Volunteers build house for one Bastrop-area family, start another
Dallas Baptist Standard
Mike Terrell from First Baptist Church in Keller and Ransom Carroll from Round Rock served with volunteers who built a home near Bastrop for a couple who lost their house to wildfire last year. (PHOTO/Ken Camp) Charles Carroll served as crew chief for …
Baptist.org Editorial Team
Florida Baptist Witness
Florida Baptist churches challenged to 'Embrace' people groups
Florida Baptist Witness
Through the International Mission Board's “Embrace” initiative, Florida Baptists are in a distinct position to make a difference in the world knowing Jesus, said Florida Baptist mission specialist Dennis Wilbanks. “Florida is unique in that so much of …
Written by: WALTERM | January 27, 2012
I continue to be amazed at the ignorance and neglect of philosophy, history and the Constitution that I encounter in most discussions with liberals. Liberals, who are by no means lacking in intellect, seem to have no philosophical moorings, and no desire to learn from history. Their arguments are driven by emotion, usually evoking a vague concept of “fairness” and what everyone has a “right” to receive. They have learned well from President Obama and the Democrats over the past three years. Their solutions to society’s problems are generally centered around an existing government program or the desire to see a new one, without regard to liberty that is lost as government takes over more and more functions in everyday life. What is particularly troubling for me is how this liberalism, heightened with the advent of Obama, has so infiltrated the black community. This applies not only to the black population at large, but even to black Christians who should know better that big government is no savior to black America.
When I lived in Atlanta about twenty years ago, I attended a small black church that I thought was conservative in its leanings. I moved away from Atlanta in 1993, eventually landing in Southern California in 1994 and have been here since. Thanks to the “magic” of Facebook, I have been able to reconnect with many of my friends and acquaintances from my past church, but over time I noticed quite a few of them began to shy away from me as my conservative political views became known. These friends, as you would guess, are huge fans of Obama. I had a similar experience with my high school friends as well, most all of whom are Christians, and almost all huge fans of Obama. They simply will not accept any criticism of Obama no matter how factually accurate the evidence presented. Regardless of the results of his policies, if they are not successful then the fault is placed on George Bush, Fox News, racist Tea Party goers, or Republican obstructionists. Never has Obama had to accept responsibility for any failed policy. That’s the way it is.
I can certainly see why my black Christian friends would be protective of Obama as the first black President, but what has alarmed me is the unusually high percentage of these well-educated and successful people who simply won’t listen when you try to make them understand that they have fallen for a socialist-leaning President with little respect for the Constitution. They are completely in concert with the class warfare rhetoric, the cries of racism by the media, and the belief that all of Wall Street and big business is made up of financial marauders who don’t pay their “fair share” in taxes (most do, except for those who cozy up to big government to get special privileges). They have no complaints that black unemployment is at historical highs (currently 15.8%), that we have over $15 trillion in debt that is now greater than GDP, or how the economy is limping along when it should be accelerating out of a deep recession. The only problem Obama has is that he needs “four more years” to finish the job since the recession was so deep and his policies simply cannot be what are keeping the economy from improving significantly. If he has to bankrupt the country in order to do it, no problem, he is Obama.
Where the Democrats have succeeded is to use Obama as a Trojan horse to import class envy, government dependence, and the notion of an all-encompassing federal government into the psyche of the American people, and especially so in the psyche of black America. Instead of accepting the conservative ideals of limited government, self-reliance, and economic opportunity, which best accord with the Christian worldview, blacks have been convinced that more government control, government entitlements, and redistribution of wealth are the keys to a better tomorrow. And they accept this view of America with virtually no objection, to everyone’s peril. What they don’t understand is that the socialist philosophy they have accepted is like a steely hand in a velvet glove. Until it’s too late, you won’t know what it is made of. Just ask the people of Cuba and Venezuela. The dire warnings of Italy, Greece, and Spain hold little influence over them as to what America will become if it continues in this direction. As long as they have Obama, their charismatic leader, they will continue in their faith in him, come what may.
It seems everyone has their own definition of evil. To some, evil is anything with adverse effects to self. To others, evil is anything with adverse effects to society. Some even deny the existence of evil. The most controversial discussion lies in what God says what Evil is.
However, we all seem to be able to identify evil when it is amplified. We have a gut response when we see evil. A man killing an elderly woman for her purse generates a repelling response. Parents killing their children for insurance money causes us to, perhaps temporarily, acknowledge the existence of evil.
The final realization of what evil is lies in what God says.
Most people have their own personal definition of evil. However, if you ask them if they are evil, they will likely deny it. One might make the excuse that, while they may do evil things, they are not
evil people. This immunity to being evil makes no logical sense. Most would agree Hitler was an evil person. What made Hitler evil, aside from doing evil things?
If a person lies, that person is a liar. If a person has an affair, that person is an adulterer. If the offence grants you a title for these examples, why not evil? The confusion in this matter is result of a their perception of “good.” Most would consider good the antithesis of evil. That which is good cannot be evil. That which is evil cannot be good.
According to the same logic applied to evil: if one does “good” things, then one must be a “good person.” People generally assume they have done “good” things. If good cannot be evil, and vice versa, then people must be either good or evil. If people do “good” and “evil” things they are either walking paradoxes, or we have a mistaken understanding of good and evil.
Biblical Concept of Good and Evil:
The Bible presents a very simple definition of Good and Evil:
- Good – God
- Evil – Everything else
While this may seem like an oversimplification, compared to the convoluted, paradoxical, self-justifying definitions presented by secular attempts, this simplification of good and evil makes a lot of sense. This definition of evil includes everything that is done apart from the will of God. According to the Bible, people are not walking paradoxes of good and evil. Everyone, because they are not God, is evil:
All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf,
and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
The indomitable question is found in Romans 3:6, “God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” The following verses highlight the foundation set in Romans 1-3.
3:7 For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?
3:8 And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
3:9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin;
3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
3:12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
3:13 Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips:
3:14 Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness:
3:15 Their feet are swift to shed blood:
3:16 Destruction and misery are in their ways:
3:17 And the way of peace have they not known:
3:18 There is no fear of God before their eyes.
3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
“If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
It is important to make a distinction between “bad” and “evil.” Evil, Biblically speaking, does not imply the action is harmful to anyone (at least not immediately). Evil does not imply misfortune, greed, selfishness or malice. Evil is only the alternative to good.
A good analogy to better understand the relationship between good and evil would be light and darkness. Light is the product of photons which emit energy in the form of visible light. Darkness is the absence of light. Light exists as a reality. Darkness exists only as the alternative. Biblically, God defines good and good defines God. Good is the product of God. Evil is the absence of good; absence of God. Good exists as God. Evil exists only as the alternative.
Therefore, only that which is done by God or within the will of God is “good.” Everything else, by definition, must be evil.
Finally, a comprehensive scan on all Biblical references to “good” and “evil” in single verses may be downloaded by clicking here; Bible Search
Psalm 21:1-13 | By: Pastor Dan Parton | Preached on October 10, 2010 | Web site: http://timberlinebaptist.org |
Introduction: A good mechanic or carpenter knows which tool he needs for a particular job. He also knows where that tool is kept. There is no random searching of the tool chest for him, because he knows which tool he needs and where it is.
The Bible is a mighty handy Tool the Lord has given to us. What a shame It is oft-neglected as a Tool God wants us to readily use in our lives! All-too-often, God’s people first run to tools other than the Word of God when difficulties arise in their lives. The Bible ought to be their first line of defense.
This is what God’s people did in Bible times; it should be no different today. For example, the Jewish people would read this particular Psalm before entering a tough battle. There is a wonderful comforting statement found in verse 3, “…for Thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness.” The word “prevent” carried a different meaning in David’s time than what some of us might be familiar with. It meant “to go before or in front of and prepare the way.” Before the Jewish person would enter into battle, testing, or adversity, he would remind himself that God was before him in the battle by reading Psalm 21. This made the Tool of the Word of God useful in the time of need. There was no random searching of the Scriptures for him; he knew which tool he needed and where it was when he needed it!
At the writing of this Psalm, David was facing a battle with the Syrians. It seemed that David faced many battles. He, by way of necessity, had to learn to trust in the Lord in all things and hold onto nothing else. So, in Psalm 21, we see how David used the very words of God as the Tools to trust. We must learn to use the Word of God as God intended It to be used. This message will illustrate one way to do just that.
1. Fully trusting God brings joy. – Psalm 21:1-6
“The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice! Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah. For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him. For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.”
It’s wonderful when a friend lends a hand, but how much greater our joy when we know that God’s hand did it all! Trusting the Lord is really like being in the very presence of God. Psalm 16:11 states, “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”
2. Fully trusting God brings blessing. – Psalm 21:2
“Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.”
When we fully trust God, we can trust Him with the desires He places within our hearts. Psalm 37:3-4 say, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Even though these verses speak of God’s actually giving us what to desire, they also show us that God is pleased when we fully trust in Him.
3. Fully trusting God brings victory. – Psalm 21:3
“For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.”
As we’ve already learned, the word “prevent” means “to go before or in front of and prepare the way.” How wonderful to know that God paves the road to victory for us!
Look at verses 7-12, “For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved. Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.” Imagine with me a soldier walking behind a tank during a battle. In a real sense, he is not able to be stopped by the enemy because the tank is out in front of him. The enemy would have to get around the tank to reach him. Psalm 20:7 shows us that the enemy cannot get around the Lord Who is out in front of us, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses [some even in tanks and guns, and bank accounts!]: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.” In Psalm 20, David was faced with the same battle with the Syrians as he was in Psalm 21. Some things just never change!
4. Fully trusting God brings praise. – Psalm 21:13
“Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.”
Trusting Christians are praising Christians. Trusting Christians are singing Christians. Trusting Christians are testifying Christians. When was the last time you testified for Jesus? “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.” (Psalm 107:2) Remember, bragging on what you do is pride, but bragging on what God does is praise!
* Why is it that so many of God’s people are strangely silent when it comes to praise and so vocal when it comes to complaining and negativity? Somehow, it seems that it should be the other way around!
Conclusion: Are you fully trusting in the Lord? In 1876, Edgar Stites penned the words to the hymn Trusting Jesus. The lyrics first appeared as a poem in a newspaper. They were given to Ira Sankey’s partner Dwight L. Moody who asked Sankey to set them to music.
Simply trusting every day,
Trusting through a stormy way;
Even when my faith is small,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting as the moments fly,
Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him what e’er befall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Brightly does His Spirit shine
Into this poor heart of mine;
While He leads I cannot fall;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Singing if my way is clear,
Praying if the path be drear;
If in danger for Him call;
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
Trusting Him while life shall last,
Trusting Him till earth be past;
Till within the jasper wall,
Trusting Jesus, that is all.
One stanza of Like a River Glorious is particularly appropriate for this message:
Every joy or trial falleth from above,
Traced upon our dial by the Sun of Love;
We may trust Him fully all for us to do.
They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.
Are you fully trusting in the Lord? Fully trusting the Lord brings joy, blessing, victory, and praise. The Bible is a mighty handy Tool the Lord has given to us. What a shame It is oft-neglected as a Tool God wants us to use in our lives! We must learn to use the Word of God as God intended.
Remember, a good mechanic or carpenter knows which tool he needs for a particular job. He also knows where that tool is kept. There is no random searching of the tool chest for him, because he knows which tool he needs and where it is. In the same way, the Word of God is the Tool to trust in the time of need. There should be no random searching of the Scriptures for the Christian in times of need. He should know which tool is needed and where it is kept.
By: Pastor Dan Parton
Preached on October 10, 2010
Timberline Baptist Church
512 Canon Avenue
Manitou Springs, Colorado 80829
E-mail: [email protected]
Web site: http://timberlinebaptist.org
The authority of the Bible or “Sola Scriptura” (the Bible only) is at the heart of the vast doctrinal differences that separate Bible believing Christianity from Roman Catholicism. Bible believing Christianity bases its doctrine and practice solely on the Bible. We are often asked by our Catholic friends such things as:
“By what authority do you preach and teach the Bible?
Are you a qualified teaching authority of the Catholic Church?
Did you not know that you Protestants would not even have a Bible had it not been for the Catholic Church?
Where did all the Reformers come from?
Did you not know that they all came out of the one true holy mother church?
Do you not understand that your Protestant champion Luther was once a Catholic?”
In this thread then, we will clearly defend our Biblical position of “Sola Scriptura”. Our Catholic friends will quite obviously disagree with our conclusions; however we will derive our final conclusions from the Bible. By what authority do you preach and teach the Bible? The Lord Jesus Christ called me into the ministry thirty-six years ago. As a blood bought child of the King, I have the Holy Spirit dwelling in my heart.
John 14:16-17 “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.”
John 16:13 “Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.”
I John 2:27 “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
Although I am not infallible, I have an infallible guide. Are you a qualified teaching authority of the Catholic Church? Absolutely not and I do not need to be.
II Timothy 2:15 “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” The Greek word that is here translated “rightly dividing” is a compound word that has the connotation of proper handling of the word of truth.”
What is truth? The truth is the simple Gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone. The truth is that salvation is in Christ and Christ alone.
Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby ye must be saved.”
Ephesians 1:7 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” The man who properly handles the word of truth does not waver or deviate.
We cannot overstate that Scripture always reaffirms Scripture. As a Bible believing Christian, I hold to the same truths that I did thirty-six years ago and have not wavered.
Jude 3 “and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
Did you not know that you Protestants would not even have a Bible had it not been for the Catholic Church?
II Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Greek wording translated “given by inspiration of God” literally means God breathed. All of the writers of the sixty-six books of the Bible were directly inspired by God to pen the words that they wrote. Also notice the word “perfect.” The Greek word translated “perfect” has the implication of completeness or sufficiency. We will not discuss the Apocrypha during this particular study.
II Peter 1:20-21 “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”
No, I do not attempt any private interpretation of the Scriptures. The views that I convey, although disavowed by our Catholic friends, are the same views that would be conveyed by any Bible believing Christian who is a student of the Bible. Bible believing Christians guided by the Holy Spirit can validly interpret Scripture. The fact that there are differences comes not from any uncertainty of the Holy Spirit, but that in some non-essential matters, human error is possible. No, we also will not discuss the supposed 28,000 different Protestant denominations as claimed by the Roman Catholic Church during this discussion either. In verse 21, the Greek word translated “moved” literally means to be born or carried along by the Holy Ghost. So then, the holy men of old who penned the Scripture were directly inspired by the Holy Ghost as they wrote. The last book in the Old Testament is Malachi and it was written about 450BC. We discover that Ezra was concerned with the sacred books in the fifth century BC.
For instance, in Ezra 7:6-11, let’s consider excerpts of his own words: “and he was a ready scribe in the Law of Moses, which the Lord God of Israel had given: . . . For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. .. . even a scribe of the words of the commandments of the Lord, and of his statutes of Israel.”
After the Jews returned from the exile, they were extremely interested in restoring the religious institutions of the nation. Even more than this, there is ample evidence that the Old Testament canon was complete by the end of the fifth century BC. Philo, the Jewish philosopher of Alexandra (20BC-AD50), repeatedly quoted from all thirty-nine books of the Old Testament. Josephus, a Jewish historian (AD37-95), clearly accepted the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament as divine Scripture. In his writings “Against Apion 1.8”, he wrote: “We have only twenty-two books among us, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine. It is true, our history has been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but has not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there has not been an exact succession of prophets since that time.”
In his list of Old Testament books, he combined some of the books like I and II Samuel, I and II Kings, and etc. so as to have only twenty-two books in his list. Notice that he empathically stated them to be the “only true and divine books which contain the records of all the past times.” Furthermore, the Jewish historical scholars David Kimchi (AD1160-1232) and Elias Levita (AD1465-1549), both empathically state that the Old Testament Canon was finished by Ezra during the fifth century before Christ. Finally, the most ancient extant list of both the Old and New Testament books was compiled by Melito of Sardis in about AD170 and it has listed the exact sixty-six books that are in our Bible today. God gave us the sixty-six books of the Bible. The Holy Spirit used men to write the original sixty-six books of the Bible and guided their very thoughts. The sixty-six books of the Bible were approved by God nearly three hundred years prior to the Council of Carthage in AD397. You see, God does not need a council to decide which books belong in His Word. The Council of Carthage merely reaffirmed what God already had established. No, the Roman Catholic Church certainly did not give us the Bible; God did. The Roman Catholic Church believes and teaches that the Bible is the verbally inspired and inerrant Word of God. To that we add our most sincere and hearty AMEN! We certainly do commend them for that. It however, also holds that tradition is of equal value with the Bible.
In 1965, Vatican Council II issued the following statement: “There exist a close connection and communication between sacred Tradition and sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tends toward the same end. . . . Consequently, it is not from the sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and sacred scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of devotion and reverence.” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, chapter 9,10, p. 682) Vatican Council II merely reaffirmed what was clearly established in 1546 at the Council of Trent. From Vatican Council II we also read, “The sacred synod encourages the sons of the Church who engage in biblical studies constantly to renew their efforts with complete dedication and in accordance with the mind of the Church. Sacred theology relies on the written Word of God, taken together with Sacred Tradition.” (DEI VERBUM, Vatican II) Did you not know that all the Reformers including Luther were once Catholics? Yes, we do. All that proves is that they had enough of the corruption and apostasy that was prevalent in the Catholic Church at that time. After thoroughly investigating the Scriptures, they realized that the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church were at odds with the clear teachings of Scripture.
They full well understood the implications of II Corinthians 6:17-“Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
II Thessalonians 2:13-15: “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.”
The Greek word translated “traditions” in verse 15 simply means “giving over or handing down.” The apostle Paul is simply referring to the teachings that he handed down to the Thessalonians; namely the GOSPEL which he has mentioned in verses 13 and 14. He had preached to them and orally instructed them while he was in Thessalonica and now he is writing down the earlier oral teachings. Is Paul here speaking about Roman Catholic “tradition”-the transmission of God’s Word by the Magisterium of the church? In The New Catholic Catechism we read this: “100-the task of interpreting the Word of God has been entrusted solely to the Magisterium of the Church, that is, to the Pope and to the bishops in communion with him.” Our answer is an empathic NO! The main issue that Bible believing Christians have with the Roman Catholic Church is not that God’s revelation was initially passed onto the church by word of mouth of the apostles. This is certainly not in dispute. We also do not dispute that Christian doctrine is passed on from generation to generation in both written and oral form. Doctrine is taught orally in our preaching and teaching ministries. Our question is simply this, “Why should church tradition be placed on an equal par with the written Word of God?” Roman Catholic traditions are always clearly at odds with the clear teachings of the Word of God. The next passage used is
John 21:25-“And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”
We wonder why our Catholic friends fail to mention John 20:30-31? “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”
This is obviously similar to 21:25. Oh, I know why! Jesus clearly states that what is written is sufficient for man to understand who Jesus is and to believe unto salvation that he is the Son of God. Our salvation is in Christ and in him alone. We are saved by grace through faith alone. In previous threads, our Catholic friends have stated that they believe this too. Then they follow it up by stating that to experience salvation, we must keep the commandments; we must participate in a sacramental system; we must add to salvation by continually doing something. It has already been done. Christ did it all on Calvary.
Titus 3:5-“Not be works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boost.”
Ephesians 1:7-“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;”
Colossians 1:14-“In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”
Romans 3:22-25 “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;”
Romans 5:1,2,8,9-“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”
This is a good clear presentation of the Gospel. We are clearly saved by grace through faith alone. What does the Roman Catholic Church say to this?” Session six of the Council of Trent Canon 9-“If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.” The “anathema” does not simply mean to be excommunicated as our Catholic friends contend; rather to be cursed or damned to hell. To be excommunicated actually puts a Catholic outside of the protection of the sacramental system; the sacraments are refused them; and in actuality they are damned to hell by the Catholic Church anyway.
Canon 11-“If anyone says that men are justified either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and remains in them, or also that the grace by which we are justified is only the good will of God, let him be anathema.”
Canon 12-“If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy, which remits sins for Christ’s sake, or that it is this confidence alone that justifies us, let him be anathema.”
Canon 14-“If anyone says that man is absolved from his sins and justified because he firmly believes that he is absolved and justified, or that no one is truly justified except him who believes himself justified, and that by faith alone absolution and justification are effected, let him be anathema.” This is the final result of man’s tradition; absolute rejection of the Biblical plan of salvation by grace through faith alone. When one thoroughly studies and fully understands the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church only one conclusion can be reached. Clearly everything that we as Bible believing Christians believe is condemned by the Catholic Church. The above four Canons are a clear condemnation and rejection of the true Apostolic Gospel. Finally, let’s see exactly what the Bible has to say about the “Traditions of man.”
1. Christ condemned the traditions of man.
Matthew 15:13-“He answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?”
Mark 7:7,8-“In vain do they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandments of God, ye hold the traditions of men.” In looking at the first twenty-three verses of this chapter, Jesus strongly rebukes and condemns the Jews for following after man’s traditions. Verse 13-“Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”
2. Jesus tells us to search the Scriptures for our answers; not to look to man’s traditions.
John 5:39-“Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life; and they are they which testify of Me.”:
Matthew 22:29-“Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures.”
3. The apostle Paul warns against the traditions of man.
Colossians 2:8-“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
The Bible then is the only true standard that we have available to us today. Any manmade tradition that differs from the clear and precise teachings of the Holy Scriptures must be rejected.
Thursday 17th of March marked St Patricks day where thousands of Irish people or those who would claim Irish descent celebrate the feast day of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
Patrick brought Christianity to Ireland in the 5th Century. Many who celebrate this saint, however use this day as a celebration of Irish Culture, dance and music and an excuse for lots of drinking rather than a celebration of Christianity in Ireland.
The Irish built monasteries, sent out missionaries, converted people they met by preaching the gospel and baptizing believers. Wherever they went, Irish missionaries brought a Celtic spirit: haunting Irish hymns, delight in natural beauty and love of adventure. Even today there are very few countries in the world that have not had Irish people settle there and contribute to their culture, history and politics.
They went out in groups of twelve, imitating the Apostles. They impacted the cultures and people of Europe and enhanced their civilizations. The cities of Wurzburg, Fontenelle, Salzburg and others exist because the Irish planted monasteries there.
History records that this missionary movement began with Columba (c. 521-597). Legend says that he preached the Gospel in Scotland in an attempt to atone for killing a host of rivals. Columba founded a monastery on Iona off the coast of Scotland. His zeal and holiness, along with the purity and love of his fellow workers, made a great impression on the heathen. Half a dozen new monasteries emerged from Iona, each staffed by Irishmen and local converts who longed to be part of the Kingdom of God.
It is difficult for most modern Protestants to understand the concept of the medieval monastery. However, if we think of the Irish monasteries as mission compounds, and the monks as missionaries who renounced marriage in order to carry the Gospel without family encumbrances, we begin to see them in a new light. These early monks were hard-working, rigorously disciplined, zealous to reach souls for God’s Kingdom, ready to confront any danger, and happy to lay down their lives in martyrdom. They truly suffered for Christ. Wherever they went, local people flocked to them. Today evangelistic witness is growing in Ireland particularly in the Republic of Ireland with new Churches being planted and missionary outreaches to the local people.
The Association of Baptist Churches in Ireland has been around since the early 1600’s. Today it is a group of 115 autonomous churches in Ireland which have voluntarily agreed to work together. There are 94 located Northern Ireland and 21 fellowships located in Republic of Ireland. Presently committed membership is around 8,500 Baptists in Ireland. However each week about 20,000 people attend the churches.
As autonomous the churches are self-governing. The Association only acts on behalf of the churches for the work which the churches have agreed to do together. These areas cover the work of the Irish Baptist Association, Baptist Missions, Baptist Women, Baptist Youth and the Irish Baptist College. These ministries are based at the Association building in Moira County Down, Northern Ireland.
Author: Tony Meehan, Irish Editor Baptist.org
October 30, 1887 | C.H. Spurgeon | Metropolitan Tabernacle |
“In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack. The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly, who are of thee, to whom the reproach of it was a burden.”—Zephaniah 3:16-18.
HOLY SCRIPTURE is wonderfully full and abiding in its inner sense. It is a springing well, whereat you may draw, and draw again; for as you draw, it springs up for ever new and fresh. It is a well of water springing up everlastingly. The fulfillment of a divine promise is not the exhaustion of it. When a man gives you a promise, and he keeps it, there is an end of the promise; but it is not so with God. When he keeps his word to the full, he has but begun: he is prepared to keep it, and keep it, and keep it for ever and ever. What would you say of a man who had wheat upon his barn floor, and threshed it until he had beaten out the last golden grain; but the next day he went and threshed again, and brought back as much as the day before; and on the day after, again taking his flail, he went to the same threshing, and again brought back his measure as full as at the first, and so on for all the days of the year? Would it not seem to you as a fairy tale? It would certainly be a surprising miracle. But what should we say if, throughout a long life, this miracle could be prolonged.? Yet we have continued to thresh the promises ever since faith was given us, and we have carried away our full portion every day. What shall we say of the glorious fact that the saints in all generations, from the first day until now, have done the same; and of that equal truth, that as long as there is a needy soul upon earth, there will be upon the threshing floor of the promises the same abundance of the finest of the wheat as when the first man filled his measure and returned rejoicing?
I will not dwell upon the specific application of the text before us: I do not doubt that it was specially fulfilled as it was intended; and if there still remains some special piece of history to which this passage alludes, it will again be fulfilled in due time; but this I know, that those who have lived between whiles have found this promise true to them. Children of God have used these promises under all sorts of circumstances, and have derived the utmost comfort from them; and this morning I feel as if the text had been newly written for the present occasion, for it is in every syllable most suitable to the immediate crisis. If the Lord had fixed his eye upon the condition of his church just now, and had written this passage only for this year of grace 1887, it could scarcely have been more adapted to the occasion. Our business shall be to show this; but I would aim at much more. Let our prayer be that we, may enjoy this marvellous portion of the sacred word, and take intense delight in it. As God rests in his love, so may we rest in it this morning; and as he joys over us with singing, so may we break forth into joyous psalms to the God of our salvation.
I am going to begin with the last verse of the text, and work my way upwards. The first; head is, a trying day for God’s people. They are sorrowful because a cloud is upon their solemn assembly, and the reproach thereof is a burden. Secondly, we will note a glorious ground of consolation. We read in the seventeenth verse, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.” And, thirdly, here is a brave conduct suggested thereby: “In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not: and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.”
I. Beginning at the eighteenth verse, we notice A TRYING DAY FOR GOD’S PEOPLE. The solemn assembly had fallen under reproach. The solemn assemblies of Israel were her glory: her great days of festival and sacrifice were the gladness of the land. To the faithful their holy days were their holidays. But a reproach had fallen upon the solemn assembly, and I believe it is so now at this present moment. It is a, sad affliction when in our solemn assemblies the brilliance of the gospel light is dimmed by error. The clearness of the testimony is spoiled when doubtful voices are scattered among the people, and those who ought to preach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, are telling out for doctrines the imaginations of men, and the inventions of the age. Instead of revelation, we have philosophy, falsely so-called; instead of divine infallibility, we have surmises and larger hopes. The gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, is taught as the production of progress, a growth, a thing to be amended and corrected year by year. It is an ill day, both for the church and the world, when the trumpet does not give a certain sound; for who shall prepare himself for the battle?
If added to this we should see creeping over the solemn assembly of the church a lifelessness, an indifference, and a lack of spiritual power, it is painful to a high degree. When the vitality of religion is despised, and gatherings for prayer are neglected, what are we coming to? The present period of church history is well portrayed by the church of Laodicea, which was neither cold nor hot, and therefore to be spewed out of Christ’s mouth. That church gloried that she was rich and increased in goods, and had need of nothing, while all the while her Lord was outside, knocking at the door, a door closed against him. That passage is constantly applied to the unconverted, with whom it has nothing to do: it has to do with a lukewarm church, with a church that thought itself to be in an eminently prosperous condition, while her living Lord, in the doctrine of his atoning sacrifice, was denied an entrance. Oh, if he had found admission—and he was eager to find it—she would soon have flung away her imaginary wealth, and he would have given her gold tried in the furnace, and white raiment with which she might be clothed. Alas! she is content without her Lord, for she has education, oratory, science, and a thousand other baubles. Zion’s solemn assembly is under a cloud indeed, when the teaching of Jesus and his apostles is of small account with her.
If in addition to this, worldly conformity spreads in the church, so that the vain amusements of the world are shared in by the saints, then is there reason enough for lamentation, even as Jeremiah cried: “How is the gold become dim!” Her Nazarites, who were purer than snow and whiter than milk, have become blacker than a coal. “All our enemies have opened their mouths against us.” If no longer there is a clear distinction between the church and the world, but professed followers of Jesus have joined hands with unbelievers, then may we mourn indeed! Woe worth the day! An ill time has happened to the church and to the world also. We may expect great judgments, for the Lord will surely be avenged on such a people as this. Know ye not of old that when the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they were joined unto them, then the flood came and swept them all away? I need not pursue this subject further, lest our burdens take from us the time which is demanded for consolation.
It appears from the text that there were some to whom the reproach was a burden. They could not make sport of sin. True, there were many who said that the evil did not exist at all, and others who declared that it was not present in any great degree. Yes, and more hardened spirits declared that what was considered to be a reproach was really a thing to be boasted of, the very glory of the century. Thus they huffed the matter, and made the mourning of the conscientious to be a theme for jest. But there was a remnant to whom the reproach of it was a burden; these could not bear to see such a calamity. To these the Lord God will have respect, as he said by the prophet:—”Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.” The many drank wine in bowls and anointed themselves with their chief ointments, but they were not grieved for the affliction of Joseph (Amos 6:6); but these were pressed in spirit and bore the cross, counting the reproach of Christ greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. God’s people cannot bear that Christ’s atoning sacrifice should be dishonored; they cannot endure that his truth should be trodden as mire in the streets. To true believers prosperity means the Holy Ghost blessing the word to the conversion of sinners and the building up of saints; and if they do not see this, they hang their harps upon the willows. True lovers of Jesus fast when the Bridegroom is not with his church: their glow is in his glory, and in nothing else. The wife of Phinehas, the son of Eli, cried out in her dying agony, “The glory has departed,” and the reason that she gave was once because of the death of her husband and his father, but twice because “the ark of God is taken.” For this she named her new-born child Ichabod—. “The glory is departed from Israel, for the ark of God is taken.” The bitterest pain of this godly woman was for the church, and for the honor of our God. So it is with God’s true people: they lay it much to heart that the truth is rejected.
This burdened spirit, is a token of true love to God: those who love the Lord Jesus are wounded in his woundings, and vexed with the vexings of his Spirit. When Christ is dishonored his disciples are dishonored. Those who have a tender heart towards the church can say with Paul, “Who is offended, and I burn not?” The sins of the church of God are the sorrows of all living members of it. This also marks a healthy sensibility, a vital spirituality. Those who are unspiritual care nothing for truth or grace: they look to finances, and numbers, and respectability. Utterly carnal men care for none of these things; and so long as the political aims of Dissenters are progressing, and there is an advance in social position, it is enough for them. But men whose spirits are of God would sooner see the faithful persecuted than see them desert the truth, sooner see churches in the depths of poverty full of holy zeal than rich churches dead in worldliness. Spiritual men care for the church even when she is in an evil case, and cast down by her adversaries: “thy servants take pleasure in her stones, and favor the dust thereof.” The house of the Lord is to many of us our own house, his family is our family. Unless the Lord Jesus be extolled, and his gospel conquer, we feel that our own personal interests are blighted, and we ourselves are in disgrace. It is no small thing to us: it is our life.
Thus have I dwelt upon the fact that it is an ill day for God’s people when the solemn assembly is defiled: the reproach thereof is a burden to those who are truly citizens of the New Jerusalem, and because of this they are seen to be sorrowful. The Lord here says, “I will gather them that are sorrowful for the solemn assembly.” They may well be sorrowful when such a burden is laid on their hearts. Moreover, they see in a hundred ways the ill effect of the evil which they deplore. Many are lame and halting; this is hinted at in the promise of the nineteenth verse: “I will save her that halteth.” Pilgrims on the road to Zion were made to limp on the road because the prophets were “light and treacherous persons.” When the pure gospel is not preached, God’s people are robbed of the strength which they need in their life-journey. If you take away the bread, the children hunger. If you give the flock poisonous pastures, or fields which are barren as the desert, they pine and they become lame in their daily following of the shepherd. The doctrinal soon affects the practical. I know many of the people of God living in different parts of this country to whom the Sabbath is very little of a day of rest, for they hear no truth in which rest is to be found, but they are worried and wearied with novelties which neither glorify God nor benefit the souls of men. In many a place the sheep look up and are not fed. This causes much disquietude and breeds doubts and questionings, and thus strength is turned to weakness, and the work of faith, the labor of love, and the patience of hope are all kept in a halting state. This is a grievous evil, and it is all around us. Then, alas! many are “driven out,” of whom the nineteenth verse says, “I will gather her that was driven out.” By false doctrine many are made to wander from the fold. Hopeful ones are made to stray from the path of life, and sinners are left in their natural distance from God. The truth which would convince men of sin is not preached, while other truths which would lead seekers into peace are beclouded, and souls are left in needless sorrow. When the doctrines of grace and the glorious atoning sacrifice are not set clearly before men’s minds, so that they may feel their power, all sorts of evils follow. It is terrible to me that this dreadful blight should come upon our churches; for the hesitating are driven to destruction, the weak are staggered, and even the strong are perplexed. The false teachers of these days would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect. This makes our hearts very sorrowful. How can we help it?
Yet, beloved, all the time that the people of God are in this evil case, they are not without hope; for close upon all this comes the promise of the Lord to restore his wandering ones. We have the sense twice over: “I will get them praise and fame in every land where they have been put to shame.” “I will make you a name and a praise among all people of the earth, when I turn back your captivity before your eyes, saith the Lord. “The adversaries cannot silence the eternal testimony. They hanged our Lord himself upon a tree; they took down his body and buried it in a tomb in the rock; and they set their seal upon the stone which they rolled at the mouth of the sepulcher. Surely now there was an end of the Christ and his cause. Boast not, ye priests and Pharisees! Vain the watch, the stone, the seal! When the appointed time had come, the living Christ came forth. He could not be holden by the cords of death. How idle their dreams! “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord doth have them in derision.” Beloved, the reproach will yet be rolled away from the solemn assembly: the truth of God will yet again be proclaimed as with trumpet tongue, the Spirit of God will revive his church, and converts as many as the sheaves of the harvest shall yet be gathered in. How will the faithful rejoice! Those who were burdened and sorrowful shall then put on their garments of joy and beauty. Then shall the ransomed of the Lord return with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads. The conflict is not doubtful. The end of the battle is sure and certain. Methinks I even now hear the shout, “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
II. Secondly, let us think of something which shines like a star amid the darkness. The second verse of the text presents A GLORIOUS GROUND OF CONSOLATION. Here is a rich text indeed. This passage is like a great sea, while I am as a little child making pools in the sand which skirts its boundless flood. A series of discourses might well be founded on this one verse: I mean the seventeenth.
Our great consolation in the worst times lies in our God. The very name of our covenant God—”the Lord thy God”—is full of good cheer. That word, “the Lord,” is really JEHOVAH, the self-existent One, the unchangeable One, the ever-living God, who cannot change or be moved from his everlasting purpose. Children of God, whatever you have not got, you have a God in whom you may greatly glory. Having God you have more than all things, for all things come of him; and if all things were blotted out, he could restore all things simply by his will. He speaketh, and it is done; he commandeth, and it stands fast. Blessed is the man that hath the God of Jacob for his trust, and whose hope Jehovah is. In the Lord Jehovah we have righteousness and strength; let us trust in him for ever.
Let the times roll on, they cannot affect our God. Let troubles rush upon us like a tempest, but they shall not come nigh unto us now that he is our defense. Jehovah, the God of his church, is also the God of each individual member of it, and each one may therefore rejoice in him. Jehovah is as much your God, my brother, as if no other person in the universe could use that covenant expression. O believer, the Lord God is altogether and wholly your God! All his wisdom, all his foresight, all his power, all his immutability—all himself is yours. As for the church of God, when she is in her lowest estate she is still established and endowed in the best possible sense—established by the divine decree, and endowed by the possession of God all-sufficient. The gates of hell shall not prevail against her. Let us exult in our possession. Poor as we are, we are infinitely rich in having God; weak as we are, there is no limit to our strength, since the Almighty Jehovah is ours. “If God be for us, who can be against us?” If God be ours, what more can we need? Lift up thy heart, thou sorrowful one, and be of good cheer. If God be thy God, thou hast all thou canst desire: wrapped up within his glorious name we find all things for time and eternity, for earth and heaven. Therefore in the name of Jehovah we will set up our banners, and march onward to the battle. He is our God by his own purpose, covenant, and oath; and this day he is our God by our own choice of him, by our union with Christ Jesus, by our experience of his goodness, and by that spirit of adoption whereby we cry “Abba, Father.”
To strengthen this consolation, we notice next, that this God is in the midst of us. He is not a long way off, to be sought with difficulty, if haply we may find him. The Lord is a God nigh at hand, and ready to deliver his people. Is it not delightful to think that we cry not to God across the ocean, for he is here? We look not up to him from afar, as though he dwelt beyond the stars, neither do we think of him as hidden in the fathomless abyss; but the Lord is very near. Our God is “Jehovah in the midst of thee.” Since that bright night in which a babe was born at Bethlehem, and unto us a Son was given, we know God as “Emmanuel, God with us.” God is in our nature, and therefore very near unto us. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” Though his bodily presence is gone, yet we hare his spiritual presence with us evermore; for he saith, “Lo, I am with you alway.” He walketh among the golden candlesticks. We have also the immediate presence of God the Holy Spirit. He is in the midst of the church to enlighten, convince, quicken, endow, comfort, and clothe with spiritual power. The Lord still works in the minds of men for the accomplishment of his purposes of grace. Let us think of this when we are going forth to Christian service: “The Lord of hosts is with us.” When you call your class together in the Sabbath school, say to your Lord, “If thy presence go not with me, carry me not up hence.” Ah, friends! if we have God with us, we can bear to be deserted by men. What a word that is, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them!” Shall not the army shout when the King himself is in their ranks! Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered! When he is with us they that hate him must flee before him. Be it our concern so to live that we may never grieve away the Spirit of God. Beloved, there is such abundant consolation in the fact of the presence of God with us, that if we could only feel the power of it at this moment, we should enter into rest, and our heaven would begin below.
Let us go a step further, and note that our consolation is largely to be found in the fact that this God in the midst of us is full of power to save. “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save.” That is to say, “Jehovah, thy God, is mighty to save.” His arm is not shortened, he is still “a just God and a Saviour.” Nor is he merely able to save, but he will display that ability; “he will save.” Come, my brother, we see around us this and that to discourage us; let us, like David, encourage ourselves in the Lord our God. We may very well forget all difficulties, since the God who is in the midst of us is mighty to save. Let us pray, then, that he will save; that he will save his own church from lukewarmness and from deady error; that he will save her from her worldliness and formalism; save her from unconverted ministers and ungodly members. Let us lift up our eyes and behold the power which is ready to save; and let us go on to pray that the Lord may save the unconverted by thousands and millions. Oh, that we might see a great revival of religion! This is what we want before all things. This would smite the enemy upon the cheek-bone, and break the teeth of the adversary. If tens of thousands of souls were immediately saved by the sovereign grace of God, what a rebuke it would be to those who deny the faith!
Oh, for times such as our fathers saw when first Whitefield and his helpers began to preach the life-giving word! When one sweet voice was heard clear and loud, all the birds of paradise began to sing in concert with him, and the morning of a glorious day was heralded. Oh, if that were to happen again, I should feel like Simeon when he embraced the heavenly babe! Then would the virgin daughter of Zion shake her head at the foe, and laugh him to scorn. It may happen; yea, if we are importunate in prayer it must happen: “God shall bless us, and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.” Let us not seek power of rhetoric, much less of wealth; but let us look for the power which saves. This is the one thing I crave. Oh, that God would save souls! I say to myself, after being badgered and worried through the week by the men of modern thought: “I will go my way and preach Christ’s gospel, and win souls.” One lifting up of Jesus Christ crucified is more to me than all the cavillings of the men who are wise above what is written. Converts are our unanswerable arguments. “Happy is the man,” saith the Psalm, “that hath his quiver full of them: they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Blessed is the man who has many spiritual children born to God under his ministry; for his converts are his defense. Beholding the man who was healed standing with Peter and John, they could say nothing against them. If souls are saved by the gospel, the gospel is proved in the surest manner. Let us care more about conversions than about organizations. If souls are brought into union with Christ, we may let other unions go.
We go yet further, and we come to great deeps: behold God’s joy in his people. “He will rejoice over thee with joy.” Think of this! Jehovah, the living God, is described as brooding over his church with pleasure. He looks upon souls redeemed by the blood of his dear Son, quickened by his Holy Spirit, and his heart is glad. Even the infinite heart of God is filled with an extraordinary joy at the sight of his chosen. His delight is in his church, his Hephzibah. I can understand a minister rejoicing over a soul that he has brought to Christ; I can also understand believers rejoicing to see others saved from sin and hell; but what shall I say of the infinitely-happy and eternally-blessed God finding, as it were, a new joy in souls redeemed? This is another of those great wonders which cluster around the work of divine grace! “He will rejoice over thee with joy.” Oh, you are trembling for the ark of the Lord; the Lord is not trembling, but rejoicing. Faulty as the church is, the Lord rejoices in her. While we mourn, as well we may, yet we do not sorrow as those that are without hope; for God does not sorrow, his heart is glad, and he is said to rejoice with joy—a highly emphatic expression.
The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, imperfect though they be. He sees them as they are to be, and so he rejoices over them, even when they cannot rejoice in themselves. When your face is blurred with tears, your eyes red with weeping, and your heart heavy with sorrow for sin, the great Father is rejoicing over you. The prodigal son wept in his Father’s bosom, but the Father rejoiced over his son. We are questioning, doubting, sorrowing, trembling; and all the while he who sees the end from the beginning knows what will come out of the present disquietude, and therefore rejoices. Let us rise in faith to share the joy of God. Let no man’s heart fail him because of the taunts of the enemy. Rather let the chosen of God rouse themselves to courage, and participate in that joy of God which never ceaseth, even though the solemn assembly has become a reproach. Shall we not rejoice in him when he, in his boundless condescension, deigns to rejoice in us? Whoever despairs for the cause, he does not; wherefore let us be of good courage.
It is added, “He will rest in his love.” I do not know any Scripture which is more full of wonderful meaning than this. “He shall rest in his love,” as if our God had in his people found satisfaction. He comes to an anchorage: he has reached his desire. As when a Jacob, full of love to Rachel, has at length ended the years of his service, and is married to his well-beloved, and his heart is at rest; so is it spoken in parable of the Lord our God. Jesus sees of the travail of his soul when his people are won to him; he has been baptized with his baptism for his church, and he is no longer straitened, for his desire is fulfilled. The Lord is content with his eternal choice, content with his loving purposes, satisfied with the love which went forth from everlasting. He is well pleased in Jesus—well pleased with all the glorious purposes which are connected with his dear Son, and with those who are in him. He has a calm content in the people of his choice, as he sees them in Christ. This is a good ground for our having a deep satisfaction of heart also. We are not what we would be; but then we are not what we shall be. We advance slowly; but then we advance surely. The end is secured by omnipotent grace. It is right that we should be discontented with ourselves, yet this holy restlessness should not rob us of our perfect peace in Christ Jesus. If the Lord hath rest in us, shall we not have rest in him? If he rests in his love, cannot we rest in it?
My heart is comforted as I plainly see in these words love unchanging, love abiding, love eternal: “he will rest in his love.” Jehovah changes not. Being married to his people, “he hateth putting away.” Immutability is written on his heart. The turtle-dove, when he has once chosen his mate, remains faithful throughout life, and if the beloved dies, he will, in many cases, pine away with grief for her, for his life is wrapped up in hers. Even so our Lord hath made his choice of his beloved, and he will never change it: he died for his church, and so long as he lives he will remember his own love, and what it cost him: “Who shall separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord?” “He will rest in his love.”
The love of God to us is undisturbed: “The peace of God, which passeth all understanding,” dwells with his love: he is not disquieted about it, but peacefully loves, and is never moved. The calm of God is wonderful to contemplate: his infallible knowledge and infinite power put him beyond fear or question. He sees no cause of alarm as to his redeemed, nor as to the cause of truth and the reign of righteousness. As to his true church, he knows that she is right, or that he will make her right. She is being transformed into the image of Jesus, and he rests in the full assurance that the image will ere long be complete. He can carry out his own purposes in his own way and time. He can see the harvest as well as the sowing; therefore he doth “rest in his love.” You have seen a mother wash her child, and as she washes its face the child perhaps is crying, for it does not for the present enjoy the cleansing operation. Does the mother share the child’s grief? Does she also cry? Oh, no! she rejoices over her babe, and rests in her love, knowing that the light affliction of the little one will work its real good. Often our griefs are no deeper than the cry of a child because of the soap in its eyes. While the church is being washed with tribulations and persecutions, God is resting in his love. You and I are wearying, but God is resting.
“He shall rest in his love.” The Hebrew of this line is, “He shall be silent in his love.” His happiness in his love is so great, that he does not express it, but keeps a happy silence. His is a joy too deep for words. No language can express the joy of God in his love; and therefore he uses no words. Silence in this case is infinitely expressive. One of the old commentators says, “He is deaf and dumb in his love,” as if he heard no voice of accusation against his chosen, and would not speak a word of upbraiding to her. Remember the silence of Jesus, and expound this text thereby.
Sometimes also the Lord does not speak to his people: we cannot get a cheering word from him; and then we sigh for a promise, and long for a visit of his love; but if he be thus silent, let us know that, he is only silent in his love. It is not the silence of wrath, but of love. His love is not changed, even though he does not comfort us.
“His thoughts are high, his love is wise,
His wounds a cure intend;
And though he does not always smile,
He loves unto the end.”
When he does not answer our prayers with his hand, he yet hears them with his heart. Denials are only another form of the same love which grants our petitions. He loves us, and sometimes shows that love better by not giving us what we ask than he could do if he spoke the sweetest promise which the ear has ever heard. I prize this sentence: “He shall rest in his love.” My God, thou art perfectly content with thy church after all, because thou knowest what she is to be. Thou seest how fair she will be when she comes forth from the washing, having put on her beautiful garments. Lo, the sun goes down, and we mortals dread the endless darkness; but thou, great God, seest the morning, and thou knowest that in the hours of darkness dews will fall which shall refresh thy garden. Ours is the measure of an hour, and thine the judgment of eternity, therefore we will correct our short-sighted judgment by thine infallible knowledge, and rest with thee.
The last word is, however, the most wonderful of all: “He will joy over thee with singing.” Think of the great Jehovah singing! Can you imagine it? Is it possible to conceive of the Deity breaking into a song: Father, Son and Holy Ghost together singing over the redeemed? God is so happy in the love which he bears to his people that he breaks the eternal silence, and sun and moon and stars with astonishment hear God chanting a hymn of joy. Among Orientals a certain song is sung by the bridegroom when he receives his bride: it is intended to declare his joy in her, and in the fact that his marriage has come. Here, by the pen of inspiration, the God of love is pictured as married to his church, and so rejoicing in her that he rejoices over her with singing. If God sings, shall not we sing? He did not sing when he made the world. No; he looked upon it, and simply said that it was good. The angels sang, the sons of God shouted for joy: creation was very wonderful to them, but it was not much to God, who could have made thousands of worlds by his mere will.
Creation could not make him sing; and I do not even know that Providence ever brought a note of joy from him, for he could arrange a thousand kingdoms of providence with ease. But when it came to redemption, that cost him dear. Here he spent; eternal thought, and drew up a covenant with infinite wisdom. Here he gave his Only-begotten Son, and put him to grief to ransom his beloved ones. When all was done, and the Lord saw what became of it in the salvation of his redeemed, then he rejoiced after a divine manner. What must the joy be which recompenses Gethsemane and Calvary! Here we are among the Atlantic waves. The Lord God receives an accession to the infinity of his joy in the thought of his redeemed people. “He shall rejoice over thee with singing.” I tremble while I speak of such themes, lest I should say a word that should dishonor the matchless mystery; but still we are glad to note what is written, and we are bound to take comfort from it. Let us have sympathy with the joy of the Lord, for this will be our strength.
III. I close with a brief word upon THE BRAVE CONDUCT SUGGESTED THEREBY. Let us not sorrow under the burdens which we bear, but rejoice in God, the great Burden-bearer, upon whom this day we roll our load. Here it is—”In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem, Fear thou not; and to Zion, Let not thine hands be slack.”
There are three things for God’s people to do. The first is, to be happy. Read verse fourteen—” Sing, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel; be glad and rejoice with all thy heart, O daughter of Jerusalem.” Any man can sing when his cup is full of delights; the believer alone has songs when waters of a bitter cup are wrung out to him. Any sparrow can chirp in the daylight; it is only the nightingale that can sing in the dark. Children of God, whenever the enemies seem to prevail over you, whenever the serried ranks of the foe appear sure of victory, then begin to sing. Your victory will come with your song. It is a very puzzling thing to the devil to hear saints sing when he sets his foot on them. He cannot make it out: the more he oppresses them, the more they rejoice.
Let us resolve to be all the merrier when the enemy dreams that we are utterly routed. The more opposition, the more we will rejoice in the Lord: the more discouragement, the more confidence. Splendid was the courage of Alexander when they told him that there were hundreds of thousands of Persians. “Yet,” he said, “one butcher fears not myriads of sheep.” “Ah!” said another, “when the Persians draw their bows, their arrows are so numerous that they darken the sun.” “It will be fine to fight in the shade.” cried the hero. O friends, we know whom we have believed, and we are sure of triumph! Let us not think for a single second, if the odds against us are ten thousand to one, that this is a hardship; rather let us wish that they were a million to one, that the glory of the Lord might be all the greater in the conquest which is sure. When Athanasius was told that everybody was denying the Deity of Christ, then he said, “I, Athanasius, against the world”: Athanasius contra mundum became a proverbial expression. Brethren, it is a splendid thing to be quite alone in the warfare of the Lord. Suppose we had half-a-dozen with us. Six men are not much increase to strength, and possibly they may be a cause of weakness, by needing to be looked after. If you are quite alone, so much the better: there is the more room for God. When desertions have cleaned the place out, and left you no friend, now every corner can be filled with Deity. As long as there is so much that is visible to rely upon, and so much to hope in, there is so much the less room for simple trust in God: but now our song is of the Lord alone; “for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee.”
The next duty is fearlessness: “Fear thou not.” What! not a little? No, “Fear thou not.” But surely I may show some measure of trembling? No, “Fear thou not.” Tie that knot tight about the throat of unbelief. “Fear thou not”: neither this day, nor any day of thy life. When fear comes in, drive it away; give it no space. If God rests in his love, and if God sings, what canst thou have to do with fear? Have you never known passengers on board ship, when the weather was rough, comforted by the calm behavior of the captain? One simple-minded soul said to his friend, “I am sure there is no cause for fear, for I heard the captain whistling.” Surely, if the captain is at ease, and with him is all the responsibility, the passenger may be still more at peace. If the Lord Jesus at the helm is singing, let us not be fearing. Let us have done with every timorous accent. O rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him. “Your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompense; he will come and save you.”
Lastly, let us be zealous: “Let not thine hands be slack.” Now is the time when every Christian should do more for God than ever. Let us plan great things for God, and let us expect great things from God. “Let not thine hands be slack.” Now is the hour for redoubled prayers and labors. Since the adversaries are busy, let us be busy also. If they think they shall make a full end of us, let us resolve to make a full end of their falsehoods and delusions. I think every Christian man should answer the challenge of the adversaries of Christ by working double tides, by giving more of his substance to the cause of God, by living more for the glory of God, by being more exact in his obedience, more earnest in his efforts, and more importunate in his prayers. “Let not thine hands be slack” in any one part of holy service. Fear is a dreadful breeder of idleness; but courage teaches us indomitable perseverance. Let us go on in God’s name. I would stir up the members of this church, and all my brethren, to intense zeal for God and the souls of men. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
Would God that all were on Christ’s side out of this great assembly! Oh, that you would come to Jesus, and trust him, and then live for him in the midst of this crooked and perverse generation! The Lord be with us. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON—Zephaniah 3.
C. H. Spurgeon (from spurgeon.org) was to nineteenth-century England what D. L Moody was to America. Although Spurgeon never attended theological school, by the age of twenty-one he was the most popular preacher in London. He preached to crowds of ten thousand at Exeter Hall and the Surrey Music Hall. Then when the Metropolitan Tabernacle was built, thousands gathered every Sunday for over forty years to hear his lively sermons. In addition to his regular pastoral duties, he founded Sunday schools, churches, an orphanage, and the Pastor’s College. He edited a monthly church magazine and promoted literature distribution.
Sincerely and straightforwardly he denounced error both in the Church of England and among his own Baptists. An ardent evangelical, he deplored the trend of the day toward biblical criticism. This warm, fascinating story enduringly records Spurgeon’s character and focuses light on different aspects of the man. The result is a lifelike picture of Spurgeon as he lived and labored for the Lord he loved.
As Baptists in America and around the world watch all of the happenings in Japan, a number of Baptist Organizations have instituted plans to go there and help in rescue and rebuilding efforts. If you have watched any of the footage on the news channels, the video footage is horrifying. So many peoples lives have been changed in a matter of a few minutes, and there was nothing anyone could do.
The Tsunami wave that hit the North East coast of Japan, went as far inland as 6 miles, and many people living in the area, were simply unprepared for this kind of result. Japan is not alone in experiencing a damaging wave. Damage was reported as far away as Hawaii and the West Coast of California. Currently, officials are concerned about problems associated with three Nuclear reactors that were affected by the tsunami. Prayers are requested for the whole nation, and especially the Baptist Missionaries and Preachers in the area.
Here is a sobering expose of the ravages of the tsunami!
TO HELP, PLEASE CONTACT THESE MISSIONARIES
- Tony & Debbie Evans – email:[email protected]
- Steve & Melinda Sissions – email:[email protected]
- Michael & Cindy Burgett – email:[email protected]
- Bobby & Kay Finch – email:[email protected]
- Robert & Mariko Barley – email:[email protected]
- James & Amy Smith – email:[email protected]
- Lavern & Clara Rodgers – email:[email protected]
- Bill & Barbara Neel – email: [email protected]
- George & Ellen King – email:[email protected]
- Ruth King – email:[email protected]
- Bob & Sandy Piatt – email:[email protected]
- Deneen Akers – email:[email protected]
- Ken Board – email:[email protected]
Listed is a review of what Baptists are doing in the area:
Baptist World Alliance and their compassionate arm, Baptist World Aid Rescue24 is sending out their team comprising of persons from Hungary, Singapore and the United States heading to the disaster zone to join with local Baptists in their relief and rescue efforts. The team will assess needs and requirements with a view to deploying other team members to the country and providing needed supplies. Read more here.
American Baptist Churches-USA has responded with a $20,000 grant to the Japanese Baptist Union (JBU).
Baptists on Mission has the NC Baptist Men Search and Rescue on the ground in Japan at the hardest hit area Sendai City. To see more about their efforts and find out how you can help, see their site.
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has partnered with The Japan Baptist Convention by sending $5,000 to meet immediate relief needs and has created a designated giving channel. For more info, you can view their site.
The Japan Baptist Union reports through the American Baptist News Service, that their leadership has been unable to reach six of their pastors. If you know of or have heard from any of these pastors, (Hachinohe, Kuji, Tagajo, Shichigahama, Matsushima and Kashimadai churches), please contact JBU at [email protected]. Other pastors in affected areas, have been evacuated, but did report damage to their church facilities.
A spokesperson with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board in Asia confirmed that all personnel in Japan are accounted for and suffered no injuries. For a more in depth report and what is happening with International Mission Board and their plans, read here.
Baptist Global Response, an international relief and development organization, told Baptist Press it has allocated $100,000 for an initial response and is in touch with partners in the region to assess immediate relief needs. BGR will be working with Tokyo Baptist Church as it’s main point of contact, and accesing the needs of the communities most affected.
Southern Baptist missionaries and their neighbors in Japan are shoveling tons of sand and sludge. Almost every street near the home of missionaries Mark and Sharon Bennett was buckled, cracked and covered with gray sand.
In an article written by Susie Rain, she reports about the Bennetts, who have served in Japan for two decades. They were homeschooling some of their children when the earthquake hit. They took shelter under a table and watched as items fell off shelves and walls. “I prayed out loud,” Bennett said. “In my heart I was preparing for the worst. I honestly thought the house was going to come down on top of us. After 20 years in Japan, this was the worst and longest earthquake I have ever felt. I was preparing myself to meet the Lord.” The Bennetts went outside after the initial quake, joining others in their neighborhood as the aftershocks started. Their block literally moved in one direction while the park across the street moved in the opposite. “I felt like I was standing on a small boat,” Bennett said.
Two of their boys were in classes at the local elementary school when the quake hit. The road was so buckled that no cars or public transport could get through, so Bennett walked through the rubble to the school as aftershocks continued to shake the area. When he arrived at the school, he found his two younger children standing outside with classmates, waiting for parents. The trio walked through gray sludge and debris to get back to their house. During the walk home, “we watched as wave after wave of aftershock did more damage to the roads and our park,” Bennett said. “Four concrete power poles fell onto a house a block from us — but we arrived safely home.”
Please continue to pray for all of the people of Japan, in this hour of great need!
We believe the Bible, consisting of sixty-six books of the Old and New Testaments, is the verbally inspired, infallible, inerrant Word of God. The Bible is God-breathed (II Tim. 3:16), and is to be the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. We further believe that God has preserved His Word in the King James Version (KJV). For languages other than English, we believe the translation must be based upon the Textus Receptus (TR), which is the same Greek text the KJV is based upon. For this church, the King James Version of the Bible shall be the official and only translation used by the church (II Tim. 3:16-17; II Pet. 1:20-21). Section 2:The Godhead – We believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit existing as three persons, and yet are still One. These are co-eternal in being, co-identical in nature, co-equal in power and glory, and have the same attributes and perfections (Gen. 1:26; Deut. 6:4; Isa 6:3).
Section 3:The Person and Work of Jesus Christ – We believe that the Lord Jesus, the eternal and only begotten Son of God, having been conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin, became man, without ceasing to be God (Phil. 2:58). Jesus Christ is full deity because He is God, and He became fully human as a man. He did this in order that He might reveal God in His righteousness, and redeem man in his sinfulness (John 1:1; 14:9; Isa. 7:14; I John 4:14).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ accomplished our redemption through His literal death on the cross as a representative, vicarious, and substitutionary sacrifice. Our justification is made sure by His literal physical, bodily resurrection from the dead (I Cor. 15:1-4).
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, and is now seated at the right hand of God the Father (Heb. 12:2), where as our High Priest He fulfills the ministry of Mediator, Advocate and Intercessor (I Tim. 2:5; I John 2:1; Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25).
We believe in that “blessed hope,” which is the personal, imminent, pretribulational, premillennial coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His redeemed ones. We further believe in His subsequent return to earth with His saints, at the end of the tribulation period, to establish His millennial kingdom (I Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19:11-20:6).
Section 4:Salvation – We believe all men are sinners (Rom. 3:10,23) and in need of the saving work provided by Jesus on the cross. This salvation is a free gift from God (Rom. 6:23) to all who will believe and receive (Rom. 10:9-13; John 1:12). Salvation is by grace alone, plus nothing and minus nothing. The conditions to salvation are repentance and faith (John 3:16; Eph. 2:8-9; Gal. 2:16).
Section 5: The Church – We believe that the Church is the body and bride of Christ (Col. 1:18; Eph. 5:2529). This body is a spiritual organism that is made up of born-again, baptized believers (Acts 2:47; I Cor. 12:13).
We believe that the local church is autonomous (i.e. free from any external authority and control), and self-governing under the control of Jesus Christ, who purchased the church with His own blood (Acts 20:28).
We believe that the church has been commissioned to spread the Gospel throughout the world (Matt. 28:18-20; Mk. 16:15).
The two ordinances of the church are the Lord’s Supper and Baptism.
The two offices of the church are that of Pastor and Deacons (Phil. 1:1).
More : http://lbcministries.net/html/believe.htm
Senior Pastor: Pastor Marty O. Wynn
Association: Independent Baptist Fellowship
Street: 3641 Norris Road
Country: United States
Zip Code: 31907
Google Map Link: Click Here
Church Website: http://www.lbcministries.net
Church Phone Number: 706-568-7357
E-mail Address: [email protected]
Year Founded: 1999
Size of Church: Medium
Time of Services:
Prayer Meeting – 9:15 AM
Sunday School – 9:45 AM
Worship Service 11:00 AM
Choir Practice – 5:00 PM
Evening Worship – 6:00 PM
Evening Service – 7:00 PM