More than just One Man’s Opinion – Isaiah 5:18-21

It is quite popular among editorial writers to say things like: “It is my opinion…” or “As I see it….” Although that writer may put it that way, it doesn’t mean that no one else sees it his way. And when large groups of people have the same opinion some think it must be correct. It just isn’t necessarily so. This morning we looked at a few of the arguments proposed against Christianity. They were some of the criticisms of Pierre Berton in “The Comfortable Pew” written in 1964. I am sure that if I visited the religious section of a few used books stores tomorrow, I could find newer books similar to this one. Which goes to prove that these are not just one man’s opinion. If you have your ear to the ground, listening even half way diligently, you hear these things all around you. It sounds like the brethren found one of the intellectual sons of Pierre Berton this past week up in central British Columbia. But I have no doubt you could find others on the American Columbia as well – the Columbia River. You and I need to be able to give an answer to each of these people. For this reason I’d like to spend another thirty minutes considering some more of Berton’s arguments. Maybe some day you will be speaking to some soul who is seeking the truth about life and eternity. It would be good for you to have some genuine help for his soul. Perhaps this can provide a little of that help. One reason that Pierre Berton left established...

Christian Denial – Matthew 16:24-26

The psalmist David – King David – loved the Word of God. In Psalm 19 he sang: “The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover BY THEM IS THY SERVANT WARNED: and in keeping of them there is great reward.” There may be many reasons to love the Word of God. But as David tells us, one excellent reason is that it reveals what God expects of us. Even though, as Isaiah 55 tells us, God’s ways and thoughts are higher and better than ours, we are not left confused, or in the dark, about what is best for us, both for eternity and for tomorrow. In fact the Lord has left very few major topics for us to figure out ourselves. Listen to David in Psalm 119: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word. “For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. “I have refrained my feet from every evil way, that I might...

Day People: Attitudes and Attire – I Thessalonians 5:8-10

It is believed by many experts that I Thessalonians is the first of Paul’s many epistles (letters). Some say that it was written less than twenty years after the crucifixion – and before the Gospels. I don’t know if these are true, but assuming they are, it opens up some interesting doors for thought. And one is that this epistle is filled with allusions to the teachings of the Lord Jesus. It is as though Paul took for granted that his readers knew the words of the Saviour. For example there is 4:2 – “For you know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus.” Paul doesn’t clearly say, “The Son of God commanded us,” but he implies that they should know these commandments of Christ. Here Paul says, “Let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.” And what does the Lord say in Luke 21:34? “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” In Mark 13:36, Jesus said, “Don’t be caught sleeping.” Christ said of Himself that He is the light. He also said, “Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light.”...

The Omniscience of God – Hebrews 4:12-16

A couple of weeks ago, my wife was looking for something which had somehow gotten itself lost. She looked all over the house and then went out to the car. Our car gets cleaned and vacuumed from time to time, but sometimes more thoroughly than at other times. On this occasion, the lost object was small, and Judy’s search was as thorough as the lady in Jesus’ parable. In the process of searching for item, she found a book which had been wedged under one of the seats. The clearance between the seats and the floor is very small, and this book was stuck, but she got it out. It had been under there for years, because I don’t remember when I got it or how it got there. I have to confess that I don’t remember ever receiving it, missing it or losing it. So this is a confession, being recorded and probably will be seen in our Tri-Cities mission. The book formerly belonged to the Nimmos, and maybe it still does. It has the name “B.C. Herring” on it – Sister Nimmo’s maiden name. It may have been given to me, or it may have been loaned to me. I will make sure that Nimmos get it back if they want it. But I determined that I should read it beforehand. It is entitled “First Steps in Christian Theology,” and it was written by Peter Connolly, Th.D., F.R.G.S.. From rumor and what I remember, Peter Connolly was the penultimate professor at Baptist Bible College, who believed and taught the true sovereignty of God and salvation by sovereign...

Elisha’s Inheritance – II Kings 2:1-13a

Every once in a while Judy will say to me on a Sunday afternoon that she had a difficult time teaching her class that morning. She will tell me that one or two of the kids think they know all about the subject for that day. Sometimes they think that they know more than the teacher. They learned all about Elijah by way of Veggie Tales or some story through Adventures in Odyssey. It’s like some adults who know all about the exodus because they once saw a Charlton Heston movie. And you know all about Elijah and Elisha because you’ve been a Christian for twenty years. I once thought I knew these two until I opened up my ears for one more message and I heard things which I’d never considered before. Maybe this will be a message like that for you, if you’ve got ears to hear. You know, of course, that these two with similar names were a very colorful pair. And you know they were the first major miracle workers in the Bible. Noah and Abraham were not blessed as the means to spectacular miracles. Moses was used to do some mighty things, but he isn’t known so much for his miracles. Isaiah, Jeremiah and Daniel are known for their prophecies, but they didn’t raise the dead or heal. Elijah and Elisha were the first two human vessels to carry God’s miraculous power. And they were the last two – until the days of the Lord Jesus. God has given the ability to change the laws of nature to a very few select individuals. Now,...

Well-Rounded Growth – Luke 2:41-52

“How much do you know?” If you stop and think about it, that is an interesting question – “How much do you know?” You’d probably like me to qualify that question – “How much do you know about …. the Bible?” “How much do you know about American politics;” “How much do you know about Christ.” But this isn’t my question. What I’m asking is: “How much of your brain has been trained and taught to know stuff.” If there was a way of measuring how much data has been stored on your mental hard drive, how much useable space compared to used space. And here is a related question: “How did you learn the things that you have learned?” Did it come through genetics, deliberate memorization, reading, television, day-to-day experience or was it something else? Nearly all of us are teachers – while still being students, we are teachers of others. Parents are teachers; preachers are teachers; older siblings in a family are teachers; friends can be teachers. And as teachers, we have access to a variety of teaching tools. Four times a week, I get up here and share a message from the Bible. Usually it has been a blessing to me to prepare, but it will NEVER be the same blessing to you. Research has shown that our words – yours and mine – account for only 7% of everything we communicate to others. And just because something is communicated, that doesn’t mean that the other person has received it. More of our learning is received visually, either through watching others or reading. This means that...

The Joy of God’s Servants – II Corinthians 2:12-16

One of the books which I picked up in Grandad’s study was a collection of articles from the sermons of Charles Spurgeon. The book was entitled – “Joy in Your Life.” I thought to myself – “Now here is something which we all need.” I don’t know how much joy it gave me, but there were some blessings in it. And by the way, this morning’s message did not originate from anything from that book. The eleventh chapter in the Spurgeon book was entitled “Responsibility and Success.” The gist of the message was that our service for God should produce joy whether or not there is any calculable success in it. For example, you have been giving $25 a week to missions for years, but the missionaries support by your church have never reported more than a handful of converts. Is your joy dependent on dozens of new souls in Heaven? You have practiced all week and built up the courage to sing a beautiful hymn on Sunday morning. Is your joy dependent on a chorus of loud “amens,” in lieu of a standing ovation? You have been faithfully witnessing to your neighbor of salvation in Christ, but she has continued to argue against every scripture which you’ve given her. Even though you are sad thinking about her eternal condition, especially in light of her terminal cancer, are you thinking about holding your tongue because your testimony produces no results? No matter who you are, and what your current responsibilities might be, each of us – all of us – who are Christians, are servants of our Saviour. What...

The Day of the Lord – I Thessalonians 5:1-4

Paul makes reference to something about which most Christians are somewhat fuzzy – “the day of the Lord.” It is kind like bologna – Lots of people eat it but very few know much about it. But “this day of the Lord.” of which we are so ignorant is one of the key subjects of prophecy. Some have called it “the great expectation of Bible.” I have read, “It is essential that every student make a complete induction of all in the Bible which pertains to Day of Lord.” Why is that? Without understanding “the day of the Lord,” no one can ever be a Bible scholar. If we conclude that “the day of the Lord” is passed, then it destroys the whole framework prophecy. If someone says it is not literal he is forced to question every difficult passage in the Word of God. If we misunderstand its components, we fail see why the Bible says it is so important. This afternoon, I am not going to attempt a detailed study. But I’d like to just hit the high points of “the day of the Lord” – perhaps its outer limits. This will be a sort of a definition – the Webster’s account of “the day of the Lord.” I won’t keep you long, and I’ll try to keep you awake by making you turn the pages of your Bible. First, the day of the Lord is a day of judgment. Isaiah 2:10-22. “the day of the Lord” will be a day of wrath against those who are so proud they don’t need the Lord. Pride should be...

Laborers in the Vineyard – Matthew 20:1-16

I preached from this parable when we studied the Book of Matthew. I tried to teach what I thought was the Lord’s primary lesson. There were several groups of laborers, and each served for a different length of time, but they were rewarded equally. Tonight I’d like to take another look, but emphasizing different aspects of the Lord’s story. Without actually saying so, this is a parable, and so there are opportunities for different interpretations and different applications. But I believe we can agree that the primary subject is the “Kingdom of Heaven.” After that, as I have pointed out before, there is debate about what exactly that Kingdom entails. I have had teachers who said that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is not the same as the “Kingdom of God.” But in comparing related verses from different gospels, I am compelled to disagree. I think that the “Kingdom of Heaven” is just another way of saying “Kingdom of God.” But after that – is it the millennium, is it internal, is it spiritual or is it political? Is the Kingdom of Heaven past, present, future, perfect or a perfect participle? I think that everyone should be able to agree that where there is a kingdom there must be a king. Who is the King of Heaven? The answer is Jehovah God. Therefore the “Kingdom of Heaven” is the “Kingdom of God.” I also hope that people can see that there is an element of evangelism in this kingdom. Matthew 13 is filled with “Kingdom of Heaven” parables. And like this one, most of those parables speak of spreading the...

Meat Ye Know Not of – John 4:1-42

This is an often preached passage of scripture. But you may not have heard a message which emphasizes verses 32-34. And, as you might surmise, this is not a gospel message. The Lord Jesus had been working very hard in the previous few months prior to this chapter. In His humanity, as He and His disciples passed through Samaria, He couldn’t go on without a little food and rest. So the disciples were sent into Sychar to buy some vittles from Samaritans. When they got back to where they had left Him, Jesus seemed like a different man. Where He had been dragging, now He was pulling; Where He had been sleepy, now He was surging. And where He had been starved, now He was stuffed. When the disciples asked how He had so changed, He said, “I have meat ye know not of.“ WHAT was that meat which did Him so much good? Simply put, Christ was doing the will of the Father who had sent Him. He was fed; He was empowered; He was blessed by serving the Samaritan woman and others. I think there are some things we might see here about anyone’s work for the Master – OUR work. We might call them “Natural Laws about Spiritual Work.” Or we might call this message simply, “Meat Ye Know Not Of.” First, we see that serving the Lord can be GREATLY REFRESHING. Isn’t it true that the mind has great influence over the body? I remember Fred Norling and Harry Riggs plotting against a teacher back in our 11th grade. They told some of the key...

How WE got OUR Bible – Matthew 24:32-35

Our thoughts tonight are a corollary to the message of last Sunday night. The theme was and still is – “How we got our Bible.” It’s not how the Holy Spirit inspired God’s word. We know that “Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” Rather, how were those inspired words passed down through the last 2,000 years to us today. There are a number of scriptures which teach, in one way or another, that God’s words are eternal. But those scriptures might be interpreted in several ways by the unbeliever. For example – “Verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” – Matthew 5:18. It might be argued this refers only to the Pentateuch – or its purpose will stand only until Christ fulfills it. That is not all that it means, but someone might argue that way. I Peter 1:25 – “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever.” Someone might say that since “word” is singular, it doesn’t necessarily refer to the Bible. They might suggest that it applies to the decrees of God. There could be arguments used against all of the scriptures which speak of the eternal nature of the Word. Isaiah 40:8 – “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.” “Forever, O Lord, thy word is settled in Heaven” – but not necessarily on earth. However other scriptures might be abused, Matthew 24:35 is pretty specific – “Heaven and...

How WE Got OUR Bible – Luke 21:29-33

Every once in a while I will read an article which impresses me. Some times that article develops into a message which is entirely my own. But on other occasions, there is little that I can add to what the author has said. And when that happens I don’t mind telling you that the ideas and sentiments, research and words belong to that other man – whoever he might have been. This message is one of those occasions. My source for this message is Benjamin G. Wilkinson. David Otis Fuller highly recommends him, but I must criticize Fuller to some degree. He should have pointed out that in several ways Wilkinson was a heretic. I don’t want to leave you with the idea to accept all that this man says about everything. He may have possessed the true Word of God, but he failed in his interpretation of it. He was a Seventh Day Adventist. But after reading 50 pages of his defense of the King James Bible, I recommend him in this one particular area. My message tonight is my own edited version of Wilkinson’s material on the history of the Bible. We start with Constantine. Flavius Valerius Constantine became emperor of Rome early in the 4th century – in 312 A.D. If you know history – that date coincides with the approximate founding of the Roman Catholic Church. Constantine became emperor and embraced “the Christian faith” – not only for himself but for his newly won empire. As this so-called “first Christian emperor” took the reins of both the civil and spiritual world he made a deliberate...

What ever Happened to the Ark of the Covenant? – Jeremiah 3:11-20

As some of you may be aware, but none of you called my hand, we have NOT considered every reference to the Ark of the Covenant – despite what I mistakenly said last week. There were at least two more, and possibly more than that. The first of my oversights is found in our scripture here in Jeremiah. Despite Jehovah’s constant warnings and chastisement, both Judah and Israel persisted in their sins. There were prophets, like Elijah and Elisha, Isaiah and Jeremiah, preaching repentance. There were good Kings who lead by example and wicked Kings whose lives were sermon illustrations. And there was the Ark of the Covenant itself – a testimony to the presence or the absence of the Lord. Eventually the ten northern tribes of Israel were taken into captivity by the Assyrian Empire. Judah, which was slightly more godly, was permitted to go on, but she proved herself to be even more stupid than Israel. The Southern Kingdom had the lessons which were showered down upon the Northern Kingdom, but she gave no heed to that testimony. The Southern Baptists refused to recognize God’s hand of judgment on the Northern Baptists until they both ended up in the same cesspool of compromise and heresy. Eventually the army of Nebuchadnezzar pounded Judah and Jerusalem into submission. The streets of the city flowed with Jewish blood. The Judean King was taken captive as were with the best and brightest of the city – like Daniel. Only the poor, the criminals, and the leeches who would be burden on Babylon were left behind – with a few other special...

A House for the Ark of the Covenant – II Samuel 7:1-12

Tonight, let’s tie together most of the remaining references to the Ark of the Covenant. In II Samuel 11, David probably wished that the temple had been built. The lack of a temple actually thwarts one of the most wicked things that David ever did. Again, we can say that when the Ark of the Lord, illustrating the Person of Christ, is firmly settled in a person’s heart, he will be successfully kept from sin. David had sinned with Bathsheba and in an attempt to cover his wickedness, the King ordered the woman’s husband back from battle. But Uriah respectfully refused to go home to his wife. “Uriah said unto David, The ark, and Israel, and Judah, abide in tents; and my lord Joab, and the servants of my lord, are encamped in the open fields; shall I then go into mine house, to eat and to drink, and to lie with my wife? as thou livest, and as thy soul liveth, I will not do this thing.” Another reference on which we will not speak is found in II Samuel 15:24. It was at that time that David was fleeing Jerusalem before his son, Absalom. Zadok the High Priest wanted to bring the Ark of God with him as he accompanied David, but the king sent both him and the Ark back to the city. “And lo Zadok also, and all the Levites were with him, bearing the ark of the covenant of God: and they set down the ark of God; and Abiathar went up, until all the people had done passing out of the city. And...

The Ark and Formal Religion – II Samuel 6:12-23

Can we say that David is a good picture of the child of God? Was he one of the Lord’s men? Assuming that to be true, we still find a man whose life fell short of God’s standards at times. David committed some terrible sins even as one of the Lord’s servants. Besides others, there were those which were directly connected with the Ark of the Covenant. One of the lessons we have seen over the past couple of weeks has been that different people face the problems and the effects of their sins differently. Ideally, as we mature our response to problems should improve. And when there is judgment against us, we should respond responsibly. Obviously it is possible to try to do the right things in the wrong ways. Bringing the Ark to Jerusalem was a good idea, but not on the back of oxen or a cart. And so the hand of God fell in judgment on the man who was leading the project. And with that it becomes our responsibility to learn the lesson the Lord wants to instill. How did David learn about the proper way to bring the Ark to Jerusalem? It wasn’t by reading some handbook or watching a u-tube video. In effect, he got out his old Bible and started studying what the Lord had revealed. There is a right way of doing the right thing. We have a responsibility to learn the way of the Lord. And we should not be surprised when we find that some people don’t like it. David’s soul was stirred in direct correlation to the...