Speak Up – Nehemiah 2:15-20

I don’t know if you have heard, but there is a virus ramping up around the country. There have been about 2.5 million Americans infected and 125,000 deaths, according to one website. Not only is there controversy about those numbers, there are debates about how the virus spreads. Bro. Steve Roberts sends me material from time to time, one of which recently dealt with the question of how this virus passes from one person to another. Apparently catching COVID-19 by touching a door-knob after someone with the virus is possible – but unlikely. If we wash our hands regularly and use sanitizers the possibility of catching cornonavirus by contact is small. And being infected by walking past someone on the street who has the virus is almost impossible. Some experts are saying 15 minutes of constant exposure is necessary – but that is part of the debate. Infected people coughing, sneezing, breathing, singing and spitting creates droplets with the virus in them. Enough of those droplets have to reach you, and enter you, to infect you. And to be specific, those droplets have to contact your eyes, mouth or nose. The virus then has to reach your respiratory tract and use the receptors in your body to enter your cells and start replicating. But generally speaking those droplets from other people fall to the floor or ground and dissipate, which is why the 6 foot rule is encouraged. No one knows for sure how much virus it takes for someone to become infected. In a study published in the journal “Nature,” researchers were unable to culture live coronavirus if...

The Power of God unto Salvation – Romans 1:14-17; I Corinthians 1:17-18

Did you know that the coronavirus is a relatively large molecule as viruses go? And yet, I have read, a hundred million corona particles can sit on the head of a pin. And by the way, it usually takes a hundred million of those particles to begin to infect someone. When that virus does infect and multiply, the effects are devastating to a human respiratory system. The point is: powerful things – and terrible effects – can be contained in tiny packages. Our subject this morning is the power of God. Now, the God to whom I refer is “Elohim,” the Almighty God – not some imitation or make-believe God. The power of Elohim is unlimited, and it is uncontainable when men get it in their heads to try to thwart it. Just as science hasn’t come up with a way to stop a hurricane out in the Atlantic Ocean, and there is no cork, or fountain of water, or atomic bomb which can stop a raging volcano, even so when God flexes his little finger – things happen, and mankind has to step back or die. Just as God’s power can be seen in the hurricane and earthquake, it can also be seen in the virus and mosquito. Sometimes God’s power can be seen by the eye, and it can be felt by the flesh. But at other times, it is as silent and incidental as a thought of the heart. I have quoted Proverbs 21:1 many times over the last few weeks – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of...

May 2020

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Hope in May We do hope to return to assembling, worshiping, and preaching in the month of June with Sunday morning, June 7th as our target date. Lord willing, I am planning on preaching on the resurrection of our Lord as told by the Apostle John in the twentieth chapter of John, which we missed back in March when we had our last service on the 15th because of the Covid 19 scare. We have not forsaken “the assembling of ourselves together,” but simply have tried to be in cooperation with the health recommendations of our local city mayor. We have a checklist of sanitation rules with which we will have to comply for our safety. They are not so very difficult to fulfill, and so we will do as they ask. The majority of our group is in the high risk level, however, I will not be wearing a mask while preaching. I have also asked Sis. Gaches to sing a song of comfort written by John Peterson, “Tell Jesus.” She said that she would wear a mask, so Sis. Roxanne will put the words in the bulletin for everyone to read while she sings. It is hard to sing through a mask without muffling the words, and the words are the important medium to convey the message of comfort. Lord willing, I will report to you the outcome of our upcoming service in June. Latino Interaction On May 28th, we had one court case with Gildardo, who has a DUI. The attorney with whom we work has had only one case for the...

June 28

Milo Jewett was born in 1808 into the family of a successful physician, and as a result, Milo received an excellent education. He graduated from Dartmouth after which he began a career as a lawyer, but it didn’t suit him so attended Andover Seminary, at which time he trusted Christ as his Saviour. After graduation he became a teacher. In 1834 he accepted a professorship in Marietta College, Marietta, Ohio. Then a few years later he was asked to become the pastor of a Presbyterian church. On this day in 1838 he wrote a letter which described a life-changing event in his life. One of the leaders of his church became a Baptist, and several other members attended the baptism. They then turned to Jewett to defend their denomination’s practice of paedo-baptism – the sprinkling of babies. Jewett confessed that he had never studied the subject and never read anything for or against. He wrote “I entered upon an investigation of the original Scriptures relative to the language used respecting the ordinance…. I was compelled to admit, as a philologist and interpreter of the Bible, that immersion, and that only, is the baptism which Christ enjoins. Afterwards I took up infant baptism, and here I found myself in clouds and darkness… I was obliged, in the fear or God, to conclude that none but believers in Jesus have a right to the ordinance of Jesus.” In January 1839 Milo Jewett was baptized and united with the Baptist church in Marietta. Resigning the college he moved to Alabama where he started a girls school before become the first president of...

A Portrait of the Church – Nehemiah 2:9-20

In our first or second message in this series I hinted that we could look at Jerusalem as a picture of the Lord’s church. I’d like to continue with that simile this afternoon. I’d perfer to say that my subject is “Christianity” or modern “Christendom,” but this message would be more appropriate if we think along the lines of local congregations – the definition of “church.” I’d like to say that this representation doesn’t come close to our church, but that may not be exactly true. Let’s use a simple three-point outline – condition, opposition and solution. Nehemiah made a private survey of Jerusalem to discover the CONDITION of Jerusalem. How many weeks did it take this man to travel 1600 miles from Shushan to Judah? I’m not sure where to look for an answer. Let’s just say that it was a long, tiresome journey. Even if the man didn’t have his hands on the steering wheel himself all the way, he was exhausted. Verse 11 says, “So I came to Jerusalem and was there three days” – probably resting and recuperating. And by the way, there is an interesting statement in Ezra 8. After Ezra described his trip to Jerusalem in more detail than Nehemiah, he says in 8:32, “And we came to Jerusalem and abode there three days.” Were these three days just a coincidence or was it a part of general protocol for that day and age? At nightfall on the third day, Nehemiah saddled his beast and took a few men with him for a private survey of the city. He tells us he went...

Our Father which Art in Heaven – Matthew 6:9-13

I hope to use Christ’s model prayer as a guide for making a complex subject simple. This being “Father’s Day,” I’d like to talk to you about the Fatherhood of God. It is a complex subject when we try to talk about Fatherhood and Sonship within the Trinity. God is the Father to God the Son in ways we will never understand – even when we have our future perfect and glorified minds. Besides that – as the Creator, Elohim is father to everyone. And more importantly He is Father to His special people in a special way. Let me begin by saying that I turned to my library, pulling out one set of theologies and 4 books on the subject of God. I was looking for some guidance for an outline to use this morning. “God the Father” wasn’t listed in the index of my 8 volume set “Systematic Theology” by L. S. Chafer. And the neo-evangelical, J. I. Packer in his book “Knowing God” didn’t think it important that we know Him as Father. He had twenty-two chapters with nothing in depth on this aspect of God. A.W. Pink has a book called “Gleanings in the Godhead,” but I couldn’t glean anything in his 25 chapters on the fatherhood of God Stephen Charnock’s and Daniel Chamberlin’s books on God didn’t spend any time on the subject either. I have other theologies, but I have to admit that I gave up at that point and didn’t open any of them. The truth is – the Bible is better than of the theologies of men. And there are over...

June 21

George Pleasant Bostick was the first of three sibblings to go to China as missionaries. Together they gave 110 years to the Lord, preaching the gospel. Their mother was, at first, apprehensive about their work, but later testified that she wished all fifteen of her children had gone to the mission field. G.P., as he was known, was converted to Christ at an early age and afterward joined the Floyd’s Creek Baptist Church in North Carolina. When, at the age of 18, he expressed God’s call to the ministry, and the church recognized the Lord’s hand upon him, he was licensed to preach. He pastored several small country churches, before being called to the First Baptist of Durham, NC. It was there that the Lord called him to work in China. For his next 37 years he served as a pioneer missionary, enduring privation, disease and violence in an effort to present Christ to the people of Shantung Province. While on a missionary trip inland, his first wife died. After marrying another young missionary, she too died while he was away, but he carried on. He spent 52 of his 68 years serving His Saviour, mostly on the mission field. It was on this day in 1926 that G.P. Bostick joined his loved ones at the feet of their...

Sorrow of Heart – Nehemiah 2:1-2

Sometimes a poor memory and short attention span can be good things – not usually – but sometimes. Last month I brought a lesson from verse 2 – “This is nothing else but sorrow of heart. Then I was sore afraid.” The title was “What makes you sad?” Just for this evening, I’d like you to forget that message and forget that the word “sorrow” can be translated “evil” and “wickedness.” I hope that I made my point three weeks ago, and the Lord blessed us. But this evening, looking at Artaxerxes’ words again, I’d like to bring a entirely different devotional. We are all prone to sorrow. I confess that at times this week my heart has been as gloomy as Monday’s and Tuesday’s weather. I may have said the same sort of thing during my last message from this text. Don’t assume that this is my usual condition; that I’m clinically depressed or something. But the truth is I have down days and down hours as much as I have positive up days. During this week there have been things to cause that gloom and most of them were not the same as those of three weeks ago. I’m not embarrassed to mention this, because I’m guessing that you have had your blue moments as well. As I say, we are all prone to periods of sorrowful hearts – similar, but less intense, than Nehemiah’s. The root reason for this is the natural condition of our hearts – spiritually, not cardiologically. Nearly every reference I will make this evening to the heart is to the same Hebrew...

Nehemiah’s Patriotism – Nehemiah 1:1-11

I am going back to chapter 1, not because I missed something, but because of the way tonight’s theme ties the first two chapters together. In fact, this, in some ways, may be the theme of the entire book. In my background reading on Nehemiah, I ran across the word “patriot” a couple times. And then as I re-read chapter 2, a couple of things jumped out at me in that regard. Let’s say that Nehemiah was a “patriot;” what can we learn about that subject from his example? This may be particularly important in the light of the chaos in our country these last few weeks. Sadly, I am not sure that there is a universal agreement as to what “patriotism” might be. Webster, 200 years ago, defined patriotism as – “Love of one’s country; the passion which aims to SERVE one’s country, either in defending it from invasion or protecting its rights and maintaining its laws and institutions in vigor and purity. Patriotism is the characteristic of a good citizen, the noblest passion that animates a man in the character of a citizen.” He said that a patriot is “a person who loves his country, and zealously supports and defends it and its interests.” As is usually the case, I think that Webster got it right. But when I googled the word, the internet computer defined a “patriot” only as – “a person who vigorously supports his country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors.” There is nothing in that modern definition about “service,” “good citizen” or “noble passion.” And then on the next...

The King’s Pleasure – Nehemiah 2:5-8

Proverbs 21:1 is clearly related to our text. It says – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Solomon – himself a king as great as Artaxerxes Longimanus – willingly bowed to God – “I may be a human king, but there is a King greater than I, and His dominion is greater than mine. My power may be seen in domestic laws, in the execution of criminals, in levying taxes and in armies, but Jehovah’s power is often undetected as it works in the hearts of men turning them this way and that.” This is a hated idea, because we all by nature want to be sovereign over our little dominions – our lives. But this is so commonly taught in the Bible that to deny it is to cast aside the right to be called a “Bible-believing Christian.” Proverbs 16:1 – “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” I believe that Jehovah was preparing the heart of Artaxerxes, and his answer to Nehemiah was of God. In all this we see a blending of God’s will, Nehemiah’s prayers and the will of the king of Persia. Also, I wonder how much the counsel of his wife had to do with the direction of his heart. Is there a reason that she is specifically mentioned in this text? Did God use the queen to influence her husband? Earlier, Ezra praised God with the words, “Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath...