26 December 2008

When I Survey – 12.26.08

THE BIBLE Baptist Church enjoyed the blessing of having Major Henry Parrish and his family with us this past weekend. Sunday night, Bro. Parrish sang "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross." Take a soul-searching look at these words, written by Isaac Watts in 1707:

When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ my God!

All the vain things that charm me most,

I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down!

Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small;

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Mr. Watts nailed it when he wrote of how a true understanding and continual reflection upon what our Savior accomplished will work its way out in our lives. My richest gain I count but loss, and pour contempt on all my pride… All the VAIN things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood… Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.

I don't know about you, but I don't know many who have poured contempt on all their pride. I don't know about you, but I'm fairly certain that most of us have sacrificed some level of effectiveness for the cause of Christ for some vain, but charming things. We all know that God requires and deserves our absolute surrender, but so many of us are still so hesitant to offer it.

What's our problem? Seems to be a basic lack of understanding of and appreciation for what Jesus Christ did for us on Calvary's cross.

Then what's the solution? Seems to be a basic, daily pursuit of an understanding of and appreciation for all that our God has done for us (read Ephesians 1) and a basic, daily commitment to diligently pursuing that which is pleasing to Him (read 2 Peter 1).

1 Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

2 Corinthians 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

22 December 2008

Corrupt Wisdom – 12.22.08

The words of Ezekiel 28 were directed to the prince and king of Tyrus, but as you read the chapter, it becomes obvious that the one being described is none other than the devil himself. He was perfect in his ways from the day that God created him (v. 14) and was the anointed cherub that covered the very glory of God (v. 15). But iniquity was found in him. Of his own free will, he chose to exalt himself.

In Isaiah 14:13-14, Lucifer utters 5 I wills…

  • I will ascend into heaven
  • I will exalt my throne
  • I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation
  • I will ascend above the heights of the clouds
  • I will be like the most High
In Ezekiel 28:16-18, God responds with 5 I wills of His own…
  • I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God
  • I will destroy three, O covering cherub
  • I will cast thee to the ground
  • I will lay thee before kings
  • I will bring thee to ashes upon the earth in the sight of all them that behold thee

Now take a look at Ezekiel 28:17 Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground.

Why was Satan's heart lifted up? Because of his beauty and because of his wisdom. And he brought the judgment of God upon himself (some of which remains to be fulfilled, Revelation 20:10). But more than that, what happened to his wisdom? It became corrupt!


Young man, young lady, you need to do your best in school (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23-24) and study hard, and learn all you can, and make the best grades you can, and get the best education you can. But don't let it get to your head. Or all your wisdom will be corrupt in the sight of God. Isaiah 47:10…Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.

Young man, young lady, you ought to take care of the body God gave you. Eat right, exercise, bathe, all that good stuff. But remember that your body is a disposable container, and remember that godliness has promise both of the life that now is, and of that which is to come (1 Timothy 4:8).

All the devil's wisdom and all his beauty were given to him by the God that created him. He had nothing to do with it. There was no reason for him to exalt himself. He should've simply joined all the angels in singing praise to Almighty God. And it's the same way with us. We just need to thank God for whatever He's given us and use it all for His honor and glory. May we not corrupt what God has given us with our own rotten and devilish pride.

15 December 2008

Please Listen

A sermon we all need to hear: DILIGENCE

Follow On – 12.15.08

John 6:66-69 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

Sadly, the scene of John 6:66 is replicated on almost a daily basis. Christ's disciples turning back. Back to the world. Back to the flesh. Back to the old life. Back to the carnal pursuits. Back to the spiritual apathy. Back to the Bible neglect. Back to the life of prayerlessness.

I ask myself and I ask you today what Christ asked His 12 disciples 2,000 years ago. Will ye also go away? Each of us ought to realize that we're not above it (1 Corinthians 10:12). And we ought to take some time right now not only to determine that we won't but to figure out and establish in our hearts and minds just exactly why we won't.

Peter nailed it. Lord, to whom shall we go? Answer that question personally and hypothetically. If you were to turn away from following the Lord, what are some things that would cause you to do so or what would you turn to instead? Sports? Popularity? Pursuit of material wealth? Laziness? Selfishness? Immorality? Others' failures? Trials and testings? Etc.

And now consider how any of those things compare to following the One Who has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). The One Who gives us life more abundant (John 10:10). The One Who gives us all things richly to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). The One at Whose right hand there are pleasures FOREVERMORE (Psalm 16:11).

We use the verse in our witnessing, but I believe we can make application to our Christian lives as well. Mark 8:36-37 For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Bro. James comments on John 6:68 in the New Testament Survey book:

"This was one of the first verses I was given to memorize by those who discipled me. Before one ever comes to Christ for salvation he has learned the emptiness of the things of this world. When one comes to Christ for forgiveness of sins, he does so because he knows that no one else can meet his need. Once one has been made a new creature by the working of God's grace, he knows there is nothing to compare with the joy of eternal life.

"So the response to those that would call us to sin, the reply to those who ask us to quit when times get tough and the response to the devil when he seeks to lead us astray are provided here: To whom shall we go? There's no one in this universe with anything to offer that can compare with what we have found in Jesus."

Follow on.

11 December 2008

Woe Unto Me – 12.11.08

Luke 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

In keeping with the biblical command to confess your faults one to another (James 5:16), I must admit that this is an area in which I struggle. I am easily tempted NOT to do what is good or necessary or even right if I know it is going to make somebody upset or ruffle some feathers – especially if it's somebody I really care about. That's just the way I'm predisposed. That's just something I have to fight against.

And this verse speaks to that situation very clearly. I guess that most (probably not all) of us would desire for all men to speak well of us. I am definitely inclined that way. But according to Jesus Christ if ALL MEN speak well of you, then something's wrong.

Because all men are sinners (Romans 3:23) and because the whole world lieth in wickedness (1 John 5:19), there are going to be times when you and I will have a choice to make between making someone upset by doing what is right or keeping them appeased by failing to take proper action. And it might not be a lost person. It might be a saved person. It might not be a heathen. It might be a church member. It might not be a stranger. It might be somebody very close to you.

But what I have to realize and what you have to realize is this: a failure to take proper action though it might upset that person right now is not in that person's best interest, but in our own supposed best interest.

Let's take an example. Say that somebody I know and love is involved in some sin, and I know about it. I have firsthand knowledge of what they're involved in. It is evident that the right course of action would be to confront them about it. But I don't do it, and my excuse to myself is that I don't want to make them mad. The truth of the matter is my failure to do what's right would be rooted by the fact that I don't want to make them mad AT ME. I might justify myself by saying it would hurt them to be mad, but if they're involved in sin, they're hurting themselves, and my keeping my mouth shut is just going to hurt them more in the long run.

Obviously, this desire to have all men speak well of you is a self-centered one, and that's about as far away from Christ-likeness as you can get.

So be instructed and be exhorted as I admonish myself. Do right, before God, no matter what anybody else thinks or feels or says about it.

04 December 2008

Hatred & True Love – 12.4.08

Psalm 97:10 Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he preserveth the souls of his saints; he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

Modern Christianity, I believe, could stand to learn a lesson from Newtonian physics. Sir Isaac's third law of motion (remember that from school?) states: To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

It is clear from this passage that the same is true in a biblical sense: it is impossible to love the Lord without, in turn, hating evil. If you don't hate evil, you don't really love the Lord. You can't be FOR God without being AGAINST those that oppose Him. You can't stand for righteousness while being "tolerant" toward wickedness. Such an idea defies both scriptural and scientific logic and truth.

Consider the following passages:

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. This verse implies that if you don't abhor evil, then your love is fake.

Amos 5:15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate.

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Psalm 139:21 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

Psalm 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

Psalm 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.

Psalm 119:113 I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love.

Psalm 119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.

Psalm 119:163 I hate and abhor lying: but thy law do I love.

So hatred is not always a bad or ungodly thing. It's actually a natural reaction to a proper love. If you love God, you'll hate sin…because God is holy. If you love sin, you'll hate God…because God is holy. And if you don't hate sin, then you don't love God.

What do you hate? And what do you love? And what does it say about the condition of your heart?

02 December 2008

Thanks-giving – 12.2.08

Psalm 69:30-31 I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. This also shall please the LORD better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs.

There is ample biblical evidence (including this verse) that clearly indicates the physical sacrifices offered in the OT were for the very same purpose that spiritual sacrifices are prescribed in the NT – as an expression of gratitude for forgiveness already rendered by God, not a means of obtaining such forgiveness from Him. (Otherwise, why would they show up in the millennial kingdom? Ezekiel 40-48; Zechariah 14:21.

Apparently, what really mattered to the Lord was not the animal that was sacrificed (though there were certainly criteria these animals had to meet, which mainly served as a picture of the sinless Lamb of God, John 1:29; 1 Peter 1:18-19) but the heart condition of the one bringing the offering and the motivation behind it.

Psalm 51:16-17 For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

On a practical level, let's remember that God is pleased when we express our gratitude and give thanks for the blessings He has bestowed upon us. Forgiveness (Psalm 32:1-5). Provision (Philippians 4:19). Healing (Psalm 103:3). Answered prayer (Matthew 7:7-8; James 5:16). Truth (John 17:17). Purpose (Revelation 4:11). Eternal life (John 10:27). Abundant life (John 10:10). Assurance (1 John 5:13). Confidence (2 Corinthians 5:8; Hebrews 10:35). Love (Romans 5:5). Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Peace (John 14:27). Power (Ephesians 3:16). Victory (1 Corinthians 15:57; 1 John 5:4). Hope (Hebrews 6:18-19).

And the list could go on and on...

Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Psalm 103:1-2 Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: