God’s Trumpet – I Thessalonians 1:4-10

  I have said recently that I have a dream where our church becomes somewhat like the church in Antioch. I admit that it is an ambitious dream. It’s perhaps not as ambitious as the dream being celebrated tomorrow. But why not? Why can’t we dream big if it is for the glory of God? Why can’t our church be instrumental in the starting of other churches of Christ – churches even more important than ourselves? Why can’t our Heavenly record declare that we were used of God to sponsor several missionaries? Perhaps other churches might some day send ambassadors to investigate the exciting things taking place here in Post Falls, just as Jerusalem did with Antioch. If it be the will of God, there is no reason why Calvary Independent Baptist Church could not become the Antioch Baptist Church of the American Northwest. It might not be in my lifetime, but somewhere in God’s time, it would be wonderful. But, as has been pointed out several times, there are things about Antioch which we don’t find in our church and perhaps never will. For example, there was a spiritual “revival” and multitudes were being born into the family of God. Acts 11:21 – “The hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” So it appears that that church in Syria was much larger than we are. Is size a criteria to becoming a second Antioch? As those new believers grew in the things of God, the church grew in its organization and ministry. That church had a significant number...

December 2018

Dear Pastor and Brethren: End of Year Review I like to do a review of each year’s work and blessings at the end of each year and beginning of each new year to see what has been accomplished and to ask the Lord’s blessings for future spiritual and numerical growth. With that in mind, please note the following facts of our past blessings, answers to our prayers up to this point. During the 2018 year the Lord blessed us with 46 visitors, both first time and return visitors. Of the 46 people who visited, one has remained and faithfully comes to our services. We presently number regularly from eight to eleven people attending on Sunday mornings and six attending our Thursday evening Bible studies. In 2018, the Lord enabled us to add an outreach program of visitation twice monthly to our regular schedule of services. In my own personal witnessing, I have contacted at least 49 Latinos with gospel tracts and a personal word about their need of a saving relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Four of them have come to our services twice but have not returned. In 2018, we were blessed with the opportunity to host a Fifth Saturday Fellowship meeting in which some 27 people attended for both spiritual and physical refreshment. We had 23 attendees on Resurrection Day (Easter), when relatives and friends of members came to visit our service. We now have a weekly bulletin published and a website (gracebaptiststillwater.com) that is being updated from time to time with our articles of faith. Both of these publications are made by brethren...

January 20

Henry Sharp was a deacon in the First Baptist Church of Savannah, Georgia. He was also a slave owner – as were most of his neighbors. When he recognized that the Lord had saved one of his slaves, George Leile, and that the Holy Spirit had given him gifts fit for the ministry, he “emancipated the stirring preacher so he might give himself wholly to the preaching of the Gospel (among) the people of color.” Before he moved to Jamaica as a missionary, Leile led Andrew Bryan to the Lord. Bryan became an outstanding preacher himself, and suffered persecution for his efforts. Thankfully, he persisted in his service for Christ, and his owner allowed him to construct a church building in the Yamacraw district of Savanna. This became the first black Baptist church in America, eventually growing to more than 800 members. 125 miles away, outside of Augusta, Abraham Marshall was pastoring the Keokee Baptist Church. He was also traveling throughout the region as a missionary and evangelist. He took a great interest in the black work in Savannah. It was Brother Marshal and the Keokee church who helped to organize that church and which subsequently ordained Brother Bryan. Marshall prepared and presented a certificate of ordination to the new pastor. It read: “This is to certify that the Ethiopian Church of Jesus Christ of Savannah, have called their beloved brother Andrew Bryan to the work of the ministry. We have examined into his qualifications, and believing it to be the will of the great head of the Church, we have appointed him to the preach the Gospel and...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 18:22

  A month ago when I first noticed this verse looming on the horizon I mentally groaned. How can I teach this verse without in some way hurting those men who don’t have good wives? And what about our unmarried ladies? I certainly don’t want them to think they are not good Christians because of their situation. But actually my first thought was – how can I teach this verse without embarrassing my wife? Is there some way to bring out Solomon’s intentions without Judy thinking I’m speaking about her. Is there some way to keep her from thinking that the rest of you are thinking about her? This is somewhat like last week’s verse 19 – was there any way for us not to think of specific individuals “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city.” I didn’t mention a single name, but I’m sure you may have thought of at least two. Monday I at first thought, “Well, I’ll just skip over verse 22. And if anyone asks, I’ll just say that we’ve touched on it already.” And I believe we have – very briefly and very superficially considered this theme. But it was SO superficially, that would not really have been a good excuse not to at least point to it. Eventually I came to the conclusion that it is the will of God to address this verse tonight, even though it will not be with any great depth. So let’s all turn around and look at Judy for a moment and get that out of our system. This is not about...

The Forty Days of Elijah – I Kings 19:1-15a

  Elijah was one of the truly great men of God. No one should try to deny this. At the end of his life “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven, and Elisha saw it.” Then about 920 years later there he was with Moses meeting with Christ Jesus at the transfiguration. Both James and Paul speak well of him. However – James does point out “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are.” And that is why I’ve chosen him for inclusion in this series. In the chapter before our text – I Kings 18 – we have one of the great spiritual victories in ancient history. At the command of God Elijah went to Mt. Carmel and confronted 450 prophets of the false god Baal. There ensued a battle between Jehovah and the ambassadors of Satan with Elijah as the Lord’s sole soldier. Before the eyes of a large number of Israelites, Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume an impossibly wet sacrifice. There may have been a battle between God and Baal, but it wasn’t a fair fight. Baal may be called “a god” but he was nothing but empty air, while Jehovah clearly demonstrated His Almighty power. The people were forced by the circumstances of the victory to cry out, “The LORD (Jehovah), he is God, the LORD, he is God.” Elijah then commanded the execution of those false prophets, and the people carried out his order. Wicked King Ahab cowered and was put in his place. But his more wicked wife, Jezebel, who was made of tougher stuff, shot...

The Four Days and the Ten Days of the Passover – Exodus 12:1-7

  Out of all the Old Testament Hebrew festivals, sacrifices and rites, Christians are usually more familiar with the Passover than any other. In I Corinthians 5:7 Paul declared to a congregation made up mostly of Gentiles– non-Jews – “Christ OUR passover is sacrificed for us.” Even without his arguments in the Book of Hebrews, he tells us that this special sacrifice has much to teach us about our salvation. “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us.” When John the Baptist pointed to the Lord Jesus saying. “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” he may not have been thinking specifically about the Passover, but it is impossible to assert that he was not at least including it. Alfred Edersheim was a converted Jew who, based on his knowledge of Jewish customs and history, wrote several important books. Among them were “The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah,” and “The Temple: its Ministry and Services.” In that second book he looks at all the temple services, and takes the reader back to their origins. In chapter 11, he says, “There are peculiarities about the Passover which make it as the most important, and indeed takes it out of the rank of the other festivals.” It was the first of the festivals during which eventually all the men of Israel were to appear at the temple. Second, it is closely tied to a very important event in Israel’s history – the exodus from Egypt. And third, it is important as a type – an illustration of eternal spiritual significance – salvation. With points...

January 13

J.N. Hall was ordained to the gospel ministry on this day in 1872. Hall had a keen mind and eloquent manner of speech, enabling him to be greatly used of the Lord. While editing different Baptist journals throughout his life, he preached an average of a sermon a day. Also when he was traveling, he was often asked to engage in debates – something which was popular at the time. He would face the Campbellites, the Methodists and whoever was bold enough to confront him. An infidel club in western Kentucky had made great strides in their region, constantly challenging the local Christians and making life miserable for Baptist pastor, who was not well-equipped for debating. Realizing that by refusing to face his Satanic opponents, he was doing a disservice to Christ and his community, he gave the club a challenge – if they brought noted agnostic Robert Ingersoll to a debate, he would invite J.N. Hall. The leader of the infidels accepted. When Ingersoll declined to come, they obtained the services of the President of the Free Thought Association of America, a man named Putman. Hall, too, was invited, accepting the proposed date. As the hour approached, the auditorium was full and city dignitaries were present, but Bro. Hall had not arrived. The Christians were in despair. Putman announced that Hall was afraid to face him. Then despite not having the advertized debate, since he had been paid he announced that would take the following two hours to destroy Christianity, and he began to preach his unbelief. As it happened, Bro. Hall was providentially delayed and arrived the...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 18:19

  Jacob and Esau were about as closely related as physical brothers could ever be. They were the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah. We can probably assume that, for the most part, their first few years were nearly identical. They played together, learned together and worked together as much as brothers ever could. But they did have different personalities, and over time Esau’s nature appealed to his father. Perhaps as a reaction, but then again it might have been quite natural – Rebekah leaned toward Jacob. Eventually there was the despicable deception whereby Jacob stole the birthright and blessing of the family’s eldest child. Esau was so offended that he became livid with anger. “And Esau hated Jacob because of the blessing wherewith his father blessed him: and Esau said in his heart, The days of mourning for my father are at hand; then will I slay my brother Jacob.” When their mother heard about the situation, she urged Jacob to visit distant relatives – to flee. Rebekah knew the principle of Proverbs 18:19 – “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city: and their contentions are like the bars of a castle.” Despite her age and experience, I don’t believe she gave her younger son the best counsel. Anyway, Jacob went away to live in Haran with this uncle Laban. He married and became the father of his own family. Then eventually felt led to return home. It was with fear that he and his family slowly headed south, assuming all along that Esau was still furious. As he approached the northern tier...

The Four Days of Lazarus – John 11

  This is one of the great, great events in the lives of those who surrounded the Lord Jesus. I have preached from this chapter three times, as far as I know. One message was entitled “The Gospel according to Lazarus,” and was exactly that – a gospel message. One lesson was a part of the series which examined the subject of pain. And a third sermon looked at Christ – our Brother, our God and our Life. This morning, I’ll try to add another perspective to our understanding of what took place here. But that doesn’t mean we’ll answer all our questions – either yours or mine. If you ever find someone who has all the answers about John 11, turn away and look for another teacher. For example, why is there no reference to the father or mother of Mary, Martha and Lazarus? An educated guess would be that they both had passed away – and a guess is all that it is. Well then, why were none of the children married? And how old were they? Some say that the parentless family was too impoverished to afford dowries for the girls. But chapter 12 tells us that was not the case because Mary had a huge quantity of spikenard to give to the Saviour which could have been used as a marriage dowry. Three hundred penney-worth was equivalent to nearly a year’s salary. So why weren’t these young women married? Were they widows who have returned to live in their brother’s house? Were they too old to remarry? And does this have anything to do with...

January 6

Mihaly (Michael) Kornya was born in 1844 in a Hungarian community whose name I cannot pronounce. He was granted a limited education because he was the son of a farmer. Eventually he became a share-copper and at the age of 22 married an 18 year old girl named Maria. Eight years later a Baptist layman invited him to a meeting which changed his life. Antal Novak, presented the gospel to a small group of people and the Holy Spirit began His work. Michael obtained a Bible and after a year-long study, he was born again. His baptism took place on August 26, 1875 at 3 in the morning, because immersion was illegal. After his baptism, the first person to whom Bro. Kornya gave his testimony was his landlord. He said that he had become a new man through Jesus Christ and there was evidence in the fact that he quit cursing and no longer beat his wife (which was common and legal at the time). Some time later he was ordained to the ministry by the German Baptist church pastored by Johann Oncken. Immediately Michael Kornya began his evangelistic missionary ministry. By the time of his death in 1917 he had preached in 325 cities and villages despite being arrested many times. His ministry lasted forty years during which time he baptized 11,000 converts and started several dozen of churches. On this day in 1944 an elderly woman named Imre Medve told Julianna Orvos, “The first gatherings of the Baptist Community of Micske were held at Istvan Kirjak’s house. I happened to walk by when the congregation was singing,...