Vain Worship – Ecclesiastes 5:1-7

  With what we know about his father, we might assume that if Solomon were alive today, he would have been raised in church. David had his spiritual ups and downs like every other human being, but he was essentially a man of God. He was often on the road, even living among the Philistines and other unbelievers, so there weren’t churches, synagogues or the tabernacle to attend three times a week. Even after he became king, he didn’t have the opportunity to drive a couple miles to be greeted by a few good brethren at the Baptist Church. But if he had the same opportunity you and I have, he would have been here just as often as we try to be. And Solomon would have been raised in the same way as your children have been raised. But second generation Christians have a much harder time serving the Lord than the first generation. Their commitment is different – or at least it comes from a different direction. Usually, they were not at the ground floor in building the congregation and calling the pastor. And their faithfulness and loyalty is different from that of their parents. Solomon, as a child of God, was a man after God’s own heart as David had been. But being of a different temperament and nature, his tastes, outlook and life-style were different from his father’s. And so we have heard Solomon suggest some dissatisfaction with his life. “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.” “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and,...

On the Back Side of Conversion – Acts 9:1-20

  Four or five weeks ago we considered the circumstances of Saul’s conversion to Christ – His salvation. The Lord sovereignly intervened in the life of a man who was determined to whatever he wanted to do with his three score and ten years on this earth. But he was instantly changed – converted. Here in this chapter Saul met the Christ who he had been so vehemently denying. He was saved from a future life of blasphemy, hatred and the wicked persecution of God’s saints. He was delivered from the guilt of his sins through the shed blood of the Saviour which he had been trying so hard to remove from the soil at Calvary and from the memories of God’s people. This salvation story is one which I have preached several times, and Lord willing, will preach again and again until the Lord is finished with me. It is a classic evangelical message, similar to thousands being preached around the world this morning. But — in many of those churches where the conversion of Saul is preached, the gospel message seems to stop at verse 6 or 7 or 8. Many evangelists think that once they get someone to repeat “the sinner’s prayer” their work is done. Some may encourage their “new convert” to be baptized, to join the local Baptist church, and to tithe, but these things are secondary – almost unimportant compared to “asking Jesus into their hearts.” But of course, no such words or ideas can be found in this scripture. And have you noticed the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us the moment in...

April 2018

Busy Month! Resurrection Sunday the Lord blessed us with 23 people present! Six come once a year for the Resurrection Day service. They are relatives of Bro. and Sister Gaches. Outside of our regular eleven attendees the rest were lost folks who haven’t come back again. They were people who Bro. Ruben Torres had invited and who surprised him by their coming. Two of them work where he gets his hair cut, and the other was a friend of one of them. Anyway, our little auditorium was full and we rejoiced to be able to preach the Gospel to them. Actually, the visitors outnumbered the regular attendees! The Latino Outreach The Lord gave us opportunity to witness to two Latinos, Haydee Duran and her boyfriend, Carlos Hernandez. We gave them a Spanish Bible and a copy of Ultimate Questions and invited them to our services. I translated for Daniel Huerta Sanchez, and gave him a Gospel tract in Spanish entitled Repent or Perish. He is still in jail. Additionally, Roxanne and I went with Salomon and Raquel and family to the hospital to translate for him. The Lord gave us a wonderful opportunity to talk at length with them about spiritual things, a story too long for this report. Please continue to pray for the Lord to draw them unto Himself in salvation. Additional Activities We were able to attend the Bible Conference of Covenant Baptist Church, Bro. Daniel Chamberlin, Pastor, on the Friday evening of that Conference. Bro. Al Christian and Bro. Ruben Torres went with us. I had another ultrasound image made of my heart activity. The...

May 20

After preparing this vignette, I’ve determined to read more of the books of Abraham Booth. Booth was born on this day (May 20) in 1734. The place was in Derbyshire, England. At the age of ten the Lord saved him from a life headed toward debauchery and hell. At the age of twenty-one he was baptized and joined a General Baptist Church. He was encouraged to preach and soon became pastor of a church at Kirby-Woodhouse. As a General Baptist he hated the doctrines of sovereign election and particular redemption. But as he studied God’s word in order to preach the gospel his views began to change. At the age of thirty-three he published his Reign of Grace, a defense of God’s sovereign administration of salvation. But he never lost his evangelistic fervor. Unlike others in his generation, he preached to all men, exhorting them to repent and to trust Christ, leaving the bestowal of salvation to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. His position in this matter lead to an invitation to become pastor of the Prescott Street Particular Baptist Church in London, for which he was the under-shepherd for the next thirty-seven years. Booth was not highly educated, and perhaps due to this lack of formal training he was instrumental in the founding of Stepney College for the training of other men. He became an excellent author. In his Pedobaptism Examined, one of the books which I have read, he quotes eighty Pedobaptist writers who admit that “baptizo” means “immerse.” Then in his Apology for Baptists he reprimands those “Baptists” who left immersion to the conscience of...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 12:3

  We’ve all seen it, if we haven’t experienced it – the tree with a shallow root system blown over in the storm. I confess to a little worry about the larch which Jackie and I transplanted into our back yard. It is growing like a weed, sometimes as much as 3 or 4 feet a year. But it has the advantage of a sprinkler system, feeding it water every other day. Because it doesn’t have to struggle for water, it has no reason to sink its roots deep into the soil. As a result it might not have the stability many of its cousins have out there in the forest. The Bible speaks much about good foundations, because the problems of shallow roots affects human beings as much if not more than trees. Jeremiah 17 – ” Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.’ Colossians 2 – “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him. Root and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as yet have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.” Jesus’ parable of the seeds and the soils makes reference to a lack of root in one instance. And Matthew 7 – “Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth...

Friends – Ecclesiastes 4

  Solomon, the royal preacher, is musing about life – its qualities, problems and purpose. He has tasted, tested and eventually rejected a great many things which lesser men think are important to life. He deals with the same things men and women are pursuing nearly 3,000 years later. Look around you – does the average piece of advertising really illustrate the important things of life? I saw an ad the other day for a new kind of snack, which appears to be just like a dozen others, but in a lighter, fluffier form, and therefore less expensive to make, but which will probably cost even more. Do we need another kind of snack food? And what about bumper stickers? What do we learn about life by studying the back-end of cars? If not on cars, then perhaps today’s t-shirts reflect the true meaning of the American dream. We are told that If you have tasted everything else, but not the new Diet drink, then you have not tasted life. And then we come to the beer commercials, the car commercials and Carribean Cruise commercials. Solomon says, “Wait a minute, I’ve done all of those things and a hundred more.” “I have found that everything I have ever done, outside of Jehovah God, has been vanity and vexation.” In this chapter 4, the divinely-gifted wise man says, “Here is one true necessity for a well-spent life – “ Good companionship is essential; fellowship is important. “Two are better than one.” On a very cold day, how can a single person really be warm? “A three-fold cord cannot be broken.”...

The Creation of Salvation – Genesis 1:1-31

  I need your help this morning. After spending more than four hours developing this message on Friday, as I was looking at it yesterday it appeared to be very confusing. I considered scrapping it, but didn’t feel the Lord’s approval in doing that. So I am asking you to pay attention and to really concentrate on what I’m trying to say. Listen between the lines if you have to, asking for the Lord’s blessings. The confusion will come as I try to maintain both scriptural facts and my own intended allegories. It is important that you see where one ends and the other begins. When I became a Christian, ie. when I was born from above, I had a keen interest in science. As a kid, I did many of things that little boys did back before video games and television. I collected bugs and butterflies, pinning them to boards and making little signs to identify them. I performed autopsies on dead animals. I carried the brain of a robin in my pocket, until it inexplicably disappeared one day. I had a nominal interest in dinosaurs, but I was more interested in living things than those long extinct. When as a teenager the Lord saved me, my perspective on the natural world slowly changed. While believing the words of Genesis 1, for a while I tried to explain them from the perspective of science and evolution. But of course, my sophomoric brain was quickly pulverized, and I gave up on Darwin in lieu of Moses and Paul. Early in my Christian life someone pointed out that there is...

May 13

It was the goal of the often revered Puritans to establish a society which governed its citizens from the cradle to the grave based upon what its leaders considered to be pure religious truth. They came to this country seeking freedom from the interference of others, but they granted no freedom to anyone else. Sadly, they were misinformed as to the true nature of Bible Christianity. Beginning with infant baptism, their religion devolved into superstition and ceremonial salvation. Only with God’s intervention, through the Great Awakening and the witness of a few Baptists, was new England spared from enslavement as deep and dangerous as during the Dark Ages. As the ancient faith grew within her borders, the government began tightening its anti-Baptist legislation. For example on this day (May 13) in 1646 a petition from Roxbury, Massachusetts was presented to the governing council. It read: “As the prevaylinge of errors and heresies is noted by our Saviour in the gospel, and elsewhere in Scripture, as a forerunner of God’s judgments, and in as much as the errors of the Anabaptists, where they do prevayle, are not a little dangerous to church and commonwealth, as the lamatable tumults in Germany, when the said errors were grown into a height, did too manifestlie witnesse, and such good laws or order are enacted amongst us, against such persons having alreadie bene, as we are informed, a special meanes of discouraging multitudes of erroneous persons from comminge over into this countrie, which wee account no small mercie of God unto us, and one sweet and wholesome fruite of the sayd lawes, it is...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:4

  As I was re-reading this chapter yesterday, thinking about the verses we’ve skipped, I thought I could see a loose relationship between five of them. Verse 4 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” Verse 7 – “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” Verse 19 – “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” Verse 28 – “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch.” Verse 31 – “Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.” Don’t these verses speak of similar subjects from different points of view? Let’s consider riches versus righteous; life versus death; gain versus loss; and the theist compared to the atheist. One thing which links all of these is day-to-day earthly living. Even though Solomon often speaks about eternal things, these verses quite clearly refer to our three score and ten years in this world. First, he ties together two great parts of man’s existence – LIFE and DEATH. Verse 4 – “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” Verse 7 – “When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” Verse 19 – “As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” How much did Solomon know about death? Babies may die, but they don’t recognize death in others or understand...

Folly or Faith? – Ecclesiastes 3

  One of the problems in studying Ecclesiastes is we often don’t know which Solomon is speaking to us. Is this Solomon the undeniable intellectual genius – the super-smart child of Adam. Or is this the other son of Adam – the sinful, self-filled reprobate. At times it is the Spirit-inspired, Heaven-bound saint of God – the child of his father David? Sometimes when the strange dog barks, it is hard to tell if he’s glad to see you, or if he’s hungry. At times this book appears to be contradictory. In one breath its words take us to the palace of God. It lifts us up on angels wings and shows us the Merciful and Mighty Messiah. And then in the next breath it seems to carry a stench – up from the gutters of Calcutta. Take verse 17 as an example: “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work.” Indeed, these are the words of God’s preacher – “Ecclesiasticus.” But then we have to listen to a whole lot of despair. Verse 19 – “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.” When we put them together what do we have? Verse by verse we have to ask...