The Seven Days of Joshua and Jericho – Joshua 6:1-16; 20-21

  At times around here we share some friendly ribbing about “Biblical numerology.” There are some who put special spiritual significance on the numbers we find in the Bible, and there are others who don’t. Those who do sometimes say that 6 is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day and six days he is appointed to labor. The Hebrew slave was to serve six years before being released. And then there is the number 666 applied to the unbelievers of the Tribulation. But with that doesn’t 666 become one of the numbers of Satan? Those numerologists might say that 5 is the number of God’s grace. There are five primary types of offerings and the Psalms are divided into five sections. Each of the first dozen numbers, and then many others, have special significance to these folk. 12, for example, is said to be the number of God’s government – 12 tribes and 12 apostles. Many say that 7 is God’s number of perfection, but others add that 3 is perfection to a lesser degree. Can you have a greater and lesser perfection? Apparently some can. Each of these numbers are open to interpretation. Why can’t I say that the number 7 is God’s number for grace – instead of 5? Didn’t God wait seven days after shutting up the ark before opening the windows of heaven and the fountains of the deep? Were those not days of grace? And didn’t He spare Jericho for seven days while the Israelites circumnavigated her walls? It is those seven days of Jericho that I’d like you...

December 30

Zacharius Morrell is our subject for today. J.M Carroll declared that to Morrell “is due as much, or more, than to any other man, the right beginning and right foundations of organized Baptist work in Texas.” Zacharius Morrell was born in South Carolina in 1803 where he was saved and began his ministry. Before the age of twenty, despite being plagued with weak lungs, he began preaching the gospel, serving the Lord for fourteen years in Tennessee. When he began coughing blood far too frequently, a physician recommend that he quit preaching and perhaps move to a more mild climate. He considered the second part of the recommendation and moved his family to Mississippi, with plans of venturing farther into Texas. When he heard of the domination the Catholic church in Texas he feared for his family’s safety and hesitated to move on. But several of his Tennessee fellow travelers, including two Baptist deacons and his own physician planned to make a survey trip west, and Morrell joined them. On this day in 1835 at the Falls of the Brazos, Brother Morrell preached his first sermon in Texas – with a clear voice and stronger body than what he had known for years. Over the next forty years, Bro. Morrell distinguished himself with his defense of the Truth against the anti-missionary “Hard-shells” and the Campbellites. He fought with his Bible and sometimes with his rifle. For example, after an Indian attack killed two people in his congregation, he pursued the murderers for several hours before returning to console the grieving families. Then he rode 45 miles through the night...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 18:11-12

  Why isn’t the world flocking to the Lord for salvation? Of course there is man’s native depravity and the hatred of the Lord which automatically comes from that. But these two things are expressed in a variety of ways often in an effort to deny the reality. We hear, “The churches are filled with hypocrites.” “The miracles of the Bible, and the Bible itself, are not logical.’ “Christianity is so negative; all I ever hear is ‘Don’t to this, don’t do that.’” There are probably a couple dozen answers to my question. Some of those are uttered by the unbeliever himself. And others are either not recognized or not spoken. And one of the unspoken answers is suggested in this pair of proverbs. Why should someone turn to the Lord for salvation, when he has no concept of his need for salvation? If that man refuses to recognize sin – HIS sin in particular…. If he has no perception of the holiness of God, or of God’s hatred toward sin….. If he doesn’t admit to God’s omnipotence and sovereignty…… Why should he give a second thought to running into the City of Refuge to avoid the avenger of blood? If that sinner perceives himself to be in a secure place, he will not beg to enter the Ark, even when the storm clouds are building and the ground under him is rumbling and gurgling. “The rich man’s wealth is his strong city, and as an high wall in his own conceit. Before destruction the heart of man is haughty.” Sinners have lots of strong cities with high walls...

The Ninety Days of Mary – Luke 1:26-39

  There are several instances where the Bible describes important or significant periods of time. Once in a while, because of special circumstances there are universal lessons in them. Last week we considered the seven days after Noah’s entrance into the ark before the rains came. We could also look at the forty days in which it rained, and the year which followed – but I have no plans at this time to do that. The Bible speaks of seven days here and five days there; thirty days and forty days. And we will look at a few of these over the next several weeks. This evening I’d like to try to put us into a very special ninety days in the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus. I thought about preaching it this morning, but for the most part this isn’t very evangelical. These lessons for the most part belong to the elect – Mary, Zachariah, Elisabeth and you. Using our imaginations and the scriptures, let’s try to understand what may have been in the heart of Mary before the birth of her first baby. But first, a part of her story includes 180 days in the lives of Zachariah and Elisabeth. Zachariah was one of the priests of the Lord, periodically working in the temple. When not in Jerusalem, he served God in the hill country around Hebron, Judah. Both he and his wife were in their sixties, as I am told was the common meaning of “I am an old man.” He also said, “my wife (is) well stricken in years.” Both were godly people...

The Three Days of Jonah – Jonah 1:14-2:10

  Last Sunday morning, the title of our message was “The seven Days of Noah.” The theme revolved around the week during which Noah was in the ark before the flood began. They were days of testing and trial for Noah and his family, but they were days of grace on behalf of God toward the rest of the world. I have decided to make that message the first of a small series. Over the next few weeks, Lord willing, we will look at other significant periods of time, although I haven’t decided exactly how many and how long. In preparation I made a list of about a dozen weeks and months, which might develop into lessons for us. We may look at the seven days of Jericho, and the 40 days of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances. This evening we will look at 90 days in the life of Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus. Our theme for this morning could very well be the 3 most important days in the Old Testament. They could be the most important 3 days in human history prior to those 3 days when the Lord Jesus was in Joseph’s tomb. Hopefully that will have whet your appetite just a little. First we must consider the background to Jonah’s 3 days. The Word of the Lord came to Jonah, the son Amittai, commissioning an evangelistic ministry in Asyria. Asyria was, at the time an avowed enemy of Israel, as most of her neighbors have been and still are. Like most of us, Jonah may have professed to love the Lord. But he loved...

November 2018

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Thanksgiving Praise! Our hearts are full of the joy of the Lord as we contemplate all of His blessings to us. They are ours daily as we read His Word and meditate there upon. If we did not have the Word of God, we would know absolutely nothing about spiritual things. We would not know that we are sinners. We would be ignorant of the wrath of God. We would not know of coming judgment. We would not know that there is a Savior, and we would not know anything of the love of God at all. I believe that there exists in our world, people who are in such ignorance. They are all around us. Although there is much religion, most of it is false. The god they profess to worship is a false god, and the religion they follow is religious philosophy, vain in substance. I thank and praise the God of gods and the Lord of lords for revealing Himself to me through the message of His Holy Word and the ministry of the Holy Spirit of God who drew me unto the Lord Jesus Christ. These spiritual blessings and many more are the foundation of all other temporal blessings. Without them, life would be all in vain, shallow, and presumptuous, the life that the majority of the human race is now living. Ministry Praises! Although we have had some sickness among those that come to our services, we have the sweet Spirit of the Lord in our midst in all of our services, and I want to list a few of...

December 23

Joost Joosten had a beautiful singing voice, and for that reason he was a part of the choir at the Roman Catholic church in his Netherlands hometown of Goes. When King Philip II visited the community, he heard the tenor voice of the boy and desired to take him from his home and family back to Spain. Joost would have no part of the plan. With the help of family and neighbors, he hid himself in a small boathouse until the King returned to Spain. The Hollanders then began to look on the young man as a hero, because he rejected the honor and glory of Spain in order to remain at home. But eventually their opinion changed. Joost was a good scholar with a love for reading and thinking for himself. The temporary respect of the community gave him some freedom to move about and interact with various other citizens – including a few Anabaptists. As he listened to their preaching, talking with them after their services, Joost became convinced that Christ, without the help of the Catholic Church, was the Saviour. Eventually, he was born again and became a witness for Christ. When the young man turned eighteen, the shine was wearing off his hero status. And when King Philip renewed the mandate established by his father, Charles V, ordering the death penalty for all Anabaptists, Joosten’s life became at risk. Joost was arrested. At first, inquisitors tried to argue him into recanting and returning to Catholicism. When that failed, they turned to the rack, pulling his arms and legs to the point of dislocation. Each time...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 18:10

  How many of you have visited the Tower of London? I haven’t either. That so-called “tower” is a thousand year old castle in the heart of England’s capital. From the pictures it looks to be no more than 4 or 5 storey’s high. The first segment of the fortress was begun in 1066 after the arrival of William the Conqueror. It now has walls, several buildings and has provided a wide variety of services down through the years. For example, the Tower of London is the official Royal Palace, although Elizabeth doesn’t live in it. And it either has been, or still is, an armory, a zoo, the Royal Mint, and a prison. Several famous people have been executed in this tower. Much of the Royal jewel collection is housed there. Today it is a huge tourist destination. The minimum ticket price is $32.33 per person. This evening I’d like to briefly tie together the tower of verse 10 and the Tower of London. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower.” I have never been to London, but I have read a lot about it – and seen pictures. It is a place filled with history, both good and bad. It was the home of William Kiffin, John Gill and Charles Spurgeon, as well as Henry VIII and Queen Mary. Some people believe that the Apostle Paul visited England, and if so he must have included London. The city is filled with historical structures, some of which go back to the days of Rome. One might say that London stands out among the great cities of...

Lord, Increase our Faith – Matthew 17:18-20; Luke 17:5-6

  Let’s say you have an acquaintance who is willing to talk to you about the Bible and the Lord. He was raised Roman Catholic, or Mormon, Episcopalian or any number of other “Christian” religion. As you talk to him, you easily recognize that his faith is faulty. He may believe he is a Christian because of his baptism, or his church membership, or his victory over some past sin. If he doesn’t realize that nothing but faith in Christ delivers from God’s wrath, then he is a lost man. If he doesn’t know that faith in Christ is more than signing on some religious dotted line, then he is not saved. Christ is the Saviour, and He never uses human means or religious tools to complete redemption. For example, faith in one’s immersion in the name of the Triune God is a false faith. A person cannot eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ and be delivered from the judgment which we deserve. Sorrow over past sin – in the name of “repentance” – and victory over recent temptations are not salvation either. The Lord may use tools to bring sinners to the cross, but there is no salvation in any tool. How accurate is it to say that false faith is just another form of unbelief? A improper faith – a false faith – is not recognized by the Lord as faith at all. That person remains an unbeliever if his belief doesn’t rest in God’s provision. Therefore, the man who trusts his baptism to save him is in reality an “unbeliever.” That might not...

The Seven Days of Noah – Genesis 6:5-13; 7:1-10

  Was there or was there not a world-wide flood about 6,000 years ago? This is one of those watershed questions which have divided people for two centuries now. Religions divide over the answers to this question, and so do eminent scientists. Sociologists categorize societies based on this question. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some psychologists define people’s mental state by their answers to this question. But even if psychiatry determines that I am insane, it will not change my answer – Of course there was a world-wide flood in the not too distant past, because the Bible declares it. If the Bible says it, that settles it whether or not the world believes it. The early chapters of Genesis are easily understood, if someone has a heart to believe them. And yet there are some really difficult questions, and there are verses difficult to explain. I wish that I could tell you that I am going to answer all your questions about the scriptures we have just read, but I am not that foolish. But hopefully, I will be able to suggest a few things which the Holy Spirit might use to speak to those of you who have been regenerated. The heart of the unbeliever is not going to assent to anything I have to say this morning. Except in the case where that same Holy Spirit is already working to awaken that unbelieving heart. “God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” The more things change,...