Tuesday, 11/2/21 – Pressing on… The Four Words and You

The Four Words and You

This past Sunday our brother James Harrison spoke on the topic “Four Words that will Change Your Life.” Whether one realises it or not, each one of us is in desperate need of hearing these words – of hearing these words spoken to us by Christ.

The four words are these: “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 7:48).

These words must be spoken to us by Christ for, as their first hearers in another such instance rightly judged, “Only God can forgive sins.” (Mark 2:7, NLT).  And Christ indeed is God!

We prefer in our pride to compare our shortcomings with the comparably greater shortcomings of others, and one can always find a far worse sinner than oneself when one only searches among the fallen. But God demands we compare ourselves against His holiness. This is not an unfair standard. It is the unfortunate (for us) fact of God’s Nature that as light precludes darkness His holiness excludes all sin. “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” Jesus commanded (Matt. 5:48, c.f. 1 Pet. 1:15). “…without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews warns (Heb. 12:14).

The sins of some are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them,” Paul writes young Timothy. These perhaps are those made plain when measuring one man against another. But God looks upon the heart (1 Sam. 16:7); He sees not only the visible sins of flesh and fancy, but also those sins of one’s spirit, as the verse continues, “… the sins of others trail behind them.” (1 Tim. 5:24). Whether or not we yet see our sinfulness the objective reality of it and our desperate need to hear the four words remain. Once heard, these words will indeed transform.

What must you do to hear these words? You must first come to this recognition of your unrighteousness in His sight. You must realize your helplessness to make matters right and acknowledge that His pure sacrifice in your behalf is the only plea upon which you may secure pardon. You must confess to Him this trust, turn away from all known sinful behaviour, make Him your Lord to obey and begin to grow by prayer, ongoing surrender daily, in Word and in fellowship with like believers.

Do these, and as John makes promise: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9). You will know He has spoken the four words to you, and your life will begin to change.

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.

Thursday, 9/9/21 – Priorities: Is it really that simple?

Priorities: Is it really that simple?

John’s gospel records Christ stating an amazing thing. He says, “And I, if I am lifted up…will draw all peoples to Myself.” (John 12:32). In the Greek here the phrase “lifted up” is the Word ὑψόω [hupsoō]. It means “to lift up on high, to exalt, to raise to dignity and honour.” This is what Christ asks the believer to do. The Word “draw” in the Greek has two forms, ἑλκύω or ἕλκω [helkuō or helkō]. It means “to draw, to draw by inward power, lead, or impel.” This is what Christ promises He will do.

When we meet with a person who is lost Jesus tells us that the cross is primary. The cross is the principal matter – the “crux” of all things — the priority of all evangelism . “If that person can get to God in any other way,” concludes Chalmers, “then the Cross of Christ is unnecessary.”

Sympathy, social aid, even love is not enough. The cross: Christ’s substitutionary death on our behalf. The cross: Each believer’s unashamed identification with Christ, His Lordship in one’s life and the demonstrated fruits of the Spirit. The cross: the challenge to likewise die to self and self-efforts, to turn from evils and live for God. This is all the cross, the principal thing which “lifts up” Christ.

This is all we can do, and a this is what we must do.

Paul affirmed,

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.” (Rom. 1:16).

If a believer is ashamed – embarassed to be identified with the cross of Christ and the gospel that goes with it — it suggests he values the praise of men more than the praise of God.

“What the world needs is not ‘a little bit of love,’ but major surgery,” says Chambers. The cross is that surgery.

Of the written Word of God we read,

For the Word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12).

And Christ is that Word made flesh. As we exalt Him, He will do the necessary surgery.

By you words, life and purity “lift up” Christ on high, “exalt” Him in your worship, “raise His Name to dignity and honour” in your speech and conversation.

Do this and Christ will do all that remains. He will “draw by inward power,” by conviction of the Holy Spirit, He will “lead” by the truth of His Word, and “impel” by the need of the soul.

Yes! It is really that simple.

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.

Monday, 2/17/20 – Pressing on…

Worms!

20200216_185826Dirofilaria immitis are parasitic roundworms. They are very tiny, like threads and get into their hosts through mosquito bites. Once in, they squirm their way about and work themselves into the heart and lungs causing dirofilariasis. Usually they infect dogs, but can also work themselves into cats, wolves, coyotes, jackals, foxes, ferrets, bears, seals, sea lions and sometimes humans. Dirofilaria immitis is commonly called “heartworm” as adult heartworms may migrate to the heart and pulmonary artery. Untreated it will lead to death, due to congestive heart failure.

man old depressed headache

Just the thought of insidious little worms subtly creeping about inside is most assuredly unsettling. Imagine how you might feel coming home with such a diagnosis! I’m sure it would keep you up at night imagining or perhaps actually feeling these things squirming about through their tissues! Ugh!

But this is exactly the sort of disgusting thing that happens to a soul spiritually if one allows the toxic saliva of self-love to enter them and the lifeblood of God’s Love (Agapé) to be sucked from them. Self-love worms its way deeper end deeper into the tissue of the heart. It paralyzes the flow of Agapé and the heart begins to harden… to grow cold… to die!

doctors doing operation

But there is a cure! There is a Great Physician equipped to handle this emergency. But I warn you it will require surgery. You will need to surrender yourself completely to His knife. In dogs, Dirofilaria immitis brings cough, fatigue, decreased appetite, weight loss, and finally death. In humans the best strategy is to guard against the disease. Spiritually, we must be diligent to guard our hearts against infection by an increasingly self-loving society. The warning is at once ancient, and current, and prophetic…

“My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words.
Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov. 4:20-23)

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor John’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Feb. 16 message.

Monday, 2/10/20 – Pressing on…

The ‘Magic’ Word

woman and girl using tablet computer

“What’s the ‘Magic’ word?” the hopeful mom asked her kindergarten-age daughter. The question required no deliberation at all. “Grandma!” the gleeful tot shouted!

There’s at least as much truth as there is humor in that happy retort! I watch it unfold regularly when our young granddaughter visits. Mommy says ‘no ‘ but grandma time is ‘special.’ In grandma time rules can bend… or sometimes, with a wink, even be ‘forgotten.’ Yessiree, our granddaughter knows that at grandma’s place she’s special. At grandma’s place she can bring requests with boldness!

woman holding baby near window

Mind you, Grammy’s no pushover. She has definite limits, and sometimes the answer is a stern “No!” Grammies sometimes have reasons even much loved granddaughters struggle to understand. But none of this deters her from further happy requests. Grammies remember what it is to be a little girl… they were once one themselves. It’s a secret Grandpas will never know.

This past Sunday Pastor Andrew further reminded us of the supremacy of our Saviour–better than angels, better than Moses… and better than all prior priestly intermediaries. Because He knows what it is to be one of us, because He has beaten sin and made for us a way to holiness, He is not ashamed to have us come to Him– in fact, this Word made flesh eagerly invites us, and this Word made words urgently entreats us,

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Heb. 4:16).

a blue glacier under the sun

This Word eternal is the One Who came to us… as a babe… to experience it all. The shepherds saw the angels, they saw the child, the Magi saw His star. Jesus is that Name we call to in time of need… not a ‘Magic’ Word, but perhaps the ‘Magi’s’ Word, the Word become flesh to be our Saviour!

Come boldly to Him now.

More tomorrow…

To hear Pastor Andrew’s complete message, go to the Lincoln Baptist Church website and look under ‘Sermons Online’ for the Feb. 9 message.