Wednesday, 10/27/21 – Pressing on… There is a Consequence to Know Christ

There is a Consequence to Know Christ

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison asked us “Is Jesus an idea you believe in, or a person you know and trust?”

Superman may stand for many ideals to which you aspire. Superman may even inspire you to become a better person. You might “use” Superman as a psychological aid, but deep down you know you do not “know” Superman. Superman really does not exist.

Or, perhaps your mentor is real… a great sports figure, a world leader, movie star or vocalist. Chances are though that you don’t really “know” these people. You wouldn’t call them up for a chat or invite them to dinner.

Other very real people you may know as your acquaintances. You wave to them on your way to work, or see them at the gym. But even these you don’t really “know.” You haven’t yet determined if you might trust them… trust them with your valuables … your secrets… your children.

But how is it with Christ? Have you spent long hours with Him? Have you gone through great trials with Him? Have you come to “know” Him as He knows you? Do you trust Him? Have you committed to Him your deep secrets, your heart, your sins and your future? Do you trust Him with your life?

To know Christ in this way, explained James, will cost you something… it will cost you everything! But the outcome of this commitment is infinitely greater than its sacrifices: wholeness, contentment, purpose, peace, eternal life and holiness. These consequences are joyous!

But there is also a very dark consequence to shunning this Christ. He calls you now to decide. He says, “Look, today I have set before you life and death” (Deut. 30:15, TLB). “I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2). Ignoring the call will not do. You will either choose Christ or you will not.

There is a Call to Know Christ. There is a Cost to Know Christ. There is a Consequence to Know Christ. Is Christ an idea you believe in, or a person you know and trust?” Do you want to know Christ?

Press on…

Do you want help to know Christ? Use the Contact page. We’ll help point you to Him.

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 10/26/21 – Pressing on… There is a Cost to Know Christ

There is a Cost to Know Christ

It may cost you TIME

If you want to know Christ it may cost you some Facebook time. It may cost you some T.V. time. It may cost you some recreational time. It may cost you some sleep time, and it may even cost you all the hours of all your days, your lifetime.

It may cost you MONEY

If you want to know Christ it may cost some “mad” money – that superfluous money you had designated for squandering and “self”-indulgence. It may cost you some investment money – money you planned to set aside in silo two, rainy day or retirement money. It may cost you dining out money, coffee money, or grocery money. It may cost you rent or mortgage money. In fact, it may cost you all the money you have as you help the poverty stricken buy some bread, or support a missionary, a child, or fund a church in a faraway land.

It may cost you ENERGY

If you want to know Christ it may cost you some exercise energy. It may cost you some recreational energy. It may cost you energy for hobbies, or work, or breathing! It may cost all the energy you have as you walk a stranger’s second mile, help your neighbour build his garage, or the disaster stricken rebuild their village.

It may cost you LIFE

In short, if you want to know Christ It may cost you all your life! In fact, it very likely will. In fact, you can be certain of it. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” (Matt. 16:25). If you want to know Christ you must be willing… willing just as He was willing… willing to die.

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“ (Gal. 2:20). / “For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” (Col. 3:3).

There is a Cost to know Christ. Sit down and estimate it (Luke 14:28). Choose to surrender it (Matt. 13:44-46). Though this cost be all the above it is a cost “not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed…” (Rom. 8:18).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 10/25/21 – Pressing on… There is a Call to Know Christ

There is a Call to Know Christ

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,” writes Paul. Why? “since as members of one body you were called to peace.” The Church is the Body of Christ and Christ is its Head. Every true Christian has become a part of that Body. It is a great Body, a Body extending through all present, past and future time and space. And Christ is the Head of that one Body.

I don’t know about you but I’m very grateful when all the parts of my body have the same interest in mind: the health and safety of the whole body. In fact when parts of my body become at war with other parts of my body something is wrong. I usually have to go and see a doctor!

And I’m also quite content to have just one body. Two bodies and one head would be very difficult to manage. Perhaps you have seen some unfortunate persons whose physical bodies developed wrongly in the womb. What should have been one became more than one. Life is most difficult indeed for persons with such bodies.

But the Church, the family of God, is one Body, and as one Body Paul is saying it has been called to peace; it is to function as one with one Mind and one Spirit. “Peace” is something its members are to allow to take rule. He says “Let the Peace of Christ rule…” [because] “…you were called to peace.”

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison shared with us from the book of Philippians. He spoke to us of Phil. 4:7 “And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

On both a personal level as a believer, and on a corporate level as the Body of Christ I wonder if perhaps what makes this “letting” of God’s peace rule difficult is that we try so very hard to understand it. We set up understanding as a gateway to allowing God’s blessings to manifest in our hearts and in our minds.

But we do not need to understand it; we need only to be in vital union with the Head… with Christ. “He Himself is our peace,” Paul wrote in another place (Eph. 2:14).

Do you want to know Peace? We are called to peace.

Do you want to know Christ? Our brother James’ first point this past Sunday was just this. There is a call to knowing Him. Know Him, and you will also know Peace.

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 10/22/21 – Why do Christians speak of “hope” – Aren’t they sure?

Why do Christians speak of “hope” – Aren’t they sure?

We most often think of “hope” as a verb: We desire something to happen or to be true, e.g. “I hope it doesn’t rain.” But “hope” is also a noun. One definition of “hope” in its noun usage is “A person or thing upon which one’s hopes are centered,” as in the statement “He is our only hope for victory!”

This is the sort of “hope” in which Christians trust. It is the noun sort of “hope” and in it they are confident. Though we long for that day when that hope will be realized, we do not “hope” for it in the sense of a toss of the dice or a spin of the wheel. The Christian’s hope is not a gamble, but a certainty based upon faith,“…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Heb. 11:1, KJV).

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:1, NIV).

The Christian’s hope is based upon the confident assurance that, as the Father revealed to Peter, “You [Jesus] are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16-18). Through Him, our personal relationship and trust in Him, and the indwelling Spirit of Christ, the Christian knows that this life is not all there is — that ‘in Christ’ he has “a hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11). He knows that sin will ultimately be destroyed… that eternal life and righteousness are his… and that his soul is forever secure.

In this light, consider the following scriptures:

Act 23:6 “But when Paul… cried out in the council, …of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.” / Act 26:6 “…and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers” / Act 28:20 “…for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” • Rom 4:18 “Who against hope believed in hope,” / Rom 5:2 “[we]…rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” / Rom 8:24,25 “For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” • Gal 5:5 “For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” / Eph 4:4 “…ye are called in one hope of your calling” • Col 1:5 “…the hope which is laid up for you in heaven…” / Col 1:23 “…be not moved away from the hope of the gospel…” / Col 1:27 “…this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” • 1 Th 4:13 “…sorrow not, even as others which have no hope/1 Th 5:8 “…putting on… for an helmet, the hope of salvation.” / 1 Ti 1:1 “…and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope” • Tit 2:13 “Looking for that blessed hope…”  /  Heb 6:19 “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul…” • 1 Pe 1:3 “…our Lord Jesus Christ… hath begotten us again unto a lively hope” / 1Pe 3:15 “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…”

And finally, 1 Jn 3:3 “…every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Want to know how to find this “hope” in Christ? – Use the same page.

Thursday, 10/21/21 – Today’s Discipleship Blog… Don’t be a Dinosaur!

Don’t be a Dinosaur!

A cartoon I once saw depicted two dinosaurs looking up from their munching and seeing in the distance an ark as pairs of all sorts of wild animals filed into it. One long-necked Brontosaurus says to his companion, “Crap! Was that today?”

The joke of course is that this ancient species very literally had “missed the boat” at the time of the great flood which destroyed the then known world: hence, the dinosaurs’ extinction.

As a cartoon the implication prompts a chuckle, but as a reality extinction is quite a bummer! To miss one’s only avenue of escape as annihilation rolls in must above all things be the most terrifying! But annihilation at least brings oblivion. Far worse would be if that moment of terror were to continue forever. Yet, for the unprepared, this is unfortunately and precisely the fate against which the gospel of God warns.

Sleeping housemasters will be plundered (Matt. 24:43). Wicked servants will be exposed (Matt. 24:50). Unprepared virgins find the door shut. (Matt. 25:10). Worthless servants will be thrown outside (Matt. 25:30). Goats and sheep will be separated (Matt. 25:32).

These are all parallels, images Christ used — like the cartoon above. But they all speak to a terror-filled truth: Jesus is coming again and when He does it will be too late! There will be no last few seconds in which to repent. Scripture says it will flash like lightning (Matt. 24:27; Luke 17:24), as quick as a twinkle (1 Cor. 15:52). One-third second they say. No time at all to change one’s heart.

You must make that surrender now. You must realize your doom and that the only solution is in a Power and a Grace beyond your reach! You can sense it in your gut now. You know this world is coming to a close, and even if you do not, you know by the screaming testimony of all lives before you that you too are mortal. Your day will come.

Look up from what occupies you. See the Saviour. There is yet time.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Wednesday, 10/20/21 – Pressing on… “Come here,” — or stay there?

“Come here,” — or stay there?

193 years ago this day (year 1818) the “Convention respecting fisheries, boundary, and the restoration of slaves” was signed between Britain and the United States. This Treaty established fishing rights along Newfoundland and Labrador, and joint control of the territory of Oregon. Land struggles continued until on June 15,1846 the Oregon Treaty finally confirmed the 49th parallel as the boundary between the United States and British North America to the Pacific Ocean.

What’s mine, what’s yours… Come here, stay there… Now especially, during this global pandemic, regulations and requirements regarding social movement are complex and varied indeed. But not so with Jesus. Jesus continually says, “Come to Me…” (See Matt. 11:28-30). Yet, even in coming to Him there may be some things that are disallowed or some things we must first make right. Oswald Chambers comments…

“When you hear those words, you will know that something must happen in you before you can come. The Holy Spirit will show you what you have to do, and it will involve anything that will uproot whatever is preventing you from getting through to Jesus. And you will never get any further until you are willing to do that very thing. The Holy Spirit will search out that one immovable stronghold within you, but He cannot budge it unless you are willing to let Him do so.” – Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, Oct. 8 entry

“Just think of the invincible, unconquerable, and untiring patience of Jesus, who lovingly says, ‘Come to Me….’” Chalmers adds. Well, OK… let’s…

Invincible = “too powerful to defeat, overcome, or prevent from doing what is intended.”

Unconquerable = “not able to be defeated, controlled, or placed in another’s possession or control.”

Untiring = “continuing at the same rate without loss of vigor.”

Jesus patience is too powerful to defeat, overcome, or prevent from doing what He has intended. No one can control it, and it will continue to the end of the age at the same rate without loss of vigor. “He is patient with you,” writes Peter, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9b).

Isn’t it time for you to obey what the Holy Spirit is telling you to do? Isn’t it time for you come to Him today?

Press on…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Tuesday, 10/19/21 – Pressing on… Which is your King?

Which is your King?

On this date, Oct. 19, 1987, 34 years ago a second “Black Monday” shook stock markets worldwide. The first had occurred Oct. 28, 1929, a part of the huge Wall Street crash which began four days earlier on Oct. 24, and resulted in a 24.8% drop in the Dow. It led ultimately to the Great Depression. But the 1987 crash was global! The Dow fell 22%, a shocking 508.32 points!

Other “Black Mondays” followed:

1929 Crash – Headlines | American Experience | Official Site | PBS
Sept. 29, 2008 – A financial crisis since 2007 and real estate bubble burst crashed world markets into the Great Recession.
Aug. 8, 2011 – Stock markets crashed due to a credit rate downgrade of the United States’ debt.
Aug. 24, 2015 – Chinese stock market crash. SSE Composite Index declined by 8.45%.
Sept. 16, 2019 – Federal Reserve interves in the repo market 5 months prior to 2020 stock market crash after overnight lending rate spiked above 8%.
Mar. 9, 2020 – Investor panic over COVID-19 pandemic and Russia-Saudi oil price war prompt worst losses since Great Recession. Mar. 16, 2020 – Larger falls than the week previous!

These were huge disasters for those whose trust was in money. Many fell into deep depression. Many found themselves penniless and without hope. Some committed suicide.

Nothing is secure in this world. But the Christian’s confidence is in Christ. He has chosen Christ, not cash, as King. Money may make the world go round but the Christian trusts “the God who made the world and everything in it” (Acts 17:24). This world is passing away (1 John 2:17) but the Christian trusts in a world to come. Paul writes, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” (1 Cor. 15:19). But in Christ, Paul says, we are “…poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.” (2 Cor. 6:10).

As I chat with homeless folk on our downtown city streets I uncover both the lottery playing hopefuls and the heavenward praying faithful. Regardless of social strata the distribution of trusters in cash and trusters in Christ seems about the same… and each of us will choose.

Christ drew the first line in the sand on this and pointed out the decision we each must make. “No one can serve two masters,” He said. “Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matt. 6:24). He pointed to the simplicity of faith found in His creation , “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” (Matt. 6:26).

Ultimately we must all surrender everything. As Paul points out, “…we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” Chasing riches is always short-lived.  “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that,” Paul continues.”Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim. 6:6-10).

Choose God over money and He will see to the rest. He has given this promise: “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matt. 6:33-34).

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Monday, 10/18/21 – Pressing on… On that day…

On that day…

Ninety years ago on this day, Oct. 18, 1931 American gangster Al Capone was successfully convicted for tax evasion….

Alphonse Gabriel Capone, a.k.a. “Scarface,” “Big Al,” “Big Boy,” “Snorky,” and “Public Enemy No. 1,” was born January 17, 1899 in Brooklyn, New York. He died January 25, 1947 (age 48) in Palm Island, Miami Beach, Florida. Capone was a gangster, bootlegger, racketeer, and known infamously as Boss of the “Chicago Outfit,” and for the bloody “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre” which resulted in the daytime murder of seven rival gang figures. After evading numerous criminal charges and a seven-year stint as a crime boss, Capone was finally imprisoned 11 years (age 33) on Oct. 18, 1931 under five counts of tax evasion.

Though he did contribute to charities, Capone also lived in luxury, power, and self-indulgence from the wealth of his crimes, but his last days were days of misery caused by syphilis and dementia. Now his soul is in eternity where he faces his Maker and gives account. I wonder what he now thinks of the life paths he once chose?

Bewildered by the prosperity of the wicked the psalmist Asaph confessed: “…my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Ps. 73:2-3). “I’ve kept my heart pure and innocent for nothing!” he almost laments. (v. 13).

Al Capone leaving a federal courthouse in Chicago, October 14, 1931.
Everett Collection— Historical Highlights Images/age fotostock [https://www.britannica.com/biography/Al-Capone]

But then Asaph regained true perspective: “When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply,” he writes, “till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.” (v.16-17).

Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.” (v.18-20).

James also speaks to the ultimate end of those who abuse others for temporal gain:

Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.” (James 5:1-6)

We must not be allured from the paths of righteousness by the apparent rewards of transgressors. Their stories have not yet been fully told. But “the path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (Prov. 4:18), and “God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.” (Eccl. 12:14).

I wonder… on that day… what will you think of the life paths you are now choosing?

More tomorrow…

To hear this past Sunday’s message, go to the Facebook page of Lincoln Baptist Church, or link to the livestream from the church website.

Friday, 10/15/21 – Why can’t I stand the one I love most?

Why can’t I stand the one I love most?

It’s a strange dilemma the way God has constructed us human animals. We sense our incompleteness and are drawn to someone who compliments our deficiencies. Together we find balance. But the trick is that balance is found at the fulcrum of our differences… in the middle of our opposites.

Imagine two children of equal weight trying to balance horizontally on a teeter-totter. To accomplish this each must move equal distance toward the centre and in relationships the same principle holds. Each must depart to some extent from their extreme and move closer toward the centre point. It involves both sacrifice and closeness. And it remains always a balancing act.

I found this rather interesting chart somewhere online. It shows very clearly how extremes can be the enemies of each other, yet, how when met in the middle there is wholeness and health.

I believe that this balancing act, this need to “work it out,” is exactly what our Lord had in mind all along.

Scripture tells us that in eternity “people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.” (Matt. 22:30). Paul taught the Galatians that in Christ “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female.” (Gal. 3:28). And John wrote “now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.” (1 John 3:2). All of these passages point to the fact that we are a work in progress. The end result, as John summarizes, is “we shall be like Him.” We shall be like Christ.

Brothers and sisters let us not make our time on this earth a ‘tug-of-war’ or a competition, but let us make it a cooperation… a teamwork… a unity… the body and bride of Christ. Let us pull together, toward the center, becoming that one new creation made in the Image of Christ.

Press on…

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.

Thursday, 10/14/21 – Knowing God’s Will

Knowing God’s Will

God expects us to pray that His Will is done and to understand what His Will is. On these two points scripture is explicit: “…your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10); “…do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.” (Eph.5:17).

Understanding the Will of God is not something mystical, or hidden. It begins with relationship – in knowing thoroughly that God is God and you are not! “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Prov. 9:10). God is Supreme. He is not a magical genie to have in one’s back pocket! He is to be obeyed, and not questioned.

Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Eccl. 5:2).

Micah states the broad strokes of a man’s obligations before his Creator: “What does the LORD require of you?” He asks.“To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

To train us in the standards of righteousness God gave us the Law. Then, in Christ, He gave us the means of righteousness through confession, repentance, surrender and the workings of His indwelling Holy Spirit. He gives us also His Word in which much of His Will is made clear to us.

But God is not only a God of justice, rules and punishment! God is also a God of great Love… so much so that He paid a great price to restore us…

The Lord is… not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9) “[He] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4)

But that’s not all! God wants you to work with Him to become like Him. In fact, it is God’s Will for us to become set apart… sanctified… holy! “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified” (1 Thess. 4:3). “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” (1 Pet. 1:14-16). And it is God’s Will that our lives be a testimony to others in this world. “It is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people.” (1 Pet. 2:15).

Finally, (for now), it is God’s Will that we love Him and one another, that we put to death all sinful pleasures, unashamedly accepting reproach for His Name, and persevere in following Him. “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23); “You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” (Heb. 10:36).

Oh! And in keeping with our theme these past few days it is also God’s Will that we be thankful! “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18)

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of life in Christ? Or, would you like to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.