One Christian’s Opinion of Zionism – Psalm 137:1-6

  I was recently handed a tract and asked to give my opinion about it. I was told to be frank and honest in my assessment – which I always try to be anyway. But my instructions included not pulling my punches or holding back – which sometimes I do. The tract dealt with a subject I’ve never explicitly addressed, and because of this I feel led of the Lord to offer my opinion publically. But I have to admit that this isn’t something I have studied for months and months. I don’t have a seasoned opinion, based on reading several books and hearing a dozen sermons by men who I consider to be expert in the subject. In other words, this will be a pretty simple answer, and with more study my opinions might change slightly some day. But the original challenge was – “What do you think about this tract?” And so I am going to begin where I am right now – with the knowledge I have at the moment. The article is entitled “Zionism: What it is and what it is not.” It is published by Ariel Ministries, one of the Messianic Jewish organizations in the world today. Their leadership and teachers appear to be entirely Jewish – that might bother some people, but not me. Their doctrinal statement, published on the internet, includes some pretty good stuff, but mixed with some of the common precepts of Protestantism. For example, they believe, as we do about the Triune God, with the full and absolute deity of Christ Jesus. They believe in the fall of man...

The Day of Gods’ Wrath – I Thessalonians 5:1-10

  This will be a rather unusual message – not for its content, but for its presentation. I almost worded that first statement – “This will be a very unorthodox message,” but that is not the case. “Unorthodox” means – “contrary to what is usual, traditional, or accepted.” That word is usually used in a religious context. This message will not be contrary to the stated doctrine of our church – in fact it is just the opposite. From its inception, Calvary Independent Baptist Church has held to the Premillennial, Pretribulational position in regard to the return of Christ. Article XIV of our Statement of Faith reads: “THE LORD’S RETURN. We believe that Christ Jesus is coming back to earth again; that His return shall be personal, audible, visible, and bodily; that it shall mark the advent of the “day of the Lord” and usher in the millennium; and that He shall in that day turn the tables on Satan, take up the throne of His Father David, put down all His enemies, rule with a rod of iron, triumph over sin, and give the world an example of righteous government during His thousand years of personal reign on earth. We also believe in the imminent return of Christ for his saints. Being thus imminent, it will naturally occur prior to the time of Jacob’s trouble – the tribulation. We also believe that the many promises made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob concerning a land of inheritance have not yet been fulfilled and that Christ will make good on these promises when He returns in glory to save Israel.”...

The Law of Christ – Galatians 6:1-2

  The Lord has a great many wonderful names and titles. Each of them reveal different aspects of His nature and His relationship to creation. Thousands of pastors and Bible teachers have taught through them – blessing their churches.. That is something I have considered but never done, but I have addressed many of those names and titles individually. This afternoon I want to bring your attention to one of those titles – one of my least favorites. I often refer to the fruit of this office without directly mentioning the title on the door. To neglect this subject is to improperly preach the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am referring to the title “Lawgiver.” I am much more comfortable with “Judge” than I am “Lawgiver,” but they are closely related. In God’s government there is no distinction between the executive, legislative and judicial offices. Because God is one – and completely sovereign – He is King, Lawgiver and Judge. As a title, “Lawgiver” is given to Jehovah twice – once in each Testament. Isaiah uses the three titles I just mentioned in his 33rd chapter. – “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.” Isaiah 33 is filled with glorious promises of God’s future blessings on Israel – and ultimately to us. Jehovah is ISRAEL’S lawgiver, but because he is King, Judge and Lawgiver over all His creation, the wicked – universally – will pay for their rebellion against him. I could see only one other verse which calls God our “Lawgiver.” Amidst exhortations...

Ministry as Illustrated in Philemon – Philemon 1-25

  There is a word in verse 6 which I will take as the spring board for our message this evening. In that word we have an opportunity to speak about the ministry – the human side of the work of the Lord Jesus Christ. Also in this short epistle, the Lord has revealed several other suggestive things about the ministry. And it needs to be understood that it’s not just about the pastor, the missionary and the evangelist. The word “ministry” needs to be applied generally to all Christians. We all have our ministries. Music might be one person’s ministry. But very few of us can play an instrument well enough to be a blessing to others. And not all of us are good singers, helping others in that aspect of their worship. Not every can preach or have the opportunity to teach a Bible class. But there ARE some things which all of us can do – and should do – for the glory of the Lord’s Name.   The word which caught my attention is “communication.” “I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers… that the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” While several of my thoughts this evening will be related to the Apostle, we notice that this verse is pointed toward Philemon. And Philemon apparently was not the pastor of the church of which he was a member. He doesn’t appear to be ordained; he was not an elder in the church. He might have...

God’s Trumpet – I Thessalonians 1:4-10

  I have said recently that I have a dream where our church becomes somewhat like the church in Antioch. I admit that it is an ambitious dream. It’s perhaps not as ambitious as the dream being celebrated tomorrow. But why not? Why can’t we dream big if it is for the glory of God? Why can’t our church be instrumental in the starting of other churches of Christ – churches even more important than ourselves? Why can’t our Heavenly record declare that we were used of God to sponsor several missionaries? Perhaps other churches might some day send ambassadors to investigate the exciting things taking place here in Post Falls, just as Jerusalem did with Antioch. If it be the will of God, there is no reason why Calvary Independent Baptist Church could not become the Antioch Baptist Church of the American Northwest. It might not be in my lifetime, but somewhere in God’s time, it would be wonderful. But, as has been pointed out several times, there are things about Antioch which we don’t find in our church and perhaps never will. For example, there was a spiritual “revival” and multitudes were being born into the family of God. Acts 11:21 – “The hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.” So it appears that that church in Syria was much larger than we are. Is size a criteria to becoming a second Antioch? As those new believers grew in the things of God, the church grew in its organization and ministry. That church had a significant number...

The Forty Days of Elijah – I Kings 19:1-15a

  Elijah was one of the truly great men of God. No one should try to deny this. At the end of his life “Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven, and Elisha saw it.” Then about 920 years later there he was with Moses meeting with Christ Jesus at the transfiguration. Both James and Paul speak well of him. However – James does point out “Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are.” And that is why I’ve chosen him for inclusion in this series. In the chapter before our text – I Kings 18 – we have one of the great spiritual victories in ancient history. At the command of God Elijah went to Mt. Carmel and confronted 450 prophets of the false god Baal. There ensued a battle between Jehovah and the ambassadors of Satan with Elijah as the Lord’s sole soldier. Before the eyes of a large number of Israelites, Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume an impossibly wet sacrifice. There may have been a battle between God and Baal, but it wasn’t a fair fight. Baal may be called “a god” but he was nothing but empty air, while Jehovah clearly demonstrated His Almighty power. The people were forced by the circumstances of the victory to cry out, “The LORD (Jehovah), he is God, the LORD, he is God.” Elijah then commanded the execution of those false prophets, and the people carried out his order. Wicked King Ahab cowered and was put in his place. But his more wicked wife, Jezebel, who was made of tougher stuff, shot...

The Forty Years of Moses – Acts 7:17-36

  According to some people’s numerology the Biblical number 40 refers to testing, trial or probation. 40 comes up 146 times in the Bible, and many of those references do point to testings and trials. For example, the twelve spies reconnoitered Canaan for forty days, while Israel chewed their collective fingernails. Moses was forty days at the top of Sinai – twice – while Israel was down below cowering in terror. Elijah went forty days without food or water at Mount Horeb – I am considering that as another message in this series. Christ went without food for forty days during which time Satan tempted Him. But then He also appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, encouraging them for forty days. And Jonah preached repentance to Nineveh for forty days. Interestingly, the life of Moses was divided into three equal parts – all forty years in length. I trust that most of you have a basic grasp of Moses’ biography, but let me refresh your memory. While Israel was in Egypt God was blessing them to the point of making the local government nervous. A law was passed that all new-born Israelite boys were to be slain. But when one of the daughters of Levi bore a son, she felt convinced it was God’s will that the child be saved, so she kept him hidden for three months and then set him out in a place where the daughter of Pharaoh might find him. In the providence of God, the plan worked perfectly, and the baby was taken into the royal palace. Not only that, the baby’s mother...

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...

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,...

What Seek Ye? – John 1:35-39

  These words are only the third recorded utterance of the Lord Jesus. The first came from a 12-year-old boy: “Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?” Oh, how I wish that all 12-year-olds would say – and mean – such words. If I had said those words when I was 12-years-old where might I have been at 20 or 25? Then again, I wish 30-year-olds, and 40-year-olds, 50s and 70-year-olds were this diligent and spiritual. The second thing which the Lord said was in regard to His baptism. “Suffer it to be so now, for thus it becometh us to fulril all righteousness.” This was Jesus’ third recorded sentence. I am certain that there were many, many other things which Jesus said, and many of them would be very interesting. But there hasn’t been very much recorded for us to examine today. But this was. And if it was important enough to be recorded in the pages of the Word of God, then it is important enough to study. Why did the Lord ask? What was the recorded answer? Is He also asking me? How do I answer? Think about the people to whom the Lord was speaking. One was Andrew as we see in verse 40. Andrew was one most diligent disciples of John the Baptist. But after he started following Christ, he couldn’t compare with some of the others. He was just one of the disciples – one of the disciples like us perhaps. He was not there on the Mount of Transfiguration with John, James and Peter. In the Garden of...

Wherefore We Labour – II Corinthians 5:9-16

  When Missionary Johnson was here a couple weeks ago, he spoke about his intended work in Thailand before preaching during the morning service. Years ago, I was in his shoes, preaching in different churches every Sunday, and often driving between cities the rest of the time. And just to be honest, there was little time for Bible study and sermon preparation. But I can’t imagine living in an RV with 5 kids for months and months on end. For me, under far less strenuous circumstances, I ended up preaching the same message many times. The other day, I was looking through my catalogue of sermons and found a message designated MIS-001. This was the outline that I preached several dozen times back in the early 70’s. I have decided to share it with you because it is as appropriate today as was appropriate back then. But hopefully, I won’t be as stilted and robotic as I was a few times during that period of deputation. Why we do what we do as a church? What should we do in the future and what would we like to accomplish? What is our motivation for our service of the Lord? There are probably several answers to those questions. Let’s consider some of Paul’s answers. What the Apostle is outlining here are some of the things which motivated him as a missionary. Often we don’t care about, or trust, what people say about motives. Usually we’d rather to deal with the effects of people’s actions and not their cause. Take salvation as an example: Some people come to Christ out of...

Mission’s Four Principles – Acts 13:1-5; 14:23-28

  Our church has supported the work of missions from its inception. Even when we had very little money, we helped to keep a few missionaries on their respective fields. For decades now, we have taken a tenth of our general offerings and put that money into missions. In a sense our church, as a body, has given its collective tithes and offerings to missions. And then the Lord enabled us to sponsor 1, 2 and then 3 missionaries – members of this assembly. We have been blessed sufficiently to send large offerings to missionaries whom we don’t support monthly. All of this looks good on paper and makes us feel good about ourselves. But the truth is – for some it may be nothing more than ointment on guilty consciences. It is easy to substitute our support of missions for our own lack of evangelism at home. And the church’s tithe to missions even takes our personal support of that ministry out of our hands and out of our minds. Last week’s rare visit of a visiting missionary, should have re-ignited our interest in this kind of ministry. And with the addition of our Colorado members, we have been put into the work of missions even more directly. On the foundation of the instruction we received last week, I’d like to build a little four-sided tabernacle. This message today has a double thrust. First, it contains general instruction to on nature and principles of missions. But I would like you to open your eyes to a potential future missionary endeavor. Ours is one of the very few sovereign...

Eschatological Absolutes – Jacob’s Trouble – Matthew 24:15-31; Jeremiah 30:1-11

  From time to time, you will hear me use the term “Jacob’s Trouble.” I believe that this is one of the Eschatological Absolutes – one of the assured events of the future. When I use that term, I am using it as a synonym for the seven year “Tribulation” spoken of by Daniel, and which is expounded here, and in Revelation as well as in other scriptures. The term is used only once in the Bible, and that is in Jeremiah 30:7. Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it. For it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and will burst thy bonds, and strangers shall no more serve themselves of him: But they shall serve the LORD their God, and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them. Therefore fear thou not, O my servant Jacob, saith the LORD; neither be dismayed, O Israel: for, lo, I will save thee from afar, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and shall be in rest, and be quiet, and none shall make him afraid. For I am with thee, saith the LORD, to save thee: though I make a full end of all nations whither I have scattered thee, yet will I not make a full end of thee: but I will correct thee in measure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished.” Despite...

The Conclusion of the Whole Matter – Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

  The old saint of God lays comfortably dying – in his own bed at home. Around him are gathered his three children and seven grand-children. Everyone knows that he will not be long in this life. The sliver cord will soon be loosed and the golden bowl shows signs of cracking open. “He goeth to his long home, and (soon) the mourners (will) go about the streets.” He has just enough air in his old lungs for one more plea. He says, “Children, if there is one special thing that I can leave with you it is this: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Repent before God and take up thy cross to follow Him in obedience and faith. Set your affection on things above not on things on the earth. For what is your life? It is even as a vapor that appeareth for a little time and then vanisheth away.” In a sense, Solomon, too, has come to the end of his life – or at least to the end of this book. He may not have the opportunity to ever counsel his children again. He says, “This is the conclusion of the whole matter…. this is the whole duty of man.” Don’t these words come to us as a kind of surprise, considering all that has preceded it? Not many of the books of the Bible reach conclusions like this. So I suppose Ecclesiastes is comparable to the Book of Revelation or to Job in this sort of way. But Revelation is different; it makes sense, beginning with a revelation...