The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:30

  There are a dozen great proverbs here in chapter 11. I plan, the Lord willing, to make a quick review of those which we have not yet considered. Many of them are so succinct and obvious, all we need to do is stop for a moment and let them sink in. One of the problems with our daily Bible reading, is we have three or four chapters scheduled for the day so that we sail right over the well-known or obvious verses and don’t let them soak into our souls. We will try to rectify that to a small degree, but that is on my calendar for next Wednesday. While first thinking we might finish the chapter tonight, my heart got hooked on verse 30. In my youth – in my Bible school days – this scripture would have been used to beat the lazy Christian into door-knocking and the necessity of Arminian evangelism. But since those early days in my life, I have matured just a little in my theology and in my desire to know what the Holy Spirit is saying here. Let’s try to understand and properly apply some of this verse. Beginning at the end – who is this wise person? Remember that as the Book of Proverbs began, Wisdom was personified in Christ, the Son of God. “Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets: How long, ye simple ones will ye love simplicity. Turn you at my reproof, behold I will pour out MY spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.” Then, with the entry of...

Turn, Turn, Turn – Ecclesiastes 3:1-10

  In this chapter Solomon makes a change in his writing style. He drops the autobiographical form of the first two chapters and temporarily waxes philosophical. He could have put this to music and added another million dollars to his already fabulous fortune. Although what he says is obvious, the way in which he puts things catches people’s attention. “Turn, turn, turn.” I’m sure that the folk rock band, the Byrds, would not appreciate my outline. But let’s consider God’s sovereignty, our tenacity, and the resultant opportunity. First there is God’s SOVEREIGNTY. Would it be a good idea after church tonight to go home to our gardens and plant orange tree seedlings? The weather has changed; we are not going to have any more single digit temperatures for at least six or eight months. Despite the warmer days, planting orange or grapefruit trees, would not be a good idea. Because with a great many other things in life there are seasons which must be respected. I don’t care what tomorrow’s forecast might say, the weather in the Northwest is not conducive to growing certain fruits and crops. Solomon speaks of “seasons.” A season is basically a rule of time. Perhaps we could use the word “dispensation” in our conversation about seasons. Sometimes the seasonal rules are painfully strict. And at other times the rules are bent without seriously breaking any bones. The next six months of 2018 might be very mild, but don’t donate your winter parka to the thrift store, because winter will return, unless the Lord returns first. A “season” is a RULE of time – and...

Atheism in the Last Days – II Timothy 3:1-9

  If you have never met someone calling himself an “atheist” then you have led a sheltered life. If you’ve never met someone who LIVED like an atheist then you had better check your pulse. They are just about as common as mosquitos, and they bear other similarities as well. Among other things, our text describes the modern atheist. From these words we can paint a verbal picture of that man or woman. And in doing so, I’d like to help you spot the atheist in your society. But additionally, I would also like you to see that there lurks a little atheism in each of our hearts. The Holy Spirit said through Paul that “perilous times” were coming. I believe that what he predicted are here today. They are hard, troublesome and dangerous times – which is the meaning of the word Paul used. These times are not necessarily perilous because of global warming, nuclear waste or the man who is in the White House. These are spiritually perilous times, and the cause is rooted in open, rampant sin. And these are perilous times because of runaway atheism. The twenty items mentioned in this text make up a description of the average atheist. It is not required that every point be found in a person before we have an actual atheist. There are confessed atheists who appear to be outwardly beneficial to society. And perhaps you are thinking, “I know a man who claims to be an atheist who is good, decent and helpful. He doesn’t appear to be overtly guilty of any of the things Paul mentions....

April 29

William Baskett was born in 1741 in Goochland County, Virginia. His parents were poor Episcopalians. When William was twenty he married Miss Mary Pace. They immediately began morning and evening devotions together and with their children as they began to arrive. When the Baptist, John Corbley, visited the area many residents began to openly talk about Bible doctrine. Confused about such things Mr. Baskett went to the local vicar, asking him what he must do to be saved. The man told him that he felt a comfortable hope in keeping the commandments. When this didn’t satisfy William’s questions or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the minister dismissed him, calling him deranged. Over the months to come William and Mary continued to search the scriptures eventually coming to the conclusion: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.” When Elijah Craig and David Thompson visited, William asked to be immersed upon his profession of Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Soon a small congregation was gathered and Philip Webber was called as pastor. When Webber emigrated to Kentucky, the congregation called their own William Baskett. For twenty-one years he faithfully served that congregation. On April 21, 1815 Mary Baskett died. One week later, on this date in 1815, William preached from the words: “We have no continuing city, but seek one to come,” and then the following day, at the age of 59, he followed his wife into the presence of the their...

April 29

William Baskett was born in 1741 in Goochland County, Virginia. His parents were poor Episcopalians. When William was twenty he married Miss Mary Pace. They immediately began morning and evening devotions together and with their children as they began to arrive. When the Baptist, John Corbley, visited the area many residents began to openly talk about Bible doctrine. Confused about such things Mr. Baskett went to the local vicar, asking him what he must do to be saved. The man told him that he felt a comfortable hope in keeping the commandments. When this didn’t satisfy William’s questions or the conviction of the Holy Spirit, the minister dismissed him, calling him deranged. Over the months to come William and Mary continued to search the scriptures eventually coming to the conclusion: “He that trusts in the Lord shall never be confounded.” When Elijah Craig and David Thompson visited, William asked to be immersed upon his profession of Christ Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Soon a small congregation was gathered and Philip Webber was called as pastor. When Webber emigrated to Kentucky, the congregation called their own William Baskett. For twenty-one years he faithfully served that congregation. On April 21, 1815 Mary Baskett died. One week later, on this date in 1815, William preached from the words: “We have no continuing city, but seek one to come,” and then the following day, at the age of 59, he followed his wife into the presence of the their...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:16

  I wont stress your exhausted minds with deep theology or detailed logic tonight. Here are a few simple devotional thoughts centered around four simple words. Isn’t it interesting how words can be arranged one way and they teach or bless, but then they can be rearranged telling us something else? Or if we replace one of those words there is another lesson? Those preachers who care little for words – even the little ones – are often making a huge mistake. The verse says, “A gracious woman retaineth honour: and strong men retain riches.” By the way, the word “and” is not in the Hebrew, leaving the door open to other connective words. And John Gill says that some people like to use “as” instead of “and.” “A gracious woman retaineth honour, AS strong men retain riches.” That certainly makes sense and doesn’t change the effect of two clauses very much. But it does make us focus on the gracious woman with the strong man helping us to understand her. Once again we are reminded how important even little words can be. But it’s always best to leave our English Bible alone, letting it speak for itself. We have four primary words in this verse, which I will mix up just a bit. Let’s start with the strong man. Being honest with you, I have to point out that technically, this might be an evil sort of word. It is often translated in a very negative sort of way. It is used in the Bible twenty times and only once is it translated “strong.” It is most frequently...

Suicidal Sovereign – Ecclesiastes 2

  For several weeks recently, I was looking for insurance protection for the church. At first, I was looking for nothing more than accident or liability insurance against slip and fall accidents. I came close to buying a commercial package which any business might buy. But then I ran into a couple of good agents who handle nothing but insurance for churches. And I bought a reasonably priced policy which includes everything from personal accidents to fires and to ministerial liability. Ministerial liability? This is something for which the local coffee shop doesn’t need insurance, but churches do. For example, families are suing churches and pastors, who counsel people whose lives are falling apart. Let’s say that a man addicted to pornography comes to me, seeking my help, and I give him advice about how to overcome his sin. But then, after three months of counsel, the man kills himself, leaving a note declaring that his pornography addiction made him so depressed that he decided to take his own life. Surviving family members of such suicides have begun suing the pastors who failed to deliver their loved ones from their sins. I know that such law suits are unjust, but this is life in the ungodly, lawsuit-prone, United States. Settlements have reached into the millions of dollars. This is just one example. The actual details might involve a failing marriage or drug abuse or any number of other things. Now, we (or I) need to have insurance to cover such a problem should it ever arise. This is where my introduction begins to touch on Ecclesiastes 2. Even though...

The Condescension of Christ – Philippians 2:1-11

  Have you ever been on a vacation which was so perfect – so wonderful – that you hated to return? Maybe it was to a place of absolute luxury, or a place of apparent perfect peace. Back home you knew that you had serious problems to solve or you knew that stress would immediately bring you back to the breaking point. But for a week, or maybe two weeks, you were absolutely free of those things – then it ended. What might be some words which might describe your condition when you got back to the real world: “Disoriented, disappointed, depressed …..”? Now, I’d like you to try to do the impossible: Imagine what the Son of God was experiencing prior to His incarnation. What are some words which might describe His condition and position before He became incarnate? “Glory, perfection, worship and adoration, supremacy, holiness………”? A word the Bible uses, but which doesn’t begin to describe Christ’s pre-incarnation condition is “rich.” II Corinthian 8:9 – “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he WAS rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” The word means what we would expect – “wealthy; abounding in resources.” But behind the word lays an infinite more. There must be ten thousand things which make the Lord Jesus unique among men. One of the excellencies of Christ is the sacrifice which He made just to come to this planet in order to become our Saviour. Take the change from perfect vacation to problems at home, and multiply them a thousand...

April 22

Richard Fuller was born on this in 1804 in Beautfort, S.C. When he became of age, he entered Harvard College to study law and eventually became a lawyer. Back in Beaufort, Fuller heard the gospel preaching of Daniel Barker. A revival swept through the community and a great many of the more prominent residents were born again.. One of these was Richard Fuller. Later he said of his conversion, “My soul ran over with love and joy and praise. For days I could nether eat nor sleep” for joy. He had been raised an Episcopalian, but with his salvation he gave himself to the work of Christ among the Baptists. He was baptized and joined the Baptist Church in Beaufort. Soon after that he was ordained and became its pastor. When he first took the pulpit the church was weak, but after 15 years it had increased to about 200 white members and 2,400 blacks. In 1847 he left Beaufort to pastor the 87 members of the Seventh Baptist Church in Baltimore. Under his ministry it grew to about 1,200. At that point he departed with a few other members and started the Eutaw Place Baptist Church where he remained for five years before retiring to Heaven on October 20, 1876. The historian Thomas Armitage says of Richard Fuller, “The writer once heard him when he showed himself to be a perfect master of in the art of oratory, by denouncing the tricks of the orator in preaching. He wove one of the most fresh, vivid, and finished pieces of oratorical denunciation against dependence on pulpit oratorical effect that...

The Proverbs of Solomon – Proverbs 11:12

  I suppose there could be a healthy debate about which book of the Bible is the most practical. For example, it might be said that Romans is the most practical because there is nothing more practical and important than salvation from sin. Another might choose Genesis as the foundation of the rest of the Bible. Or someone could say that since we are living in the last days, Revelation is the most practical. And then people simply have their favorite books. Taken from the standpoint of day-to-day life and the attacks upon it by the sins of society, some would insist that Proverbs must be the most practical of all the books of the Bible. Solomon seems to go from one temptation to another in successive verses. He briefly exposes one sin and immediately jumps upon another. “An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbour,” introducing us to the common sin of hypocrisy. And then, still speaking of those two men he says, “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.” I am not trying to be thorough in these devotionals. After all, this is Wednesday night and most of us are weary from three days of hard work or trips to the hospital. But the Lord is putting these practical subjects before us, so I feel obligated to address them, even if it is only lightly. But maybe I shouldn’t use the word “devotional,” because this isn’t particularly light, uplifting material. Solomon is meddling once again – “He that is void of wisdom despiseth his neighbour.” Who is my neighbor? Don’t we have neighbors and then...