Friday, 11/26/21 – “Hear ye, Hear ye…”

“Hear ye, Hear ye…”

So began the cry of the medieval ‘Town Crier’ as he walked the streets of England ringing his hand bell. His actual shout “Oyez, oyez, oyez!” (pron. ‘oh yay”) derived from “ouïr,” French for ‘to listen,’ meaning “Listen to what I have to say to you,” or, “Hear ye”.

Folk would gather and the Crier would read out the latest news, proclamation, warning or other urgent or newsworthy information. After completing his rounds the Crier would, for the benefit of the literate, post his news at the entry of the local pub.

Jesus came into this world as a sort of ‘Town Crier’ — indeed much more than that. He was and is both Messenger and Message, “The Word became flesh,” writes John (John 1:14). He was and is the Active Agent of Creation. “In Him all things were created,” affirms Paul, “… all things have been created through Him and for Him… and in Him all things hold together.” (Col. 1:16-17). And of this Creation David results, “The heavens declare the glory of God… their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:1,4).

To you and to I He also rings out, “Hear ye, Hear ye…” Repeatedly He pleas, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear…” (Mat 11:15; 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; 7:16; Luke 8:8; 14:35). His message is urgent, and now we must hear. As you go about your business, enjoy your pleasures, stop… full stop, and listen!

You see, there was another job of the Town Crier… one which Christ also will one day perform. The Town Crier was the one called upon during public hangings. His job was to read out the charges against the one to be hung. Afterwards he would also assist in cutting the corpse down.

Are there charges against you in your heavenly account? Are you yet sentenced to destruction? Or have these charges been erased… erased already by virtue of the One who stepped in and was executed on your behalf?

Here is this Crier’s message to you,

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.” (2 Cor. 6:2) and “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:13; Joel 2:32).

Believers and unbelievers alike – we must ALL develop the habit of listening to God. Whether our prayers be for salvation, for guidance, for comfort or for praise, God has important messages for us. We must stop asking long enough to hear Him speak. Pamela Grey notes, “For every soul that says ‘Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth,’ there are 10 that say ‘Hear, Lord! For thy servant speaketh.’” (Pamela Grey, as qu by Philip Yancey, Prayer  Does it make Any Difference?)

Do you have “ears to hear“?

Press on…

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

Thursday, 10/28/21 – Assurance: the day after

Assurance: the day after

The day after you decide to do as we discussed yesterday, the day on which you call on Christ Who has been calling on you, the day on which you see you are not holy, not worthy, less than not worthy of standing in His Presence, the day you realize you are indeed worthy of His wrath, eternal removal from His Presence and that there is nothing, nothing, nothing that you can now do to rectify this apart from His amazing rescue… His willful stepping up in your place to take that wrath for you, on the day after that day you will immediately awake to doubts.

You see, not only have you gained that “pearl of great price” (Matt. 13:45), received that “deposit” (Eph. 1:14) of the Spirit and become heir to that “inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade…. kept in heaven for you (1 Pet. 1:4), but you also gained, for a time, an enemy. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8).

But within you now resides the far greater power of the recently indwelling Spirit of God – “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the One who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4). You must learn to do battle with him lest he pollute your mind with his lies: “for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44). “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7).

As soon as new seed (the gospel) is planted, the devil seeks to snatch it away. Jesus once told a parable to illustrate this (see Matthew 13:1-23). But we can defeat him by speaking Truth to his lies. The Truth of your acceptance by God by the sacrifice of Christ, the Truth of your salvation by reliance upon Christ:

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. … ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” (Rom. 10:9-10, 13).

Jesus too was tempted, tempted right at the beginning like you. He too spoke Truth to the devil’s lies and the devil had to flee. (Read about it in Matt. 4:1-11).

Bury the Truth in your heart and mind. Read the gospel of John and the 1st Epistle of John. Jesus said also this: “…you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.” (John 8:32), and “I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6). Finally, Christ Himself gives us these fine words of assurance…

I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” (John 5:24).

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.

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.

Wednesday, 9/8/21 – Pressing on… Paint rags amid the linens…

Paint rags amid the linens…

I don’t know about you but I know in our home if after my wife has washed and spun the sheets, pillowcases and hand towels, hung them to outdoors to finish drying, brought them in again with that fresh outdoors smell of cleanness, folded them and stacked them neatly, she would not appreciate it if I “added” to the pile my several oily or paint stained rags from the garage! My “addition” would certainly not be seen as an “addition” at all! Immediately the rags would need to be removed and much off the laundry would need to be washed again. My “addition” would prove only to have been a “subtraction.”

Scripture informs us that God is Holy (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 11:16; Rev. 15:4). No unholy thing may stand in His Presence, and fallen man has become an unholy thing! The prophet Isaiah summarizes: “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Isa. 64:6a). If I try to add my works to God’s grace it is like adding oily rags amid the linens.

Jesus is the only qualified God-man, the only Righteous One capable of being our Mediator. He satisfied fully the sin debt (propitiation) owed to God, and bought us back (redemption) by the purity (efficacy) of His sacrifice. Because He was sinless He owed nothing on behalf of Himself and was thereby qualified to die on behalf all who trust Him.

But if we try to add to that by trusting in our own goodness, by trying to “top up” the work of God, all we do is to mix impurity to purity. When a thing is already perfect nothing more can be added to it.

This is where Pastor Andrew’s illustration from algebra comes in. Human effort added to grace does not add to it at all, but instead only subtracts from it. Like adding a negative number to a value the whole is not enhanced but is diminished:  e.g. 5 + -3 = 2.

Jesus paid 100 % of each believer’s redemption. He has paid 100% of my redemption. In this transaction His righteousness is given to me. In the eyes of the Father I, a believer, stand justified — “just-as-if-I’d” never sinned. All I have to offer is unrighteousness. My job is simply to understand this is true, keep my filthy hands off the perfect grace of God, and trust fully now in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Press on…

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.

Friday, 8/27/21 – If death is natural why does it feel so wrong?

If death is natural why does it feel so wrong?

Here is a modified something that I posted back in 2017, before I began blogging.

One of the most convincing evidences of the truth of the gospel is the fact that we all feel that death is something that ought not happen. Every other aspect of our natural being makes sense: we hunger, there is natural food and we are nourished by it; we have a drive for sex, there is a mate to fulfil that and it results in multiplication of humankind; we fear a danger, and adrenalin provides energy for battle or escape; we have creative ambition and can create. But then comes death. It makes no sense. We want to go on… but the fact of death thwarts us.

God has created us with a sense of eternity in our hearts. Death feels wrong because it is wrong. The fact that all around us and within us death exists is not God’s fault, it is ours – ours because of sin. Long ago we chose, and every day we choose, sin over God. Death is not what God our Creator intended. “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts….” (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

Tozer comments…

“We take it for granted and we are not surprised at all about the eternal nature of God but the greater wonder is that God has seen fit to put His own everlastingness within the hearts of men and women….
I believe that this is the truth about our troubles and our problems: We are disturbed because God has put everlastingness in our hearts. He has put a longing for immortality in our beings. He has put something within men and women that demands God and heaven—and yet we are too blind and sinful to find Him or even to look for Him!…
Men and women need to be told plainly, and again and again, why they are disturbed and why they are upset. They need to be told why they are lost and that if they will not repent they will certainly perish. Doctors and counselors will tell troubled men and women that their problems are psychological, but it is something deeper within the human being that troubles and upsets—it is the longing after eternity.” – A.W. Tozer, Christ the Eternal Son, pp. 52-54

The wages of sin is death,” (Rom. 6 :23a) But the gospel tells us there is a way back to eternality. There is an answer to that inner longing, and that answer is Christ! “…the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom. 6:23b).

May the Lord, help all who read this see past the commotion and chaos of this world and listen to that longing within. May they all reach out and grasp Christ, our only hope of salvation and the gift of eternal life.

Press on…

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

Monday, 8/2/21 – Pressing on… Exceptional…

Exceptional…

This past Sunday our brother Joseph shared with us from 2 Thessalonians 4…

In this chapter Paul has just written several lines refuting the false claims of deceivers posing to be him and saying the second coming of Christ had already occurred. We have those folks today! Documenting them all would be beyond the scope of these posts!

To allay their fears Paul reminds them the antichrist must first appear. He will deceive many who “refused to love the truth and so be saved” (v.10). Because of this, they are condemned with all who have chosen wickedness.

Paul’s thoughts next turn with delight to his readers, the Christians in Thessalonica. They were the great exception to the wickedness he has just described. “But…” he begins…

But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters loved by the Lord, because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” (2 Thess. 4:13).

There’s enough theology in that one sentence to fuel a hundred sermons — a thousand! There is the great Love of God, the inclusion of male and female alike, on even ground, the depth of doctrine in the concept of firstfruits, it’s heritage, potential, connectedness to root and vine, fruitfulness, reproductivity, joy and eternity. There is the idea of sanctification… transformation… hope! The truth of God, by His Holy Spirit, indwelling, recreating, redeeming and making actual what at first was only legal: the holiness of a once lost soul! There is the agency by which the soul receives — belief in the truth, Jesus, Who said “I am the Way, the Truth, the Life,” and there us none other. (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

That God should do such a thing to a creature in itself just as wicked as the worst! What amazing skill! What demonstration of the divine’s grace and mercy! What a creature to point to – redeemed prodigal – that He could do so… would do so… does not that alone cause us, by our very redemption, to be testimony to His Glory? Yes indeed, as Paul writes on…

He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (v.14).

Oh! — Marvelous Saviour! — Blessed Spirit! — Almighty and Holy God!

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.