Just and God is the Justifier
May 29, 2011 - The Uncertainty of Tomorrow
May 22, 2011 - Rejoicing in Uginoor
May 15, 2011 - The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength
May 05, 2011 - Mongolian Blessings
May 01, 2011 - To See and To Enter the Kingdom of God
Apr 24, 2011 - If Ye Then be Risen with Christ
Apr 17, 2011 - Bible Translation History
Apr 10, 2011 - Blessed Assurance Because We Love the Brethren
Apr 03, 2011 - God Hath Shined in Our Hearts
Mar 27, 2011 - Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Mar 20, 2011 - Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain
Mar 13, 2011 - The Lord is My Shepherd
Mar 06, 2011 - “Let Us Reason Together,” Saith the Lord
Feb 27, 2011 - Four Examples of God's Saving Grace
Feb 20, 2011 - Draw Water Out of the Wells of Salvation
Feb 06, 2011 - A Look Into Our Past
Jan 30, 2011 - Purifying Their Hearts by Faith
Jan 23, 2011 - Everlasting Life
Jan 09, 2011 - God Gives More Grace
Jan 02, 2011 - The Bible -- God's Holy Book
Glory to God in the Highest
Dec 25, 2011
"And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:13-14).
This angelic host gave God the glory and praise on the night that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. The shepherds returned to their sheepfolds after they had seen the Savior in the manger. "And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them" (Luke 2:20).
God is worthy of glory and praise because of his love for us. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him" (I John 4:9).
Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, is worthy of glory and praise because he loved us and gave himself for us. "For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation" (Revelation 5:9). "Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever" (Revelation 5:13).
A concise simple statement of the reason and purpose of our Christian life is found in I Corinthians 10:31. "Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God."
A good illustration of giving glory to God for his blessings to us is found in the lesson of the man who had palsy (paralysis). His friends brought him to the house were Jesus was teaching. They could not get him into the house through the door because of the multitude, so they went up on the roof and let him down through the roofing tiles. The first blessing from Jesus is shown in the words, "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee" (Luke 5:20). Then Jesus said unto him, "Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house" (Luke 5:24).
Luke 5:25 tells us, "And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God." Those in his house were amazed, and they also glorified God.
By prayers with thanksgiving, we can praise and glorify God. By good works, we can influence others to come to the Lord and glorify Him. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).
Consider this statement about our service in the Lord's New Testament Church. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21). Will you join the angels and shepherds in giving glory to God?
A Savior, Which is Christ the Lord
Dec 18, 2011
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11).
The name "Jesus" means that he is the Savior (Matthew 1:21). The name "Emmanuel" means that he is God with us (Matthew 1:23). The title "Christ" shows that he is the special anointed one (Psalm 2:2) who was promised in the messages of the Old Testament prophets who wrote of him in the law, the prophets, and the psalms (Luke 24:44).
Sin had placed us in bondage and condemnation (John 3:18, 8:34) under the law of sin and death. We needed a Savior who was without sin. For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" (Hebrews 7:26).
We were dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1). We needed a Savior who could give us eternal life. "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). "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).
We needed a Kinsman Redeemer who could pay the full price to satisfy the justice and holiness of God. Our Savior, Jesus, paid the price on the cross with his blood. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:7).
Our Savior not only offered his body to be beaten and nailed to the cross, his soul also was made "an offering for sin." There on the cross, God, the Father saw "the travail of his soul" and was satisfied. Jesus "poured out his soul unto death" (Isaiah 53:10-12).
We needed a Savior who could taste death for all of us, have complete victory over death, and be alive in his resurrected glorified body for evermore. "Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them" (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus can be your Savior also. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31).
In the words of one of our hymns, "Hallelujah! What a Savior!" (In Spirit and In Truth, Hymn 101, Bogard Press).
The Link Between Christ and Abraham
Dec 11, 2011
"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16).
In the letter from Paul to the churches of Galatia, there is a discussion of the law of Moses, which did not make void (Galatians 3:17) the covenant that God made with Abraham. In Galatians 2:16, it is very plain that the works of the law could not justify (make righteous) any person.
Pay close attention to the words in 2:16. "Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ." The reading from George Ricker Berry's Interlinear New Testament shows that the word "faith" used in this verse is the same faith, the personal trust, and receiving of Christ for eternal salvation that is described in John 1:12-13. "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."
Abraham was joined to Christ by that same faith, that personal trust of receiving Jesus Christ for eternal salvation. The imputed righteousness of Christ that brings justification by faith as a free gift from God (Romans 3:24) was received by Abraham and David (Romans 4:1-10). Jesus said, "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad" (John 8:56).
Later in his obedience to God in offering up Isaac, Abraham would experience another aspect of faith, the faith of a child of God who trusts the Lord and obeys God's commands by faith (James 2:21-24).
Abraham is also linked to Jesus Christ through the covenant promise of Genesis 12:1-3 and Genesis 17:4-9. That covenant promised that from Abraham would come a great nation of multitudes of descendants. In the covenant, there was the promise of one specific descendant, the seed, "as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16).
God's covenant with Abraham is still in force in all its different promises. Some promises will be fulfilled when Christ returns to rule over this earth. Through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ and his gospel message going to all nations, the promise of Genesis 12:3 is being fulfilled this very week. "And I will bless them that bless thee and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Do you have the blessing that comes from Jesus Christ, the Seed of Abraham?
The Desire of all Nations Shall Come
Dec 04, 2011
"For thus saith the LORD of hosts; Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land; And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come: and I will fill this house with glory, saith the LORD of hosts" (Haggai 2:6-7).
When you read the words of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" (In Spirit and In Truth, Hymn 70, Bogard Press), you will find this passage of scripture in the fourth verse.
Come, desire of nations come! Fix in us thy humble home.
Rise the woman's conquering seed. Bruise in us the serpent's head (Genesis 3:15).
Adam's likeness now erase. Stamp thine image in its place.
Second Adam from above , Reinstate us in thy love (I Corinthians 15:45-49).
Haggai preached "the LORD'S message" that the rebuilding of the temple should not be delayed while the people turned their attention to building their own houses (Haggai 1:4-8). The people were comparing the glory of the first temple which was built in the days of Solomon, with this rebuilt temple which did not have the glory of that first temple.
The LORD'S message looks on beyond the Old Testament age to the coming of the Messiah. Haggai's message is like the prophecy of Jacob concerning the Messiah. "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh [Messiah] come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be" (Genesis 49:10).
Some commentators have been reluctant to apply the words of Haggai 2:7 to the coming of Christ pointing to the words of Isaiah 53:2-3. "There is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men." To see the truth of Haggai 2:7, you must look beyond the earthly ministry of Christ and see His glorious second coming.
There was glory manifested in the person and ministry of our Savior (John 1:14 –2:11). His New Testament church has a glorious ministry in His kingdom work (John 17:22, Ephesians 3:21-5:27).
The best is yet to come as we read from Jude 14. "Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints." The earthly one thousand year reign of Christ shall begin when His feet shall stand upon the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4). Acts 15:14 tells of this church age in which Gentiles are being taken "a people for his name." Then Acts 15:16 goes on beyond the church age: "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 will set it up." Ezekiel shows Christ, the son of David, ruling as King over the whole house of Jacob, a covenant of peace made with Israel, and the LORD'S sanctuary set in the midst of them for evermore (Ezekiel 37:22-28).
Isaiah 11:10 describes Christ as the root of Jesse, who stands as an ensign of the people, to whom the Gentiles seek. Christ is the Desire of all nations. Is He your Desire now?
You Cannot Count That High
Psalm 40:5, 139:17-18
Nov 27, 2011
"Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered" (Psalm 40:5).
"How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee" (Psalm 139:17-18).
When we sing the song "Count Your Blessings," these verses remind us that we can never reach the full total of all that God has done for us. If we counted all the precious thoughts and the gracious acts of God that are recorded in the Bible, we would still come short of the total number. "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen" (John 21:25).
Multitudes of blessings available do not always mean blessings received. Jesus Christ tasted death for every person in this world (Hebrews 2:9). "For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead" (II Corinthians 5:14). We understand from John 3:14-18, that " whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Some are forever lost even though the blessing of eternal salvation is freely offered to them. Man, by his own will, can resist the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51) and reject God's grace.
Blessings were available to the whole nation of Israel when they came to the border of the promised land. When the LORD told Moses to send the spies of each tribe, he said to Moses, "That they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel" (Numbers 13:2). Joshua and Caleb understood and believed God's promise that they would be able to possess the land, even though the other spies and the people would not trust the LORD for the victory (Numbers 14:1-11).
We miss a great lesson if we use the land of Canaan to represent heaven. There were still battles to be fought, failures to experience, and enemies to face in that land. Look at the land of Canaan as a picture of the Christian life where we can experience so many of the limitless blessings and the victories that are possible if we walk in faith and obedience.
Consider the blessing of the abundant life (John 10:10), the blessing of seeking first his kingdom and righteousness (Matthew 6:33), and the blessing of God supplying all your need (Philippians 4:19).
The late Neil Morley often closed his reports on the mission work in the Solomon Islands with these words, "There is a great work for the LORD out here, and you can be a part of it." There are more blessings of God than you can count, just waiting for you to experience.
Prayer and Supplication with Thanksgiving
Nov 20, 2011
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7). The word "careful" is an Old English word that means "anxious worry."
Nearly all the Bible verses that speak of prayer are teaching us to ask God for some need and to "let your requests be made known unto God." We are taught to "ask," to "seek" and to "knock" (Luke 11:9). In the lesson of the friend who came late at night and kept knocking on the door until his friend got up from his bed to supply the request, we are taught to be persistent in our asking (Luke 11:8).
There is a rebuke in God's word for not asking. "You have not, because ye ask not" (James 4:2). James adds to the rebuke for asking selfishly, "That you may consume it upon your own lusts" (James 4:3). The Lord wants us to come to him boldly. "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).
The word "supplication" used in our text emphasizes the fervent request for help in a time of need. Ephesians 6:18 also links the words "prayer and supplication." "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints."
Please notice the word "thanksgiving" in our text. This word reminds us that in our prayers and supplications to God, we should not forget to show our appreciation to him for the blessings already received.
Jesus taught a lesson about gratitude in Luke 17:11-19. The Lord healed ten lepers of their terrible disease, but only one of the ten turned back to Jesus. "And with a loud voice glorified God." This Samaritan fell down on his face at the feet of Jesus giving him thanks. "And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed, but where are the nine?"
Could it be that only one in ten of those who have received blessings from God in this day truly show their thankfulness to the Lord? Do not forget to put thankfulness along with your prayers and supplications. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him and bless his name" (Psalm 100:4).
A Blessing or a Curse
Nov 13, 2011
"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be" (James 3:10).
Two friends have recently expressed their displeasure at how modern technology is being used in very wicked ways. Their communication to me was by E-mail. I agree with them, but this article will show that technology can also be used in a beneficial way, one that advances the work of Jesus Christ. My computer has been very helpful to me in research in Greek and Hebrew word meanings and in my studies in Baptist history, especially the biographies of faithful pastors and missionaries in our heritage. The background of most of our hymns can be studied on web sites.
James 3 shows the terrible sinful destruction, similar to a forest fire (James 3:5), that can be done by the wrong use of the tongue. "And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell" (James 3:6). The principles that are taught in James 3 will apply to any form of communication.
E-mails, web sites, and modern telephone equipment can be used for immoral purposes and to spread lies, which are against God's command. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour" (Exodus. 20:16). The positive side of this command is "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth [or out of your computer or telephone or smoke signal (JCB)], but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29).
Whether it is by ordinary speech or by computer, it is still a fact that God hates "a lying tongue" (Proverbs 6:17) and God hates "a false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren" (Proverbs 6:19). Even if the falsehood did not originate with you, it is still against the will of God to pass the sinful material on to others in an effort to damage reputations (Proverbs 6:16-19, 26:22). God's command against sowing discord is so strong in the New Testament that those who do so are classed as "heretics" and the Christians were instructed to reject them "after the first and second admonition" (Titus 3:10). Vine's Bible Dictionary shows that the word "heretic" in this verse means "One that causes division." The word "reject" (to avoid or refuse) shows that after the first and second admonition and rebuke, the repeat offender is not to be welcomed back into the fellowship.
Modern technology is not the problem. The heart of man that controls the equipment will make the difference in the use. Remember the words of Jesus, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34). We can put that into modern times by saying, "Out of the abundance of the heart, man will send forth his E-mails."
Web sites and E-mails can be used to help pastors, teachers, and missionaries in preaching, teaching and keeping the churches informed. Do you remember the blessing from God for Brother Jim Black and the mission work in Romania when our web site helped a Korean man, Scott Choi, to become a member and a great help in the Lord's church in Bucharest, Romania?
Be Ye Warmed and Filled
Nov 06, 2011
"And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?" (James 2:16).
The following information was in an E-Mail sent by Brother Ken Gilchrist from the Landmark MBC in Delta, CO.
I just wanted to let you know that we are beginning to collect clothing for the Mongolian brothers and sisters. Our church has asked Brother Cooper to get the coat sizes of the kids in Chore so we can send each one a coat. We gave a couple of bags of clothes, mostly for winter wear, for them to take back to California so they could be shipped right away. If anyone there in Lakewood has clothes, particularly winter clothes, that they want to donate, you could collect them and deliver them to us at any meeting we may have (perhaps at the meeting in Greeley on December 10).
The church also voted to begin sending $200 a month to Brother Agii in Chore. It is very humbling to see how dedicated many of the people in our Mongolian churches are when they have so little. American people may think that they are really sacrificing when they drive for 30 or 40 minutes to attend church services, but many of the people in Mongolia walk 2 miles to services and 2 miles back home in 20 below freezing to attend.
I am looking forward to the camp planning meeting in Greeley on December 10. I might try to drive over and stay with you on Friday night if that is okay. I'm thinking that I'll arrange to have Brother Lonie take care of the services on Sunday, visit the Lakewood church that day, and then come home on Monday morning. Yours in Christ, Ken G.
I have several good warm winter items that can be sent back with Brother Ken. Perhaps you also have some items to donate.
Helping our brethren in their material needs is plainly taught in the scriptures. Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, "But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things" (Romans 15:25-27).
Reflecting the Glory of Jesus Christ
Oct 30, 2011
"And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one" (John 17:22).
Look at the brightness and beauty of the full moon. The moon has no light within its own structure, so the light we see from the moon is a reflection from the sun. Consider another example. The scriptures show us, "As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10). We learn also from the scriptures that the righteousness of Christ can be imputed "to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works" (Romans 4:5-6). In the new birth, the child of God now stands in the sight of God with sin forgiven and with the righteousness of Christ, not in his own righteousness (Philippians 3:9).
Those early disciples who had heard and received the word from Christ (John 17:8), who had walked in companionship with Christ, who were keeping his word (John 17:6), and who were being sent out into the world as witnesses for Christ (John 17:18) were being told that Christ, who had been given glory by the Father, was giving glory to these precious disciples (John 17:22).
This glory was not their own. They did not manufacture this glory from their own human strength. They were to "shine as lights in the world" (Philippians 2:16). The bulletin articles of 10/16/2011 and 10/23/2011 show that the New Testament order of Christian service in the Lord's churches is greater than the service under the law of Moses (II Corinthians 3:7-11). The word "glorious" is used in Ephesians 5:27 to describe the church in the relationship of the bride to the bridegroom (John 3:29).
II Corinthians 3:18 will help us to understand our responsibility as individuals and as a church to reflect the glory of Jesus Christ in our service. "And all of us, as with unveiled face, [because we] continued to behold [in the Word of God] as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are constantly being transfigured into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another; [for this comes] from the Lord [Who is] the Spirit" (II Corinthians 3:18, AMP). The translation of this verse in the Amplified Version is based on the work of A.T. Robertson in his Word Pictures In The New Testament, Vol. IV, pages 222-223.
The glory of the LORD on Mount Sinai transfigured the face of Moses, but the veil over his face kept that glory from fully shining forth (II Corinthians 3:13). When we walk in fellowship and willing obedience to Christ, we are transfigured and reflect His glory. No veil is needed. The the same lesson is presented by the first verse of this hymn: "Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, All his wonderful passion and purity. May his Spirit divine, all my being refine. Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me" ("Let The Beauty Of Jesus Be Seen," In Spirit and In Truth, Hymn 340, Bogard Press).
God Has a Purpose and a Plan
Oct 23, 2011
"According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Ephesians 3:11).
The following quote is from the book, God's Eternal Purpose, by Allen Adkins.
"The purpose of this study is to show that God has an eternal plan, and that He has taken into account the wickedness, inconsistency, and unreliability of man. He has foreknown all events of time from the beginning to the end and has made 'long-range' plans which reach from the beginning of creation to the ultimate complete redemption of man and all of his creation. God's universe will yet be brought into complete harmony with himself."
Dr. Adkins served many years as a successful pastor in California and spent about twenty years in the Lord's service with the Gulf Coast Baptist Institute in Hattiesburg, MS. His book was one of several that I used in the Seminary class, Systematic Theology. The basic outline of this article is from Chapter VI, "God's Purpose Revealed in His Church." A key verse used in this chapter is Ephesians 3:10, "To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God." The meaning is this: All the different aspects of the wisdom of God are to be made known by the church. This verse is in harmony with the commission of Matthew 28:18-20, which shows that the gospel is to be preached to all nations, and those converted are to be baptized and then taught all the same things that Jesus taught.
We noted in the bulletin last week that the nation of Israel had a special place in the plan of God in the OT age, but, in this age God, has chosen His churches (mostly Gentiles) to make His manifold wisdom known. This brings glory to God in His church. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21). Please note that the church does not work to glorify the church but to bring the glory to God who alone is worthy of the glory (Revelation 5:12).
Each true church is so precious in the Lord's work and is described as his body, a special possession for Christ. Christ has been given and placed by the Father as the head of each of his churches. The Lord's church is described as the "fullness of him," putting into practice and expressing the will of God in this age. "And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Any person who receives Christ in faith is a child of God without consideration of their works or faithfulness. Christ does have a special relationship with his true churches who work faithfully to serve him. That relationship is expressed as that of a loving husband to his glorious bride (Ephesians 5:22-33, II Corinthians 11:2).
How exceedingly glorious is that work that brings praise and honor to our Savior. Seek ye first God's kingdom and you can be a part of this work.
The Glory That Excelleth
II Corinthians 3:8-10
Oct 16, 2011
"How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth" (II Corinthians 3:8-10).
Consider these questions: (1) How did The LORD God make his message of redemption, forgiveness, and eternal salvation by grace through faith known in Old Testament (OT) times? (2) Do we have better opportunities for Christian understanding and service in the New Testament (NT) age? Yes, we do.
In the OT, the LORD'S salvation was offered to "whosoever believeth in him" (Acts 10:43). The law covenant, expressed in the law of Moses given by God on Mt. Sinai, gave the nation of Israel a special place in the plan of God. That law made them different from the other nations. No other nation had the priesthood and the tabernacle, which is described in Psalm 76:2 with these words, "In Salem [Jerusalem] also is his tabernacle, and his dwelling place in Zion." God gave ordinances which were restricted to those in the nation of Israel (Exodus 12:1-51).
The law of Moses was glorious and good in its time and purpose, but we see from II Corinthians chapter three that the law from Sinai was "to be done away." Please see Galatians 3:16-17, where we learn that the covenant with Abraham was not disannulled or set aside when the law covenant was done away.
We still have the same plan of salvation that the LORD offered in the OT, so just what do we have in this age that has "the glory that excelleth?" Consider these points:
- Jesus Christ has now come in the flesh (John 1:14). He took upon himself the form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men (Philippians 2:7). Because he has lived on this earth as a man, and suffered being tempted, we have an high priest that is far superior to the OT priests (Hebrews 2:17-18, 4:15-16). "Though he were a Son," our Savior came to complete maturity for his office, "by the things which he suffered" (Hebrews 5:7-9). Promises of his work were made in the OT, but we now have the blessedness of those promises fulfilled.
- Membership and structure for one of the Lord's churches does exceed the structure of the nation of Israel in OT times. In the membership of a NT church, one must first be converted and then become a church member after obedience in valid scriptural baptism (Acts 2:38-42). Jesus gave us the example (Matthew 3:13-17). The two ordained offices in the Lord's church require men with godly spiritual qualifications.
In the nation of Israel, one could partake of the Passover Supper and other ordinances just because they were fleshly born into the nation. Even kings in Israel were often wicked ungodly idolatrous men.
The exceeding wonderful qualities of the Lord's NT kingdom are described as "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men" (Romans 14:17-18). It is a glorious work, and you can be a part of it.
How Did They Know?
Oct 09, 2011
"And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me" (Luke 24:44).
From this statement spoken by Jesus, we know that in the Old Testament books was a clear testimony of the person and work of Jesus the Messiah. The message of Peter in Acts 10:43 is in harmony with the words of Jesus. "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." This verse covers the time from Enoch, who lived in the days of Adam, up to the New Testament age.
Before Moses was directed by the LORD in the writing of the first five books of the Bible, there were no written scriptures, yet Abraham knew of the Christ (John 8:56) and was justified by faith (Romans 4:1-5). Moses made his choice to suffer affliction with the people of God, "Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt." It was by faith that Moses forsook Egypt (Hebrews 11:25-26).
In the pre-scripture years, the LORD spoke his word directly, gave his message through angels, and delivered his word through his prophets. The Holy Spirit also worked in convicting and leading in those days. There was enough revelation from the LORD to show mankind that each one was in need of God's grace and forgiveness and that God was merciful to those who trusted him. The words of Hagar in Genesis 16:13 indicate her faith in the LORD. "And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: for she said, Have I also here looked after him that seeth me?"
As the Old Testament books were finished, the LORD'S message became more complete and clearer. We have many examples of those who trusted in the LORD. Consider the testimony of Boaz speaking to Ruth. He said, "The LORD recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the LORD God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust" (Ruth 2:12).
This message is given, "Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Manasseh is a wonderful Old Testament example of a man who had gone so deep in sin and rebellion (II Chronicles 33:3-6) but was changed by the grace of God. "And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the LORD brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon. And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God" (II Chronicles 33:10-13).
Paul's Enlarged Heart
II Corinthians 6:11
Oct 02, 2011
"O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged" (II Corinthians 6:11).
In this verse, Paul is not speaking of a medical condition but of the tender Christian love that he had for the Lord's church in Corinth. That same degree of love was not always shown to Paul by the disciples in 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).
We learn from I Corinthians 4:14 that he had to rebuke and warn them very strongly. "I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons I warn you." Notice Paul's language to this church.
"We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day" (I Corinthians 4:10-13). The word "offscouring" refers to the filthy debris that was swept outside when the floors were cleaned.
Paul's big heart of love did not shrivel up from their treatment of him.
Paul's same heart of compassion reached out to lost people, especially to those of his own Jewish nation. His heavy burden for his own people is shown in Romans 9:1-2: "I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart."
The love of God was shed abroad in his heart (Romans 5:5). God loves sinners, so God's people also love sinners. God loves his own born-again children so God's people love their Christian brothers and sisters. "We know [understand] that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren" (I John 3:14).
Do you have an enlarged heart?
Plenty of Food for Starving People
II Kings 7:16
Sep 25, 2011
"And the people went out, and spoiled the tents of the Syrians. So a measure of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD" (II Kings 7:16).
The city of Samaria experienced a terrible famine when the army of Syria surrounded the city. "And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver" (II Kings 6:25).
Four leprous men were outside the city gates with a very hard choice to make. They reasoned: "If we say, We will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also. Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die" (II Kings 7:4).
When the leprous men approached the camp of the enemy, they found that the Syrian soldiers had fled, even leaving their horses. The tents were still full of provisions. "For the Lord had made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of chariots, and a noise of horses, even the noise of a great host..." (II Kings 7:6).
The lepers now had another important decision. "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). After a period of fear and skepticism, the good news was made known to the starving people and food was available for all.
Consider these events as an allegory. Multitudes are starving for the blessings of God's grace. There is a doorway that opens to all of God's provisions. "By whom [Christ Jesus] also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God" (Romans 5:2).
There is a wall of skepticism and doubt, a wall of false information, a wall of human pride, and a wall of denial of sinful mankind's need that keeps the starving people away from God's provision.
This day is a day of good tidings, and we, as the Lord's people, have this command from Jesus Christ: "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47).
Whiter than Snow
Sep 18, 2011
"Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow" (Psalm 51:7). "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).
The first measurable snow of this season has fallen overnight at the Breckenridge ski area. We are quickly moving into the fall, and soon the mountains will be covered with a beautiful blanket of white snow. Millions of people will visit our state to enjoy the winter sports.
How wonderful it would be if people could understand and experience the cleansing, forgiving mercy of the LORD, who can wash them and make them "whiter than snow." Even though the sin is deep and ugly, the LORD can purify the sinner and make him "as white as snow." We learn from Ephesians 1:7 that redemption and forgiveness is in the blood of Jesus. "In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace."
After his grievous sin, King David went to the LORD in confession, pleading for remission of his sin. The small shrub, hyssop, in Psalm 51:7 is first mentioned in Exodus 12:22 at the first observance of the Passover in Egypt. "And ye shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the bason, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the bason; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning." Hyssop was also used in connection with the ceremony of purifying lepers (Leviticus 14:4-7). Hyssop was used when the blood of a sacrificial bird was used to sprinkle a leprous house (Leviticus 14:48-53).
The offering of the blood of Jesus was yet in the future when David prayed, "Purge me with hyssop." All forgiveness of sin before the death of Christ and after his death is because of our Savior's death on Calvary.
As the snow begins to fall, even though you have to work to clear your walks and driveway, think about how God uses the whiteness of the snow to illustrate his cleansing grace.
Grace That Precedes Judgment
Sep 11, 2011
"And Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown" (Jonah 3:4).
Nineveh, the great capital city of the Assyrian Empire, was an exceeding wicked city. The LORD was just and righteous in pronouncing judgment against this sinful people. The LORD was also full of compassion and pity, so He sent Jonah to warn the people of the impending judgment (Jonah 2:2).
Jonah had to be persuaded by the strong hand of the LORD. God sent a great wind and tempest to get Jonah thrown into the sea where Jonah was then swallowed by the great fish. While in the fish's belly, Jonah made this promise, "I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD" (Jonah 2:9).
Jonah's preaching produced the result that God desired. "So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them" (Jonah 3:5). Jesus spoke of the events in the book of Jonah. "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here" (Matthew 12:41).
God's provision for mercy before His judgment is also shown in the warnings that were given by Jesus Christ to the unbelieving scribes and Pharisees. "Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come. And he said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:21, 23-24). The last part of verse 24 contains the warning of eternal condemnation.
There is also the provision to escape that eternal condemnation indicated in the words "if ye believe not that I am he." The phrase "I am he" speaks of his being the Messiah, the Christ, the only Savior. Faith in him as the Messiah would have changed their eternal destiny. They could have passed from death unto life by believing on him (John 5:24).
God's people are compared to watchmen on the city wall warning of the danger that is approaching (Ezekiel 33:7-9). The true gospel of Jesus Christ is the warning message.
A Door of Opportunity in Bulgaria
I Corinthians 16:9
Sep 04, 2011
"For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries" (I Corinthians 16:9, KJV). "For a wide door of opportunity for effectual [service] has opened to me [there, a great and promising one], and [there are] many adversaries" (I Corinthians 16:9, AMP).
Brother Jim Black in Romania sent a wonderful report about the mission work. While Pastor Ron Budda, from the Black's sending church in Lewiston, Idaho, was in Romania during the month of May, they made a trip to Bulgaria to meet with four families who desire a missionary to come and work with them. Brother Black reports, "It was very evident that God had gone before us." He also said, "We had a wonderful service, and we will meet with them again on September 4 and 11."
Bulgaria is located south of Romania, north of Greece and Turkey. On the western border is Macedonia and on the eastern border is the Black Sea. The main religion, as in Romania, is the Eastern Orthodox Catholic church. The population of the country is approximately eight million precious souls. They use the Cyrillic alphabet, which is also used in Russia and Mongolia.
Please pray about this opportunity. Brother Black is making these plans, "If God clearly shows us and everyone involved that this is His will, we will return to the States to thank our current supporters and build a support team for Bulgaria. Our immediate plans are to hold services with this group one or two times each month through Spring and supply them with discipleship material that they can translate and teach in our absence." We hope that the Blacks can visit with us when they return to the States.
Several years ago, God, by His Holy Spirit, reached into Idaho and called Jim and Sherry Black to serve Him in Romania. It is very possible that God is already calling and preparing another family to be His missionaries in Bulgaria.
"Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" (Matthew 9:37-38).
Out of the Miry Clay
Aug 28, 2011
"He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD" (Psalm 40:2-3).
These verses show a beautiful picture of God's power to deliver from danger and distress. Consider how these verses illustrate the lost person sinking down into the mire of unbelief and condemnation. There is no firm foundation for support. All human footings are like a muddy clay bog. Attempts at good works for salvation are like filthy rags. "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). Trying to establish your own righteousness by keeping God's law is hopeless. "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:3-4).
Outward reformation without the heart being purified and cleansed by faith (Acts 15:9) is like washing the outside of the dishes and leaving the inside filthy. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess" (Matthew 23:25).
There is help and hope for those sinking farther away from God. Because Christ suffered and died for you, God will extend his strong hand of grace to lift you up, set your feet on the solid rock, and put a new song in your mouth. "Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear" (Isaiah 59:1).
For those who are already saved but are in distress and trials with so many burdens that sink you down, think of Joseph who was cast into the pit. The tribulations of his life worked out for the glory of God (Genesis 45:5-8).
If you suffer even though you seek to follow God's will, think of Jeremiah who was a true prophet. Jeremiah would not change God's message to please the rulers, so they cast him into a pit in the dungeon where his feet sunk into the mire. God did not forget Jeremiah but delivered him from that mire and used him for many years (Jeremiah 38).
"But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you" (I Peter 5:10).
God Communicates with Mankind
Genesis 1:28 and 3:9
Aug 21, 2011
"And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth" (Genesis 1:28). "And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?" (Genesis 3:9).
Adam and Eve were created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Before sin entered into the human family, God spoke to them. The lines of communication were still open even after sin had brought spiritual death to both of them. Adam and Eve, as well as all their posterity, were created so that they could know the LORD, love him, and fellowship with him. Consider how the LORD uses all aspects of the threefold nature of man in making His will known to mankind.
- God uses the physical body of man with its senses and this physical creation to speak to man. "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork" (Psalm 19:1). "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Jesus used things of nature in his teaching like "the fowls of the air" and "the lilies of the field" (Matthew 6:26-28). Man's body has been damaged by sin and weakened by disease but is still an avenue of learning about God.
- God has made mankind with intelligence, the ability to reason, contemplate, and make decisions. "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). Even with the mind corrupted by iniquity, man can still understand the message of his condemnation (John 3:18) and the message of God's offer of eternal salvation through the redeeming sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:24). The child of God is taught to use his mind to study the scriptures (II Timothy 2:15). The child of God can be transformed by the renewing of his mind so that he can understand "that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God" (Romans 12:1-2).
- The spiritual nature in man is the most amazing, wonderful facet of God's creation. The Holy Spirit of God can convict and burden the needy sinner in the innermost depth of his soul. When there is real faith in Christ, the spirit in man is changed, and the Holy Spirit produces new life (a new birth) in the spirit of man. "That which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John 3:6). The spiritual birth so purifies and cleanses the spiritual nature in man that sin no longer controls that new nature. "And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). This righteousness and holiness in the new birth gives this promise: "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (I John 3:9).
The sinful fleshly nature is still in our physical body and in our mind where it will be until death. The conflict described in Galatians 5:17 is between the flesh and the spirit.
Jesus Has Beautiful Feet
Aug 14, 2011
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" (Isaiah 52:7).
This verse is quoted in Romans 10:15. "And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!" (Romans 10:15). The meaning in both verses is that the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ is to carried forth to all the nations. "And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47). The servants of the Lord who carry the message have "beautiful feet," that is; their going forth with the message of salvation from condemnation, and the message of walking in the steps of Jesus is well pleasing to the Lord. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps" (I Peter 2:21).
Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father, the Lamb of God, had a commission from the Father to preach the word. "And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:17-18). Jesus went forth with "beautiful feet" pleasing the Father. "And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him" (John 8:29).
His going up to Calvary to bear our sins on the cross, brought satisfaction to the Father. "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). Jesus gladly endured the pain of the cross because He knew there would be joy when the price of redemption was paid. "Who for the joy set before him, endured the cross..." (Hebrews 12:2).
You also can have "beautiful feet", like Stephen and Paul. Even in this day, there are dedicated Christians who are going forth with "beautiful feet" to carry the message of Christ and establish churches for the glory of God. "Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21).
Precious in the Lord's Sight: A Tribute to Brother Chuck Hanes
Aug 07, 2011
"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints" (Psalm 116:15). This is God's inspired word. We know that it is true, and we know that the LORD has control over the life and death of his saints. In our human weakness, we may not understand the purpose of many events that bring sadness.
On Wednesday, August 3, 2011, we learned of one of those events. Late on that day, after our Prayer Meeting service, I received a call from Brother Looney, Pastor in Gillette, and he said that Brother Chuck Hanes, Pastor of the Landmark Missionary Baptist Church in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, had died in an accident. Brother Looney called back the next day to give the information that Brother Hanes, who owned his own business, was working on the sewer system with the owner of the KOA campground. Brother Hanes and the owner were overcome by gas in a large underground tank. Brother Hanes had told Cathy, his wife , before going to the job that he would not go into the tank. His family, knowing how experienced and cautious he was, believes that the owner went in, passed out, and Brother Hanes went in to get the owner out. That would be just like Brother Chuck, a most unselfish person.
Brother Chuck was born in 1950, and he and Cathy were both saved in 1976. They were attending Calvary MBC in Gillette,WY, where Brother Stan Creasy was pastor. Both were baptized and became faithful members of the church. They were active in all the fellowship activities of our association. I met them in 1979 in Lakewood.
Brother Hanes answered God's call to preach in 1982 and enrolled in the MB Seminary in Little Rock in 1983. His first church was near Cave City, Arkansas. He then became pastor of Big Creek MBC near Malvern, Arkansas, until 1992. He and his family returned to South Dakota in 1992 and was sent to Belle Fourche to organize the Landmark church there. Brother Chuck continued as the only pastor of that congregation.
Whenever he was selected to bring a message at one of our meetings, we knew that we would hear a good exposition of the Scriptures, an uplifting message that honored Jesus Christ. I have before me the notes of one of his messages at our fellowship meeting at Ft. Robinson, Nebraska. The message is from II Peter 1:1-2-3, titled, "The Difference Between God's True Men and the False Prophets."
Brother Chuck Hanes showed by his life a true love for his Lord, a love for his fellow ministers, a love for all God's people, and a love for lost people. Please pray for Cathy and the rest of his family, and for his church in the loss of their beloved Pastor.
"And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them" (Revelation 14:13).
His funeral will be Wednesday, August 10, 2011, at 11:00 AM in Belle Fourche.
A Day to Remember
Jul 31, 2011
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The words "the uttermost part of the earth" are a good description of the town of Uginoor, Mongolia. Brother Bill Cooper began his report with the words, "Wish you could have been here. This was a day to remember."
I recalled the day in the last week of May 2009 when the first service was held in a rented room in Uginoor. About thirty five people were present. Brother Egi, Pastor of Rich Heart Baptist church in Ulaanbatar, preached the first message. Then Brother Erdenebayer, who had a great burden on his heart to establish a New Testament church in the town, preached the next message. Both messages were on the theme that God loves sinners and sent his Son Jesus Christ so that we could be saved and have peace with God.
After the services, I made a promise to Pastor Egi and to Missionary Erdenebayer that I would do my best to help get Erdenebayer moved to Uginoor and support raised so that he could work full time in establishing a church in that community. God has blessed abundantly so that the needs have been supplied. Precious souls have been brought to Jesus Christ. Disciples have been baptized. About twenty children and twenty adults attend the services in the ger each week.
Brother Cooper continues his report about the service, which was held at Rich Heart with the other three congregations in attendance, "The service was great and the children from each congregation sang specials. Of course, Olzie (wife of Pastor Augie) had the Chore children do an absolute amazing job. First, Erdenebayer was ordained, then given the charge (a message that emphasizes the duties of a pastor). Erdenebayer stood with Pastor Agi and the message was delivered right to him.
Then, the Rich Heart church voted to organize the Uginoor Baptist Church. There was the prayer with all the members of the new church kneeling together. Pastor Egi delivered a message to the new church. Then, children from each church presented more songs, and Chore gave handmade gifts to Brother Erdenebayer."
"This was truly a special day and I thank God that he allowed me to be a part of it."
Bible Answers to Questions about the Holy Spirit
II Corinthians 13:14
Jul 24, 2011
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen" (II Corinthians 13:14).
Is the Holy Spirit a Person in the Triune Godhead or just an influence from the Father?The Holy Spirit is a Person. Please notice the personal pronouns "He" and "Him" in John 16:7-8. We see how the Divine Trinity is linked together in our text verse and in Matthew 28:19, "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The Holy Spirit is proven to be God in Acts 5:3-4 when Peter speaks of lying to the Holy Ghost as lying to God.
"Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (II Peter 1:20-21).
How do we know that the Holy Spirit was active in God's work in Old Testament times? Those scriptures of the Old Testament were not the private views and opinions of the prophets such as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and others, but they spoke and wrote as they were moved and guided by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost.
Was the Spirit of God active before the first man, Adam, was created? Yes, as we see from Genesis 1:2. When the earth was in chaos, that is, "without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep," the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about being born of the Spirit (John 3:4-10). Was it possible for Nicodemus, who was a master teacher in Israel, and a Pharisee, who studied the Old Testament scriptures, to know that he needed the birth of the Spirit? The fact that he needed the new birth is shown in John 3:7, "Ye must be born again." Yes, Nicodemus should have known about the new birth as we know from John 3:10, "Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?"
Did Jesus promise that the Holy Spirit would come to empower His church for the work of the Great Commission? Yes, the promise is given in Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49, and John 15:26 and 16:7. "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
The coming of the Holy Spirit on the Lord's church on the day of Pentecost did not change what the Holy Spirit was already doing, that is, convicting of sin, drawing sinners to Christ, producing the new birth, and leading in paths of righteousness. The coming of the Spirit to empower the church began a new very important work for the Holy Spirit. We still need the power of the Holy Spirit in this day to do the Lord's kingdom work. We would be helpless failures without the Holy Spirit who guides us into all truth, but does not speak of himself. He leads us to glorify Jesus Christ (John 16:13-14).
A New Church in Uginoor, Mongolia
Jul 17, 2011
"To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God," (Ephesians 3:10).
What is a New Testament Church? A church is a body of saved, baptized disciples who covenant together to work according to the scriptures in Christian fellowship to fulfill the commission of Jesus Christ in Matthew 28:19-20. One Bible passage that describe their being joined together with Jesus Christ as the head are Ephesians 4:15-16. Notice the words in verse 16: "...the whole body fitly joined together and compacted..." The Old English word "compact" indicates an agreement or a solemn binding contract.
Why is valid baptism after salvation a part of church membership? The examples in the New Testament show that the church members were baptized disciples. Jesus, the first pastor and builder of His church, was baptized by John. The apostles were also baptized. Those added on the day of Pentecost were baptized. The church established in Corinth by Paul is described in this way: "and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized" (Acts 18:8).
How does Ephesians 3:10 describe the purpose of a New Testament Church? The church is to make known the manifold wisdom of God.
Who is to receive glory in the church? "Unto him [God] be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21).
Why is the Lord's church called "his body?" The term "his body" is a possessive term, meaning that the church belongs to Jesus Christ. In Acts 20:28 we are told that the church was "purchased with his own blood."
What human relationship is a picture of the relationship of Jesus Christ to his church? Christ is described as the husband and the church as the wife. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it" (Ephesians 5:25).
On Saturday, July 16, 2011, a body of saved baptized disciples, who have been baptized by the authority of Rich Heart Baptist Church in Ulaanbaatar, entered into the covenant and compact to become a New Testament church. Brother Erdenebayer, who has served as the Missionary from the very first service two years ago, was ordained on the same day as pastor of the new church.
Landmark MBC in Lakewood has been involved with the work there from the very beginning. Pastor Brasseal had the privilege of being in the first service. Offerings from our church in Lakewood were sent to Uginoor to get the two gers set up, a wooden fence constructed around the property, and to get the Missionary and his family moved to the field. We send a regular monthly offering to support Brother Erdenebayer.
The work in Uginoor has been a great blessing for the glory of God, during this life and "throughout all ages, world without end. Amen" (Ephesians 3:21).
A New Creation in Christ
II Corinthians 5:17
Jul 10, 2011
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (II Corinthians 5:17).
This scripture, along with many others, describes the definite positive change that takes place in the heart of man when he comes into Christ.
- The heart is purified by faith (Acts 15:9).
- The person in Christ has passed from death unto life (John 5:24).
- The person in Christ has been born of God (John 1:12-13).
- The person in Christ is no longer under condemnation (John 3:18).
- He is "in Christ," and Christ lives in him (Galatians 2:20).
In the words of our text, "he is a new creature." This scripture is not describing any change in the physical appearance of the new believer. His height, weight, skin color, eye color, or hair color did not change.
Our text scripture is not describing any change in the flesh nature of the new believer. The truth of Paul's statement still stands after you are a new creature in Christ. "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing..." (Romans 7:18).
These changes are in the "inner man" (Ephesians 3:16). Consider these words of Paul when he said, "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man" (Romans 7:22). The inward man is a new creation, born of the Spirit, and, therefore, in harmony with the Spirit of God and the law of God.
"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Romans 7:23).
The warfare described in Romans 7:15-23 and Galatians 5:17 proves that the old, epAdamic, sinful nature in us was not abolished or changed when we were made a new creature in Christ. The sinful fleshly nature in us is called "the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" (Ephesians 4:22).
As long as you are in this world, you will have the struggle between following the will of God and going against the will of God to follow your selfish flesh. God has supplied all the necessary grace and tools for you to be "stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord" (I Corinthians 15:58).
Jubilee: A Celebration of Liberty
Jul 03, 2011
"And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family" (Leviticus 25:10).
Merrill F. Unger describes the blessings of that special Jubilee year. "Thus the Jubilee year became one of freedom and grace for all suffering, bringing not only redemption to the captive and deliverance from want to the poor, but also release to the whole congregation of the Lord from the sore labor of the earth, representing the time of refreshing (Acts 3:19) that the Lord provides for His people" (The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, FESTIVALS, Jubilee). In the year prior to the Jubilee, and in Jubilee year, the land was not to be cultivated. God would make the land produce abundantly, enough for three years (Leviticus 25:11, 21).
Part of this scripture is inscribed on the Liberty Bell, which is on display in Philadelphia, where it commemorates our Independence Day, July 4, 1776. It is fitting and proper that we have a special day to remember the beginning of our nation which God has so greatly blessed.
It is with pleasure that I recall my young days when my family, my Grandfather and Grandmother Foster, aunts, uncles, and cousins enjoyed many fourth of July picnics on the banks of the Pearl River near Goss, Mississippi, where Holiday Creek flowed into the river. I will not tell you that the thoughts of the young people on those days were on the Revolutionary war, the Declaration of Independence, or our brave Patriot Forefathers. We were thinking of swimming and fishing in the cool clear water. We were working up a hearty appetite for the fish fry with all the trimmings, the deserts, and the watermelons that were being cooled in the water of Holiday creek. We were having our own country style Jubilee.
As we study all of Leviticus 25, we can see that the release of those held in slavery and the restoration of family possessions in that glorious year teaches us a lesson about our salvation from the bondage of sin.
We were dead in sins (Ephesians 2:5), condemned (John 3:18) under the law of sin and death (Romans 8:2), and had no hope (Ephesians 2:12). The precious blood of Jesus Christ was the atoning propitiation for our redemption (I Peter 1:18-19) and brought spiritual freedom and deliverance (John 8:36) to our souls.
That liberty in Jesus Christ is a cause for celebration, rejoicing, and thanksgiving.
The Influence of Witnessing One to One
Jun 26, 2011
"But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8)
Just a few days after Jesus gave this command to his first church, they were gathered in Jerusalem in a very public meeting in which the Lord's message was proclaimed to thousands of people at the same time. Public services are a scriptural way to spread the gospel of God's grace.
We have very good examples of the message from God being delivered by one witness to one person in need. We see that example when Jesus spoke to the woman at the well in John 4 and when Jesus won the man that had been healed of blindness in John 9. Philip had the opportunity to explain the gospel from Isaiah 53 to the one Ethiopian who traveled in his chariot through Gaza (Acts 8:26-40).
At the messenger meeting of our churches held this past week in St. Louis, Missouri, I heard a heart warming testimony of how God can still use one man to have a great beneficial influence on one other man. The soul-stirring Wednesday night mission message was preached by Brother Livingstone Lambert, who has gone back to his own country of Tanzania to preach God's word to his own people. Brother Lambert was introduced by Pastor Joe Hellums of the New Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Beebe, Arkansas.
Several years ago, Pastor Joe went to a car wash in Beebe to get his car washed. When the man with the cleaning equipment approached his car, he engaged him in conversation and then asked that very important question. "Do you know Jesus Christ as your Savior?" The man answered in words like this, "Yes, I do know Jesus, and I want to study and prepare myself to serve Him." After discussing matters of the Lord's work, Brother Joe offered to take Livingstone to the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock so he could learn some things about the school. They spent a day there visiting with different teachers and sitting in on three classes. At the end of the day, Brother Lambert said, "I want to enroll in this school." From that beginning, Livingstone and his wife and two daughters were received for baptism at Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, he became an exemplary student (He speaks four languages), and he was ordained and sent out as a missionary to Tanzania.
I had the privilege of spending time with him early on Thursday morning as we discussed the mission work that we both love. He impressed me with his preaching and with our private discussion as a man who is committed to Jesus Christ and the true doctrines of God's word. Pray for him and his family.
You may have the opportunity to be a witness to one person whose life can be greatly blessed by your testimony.
Partners in the Lord's Business
John 5:1-10, Hebrews 3:14
Jun 19, 2011
"For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14).
In last week's bulletin, attention was given to the word "fellowship" in Philippians 1:5. This article will highlight another word, "metochos" in the Greek text, which has the meaning "partaker" or "partner" in Luke 5:7 and Hebrews 3:14.
A good illustration of the word "partner" is found in Luke 5:1-10. James, John, and Simon Peter were partners in the fishing business. They jointly owned ships and nets, and each contributed labor to the business. It is interesting to note that the word "partner" in Luke 5:10 is from the word that most often refers to fellowship, "koinonos." Our Lord called them to a different kind of business. "And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men" (Luke 5:10).
Hebrews chapter three has a good lesson about being a partner in the Lord's work. The chapter also has very serious warnings about the danger of the Lord's people being drawn away from their faithfulness to God. There is the danger of your heart being hardened (Hebrews 3:8). There is the danger departing from the living God (Hebrews 3:12).
In I Timothy 3:15, a true New Testament church is described as "The house of God," but a church can lose its position of service in God's work. A church can drift away from Biblical teaching and spiritual service so that the Lord will no longer claim that congregation as His church. Revelation 2:5 describes that condition as the Lord removing the candlestick out of his place.
Hebrews 3:6 has a warning much like Revelation 2:5. We are the house of Christ if we hold fast and remain true in Biblical doctrine and spiritual service.
We are partners and partakers with Christ in his business "if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end" (Hebrews 3:14). The same call to faithfulness is found in I Corinthians 15:58, "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord."
Working Together in the Gospel
Jun 12, 2011
"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).
The beginning of the church in Philippi is shown in Acts 16:12-40. We learn from Philippians 4:15-18 that they became helpers and supporters in the mission work of Paul. The word "fellowship" (koinonia in the Greek text) in Philippians 1:5 describes a partnership and a sharing in the work of making the gospel of Jesus Christ known. We have the blessed privilege of being partners and laborers with God (I Corinthians 3:9) and being fellow laborers with other churches in the work of our Lord.
On June 12, I will be with the Landmark MBC in Delta, Colorado, for a special service for the mission work in Mongolia, which is supported by the church in Delta and our church. This is an example of Biblical partnership and fellowship in the gospel.
A good report was received from Brother Jim Black in Romania. He wrote, "We really appreciate your prayers, encouragement, and faithful financial support. You have been a blessing to us and we look forward to sharing the work in person next time we are stateside." He also sent this good news: "Brother Scott Choi, who came to us through your website, remains a faithful member of the church in Bucharest and is bringing his wife and daughters to services." This is another example of partnership and fellowship in the work of the Lord.
We have a fellowship of churches known as The Rocky Mountain Missionary Baptist Association. We will have a meeting on August 12 and 13 in Clearfield, Utah. We should not think of that meeting as "The Association." Our association in the Lord's work is the partnership, the assistance, the cooperation, and the help to each church as we work as individual churches to fulfill the commission of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19-20). The churches of Macedonia, who cooperated in the support of Paul, are a good example of churches associating for the advancement of the gospel (II Corinthians 8:1-24).
God is Just and God is the Justifier
Jun 05, 2011
"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus" (Romans 3:24-26).
You do not need to be an educated theologian to come to simple faith in Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus is beautifully illustrated in John 9:35-38 when the man to whom Jesus had restored sight gave this testimony: "Lord, I believe."
Searching into all the manifold aspects of mankind's sinfulness and God's righteousness, love, mercy, propitiation, redemption, forgiveness, remission of sins, forbearance, justification, and God's plan of salvation freely given by grace through faith is not a simple easy study. (Please note how many of the descriptive words are found in Romans 3.)
God must deal with sin in a way that does not compromise or violate His own holiness and righteousness. A. T. Robertson, in his commentary on Romans 3, writes, "God could not let sin go as if a mere slip" (Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament, Romans 3:25). He continues, "Nowhere has Paul put the problem of God more acutely or profoundly. To pronounce the unrighteous righteous is unjust by itself (Romans 4:5). God's mercy would not allow him to leave man to his fate. God's justice demanded some punishment for sin. The only possible way to save some was the propitiatory offering of Christ and the call for faith on man's part" (RWP, Romans 3:26).
God's plan of salvation is: "For by grace are ye saved through faith..." (Ephesians 2:8). It is not grace without faith, and it is not faith without grace.
What amazing abounding grace! God gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16). Jesus went willingly to the old rugged cross (John 10:18). The LORD laid on him the iniquity of us all (Isaiah 53:6). The LORD made his soul an offering for sin and was satisfied with the travail of his soul (Isaiah 53:10-11).
God is just. He has made atonement for sin in harmony with His own holiness, and He is the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. God justifies the one believing in Jesus on the basis of the redeeming precious blood of Jesus. The blood applied to the mercy seat in the tabernacle is a picture of the blood of Jesus, and he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world on the basis of his blood (Romans 3:25, I John 2:2). The word "propitiation" refers to Jesus as the source of mercy and the place of mercy.
The Uncertainty of Tomorrow
Proverbs 27:1 and Amos 4:12
May 29, 2011
"Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Proverbs 27:1). "Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel" (Amos 4:12).
One hymn has these words that fit very well with our text verse:
Many things about tomorrow, I don't seem to understand,
But I know who holds tomorrow and I know who holds my hand.
James 4:13-15 also teaches us the lesson of uncertainty of tomorrow. "Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that."
Disasters, like the many tornados that have killed hundreds of people or the earthquake that hit Japan taking hundreds of thousands of lives, are reminders that we need to always be ready to leave this world at any moment. There are genuine examples of death-bed conversions when a person had the opportunity to receive Jesus Christ and prepare to meet God, but there are also many examples when life ended without warning. A heart attack, a stroke, or a terrible accident can end life in a split second.
The warning of Proverbs 27:1 needs to be considered by those who have not been saved by God's grace. The warning is also for those who are saved and will answer to God for the way we have used the talents and opportunities of our life. "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God" (Romans 14:12).
The lesson in Luke 12:16-21 tells of a man whose ground brought forth plentifully. He decided to demolish his old barns, build new barns for his bountiful crops, and then just take it easy. "But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:20-21).
"Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not" (Luke 12:40).
Rejoicing in Uginoor
3 John 3
May 22, 2011
"For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth" (3 John 3).
Being with Pastor Egi and his wife, Naara, and Erdenebayer and his wife, Davaama, for the week was a great time of rejoicing since we were often discussing the precious truth of God's word. Erdenebayer and Davaama are growing in grace and knowledge, and the congregation in Uginoor is growing with some new babes in Christ preparing for baptism. Usually, 20 adults attend the services, and Davaama has twenty children in the class that she teaches before the adult service begins. One of their thirteen year old nephews is staying with them, so that makes six in the one room ger, which has about as much room as our church nursery. They have three beds for the six of them. From what I saw and heard, that family is very blessed and rejoicing in their service for the LORD.
Our theme for the week was on "The Christian Home," very much like the lessons in Chore. Pastor Egi, Pastor Erdenebayer, and I had a part in the teaching.
Egi spent several hours each day working with Erdenebayer on the Seminary classes. They are getting computer equipment and a good printer in place to help in the Seminary work and to help prepare lessons for the adults and children. Naara spent several hours each day with twenty children who wanted help with English classes.
Wednesday was Erenebayer's thirty-ninth birthday, so Naara and Davaama prepared a special afternoon meal for the birthday celebration. This was another time "to eat and to drink, and make great mirth" (Nehemiah 8:12). It was amazing to watch the two sisters in the Lord work in the small kitchen area around the little wood stove. Bread dough was rolled out and prepared for Mongolian dumplings (buuz) of finely chopped meat, cabbage, and onion. The meat mixture was wrapped in the small circles of dough making each dumpling about the size of a golf ball. They were then placed on racks in a covered wok on the wood stove to steam for about one hour. We also had a rice dish, a grated carrot-mushroom salad, and a salad made with dill pickles and spicy peppers.
Nehemiah 8 shows that good spiritual teaching, good fellowship, and good eating can be combined in the Lord's work.
The Joy of the Lord is Your Strength
May 15, 2011
The eighth chapter of Nehemiah shows how the people who had come back to rebuild the wall and city of Jerusalem were gathered to listen to God's law. Ezra and those who helped him "read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand" (Nehemiah 8:8). At first, the people were weeping, but Ezra told them to eat, drink, and be joyful (Nehemiah 8:10). There was great mirth (Nehemiah 8:12).
The services at Chore in the edge of the Gobi Desert reminded me of this chapter. Bembaah the translator, the Coopers, and I traveled the 160 miles to be there for the weekend. Saturday services, which lasted for four hours, began at 10:00 AM. The theme for that day was "The Duty Of The Husband, The Wife, and The Children in a Christian Home." Brother Cooper led the service for the first two hours with the men and women together. Very interesting and sometimes difficult issues were discussed. Then the class divided with Pastor Augie taking charge of the men's service and his wife, Olzii leading the women. The men wrote notes of appreciation for their wives, and the women did the same for their husbands. The giving of the notes was a very moving part of the service. The members prepared a traditional Mongolian feast for the late afternoon.
In the service on Sunday, Bill Cooper, Pastors Augie, and I [Pastor Brasseal] were the speakers. The service ended thirty minutes earlier than on Saturday because my mind has been programmed for 52 years to preach for thirty minutes.
Twenty people, ten with Bill and ten with Pastor Augie, drove out into the country to visit Sister Baatar Haan, quite old, who has been sick and unable to attend services. She loves to tell how she heard the gospel message and trusted Jesus Christ when Brother Dennis Carrell began holding monthly services in Chore. She has been used of the Lord to win others to faith in Christ including one of her daughters. That daughter witnessed to a friend who was saved and was baptized the Sunday before our visit. That new member rode back to Ulaanbaatar with us to take her little daughter to the doctor on Monday.
Before we left Baatar Haan's, she wanted us to go out to the sheepfold and see all the new born baby lambs. Some were twins. Three of her daughters who were there prepared another bountiful Mongolian feast. As we headed back to the Cooper's home, we could say "We did eat, drink, and made great mirth." The joy of being with these precious Christians is a feast that is far better than the physical food.
May 05, 2011
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 1:3).
When I arrived in Beijing on May 3 at 3:15 PM, the airport was teeming with thousands of people. Many appeared to me to be college students. I thought of Matthew 9:37-38 where Jesus said, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest."
When the flight left for Mongolia, all passengers were given a form to complete and return when we landed. The young Mongolian woman seated to my left introduced herself as Nomin and asked in excellent English, "May I borrow your pen, please?" She then inquired as to the purpose of my coming to Mongolia. I was able to tell her of my interest in the wonderful work that the Lord is doing in the salvation of lost people and the growth in number and spiritual knowledge and blessings in the congregations in Ulaanbaatar, Chore, Chiengeltai, and Uggiinor. Nomin then told me in joyful excitement that, just a few years ago, she had believed on Jesus Christ as her own Savior. Her testimony was a living example of Romans 10:11, "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." She said that she was familiar with the Rich Heart building, so I urged her to visit the services and meet with Pastor Egi.
Bill Cooper and Dennis Carrell picked me up at the airport, and we were back at the Cooper's apartment by 1:30 AM on Wednesday ready for a good five hours of sleep. At 9:00 AM, a group of thirteen met for prayer and a devotional led by Pastor Egi. I experienced the fellowship and the heavenly spiritual blessings of Ephesians 1:3.
Later that same day, I sat in with the translation team as they worked on Romans 14:10-17. A careful examination of these verses as the team worked to put the exact meaning into the Mongolian language was helpful in understanding these verses.
I rode with Brother Dennis Carrell and Brother Sainwho, the translator, through the crazy traffic of the packed streets to Cheingeltai for the Prayer Meeting service. Sister Charolett Carrell was very sick and unable to attend. Please pray for her. It had been snowing all day. All the congregation walked to the service, but there was good attendance with many children and teens. The Mongolian people love to sing, so after five songs, Brother Carrell brought a very good message from Matthew 13:53-58. His message showed how people in his own area knew about Jesus but still did not trust him in saving faith. Verse 58 shows that Jesus, with all his power, "did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief."
The Coopers and I will travel to Chore on Saturday to be with Pastor Augi, his wife Olzii, and the other members for the Sunday services. May God bless the services at Landmark MBC.
To See and To Enter the Kingdom of God
May 01, 2011
"Jesus answered and said unto him [Nicodemus], Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).
In 1958, my pastor gave me a very good selection of books written by some of the outstanding Missionary Baptist pastors of the past one hundred years. Some were by Ben M. Bogard, J. N. Hall, T. T. Eaton, J. M. Pendleton, and James Robinson Graves. Lessons on the kingdom of God were prominent in these books. I selected the subject, The Kingdom of God, for my first seminary thesis. When I gave the outline of my thesis to Dr. Fred G. Stevenson, the head of the Greek Department at the Missionary Baptist Seminary in Little Rock, he returned it to me with the advice that I choose another subject at that time, spend several more years in my research, and then attempt to write on the kingdom question. I did continue to gather material, compiling a notebook with a list of every New Testament scripture on the subject in Greek and several English translations. I gathered material from Protestant writers in order to compare their positions. I am still studying the kingdom subject. Just a short summary of my convictions concerning the kingdom are listed below.
- The plan of salvation by grace through faith was the same for the Old Testament and the New Testament. Jesus Christ, our Lord, did establish His kingdom on this earth during his personal ministry; people did enter into His kingdom during his personal ministry (Matthew 21:31).
- His kingdom did not operate in the manner of the worldly empires (II Corinthians 10:4) but was of heaven in its origin, mission, and operation (John 18:36). His disciples were in the world but not of the world (John 17:14-16). His kingdom operates on the principles of Christian service in "righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Romans 14:17-18).
- When Jesus established his first church while on this earth, He gave the keys of His kingdom to those church disciples (Matthew16:18-19). The keys are the responsibility of building and advancing His kingdom and that responsibility continues in His churches that have and obey the commission of Matthew 28:18-20.
- After a person is born again, that person needs to participate willingly in the great work of building and advancing the Lord's kingdom. "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness" (Matthew 6:33). Become a fellowworker "unto the kingdom of God" (Colossians 4:11). Serve as a brother in the kingdom (Revelation 1:9).
My understanding of the kingdom has been helped by studying how our Baptist forefathers saw the kingdom in four different phases:
- Gentile, which is the phase in which we now serve,
- the one thousand year reign of Christ on the earth, and
- after the new heaven and new earth when Christ delivers up the kingdom to the Father (I Corinthians 15:24).
For Nicodemus to have any understanding (see) or be able to enter into that great work that Jesus gave to his disciples, it was absolutely necessary that Nicodemus must first be born again (John 3:1-7). The same message applies today: "Ye must be born again."
If Ye Then be Risen with Christ
Apr 24, 2011
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3).
These verses are an appeal to these Christians to have a “resurrection attitude” and mind-set. Philippians 2:5-8 is also a call to have an attitude that imitates the mind of Christ Jesus. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” His was a mind of humility, obedience, and sacrifice. Jesus taught, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
The words “For ye are dead” do not refer to a physical death but do refer to the spiritual separation from the eternal condemnation of sin. This truth is also explained by Paul when he said, “...that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him” (Romans 6:6-9). “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).
The “resurrection attitude” of Colossians 1:3 is based on these wonderful Bible truths. Christ has been raised from the dead with a glorious, victorious body. Each child of God shall also experience an actual physical resurrection so that “We shall be like him” (I John 3:2). Our mortal bodies shall be changed from corruption to incorruption, from dishonor to glory, from weakness to power, and death will be swallowed up in victory (I Corinthians 15). We have already (while yet living in this mortal body) experienced a resurrection together with Christ (Colossians 3:1). The word translated “with” in this verse is a compound word “sunegerthete,” which means “together with.” That change from death unto life took place in the new birth when we received Jesus Christ (John 1:12-13). Three verses that speak of that change are John 5:24, I John 3:14, and Ephesians 2:5 where the word “quickened” means “to make alive.”
The “resurrection attitude” is influenced by the truth that this earthly life is temporal, like a vapor (James 4:14), and like the flower of grass (I Peter 1:24). What we do for the glory of God is like gold, silver, and precious stones and not like wood, hay, and stubble (I Corinthians 3:12-15).
To live the “resurrection life,” the Christian must not neglect his earthly responsibilities to support the family, be faithful in his employment, and be a law-abiding citizen. Remember, we are “the salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” Our witness is to “the uttermost part of the earth.” The disciples of Jesus were in the world but “not of the world” (John 17:14). This “resurrection attitude” of Colossians 1:1-3 has been described like this: the Christian has to keep his feet on the earth but keep his heart and mind set on heavenly things (Colossians 3:2).
Bible Translation History
Apr 17, 2011
“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).
May 2, 2011 will mark the 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Translation of the Bible. Over the past thirty years, I have gathered many different translations and many research books and articles on the subject of different Bible versions. My faith has been strengthened as I learned how God has preserved his inspired Word and made it possible for each generation to know his Word in their own language. (This article will focus on the New Testament Scriptures.)
The actual parchments or the papyri on which the New Testament writers recorded the words as directed and guided by the Holy Spirit are no longer in existence, but copies of those original documents were made and used throughout the Greek-speaking world. According to Kurt Aland, a researcher into the ancient copies, there are 5,255 known Greek manuscripts, which contain all or part of the New Testament.
The Syrian Peshitta Translation was finished around 150 A.D. Three hundred fifty manuscripts of this translation are in existence. There are still fifty copies of the Old Latin Bible which was used from 157 A.D. This was the Bible of the persecuted Christians of the Alps, and it was translated into the native language of the Waldensean people. There are six copies of the German Gothic translation done around 330 A.D. There are 1,244 copies of the Armenian translation from around 400 A.D.
All of these early translations are from the Greek text commonly called the Majority Text or the Received Text. Dutch scholar, Erasmus, of Cambridge, published his printed Latin-Greek Parallel New Testament in 1516 using the ancient Greek scriptures.
John Wycliff, in 1382, translated the Latin Vulgate to the common English. In 1525, William Tyndale finished the first complete English translation based on the Greek of the Received Text as published by Erasmus. Tyndale was executed on May 21, 1535 for heresy because he dared to make the scriptures available to the common people. Other English Bibles that pre-date the King James Translation are: the Geneva Bible, the Great Bible, and the Bishops Bible.
The fifty-four language scholars who finished the King James Bible in 1611 used the Received Text and relied heavily on the work of Tyndale. They did not use the Greek texts that were hidden away in the Vatican (Vaticanus) and the Monastery in Sinai (Sinaiticus). These two versions or translations from them had never been commonly used by the Lord’s true churches during all the years of their most severe persecution.
When I use my King James Bible, assisted in my study by Berry’s Interlinear New Testament, I have absolute confidence that I have the true message from the LORD.
Blessed Assurance Because We Love the Brethren
I John 3:14
Apr 10, 2011
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death” (I John 3:14).
Fanny J. Crosby wrote in her beautiful hymn, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine. Heir of salvation, purchase of God, Born of his Spirit, washed in his blood” (In Spirit and In Truth, Hymn 264). I John 5:13 fits her hymn because it shows that a believer in Jesus Christ can have the knowledge and assurance of eternal life. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God” (I John 5:13).
II Peter 1:5-10 needs to be considered as we study the subject of assurance. We are to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord as we add to our faith. The list of qualities to be added are: Virtue, Knowledge, Temperance, Patience, Godliness, Brotherly kindness, and Charity. “For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:8). Then this warning follows: “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins” (II Peter 1:9).
Berry’s Interlinear New Testament uses the words “short sighted,” and the King James uses the words “cannot see far off.” Each version shows that the blindness is not a total blindness but a restriction on clear sight.
People who struggle with the question of assurance have asked, “Can people who have truly trusted and received Jesus Christ ever have doubts about their salvation?” The answer based on II Peter 1:5-10 is “Yes!” You can have doubts and lack of assurance if you do not grow in grace and knowledge and add these Christian qualities to your faith. Getting out of the will of God and walking in fellowship with this sinful world opens the door for worry and doubt.
John 5:24 explains what is required to pass from death unto life. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” I John 3:14 gives one piece of the evidence that we can examine to know for sure that we possess God’s gift of eternal salvation.
Is your faith a genuine and sincere faith? Examine your heart. Is there real love for God’s people, “the brethren”? Do you really care about “the brethren” and have a willingness to help them in time of need? Answer those questions honestly and then look again at I John 3. You can find the answer in God’s inspired word.
God Hath Shined in Our Hearts
II Corinthians 4:6
Apr 03, 2011
“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).
This verse reminds us of the first few verses of Genesis. The earth is described as without form, and void (chaos) with darkness upon the face of the deep. God spoke and there was light. This light was not sunlight, but God-light. Notice that the sun was not created until the fourth day of Genesis 1:16.
Mankind in sinful rebellion to God is described by Paul with these words: “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Ephesians 4:18-19). In II Corinthians 4:4, Satan is described as the “god of this world” who works to produce this blindness and alienation.
God’s answer for this chaos, blindness, and separation is in “the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God” (II Corinthians 4:4). This glorious gospel is “the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
There is a very interesting picture in II Corinthians 4:6. Please consider the last part of the verse, “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” You must go back to II Corinthians 3:7-18 to make the connection. Moses went to the top of Mount Sinai to receive God’s message for Israel. The glorious presence of God caused the face of Moses to shine with such brilliance that he had to put a veil on his face. Moses was God’s prophet speaking God’s word to the nation. The Law of Moses was from God, but the priesthood, sacrifices, and feasts were never intended to be a means of salvation (Hebrews 10:1-4). The Law of Moses was good, but it was to be fulfilled, come to an end, and be nailed to the cross (II Corinthians 3:7 and Colossians 2:14).
Moses came down from Sinai. Jesus Christ, the Son, came down to this earth to bring a message from the Father. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” (Hebrews 1:1-2). “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).
In his life, his works, his message, and his atoning death, Jesus Christ was the glorious light of the world. The light of Jesus Christ can overcome any darkness (John 1:5, 8:12). Trust him, and he will deliver from darkness, death, and despair.
Eternal Father, Strong to Save
Mar 27, 2011
“They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof” (Psalm 107:23-25).
“Melita,” the tune of Hymn 48 in our hymnal, “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” is often called “The Navy Hymn” because it was selected to be used at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, as well as at special patriotic events when the Navy choir is singing. The hymn is often used at funerals for Navy veterans. It was sung when the body of John F. Kennedy was carried up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. The hymn is also sung on board the ships of the Royal Navy (U.K.) and has been translated into French. The original verses were written in 1860 by William Whiting of Winchester, England, for a student who was about to sail for the United States. Additional verses have been written for the Army, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, and for those who fly in outer space.
In the first three verses as originally written, there are references to God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
O Christ! Whose voice the waters heard
And hushed their raging at Thy word,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amidst its rage didst sleep;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Most Holy Spirit! Who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
And bid its angry tumult cease,
And give, for wild confusion, peace;
Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!
Godliness with Contentment is Great Gain
I Timothy 6:6 and Hebrews 13:5
Mar 20, 2011
“But godliness with contentment is great gain” (I Timothy 6:6).
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5).
I thought that I would find the Greek word for God, “Theos,” as part of the word “godliness.” Instead, I found the word “eusebeia,” which is a compound word meaning “well devoted.” Vine’s Bible Dictionary shows that the word describes a Godward attitude which causes one to do those things that are pleasing to God. The godly Christian attitude is described in I Thessalonians 4:1. Paul writes, “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 Timothy 2:2 teaches us to pray for those in authority so “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” Peter writes, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3). In II Peter 1:6-7, we see “godliness” listed as one of the Christian qualities that make us neither “barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 1:8).
Contentment is described as that satisfaction of having sufficiency for all needs, thus having peace of mind without worry. This idea is discussed in II Corinthians 9:6-11 where Paul is instructing the church at Corinth in the blessings of trusting God and giving generously to His work. “God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (II Corinthians 9:7-8).
Some of the key words of Psalm 37 show the way to this godly contentment that produces the “great gain.”
- “Trust in the LORD, and do good” (37:3)
- “Delight thyself also in the LORD” (37:4)
- “Commit thy way unto the LORD” (37:5)
- “Fret not” (37:7, 8)
- “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him” (37:7)
- “Cease from anger, and forsake wrath” (37:8).
The Lord is My Shepherd
Psalm 23:1, John 10:11
Mar 13, 2011
The psalmist David wrote, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1). Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
David knew by experience how a good shepherd, who cared for his sheep, would protect and lead his sheep. “And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him” (I Samuel 17:34-35).
With the words “my shepherd,” Psalm 23:1 shows that David had a personal relationship with the LORD. His LORD provided for his needs as we see from the words “I shall not want,” which means “I shall not lack what I need.” We have the same promise in the New Testament. “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19). We needed redemption and forgiveness, and our Shepherd was willing to lay down his life to purchase redemption for us.
David wrote of his shepherd’s leadership. “He leadeth me beside the still waters” (Psalm 23:2) and “he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake” (Psalm 23:3). A similar promise of leadership is made by Jesus when he said, “And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice” (John 10:4). This promise of leadership is shown in Romans 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.”
The care and protection that our Shepherd provides is so complete that Jesus can make these guarantees to his sheep. “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand” (John 10:27-29).
“Let Us Reason Together,” Saith the Lord
Mar 06, 2011
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
Mankind, created in the image of God, has intelligence and the ability to reason and come to logical conclusions. Sin has affected our ability to reason but has not eliminated the capacity of our minds to study the teachings of God’s inspired scriptures. In Thessalonica, Paul went into the synagogue and “reasoned with them out of the scriptures” (Acts 17:2). Some of them believed and associated themselves with Paul and Silas (Acts 17:1-4). Paul spoke to Felix “concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled” (Acts 24:24-25).
When I first began preaching in 1958, my pastor gave me a complete set of books by J.R. Graves (1820-1893). Graves had great influence with his preaching, newspaper, and books, and, in his writings, he would set forth his views of the scriptures with axioms and conclusions reached with clear logical thinking. This is especially true in his book, Old Landmarkism, published in 1880. His books are still being used by Bible students today.
With all the contradictory interpretations of the scriptures today, there is the need for good sound reasoning as we examine the Word of God. One writer presents a false way of salvation that he tries to support with this unscriptural view of Acts 20:28. This false confused writer builds his argument in this way (Why I Am A Member Of The Church of Christ, Leroy Brownlow, page 115):
- “The fact that all Christ’s blood went into the purchase of Christ’s church is proof that I must be in the church to be a beneficiary of the blood.”
- “God added to the blood-bought church only those who had believed, repented, and had been baptized unto the remission of sins.”
- “Thus, it stands that man today must believe, repent, and be baptized for the remission of sins to receive the cleansing efficacy of the blood.”
Mr. Brownlow is wrong in his conclusion about the way of salvation because he starts out with an unscriptural foundation, “That all of Christ’s blood went into the purchase of Christ’s church.”
You can draw a correct scriptural view of God’s way of salvation from these facts: Christ tasted death for every person (Hebrews 2:9), Christ is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for the whole world (I John 2:2), and Salvation and the cleansing efficacy of the blood of Christ is by receiving Christ and believing on his name (John 1:12, 3:16-18, Acts 10:43, 16:30-31, and Romans 5:1-2).
Jesus Christ did die to purchase his church, but his death and blood were not just for his church. He did taste death for all the Chinese, but he also tasted death for everyone else. Do not draw wrong conclusions from wrong facts or just part of the true facts.
Four Examples of God's Saving Grace
Feb 27, 2011
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2).
- Nicodemus was religious, he had studied the Old Testament, he knew some things of the ministry of Jesus, but he needed more than religion and knowledge. Jesus told Nicodemus that night, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). In his words of explanation, Jesus used the Old Testament lesson from Numbers 21:8-9. “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). Nicodemus learned that there is access into God’s grace, the new birth, and life eternal by faith in Christ (John 3:1-36).
- If moral corruption closed the door of access into God’s mercy, the woman of John 4 would be condemned even now. Standing with her at the well of water in Samaria, Jesus told her, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:13-14). Many of the Samaritans in that city believed on Jesus because of her testimony. Those who believed on him received the everlasting water of life.
- The man born blind in John 9 received a physical blessing, his eyesight, before he received Jesus as the Son of God. After the man had been healed and then cast out of the synagogue by the Pharisees, Jesus found him and asked this question, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” (John 9:35). The man asked Jesus, “Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him?” (John 9:36). When Jesus answered that question, we see the man’s response, “And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him” (John 9:38).
- This same salvation by grace through faith was available in Old Testament times. In II Chronicles 33, we see the fact that Manasseh was one of the most wicked kings ever in Israel. God brought Manasseh into great affliction and humbled him. The record of his conversion to the LORD is found in II Chronicles 33:12-13. “And when he was in affliction, he besought the LORD his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, And prayed unto him: and he was intreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the LORD he was God.”
Draw Water Out of the Wells of Salvation
Feb 20, 2011
“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation” (Isaiah 12:2-3).
The words “wells of salvation” are a picture of the same everlasting life that Jesus offered to the woman at Jacob’s well. “But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14).
This chapter of praise in the book of Isaiah is similar to many of the Psalms. For example, the psalmist David wrote, “In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God. Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us” (Psalm 62:7-8).
The word “salvation” indicates deliverance from danger and deliverance to a place of safety and security, “a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall” (Isaiah 25:4). The word in the Old Testament does sometimes refer to the deliverance from physical enemies. “O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me” (Psalm 7:1). Most often in both Testaments, the words “save” and “salvation” indicate that deliverance from the condemnation of spiritual death (John 3:18, Ephesians 2:1-8) and the change from death to life (John 5:24). The place of refuge that God delivers us unto is a place of peace. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).
Salvation guarantees us that we will be delivered from the everlasting destruction described in these verses: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (II Thessalonians 1:8-9).
A Look Into Our Past
Feb 06, 2011
“For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 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 3:3-5).
Titus was a young pastor who was active and faithful in one of the Lord’s churches, but the truth of these verses do not only apply to Titus and to the Lord’s pastors. Looking back to the past, we see how verse 13 shows our lost condition. The truth of God’s word in these verses can help any born-again child of God to understand more of the wonderful kindness, love, and mercy that our Savior has shown to us.
I was saved at age 13 when I knew very little about God’s word. The Holy Spirit used a simple message to bring me to faith in Jesus Christ. That message was: (1) You are a sinner, (2) Jesus died on the cross for you, and (3) You can be saved and have everlasting life by receiving Jesus as your Savior. God’s word has helped me to know much more now than I did back then about the blessings of God’s salvation.
In the words “he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,” we learn that we have salvation now. We learn that our salvation is not by any works of righteousness but is “by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” This is the same regeneration, which is being born of God and being born of the Spirit, explained in John 1:13 and John 3:6-7. Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.”
These verses are also beneficial in teaching the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who are lost in sin. One of the blessed memories of my work as a gospel preacher is of Jesse. He had had recently returned from military service in Vietnam, and he and his wife, Melanie, attended our services for the first time and asked if I would come to their home on the next Tuesday night to answer some questions. Jesse and Melanie needed to be saved. We spent four hours discussing Romans chapters 3, 4, and 5, verse by verse, and these verses from Titus 3. God used his word, and both were saved and became faithful servants and close friends in the Lord’s work.
Purifying Their Hearts by Faith
Jan 30, 2011
“And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith” (Acts 15:9).
“Jesus changed my heart.” These words were spoken by Ariana, a young mother, who recently became a member of the Rich Heart Baptist Church in UlaanBaatar, Mongolia. While I was there, she asked me to read some verses from my Bible. Carolyn Cooper explained to me that Ariana had been won to the Lord in the English Language class where Carolyn was using the King James Bible, Gospel of John, to teach the ladies class.
Our best efforts, even the desire to do better, cannot change man’s deceitful heart, which is described by Jeremiah, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
The scriptures use the word “heart” to refer to the inner, unseen spiritual nature of mankind. The LORD told Samuel, “For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart” (I Samuel 16:7). Jesus spoke of the sinful defilement of the heart when he said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:18-19).
In His gracious work of changing the heart, the Lord uses:
- The conviction by the Holy Spirit, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:36-37).
- The power of the gospel, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).
- “The word of faith, which we preach” (Romans 10:8). This word of faith teaches us to receive Christ, believing on His name, and believing with our whole heart. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (John 1:12). “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10). When the Ethiopian requested that Philip baptize him, Philip answered him, “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest” (Acts 8:37).
Please consider the words of our text, “Purifying their hearts by faith.” If you want your heart changed and purified, then come to Christ in faith.
John 3:18, 3:36, Romans 6:23
Jan 23, 2011
“He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:36). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23)
Consider some of the unmistakable plain teachings of these scriptures.
- Without faith in Christ, the unbeliever “shall not see life,” has “the wrath of God abiding on him,” and “is condemned already.”
- That condemnation is caused by one reason: “because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God .” A life of moral failure will not send a person to hell. Failure to be faithful to God after one has trusted Christ will not cause a person to spend eternity in hell.
- Eternal life is the gift of God. A person cannot earn eternal life by any sacrifice that he makes. Good works do not buy a person one moment of heaven. “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).
- Eternal life is “through Jesus Christ our Lord.” “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Peter preached, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
- The person who receives Christ by believing on his name (John 1:12) is, from that moment, the possessor of everlasting life. A person does not have to wait until he dies and goes to heaven to experience this everlasting life. The word “hath” in John 3:36 is the Old English form of the word “has,” and this word teaches us that in this life, right now, at the present time, one who has faith in Jesus Christ has everlasting life.
- The blessing of everlasting life continues on when a person is with the Lord. Paul expresses his confidence in that promise. “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (II Corinthians 5:8). A few verses before this Paul speaks of the eternal house in the heavens. David knew that there was a glorious home waiting for him. “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever” (Psalm 23:6).
God Gives More Grace
James 4:6, Proverbs 3:33-34
Jan 09, 2011
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble” (James 4:6). This verse is a quote from Proverbs 3:33-34. “The curse of the LORD is in the house of the wicked: but he blesseth the habitation of the just. Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.” God’s grace and God’s gifts are joined in so many scriptures (for example, Romans 5:15-17 and Ephesians 3:7).
We are told of the sinful human nature that we still possess even after our conversion to Christ. “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?” (James 4:5).
This corrupt nature in us is also called “the old man” (Ephesians 4:22). “That ye put off concerning the former conversation [way of life] the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” Paul calls this nature “the flesh” (Romans 7:18) “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.”
Paul had been converted to Christ for many years, was a God-called preacher, and did serve his Lord faithfully, but he still had to fight against that inner flesh nature. This battle is described in these words, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” (Galatians 5:17).
Getting older does not remove that conflict, Bible knowledge does not eliminate the problem, and even the blessing of sincere prayer is not going to solve the issue. The key answer to the problem is found in the words of James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace.”
When Paul had the problem of the “thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet” (II Corinthians 12:7) that problem was not eliminated, but God did have an answer just as he has an answer for our battle with the “old man,” “the flesh.”
“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). When the battle is going strong, humble yourself and depend by faith on God’s grace that the power of Christ may rest on you.
The Bible -- God's Holy Book
Mathew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33, Isaiah 34:16
Jan 02, 2011
"Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away" (Mathew 24:35, Mark 13:31, Luke 21:33).
"Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them" (Isaiah 34:16).
The following poem appeared in our bulletin on January 14, 2007, but it’s message is just as true now as it was then. Consider it carefully as its subject is the word of God
This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers.
Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable.
Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.
It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim's staff, the pilot's compass, the soldier's sword, and the Christian's charter.
Christ is its subject, our good its design, and the glory of God its end.
It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet.
Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully.
It is given to you in life, will be open in the judgement, and be remembered forever.
It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy precepts.