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  1. 2 points
    The following note (minus my parenthetical comment and a spelling correction), is from the latest email received from Pastor Richard Owen's Prayer Letter Google Group. Bro. Alfred Willis (Pastor of Life Baptist Church, Saint Stephen, SC) had a heart attack today, he has a blockage in a stent, now in ICU, keep him in prayer.
  2. 2 points


    Wow just wow! Just when I think I have heard it all something like this comes along. I think the following Scripture is in order: Acts 17:21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)
  3. 2 points

    The Local Church.

    Philippians 1:1, “The Local Church at Philippi.” Philippians 1:1, “Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.” In Acts 16:6-12, after the vision of the Macedonian man while they were at Troas, Paul and his companions left Asia Minor and travelled west to Europe. The first recorded European city to hear the gospel was at Neapolis and the first recorded church to be established was on the banks of the river side at Philippi in the region of Macedonia. Obviously, the congregation outgrew the banks of the river and in the process of time a local congregation was established and bishops, or pastors, and deacons, were appointed. According to1Corinthians 4:17, all of the teaching concerning the “bishops and deacons” and the saints at the church at Philippi, are applicable to all of the churches. “For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach in every church.” 1Corinthians 4:17 Please take careful note that Paul plainly stated, “...in every church.” Every church that Paul started was local in scope and authority. No “universal or invisible” church is implied nor was a denominational hierarchy established. Also, in my study on the book of Titus, here on OnLineBaptist, we discussed the titles of bishop, elder, and pastor. Here is the link to that study: First, let us establish the biblical fact that in the entire process of the establishment of the church at Philippi, except for the pastors and deacons, not one time is a reference made to a church hierarchy. All of the church hierarchies, or denominations, in the religious realm are not scriptural. Secondly, The church at Philippi was a local congregation of saints with pastors and deacons. Except for fellowship, the church at Philippi was independent of all of the other churches. The church at Philippi was not “universal,” or, “invisible” in scope, authority, or in any other manner. The concept of “bishops” overseeing numerous churches in a given territory, is not scriptural and is strictly a means of controlling the local church. Thirdly, apart from the apostolic authority given verbally by the Lord Jesus, and then the written scriptures, the only authority over the congregation of saints was the pastor and deacons. In a direct reference to the physical leadership in the church at Thessalonica, Paul states, “And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13, Evangelist Oliver B. Greene stated, “God’s Word makes it plain that we are to have respect and high esteem for His undershepherds and overseers of the flock. It is extremely honorable to be a deacon appointed by the Holy Spirit – but just so privileged the position, just so grave the responsibility.”i Evangelist Oliver B. Greene was correct. The Approval of the Pastor and Deacon of a New Testament Church The apostle Paul further states in Philippians 1:10, “That you may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ.” If a saint was to be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ, the pastor of the congregation must be approved according to the “excellent” qualifications found in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 Also, in my study on Titus conducted here on OnLineBaptist, I had previously discussed all of the qualifications for the pastor of the church. The American Heritage Dictionary gives the meaning of “approve” as follows. “approve>v. -proved, -proving 1a. To consider right or good. b. To express approval. 2. To consent to formally; authorize.” ii The Apostle Paul, as an example to every church, “approved” and “authorized” Timothy to act in his behalf: 1 Corinthians 4:17 and 1 Thessalonians 3:2. Or, as 1 Timothy 1:3 and 5:22, indicates, the pastor of the church at Ephesus. Also, although not inspired, the note at the end of 2 Timothy states as an historical fact, “The second epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.” Not one time, in any fashion, do we have an example of a minister “approved” or “authorized” to pastor a church by a denomination, or any religious hierarchical organization, in the New Testament. Historically speaking, independent fundamental Baptists adhere to the biblical of approving the minister according sound biblical doctrine, moral integrity, and to every one of the qualifications as written in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9 and not according to the dictates of a denomination. 2 Corinthians 10:18, “For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth.” i Greene, Oliver B., Philippians, (The Gospel Hour, Inc.: Greenville, SC), 1965. Page 10. ii “Approve.” The American Heritage Language Dictionary, (New York, NY.: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt). 2012.
  4. 1 point

    The Cost of a Soul

    The Cost of a Soul We are a cost conscious people. We always want to know the cost of what we are going to buy, or even the cost of what someone else has bought. Food, clothes, car, house, or vacation; we want to know the cost. We would never dream of buying anything without first finding out how much it cost. But how many in the Christian world consider the cost of their belief system, their salvation, or their soul? First let me say that I am not suggesting that these things need to be considered and weighed to determine if salvation is worth the cost. No; what I want to examine is more in the realm of appreciation for those things that we many times just take for granted in regard to our salvation. This applies more to an actual realization, after the fact, that there is a cost to these things. While it is true that salvation is a free gift from God to me, it is also true that my salvation has a cost attached to it. Even though a soul has infinite worth to both the Creator and the created, it is not something that we can put a dollar value on. The value of a soul must be measured in a spiritual sense, rather than a worldly sense. The creation of the first soul is recorded in Gen.2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Even though man is in possession of this soul, it belongs to God by right of creation: Eze. 18:4 Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die. Text: Mt. 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? God, in His infinite grace, has allowed man to have a say in what happens to his soul. In the world of religion we call this “free will”. We won’t get into the controversy regarding man’s free will and God’s foreknowledge and predestination; that’s a subject for another time. But it is needful to point out that while we yet draw breath, while we remain alive; we have a choice regarding what will happen to our soul once we lay down this physical life. Deut. 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: Once this body goes into the grave, the soul that God gave it goes back to Him. At that time, what He does with it will totally depend on what we have, or have not done with it in this life. I say this so that you might consider what the present condition of your soul is. Is it still dead in trespass and sin, or is it alive to God? Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Rom. 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Now let’s look at the cost of a soul to a Christian. He gives his life and trusts God to sustain him. Luke 12:22 And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. 23 The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. 24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? 25 And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? 26 If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? 27 Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? 29 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. He subjects himself to the ridicule of the world. 1Cor. 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake. 1Cor. 4:13 Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. Turning to Jesus for the salvation of his soul costs him his former friends. Mat. 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved. Mat. 10:34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36 And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. I have experienced this first hand. I used to be one of the ones who ridiculed and shunned Christians. But then, once I actually turned to Christ for Salvation I found that those who had been friends before now shunned me. Next on my list of the cost of a soul to the Christian is his money. Luke. 12:33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. 34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. It costs real money to build church buildings. If The Lord wants a church building in a specific place He will supply all that it takes to accomplish His will. The means by which he accomplishes this is through His people. It is not right for God’s people to turn to the world to build their church building. Many churches err in this kind of thinking. They set out to build a church building and immediately obligate God and their fellow church members to the world through worldly financing schemes. This does not honor God. My God is not a beggar that He needs to turn to the world to build His house. What hypocrisy we practice in paying usury to worldly institutions. Psm. 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it. I have a very low opinion of churches holding bake sales, raffles, and yard sales to finance the work of God. I firmly believe that the work of God should be financed wholly by His people. Some might argue, “But we don’t take in enough money to build a building.” To this I would answer with a question; Are we walking by faith or by sight? David is an excellent example of the provision to be made for the building God’s house. Although he wanted to build God’s house, God would not allow him to do so. But that didn’t stop him from preparing for it. 1Chron. 22:5 And David said, Solomon my son is young and tender, and the house that is to be builded for the LORD must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all countries: I will therefore now make preparation for it. So David prepared abundantly before his death. 1Chron. 22:3 And David prepared iron in abundance for the nails for the doors of the gates, and for the joinings; and brass in abundance without weight; 1Chron. 22:14 Now, behold, in my trouble I have prepared for the house of the LORD an hundred thousand talents of gold, and a thousand thousand talents of silver; and of brass and iron without weight; for it is in abundance: timber also and stone have I prepared; and thou mayest add thereto. 15 Moreover there are workmen with thee in abundance, hewers and workers of stone and timber, and all manner of cunning men for every manner of work. 16 Of the gold, the silver, and the brass, and the iron, there is no number. Arise therefore, and be doing, and the LORD be with thee. David spent his fortune to prepare for the building of God’s house. And what of mission work? Perhaps we ourselves cannot go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature; but we can certainly financially support those who do. What a wonderful blessing it is to see God work through His people, to see Him accomplish the impossible, humanly speaking. I have seen this concept work regarding mission work in Far East Russia. Two whole missionary families surrendered to go and start a mission work in an inhospitable country. The financial aspect of such an effort was seemingly impossible. But by faith we, as a church, took on the responsibility of sponsoring this work. We were a small congregation of less than forty members. God rewarded our step of faith in a miraculous way. Word of our missionary work spread and finances began to come in from sister churches all over the nation. And last, but not least is the cost to Christians and churches for relief of the poor, both in our midst and also those outside of the church. Last in the cost of a soul to the Christian is his time. Sadly, many church members today think that showing up for church services Sunday morning fulfills his obligation to serve God. It would come as a shock to some church members who believe this to see their service to God and church put in its proper perspective. God gives us 168 hours of time in every week. Out of that time, we give back to Him 1 hour. Our time can be one of the most precious elements we can use to serve our God, as well as our fellow man. A Christian who realizes his responsibility to his God will find that there is a huge list of demands on the time God has given him. To list just few will be sufficient. Time for personal study and worship; time for preparation in his service, whether it be in presenting God’s word, or even for being a real help to others; time to prepare to witness and testify for his Lord and Saviour. 2Tim. 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. He must not neglect time to serve his church in secular ways. For instance, the pastor of a church is called by God to preach the Gospel, teach and exhort his church members, and to be the leader that God has called him to be. Is it reasonable to expect that God’s man also perform the mundane, secular responsibilities of things such as; being the bus driver, mowing the lawn, maintaining the building; cleaning the church and cleaning toilets? Is it reasonable? My answer to my own question is NO! These are all functions that church members should take on as part of their service to God. The pastor has his ministry, but individual church members also have their ministry. Many people do not understand that a ministry is not confined to only spiritual things. Since this sermon is progressing into more of a book than a sermon, I would like to move on to: The cost of a soul to God. God has moved all heaven and earth to regain the fellowship that was lost when man fell in Adam. All of bible history, which includes all of this earth’s history, has as its goal the redemption of fallen man. For almost 6,000 years God has used many different methods in His plan to redeem man. Our bible is just one example. In it He gave the law and ordinances as pictures of his purpose for man. Throughout the Old Testament he gave prophets to verbally speak to man about His purposes. They literally gave man the messages that God had for them. He gave us kings and people of all kinds as illustrations of his great truths. In the New Testament he shows us Grace, repentance and faith, which leads us to Him. The cost of souls resulted in great anguish of heart and great sorrow on God’s part. In Gen. 1:31 We have a record of God’s finished work in creation; as he created it, it was very good. And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. But disobedient man changed all that was good of God’s work in creation: Listen as God pleads with those he named as His people: Mat. 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Separation from the Son was just a part of the cost of men’s souls to God. In John 17:5 we read the prayer of Jesus concerning this separation and His yearning to have it restored. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. The cost of souls to God was so great that only God could pay it. The God of all heaven and earth came down in the form of His son to pay the price that only He could pay. Joh. 1:14 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. In the end it cost Him the life of His son. For me he had to not only forsake His only son, but to also punish Him for my sin. The words of Jesus on the cross attest to this when he cried out. “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Mat. 27:46 The cost of a soul to Jesus. He died the horrible death of the cross for me. His entire life on this earth was spent for the benefit of others. He had no home, no social life. His life was spent walking the length and breath of Israel, for the sole purpose of seeking and saving lost mankind. Never once do we find him complaining or thinking of himself. He never did anything for his own benefit. His sole purpose in life was to accomplish His father’s will and reconcile man to God. In John 5:30 Jesus says, “I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” The God of heaven walked this earth clothed in flesh. How could that cost him? It cost him in that, he was God, and lowered himself to the place of man. He put aside all that he had as God for me. John. 1:14 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. So, after all that has been said we come to the inescapable conclusion that while salvation is free to me, there is a cost. There is great value placed on man’s soul and that price was so great that God had to pay for it himself. John. 3:16
  5. 1 point

    After death sleep?

    "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again" (Philippians 1:21-26 KJV).
  6. 1 point

    The Cost of a Soul

    "So, after all that has been said we come to the inescapable conclusion that while salvation is free to me, there is a cost. There is great value placed on man’s soul and that price was so great that God had to pay for it himself. John. 3:16" Thank for the message on 'The Cost of a Soul." The message was a blessing to me
  7. 1 point
    That's great to hear - when I was first saved it was like that at my church - most people came to most services.
  8. 1 point

    After death sleep?

    John 11 11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. 12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. 13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. This passage shows that words were sometimes used interchangeably in the Bible, and even in this case the disciples mistook His meaning. There is a false doctrine called "soul sleep" which is promoted by a few groups, usually those who reject the idea of Hell in preference for anihilationism (nothing after death, you cease to exist). This is an unbiblical false doctrine.
  9. 1 point
    I'm glad we can just be plain, old simple Bible believers.
  10. 1 point
    In our small church where I take the attendance last week would be typical. Sunday school Adults/Teens only for this count = 52 Sunday 11am service = 78 Sunday evening 6 pm = 69 Wednesday service 65. Our bus ministry overloaded our church building capacity and we have to take the children off site and across town to another facility. There are approximately 45 in those services. Our "core members" rarely miss any service and we seem to have about 60 - 70 core members.
  11. 1 point
    There is an online pastor, Jim Wilhelmson, who claims to be a combo of Calvinist & Armenian. He is very controversial in other ways. He believes in a hollow earth which is the current residency of the 10 lost tribes of Israel. He believes in both satanic ritual abuse & alien abuductions (with abuse or unintended trauma). Some of his ideas I dont mind. But others - if he's right then it does not change salvation by grace & grace alone. But it certainly changes biblical history as we know it from the canons. He considers the apocgrypha & other extra biblical books as informative unless it directly contradicts (his version) of the biblical account. That leaves some very wide latitude. He is however good at pointing out certain contradictions in the generally accepted (both protestant & catholic) accounts. While I dont accept that Cain was any but Adam's son, he correctly questions whom Cain married & for whom Cain's cities were built, IMO. In other words, Genesis certainly left out a lot of pertinent details there. I think its possible the 6th day "made them males and females" of Gen. 1:27 *might* be a separate event from creation of Adam & the Eve/rib event. Dont attack. Im just reserving it as a possibility. But I disregard most of his more unverifiable statements that come from various books of Enoch, etc.
  12. 1 point

    The bride of Christ

    I love this...... The NT actually says much more about the bridegroom than the bride - maybe people should concentrate more on Him? Mat 9, Mark 2, and Luke 5, all talk about the bridegroom and the "children of the bridechamber". That is interesting. As to the time of the future: Rev 21: 2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. 10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, The Bride of the Lamb is the city, the new Jerusalem, which comes down from Heaven. At least that is according to Rev 21. So why exactly are you trying to make a link to the local church?
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