December 2017

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Summary of 2017’s Activity This report is to inform all of our supporting churches of some of the blessings of the Lord upon this work that you all support with your money and prayers. Although I report these activities on a monthly basis, it is good to see a resume of the year’s activity at a glance. In 2017, the Lord has blessed us with 38 first-time visitors not counting visitors that came an additional time. Out of all of those visitors, we have one who has remained with us, Mrs. Billie Barzee. “Miss Billie,” as we call her, has brought her grandchildren to meet us once, and we appreciate her regular attendance to our services. In our Latino outreach, we have worked with at least 28 Latino men, giving them Gospel literature to read and attempting to engage them in conversation about spiritual matters as the Lord grants us opportunity. This is not an easy matter now that there is more open political talk and activity against illegal aliens living and working in our country. As to our outreach into the Stillwater community, we have a newspaper ad in the Stillwater NewsPress that comes out in the Friday paper. Additionally, we did a postcard mailing, in which several of our supporting churches helped financially, resulting in contacting approximately 9,125 homes in the southern half of the City of Stillwater. We also started a visitation program involving door-to-door contact with individuals living around the area of our church building. That program will be expanding its outreach when we finish the immediate area. Finally, we...

Submitting to Christ’s Mediatorial Rule – Isaiah 45:22-25

  Our study of Holy Scripture must never be a mere academic exercise – or for the sake of scholarship. Because, among other things one of the dangers in knowledge is pride. “I have memorized John Gill’s book, therefore I am more knowledgeable than you are. And since it is a theology book, I am even more spiritual than you.” Remember, a part of Satan’s temptation of Eve was in the area of knowledge. And when you stop to think about it, the suggested information was not bad or evil in itself. “Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” “And when she saw that it might make her wise, she took of the fruit and did eat.” To be able to fully explain all that there is to know about the Lordship of Christ, doesn’t necessarily make us better Christians or even better people. Did Adam and Eve learn more about good and evil? In a sense, yes, they did, but it was to their detriment, not betterment. If Bible doctrine doesn’t improve our relationship to the Lord, then it may be more dangerous than helpful. To know more of God’s holiness can be a blessing, but it can also be used of Satan to bring someone under conviction to the point of suicide. Bible doctrine is only properly understood when it renews our heart and sanctifies our conduct. And that includes what we might learn about the Mediatorial Lordship of Christ. What influence should this information and doctrine have on our heart and life? Remember, the devils also believe in God, in the deity of Christ,...

The Unholy War – Psalms 2 (Acts 7:51-60)

  One of John Bunyan’s books was entitled “The Holy War.” I have chosen to reverse that title for our message this morning. I want to comment on what happened to Deacon Stephen by taking a brief look at this Second Psalm. Most of the people of the world, even religious people, wonder why we bother studying the Bible. For most of them the Bible is as relevant as a screen-door on the International Space Station. But both Acts and Psalms are as much 21st century as are cell phones. And I’m not talking about last year’s cell phones with speed dial and call-forwarding, I’m talking about today’s cell phones with satellite internet access and a HD video digital camera. Because both Acts and Psalms are God’s message for people in every place and every age. The pictures that we find in both these chapters are high quality “selfies.” Stephen defended himself against the charges of the Jews by retelling the history of Israel. If we didn’t know better we’d be apt to think that this would be well-received by those priests and rabbis. After all it was their nation. They were as proud of their history as most Americans are of theirs. And the people to whom Stephen was preaching were among the most religious in all the world. Self-righteous people don’t mind historical, non-personal sermons – so things began just fine. But then Stephen got personal – very, very personal. He reminded those learned men that their history was actually one of rebellion against God and rejection of the revelation of God. His audience exploded, and the...

January 21

On this day (January 21) in 1672, John Bunyan was called to the pastorate of the Bedford Church, but Bunyan is not our subject today. In that same meeting, there were seven other men consecrated to the ministry, including Nehemiah Coxe. Coxe was later described as “a very excellent, learned and judicious divine,” although at the time he was earned his living as a shoemaker – which was then known then as a “cordwainer.” Not only was Bunyan arrested at Bedford, so was Coxe. At his trial, he introduced himself and presented his case in the Greek language, and then when the charges were laid against him he responded in Hebrew. When no one in the courtroom could reply, the judge dismissed the case, saying “Well, the cordwainer has wound us all up, Gentlemen.” Coxe eventually moved to London, where he learned and successfully practiced medicine. Ultimately, he accepted a call to become the co-pastor of the Petty-France Baptist Church which he then served for 20 years through a period of great...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 9:1-6

  As I read this scripture with the hope of preparing a little devotional for you, I found my mind running wild. The words and ideas seemed, with one hand, to reach back a couple of chapters. And then with the other to reach forward into the New Testament. The message of these six verses provides a contrast with something we read earlier. And it provided a parallel with something which the Lord Jesus has told us. “Wisdom hath builded her house.” Who is it that hath built this house? “Wisdom,” you say? And who is that wisdom? You might say that she is the blessing of God which gives the simple believer an advantage over the unbelieving intellectuals of the world. She is that part of faith which makes the saint of God more wise than the Rhodes scholars and the professors who profess to teach those scholars. She is the divine blessing which can make the plow boy rise above the member of Mensa with his IQ in the 98 percentile. Or as we have often said, this wisdom is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness…” This wisdom is the wonderful person of whom we read last week. “She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors.” “Hear; for I will speak of excellent things; and the opening of my lips shall be right things.” “Wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may...

Mistakes People Make about the Lordship of Christ – Acts 5:27-32

  Are there any people living between the 49th parallel and the Rio Grande River, who suggest that Donald Trump is not the legal President of the United States? I can imagine that there are people, who for various reasons, make that kind of statement. But the fact remains that Mr. Trump is in the White House and he is wielding presidential powers. Similarly, there are a thousand times more people who say that Jesus Christ is not the Lord. They say that He is not the eternal Son of God. They claim that He is not the Messiah or the Saviour. They refuse to bow their knees before the Lord as King. But they will one day acknowledge Him – “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear” – Isaiah 45:23. “For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” – Romans 14:11. And Philippians 2:10 – “At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” This is not the only mistake people make about the Lordship of Christ. There are at least three which are often made by religious people – even evangelical people. And it’s these mistakes that I’d like us to briefly consider this evening. Many people confuse...

How Can a Man be Justified with God? – Job 25:1-6

  After a couple of months of complicated theological messages, let’s go simple this morning. My outline may be hundreds of years old and preached by thousands of gospel evangelists. But the flesh on those old bones are mine as you will probably see in a few minutes. It is a topical message on the subject of salvation from sin – or more literally “justification before God.” You might think that a sermon on justification should come from the New Testament not the Old. And in fact, we will spend most of our time in the New Testament. But it has to be remembered that our Bible is not made up of two books. It is one book with two major divisions. And the message, although coming from opposite directions is the same in both halves. It is basically explained here, originating in what might be the first book ever inspired by God. “How then can a man be justified with God, or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” Verse 5 is an example of Hebrew poetic parallelism – a statement and then a restatement. The second half of the verse somewhat repeats the first part of the verse. This is very common in Proverbs, but it is found throughout the Old Testament. A paraphrase of this verse based on the basic meanings of the most important words, would be something like this: “How can a man be made clean in the sight of God; how can a natural human being he be translucent or transparent in God’s sight.” The verse doesn’t supply the...

January 14

At the close of the War Between the States, southern civilians fled before the advancing Union armies, leaving some communities with nothing but chaos and confusion.  During the war there had been scores of Baptist church buildings which had been stripped of their furnishings to be used as hospitals, stables and barracks.     In 1864 the American Baptist Home Mission Society noted: “In almost every city, town and village taken by our army, there has been found a deserted Baptist meeting-house.”  No doubt with honorable intentions, the Society asked the War Department for authority take over abandoned Baptist buildings throughout the South.  And on this day (January 14) in 1864 the War department notified its military personnel: “You are hereby directed to place at the disposal of the American Baptist Home Mission Society all houses of worship belonging to Baptist Churches South, in which a loyal minister does not now officiate.”  The definition of a “loyal minister” was not addressed, and sometimes more abuse followed.     Records indicate that about half of all the Baptist churches in the south had their memberships and buildings devastated.  But there was no need for governmental or even well-intentioned societies to step in and confiscate those properties.  Had the military simply protected those buildings from theft and destruction, eventually the original owners – the membership of those churches – would have returned, repaired and reused their buildings in the service of the...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 8:1-36

  There are several occasions in the Bible, where prominent men stood before large crowds and preached Christ – or prophesied judgment – or simply gave their testimony. I suppose the first recorded was Moses; then besides the apostles, there were prophets and others. And here in Proverbs 8 we have perhaps the most unique speaker of them all. I have decided to look at this chapter – this testimony – as a unit. We could cut it apart and consider some of the more memorable verses, and perhaps we will next week. But tonight, I’d like us to rearrange some of the verses according to their subject and simply let the speaker tell her story. Who is it that cries out and puts forth her voice? She identifies herself as “wisdom.” I know we must not remove this speaker very far from the eternal Son of God. Christ is wisdom personified and perhaps even deified. “Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” But for the sake of this lesson, let’s think of wisdom as simply the highest and most practical form of knowledge. And that begins with the knowledge of God. And this wisdom is female; the Hebrew word is feminine, and the pronouns used here are feminine. Part of who she is can be seen in how she “cries.” There are two closely related Hebrew words translated “to cry”. One is basically, “Hey you over there, come listen to what I have to say.” But this word is more personal, intimate – she...

Christ is Lord Both Now And For Ever – I Corinthians 15:22-47

  In 1 Corinthians 15:45 Jesus is called “the last Adam. “ The word “last” is the Greek word from which we derive “eschatology” or the doctrine of last things. You could say that Christ is the “eschatological Adam.“ The first Adam surrendered himself to the prince of darkness who rules over this present evil age. The last Adam has come to defeat that prince of darkness and to bring forth the age to come. My point tonight is there is an overlapping between the age in which we live and the age which is to come. Satan is still the god of this world, and Christians still wrestle with their Adamic fallen nature. On the other hand, the last days are already here and have been for some time now. Eschatology isn’t something off in the distance, we are within its borders today. “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds” – Hebrews 1:1-2. Hebrews 6:5 reminds us that we have “tasted the good word of God, and the power of the world to come.” On the Day of Pentecost as Peter was preaching, he reached back into the prophesy of Joel and declared that both the trials and blessings of the last days have arrived. You might say that we are living in the period of the “already, but not yet.” The first step toward the last step – the...