December 8

Andrew Marshall was born a slave in South Carolina. His first “master” was John Houston, the colonial governor of Georgia. Even though he was promised freedom upon the death of Houston, the promise was not kept and he was sold, becoming the property of Judge Clay, who became a United States Senator. Traveling with Clay, Andrew met George Washington on several occasions, and when the President visited Savannah, Andrew was honored to be his temporary personal servant. Later, Andrew Marshall not only purchased his physical freedom, but he was purchased from the penalty of his sins through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. In 1785 he joined Savanna’s Second Baptist Church, becoming its pastor ten years later. Under his ministry the congregation grew to more than 3,000. When the church thought it best to divide the congregation, Marshall became pastor of the First African Baptist Church, where he remained until his death on this day (December 8) in 1856 at over ninety years of age. Elder Andrew Marshal, despite a limited education read good material and studied hard to become the most effective pastor possible. He had a deep, sonorous voice to go along with a natural ability to communicate. During his long ministry in Savanna he baptized more than 4,000 converts. He also preached in many of the foremost Baptist churches of his day, ministering as far away as the First Baptist church of New York. His piety and wisdom was so well-known that he was invited to speak to the Georgia State Legislature. The man was so well-admired and loved, it is said that at his...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 28:9

Yesterday, I was reading the biography of a 18th century preacher, named John Kerr, who left the ministry to become a US. Congressman. According to the essay the man was a really good preacher; he could really move the hearts of men. And I am sure that was a part of his successful political campaign. He eventually came to his senses and returned to become pastor of the First Baptist church of Richmond, Virginia – an extremely large and important church in the South. I don’t know if the man ever did this, but what might he have done with verse 9 in some political speech? “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” If he ever ran on a law and order ticket he might have said … “The man who ignores, rejects or refuses to respect the laws of the land, will have no defense at his trial.” For example, if the law says, “Thou shalt not steal,” but a man is an compulsive thief, and he has been arrested for theft before, his pleas for leniency or clemency should be rejected by the judge. Probably most honest citizens can see the sense contained in this verse when it is used socially. But Solomon wasn’t speaking as king, and he wasn’t thinking of these words in a social or political sense. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the WORD of God, even his prayer to the LORD shall be abomination.” Let’s examine this proverb by breaking it into its four component parts. “He that TURNETH AWAY his...

What Do Ye More than Others – Matthew 5:43-48

  One of the problems, if not one of the actual tragedies of modern Christianity, is that sanctification and justification are taught as one and the same thing. “Justification” is one of the words that we use to talk about our salvation. Justification is the act of God whereby sinners are declared to be righteous. It involves the imputation of our sins to the Saviour and then His righteousness imputed to us. Christ Jesus “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.” “By him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.” And “being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “Sanctification” is also one of the aspects of salvation; by it saved sinners are set apart unto the Lord. But one of the differences between these two things is that sanctification comes as a result of justification. God is just in setting us apart unto Himself, only because He has already declared us to be righteous. Another difference between sanctification and justification is a matter of verb tense. Justification is basically something which is done once by God and it can never be done again. Sanctification, on the other hand, is something complete and fully accomplished in the decree of God, but it has on-going, practical significance – our sanctification will never be complete as long as we remain in this flesh. Furthermore this aspect of sanctification is something in which we as saints participate. Sanctification in one sense is a completed act of God, whereby...

I have Manifested Thy Name – John 17:1-6

When the Lord laid this message on my heart, I at first wondered if I was hearing Him correctly. It is related to a message we had a few months ago, and I feared that there might be too much repetition. And then as I began jotting down notes, I became concerned that it might end up being more of a theological lecture than a gospel message. Of course, the Christian cannot think too often, or too highly, of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. But I wondered – “Would a lost man be at all interested in this?” And then the Spirit reminded me that He would take care of that. HOW the Word of God is received is a ministry of the Lord, not the speaker. After more notes and settling on a scripture, my questions were answered and my doubts evaporated. Along with others in John 17 – verse 3 blended my theology and God’s evangelism. Speaking of Himself, Jesus prayed, “Thou hast given (me) power over all flesh, that (I) should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given (me). and this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Salvation, and its resulting eternal life, comes about by KNOWING the Saviour and His Father. We cannot go wrong in sharing the only true God with those sinners to need to know Him. Then Jesus went on, “I have GLORIFIED thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” And what was that work? It culminated...

December 1

Today’s history note once again deals with Missouri, but this time only in the eastern part of the state and somewhat earlier. John Mason Peck was born – and born again – in Connecticut, but the Lord laid the spiritual needs of the West, upon his heart. On this day (December 1) in 1817, he and his family arrived in St. Louis, after more than four months of travel by foot, wagon, and boat. On the day of his arrival, he was so sick with a fever that he had to be carried to his bed on a stretcher. But soon he recovered and began an illustrious ministry. First, he established a school and began to evangelize the local black population, then he started riding out into the country-side, preaching Christ in homes and farming communities. Looking ahead, he established a station where the thousands of settlers traveling through St. Louis could be refreshed in body and soul, providing them with the scriptures and the gospel to carry to their new homes. He planted some of the earliest Baptist churches west of the Mississippi, and despite his own limited education founded the first college in the West. He was called “God’s Ambassador to the Mississippi Valley” and because he seemed so busy he also earned the nickname “the man with twenty hands.” Illustrating his expanding his ministry, a 1823 note in his journal stated: “I have been absent from home 53 days; have traveled through 18 counties in Illinois and 9 in Indiana; rode 926 miles, pleached regular sermons 31 times, besides delivering several speeches, address and lectures.” For...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 28:1

There are two or three truly proverbial proverbs here in this chapter. By that I mean, they are so common that they are lifted from this book to become a part of many sermons. “He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.” We may spend a few minutes on verse 9 next Wednesday. Verse 13 is also a well-known statement – “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaken them shall have mercy.” This evening, I might have skipped over v.1, if the Lord didn’t make me look at it again in the light of v. 5. “The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.” “Evil men understand not judgment: but they that seek the LORD understand all things.” These verses don’t say the same thing, but they shed a little light on each other. Why do the wicked flee when there is no one pursuing them? This has been the theme of thousands of stories down through the centuries – both fiction and true. Isn’t this a part of “Les Miserables.” Sometimes the guilty man goes insane – driven there by the chauffeur of his own heart. Sometimes he becomes obsessed about doing good to offset the evil he committed in his youth. Then after years of fear, he is relieved when he is finally exposed. Why do the wicked flee when no man pursueth? Because God created into every human heart something we call a “conscience.” The word comes from Latin and speaks about “knowing oneself.” That...

Men Who Didn’t Run – II Samuel 23:8-17

  We ought to be appalled when we consider the heroes of the early 21st Century. With only a few exceptions in a few exceptional people – American heros are unworthy of recognition, let alone respect or adoration. And history proves: as people’s heroes go so goes their nation. When a people’s sights and goals are high those people tend to rise. But when they are pleased with mediocrity or wickedness, then that nation falls. Some people are admired, if not actually worshiped, because of their outward beauty. As I have often said, beauty is overrated. And even standards of beauty aren’t what they used to be. They change like the seasons. Some models and actors are among our most admired people, when some of them don’t have brains enough to tie their shoes, comb their hair or trim their beards. Perhaps I’m biased, but I think that there is a difference between having a beard and simply being too lazy to shave. Some people idolize other people because of their great physical strength. Sports stars, Olympic champions, TV wrestlers and fighters. The more pain they inflict on others, the more they rise in the estimation of their mindless minions. It doesn’t matter if they cheat at their sport and draw their strength from chemistry. And it doesn’t matter what they do outside of the spot-light, so long as they perform while they are in it. But many of these people have the morals of guppies. They are paid astronomical salaries and people follow them like puppies chasing a meat wagon. And then there are some who perform other...

The Spirit’s Witness to the Saint – Romans 8:14-16

Last week, in our scripture reading, we read about Satan’s temptation of our Saviour. Jesus had been fasting forty days, so in His humanity He was hungry, and the Devil attacked at that point. “If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.” Christ refused, and quoted an appropriate scripture. Then He was taken to a pinnacle of the temple where He was urged to jump. Satan said, God “shall give his angels charge concerning thee” and you’ll be caught. Again Christ refused. After his initial failures, the Devil told our the Lord that if he merely bowed before him, He would be given all the kingdoms of the earth. Jesus responded “Get thee hence, Satan, for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” Do you remember how Satan introduced each of those three temptations? It was always the same. “If thou be the Son of God…. If thou be the Son of God…. If thou be the Son of God…. “ I am not going to suggest that Satan had any doubts about the deity of Christ – that He is the Second Person of the God-head; that He is the only begotten Son of God. Satan is undoubtedly convinced of these things, but that was part of his attack never-the-less. And since he came at the unique Son of God in this way, we should not be surprised if he should come at us, in the same way. After all, we are only adopted into God’s family. “What makes YOU think you are...

October 2019

A Difficult Month The month of October was a difficult time for several of our regular attendees to the services. Sis. Elaine Maginnis has become very weak with what seems to be kidney problems and has not attended for several weeks. Bro. Ruben Torres’ wife obtained a divorce from him without him knowing anything about it. He was really shocked and hit hard by the sad news as were his three children who live with him. His wife received full custody of the children, but they continue to live with him. LaShonda has not yet found a new job although she graduated in the spring with a degree from one of the local universities. Joe Ball and Desirae work so much that we only see them about once a month. Please remember these folks in prayer before the Lord for their respective needs. One New Visitor! The Lord did bless us with the visit of one little girl named Olivia Hulet. She is a friend ofKholie Torres and in the second grade. Roxanne had three children in her Sunday School class that Sunday. Hopefully, her parents will let her come again. Our Spanish Outreach Roxanne and I had the opportunity to work with eleven different Spanish people, some with family members. Roxanne has been asked to teach two grade school Mexican-American little girls how to read in English so that they can keep up with their classmates at school. The parents only speak Spanish at home so that the little girls only get to speak English while they are at school. As a result, they don’t know a lot...

November 24

In the 1830’s Polk County, Missouri, was a part of the “Wild West” with small log cabins rarely less than five miles from each other. The people living in those cabins needed the Saviour as much as those living in the large cities. D.R. Murphy was born on this day in 1802. As a young married man, while living outside of Knoxville, Tennessee in complete disregard for God, he came under such conviction of sin that he despaired of life. But God broke his heart with divine love and gave to the young man a peace and confidence of salvation in Christ Jesus. He was immersed and joined the Mill Spring Baptist Church on September 3, 1832. With a love in his heart for the Lord, he began preaching the gospel. He was ordained in 1834 and after ministering in the vicinity of his home, he felt a burden for the spiritual needs out west. Brother Murphy moved his family to western Missouri in 1839 and secured a home for them, before beginning an itinerant preaching ministry. The Lord blessed his work abundantly. In April 1840 a Baptist church was established in Enon, then in August the Mount Zion Baptist church was formed, followed by the Coon Creek church the following July. During his thirty-five year ministry, the Lord established thirty churches in several Missouri counties. After the death of his first wife, pastor Murphy married the widow Cedar, who labored beside him another 23 years. It was she who reported the death of her 73-year-old spouse with the words, “My husband’s death was a most triumphant one. He...