Tuesday, 9/7/21 – Pressing on… A Father’s Promise

A Father’s Promise

A wealthy father promises his 14-year-old son, “On your eighteenth birthday I will buy you a car!” To this the young lad moaned, “That’s four years from now! I know: I will build a car myself!” Immediately the boy set to work. He gathered bits of metal here and there… empty tin cans, discarded appliances, bits of metal shelving, whatever he could find. “When I gather enough I will melt it all down to shape into an auto,” he thought to himself.

He gathered also any old car parts he might chance upon. He scoured accident sites for useful bits, pulled out discarded retreads from the dumpsters and piles behind service stations. By the time he was fifteen a huge pile of metals, plastics, rusted auto parts and rubber hosing mounted in the yard.

At about this time the boy’s father, amused by all this, gifted his son with a book… a very big book. The book described the process of automobile construction with pictures and sketches of the operations of a huge auto manufacturing plant.

The boy was both thrilled and dumbfounded! “Wow! That’s a lot more work that I imagined,” he thought, “but it does show me more precisely what I must do,” so he was grateful.

Soon the boy realized he need some very big and complex equipment to melt metal, shape forms, and install components. “I’ll need a lot of money to build those,” he reasoned. So… he got a paper route!

Well, you can imagine how all this turned out. It wasn’t long before the boy threw up his hands and sighed, “I can’t do it! I just can’t do it!” The boy was very sad. But the boy’s father was not surprised at all.

Finally the big day came, the fullness of time had arrived! It was the boy’s eighteenth birthday. “You no longer need to keep trying to build a car yourself,” said the father. “Here is the car I promised you so long ago!”

“But what about the book with all the instructions that you gave me?” asked the boy. “Why did you give me that?” The father answered, “I knew you could never succeed at making a car yourself,” he said. “I gave you that book and let you try so you would learn how impossible it was, and finally come to rely upon my promise.”

This is essentially the story of Galatians 3:15-25, Pastor Andrew’s text this past Sunday. The salvation of God is ours only by trusting upon the Father’s promise, that “Seed” promised through Abraham: Jesus, the God-man Christ. The Mosaic Law came only to demonstrate our personal inability to be righteous (holy) by personal effort. The Father knew all along we could not succeed. Salvation comes only when one relies fully upon the promised Messiah of God!

More tomorrow…

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

Tuesday, 8/31/21 – Pressing on… Standing by Faith

Standing by Faith

We do like to sit, don’t we? Go to a meeting and there’s a Chair person, have a secret and there’s a Stool pigeon, take a rest and you’re a Couch potato, and even if you do nothing at all you’ll be a Bench warmer!

But when it comes to Truth a Christian must know how to Stand. In Galatians 3 Paul tells us we stand by FAITH! This truth leapt out at Martin Luther one day as he read in Romans…

For 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. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’” (Rom. 1:16-17).

Here Paul defines the “crux” [interesting word] of the gospel, from the Old Testament (Covenant) prophet Habakkuk to the New Testament (Covenant) fulfillment in the sacrifticial atonement of Christ, and that truth is this: “The righteous will live by faith.” (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17).

The gospel is salvation by FAITH—faith ‘sola’ scrawled Luther! Faith alone! “…a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,” or as other translations have it “…from faith to faith. Faith through and through!

This revelation spawned the protestant reformation in the early 16th Century. It is the central truth of the New Covenant. The Old taught us what God required and the New provided that requirement in Christ. The Old showed us our righteousness was but filthy rags (Isa. 64:6) and the New clothed us in the righteousness of God (Isa. 61:10; Rom. 3:21-22; Eph. 6:14)!

And this is what Paul preached to the Galatians and now scolds them for forgetting. Old Covenant teachers had come on the scene and convinced them to continue in the Old Covenant ways, the fruitless and impossible ways of self effort, law and inadequate self righteousness.

Paul was incensed! “Are you so foolish?” he asks. “After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (Gal. 3:3). “The flesh,” i.e. in Greek the “sarx,” that sinful state of human beings, that nature within us that opposes the Spirit of God.

He shows that the way of faith was always God’s plan, from Abraham to eternity, and he cites again those same words of Habakkuk, “The just shall live by faith” – sola!

Stand up believer! Stand tall. Raise your arms and praise the King! It is He Who now sits…. He sits at the right hand of the Father (Col. 3:1; Heb. 12:2)… interceding for our sins (Rom. 8:34).

More tomorrow…

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

Monday, 8/30/21 – Pressing on… Bewitched Believer? – Beware!

Bewitched Believer? – Beware!

It’s easy to do, isn’t it? You begin to learn a new thing… the expert demonstrates it, you get it, and begin to anticipate where the steps go next. You might say, “Oh, now I see… and then you do this and that, right?” But you are wrong. You do not next do this and that, you do something altogether different! Indeed, doing “this or that” would destroy you. What’s more, you cannot even do the first thing—you do not have that ability. If you believe you can, you are deceived.

The Galatians had come to Christ. They had received the Holy Spirit and taken the first steps of faith. But now they had begin to think they could add to it… they could do something more, something further to gain the favor of God. But they were wrong. Long ago Isaiah said it, “all our righteous acts are like filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6).

Paul is amazed at their deviation from the truth — the truth that we can add nothing. The work of redemption is entirely the work of God. Paul uses an odd word. He says they have been “bewitched.” He writes, “You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?” (Gal. 3:1). He asks, “Are you so foolish? After beginning by means of the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by means of the flesh?” (v. 3).

Typically the word bewitched means to fall under the spell of someone or something else. It appears twice in scripture. Acts 8:9–11 tells how the Samaritans had fallen under the deceptions of Simon Magus. In this passage the original Greek word is ἐξίστημι and means “to throw out of position, displace, amaze, or astonish.” It can mean “to be out of one’s mind, besides one’s self, insane” Today we might say Magnus simply “blew their minds!” In Galatians the Greek word is βασκαίνω and means “to charm, bewitch, or fascinate by false representations.”

These days people are bewitched by many deceptions: materialism, hedonism, asceticism, science, sex — and yes, witchcraft- doctrines of demons and philosophies of man. A person bewitched of course cannot see they are bewitched. The one bewitched, by very definition, “cannot think about anything else,” anything other than the object off their bewitchment.

This is why despite countless testimonies of the vanity, the inability of these things to bring lasting satisfaction, peace or purpose to one’s life… one’s soul… bewitched persons remain transfixed in their idolization and pursuit of these rewards of emptiness. Jude poetically describes such emptiness: “clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.” (Jude v.12). He says not only are such pursuits or man-made false doctrines ultimately empty but they also keep the mesmerized so focussed upon them that they miss the true Way, the true gospel of Jesus Christ. Ultimately, for them, writes Jude, “blackest darkness has been reserved forever” (v.13).

Don’t be bewitched! Don’t be hypnotized by falsehoods. Be shaken awake!

Just as you came to Christ by faith, continue to walk that one straight path day by day by faith. As scripture says, “…we live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7). “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him” (Col. 2:6).

More tomorrow…

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