Four Failures before Success – II Kings 4:8-37

  I trust that no one has any doubt whether or not I believe God that raised this little boy from death into life. There is no question but that He did. It took place exactly as it is described here, even though we don’t have some of the smaller details. That being true, what took place in the lives of those people nearly 3,000 years ago, doesn’t have much direct affect on any of us. None of us are better people because that un-named little boy was given his life back. As far as we know, he didn’t become a great prophet of God, penning scriptures which reveal any of the mysteries of God, and he didn’t join David as a great poet of the Lord. He didn’t cure cancer; He didn’t invent the airplane or automobile. Yes, in him, we can see the power of God over one of our greatest physical enemies – death. And yes, it should give us faith to trust the Lord to heal our diseases and infirmities. But as there have been millions of deaths in these last three millennia, there is no guarantee that our beloved children or parents will be raised before the Lord’s return as he was. For the sake of our message today, I would like to spiritualize these historical events – to allegorize them. I would like to use them to illustrate another very important and real event – Re-generation, second birth. I would like you to think of this little boy as SPIRITUALLY dead – for that was as much his condition as was his physical...

April 28

Thomas T. Martin was born on this day  in 1862. The place was Smith County, Mississippi. His father was a Baptist preacher and college professor, but T.T. wanted to become a lawyer. That was not the Lord’s will. God had given him several special gifts, and He intended that Martin use them in the Baptist ministry. After graduation from Mississippi college, he began to study theology in Texas, supporting himself by teaching Natural Science at Baylor college. After a short ministry in Kentucky, the Holy Spirit led Brother Martin to Leadville, Colorado for two years and then to Canon City. After a short return to Kentucky, where he nearly died from food poisoning, he returned to Colorado, pastoring in Cripple Creek. These Colorado ministries were primarily among hard rock miners – sinners of the most hardened variety. Martin wanted to become a missionary in Brazil, but his health at the time prevented it. Then in 1900 T.T. Martin began a new form of ministry – evangelism. In community after community, he would hold protracted meetings from two to three weeks. In these meetings he would preach twice a day, except on Sunday’s when he usually preach four times. During this time, Martin began a third ministry. Using his knowledge of both the Bible and science, he became the author or a number of books. Today, if one googles his name, the first references which come up point to his fame as a proficient defender of Creationism. An anti-evolution theme began to permeate his campaigns. He even had meetings and set up a shop in Dayton, Tennessee, during the Scopes...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 21:3

  We have in verse 3 one of those scriptures which can be easily distorted into soul-damning heresy. “To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.” Any of a huge number of sects and cults might point to that and say, “The way you live your life is more important to God than the offering of blood sacrifices.” Perhaps they might siggest that Christ’s death was a general sacrifice for the human race. But the really IMPORTANT thing for personal salvation, these false teachers say, is the maintenance of the law – “justice and judgment.” How can we answer that man who says such things? Of course, we could turn to the New Testament and point to those scriptures which condemn the idea of works-based salvation. And we could quote scripture after scripture which glorify and magnify the sacrifice of Christ Jesus as the only way to forgiveness and peace with God. But what do we do with verses like this one? And this is not an isolated scripture. There are others which say similar things. There is Samuel’s rebuke of King Saul when he usurped the office of the priests in I Samuel 15 – “Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.” And there is God’s rebuke of Israel in Hosea 6:6 – “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and (I desire) the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” There is a long passage...

Two Graves – Matthew 14:3-12; 28:1-8

  On this one day of the year, most of Christendom celebrates the RESURRECTION of Christ. I hope that many of those people also take time to remember the death and burial of the Lord as well. The death, burial and resurrection of Christ go together – they are a matched set. But they aren’t the little knick-knacks many people make them out to be – toys pulled out once a year. As I say, each of the three – The death, burial and resurrection – link together. Without the second member of the set, there wouldn’t have been a third. And without the third part, the first member would have been proven to be null and void. “Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures; and … he was buried, and … he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” Furthermore, He was “declared to be the Son of God” and our Saviour, BY “His resurrection from the dead” – Romans 1:4. I suppose that most professing Christians can describe to some extent Jesus’ death and burial. They can tell you a bit about the cross and the borrowed tomb of Joseph. They know a little about the death and burial of Christ. But what about the burial of the man of whom we read in our opening scripture – John the Baptist? I am not implying that John’s death and burial are as important as that of the Lord Jesus, but I’m going to try to make a point. Not more than one in ten professing Christians can tell you about the burial of...

March 2019

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Month of Improvements Although February was a slow month with low attendance, March is showing improvement in that area. We are having an early spring here in Stillwater, and I think that may be one of the encouragements the Lord is providing to motivate people to come to our services. On the 3rd of March we had twelve people, including two new children, attend our service. The same happened on the tenth with twelve attending. The numbers dropped to five on the 17th but then went back up on the 24th to ten and on the 31st of March to eleven. So we praise the Lord for the nice weather and His drawing of the people to come hear His Word. Subject Matter for Preaching On Sunday mornings I am preaching on John 17, the Lord’s prayer to His Father before departing with the Eleven to pray in the garden of Gethsemane before His betrayal and arrest It is the prayer of the highest beauty and deepest doctrine in the entire book of Holy Scripture. His prayer certainly needs to be studied in view of the upcoming celebration of Resurrection Sunday (Easter). Properly understanding His prayer would truly give us a proper understanding of His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension. On Thursday evenings I am preaching on Article Ten of our Articles of Faith, The Blood Atonement. This subject certainly complements the theme of the Lord’s prayer so that those who attend will have received a good understanding of the redemptive work of our Lord when we are finished with the study. Our Outreach...

April 21

This little note ties in with one of the articles in this week’s church bulletin (www.calvary@iadhobaptist.com). On this day in 1867 a note in the church minutes of the Kiokee Baptist reads, “The Baptist Church of Christ at Kiokee met and proceeded to the ordination of Brother Billy Harris, colored, to preach the Gospel.” Throughout American Baptist history there have been many examples of a positive relationship between blacks and whites. In 1639, John Clarke organized the Baptist church in Newport, Rhode Island, and a few years later “Jack, a colored” was baptized and added to the church’s membership. Living in Rhode Island, Jack was most likely a free man. But in the south slaves were often received into local Baptist congregations. In fact, in some churches the blacks outnumbered the whites up to as many as six to one. In the First Baptist Church of Richmond, Virginia, “colored deacons were elected, whose duty it was to watch over (the needs) of slave and free Negro members.” That church also licensed certain colored men, who seemed fitted by God to “exercise their spiritual gifts in public” – ie. to preach the gospel of Christ. A man named Lott Carey, a member of the church in Richmond, was able to raise $850 with which he purchased the freedom of his family. Then he, with Collin Teague, in 1821, sailed for Liberia, establishing the first Baptist Church in Monrovia. After the War Between the States, there was pressure to organize separate churches for the blacks, and many prominent churches willingly authorized and supported those churches, acknowledging and training young men for ministries...

Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 21:1-8

  There may be hundreds of verses which I often quote, but I have never broken apart and directly taught. Proverbs 21:1 is one of those scriptures. Tonight I will correct that oversight, even though our excavations will be somewhat shallow. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” As you all know, our current “king” – President Trump – is one of the most polarizing in recent history. Most who are politically-minded have strong opinions about him – love, hate, disrespect, tolerance, etc. While somewhat true in this country, in many other countries there is fear of what our president might do. It might be one kind of fear in North Korea, but there are other kinds of fear elsewhere. He appears to be fickle and unpredictable. And as a result there is a fear that he will provoke a war which will once again engulf the world. It could be military, but it could also be economic or even something else. The Christian needs to remember that there is a King who is above all other kings – a LORD over other lords. His name is “Jehovah” – “The king’s heart is in the hand of Jehovah,” spelled in all caps, “LORD.” And “as the rivers of water: he turneth the hearts of human kings whithersoever he – Jehovah – wills.” So for you and me, who believe the Bible and trust in the Lord, there are no grounds for fear. Yes, the king may some day invoke laws against God’s saints, but our...

A Worthy Life – Ephesians 4:1-3

  A lot of people would give God permission to make them His children, if it guaranteed an eternal inheritance. Yet many of those same people would refuse God the right to direct that person’s life. But the right of creation creates a number of other rights for the Creator. The Bible teaches that the potter has power over the clay. The right of blessing walks hand in hand with the right of direction. and only ostrich-like professing Christians miss fact that God outlines how He wants us spend our lives. I know from experience that many sermons on Christian living end up with a list of negatives. Sometimes that is necessary – Children need to hear specifics, and I’m afraid we are all children. Sometimes, a simple, “Be good while I’m gone,” just isn’t sufficient. Sometimes it needs to be said, “Don’t spray-paint the dog; don’t glue the pages of sister’s book together, and don’t try to build a camp-fire in the living room.” But, of course, I am being silly – these are a bit extreme, aren’t they? No child is that dumb, is he? Actually, even the children of God are that dumb. What sort of sins have you committed since you were saved? Some of those sins have been more than just dumb. Despite our weaknesses, It shouldn’t be necessary for the Christian to hear only negatives. The power, effects, blessings and testimony of the Christian life are positive. And if our neighbor sees only the negatives in our Christian lives, he is not going to be interested in our Saviour. We need to have...

The Preaching of the Cross – I Corinthians 1:17-24

  There have been two periods in my life when I was regularly involved in a radio ministry. The most recent was in Deming, NM, where I had a 15 minute live broadcast on the small local station. It was early each Sunday morning, and I brought a brief devotional or gospel message. It was nothing but me, my Bible and a huge microphone. Prior to that, my first exposure to the radio was in Calgary. Once a week Ken Johnson and I would sit in front of a big reel-to-reel tape recorder. We began with some recorded music sung by members of our church, and then one of us would preach. That 30 minute tape was then sent to a Christian radio station out of Three Hills, AB. Following the hymn and before the message, the man who wasn’t to preach that day would say in his most authoritative voice, “For the preaching the cross is to them that perish foolishness.” Why did Bro. Johnson choose to begin our broadcast with I Corinthians 1:18? Because that is at the core of the Christian ministry. Paul, the Apostle, tells us here that Christ sent him “to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.” For it “pleased God by the foolishness of (gospel) preaching to save them that believe.” God’s servants “preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness.” I have several purposes in addressing these verses today. The first is somewhat selfish – to remind me of my responsibility as a...

April 14

  Dorothy Kelly was an English Puritan, living in Bristol. She desired to see the Church of England reformed – cleansed from the wickedness and laxity found in its members and clergy. On Sundays, after attending the services of her church, she would join others in private homes for prayer and the reading of more Biblical sermons. One of the men attending those meetings was an Anglican cleric named Hazzard. Over time, Rev. Hazzard, asked Mrs. Kelly, a widow, if she would marry him, and she agreed. The Hazzard home become a meeting place for Puritans. And since Bristol was one of the ports from which travelers to America embarked, the Hazzards hosted many people seeking what they called “religious freedom.” Mrs. Hazzard became more and more disenchanted with her church, its sermons, the reading of the Book of Common Prayer, and abuse of the Lord’s Supper. One week when her husband traveled to Lyme to avoid taking “Holy Communion,” Dorothy heard that Mr. John Canne, a noted dissenter – a Baptist – was staying in a local inn. She sent word inviting the man to lodge at the Hazzard home. When he found a group of Puritans in one of their meetings, he urged them to give up the Church of England entirely and gather for their own worship and prayer. Mrs. Hazzard felt convicted that was what she should do. When her husband returned home, she told him of her plans, and although he never left his church, he permitted his wife to do as she felt led of God. Soon, the group, meeting in a barn,...