Called out of Darkness – Isaiah 8:17-9:7

  Paul tells us in Galatians that at the appropriate, foreordained moment God sent His Son into the world. He was “made of a woman, made under the law.” And His purpose was “to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” This is just one way of expressing the purpose for the incarnation of eternal Son of God. In Luke 4 the Lord Jesus, himself, took another tack in describing the purpose for entering into His creation. After defeating Satan at the temptation in the wilderness, He returned to Nazareth, His home town. There in the synagogue He was invited to read the scriptures, so he turned to Isaiah 61 and read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.” Matthew tells us the Lord then left Nazareth and walked to Capernaum in order to fulfil another prophecy of Isaiah. “The land of Zabulon, the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in...

August 2019

Three New Visitors! In August, we had three new visitors brought by Joe Ball to our Sunday morning service. They were Joe’s father and mother and grandfather. Joe said that it was the first time he had ever seen his parents in a regular church service outside of a funeral service in his entire lifetime. Please remember David and Betty Ball and the grandfather, Dee Ball, in your prayers. I did preach the gospel to them, and we would like to see this family come to know the Lord. So far they have not returned, but we are praying for them. Hispanic Outreach Our Hispanic outreach increased substantially this month. We have had an influence on twenty Latino people, four of which are completely new to us. Two of the individuals are Latin young women both of whom will be deported for breaking their visa limitations. The rest of the twenty are young men, one of which is a young man with his wife and daughters, all here illegally and all needing the Lord. Rather than list all of their names, which would be difficult reading for those of you who don’t know the Spanish language, just remember this outreach activity on our part, that the Lord might bless it for his honor and glory. I received a call from Mexico, from a young Mexican man, Omar Joaquin Bernabe, who had been here in our county jail a few years ago where I had ministered to him. He called me asking for spiritual advice for his family. He and his wife, Nadia, attend a Bible Baptist Church in Mexico....

September 15

Samuel Slater immigrated from England, bringing with him the skills though which he had been earning a living. From memory he reproduced the cotton machinery he had been using. In this it is said that Samuel Slater founded the American cotton industry. In 1793 he established a factory in Pawtucket, Rhode Island under the name of Almy, Brown and Slater, employing – before the days of child labor laws – many of the local children. Slater noticed that his boys spent the Lord’s Day wastefully or worse. He decided to do something about it. Following the plan of something else he had seen in Britain – the Sunday School of Robert Raikes. Inviting some of the most promising children to his home on Sundays, he sought to give them an education. On this day in 1799, America’s first Sunday School was established – composed of seven boys. The texts used were two testaments and three Webster’s spelling books. Five years later David Benedict became pastor of the First Baptist Church in Pawtucket. He saw the work of Slater and lead his church to start a Sunday School for the purpose of teaching the Word of God. Slater’s school was placed under Bro. Benedict’s care, and the secular instruction became more spiritual. Near the close of his life, Benedict, entered into his book, Fifty Years Among the Baptists, “Sunday Schools… which are now in such successful operation with us, and other communities in the land, were wholly unknown in my early day.” Can we find Sunday Schools in the Bible? Not directly. But the teaching of God’s Word, along with...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 25:6-7

  Verse 6 and 7 should sound familiar, because they later came from the lips of the Lord Jesus. “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Then came an application – “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” That near direct quote of Jesus from the Proverbs got me thinking – and ultimately asking the question: “How often did our Saviour quote Solomon?” In order to answer that question, I pulled out the first Bible I had as a Christian – with its center references. And that led me to one of my on-line Bibles. So with three Bibles in front of me I spent some enjoyable time in comparing a hundred or more verses. It was consuming so much time that I didn’t really complete it, so my conclusions might be inaccurate. But I ended up with 3 pages of notes and it might have become twice that size. My preliminary conclusion is that this may be the only time that Jesus directly quoted Proverbs. But as my...

Submission: the Mission – II Samuel 12:15-23

  Paul Azinger had for several years been a successful golfer in the Professional Golfers Association. Then after he won the 1993 PGA Championship he was diagnosed with cancer – Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. (Perhaps the ground’s keepers had been spraying too much Round-up in and around the golf-course.) Since then, for 16 years he has been trying to balance himself between treatments and the work he plays. He says that people often ask him if golf is as important now as it was before he discovered his cancer. He says. “Golf is still important, but whereas it was once his god, Jehovah is now his God.” Golf is now fourth on his list of priorities which begins with the Lord then goes to family and then friends. Zinger says that since he began his treatments he has played some pretty good golf. For example, he was named as the captain of the 2008 Rider’s Cup Team. During that tournament, when he missed a 4 foot putt, his reaction was different from before. He didn’t pull his hair out as if that miss was the end of the world. Neither did he say, “Woe is me; I missed that putt, but at least I’m still alive despite my cancer.” By the way, when his team won the 1993 Rider’s Cup, and they were invited to a reception at the White House, Azinger declined, saying that the didn’t want the accolades of such an immoral president. Today, he still plays every game with a desire to win, but he acknowledges the sovereignty of God and in so doing he considers himself to...

To Have and to Hold – Daniel 3:1-18

  I have entitled this message: “To have and to hold; ‘til death do us part.” The source for these thoughts is this a trio of men: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Their true names were Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. As part of an effort to strip these Israelites of their heritage and their hearts, their Babylonian masters gave them heathen names. It is a shame that most of us call them by their Babylonian monikers rather than their God-honoring names. We don’t do that with Daniel, so why do it with them? And remember – in more ways that one – “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” According to John Gill, Hananiah means “Whom Jehovah hath favored.” Couldn’t that be your name? Mishael asks the question: “Who is what God is?” or “who is comparable to God?” And Azariah means “Whom Jehovah helps.” Each of these point a finger to Jehovah – something which we should all do. Shadrach on the other hand means “the king” or the “the sun.” Meshach refers to the earth goddess of the Babylonians. And Abed-nego means “servant of the shining fire” and ultimately refers to Lucifer. These are not names which anyone should be proud to wear. These three men, and we could include Daniel but we purposefully leave him out this morning … These three men refused to bow their knees to the gods of Babylon. They were re-educated, browbeaten, vilified, threatened and cast into the very jaws of death, but they stubbornly, bullishly, and mulishly refused to join...

September 8

When George Mason was contemplating the Virginia Declaration of Rights, he wrote, “No free government or the blessing of liberty, can be preserved to any people but by a firm adherence to justice, moderation, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrent to fundamental principles.” I usually try to keep these little historical vignettes somewhat positive. But with this I’d like to show what happens when God’s people forget to remember the “fundamental principles.” On this day in 1790 the Warren Baptist Association (which existed because some had forgotten their Baptist principles), received a letter from the Convention of Congregational Ministers in Boston, urging them to petition Congress to “take measures… that no edition of the Bible, or its translation be published in America, without its being carefully inspected, and certified to be free from error.” The Warren Association agreed and submitted a request on their letterhead. Of course, as Baptists, they believed that the Bible was critical to the preservation of the Truth. The Word of God through the Textus Receptus must be defended, promoted and taught. But apparently they also believed that the United States government had a duty to protect and promote Biblical Christianity for the good of society. But it is the job of God’s churches and saints to carry out that work; it is not the mandate of government. How easy it is to lose sight of the fundamental principles of liberty of conscience when engaged in a good cause. The end never justifies the means. At one point Baptists in Virginia were offered the support of government taxes. Praise God, they refused, standing...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 25:1-7

  There are at least three divisions in the Book of Proverbs. The first nine chapters are written in paragraph form and contain a lot of figurative material. Proverbs 9 – “Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars: She hath killed her beasts; she hath mingled her wine; she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither.” This “wisdom” refers to the Lord in one fashion or another. Then in chapter 10 we begin to see the pithy statements of the the Holy Spirit. “The proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother. Treasures of wickedness profit nothing: but righteousness delivereth from death. The LORD will not suffer the soul of the righteous to famish: but he casteth away the substance of the wicked.” When chapter 25 begins the Spiritual editor of this book tells us that Solomon’s proverbs were gathered in a different way. “These are ALSO proverbs of Solomon, which the men of Hezekiah king of Judah copied out.” “Copied out” is a Hebrew word most often translated “removed.” These proverbs were “removed” or if you like “transcribed” from the documents of Solomon’s court. These were things which the king said while dealing with the daily matters of state. Some people are gifted at speaking in this pithy, memorable sort of way, and Solomon was one of them. He didn’t pick and choose them for inclusion here, but rather some...

As a Roaring Lion – I Peter 5:6-11

  Have you seen or experienced any Satanic attacks lately? I believe you probably have whether or not you recognized them. That isn’t to say you actually saw Satan or even a demon, but you have been affected by them. And Satan himself is probably so busy that he really doesn’t directly come to tempt or trouble any of us. But he has his minions – his demons. In fact there may be one or two assigned to each of us, or at least to groups of us, like our church. And it isn’t that Satan doesn’t use his other allies – like the world or our own flesh to besiege us. But he is just as diligent today in attacking the Kingdom and people of God as he has ever been. Are you sure that when Brother Silver’s trailer was burglarized and the sound equipment for the Spokane evangelistic meetings was stolen that was not a Satanic attempt to disrupt or discourage those meetings? How can you explain that Sunday morning depression that struck you a few weeks ago, when there wasn’t any real cause for it? Have there been any recent attacks on our church membership or our doctrines? Have we had any visitors who showed interest for a while but then simply disappeared? Can you say for sure it wasn’t Satan who encouraged those people to walk away? If we stopped and asked the Lord to open our eyes, we might see an army of Satanic servants surrounding us and looking for an opportunity to disrupt our service of God. “Put on the whole armour of...

Ugly Unbelief – Matthew 13:53-58

  Let’s go back to last week’s lesson before moving on. While the Lord Jesus was at the top of Mt. Hermon being transfigured before Peter, James and John, the rest of the disciples were down below in the valley struggling to help some people in need. This is described in all three of the Synoptic Gospels – Matthew, Mark and Luke. A man had brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples seeking their help, but they couldn’t. When Christ, freshly off the mount, was approached with the problem, He mildly rebuked everyone, and then STERNLY rebuked the demon. That evil spirit instantly left the child, and the boy was back in his right mind. “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your UNBELIEF: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” There are several important lessons here. One involves the relationship between the disciples and the glorified Saviour. Christ’s transfiguration was a temporary metamorphosis into the glory which was His from before creation. It is also the glory which He enjoys today – the glory to which He returned after His ascension. Today, He is on the holy mount, while we are here in the Spokane valley trying to do His will and to represent His name. And like the those early disciples, we are impotent without the blessing and power of...