Jump to content

Jim_Alaska

Administrators
  • Content Count

    2,679
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    129

Reputation Activity

  1. Thanks
    Jim_Alaska reacted to Alan for a sermon entry, Do Not Interpretations Belong to God?   
    Genesis 40:1-23, “Do not interpretations belong to God?”
    Only God knows the future. In the Bible, God recorded all of the knowledge of the future that God wants us to have. The Bible is the word of God and can tell us what is important. The philosophy of man, the religions of man, the interpretations of man, and the idols made by men, cannot help a person when he dies. The interpretations of man, false religions and prophets, are erroneous.
    Joseph is an example to the every Christian who wants to have a close relationship with God and walk in the Holy Spirit. God gave us the story of Joseph to show us how to walk with God.
    In Genesis 40:1-23, in the confines of a prison, while suffering tremendous adversity, we can see several fruits of the Spirit in this passage in the life of Joseph: longsuffering, gentleness, goodness and faith. Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
    Because Joseph walked in the Spirit of God; he could have the proper interpretations of the dreams.
    Verse 1-8 Interpretations belong unto God.
    Astrologers and false prophets cannot accurately foretell the future. The reason why we have so many different interpretations of the prophecies of the scriptures is due to the fact that false prophets, and false teachers, cannot accurately interpret the scriptures. The apostle Peter clearly stated that only holy men of God, using the scriptures as their standard, can properly interpret the scriptures. 2 Peter 1:20 and 21 says, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures 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.”
    “… but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Because Joseph was ‘holy,’or as Galatians 5:23 states, ‘temperance,’ God gave him the proper interpretation. The meaning of temperate is; (1) marked by moderation: as, keeping or held within limits: not extreme or excessive; and, marked by an absence or avoidance of extravagance, violence, or extreme partisanship. A saint cannot be ‘holy’ without having ‘temperance’ in his character.
    Daniel 2:27 & 28, “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” The false prophets, and false teachers, in the churches, the false gods of the Taoists, the Confucian, and the Buddhists, cannot reveal the end times. Only the Bible can give us the events of the end time.
    The prophecies of the scriptures are true and will come to pass. Joseph was a true prophet. God gave him dreams and Joseph could interpret the dreams of others. In this story God gave us two examples.
    As with Daniel, God gave Joseph the proper interpretation and Joseph gave the honour and glory to God. “Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” Daniel 2:27 & 28
    Even though Joseph was in prison unjustly, Joseph still had goodness in his life to help the Baker and the Butler in their trials of life in the prison. Please take note that Joseph saw the sadness of these men and had an inward desire, without the prospect of a reward, to help both of these men in their sorrows of life.
    Is not this act of goodness, this act of kindness, without any prospect of reward, like the goodness and kindness of the Lord Jesus? “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Acts 10:38
    Verse 9-13 The dream of the Butler.
    The butler told Joseph the dream and Joseph told the the butler the correct interpretation of the dream. Only God could have told Joseph the interpretation.
    Verse 14 and 15 Joseph's Request and Testimony.
    Joseph asked the butler to make mention of him to Pharaoh. Joseph then told the butler his story. Joseph reminded the butler that he did nothing wrong. The life of Joseph, as the life of the Lord Jesus, was above reproach.
    Verse 16-19 The dream of the Baker
    The chief baker told Joseph his dream and Joseph told the baker the correct interpretation of the dream.
    Verse 20-22 The Fulfillment of the Two Dreams
    The interpretations of Joseph were correct. God gave the interpretation to Joseph and Joseph told the interpretations of the two dreams to the butler and to the baker. The dreams were fulfilled in public.
    As with Daniel, God gave the correct interpretations of both of the dreams.
    The interpretation of a true prophet is always right. Deuteronomy 18:22, “When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
    Verse 23 the Butler forgot Joseph
    Man forgets, but God does not. In God's proper timing, and in His proper ways, He will fulfill His will. In the life of Joseph we know that he had a good relationship with God. Even though he is in prison, he did good, the butler forgot him and Joseph remained in prison. Even in intense adversity, Joseph was kind to those around him.
    In spite of the other peoples failure, Joseph still trusted in God. In spite of his still being in prison, Joseph still trusted in God and did good. Joseph, throughout his life, and in this instance, had longsuffering, gentleness in adversity, goodness and faith.
     
     
  2. Like
    Jim_Alaska reacted to John Young for a sermon entry, Psalm 89 - Part 3: King David and His Tabernacle (Given to Israel as a Picture of Christ's Church)   
    "Have mercy on us, O Lord, thou Son of David." Christ is called the "Son of David" by the Old Testament believers for a reason and often those recognizing Jesus as that Christ, when he ministered physically on earth, would call upon him for mercy. One of the main reasons for this was because of the teaching here in Psalm 89. God had given Israel King David and His Spiritual House as a picture of the one day true King "the Holy One of Israel" that would come, granting both Spiritual and Physical mercy through His Spiritual Tabernacle, the NT Church. Psalm 89 taught them that David's descendant would be the "Holy One of Israel" and that God's covenant with King David would mirror God's covenant with those who believed on Christ, the Son of God.
    In Part 3 of this 4 part message on Psalm 89 we show how God gave David and his house as a picture of His Spiritual Covenant of Mercy that was available for all to enter into by faith in Christ. We also show how, once received, this covenant could not be broken by later unfaithfulness by the receiver. Just as the covenant was secure with David and Christ, so it would be with all those who received it.

    Preached: February 13, 2019 Wednesday Night. By Pastor John Young, at Edgecliff Baptist Church, Spokane Valley, WA. (Please like, share, and subscribe to the channel for more Bible Sermons!) #SonOfDavid #TheHolyOne #HaveMercy #CallUponHisName #Psalm89
     
     
  3. Like
    Jim_Alaska reacted to Jerry for a sermon entry, The Furnace Of Affliction - Part Two   
    The Furnace Of Affliction - Part Two
    Come Forth As Gold
  4. Thanks
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from Jerry for a sermon entry, Contrary Doctrine   
    Text: Rom.16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

    1Tim.4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    2Tim.1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

    2Tim.2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

    We claim to be Christians, followers of a specific way and teaching Jn.14: 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. We claim to be guided by the unerring Word of God, the Bible. Yet it seems we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history and repeatedly disregard the warnings of those in the faith that have gone before us.

    We have a parallel in the history of the nation of Israel. We can see this parallel in the remarkable scriptures of Duet.1:2-15. An eleven day trip took them forty years! We can see a direct parallel between Israel’s relationship to God and our relationship to God…. how slowly we cover the ground! What winding and turning! How often we must go back and cover the same ground again and again. We are slow travelers because we are slow learners. We might marvel at their unbelief and slowness to OBey, but we, like them, are kept back by our own unbelief and slowness of heart.

    The doctrine that we are to hold and pass on is the Word that we have received: The pure, unadulterated truth of God.

    The Galatian Church is a negative case in point. Gal.3:1-4. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not OBey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
    This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
    Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain.
    Saved by grace, but then allowing themselves to be seduced by a perversion of Scripture.

    Deut.1:3. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; Here is instruction for all who labor in the Word and doctrine:
    Moses gave what he received from God, nothing more or less; this is the grand principal of the ministry, to bring people in direct contact with the Living Word of God.

    The Apostle Paul makes this argument better than I can. 1Cor.2: 1-5. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
    2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
    3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
    4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    1Cor.15: 1-3. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    The ‘so called’ church has wholly departed from the authority of the Word of God. In these churches, things are taught that have no foundation in the Scripture.
    They not only tolerate, but sanction and defend that which is in direct opposition to the mind of Christ. He spoke of them in Mat.15:8-9.
    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
    9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    If you ask for the Divine Authority for their institution or practice, you are told that God has left us free to act according to our conscience. It is considered that professing Christians are left free to form churches, choose their own form of government and appoint their own officers. Can this be true? Are we to assume that the church is worse off than Israel in instruction and authority?

    We can see in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the marvelous pains God took to instruct His people in even the minutest particulars concerning their worship and private life. Nothing was left to human arrangement. Man’s wisdom, judgment, reason and conscience had no part in it. There was no place for, “I can’t see this, or, I can’t go with that, or, I can’t agree that this is so.” Such language could only be regarded as self-will, for in that day all the instruction came with, “Thus saith the Lord.” They might as well say they could not agree with God. Are we left to think and arrange for ourselves in worship and service to God? I think not! 1Tim.3: 14-15. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
    But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
    He then goes on to show how things ought to be done by believers.

    Why are there different doctrines among professing churches? We have
    possession of God’s Word. We also have division, sects, creeds and denominations,
    Why? Because they refuse to submit their whole moral being to the authority of the Scripture. Free exercise of thought is the boast of Protestant Christianity.

    Such thinking will not stand at the Judgment. Mat.7: 21-23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    The duty of the servant is to OBey, not to exercise his will. The confusion between so-called churches is due to an unwillingness to bow to Divine Authority.

    Mat.7:28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
    For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

    It is impossible for the Holy Scripture to teach opposing doctrines. It cannot possibly teach the doctrines of Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and Baptist….they oppose one another!

    Let’s look at a direct command in the name of Jesus for unity. 1Cor. 1:10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    The so-called “church”, has departed from the authority of Christ long ago. They gave themselves over to man’s reasoning, feelings and religious perversion. They did not heed the teaching of Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    It is every Christian’s sacred duty to test every ecclesiastical system by the Word of God. If we have no Divine authority, no perfect standard, how can we be certain that we are on the true path?

    All that claim to be His church cannot justify the confusion of doctrines that they hold true. 1Cor.14:33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    If God is not the author of this confusion, then who is? Jas 3:16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

    If we cannot say that “this is the thing that the Lord has commanded”, then we are in error.
    If a church or religious organization is not in subjection to God as revealed in His Word, what and to whom are they in subjection to? There are only two powers in this world, the power of God and the power of Satan. Satan is the master of deception and mimicry and his masterpiece of all time deception is a false religious system.

    Rom.16:17-18. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

    What kind of doctrine has God won your heart with? Can you go on to perfection with an opposing doctrine having once known the truth? Rom.6: 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

    The religious liberals will say that there is some good in all churches. My answer is that there is good grain in rat poison too, but it only takes a small amount of poison mixed in with the grain to kill the rat. Any Christian that thinks that he can take what good there is and leave the bad, is ignorant of the nature of evil. Make no mistake; that which is contrary to God’s Word is not of God! 1Cor.10:21,
  5. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from PastorMatt for a sermon entry, 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
  6. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from John Young for a sermon entry, 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
  7. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from Alan for a sermon entry, 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
  8. Like
    Jim_Alaska reacted to Alan for a sermon entry, "But the LORD was with Joseph"   
    Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph.”
    Genesis 39:21-23, “But the LORD was with Joseph, and shewed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph's hand all the prisoners that were in the prison; and whatsoever they did there, he was the doer of it. The keeper of the prison looked not to any thing that was under his hand; because the LORD was with him, and that which he did, the LORD made it to prosper.”
    Throughout the hardships and sufferings in the life of Joseph, the LORD was with Joseph.
    Psalm 105:16-19, “Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant: Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in iron: Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”
    Because of the evil of the 11 brothers, Joseph was made a slave. Because of the evil of one evil woman, Joseph was put in prison. While in prison, among other hardships and sufferings, the Egyptians put fetters of iron and hurt Joseph's feet. God allowed evil people to cause Joseph to be put in prison to test Joseph. God is preparing Joseph to rule the land of Egypt. In order for God to use Joseph for His glory, God is going to test him in the prison. Psalm 105:19, “Until the time that his word came: the word of the LORD tried him.”
    God tests those people whom He wants to use with hardships and sufferings. Joseph, like Christ, loved God, and God is using hardship and suffering to prepare Joseph as the ruler of Egypt and for the physical salvation of Jacob and his family. Genesis 45:4-6, “And Joseph said unto his brethren, come near to me,I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry, with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a prosperity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”
    Furthermore, God, through the salvation of Jacob and his sons, will use Joseph to provide the protection for the lineage of the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus. Romans 9:4 & 5, “Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises. Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.”
    God tested the Lord Jesus with hardships and sufferings for the salvation of the soul and for the eventual salvation, both physical and spiritual, of the sons of Israel. Hebrews 5:8 & 9, “Though he were a Son, yet he learned obedience by the things which he suffered. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” And, Romans 11:26 & 27, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob. For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.” In His timing, God will turn away the ungodliness, and unbelief, of the sons of Jacob.
    Verse 21 Let us consider three things.
    1. “But the LORD was with Joseph”
    God was with Joseph. Joseph had a close relationship with God. Joseph did not allow the conspiracy of his brothers, the lies of Potiphar's wife, destroy the relationship he had with God. Joseph believed that God would fulfill the two dreams that God gave him. 1 Thessalonians 5:24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” While in prison Joseph had comfort in his relationship with God.
    2. “... and shewed him mercy..”
    In the Old Testament, and in the New Testament, God is merciful. If a person has a humble heart, repents of his sins, and has faith and trusts in the mercy of God, than God will shew him mercy. 2 Samuel 22:26 & 27, “With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the forward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.”A proud person will not find the mercy of God.
    If a person wants God to show him mercy than he needs to be merciful. From Genesis to Revelation we see that God is merciful to the humble person. 1 Peter 5:5, “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
    Psalm 33:18, “Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.”
    3. “… and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison.”
    God caused the the keeper of the prison to find favor in Joseph. God can cause the people of this world to help the person who trusts in God. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” God is now going to promote Joseph. Eventually, Joseph will become, in modern terminology, the vice-president of Egypt.
    First, Joseph became a slave, and then a prisoner in a jail, in order for God to prepare him to rule over the country of Egypt and save Jacob and his brethren. Before God can use us in a high position He wants us to see if He can use us in a low position. God found out that Joseph really loved Him, really trusted in Him, and God found out that Joseph was faithful in the small things of daily living. The Lord Jesus said, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.” Luke 16:10 Because in the time of his testing Joseph was faithful, God will promote him to be the second ruler in Egypt.
    Verse 22 & 23 The Lord made everything that Joseph did to prosper
    God blessed the efforts of Joseph. Joseph trusted God, had faith, and was a man of integrity and high character. So, God prospered his work. Joseph was a very faithful and trustworthy person and is a good example of the character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. 3 John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest proper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.
    As Joseph loved God, and God worked all things out for his good, so should we love God and watch Him work out all things for our good. Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
     
  9. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from Adella M. Strout for a sermon entry, Grace: It’s Meaning and Source   
    Grace: It’s Meaning and Source
    By Jim Foley
    Country Baptist Church
     
    Text:
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
    If you are a Christian there are words that you have been familiar with all of your Christian life. Many of them are more or less taken for granted; we just don’t dwell on their meaning. As Baptists this word, “grace” is a fundamental of the faith and often used in sermons and lessons. 
    You seldom go to church without hearing this word mentioned, but how many of us really know what it means? There is probably no other word in Scripture that is so poorly understood. There are a great many people who have received the grace of God into their hearts, but who, if they were asked what the word means, might be troubled and confused and unable to define it. 
    The plain meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited mercy. Though this is the plain meaning there is so much more that goes into not only the meaning in its positive nature, but also in its negative nature. 
    Let’s examine this term unmerited mercy. The word, mercy, speaks volumes about its nature. For mercy to even exist there must be an entity higher than the recipient of this mercy. In our case this entity is the Almighty God that spoke all things into existence. He is all powerful and able to accomplish any thing he desires. 
    Ro 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
     16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
     
    The source of Grace: 

    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.
    Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 
    The highest manifestation of this grace was when God gave his son to save this lost world. The very fact that God chose to save an undeserving world speaks volumes. He certainly didn’t have to do it and there is no force that could make him do it. He did it out of love. He did it because he is a benevolent, righteous and loving God. In this respect his benevolence, righteousness and love can only result in grace. An illustration could be made in this way; H2O is water, it consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. H2O always produces water; it is chemically impossible for it to produce anything else. Grace is this way, it is impossible for the actions of God to result in anything but grace; it is an integral part of His nature. 
    The positive nature of grace is that it is a gift. The last clause in Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: as such Scripture declares plainly that grace is a gift. A gift is freely given, it cannot be earned, nor can it be given as a reward for good deeds.  Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 
    God deals with man in grace, he has from the very beginning.  Adam is a case in point; there was no sign that Adam recognized his lost condition, no cry for mercy and pardon, and certainly no confession of sin. Yet God sought him out specifically that he might bestow his grace upon him. He met Adam, as he does all mankind, in his lost and ruined condition. He bestowed upon Adam the promise of a coming redeemer, Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Notice that he did this without Adam asking for it, or even recognizing that he needed it. This is grace. Grace then is unconditional; God bestowed his grace on Adam in his ruined condition. 
    For six thousand years God has been trying to show mankind this great and glorious truth; that he wants to deal with man in love and grace. He expects no payment in kind, he requires no attempt to clean up our life, as a matter of fact to even make an attempt to clean up our life in an attempt to merit God’s favor is an insult. God said his grace is a free gift. To even think that there is anything we can do, or can take the place of what God accomplished in Christ is the same as saying to God that His sacrifice was not sufficient. 
    By grace God devised a scheme of redemption for fallen man, justice never would and reason never could. No sinner would ever have sought out God; just like Adam, he sees no need simply because he doesn’t even recognize his lost condition. It is always God that seeks out fallen man, never the other way around. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Nowhere do we read that he came to save those that were looking for truth and pardon. This is what the Scripture means when it says that we are blind. 
    There is a special aspect of grace that is both sobering and enlightening. First, God has provided his grace to all mankind, even to those who do not know of it and even those who will never accept it. This special aspect of grace is faith. It is only by faith that we can apprehend grace for ourselves. This faith is unique in itself, for it is not our faith. The scripture affirms that the faith to believe is the faith that Christ bestows on every believer. It is his faith, not our own, for in the first place we have no faith other than that which a holy, just and righteous God has provided. Notice the grammar in the last clause of our text in Eph. 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Grace is the object, but faith is the vehicle that allows us to arrive at the object. The scripture affirms that this vehicle, faith, is the gift of God. 
    We think of the Apostle Paul in respect to unmerited mercy. Paul had never done anything that could rise to the place where he could merit God’s mercy. He had kept the law as best he could as a Pharisee. He had done everything he possibly could against Christ and the church.  But when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, he met him in pure grace. This concept is brought home all the more clearly in Jesus’ question to Paul where he asked, “why persecutest thou me”? Paul was in active opposition to God and his grace when he set out to kill or imprison all who professed faith in Jesus. 
    God’s grace shines through even more clearly when we understand that God dealt with Paul in the condition he found him in. He was, at this point in his life, a God hater, even though he thought that what he did, he did in the name of God. God was using the witness and lives of the Christians that Paul persecuted as a preparation against Paul’s day of mercy and pardon. This is what God meant when he said to Paul: “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  This is a reference to the practice of ox drovers who would use a long pole with a sharp end to “goad” the ox in the direction the drover wanted it to go. God had been “goading” Paul in the direction he wanted him to go. The witness of those that Paul persecuted was what God used as a goad. Though Paul had done nothing to merit God’s grace, still God provided it and brought Paul to the realization of the truth of his word. 
    What can we say about works before justification, or works for justification? Simply this; what we would call good works before justification are not pleasant to God. This is because they do not spring from faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men able to receive grace. Think with me, good works conducted to merit the favor of God have not been done according to the way God has designed his grace to be given; therefore they have the nature of sin, because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. 
    The thought of the God of all heaven and earth freely providing grace to those who do not deserve it is almost beyond our comprehension, it runs counter to everything we are conditioned by our fallen nature to believe. How sad it is to come to the understanding that there are multitudes that will never avail themselves of the grace that God has willingly and loving provided for every person who has ever lived on this earth. 
    This is what is meant by God when he says in his word that “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The free gift has already been provided; the only requirement to laying hold of eternal life is simply to take the grace that God has already provided.
  10. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, Contrary Doctrine   
    Text: Rom.16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

    1Tim.4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    2Tim.1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

    2Tim.2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

    We claim to be Christians, followers of a specific way and teaching Jn.14: 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. We claim to be guided by the unerring Word of God, the Bible. Yet it seems we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history and repeatedly disregard the warnings of those in the faith that have gone before us.

    We have a parallel in the history of the nation of Israel. We can see this parallel in the remarkable scriptures of Duet.1:2-15. An eleven day trip took them forty years! We can see a direct parallel between Israel’s relationship to God and our relationship to God…. how slowly we cover the ground! What winding and turning! How often we must go back and cover the same ground again and again. We are slow travelers because we are slow learners. We might marvel at their unbelief and slowness to OBey, but we, like them, are kept back by our own unbelief and slowness of heart.

    The doctrine that we are to hold and pass on is the Word that we have received: The pure, unadulterated truth of God.

    The Galatian Church is a negative case in point. Gal.3:1-4. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not OBey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
    This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
    Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain.
    Saved by grace, but then allowing themselves to be seduced by a perversion of Scripture.

    Deut.1:3. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; Here is instruction for all who labor in the Word and doctrine:
    Moses gave what he received from God, nothing more or less; this is the grand principal of the ministry, to bring people in direct contact with the Living Word of God.

    The Apostle Paul makes this argument better than I can. 1Cor.2: 1-5. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
    2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
    3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
    4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    1Cor.15: 1-3. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    The ‘so called’ church has wholly departed from the authority of the Word of God. In these churches, things are taught that have no foundation in the Scripture.
    They not only tolerate, but sanction and defend that which is in direct opposition to the mind of Christ. He spoke of them in Mat.15:8-9.
    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
    9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    If you ask for the Divine Authority for their institution or practice, you are told that God has left us free to act according to our conscience. It is considered that professing Christians are left free to form churches, choose their own form of government and appoint their own officers. Can this be true? Are we to assume that the church is worse off than Israel in instruction and authority?

    We can see in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the marvelous pains God took to instruct His people in even the minutest particulars concerning their worship and private life. Nothing was left to human arrangement. Man’s wisdom, judgment, reason and conscience had no part in it. There was no place for, “I can’t see this, or, I can’t go with that, or, I can’t agree that this is so.” Such language could only be regarded as self-will, for in that day all the instruction came with, “Thus saith the Lord.” They might as well say they could not agree with God. Are we left to think and arrange for ourselves in worship and service to God? I think not! 1Tim.3: 14-15. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
    But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
    He then goes on to show how things ought to be done by believers.

    Why are there different doctrines among professing churches? We have
    possession of God’s Word. We also have division, sects, creeds and denominations,
    Why? Because they refuse to submit their whole moral being to the authority of the Scripture. Free exercise of thought is the boast of Protestant Christianity.

    Such thinking will not stand at the Judgment. Mat.7: 21-23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    The duty of the servant is to OBey, not to exercise his will. The confusion between so-called churches is due to an unwillingness to bow to Divine Authority.

    Mat.7:28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
    For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

    It is impossible for the Holy Scripture to teach opposing doctrines. It cannot possibly teach the doctrines of Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and Baptist….they oppose one another!

    Let’s look at a direct command in the name of Jesus for unity. 1Cor. 1:10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    The so-called “church”, has departed from the authority of Christ long ago. They gave themselves over to man’s reasoning, feelings and religious perversion. They did not heed the teaching of Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    It is every Christian’s sacred duty to test every ecclesiastical system by the Word of God. If we have no Divine authority, no perfect standard, how can we be certain that we are on the true path?

    All that claim to be His church cannot justify the confusion of doctrines that they hold true. 1Cor.14:33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    If God is not the author of this confusion, then who is? Jas 3:16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

    If we cannot say that “this is the thing that the Lord has commanded”, then we are in error.
    If a church or religious organization is not in subjection to God as revealed in His Word, what and to whom are they in subjection to? There are only two powers in this world, the power of God and the power of Satan. Satan is the master of deception and mimicry and his masterpiece of all time deception is a false religious system.

    Rom.16:17-18. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

    What kind of doctrine has God won your heart with? Can you go on to perfection with an opposing doctrine having once known the truth? Rom.6: 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

    The religious liberals will say that there is some good in all churches. My answer is that there is good grain in rat poison too, but it only takes a small amount of poison mixed in with the grain to kill the rat. Any Christian that thinks that he can take what good there is and leave the bad, is ignorant of the nature of evil. Make no mistake; that which is contrary to God’s Word is not of God! 1Cor.10:21,
  11. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, Righteousness and Justification   
    WHAT DID JESUS SAY ABOUT:
                                                                                           Righteousness and Justification
                                                                                                                   
     
     
    Mat.5:1-6-10-12.
     
     
     
    Introduction:
                Jesus had some very specific things to say about righteousness and justification.  His teaching has, for the most part, been perverted and twisted until it means something quite different from what the early church understood it to mean. The nature of this perversion is so degenerate that it has changed the meaning of these words so that they mean exactly the opposite of what Jesus taught. The result is that most of the religious world believes a lie and perpetuates this lie simply because it has been repeated as truth for so many years. These same people castigate those who would hold to the purity of God’s word; relegating them to the ranks of some obscure sect or calling them religious fanatics.
                We can be thankful that God’s word does not change, the religious world has had to invent new versions of the Bible to prove their blasphemous lies, because the Bible does not support their teaching, in fact, it condemns it.
                In order to have a proper study on this subject, it must be determined what the word “righteousness” means with regard to the righteousness that Jesus spoke of for the remission of sin. Three references will serve to define the word: Rom.5:21.   Phil.3:9.  Tit.3:5.
                Jesus pointed to John the Baptist as he that came in the way of righteousness, some accepted that way and others did not, thus representing the two different sides of this argument. Mat.21:28-32.
    Now if John came in the way of righteousness, then we must ask, what was John’s message? Mat.3:1-2.           
                Salvation presupposes the idea that I am unable to help myself, this is called depravity. Jer.17:9.  If I think that because my sin is gone, then I am righteous, what about tomorrow? If I sin tomorrow do I lose my righteousness? This is where the idea comes from that you can lose your salvation. Rom.10:3.
                Where then does this righteousness come from? Does it come about because of the good things that I do? This is the adult version of--- “If you be a good little boy you will go to heaven.” It is also the mistake of the Pharisees who looked within themselves for their righteousness and despised those who did not act righteous as they did.
    Rom.5:21 Puts righteousness in the proper perspective.
    Rom.4:21-25. Shows that the righteousness that the Christian has is not his own, it is the righteousness of Christ, and I, by repentance and faith become adopted into the family of God with all of the benefits of being a son.
    1Cor.1:30. There will come a day when the Christian will not have sin to deal with, but until that day I have the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and it is this that makes me acceptable to God the Father, the scripture calls being acceptable, “justification”.           
    Let’s look at what Jesus said about those who trust in their own righteousness, as compared with those who realize that they have no righteousness. Lk.18:9-14.
     
                Why is it so important to have the proper righteousness and justification? The answer is simplicity itself: If, in the judgment day, I have only the righteousness that I have got by my good deeds it will not be accepted by God! Why? Because I have not accepted the righteousness that he provided, this is the same as saying that Christ’s death is not the only way to get to heaven. I have no need of Christ’s blood, I can do it myself. Gal.2:16. 
    Heb.10:29.  In that day there will come a separation, the angels will sever the just from the wicked and man will have no say in the matter. Mat.13:47-49.  This is why it is so important to get it right the first time, now you have a choice, there are no second chances in the grave, and we are not reincarnated until we get it right as some teach. Ecc.9:10
    Psa.31:17    Psa.6:5.  In short Jesus said that only the just or righteous will enter the kingdom of heaven. See how Jesus puts it in Mat.25:31-34. 
                Mat.5:6. shows that becoming righteous by the grace of God is no accident. The words, “hungering and thirsting”, as it pertains to righteousness, comes only as one desires it. There must be an active choice on your part, salvation is no accident, and those who receive God’s salvation have made the choice to do so. It is also not just a determination on your part to become religious, the Pharisees were religious and Jesus condemned their religion.
                Salvation comes about as you determine that you are a sinner and it is not physically possible for you change this situation. It is seeing the need of having your sin forgiven and blotted out. The scripture says that the wages of sin is death, Jesus came and died to pay the price of my sin, and his blood is the cleansing agent that will make me look as white as snow when I stand before God in the judgment day. In that day I will stand, having his righteousness to wear as a robe, and his justification which makes my sin as if it never was in the eyes of God.
  12. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, The Blind Beggar   
    The Blind Beggar
     James Foley
     
     
    Text Mark.10:46-52
    Here is a man beset by two great evils, blindness and poverty. Being blind is sad enough all on its own. We pity one like this, but to be blind and poor is heart breaking. My application of this scripture is that this man’s condition is but a picture of the natural man’s condition when he is born into this world. We are all born spiritually blind and poor by nature. Rev. 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
    In our blindness and pride we think we are able to see. After all, we are intelligent, educated, and able to make our way in this world. But the truth is that our blindness makes us think that our sight is perfect. 2Cor. 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
     4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
    Once we are enlightened (saved) we discover that our previous sight was actually blindness. We were blind to our lost estate, the blackness of sin, the wrath to come, and most important, we were blind to the all encompassing beauty of Jesus Christ.
    In our lost condition we, like this blind man, were also poor. I’m not talking about being poor financially, but rather poor spiritually. Adam spent our birthright when he sinned. Paradise, which was our inheritance, was lost in Adam. The result of this is that we, through Adam have become beggars. This is the lot of everyone born into this sinful world until Jesus visits us in love.
    1.  The origin of his faith.
    We see in ver.52 that he had faith, where did he get it?  Mark 10:52 And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way. 
    Certainly not from what he saw! He had not been anywhere that Jesus performed his miracles, poor blind people did not travel.
    But the scripture speaks to this situation very well: Rom.10:17 “faith cometh by hearing”.  Being blind, all he knew was what he could hear.
    He had heard of the miracles of Jesus from those who passed by. He had heard that Jesus raised the dead and healed lepers. It would be only reasonable that he would wonder if one who could perform these kinds of miracles might also be able to give sight to the blind. Then in John chapter 9 we read that Jesus restored the sight to one that was born blind.
    There are not many diversions given to the blind whose only purpose is to sit begging. But one diversion that a blind beggar would covet is any news that he would hear from those passing by. Undoubtedly this blind man had heard of the healing of the blind as the fame of Jesus spread throughout the land.
    It would be natural for him to think along the lines of, “What if this Jesus passed by, or, maybe he will pass by this way, if so I will cry out to him.” The story he had heard would be all encompassing to one who found himself in the same circumstances. Perhaps as he meditated on this information some Old Testament Scripture came to mind: Isa 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
     7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
    He had almost certainly heard that the coming Messiah would heal the blind. The only conclusion possible was that this was the promised Messiah.
    You might think that this is just too much conjecture, but consider Mk. 10:47 where, as Jesus passed by, the blind man called out, “thou Son of David.” This is the designation of Israel’s true Messiah and this fact would not be lost on this blind man. Now, at this point, he has the faith that Jesus spoke of in Ver.52.
    2. My application of all of this today is simply to ask, “what of you?”
    At this point in life are you still spiritually blind? You may have heard of the deeds of Jesus, how sinners have been pardoned and forgiven. You may have heard the Gospel preached in church but never exercised the faith to be saved by it.
    You may have even listened to the testimony of people who have been saved and yet believed not. Have you never thought on Christ or contemplated how the message of salvation might apply to you? You have heard that Jesus saves; this is the message of God to lost men and women. Has the thought ever crossed your mind that he might also save you? Perhaps you have heard the call to salvation but never acted on it in faith.
    In our story the blind man had heard, but if the story had stopped at the point that he heard, there would have been no healing. Remember that this story has two main parts, 1. the blind man heard. 2. but then he acted on what he had heard, this is faith. There would have been no healing if this man had stopped short of the faith to be healed. We know this is true because Jesus said to him: “Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole.”
    We can conclude then, as the scripture affirms, that there is no salvation without faith in Christ.  Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
    Just knowing he can save and knowing that he can forgive sin is simply head knowledge. To act on this knowledge requires faith. The origin of this blind mans faith came by hearing; your faith can come in the same way, for the scripture says that "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God". Rom. 10:17.
    Once we understand our lost condition and hear that there is a remedy for it, our faith must grasp the first opportunity. In the example of this blind man we can see this very plainly. He did not wait once he heard that Jesus passed by that way. Jesus was leaving Jericho and as the Bible records, he would never return again.
    As he was passing he heard the pleading cry of this blind man. Many in the crowd tried to silence him, but he only cried out the louder. Once Jesus heard the awful cry for mercy, ver.49 says that Jesus stood still. This is not without its significance; our cry for mercy will have the full attention of Jesus. He then calls on this blind man.
    We can almost read the thoughts of Bartimaeus: “Here he is, but he is passing by, this may be my last and only chance for healing. Unbelief says he passes by, no healing for you, no hope of mercy now. But faith grasps this opportunity.
    Jesus of Nazareth passes by today, perhaps he will never pass this way again. Will you let him go without calling his attention to your plight? How many times in the past has he passed by and even knocked on your hearts door and invited you? Bartimaeus responded immediately when Jesus called him and the result was his immediate healing. His cry was from the heart and the resulting prayer was the simplest that could express his need.
    Have Mercy on Me!
    Your prayer need not be theologically correct. Simply asking Jesus for mercy and exercising the faith to believe that he will save you is sufficient. After all, this is what Jesus came to accomplish. “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”
    If you have never asked Jesus to heal your blind spiritual condition, would you consider doing that today? Jesus passes your way today, will you cry out to him in simple faith?
  13. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, Closed Communion   
    Closed Communion
    James Foley
     
    I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

    INTRODUCTION

    Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

    We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

    The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

    Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

    Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

    The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

    IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

    A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

    B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

    The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

    Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

    When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

    "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

    C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

    D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

    E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

    I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

    "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

    “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

    IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

    A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
    19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
    20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

    There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
    I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

    Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
    8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
    10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

    B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

    IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

    A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

    B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

    II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
    Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
    To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
    II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
    II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

    C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

    The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
    So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
    Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
    Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
    Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
    It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
    Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
    Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
    1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

     28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

     29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

     30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

  14. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, From: What Ever Happened To Christmas?   
    Source: What Ever Happened To Christmas?
     
     
  15. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, Man’S Dilemma And Its Remedy   
    Man’s Dilemma and Its Remedy



    By: James Foley




    Text: Luke 21: 5-38



    In our text we find mans dilemma. The reading is lengthy, but necessary to show the severity of mans dilemma. The whole world is in turmoil today. In our text we can see the full scope of this world-wide turmoil. Religious turmoil: turmoil of nations: turmoil of nature: turmoil in personal lives and family relationships. Everywhere we look we see this turmoil and the resulting confusion and moral decay it generates. Peace seems to be an elusive dream, often spoken of, but always just beyond our grasp.

    Why is it that, of all the great minds and great nations of this world, there is not one that is able to bring peace? Not one that can turn back the moral decay and right the wrongs of a society seemingly bent on self destruction?

    The great minds of our time would shrug their shoulders in response to this question, but there is an answer; there is a remedy to man’s dilemma. But sadly it lies just beyond the grasp of natural man’s ability to comprehend. The short answer to this question is simply that mankind, outside of God, cannot see the root of the prOBlem. We look at people and nations as the source, never once realizing that there is a power behind people and nations and that this power is spiritual, not physical.

    This power is evil in its very nature and it has been with us from the beginning. It has a name and his name is The Devil, Satan, The Prince of Darkness, The god of this world. He has instituted a masterpiece of deception that dates back to the Garden of Eden. Actually his masterpiece is twofold. The first is the idea that he does not exist. Consider how he appeared to Eve on that fateful day. The whole world is deceived into thinking that he is a fictional character. You are seen as simple minded and gullible if you believe that there is a real Devil. 2Co 11:14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

    The second part of his masterpiece is false religion. He perverted Scripture when he approached Eve. Gen. 3:1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
    This second part of his masterpiece is almost impossible for people to see unless they know what to look for. He puts this into play when someone, by God’s Holy Spirit, begins to see some little glimmer of truth and light. It is then that he inserts false religion. Luke 21:8 And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them. This part of his masterpiece is very insidious, it can work in two ways. It can work to keep people from the truth when they hear it, but it can also draw people away from the truth once they have heard it. I have seen this principle at work many times. No sooner than someone says yes to God and becomes saved, then there is some false religion that comes knocking at their door. I have seen this in effect in both personal lives as well as churches in a community.
    2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
    4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    So then, we have established that there is a very real evil, in the form of a spiritual being called Satan. Having done this it becomes paramount that we understand that both our dilemma and its remedy are on a spiritual plane. This simply means that the reason nations and our great thinkers are at a loss to find a remedy is because they are attempting the impossible; that is; they are using the wrong weapons. They use worldly, physical weapons where only spiritual weapons will prevail. James 4:1-7. From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
    2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot OBtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
    3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
    4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
    5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?
    6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.
    7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

    Evil cannot be fought against with evil. Mankind, outside of Christ is evil. So then, if we are to fight against evil, it must be with good. Herein lies a prOBlem; do we have any good? Rom. 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

    Mat. 12:26 And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? Man, in his natural state is subject to the power of Satan, he is the god of this world. They have no weapons!
    What are the weapons of spiritual warfare? First we note that the source of our weapons and any strength we might have to wield them is God. Eph.6:10 -11 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

    In Eph. 6:12 we see the magnitude of our prOBlem. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. This is way beyond our ability to combat in our natural state.

    Ok, we have seen the enormity of man’s dilemma, now we will look at the remedy for this dilemma.

    Eph. 6:13 begins with the word “wherefore”, or because of what was said in Ver.12 we need the whole armor of God. Why is it that the Christian can withstand all that the world can throw at him? Rom. 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. It is because it is God that holds him up. When we have done all that we can in our own strength and can do no more, still we can stand with God’s help and weather the storm.

    Eph. 6:14 And now we get into the actual armor of the Christian. Each piece is indispensable; each has its specific purpose. Here in Ver.14 we have the Christians loins girt about with truth. To have our loins girt about with truth means to put on Christ as a garment, for he is truth. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. This is the only way to God. The breastplate of righteousness is the second piece of armor. It protects our vital parts, such as our heart. It is listed second because without truth, there can be no righteousness. Truth is first and begets righteousness, and this righteousness is not ours, it is the righteousness of Christ.

    It is interesting to note the order of these pieces of armor. To reverse this order is to reject all that God is. Paul said this about righteousness: Rom 10:3 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. Back in Ver.1 he prayed for Israel to be saved, which would bring about true righteousness. Putting righteousness before truth, or salvation only results in man’s righteousness, which is not acceptable to God. His order is reversed. At the moment of the acceptance of truth (Jesus) we are covered by righteousness, His righteousness. Phil. 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

    Eph. 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Once we know the truth and have righteousness is the only time we can prepare to fight the spiritual battle. Notice I said “prepare”, because being newly saved, or born again, we must have preparation. No soldier goes to war without proper training. This is why we have the Bible, so that we might be able to fight the good fight of faith effectively.

    Paul speaks of this in this way: 1Cor. 9:24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may OBtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to OBtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: Paul strove to fight effectively.

    Eph. 6:16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. Faith is the believer’s most important tool, as well as a vital piece of his armor. It is also the most difficult for him to master. Faith is not an intangible, as the world thinks it is. They speak of blind faith and they envision our faith as being blind simply because they can neither see it or our God, so to them our faith is blind.

    In reality our faith is solid and immovable if exercised properly. Heb. 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Here we see two things that the world cannot see and knows nothing of. But we who live by faith can see it and are the recipients of the rewards of living our lives by faith. Two things of note in this verse are that it says that faith is substance and evidence. Let’s read it again.

    Hebrews 11 is said to be the faith chapter, and so it is. Please take time to read this at home and you will see why it is called the faith chapter. Faith then is our shield, as this verse points out. Faith is what will pull us through when all else has failed. Once again it is needful to point out that the faith we speak of is not our own: Heb 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;

    Eph. 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: We cannot hope to help ourselves or others, spiritually speaking, or even begin to fight a fight of faith until we have the helmet of salvation. It is impossible to fight God’s enemies when we are on their side, when we are yet enemies ourselves.
    Col. 1:21 And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled.

    And now we come to the only offensive weapon in our list of the armor of God. It is listed here as the sword of the Spirit. As such it is defined in our text as The Word of God. Heb 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. 13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

    Ironically, it is by His word that His enemies become His friends. His word is able to cut through the smoke screen they put up. It is able to see through all the evil thoughts and intents of their heart. All excuses are put aside by it and the reality of their lost condition is brought out into the light of day.
  16. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, The Stone Removed   
    Fear Not - The Stone Removed
    By: James Foley
     
    Text:   Matthew 28:1-8
     
    Introduction:
    I’m going to preach a sermon which was first preached by an angel. And then, it’s been preached by almost every preacher who has ever preached since that time, including the great Charles Spurgeon.
    Matthew 28: 2 will be our key verse, let’s read this key verse first. “And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.”
    Now, let’s go back and read the first eight verses
    Let’s read also in I Corinthians 15:19-21 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.”
    That early morning, as Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went toward the tomb to anoint the body of Jesus with sweet smelling scents and oils and ointments, as was customary in that day, there was a big problem they worried about. And that’s the theme of our message — the stone rolled away. They knew there was a big stone in the way. And these two women knew they would be unable to move the stone. And they were worried about it.
    In Mark 16:3  it tells us about their worries relative to this problem where they said, “And they said among themselves, who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?” For it was a very great stone. Before they even got there, they were thinking and wondering about the stone. Who would roll it away? And they said among themselves on the way to the tomb, “Who shall roll us away the stone?”
    But when you get right down to it, this is the question of all mankind. This very same question that they asked is the great question of all mankind through the ages, “Who shall roll us away the stone?”
    In man’s path to eternal life there lies a huge stone. This stone is one which completely blocks the road and there’s no way man himself can remove the stone. But who can remove the barrier? That’s the question. Philosophy tried, and still tries, but has never succeeded in removing the stone from the door.
    This stone of doubt, uncertainty and unbelief has stopped all progress for man on the path towards eternal life. The question still remained, “Who could remove the awful stone and bring life and immortality to light?” Philosophy can’t do it. Man can’t do it by any means. And yet, there is a terrible and urgent need for the stone to be removed. Generation after generation, millions were swallowed up by the grave. And yet, who could give any hope beyond the grave? There’s the stone; it’s in the way. Who could give any hope beyond the grave? Resurrection was whispered of, but men could not believe it.
    But to these women, there were three difficulties:
    (1)The stone was huge. They spoke of this as we saw in  Mark 16:3
    (2) Another great difficulty was that it was stamped with Caesar’s seal. It could not be moved under penalty of the law.
    (3) And it was guarded to prevent it from being moved.
    Mankind has always had these same three problems. Three serious difficulties in the way to life and immortality. First, death was a stone not to be moved by man’s power, as we’ve already said. Second, death was a penalty for offenses against God’s law. And third, the red seal of God’s vengeance was upon it. So, we can see that this is an almost exact parallel to the reality at the time of the sealing of the tomb. But still the question remains, “Who could roll the stone away?” And they found the answer! They found the answer when they saw that the tomb was empty. There is another life! Bodies will live again, because Jesus lives!
    Isn’t it wonderful to think about it and to know that because He lives, we shall live forever? The believer’s grave is the doorway to immortality. Let’s think of the resurrection of Christ in two main divisions. First, think about it as the stone rolled away preaching to us. And then, in the second instance, let us hear the angel’s message from his pulpit of stone.
    Remember, I told you in the beginning that this message was first preached by an angel. But first, let the stone preach to us. Let’s think about it and let the stone speak.
    First, the stone was the door of the sepulchre. In other words, the door of death’s house was removed. We will enter death; no doubt about it. All of us, some day, will enter or pass through death.
    But though we know death comes, we can rejoice because we shall not be shut in — the door has been removed, the stone rolled away.
    Christ was committed to the grave as a hostage. The Scripture says He died for our sins. But, thank God, it also says He rose for our justification. Because of the resurrection, we have absolute proof of His full payment of the sin debt. In the empty tomb, we see sin put away. We see death destroyed. Just as these women came and saw the stone had been removed and the tomb was empty. Death has become the doorway to heaven.
    Now, let us continue to let the stone preach to us. Consider the stone as a trophy of Christ’s victory. And this certainly is a fabulous trophy of victory. Evil men thought they had destroyed Jesus. They cackled in glee when He was sealed in the tomb. They thought they had eliminated this troublemaker. But the grave could not hold Him. His heel was bruised by the serpent. But on the resurrection morning, He crushed the old serpent’s head as scripture recorded he would in Gen. 3:15 “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
    First Corinthians 15, beginning with verse 54, says: “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Now, as we continue to look at the stone, let’s think of the stone as a foundation laid. This comes after we have thought, as we just did, about the stone as a trophy of Christ’s victory. Let us set this stone up in faith’s eye as a memorial to conquering man’s last enemy, death. That is the trophy Christ won! Remember the stone as a foundation laid. This is the stone on which our faith is built. The key stone of the Christian faith is the resurrection of Jesus, proven by the stone rolled away and the empty tomb. Without it, there would be no Christian faith.
    Without the resurrection, our faith is just a false and deceitful thing, like man’s religions all around us. But with the resurrection, ours is the true and living faith. 1 Corinthians 15:17 says this, “And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” So, without the resurrection, there is no salvation. Our faith is vain. But we know Christ lives, as the angel proclaimed in this message. The resurrection of Christ is better established than perhaps any other fact in history. Some things in history we have been told bear no resemblance to truth. Men often revise “history.” And yet the resurrection of Christ is completely established in history.
    His resurrection absolutely proved the sufficiency of His atonement for sin. We can build our lives on the sure foundation of the risen Christ, the living stone. There’s no other foundation that matters. There is no other satisfactory basis for Christians. No foundation will stand the test except that of the living stone.
    Death is swallowed up in victory, as we read in I Corinthians 15:54-55.  “So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
     Now, in Matthew 28: 6 what did the angel say? “He is not here: for he is risen.”
    Let the stone preach more. The stone was a boundary. Stones are often used as boundary markers. This stone was a boundary. There it lies with the angel sitting upon it. You say, “How are you getting a boundary out of that?” On one side, we see the guards frightened and like dead men. But on the other side, what do we see? We see trembling women to whom the angel speaks and says, “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus.”
    The stone became the boundary between the living and the dead, between seekers and haters, between friends and foes of Christ. To His enemies, it became a stone of stumbling, a rock of offense. But to God’s people it’s the head stone of the corner. It has become our victory in Christ, and our greatest delight.
    We could use this illustration from the Old Testament. Remember the pillar of smoke and the pillar of fire between Israel and Egypt? And this pillar dividing between Israel and the pursuing Egyptians, how did it work?
    On the side of the Egyptians, it was darkness and a hindrance. But on the side of the Israelites, it was the brightness of God and a light which helped them on their way to the Promised Land. In the same way this stone becomes a boundary.
    The resurrection is a doctrine of fear and horror to unbelievers. You say, “Why?” Well, what would they like to believe? The wicked who refuse Christ would prefer to believe this life is all there is. Therefore, the resurrection is a doctrine of terror to them. If they continually reject Christ, they don’t want any resurrection. They’d rather it just be ended when this life ends.
    But to those on the right side of the stone, the doctrine of the resurrection is a doctrine of joy and victory. We know that no matter what happens here, we shall achieve final and complete victory in Christ, when we have that perfect body, in that perfect land, on the other side of the stone.
    The question is, “Do you trust fully in Christ today?” God’s angel speaks to you, “Fear not ye,” if you fully trust in Christ. But if you believe not, the message is, “Tremble with fear, for the resurrection is true and judgment comes to all men.” Hebrews 9:27 says,“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”
    We’ve listened to the stone preach. Now let’s hear what the angel has to say, let’s listen to his message.
    “Fear not ye.” The heart of the risen Savior’s gospel is in that little short message, isn’t it? “Fear not ye: for he is risen.” You who would be saved, seek Jesus. “Fear not ye.” That’s the message. That’s the spoken message of the angel. Though the earth quake, the earth be burned with fire, as it will be some day, though you see the angel come down, though you go to a tomb, yet, fear not, you cannot die. Believers have eternal life in Christ.
    Nothing on Earth, in heaven or in hell can make the one who comes to Jesus in faith, trusting Him, to fear. The angel plainly said, “Fear not ye.” But what was the rest of his message? He said some more, didn’t he? “Fear not ye: for I know.” Our Father knows about our fears! Yes, our Father knows, as did the angel, our fears and problems. And the rest of his message — let’s read all of it together. “Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.” That’s the heart of the message of the angel.
    The world had crucified Jesus. But the believers were still clinging to Him in loving loyalty! They had come to anoint His body. He is not here, for He is risen. Sinner, right now, today, Jesus is living. Today He’s ready, willing and able to save all who come to Him in repentance and faith. Men need to go and look at the empty tomb through the eyes of faith. It is proof that He is living and can still save today and keep us saved when we receive Him.
  17. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from Alan for a sermon entry, Grace: It’s Meaning and Source   
    Grace: It’s Meaning and Source
    By Jim Foley
    Country Baptist Church
     
    Text:
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
    If you are a Christian there are words that you have been familiar with all of your Christian life. Many of them are more or less taken for granted; we just don’t dwell on their meaning. As Baptists this word, “grace” is a fundamental of the faith and often used in sermons and lessons. 
    You seldom go to church without hearing this word mentioned, but how many of us really know what it means? There is probably no other word in Scripture that is so poorly understood. There are a great many people who have received the grace of God into their hearts, but who, if they were asked what the word means, might be troubled and confused and unable to define it. 
    The plain meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited mercy. Though this is the plain meaning there is so much more that goes into not only the meaning in its positive nature, but also in its negative nature. 
    Let’s examine this term unmerited mercy. The word, mercy, speaks volumes about its nature. For mercy to even exist there must be an entity higher than the recipient of this mercy. In our case this entity is the Almighty God that spoke all things into existence. He is all powerful and able to accomplish any thing he desires. 
    Ro 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
     16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
     
    The source of Grace: 

    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.
    Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 
    The highest manifestation of this grace was when God gave his son to save this lost world. The very fact that God chose to save an undeserving world speaks volumes. He certainly didn’t have to do it and there is no force that could make him do it. He did it out of love. He did it because he is a benevolent, righteous and loving God. In this respect his benevolence, righteousness and love can only result in grace. An illustration could be made in this way; H2O is water, it consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. H2O always produces water; it is chemically impossible for it to produce anything else. Grace is this way, it is impossible for the actions of God to result in anything but grace; it is an integral part of His nature. 
    The positive nature of grace is that it is a gift. The last clause in Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: as such Scripture declares plainly that grace is a gift. A gift is freely given, it cannot be earned, nor can it be given as a reward for good deeds.  Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 
    God deals with man in grace, he has from the very beginning.  Adam is a case in point; there was no sign that Adam recognized his lost condition, no cry for mercy and pardon, and certainly no confession of sin. Yet God sought him out specifically that he might bestow his grace upon him. He met Adam, as he does all mankind, in his lost and ruined condition. He bestowed upon Adam the promise of a coming redeemer, Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Notice that he did this without Adam asking for it, or even recognizing that he needed it. This is grace. Grace then is unconditional; God bestowed his grace on Adam in his ruined condition. 
    For six thousand years God has been trying to show mankind this great and glorious truth; that he wants to deal with man in love and grace. He expects no payment in kind, he requires no attempt to clean up our life, as a matter of fact to even make an attempt to clean up our life in an attempt to merit God’s favor is an insult. God said his grace is a free gift. To even think that there is anything we can do, or can take the place of what God accomplished in Christ is the same as saying to God that His sacrifice was not sufficient. 
    By grace God devised a scheme of redemption for fallen man, justice never would and reason never could. No sinner would ever have sought out God; just like Adam, he sees no need simply because he doesn’t even recognize his lost condition. It is always God that seeks out fallen man, never the other way around. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Nowhere do we read that he came to save those that were looking for truth and pardon. This is what the Scripture means when it says that we are blind. 
    There is a special aspect of grace that is both sobering and enlightening. First, God has provided his grace to all mankind, even to those who do not know of it and even those who will never accept it. This special aspect of grace is faith. It is only by faith that we can apprehend grace for ourselves. This faith is unique in itself, for it is not our faith. The scripture affirms that the faith to believe is the faith that Christ bestows on every believer. It is his faith, not our own, for in the first place we have no faith other than that which a holy, just and righteous God has provided. Notice the grammar in the last clause of our text in Eph. 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Grace is the object, but faith is the vehicle that allows us to arrive at the object. The scripture affirms that this vehicle, faith, is the gift of God. 
    We think of the Apostle Paul in respect to unmerited mercy. Paul had never done anything that could rise to the place where he could merit God’s mercy. He had kept the law as best he could as a Pharisee. He had done everything he possibly could against Christ and the church.  But when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, he met him in pure grace. This concept is brought home all the more clearly in Jesus’ question to Paul where he asked, “why persecutest thou me”? Paul was in active opposition to God and his grace when he set out to kill or imprison all who professed faith in Jesus. 
    God’s grace shines through even more clearly when we understand that God dealt with Paul in the condition he found him in. He was, at this point in his life, a God hater, even though he thought that what he did, he did in the name of God. God was using the witness and lives of the Christians that Paul persecuted as a preparation against Paul’s day of mercy and pardon. This is what God meant when he said to Paul: “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  This is a reference to the practice of ox drovers who would use a long pole with a sharp end to “goad” the ox in the direction the drover wanted it to go. God had been “goading” Paul in the direction he wanted him to go. The witness of those that Paul persecuted was what God used as a goad. Though Paul had done nothing to merit God’s grace, still God provided it and brought Paul to the realization of the truth of his word. 
    What can we say about works before justification, or works for justification? Simply this; what we would call good works before justification are not pleasant to God. This is because they do not spring from faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men able to receive grace. Think with me, good works conducted to merit the favor of God have not been done according to the way God has designed his grace to be given; therefore they have the nature of sin, because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. 
    The thought of the God of all heaven and earth freely providing grace to those who do not deserve it is almost beyond our comprehension, it runs counter to everything we are conditioned by our fallen nature to believe. How sad it is to come to the understanding that there are multitudes that will never avail themselves of the grace that God has willingly and loving provided for every person who has ever lived on this earth. 
    This is what is meant by God when he says in his word that “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The free gift has already been provided; the only requirement to laying hold of eternal life is simply to take the grace that God has already provided.
  18. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, Grace: It’s Meaning and Source   
    Grace: It’s Meaning and Source
    By Jim Foley
    Country Baptist Church
     
    Text:
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 
    If you are a Christian there are words that you have been familiar with all of your Christian life. Many of them are more or less taken for granted; we just don’t dwell on their meaning. As Baptists this word, “grace” is a fundamental of the faith and often used in sermons and lessons. 
    You seldom go to church without hearing this word mentioned, but how many of us really know what it means? There is probably no other word in Scripture that is so poorly understood. There are a great many people who have received the grace of God into their hearts, but who, if they were asked what the word means, might be troubled and confused and unable to define it. 
    The plain meaning of the word “grace” is unmerited mercy. Though this is the plain meaning there is so much more that goes into not only the meaning in its positive nature, but also in its negative nature. 
    Let’s examine this term unmerited mercy. The word, mercy, speaks volumes about its nature. For mercy to even exist there must be an entity higher than the recipient of this mercy. In our case this entity is the Almighty God that spoke all things into existence. He is all powerful and able to accomplish any thing he desires. 
    Ro 9:15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
     16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
     
    The source of Grace: 

    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.
    Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. 
    The highest manifestation of this grace was when God gave his son to save this lost world. The very fact that God chose to save an undeserving world speaks volumes. He certainly didn’t have to do it and there is no force that could make him do it. He did it out of love. He did it because he is a benevolent, righteous and loving God. In this respect his benevolence, righteousness and love can only result in grace. An illustration could be made in this way; H2O is water, it consists of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. H2O always produces water; it is chemically impossible for it to produce anything else. Grace is this way, it is impossible for the actions of God to result in anything but grace; it is an integral part of His nature. 
    The positive nature of grace is that it is a gift. The last clause in Eph.2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: as such Scripture declares plainly that grace is a gift. A gift is freely given, it cannot be earned, nor can it be given as a reward for good deeds.  Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 
    God deals with man in grace, he has from the very beginning.  Adam is a case in point; there was no sign that Adam recognized his lost condition, no cry for mercy and pardon, and certainly no confession of sin. Yet God sought him out specifically that he might bestow his grace upon him. He met Adam, as he does all mankind, in his lost and ruined condition. He bestowed upon Adam the promise of a coming redeemer, Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Notice that he did this without Adam asking for it, or even recognizing that he needed it. This is grace. Grace then is unconditional; God bestowed his grace on Adam in his ruined condition. 
    For six thousand years God has been trying to show mankind this great and glorious truth; that he wants to deal with man in love and grace. He expects no payment in kind, he requires no attempt to clean up our life, as a matter of fact to even make an attempt to clean up our life in an attempt to merit God’s favor is an insult. God said his grace is a free gift. To even think that there is anything we can do, or can take the place of what God accomplished in Christ is the same as saying to God that His sacrifice was not sufficient. 
    By grace God devised a scheme of redemption for fallen man, justice never would and reason never could. No sinner would ever have sought out God; just like Adam, he sees no need simply because he doesn’t even recognize his lost condition. It is always God that seeks out fallen man, never the other way around. Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. Nowhere do we read that he came to save those that were looking for truth and pardon. This is what the Scripture means when it says that we are blind. 
    There is a special aspect of grace that is both sobering and enlightening. First, God has provided his grace to all mankind, even to those who do not know of it and even those who will never accept it. This special aspect of grace is faith. It is only by faith that we can apprehend grace for ourselves. This faith is unique in itself, for it is not our faith. The scripture affirms that the faith to believe is the faith that Christ bestows on every believer. It is his faith, not our own, for in the first place we have no faith other than that which a holy, just and righteous God has provided. Notice the grammar in the last clause of our text in Eph. 2:8. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Grace is the object, but faith is the vehicle that allows us to arrive at the object. The scripture affirms that this vehicle, faith, is the gift of God. 
    We think of the Apostle Paul in respect to unmerited mercy. Paul had never done anything that could rise to the place where he could merit God’s mercy. He had kept the law as best he could as a Pharisee. He had done everything he possibly could against Christ and the church.  But when Jesus met him on the road to Damascus, he met him in pure grace. This concept is brought home all the more clearly in Jesus’ question to Paul where he asked, “why persecutest thou me”? Paul was in active opposition to God and his grace when he set out to kill or imprison all who professed faith in Jesus. 
    God’s grace shines through even more clearly when we understand that God dealt with Paul in the condition he found him in. He was, at this point in his life, a God hater, even though he thought that what he did, he did in the name of God. God was using the witness and lives of the Christians that Paul persecuted as a preparation against Paul’s day of mercy and pardon. This is what God meant when he said to Paul: “it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”  This is a reference to the practice of ox drovers who would use a long pole with a sharp end to “goad” the ox in the direction the drover wanted it to go. God had been “goading” Paul in the direction he wanted him to go. The witness of those that Paul persecuted was what God used as a goad. Though Paul had done nothing to merit God’s grace, still God provided it and brought Paul to the realization of the truth of his word. 
    What can we say about works before justification, or works for justification? Simply this; what we would call good works before justification are not pleasant to God. This is because they do not spring from faith in Jesus Christ; neither do they make men able to receive grace. Think with me, good works conducted to merit the favor of God have not been done according to the way God has designed his grace to be given; therefore they have the nature of sin, because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin”. 
    The thought of the God of all heaven and earth freely providing grace to those who do not deserve it is almost beyond our comprehension, it runs counter to everything we are conditioned by our fallen nature to believe. How sad it is to come to the understanding that there are multitudes that will never avail themselves of the grace that God has willingly and loving provided for every person who has ever lived on this earth. 
    This is what is meant by God when he says in his word that “And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” The free gift has already been provided; the only requirement to laying hold of eternal life is simply to take the grace that God has already provided.
  19. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, The New Birth   
    THE NEW BIRTH
    Text: John 3 :1-21. 
     
     
    Introduction:
    The text at hand shows that there is something that is extremely important to every individual that comes into this world. It also shows that there are some that are aware of it but for the most part, mankind is ignorant of its necessity. This subject is so important that it is the reason that the Bible was written, it is also the reason that the Son of God came to this earth, leaving the glory of heaven, to suffer at the hands of men. It is the reason that you are here in this world now, and as such it is the answer to the age-old question; Why am I here? It is also the reason that the existence of people and nations are recorded as they are in both the Old and New Testament. Nations rise and fall and the history of this world is ordered in such a way that the purpose of it all might result in the redemption of each and every lost sinner, even though they do not know that they are lost.
    The subject at hand is the new birth. What is it? Jesus said it this way; ye must be born again. It is salvation, redemption. And as such it points to the fact that there is something deathly wrong with man in his natural state. . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    There are many things in this life that while you may need them, it is not a matter of life or death---THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM. We are all given a certain amount of time here on this earth for the express purpose of finding Jesus and appropriating his righteousness to our account, the result of our failure to accomplish this is spiritual death and a separation from God and his heaven forever. Ver.3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Once the time that we have been allotted runs out there is no recourse, death forever locks us into the condition that we were in when he visited---and it is irreversible.
    Our text mentions two subjects; Jesus and Nicodemus. He had heard Jesus teach and now, in the darkness of night, he comes to Jesus. He recognized in Jesus something extraordinary, his spiritual eyes had begun to open and he realized that this man was from God. Ver.2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. The fact that he came at night also shows that he came secretly and alone. This points to a very important aspect of the new birth; it is personal and the sinner must come to Jesus on a one to one basis concerning salvation. Notice again the command in Ver.7.  Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. It is directed at Nicodemus alone, though the entire world may be in need of this salvation, this is his time, and Jesus speaks to him in a very personal way.
    You may have seen people coming foreword and claiming to be saved, but Salvation is not in coming foreword, it is not in talking to the preacher, it is not in joining the church; it is not in repeating a prayer. Salvation is a personal experience with Jesus Christ, it is in trusting him with your eternal destiny, coming to him in simple faith with the assurance that he can and will save your eternal soul.
    This lesson then will convey to us the idea that this new birth is a must. The word, “must”, is an imperative, and Jesus meant it to be, for he said, “ye must be born again”. If the new birth is so important why doesn’t everyone know about it? It is simply because they are spiritually dead, . And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; This is why Jesus had to come; this is the only way that man can become aware of his condition.  And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.
    Salvation then, becomes mandatory equipment for entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven, it is not optional as some believe, and it is the only way to get to heaven.  Jn.14: 6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
    This new birth is to be understood as spiritual in nature, Ver.4-5. Show not only the mistake that Nicodemus made, but answer of the Lord showing the spiritual nature of the new birth. Here he speaks of two births, the first is the natural birth, born of water, and any doctor will tell you that when a baby is born it is a water birth. The second birth Jesus terms, “born of the Spirit”, this is the Spirit of God. This is why we call it a spiritual birth, Ver.6. Says, “That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit”. Jesus then compares the spiritual birth to the wind, meaning that it is a mystery, we can see the effects of it, but it cannot be seen with the eye.Ver.8.  The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. Ver.9. Shows that Nicodemus still did not understand these things. He is still lost. What a paradox; he is standing in the presence of eternal life and yet he does not recognize it. It must be remembered that this man was a master, or teacher in Israel, a spiritual leader, yet he could not comprehend spiritual things. Ver.10.
    Ver.13-17. Shows the plan of salvation as well as the purpose and need of a savior.
    By speaking to Nicodemus concerning the new birth, he showed him that there was something that he was lacking spiritually, something that he desperately needed. Now he shows him God’s plan to remedy the situation. Notice that God’s remedy is rooted in love, Ver.16.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. And it is also predicated on the sacrifice of Jesus, the Son of God as payment for my sin.
    Jesus ends his discourse with Nicodemus by showing why the need of the new birth is so great. Ver.18-19. Man thinks that when he dies God weighs the good and bad that he has done, and if the good outweighs the bad, he goes to heaven. But these verses should show the foolishness of this line of reasoning. When these verses speak of the word “condemned”, it is in the sense of the trial already being over, sentence has been passed and now man only waits the carrying out of that sentence. There is only one thing that can change a judicial condemnation and that is a pardon; this is what Jesus offers. By accepting him as your Savior you can change your status from an enemy of God, doomed to an eternity in hell, to a child of the King. The scripture does not record what Nicodemus did with this information in regard to his spiritual welfare, and history has yet to record what you will do with this information. What will you do with Jesus? The answer to this question will determine what he will do with you in regard to your spiritual state.
     
     
  20. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, When did the church begin?   
    When did the church begin? 
     
    I think we would all agree that the English word “church” originates from the Greek word, “Ecclesia”. Without going into great detail I believe that we can also agree that this Greek word basically means “assembly.”
    Ok, if we agree so far then we can move on to what assembly we are referring to when discussing the word, “Church.” I think it logical to begin with the promise of the church.
    We find the promise here: Mat. 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
    In this promise Jesus defines what church he is talking about; He said it would be his church and that he would build it. If we take Jesus at his word we can eliminate any other church, or assembly, if you will. We can also affirm that his church did not exist before this because the words “I will build” are in the future tense.
    We find the first members of his church mentioned here” 1Cor. 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
    We find that he chose these apostles here: Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles.
    Since the office of apostle is then a “church office,” we can safely say that when he chose the twelve this is the beginning of “his church.” There are many scriptures that show that his church was in existence during his personal ministry on earth. They do not show the time of the actual beginning, but they affirm that it existed at that time. There is no scripture that comes right out and says; “The church began at this time.”
    There are many that think that the church began on the day of Pentecost. But a serious study will show that the church existed before Pentecost. I’ll just mention a few here. Jesus is with his disciples here as they partake of The Lord’s Supper: Mat. 26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
     30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
    He sang this hymn with them in the midst of the church: Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
    The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance.
    Just the fact that they partook of The Lord’s Supper presupposes that there is a church in existence at this time.
    The authority of disciples in church capacity was placed in the church during Christ's earthly ministry. Mat 18:15.  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
     16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
     17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
    They had the church commission to preach the Gospel before Pentecost Mrk. 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
    Anyway, this part about the church before Pentecost is just a freebee. It doesn’t really speak to the issue of when the church was begun, but rather, when it wasn’t.
  21. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from Alan for a sermon entry, Contrary Doctrine   
    Text: Rom.16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

    1Tim.4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    2Tim.1:13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

    2Tim.2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

    We claim to be Christians, followers of a specific way and teaching Jn.14: 6. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. We claim to be guided by the unerring Word of God, the Bible. Yet it seems we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of history and repeatedly disregard the warnings of those in the faith that have gone before us.

    We have a parallel in the history of the nation of Israel. We can see this parallel in the remarkable scriptures of Duet.1:2-15. An eleven day trip took them forty years! We can see a direct parallel between Israel’s relationship to God and our relationship to God…. how slowly we cover the ground! What winding and turning! How often we must go back and cover the same ground again and again. We are slow travelers because we are slow learners. We might marvel at their unbelief and slowness to OBey, but we, like them, are kept back by our own unbelief and slowness of heart.

    The doctrine that we are to hold and pass on is the Word that we have received: The pure, unadulterated truth of God.

    The Galatian Church is a negative case in point. Gal.3:1-4. O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not OBey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
    This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
    Are ye so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
    Have ye suffered so many things in vain? If it be yet in vain.
    Saved by grace, but then allowing themselves to be seduced by a perversion of Scripture.

    Deut.1:3. And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them; Here is instruction for all who labor in the Word and doctrine:
    Moses gave what he received from God, nothing more or less; this is the grand principal of the ministry, to bring people in direct contact with the Living Word of God.

    The Apostle Paul makes this argument better than I can. 1Cor.2: 1-5. And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
    2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
    3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
    4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
    5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

    1Cor.15: 1-3. Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
    2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
    3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

    The ‘so called’ church has wholly departed from the authority of the Word of God. In these churches, things are taught that have no foundation in the Scripture.
    They not only tolerate, but sanction and defend that which is in direct opposition to the mind of Christ. He spoke of them in Mat.15:8-9.
    This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
    9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    If you ask for the Divine Authority for their institution or practice, you are told that God has left us free to act according to our conscience. It is considered that professing Christians are left free to form churches, choose their own form of government and appoint their own officers. Can this be true? Are we to assume that the church is worse off than Israel in instruction and authority?

    We can see in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, the marvelous pains God took to instruct His people in even the minutest particulars concerning their worship and private life. Nothing was left to human arrangement. Man’s wisdom, judgment, reason and conscience had no part in it. There was no place for, “I can’t see this, or, I can’t go with that, or, I can’t agree that this is so.” Such language could only be regarded as self-will, for in that day all the instruction came with, “Thus saith the Lord.” They might as well say they could not agree with God. Are we left to think and arrange for ourselves in worship and service to God? I think not! 1Tim.3: 14-15. These things write I unto thee, hoping to come unto thee shortly:
    But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
    He then goes on to show how things ought to be done by believers.

    Why are there different doctrines among professing churches? We have
    possession of God’s Word. We also have division, sects, creeds and denominations,
    Why? Because they refuse to submit their whole moral being to the authority of the Scripture. Free exercise of thought is the boast of Protestant Christianity.

    Such thinking will not stand at the Judgment. Mat.7: 21-23. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
    Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

    The duty of the servant is to OBey, not to exercise his will. The confusion between so-called churches is due to an unwillingness to bow to Divine Authority.

    Mat.7:28. And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
    For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.

    It is impossible for the Holy Scripture to teach opposing doctrines. It cannot possibly teach the doctrines of Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Church of Christ and Baptist….they oppose one another!

    Let’s look at a direct command in the name of Jesus for unity. 1Cor. 1:10. Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

    The so-called “church”, has departed from the authority of Christ long ago. They gave themselves over to man’s reasoning, feelings and religious perversion. They did not heed the teaching of Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

    It is every Christian’s sacred duty to test every ecclesiastical system by the Word of God. If we have no Divine authority, no perfect standard, how can we be certain that we are on the true path?

    All that claim to be His church cannot justify the confusion of doctrines that they hold true. 1Cor.14:33. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

    If God is not the author of this confusion, then who is? Jas 3:16. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

    If we cannot say that “this is the thing that the Lord has commanded”, then we are in error.
    If a church or religious organization is not in subjection to God as revealed in His Word, what and to whom are they in subjection to? There are only two powers in this world, the power of God and the power of Satan. Satan is the master of deception and mimicry and his masterpiece of all time deception is a false religious system.

    Rom.16:17-18. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
    For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

    What kind of doctrine has God won your heart with? Can you go on to perfection with an opposing doctrine having once known the truth? Rom.6: 17. But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

    The religious liberals will say that there is some good in all churches. My answer is that there is good grain in rat poison too, but it only takes a small amount of poison mixed in with the grain to kill the rat. Any Christian that thinks that he can take what good there is and leave the bad, is ignorant of the nature of evil. Make no mistake; that which is contrary to God’s Word is not of God! 1Cor.10:21,
  22. Like
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from *Light* for a sermon entry, Spiritual Growth   
    SPIRITUAL GROWTH, AS TAUGHT BY SCRIPTURE AND THE SCIENCE OF BOTANY
    By Jim Foley
     
    Text:  “…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow”  Matthew 6:28.
     
    INTRO:  In this scripture Jesus gives us an object lesson as to what constitutes spiritual growth, and how it happens.  Jesus made the lilies and He made me, and now he describes to me how both biological and spiritual growth takes place.  People often create for themselves a great deal of anxiety because they assume there must be some formula they must rigorously conform to in order to make themselves grow spiritually.  Spiritual growth is not a secret formula process we must discover for ourselves.
         Jesus points to the lilies of the field as an illustration of how natural and spontaneous both natural and spiritual growth is.  When Jesus points us to the lilies of the field it is not simply an appeal for us to see and enjoy nature and admire its beauty.  Everything in nature, as well as in scripture, is given to teach us a spiritual truth. Natural life and spiritual life are governed, as is everything God has made, by natural law. 
         Now let’s take a close look at the lilies of the field, and let them teach us about growth, both natural and spiritual.  The point we must consider is not just that they are there for us to admire, but rather to consider “how they grow,” as Jesus puts it in our text.  Many Christians live with anxiety because they are trying to make themselves grow spiritually.  The lilies grow without anxiety.  Without taking conscious care or effort the lilies grow naturally into full beauty.  There is no conscious toiling to weave the tissues of their leaves.  Their complex tissues have spun themselves naturally and automatically. 
         Jesus follows up by implying that we care-worn and anxious people need not fret about causing ourselves to grow.  He implores us to “take no thought” about what we will eat or drink, or how we should be clothed.  We mortals create ghosts in our minds and then worry about them. We allow ourselves to be controlled by circumstances rather than allowing God to perfectly order our life. 
         All men and women who have just a little faith have learned the secret of a composed life in many respects, but when it comes to spiritual growth we do not seem to make the connection.  Early on in our Christian lives we settle down at times in calm trust in God, trusting Him to provide the necessities of our bodies.  Then by and by we begin to become anxious about spiritual growth, especially when someone tells us we must follow this or that formula if we are to grow spiritually.  But how do the lilies grow?  They grow by grace, and take no thought, because the growth comes naturally.  How does a child of God grow spiritually?  He also grows by grace.  Yet as we are told by others how to do this, we start fretting about it, and the anxiety comes back.  We then have transferred our anxiety from our bodies to our souls.  Then our efforts at Christian growth seem only a succession of failures. 
         Why does this happen?  It happens because we forget the lesson of the lilies of the field.  Strenuous efforts to grow spiritually are right in earnestness, but are wholly wrong in principle.  In both the natural and spiritual realm there is but one principle for growth.  That principle is the same for plant and animal, and for body and soul.  If we would know that principle, look again and “consider the lilies, how they grow.”  There are two characteristics of all growth.  They are:
    1.    Spontaneousness
    2.    Mysteriousness 
         First let us consider the spontaneous nature of spiritual growth.  There are three categories by which we may seek for evidence of the spontaneous nature of both bodily and spiritual growth.  The first category is Science.  We need not be a rocket scientist to understand that the lilies grow of themselves.  It is one of the most natural things in the world.  They grow automatically and spontaneously, and that without trying, without fretting about it, or without having to think about it. 
         Take for example a new born baby boy.   He begins growing shortly after birth without being aware of it, and is so uncontaminated by the advice of others that it is all automatic.  As he grows he eats because he is hungry, and the growth goes on without giving it a thought.  He does not fret about the condition of growth, but has a habit of eating and so the result is that growth goes on automatically and naturally.  The boy’s parents have no need to tell the boy to grow, for it is a law of nature that he will grow without having to give thought to any process. 
         Well-meaning people may tell us that the formula for spiritual growth is more prayer, more self-denial, more good works, etc.  These are all well and good, but are not the cause of spiritual growth, but the results of it, just as many of our activities in life increase as we grow into a greater and grater capacity for various and greater ventures.  The scientific fact is that the soul grows as the lily grows, without trying and fretting and thinking about it. 
         Another thing that teaches us that growth, both bodily and spiritually, is spontaneous and automatic is experience.  Getting back to the example of the boy in the above illustration that grows without taking thought, experience teaches us that he cannot make himself grow no matter how hard he tries.  Doesn’t scripture also tell us this fact?  No person can add to his stature by taking thought.  “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?”  Mat 6:27
         The Christian’s life unfolds itself like the lily of the field, from a divine germ planted centrally in his nature, and it grows as naturally as a flower from its seed.  Though this flower can be imitated, one can always tell the artificial flower from the real one.  This is the distinction between the natural growth of the Christian principles in the life of the Christian, and the moral copy of it.  The first is natural and the second is mechanical.  There are many artificial Christians marching about in society like little tin soldiers, but little tin soldiers only mimic the real thing. 
         In the natural world in which we live there are crystals that GROW and organisms that GROW, but there is a real and fundamental distinction between them.  The distinction is that the crystal is DEAD, while the organism is ALIVE.  The crystal increases, but the organism grows.  The organism is from within, while the crystal simply adds new particles from the outside.  This is the difference between the true Christian and the mere moralist.  The moralist’s works are all an external put-on.  The moralist’s so-called meritorious works are all external while the true Christian’s meritorious works are from an internal divine growth.  It is the distinction between the true Christian and the hypocrite.  Now the crystal may be ever so beautiful, but it lacks the vital principle of a living germ of divine life within. 
         Another fact that we need consider is that salvation in the first instant is never connected directly with morality.  This principle is totally foreign to the thinking of the merely religious pretender since he thinks of his put-on show of morality as earning him salvation.  It is true that salvation does demand morality, but the problem is that it demands so much morality that the moralist can never reach up to that level.  True salvation results in the perfection of the inner man, i.e., a Christ-like mind.  Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: There must first be a spiritual awakening that can only be accomplished by God, then comes the natural, internal morality. The moralist, with his external morality, may go a long distance towards perfection, at least in the eyes of his neighbors, but he can never reach true moral perfection, and so he is lost, for God demands perfection in the inner man.  Only true spiritual life in the inner man can be perfect, and that life in the inner man of all true Christians is "Christ in you, the hope of glory.  And that divine life, i.e., “Christ in you,” is the germ that sparks spiritual growth in the inner man that produces true good works.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.  Divine life always produces good works and so spiritual growth results because God has ordained it, and those ordained good works will flow out of, and give true evidence of, that natural automatic and spontaneous spiritual growth.  Life develops according to its type and so out of the Christian’s inner man will flow “rivers of living water,” and “springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 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.  It will be the most natural thing in the world. 
         Growth is synonymous with a living, automatic process.  The Christian is a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he adds cubits to his stature just as the old man (flesh) does, naturally.  To use another scriptural metaphor he abides in the vine (Jesus), and because he abides in the vine, and not because he is toiling, but rather because he is growing, he brings forth fruit.  Fruit is always because of growth and not growth because of the fruit.  The fruits of the Christian’s character are not manufactured things, but living things that have grown from the secret germ.  In short they are the fruits of the living Spirit. 
         Now let’s consider the second great characteristic of growth:  mysteriousness.  The lily Jesus spoke of grew mysteriously.  It pushed up its weight of stem and leaf in the teeth of gravity.  How the flower does that, we know not, but observation tells us it does.  Along the edges of asphalt paving one often sees plants break the pavement to reach up their leafy heads towards heaven.   What mysterious force causes that?  It is God who causes it to grow.  God has put within the lily the nature to grow.  Likewise when the soul rises slowly above the world and pushes up its virtues into the very teeth of sin and depravity, and displays the very image of Christ, it is then as natural for the lily to grow mysteriously from the seed to the flower. 
         New Christians are often misled into believing the secret of spiritual growth is a strong will, a high ideal, a strong resolve to live virtuously, and the influence of Christian fellowship.  We allow that the growth of a lily is a miracle, but then assert that a Christian must resort to self-imposed formulas to grow spiritually.  We say the lily may grow naturally and spontaneously, but the Christian must fret and toil to grow spiritually. 
          A man or woman may, by hard work and self-denial attain to a very high character, but this is not spiritual growth.  If such efforts at self-improvement cause spiritual growth then spiritual growth is not mysterious.  Jesus Himself spoke of the mysteriousness of spiritual birth and growth when He said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:8.  The fact that it is mysterious implies you cannot account for it on philosophical grounds such as a favorable Christian environment, charitable works, or efforts at self-improvement.  The result of such thinking produces only artificial flowers.  You can easily discern where that kind of religion comes from and where it goes.  A lot of what passes for Christianity is formed by external influences, social opinions, and the voices of the world, which may be observed and explained.  But the genuine thing comes only by the unseen power imparted by the mysterious thing we call the new birth. 
         True Christians stand out from among the crowd, just as a real lily stands out from all the artificial ones, because of that unseen power that produces spiritual life in them, a life totally different from that lifeless counterfeit of the self-made that call themselves Christians. 
         As long as anyone tries to manufacture his or her own spirituality, they can never be free from the pressure cooker of trying to measure up. They do not understand that the energies that produce spiritual growth, which results in spiritual improvement, are already there. That energy is the energy of the Omnipotent God Who fills their souls.  If they are saved, growth moves them upward just as the lily grows upwards naturally by reason of the energy to grow that is inherent in their cells.    
          When I was born of the Spirit of God I was hungry for the bread from heaven.  That is also the natural result of being born again.  It was a pleasure to “taste and see that the Lord was good.”  I had “tasted the good word of God” and it made me want more.  When one is born of the Spirit of God, growth is automatic.  One need not even be thinking of that or even be aware of it.  The only thing that can prevent growth in a Christian is not feeding on the word of God.  But when one is born of the Spirit of God one has a craving for the bread from heaven, and so eating and growing will go on. 
         When one is born again growing begins and continues.  At first he is satisfied with the “sincere milk of the word.”  I Peter 2:2.  And as he grows spiritually he automatically develops a taste for the strong meat of the word.  “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age.”  And so his spiritual growth continues until he becomes a mature Christian.  The lily of the field grows spontaneously and mysteriously because that is naturally inherent in its nature.  I believe the Lord was pointing out to us that those born of the Spirit of God will just as spontaneously and mysteriously do the same.
     Are you growing, or still working at it?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
  23. Thanks
    Jim_Alaska reacted to OLD fashioned preacher for a sermon entry, Best We Can With What We've Got   
    Every year my wife and I are in a Campmeeting in West Memphis, AR. She teaches the ladies and girls 2-3 mornings of that meeting. This is ONE of the lessons she has for this year. I know it's long but think it can be a blessing.
     
    We’re Going to Do the Best We Can with What We’ve Got
    I sat across the table from my mother, many ….MANY… years ago, as a young bride, and poured out my complaints about how difficult it was to fix up and decorate the tiny apartment where I had recently moved. She sat there, with her blue eyes sparkling in amusement, and took in every word. Finally, she started smiling….and the smile turned into laughter. I was insulted. I don’t like being laughed at when I whine, I want sympathy. (My mother was never very good in the sympathy department.) When I got past the peak of my indignation, she began to explain to me the reason for her amusement. “I was remembering a funny experience from my own life,” she said. “I was a young military bride; it was right after the end of WWII. We reached our new duty station, and I was so excited to be starting my new life with my new husband! But we had a huge problem. Housing was very hard to find. All the men coming back from the war and families relocating made housing around the military bases scarce. Finally, we took the only thing that was available. A man had renovated a poultry house and made it into apartments. The ceiling was so low, that your dad had to stoop over to walk around the room. The floors were concrete and the walls were so thin you could just about sneeze through them. But you know what? It is amazing how cute you can make a chicken coop with a little love and ingenuity.”
     
    Her lesson rang loud and clear. You take what you have, and you do the best you can with it. Whining doesn’t change what we have. The only thing it does is add a sour note of impossibility to our circumstances that doesn’t necessarily have to be there. That was the beginning lesson…a lesson I have had to learn over and over again throughout my Christian life. It is amazing how many ways God has taught me this same lesson. It has stood me through every trial and hardship in my life and I feel like the Lord would have me share what I have learned with you.
     
    This devotional is probably going to be more personal than any I’ve ever given. I don’t usually like to talk about myself, and I really struggled with this lesson because it is so personal. I never want anyone to get the idea that I am talking about myself to lift myself up in any way. But I learned a valuable lesson from Sister Tanya Blankenship. If you don’t know who she is, she is the wife of Steven Blankenship, who is a minister to juvenile delinquents. He preaches in juvenile prisons across the country and operates the Marvelous Grace Girls Academy for troubled teenage girls in Pace, Florida. Sis Tanya was referring to Alisha, and not myself with what she said, but the Lord really spoke to my heart through it. I don’t remember the exact words she used, but it was something to this effect: “God allows us to go through some things in our life, and gives us the strength for the battle, and the grace to forgive, to grow and to be stronger. But those lessons are only of real benefit when we use them to help others who are needing growth, help and healing.” God allows us to go through some things, sometimes, so that others may learn.
    2Co 1:3-4 - Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
    I’m going to be sharing a lot of small stories from my life, not so that you might look at me – but at the God that I serve. Everything that the Lord has seen me through, He can also see you through, and much more. There is no way that I could cover it all. I probably could double the stories I will tell here, but I think these are the ones God would have me use.
    The little lesson that my mother taught me finally became a theme in my life, and my children, and a lot of my students over the years, have heard it so many times that they could quote it to you in their sleep. I summed it up this way: “We are going to do the best we can, with what we’ve got.”
     
    The dear lady from our church meant well. She really did. She insisted that she go with me to see the remains of my home. She told me that even though I told her I was fine, it would all hit me when I saw it, and I would need her emotional support. I thought maybe she might be right. I was a new bride. All my wedding gifts and the sweet, newly purchased things for our home were gone. We’d only been married 5 months when the explosion of a gas tanker next to our house took it all. I walked toward the burned-out rubble, and I honestly, for a moment, felt guilty that I was disappointing the dear, helpful lady, but I wasn’t devastated. I wasn’t particularly happy to see the blackened mess with the 3 huge holes burned all the way through the exterior wall – but God’s peace had flooded my heart, and I walked up to it without a tear, and began to search through the ashes for anything that might still be usable….
    How do you react when God takes something away? Now some people might tell you, oh, honey, God never takes things away. Ohhhh…yes’m He does! Sometimes He takes things away because they are a hindrance in your life. Sometimes He takes them away because He intends to give you something better. Sometimes He takes them away because you need to grow in faith and grace. But He does, sometimes, take things away that we have pretty much set our hearts upon. What do you do? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. You take the situation in hand, for what it is with all the good and bad that it contains, and you deal with it. Do you get mad at God, because you had your little basket all fixed up the way you wanted it, and He messed it up?
    1Co 6:19-20 - What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
    Rom 12:1-2 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
    When the Lord Jesus Christ saved our unworthy souls, He purchased us unto Himself. Lock, stock and barrel. We belong to Him. He has the right to do with us as He pleases. Now, our modern, independent American mindset doesn’t like that idea very much. We might repeat it like a parrot in rhetoric, but when it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, so to speak, we don’t like the idea of turning our whole lives over to God. We seem to get the idea that He’s going to mistreat us. He won’t. He loves you more than you can possibly imagine, and He only plans for your good. You can trust Him. You can trust Him with your possessions, with your future, with your marriage, with your children, with your church, with your finances. You can trust Him. Never, ever will you be more fulfilled and content than when you turn yourself over, completely, to the Lord as a living sacrifice. Notice in the Scripture that this is something that we must do..it is not something that God will make us do. The sacrifice here is like all sacrifices - willingly offered. He said, “I beseech you” (I’m asking you, earnestly, almost begging you, because this is for your good – for the best that God has to offer you.) “present yourselves” (you give the sacrifice, willingly, without being compelled. It is a conscious choice that you make to give yourself over to God with all that you have and all that you are.)
    2Sa_22:31 - As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
    Psa_9:10 - And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.
    When you give yourself to God, the peace that floods your soul in times of troubles and heartaches is not describable to anyone. It is a special touch that comes from the Holy Spirit of God. I have tried, many times, to describe it this way: “There is a place in the lowest of valleys, where the hand of God is more real, and the touch of God more sweet than at any other time and place…but you must walk through the valley to feel that touch – it doesn’t come on the mountain top.” We can choose to walk through the valley, kicking and struggling the whole way – fighting against the path that God has chosen for our lives. Or we can bow our heads, reach for His hand and allow the comfort that He gives to flood our souls. The choice is ours, and it is a choice between struggle and surrender. You will still go through the heartaches and troubles. But it is your choice as to whether you go through them with the peace of God or without it.
     
    As I headed down the road, in my old clunker car, it decided, once again, that it was tired and needed a rest. I managed to get it to the side of the road. I sighed as I looked at my children. All 5 of them. My oldest daughter – then about 9 years old – looked at me with a worried expression and said, “Mama, what are we going to do?” My response was immediately, “We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.” She looked confused for a moment and said, “Mama, what have we got?” I said, “Feet. Let’s walk.”
    How do you treat life’s irritating moments? Do you blow up in anger at things that can’t be avoided? Or worse yet, do you take those things, those little irritations, out on your husband and children, or even your brothers and sisters in Christ? We have such a tendency to be creatures of the moment, don’t we? We make snap judgments. We let our tempers flare and our bad attitudes show. Even the smallest of life’s irritations have the possibility of teaching our children, and those around us the grace of God. Or the opposite, if we allow our flesh to control us.
    Php 2:14-15 - Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
    If I had fumed and fussed and cried and belly-ached at that car, it still wouldn’t have gone down the road. I would have still been in the same situation, except that now I would have displayed a lack of trust in the Lord and a poor testimony in front of my children. They, more than likely, would have started crying as well, and then I would have reaped the due reward of inflicting my bad attitude on them, as they returned in kind. If we would learn to take life’s small irritations as an opportunity to shine as lights in the world, how different would our attitude be toward those unexpected moments? Let’s strive to learn to laugh, and say, “Well, praise the Lord! What’s the best way to handle this one?”
    Gal 5:16 - This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
    It’s so easy, isn’t it, to let the flesh control our response to the situations that arise in our lives? If instead we will do the best we can with what we’ve got, it will mean using every situation as an opportunity to be a good testimony for the Lord. Sometimes that means controlling our anger when it wants to flare. Sometimes that means consciously putting down our fears. Sometimes it means shutting our mouths when we want so badly to put in our two cents worth. (Hang on to your two cents, sometimes we can’t afford what it purchases.) 
    How do we walk in the Spirit? #1 It is IMPOSSIBLE to walk in the Spirit if you do not have a regular time of personal devotion. Pray. Read and study your Bible. Meditate on and memorize the Word of God. There is no getting around the truth that if you do not walk close to God in your personal life, your public life will be a mess. #2 Pay attention in church. So many people sit in church and have no idea what the preaching was about, because their minds are a million miles away. Go to church with a bucket instead of a pitchfork. My pastor of many years used to say that some people come to church with a bucket and some come with a pitchfork. Those with a bucket are hungry for the word of God and want what God has for them in the service. Those with a pitchfork are grabbing the preaching and pitching it over their shoulder because they figure that it’s not for them, it’s for the guy sitting behind them. #3 Use every opportunity that you have in your life to be a witness for the Lord. Lost people are all around us. Our testimony – at all times – is vitally important. Saved people need to grow in grace and knowledge. When you have that knowledge, it is given to you to share, not to sit on. When we walk in the flesh, even in the minor situations of our life, we are not walking in the Spirit. And when we walk in the flesh, we have no idea how much damage we might do.
     
    We walked into the little country church, happy for the opportunity to minister, and heard, to our delight, that they planned a dinner on the grounds for the anniversary Sunday where my husband had been invited to preach. We had been struggling financially for quite a while, and the prospect of a church dinner sounded wonderful after months of beans and cornbread. As the guest preacher’s family, we were ushered to the head of the line. My little daughter looked up at me with a happy smile as she surveyed the table in front of her, and said, “Look, Mama! Meat!!”
    What do you do in life’s embarrassing moments? Do you lash out at the one who embarrassed you? Do you get angry and let your temper, and your tongue take over? Or do you do the best you can with what you’ve got?
    Nothing riles up our tempers faster than being embarrassed, does it? That’s pride. Pride makes fools out of us very quickly. Not only that, God hates pride. It is never the best way to handle a situation to bow up in pride.
    Pro_13:10 - Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.
    Let your pride flare, and you will almost always find yourself in an argument of some sort. And you will almost always be in the wrong.
    Pro_29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
    Let your pride flare and you will almost always find yourself landing flat of your back, wondering how you got there.
    Pro_16:5 - Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.
    An abomination! A promise of punishment! We should be frightened of pride! If you ever want to look like a complete fool, let your heart swell up with pride. What are we really? Nothing but what the Lord has done. If we have any abilities, if we have any worth – it is because of what the Lord has given and what He has blessed us to be able to do. Give all the glory and praise to God for who He is, and what He has done in your life. Then when those embarrassing moments catch us off guard, we won’t be so quick to respond in pride. When someone ridicules you, or accuses you falsely – that hurts, doesn’t it? When someone seriously tries to do you harm for their own gain, it’s sometimes devastating. When you try to minister to people and they turn on you, not at all understanding that you are striving for their good to the best of your ability – how do we respond? Pride has no place in those situations, but a lot of times, that is our reaction. I could give you story after story of those situations in my life….but, why be depressing?! What do we do when it happens? It will! People will be people, and as people we don’t always act right, do we? Yet, we expect other people to always treat US with love and kindness, because after all – we are…us! That’s pride. During a particularly trying situation in my life, where I felt like I was always coming out at the bottom, looking like a stray dog, God gave me this quote by C.H. Spurgeon. When I first saw it, it was like a pressure valve suddenly released, I laughed and laughed. Then I wrote it in the front of my Bible. I refer to it often.
    “If any man thinks ill of you, do not be angry with him, for you are worse than he thinks you to be.” That kind of kicks pride in the head, doesn’t it? Doing the best you can with what you have means leaving pride behind and approaching each embarrassing or demeaning situation with the idea that God always treats us better than we deserve.
    Psa 118:6 - The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
     
    I stood at the side of the little steel crib, looking at my beautiful blonde-haired baby boy, only 5 months old, gasping for every breath under the oxygen tent, the heart monitor going crazy every time they tried to give him medication for his breathing. The love, and peace of God flooded every part of my being. I felt so blessed. I had so much more than the poor little mom on the other side of the room. My Lord to comfort and guide, and the constant love and support of my husband. That poor lady didn’t understand. She approached me and asked, “How long have you been married?” 10 years, I replied. “That’s crazy, she said, you and your husband seem like newlyweds.” “We really need each other right now,” I said. “Yeah, I could use some support, too.” Was her reply. Her husband was very seldom in the room. When he was, they fought constantly. They blamed each other for everything they could think of, and it usually ended with him storming out of the room to “get a cigarette,” from which he didn’t come back.
    How do you react when life doesn’t go your way? Do you lash out at those that are closest to you, and look for someone or something to blame? Or do you turn to the One who can give peace and comfort? Doing the best you can with what you’ve got sometimes means approaching the hardest times of life with the best attitude that you can muster. Sometimes life really hurts. Sometimes the hurt is nearly unbearable. Resorting to blaming others when you are hurting is not doing the best you can with what you’ve got. The blame game won’t make you feel better. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. Turn instead to the Lord and allow Him to pour the balm of Gilead into your soul. You will find that you really can do the BEST you can with what you’ve got.
    Col_3:15 - And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
    Again, ladies, the peace of God is your choice. You make the decision as to whether you will let God minister to your soul, or whether you will arm yourself with the flesh – and your mouth – and try to go it alone. Someone always gets hurt when we do that. I have seen families split up and spend the rest of their lives hating each other because of something that was said or done during a crisis in their lives. Why? No one accepted God’s peace, and instead they lashed out at one another in their hurt or sorrow, not considering the hurt and sorrow of the ones around them. I have stood beside those little steel cribs in hospital rooms more times than I can count. I have nearly lost all 5 of my children at various times of their lives. My Daniel more than a few times. The love and peace of God has been my sustaining power. I don’t know how other people go through such things without God to grant them peace. I wouldn’t even want to try.
    Luk_6:31 - And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
    We recognize this as what the world calls, “the golden rule.” Much quoted, almost never practiced. But if we would! If we would consider before we speak or act, “Is this the way I would want them to treat me, if I were them, and they were me?” Then we would begin to do the best we can with what we’ve got. And everyone’s life, our own especially, would be better for it. Because, ladies, although you cannot control how other people act, if you will control how you REact to their behavior, you will find that you will have a lot more peace in every situation.
     
    There just wasn’t enough money. We weren’t going to make it. It was fine when we had purchased our little dream. We had a beautiful place out in the country with our very own mobile home….well, at least we were paying for it. Lots of space for the kids to run, not too many neighbors, a place for a garden. We had plans to build a deck….Then the kids started to get sick. Really sick. The list of specialists kept growing. Hospitalization after hospitalization after E.R. visit after E.R. visit. It was okay, we were holding our heads above water, until my husband was layed off from his job. Oh, he found work right away, but the insurance was gone. The new insurance company refused to cover the kids. Pre-existing conditions. (We had no idea, back then, that such a thing as Medicaid even existed.) The medical bills mounted up..and up…and up. We finally conceded defeat. We turned our little dream back over to the mortgage company and packed up what we could in our car. We lived in a garage apartment attached to my mother’s home for 6 months…until our 5th little one was born.
    What happens when your dream crumbles? What do you do when finances are hard…not a little bit hard, but really hard?
    There are more divorces because of financial difficulty than any other reason. Families split up. Attitudes flare up. The blame game begins. “If he would work harder.” “If she would slow down on all the spending.” “If he wouldn’t buy unnecessary junk.” “If she would get out and get a job.”
    Marriage is a team effort, ladies. It takes a lot of work on both parts to make the everyday, in and out, of a marriage work. You can’t work against one another and expect your marriage to last. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. Now, I’m not saying that when a marriage is bad, that it is automatically the woman’s fault. No, not at all. But I am saying that no amount of nagging on your part is going to change your husband. You need to do the best you can with what you’ve got. I don’t envy you that task if your husband is lost, but there is a biblical method for you to follow. Not an easy road, by any means, but it is the road that God says you are to follow in the hopes that your husband will be saved. (Remember that he has a free will – you can’t force him to turn to the Lord any more than anyone could have forced you to be saved.) That plan is mapped out in 1 Peter 3:1-5 There’s a lot in that verse. If we were to stop and cover it, it would take a whole lesson to give it the time it deserves. But if you have questions about it, I’d be happy to sit down with you and go through it together.
    For those of us whose husband is saved, we have the open opportunity for the most blessed relationship in the world. Our marriages are a picture of Christ and the church! What are we doing with the opportunity? Are we doing the best we can with what we’ve got? Do we seek to make our marriage a testimony to the world of the grace and power of God? Or do we deal with our marriage selfishly, as though the sole purpose that our husband has on earth is to meet our needs and satisfy our whims? Do we whine, coax, threaten or manipulate when things don’t go our way? Do we consider our marriage a team unit? Or an opportunity to be queen supreme?
    1Pe_3:8 - Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
    This passage of Scripture is referring to the marriage relationship…look it up and check the context. There’s a lot to work on in our lives just following this one simple verse in our marriage relationships. Have compassion on your husband. Love your husband, not just as a marriage partner, but as a brother in Christ. Be pitiful to your husband (understand his shortcomings, don’t blame, seek to be there when he needs you – when he’s weak, lift him up, don’t tear him down.) Be courteous (He’s not an old shoe. He’s to be reverenced and honored by you more than any man on earth.)
    No amount of dreaming and wishing on your part is going to fix your finances when they’re hard. No amount of pride and temper is going to fix rebellion in your children or pressure from extended family. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in your marriage is understanding that you are a family unit, a team - not adversaries. Work together at making it work. Put God first. Always first. If God is first in your marriage then no matter how hard the rest of life becomes, you will make it.
    Pro_14:1 - Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.
     
    First, she had COPD. We sat and talked it over. It was incurable, but possible to live with. Then they found the cancer. What had been a shadow on the first scan showed up the size of a walnut on the second, the size of an orange on the third – within a year. When they could get her stabilized, they would consider surgery. They never got her stabilized. 6 months after they found the cancer, she was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. She gave up. 3 days after that diagnosis she died. My mother was as dear to me, her only daughter, as a mother can be to a child. She’s been gone now for 13 years, and I still miss her every day. You will ask me, was she saved? My answer will be – I don’t know. All I can do is hope so. I witnessed to her, left her tracts to read, I prayed and prayed. I know that she had, some “experience” in the hospital just before her death, that she tried to explain to me, but didn’t know the terminology to describe.
    What happens when grief knocks at your door? I grieved for my mom. I remember going to the doctor, just a couple of days after the funeral. I walked down the hospital halls, where I had almost lived in the months prior to her death. All the memories were already flooding over my very unstable emotions. And then my doctor – who was also her doctor – greeted me with, “I’m so sorry about your mom.” I broke down and cried, right in the doctor’s office. And then I was angry with myself for crying and cried because I was crying. He sat there sympathetically and wrote me a prescription for an antidepressant. On the way home, I kept staring at the prescription and praying. “Lord, am I depressed?” “Do I need that?” “Is this even right for me to take?” I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription and then I stared at the bottle. “Isn’t grief a part of life?” “Didn’t you promise that if I turn my grief over to you, you would be my comfort?” The determination struck my heart to give it to God, and the peace of God began to creep into my soul. The pills went down the drain, and I began to heal…little by little, the way real healing happens. That lesson was well learned. It has taken me through many, many periods of grief that have followed.
    Joh_14:27 - Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
    Php_4:7 - And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
    The peace of God will keep your heart. It will keep your mind. But there is a condition to that peace. It is in the verses before
    Php 4:4-6 - Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
    To do the best you can when life hands you grief, first you must rejoice in the Lord – alway. Not when you feel like it or when things are going good, but alway. To do that we have to stop and consider the Lord in every situation of our lives. He’s good all the time, even when our circumstances are bad. Then we must let our moderation be outwardly seen by everyone around us. What is moderation? It is not running to excess in anything. It is having control over our tempers, our emotions, our desires and our passions – in other words, not being controlled by the flesh. Then, lastly, we need to pray about everything. Not just the big things, but the little things as well. When we do these things we have the promise that follows – that God will keep our hearts and minds. Doing the best you can with what you’ve got in the matter of grief, means that instead of being ruled by the grief, we allow the peace of God to rule in our hearts.
     
    One month after my mother died, my husband headed out from where we had taken shelter at the church, with 2 of the boys, to see what kind of damage there might have been.  When he returned I turned a questioning look his way, really expecting an “all is well.” It had always been well in the previous hurricanes. He shook his head.  “We’ve been here before. I think this left more useable stuff than the fire, though.”
    Weeks later, still without power, tired from the work of tossing out destroyed furniture and carpeting and scraping sodden sheet-rock out of the shell of our home, our family sat on the steps in the evening, ate another MRE and sang together, rejoicing in the goodness of God. Why? We were safe. We were together. We had our love, our family, our God.
    I remember laying in the bed that the red cross had purchased for us, (We had forsaken the crowded, damp little fema camper and moved back into our roof-less house, it was more comfortable.) I watched the blue tarp over my head pop up and down in the wind and felt such an incredible sense of peace and well-being. Then I laughed at myself for feeling so comfortable..
    A member of the church came by during the next tropical storm. We greeted him at the door with a smile, chided him a little for running around in storms, and invited him in. He sat in the livingroom with us and watched the tarp blow up and down and looked around at the bare plywood floor and the wall studs and rafters that made up what was left of our home, and said, “This is nice, do you always decorate in 3rd world?”
    My husband owned an electrical business. He worked from before sun-up to after sun-down five days a week, after the storm, trying to rebuild electrical services for people. While he worked, he listened. “I’m so devastated!” “I just can’t understand why this has happened to me!” “I don’t know how I’m ever going to make it through this!” “This is horrible!” He would always ask them, “Is your family ok?” “Oh, yes, they’re fine, but we lost….” And they would go into a list of cars, boats, house, furniture, etc.” One lady became infuriated with him because he wasn’t sympathetic enough to suit her and snarled, “Well, easy enough for you to have no worries, when you haven’t lost everything!” … and he smiled, and spent his Saturdays trying to rebuild our own home … What made the difference? We’re going to do the best we can with what we’ve got.
    What do you do when you lose your material possessions? Understand that we had worked for and loved and purchased that little home with all the intention in the world of staying in it for the rest of our lives. (We had actually built the deck on this one!) We were content. We had our home, our church, our ministry, our business venture. Everything was fine. We didn’t necessarily need for God to come in and upset our apple-cart! Within a year’s time, the only thing we had left of that list was the shell of our destroyed home and the business.  We could have gotten angry with him. And what good would that have done? I have never understood why people get angry with God when things happen in their lives. “Why me?” “Why is God doing this to me?” And then they walk away from the Lord, like they expected life to be a bed of roses because they honored God with the privilege of saving their souls. Like God owes them something. My question is, “Why not you?” What makes you so special that you should be exempt from hard times?
    Joh_16:33 - These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
    He didn’t say, in the world you will have it easy-peasy and life will be just great. He said you will have tribulation. That’s when you look to Him for comfort and guidance, it’s not when you decide to blame him and throw a temper tantrum like an undisciplined child. How are we supposed to respond to the troubles in our lives? How do we do the best we can, when what we’ve got is tribulation?
    Rom 5:3-5 - And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
    Realize 3 things about tribulation. #1 – it’s working in your life to make you a stronger Christian. #2 – It’s building patience and experience so that you might be a help, encouragement and an example to others, #3 – it’s an opportunity to see God work, bless and give you the peace that only He can give. Tribulation is not a curse. It’s a blessed working of God in your life that will make you stronger, give you assurance of the love of God, and make you able to be a blessing to others around you.
     
    Daddy was alone. Mama had been his caretaker, ever since he had the stroke, 17 years before. She was gone now, and I spent my time divided between caring for him and my own home. Oh, he had my brother – but my brother was an addict, and very unreliable. Now I had a huge difficulty. God had called my husband away…1,500 miles away to be exact. I was ready, willing, and eager to go…but what about Daddy? I sat beside him, and begged him to come with me. “NO! Kansas is cold.” He would not be convinced. I began to pray, “Lord, I’m willing to go, and I will go, as you have called. Please, Lord, take care of my Daddy.” And God answered my prayer in the person of a family friend who willingly took him in. That answer to prayer opened the door to my daddy’s salvation at 82 years of age.
    What do you do when duties conflict? You do the best you can with what you’ve got. I had a responsibility to my daddy. The command to honor our parents doesn’t end when we are grown. But my greater responsibility lay in obeying the call of God that had been placed on my husband’s heart. As I obeyed the Lord, He took care of the rest.
    Sometimes doing the best you can with what you’ve got means making hard, really hard decisions. Sometimes those decisions will tear your heart out. But choosing to follow and honor God with your life is always the right decision. The Word of God has to be our constant guide. DO NOT follow your heart. That’s the worst advice you can ever give a person. Your heart will deceive you. It will convince you that wrong is right and right is wrong.
    Jer_17:9 - The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?
    Pro_28:26 - He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered.
    We can’t trust that heart. What do we trust instead? When life gives you difficult, heart wrenching decisions, what do you do with it? Trust the Word of God. If you trust your emotions, you will almost always fall prey to the devil. He loves it when we become hyper-emotional. We’ve played right into his hands when we do. Let the word of God be your guide, always, and you will find that it’s much easier to do the best you can with what you’ve got, when life’s decisions are hard to make.
    As I said, there’s more…..but this is enough. Ladies, do the best you can….by the power of God, by the grace of God with the help of God, the peace of God and the word of God, do the best you can with what you’ve got.
     
     
  24. Thanks
    Jim_Alaska reacted to Alan for a sermon entry, Joseph and his Jewish Dreams   
    Genesis 37:5-11, “Joseph and his Jewish Dreams”
     
    Joseph had faith and loved the Lord God. In the Old Testament, before the Bible was written, God spoke to men in dreams. God had given Joseph dreams. As we read the story of Joseph, we can see that Joseph was like the Lord Jesus. Joseph was a type of Christ. Joseph walked with God and had the characteristics of the Lord Jesus.
     
    Also, Joseph is a good example for the Christian. God gave the examples of the Old Testament men and women for us. 1 Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” The wise Christian will look at the examples of the saints of the Old Testament and use these examples to learn how to walk in the Spirit (not in the Flesh), and please the Lord Jesus. Romans 15;4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” The stories of the Old Testament saints can give the Christian hope and comfort our hearts.
     
    Joseph walked in the Holy Spirit and had the fruits of the Spirit.Galatians 5:22 and 23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
    Joseph and his brothers
    Genesis 37:1-4, “And Jacob dwelt in the land wherein his father was a stranger, in the land of Canaan. These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father's wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.”
     
    Joseph was hated by his eleven brothers for two reasons:
     
    Joseph told his father, Jacob, or Israel, the evil things that his brothers did. Amos 5;10, “They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.”
     
    Most people do not like it when you rebuke them. When the pastor rebukes a sin, and people do not want to repent, then some people get mad, criticize the pastor, the church. A wise person will repent when you rebuke him. Like Joseph, and the Lord Jesus, it is the responsibility of the man of God to rebuke people’s sins. 2 Timothy 4:1 and 2, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” A faithful pastor will rebuke the sins of the people. A false pastor will not rebuke the sins of the people.
     
    Proverbs 28:23, “He that rebuketh a man afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue.” A faithful pastor will find good results but a false pastor will flatter people.
     
    Proverbs 13:1 says, “A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke.” A wise Christian will hear the rebuke of the faithful pastor. A scorner will not listen to the rebuke of the pastor.
     
    Jacob, or Israel, his father loved him more than the other 11 brothers because Joseph was the son of his old age.
     
    The eleven brothers of Joseph were all walking in the flesh and had the fruits of the flesh. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”
    The Dream of the Sheaves that did Obeisance
    Genesis 37:5-8, “And Joseph dreamed a dream, and he told it his brethren: and they hated him yet the more. And he said unto them, Hear, I pray you, this dream which I have dreamed: For, behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and, lo, my sheaf arose, and also stood upright; and, behold, your sheaves stood round about, and made obeisance to my sheaf. And his brethren said to him, Shalt thou indeed reign over us? Or shalt thou indeed have dominion over us? And they hated him yet the more for his dreams, and for his words.”
     
    Both dreams came from God and God will fulfill both dreams in the life of Joseph and in the life of Christ. In the first dream, the brothers were binding sheaves in the field and Joseph’s sheaf stood upright and the sheaves of the brothers stood up and did obeisance. The brothers hated this dream and the interpretation. The brothers of Joseph rejected the words of Joseph.
     
    The brothers did not like the dreams that God gave Joseph. They did not want Joseph to reign over them. The brothers did not want to make obeisance to Joseph. Therefore, the brothers hated the words of Joseph and questioned the dreams of Joseph. When a person does not agree with the pastor who faithfully preaches the scriptures, they will question the scriptures and the pastor.
     
    Joseph’s brothers are like the nation of Israel. When the Lord Jesus came and dwelt among the nation of Israel, His brethren, the Jews rejected Him. John 1:11, “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”And, in the church Age, most of the Jews hate Jesus and his words.
     
    When the Lord Jesus came the first time, the Jews also did not want Jesus to be their king. John 19:14 & 15, “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he [Pilate] saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.”
     
    This dream was fulfilled in the life of Joseph. Genesis 42:6, “And Joseph was the governor over the land, and he it was that sold to all the people of the land: and Joseph’s brethren came, and bowed down themselves before him with their faces to the earth.”
     
    And, this dream will be also fulfilled in the life of Christ when the 12 tribes of Israel recognize the Lord Jesus as Saviour and serve the Lord Jesus as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. tells us that 12,000 Jews from each tribe of Israel become the servants of the Lord Jesus in the 7 Year Tribulation Period.
     
    Joseph is like the Christian who walks in the Spirit. The Christian who walks in the spirit will be persecuted, talked against, scorned, maligned, and despised by those who walk in the flesh. & Galatians 4:28 & 29, “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.”
     
    The Dream of the Sun and the Moon
    Genesis 37: 9 & 10, “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren,and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me. And he told it to his father and to his brethren: and his father rebuked him, and said unto him, What is this dream that thou hast dreamed? Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?”
     
    This dream is almost the same; but slightly different. In the first dream, only the other brothers did obeisance and in the second dream the Sun and the Moon, and eleven stars made obeisance. The sun represents Jacob, the Moon represents Rachel, and the eleven stars represent the eleven brothers. Rachel is already dead (Genesis 35:16-20). As with Job, and the other saints in the Old Testament, Jacob believed that one day that God would raise the saints from the dead.
     
    So, this represents all of the children of Israel, Jacob, and Rachel. This dream was fulfilled in Joseph's lifetime, among his own family (minus Rachel). The second time the brothers of Joseph came to Egypt they bowed before him the second time and said that their father (Jacob), was his servant. Genesis 43:28, “And they answered, Thy servant our father is in good health, he is yet alive. And they bowed down their heads, and made obeisance.”
     
    The second dream, along with the first dream, represents the whole nation of Israel bowing down to the Lord Jesus. Genesis 37:9 & 10 is the interpretation of . Revelation 12:1-17. Revelation 12:1, “And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars.”
     
    The fulfillment of the second dream is when the nation of Israel gets saved and bows down to the Lord Jesus. Romans 11:26, “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.”
    Jacob observed Joseph’s sayings
    Genesis 37:11, “And his brethren envied him; but his father observed the saying.” Jacob did not question the dreams of Joseph. Jacob did not fully understand them; but, he did not question them. Jacob observed them.
     
    Joseph’s brothers did not care for the words of Joseph. The brothers walked in the flesh. Envy is a one of the fruits of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5:19-21The father, Jacob, loved the Lord. So, he observed these sayings. We need to observe the saying’s in the scriptures. Psalm 107:43, “Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the LORD.”
     
    A wise Christian will walk in the Spirit and will observe the life of Joseph.
     
  25. Thanks
    Jim_Alaska got a reaction from Wayfaring Stranger for a sermon entry, Spiritual Growth   
    SPIRITUAL GROWTH, AS TAUGHT BY SCRIPTURE AND THE SCIENCE OF BOTANY
    By Jim Foley
     
    Text:  “…Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow”  Matthew 6:28.
     
    INTRO:  In this scripture Jesus gives us an object lesson as to what constitutes spiritual growth, and how it happens.  Jesus made the lilies and He made me, and now he describes to me how both biological and spiritual growth takes place.  People often create for themselves a great deal of anxiety because they assume there must be some formula they must rigorously conform to in order to make themselves grow spiritually.  Spiritual growth is not a secret formula process we must discover for ourselves.
         Jesus points to the lilies of the field as an illustration of how natural and spontaneous both natural and spiritual growth is.  When Jesus points us to the lilies of the field it is not simply an appeal for us to see and enjoy nature and admire its beauty.  Everything in nature, as well as in scripture, is given to teach us a spiritual truth. Natural life and spiritual life are governed, as is everything God has made, by natural law. 
         Now let’s take a close look at the lilies of the field, and let them teach us about growth, both natural and spiritual.  The point we must consider is not just that they are there for us to admire, but rather to consider “how they grow,” as Jesus puts it in our text.  Many Christians live with anxiety because they are trying to make themselves grow spiritually.  The lilies grow without anxiety.  Without taking conscious care or effort the lilies grow naturally into full beauty.  There is no conscious toiling to weave the tissues of their leaves.  Their complex tissues have spun themselves naturally and automatically. 
         Jesus follows up by implying that we care-worn and anxious people need not fret about causing ourselves to grow.  He implores us to “take no thought” about what we will eat or drink, or how we should be clothed.  We mortals create ghosts in our minds and then worry about them. We allow ourselves to be controlled by circumstances rather than allowing God to perfectly order our life. 
         All men and women who have just a little faith have learned the secret of a composed life in many respects, but when it comes to spiritual growth we do not seem to make the connection.  Early on in our Christian lives we settle down at times in calm trust in God, trusting Him to provide the necessities of our bodies.  Then by and by we begin to become anxious about spiritual growth, especially when someone tells us we must follow this or that formula if we are to grow spiritually.  But how do the lilies grow?  They grow by grace, and take no thought, because the growth comes naturally.  How does a child of God grow spiritually?  He also grows by grace.  Yet as we are told by others how to do this, we start fretting about it, and the anxiety comes back.  We then have transferred our anxiety from our bodies to our souls.  Then our efforts at Christian growth seem only a succession of failures. 
         Why does this happen?  It happens because we forget the lesson of the lilies of the field.  Strenuous efforts to grow spiritually are right in earnestness, but are wholly wrong in principle.  In both the natural and spiritual realm there is but one principle for growth.  That principle is the same for plant and animal, and for body and soul.  If we would know that principle, look again and “consider the lilies, how they grow.”  There are two characteristics of all growth.  They are:
    1.    Spontaneousness
    2.    Mysteriousness 
         First let us consider the spontaneous nature of spiritual growth.  There are three categories by which we may seek for evidence of the spontaneous nature of both bodily and spiritual growth.  The first category is Science.  We need not be a rocket scientist to understand that the lilies grow of themselves.  It is one of the most natural things in the world.  They grow automatically and spontaneously, and that without trying, without fretting about it, or without having to think about it. 
         Take for example a new born baby boy.   He begins growing shortly after birth without being aware of it, and is so uncontaminated by the advice of others that it is all automatic.  As he grows he eats because he is hungry, and the growth goes on without giving it a thought.  He does not fret about the condition of growth, but has a habit of eating and so the result is that growth goes on automatically and naturally.  The boy’s parents have no need to tell the boy to grow, for it is a law of nature that he will grow without having to give thought to any process. 
         Well-meaning people may tell us that the formula for spiritual growth is more prayer, more self-denial, more good works, etc.  These are all well and good, but are not the cause of spiritual growth, but the results of it, just as many of our activities in life increase as we grow into a greater and grater capacity for various and greater ventures.  The scientific fact is that the soul grows as the lily grows, without trying and fretting and thinking about it. 
         Another thing that teaches us that growth, both bodily and spiritually, is spontaneous and automatic is experience.  Getting back to the example of the boy in the above illustration that grows without taking thought, experience teaches us that he cannot make himself grow no matter how hard he tries.  Doesn’t scripture also tell us this fact?  No person can add to his stature by taking thought.  “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?”  Mat 6:27
         The Christian’s life unfolds itself like the lily of the field, from a divine germ planted centrally in his nature, and it grows as naturally as a flower from its seed.  Though this flower can be imitated, one can always tell the artificial flower from the real one.  This is the distinction between the natural growth of the Christian principles in the life of the Christian, and the moral copy of it.  The first is natural and the second is mechanical.  There are many artificial Christians marching about in society like little tin soldiers, but little tin soldiers only mimic the real thing. 
         In the natural world in which we live there are crystals that GROW and organisms that GROW, but there is a real and fundamental distinction between them.  The distinction is that the crystal is DEAD, while the organism is ALIVE.  The crystal increases, but the organism grows.  The organism is from within, while the crystal simply adds new particles from the outside.  This is the difference between the true Christian and the mere moralist.  The moralist’s works are all an external put-on.  The moralist’s so-called meritorious works are all external while the true Christian’s meritorious works are from an internal divine growth.  It is the distinction between the true Christian and the hypocrite.  Now the crystal may be ever so beautiful, but it lacks the vital principle of a living germ of divine life within. 
         Another fact that we need consider is that salvation in the first instant is never connected directly with morality.  This principle is totally foreign to the thinking of the merely religious pretender since he thinks of his put-on show of morality as earning him salvation.  It is true that salvation does demand morality, but the problem is that it demands so much morality that the moralist can never reach up to that level.  True salvation results in the perfection of the inner man, i.e., a Christ-like mind.  Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: There must first be a spiritual awakening that can only be accomplished by God, then comes the natural, internal morality. The moralist, with his external morality, may go a long distance towards perfection, at least in the eyes of his neighbors, but he can never reach true moral perfection, and so he is lost, for God demands perfection in the inner man.  Only true spiritual life in the inner man can be perfect, and that life in the inner man of all true Christians is "Christ in you, the hope of glory.  And that divine life, i.e., “Christ in you,” is the germ that sparks spiritual growth in the inner man that produces true good works.  “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10.  Divine life always produces good works and so spiritual growth results because God has ordained it, and those ordained good works will flow out of, and give true evidence of, that natural automatic and spontaneous spiritual growth.  Life develops according to its type and so out of the Christian’s inner man will flow “rivers of living water,” and “springing up into everlasting life.” John 4:14 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.  It will be the most natural thing in the world. 
         Growth is synonymous with a living, automatic process.  The Christian is a new creature in Christ Jesus, and he adds cubits to his stature just as the old man (flesh) does, naturally.  To use another scriptural metaphor he abides in the vine (Jesus), and because he abides in the vine, and not because he is toiling, but rather because he is growing, he brings forth fruit.  Fruit is always because of growth and not growth because of the fruit.  The fruits of the Christian’s character are not manufactured things, but living things that have grown from the secret germ.  In short they are the fruits of the living Spirit. 
         Now let’s consider the second great characteristic of growth:  mysteriousness.  The lily Jesus spoke of grew mysteriously.  It pushed up its weight of stem and leaf in the teeth of gravity.  How the flower does that, we know not, but observation tells us it does.  Along the edges of asphalt paving one often sees plants break the pavement to reach up their leafy heads towards heaven.   What mysterious force causes that?  It is God who causes it to grow.  God has put within the lily the nature to grow.  Likewise when the soul rises slowly above the world and pushes up its virtues into the very teeth of sin and depravity, and displays the very image of Christ, it is then as natural for the lily to grow mysteriously from the seed to the flower. 
         New Christians are often misled into believing the secret of spiritual growth is a strong will, a high ideal, a strong resolve to live virtuously, and the influence of Christian fellowship.  We allow that the growth of a lily is a miracle, but then assert that a Christian must resort to self-imposed formulas to grow spiritually.  We say the lily may grow naturally and spontaneously, but the Christian must fret and toil to grow spiritually. 
          A man or woman may, by hard work and self-denial attain to a very high character, but this is not spiritual growth.  If such efforts at self-improvement cause spiritual growth then spiritual growth is not mysterious.  Jesus Himself spoke of the mysteriousness of spiritual birth and growth when He said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.”  John 3:8.  The fact that it is mysterious implies you cannot account for it on philosophical grounds such as a favorable Christian environment, charitable works, or efforts at self-improvement.  The result of such thinking produces only artificial flowers.  You can easily discern where that kind of religion comes from and where it goes.  A lot of what passes for Christianity is formed by external influences, social opinions, and the voices of the world, which may be observed and explained.  But the genuine thing comes only by the unseen power imparted by the mysterious thing we call the new birth. 
         True Christians stand out from among the crowd, just as a real lily stands out from all the artificial ones, because of that unseen power that produces spiritual life in them, a life totally different from that lifeless counterfeit of the self-made that call themselves Christians. 
         As long as anyone tries to manufacture his or her own spirituality, they can never be free from the pressure cooker of trying to measure up. They do not understand that the energies that produce spiritual growth, which results in spiritual improvement, are already there. That energy is the energy of the Omnipotent God Who fills their souls.  If they are saved, growth moves them upward just as the lily grows upwards naturally by reason of the energy to grow that is inherent in their cells.    
          When I was born of the Spirit of God I was hungry for the bread from heaven.  That is also the natural result of being born again.  It was a pleasure to “taste and see that the Lord was good.”  I had “tasted the good word of God” and it made me want more.  When one is born of the Spirit of God, growth is automatic.  One need not even be thinking of that or even be aware of it.  The only thing that can prevent growth in a Christian is not feeding on the word of God.  But when one is born of the Spirit of God one has a craving for the bread from heaven, and so eating and growing will go on. 
         When one is born again growing begins and continues.  At first he is satisfied with the “sincere milk of the word.”  I Peter 2:2.  And as he grows spiritually he automatically develops a taste for the strong meat of the word.  “Strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age.”  And so his spiritual growth continues until he becomes a mature Christian.  The lily of the field grows spontaneously and mysteriously because that is naturally inherent in its nature.  I believe the Lord was pointing out to us that those born of the Spirit of God will just as spontaneously and mysteriously do the same.
     Are you growing, or still working at it?
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

Article Categories

About Us

Since 2001, Online Baptist has been an Independent Baptist website, and we exclusively use the King James Version of the Bible. We pride ourselves on a community that uplifts the Lord.

Contact Us

You can contact us using the following link. Contact Us or for questions regarding this website please contact @pastormatt or email James Foley at jfoley@sisqtel.net

Android App

Online Baptist has a custom App for all android users. You can download it from the Google Play store or click the following icon.

×
×
  • Create New...