How the Spiritual God Should be Worship – John 4:4-23

  Christ Jesus told the Samaritan woman that since God is a spirit, His worship must be of a spiritual nature. Since God is a spirit, fellowship with Him must involve our spirit, not our flesh. Worship must suit the nature of the Object worshiped. And so for us, it is not so much about a loud band as it is an elevated soul. It’s not so much a bended knee as a broken heart; not so much an actor’s voice as a groaning spirit. We are not to use the ceremonies of the Jews, nor the new styles of the Samaritans. If Jehovah was a physical being, images and physical worship might be suitable, but God is a Spirit. There was an Old Testament style of worship, but there is now a New Testament worship. And this new worship is based upon the spiritual nature of God linked to the spiritual nature of the saint. God is a spirit, and His other perfections and attributes tell us what kind of spirit He is. This means that whether we adore His goodness or His patience, His justice or His wisdom, that He is a spirit governs how we worship Him. And this should protect us from carnality and frivolity. Doesn’t man’s inner voice demand that we worship must be spiritually? Not even idolaters claim to be worshiping the idol in front of them, but rather what the idol represents. Romans 1 teaches that in perverting worship, man goes against his better understanding. Idolatry is not so much a sin of ignorance, but a sin against light which God created...

How the Spiritual God Should be Worship – John 4:4-23 Christ Jesus told the Samaritan woman that since God is a spirit, His worship must be of a spiritual nature. Since God is a spirit, fellowship with Him must involve our spirit, not our flesh. Worship must suit the nature of the Object worshiped. And so for us, it is not so much about a loud band as it is an elevated soul. It’s not so much a bended knee as a broken heart; not so much an actor’s voice as a groaning spirit. We are not to use the ceremonies of the Jews, nor the new styles of the Samaritans. If Jehovah was a physical being, images and physical worship might be suitable, but God is a Spirit. There was an Old Testament style of worship, but there is now a New Testament worship. And this new worship is based upon the spiritual nature of God linked to the spiritual nature of the saint. God is a spirit, and His other perfections and attributes tell us what kind of spirit He is. This means that whether we adore His goodness or His patience, His justice or His wisdom, that He is a spirit governs how we worship Him. And this should protect us from carnality and frivolity. Doesn’t man’s inner voice demand that we worship must be spiritually? Not even idolaters claim to be worshiping the idol in front of them, but rather what the idol represents. Romans 1 teaches that in perverting worship, man goes against his better understanding. Idolatry is not so much a sin of...

God is a Spirit – John 4:4-24

  I made reference a few minutes ago to the differences between the “Separate” Baptists and the “Regular” Baptists of the 18th and early 19th centuries. There were not many at all, and unlike today’s Baptists, sovereign grace was not one of them. At that time 95% of all Baptists believed in sovereign election. As I understand it, what separated the two groups was their different emphases on doctrine and how emotional they were in their presentation of the Gospel. People attending a Separate Baptist church would come expecting a heart-rending topical message on repentance and faith, and they would be surprised if there was much Bible exposition. But the members of the Particular or Regular Baptist church over in the next valley would come expecting a sermon on the DOCTRINE of repentance, filled with scripture or at least an exposition of a specific passage. Our message this morning would more likely come from the lips of a Philadelphia Association preacher than a Sandy Creek preacher. But that doesn’t mean our subject will necessarily be a dry or useless waste of time. Christ told the Samaritan woman, “God is a spirit, and He must be worshiped in spirit and in truth.” This statement attacks a major Mormon doctrine – a cult which is sweeping around the world. And it is a doctrine which separates the practical atheists from true believers, even in the pews of Baptist churches in this country. If we and our children do not at least begin to understand that God is a spirit, then the generation which follows us will be vulnerable to intellectual and...

November 26

Baptist associations and organized fellowships always (almost always???) take upon themselves more authority than the Bible allows. One case in point involves John Newton. This John Newton was born in Kent County, Pennsylvania, in the year 1732. After his salvation and baptism, he moved to North Carolina where he became associated with the Sandy Creek Baptist Church and the Separate Baptists. When Daniel Marshall and Philip Mulkey (who had been converted under Newton’s witness) gathered a group of believers together in South Carolina, the Congaree Baptist Church was organized and John Newton became their regular preacher. But it was three years later that he was ordained. In February 1768 Oliver Hart and Evan Pugh, both Regular Baptists, ordained Newton and another man, Joseph Reese. When the men of the Sandy Creek Association heard of the ordination, they censored both men, demanding that their church discipline them. Newton felt that he had done nothing wrong and insisted that Sandy Creek had no authority over his church. Which, of course, was true. (Incidentally, the “Separate” Sandy Creek Association held very little doctrinal difference with the “Regular” Philadelphia Association, and the two groups eventually merged. The differences basically lay in how the groups originally began and how they conducted their public services.) John Newton eventually moved to Georgia where he faithfully served his Saviour. He was a friend of Richard Furman and sometimes preached in the historic First Baptist Church of Charleston. On this day (Nov. 26) in 1790, in his fifty-eighth year, and while a member of the Providence Baptist Church in Wilkes County, Georgia Newton departed this life. He was...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 6:1-5

  How would you define the word “friend?” The dictionary answers, “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” Is there a difference between a “friend” and an “acquaintance?” Don’t we often use “friend” a little too freely, especially when we are trying to impress people? Just because you shook hands with the Queen of England, that doesn’t mean that you are friends. We were talking about “the friend of God,” last Sunday – Abraham was a friend of God, but was Adam? Does the Bible ever say that Jehovah is the friend of any man? The holy angels are acquainted with the Lord, but are they His friends? But we aren’t thinking about friendship with God tonight. The Bible praises friendship between people, and it speaks about various qualities of that friendship. For example, “A friend sticketh closer than a brother,” and ” a friend loveth at all times.” Friends often sharpen one another; they help each other to grow in righteousness, and they rebuke each other’s sinfulness. And that is a part of this very practical Biblical paragraph. We have a friend who has a problem. Let’s call him “Dale.” Dale’s car has broken down, and it will cost more to repair it than it is worth – more than he has. But he needs transportation to get back and forth to work – and to go to church. He has found an adequate vehicle which costs $800, but he doesn’t have the cash. And his credit isn’t good enough for him to borrow even that small amount from the...

Yes, there is a God – Psalm 14

  As I was shaking hands with one of the speakers at the conference in Kentucky, he asked for my mailing address, telling me that he wanted to send some books. He apparently saw how shallow my message had been and that I was in need of instruction. A week or ten days later I had a bundle of material in my mail box. There were study outlines of Genesis and Exodus and about six booklets on various aspects of theology. There was also Stephen Charnock’s “Discourse upon the Existence and Attributes of God,” edited by Daniel Chamberlin of Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. I have heard about Charnock’s book for years but never read it, so I was looking forward to getting into it. As I began the first chapter on “The existence of God,” I kept marking paragraphs, thinking “this will be perfect for the bulletin.” When I got done, I found that I had marked about a quarter of the chapter. Then it occurred to me that if this so blessed me, perhaps it might bless you as well. This outline is more Charnock’s and Chamberline’s than it is mine, but I trust it is also of the Holy Spirit. As we have just read, David tells us, “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.” The Apostle Paul refers to this Psalm in Romans 3 to prove that we are all sinners. In fact at our heart of hearts, every one of us is in some sense an atheist. The Hebrew term “God” in Psalm 14:1 is not “Jehovah,” which speaks of His being...

October 2017

Dear Pastor and Brethren: Another New Visitor! Mrs. Alta Simpson began coming on the fifth of October and has visited with us since then two more times. She is an elderly lady and lives near the church building, so she has walked to each of the services. Roxanne and I gave her rides home after the services and have let her know that we are willing to give her a ride to the services as well. Billie Barzee also walks to the services and we have offered her the same opportunity to call us when she needs a ride. Please remember these two ladies in your prayers. Both seem to be religious, but so far we know nothing about their testimony of salvation. Outreach Started! The Lord blessed us with a good start to our door-to-door outreach service. We had five of the eight regular attendees come to the service. Some twenty houses were covered with some encouraging conversations with the people living therein. At the close of the hour, we highlighted the streets of the Stillwater city map that had been covered and prayed that the Lord might bless our new efforts. Latino Outreach We gave gospel tracts to Yessenia and Luis, Jorge Dominguez, Antonio, Eladio, Julio, Elmer, and Rolando. Elmer was arrested while speeding on the way to pick up his three little daughters who are in the custody of DHS because his wife is on drugs. He had no driver’s license and is illegally in the United States from Honduras. We worked with him and the authorities for about three hours in the area of the...

November 19

This is more of a lesson than a point of history, yet it begins in our usual way. Barnstaple, England was without a Baptist witness until 1815. A year earlier, a nineteen-year-old man, Charles Veysey came under conviction and was born-again by the grace of God. Following his baptism in the river Taw, a Bible study began in the community. Then, on this day (November 19) in 1817 the Barnstaple Baptist Church was formed with twelve members. During the first sixty-five years of its existence, the prosperity of the church fluctuated, and twenty-two pastors came and left. As often is the case, the longer the ministry of one pastor, the more the church prospered. During the leadership of Bro. S. Newman the congregation was so blessed that a new building became necessary, but then that pastor’s health broke and he was forced to resign. At that point, in 1880, the church sought a new under-shepherd, but they handled the situation poorly. More than one candidate presented himself, and the church then put them on a list and voted to accept one. Brother J.N. Rootham won the majority vote and was installed as pastor, but from that moment on, despite God’s blessings on his ministry, the dissenting voters refused to give him their respect or confidence. To them every little mistake or mis-spoken word was a reason to a call for his resignation. Pastor Rootham hoped to win over his detractors, but it was not possible, and eventually both the church and the pastor suffered serious damage. In seeking a pastor, candidates should be invited, considered and voted upon –...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 5:15-23

  Two weeks ago, I was thinking that I would simply expound these verses, as I did the first part of the chapter. But as I was looking at it, it became obvious that an exposition might be more problematic than an outline. So, once again, we have a brief, devotional sermon. I haven’t been giving these messages titles, but I probably should have. If this was to have a title, I would call it “Arguments for a Godly Morality,” or something along that line. Leaning away from what I hope are obvious lessons, let’s think about the Lord and His will. First, consider God’s omniscience. Verse 21 – “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” Obviously there is a corollary to this thought, “the ways of women are also before the eyes of the Lord.” Even though Solomon may have been thinking about wayward leaning sons of his, there are lessons here for the “strange woman” who was introduced to us last week. As foolish as it is, fathers often think it is impossible for their daughters to fall into sinful immorality. But knowing their own hearts, they can picture their sons. It’s always other man’s daughters who tempt our sons into sin. But, as I say, it’s foolishness on the father’s part. Both sons and daughter must remember “the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.” The “ways” and “goings” of God’s creatures are as clear to the Lord as the sun shining above the clouds. “Neither...

Our Lord’s Sample Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13

  For a couple of weeks, I have been thinking about this sample prayer. I thought I might incorporate it into the service last Tuesday, but it wasn’t the Lord’s will. However it was the Lord’s will that I spend some time meditating on it. As an example and guideline for prayer, it must be important. Just because the majority of Christianity abuse these words, that is no reason for us to avoid them. I don’t know how many times, I heard these or similar words, uttered in the Protestant church of my youth. And I have to admit that I am tempted to quote them in prayer from time to time. I don’t think the Lord would be upset with me if I did, because it would not be the vain repetition. But they weren’t meant to be memorized and recited. They were meant to be used instructionally – they are at the very least a framework for prayer. And for that reason, I’ve sought a word or two which could summarize each of the pieces of this model. We are probably better off memorizing and implementing the framework than we are the precise words. The Lord started with a call for FOCUS. “After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven…” There are a couple of things to keep in mind at this point. First, to think of God as the Heavenly Father was an utterly new concept. Did Abraham or David, Daniel or Elisha ever call upon Jehovah as their Father? Not to my recollection. Why? Was it a matter of their neglect...