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...

Three Ears – Acts 7:54-58

  This is not the first time that I have preached on the subject of the human ear. I’ve done that in two sermons before, but the last time was many years ago. I thought about starting with an object lessons for tonight, but I think that we’re familiar enough with ears that it won’t be unnecessary. I was thinking about bringing an ear of sweet corn, an ear of Indian corn, and perhaps some feed corn. There are a great variety of ears in this world. The human ear is one of the most faithful and least appreciated parts of our bodies. Most of us don’t give our ears the least little thought until we get water in them. The exceptions, of course, are those who are losing their hearing for one reason or another, and then when we get either an infection or a tickle in them. So there they are, and speaking for myself, I actually look directly at them at least once a year. Of course I don’t wear earrings, and I don’t have to see if my ears match my tie or shoes. To further make my point, I have a little book in my library called “God’s Masterpiece, Man’s Body.” It has forty-four chapters on forty-four parts of the body, but there isn’t one chapter on the ear. And that is a shame because, it really is another of the great marvels of God’s creation. Whether or not man gives a lot of thought to ears, the Lord certainly does. Would you be surprised to learn that the words “ear” and “ears” are...

THE HOLINESS OF BEAUTY – Psalm 29:1-2

  I have just finished listening to a CD biography of William Tyndale by David Teems. It was so fascinating that I asked the library to find a hard copy so I could re-read what I had heard. Tyndale loved the Word of God and the English language which was still in its infancy. Listening to his translation of the Greek, sometimes I thought I was listing to the KJV which was published about 90 years later. Tyndale, although raised Roman Catholic, because he possessed God’s word, learned the truth. Both he and his biographer clearly and distinctly declared the gospel and the doctrines of salvation. I need to read more from the pen of that biographer to understand more fully the state of his soul. At times, while accurately expressing the gospel, I’m not sure he wasn’t merely quoting Tyndale. In other words, I can’t be sure of the biographer’s salvation. And furthermore, despite his love for Tyndale’s Bible, I wasn’t convinced that he was looking at it as the revealed Word of God. It was as though he merely considers it to be among the finest English literature ever written. He believes the Tyndale Bible, followed by the Authorized Bible, are the most beautiful English words ever written. I fully agree with him, but I go beyond him, declaring that the Bible is not merely the beautiful words of Tyndale. The King James Bible really is the greatest and most beautiful of all literature. And anyone, from a eight-year-old to a college professor, could do a lot worse than reading the Bible, whether he believes it to...

The Pre-wrath Rapture – I Thessalonians 4:13-18

  When I was in school there were several ways to look at the timing of the Lord’s return. That Christ will return to earth in power and great glory is something which cannot be denied by anyone who reads the Bible in any literal sort of way. The most prominent position among Bible-believers used to be “pre-tribulationalism” which taught that the Lord could return at any moment – following which would come the seven-year tribulation. That pre-trib appearing of Christ was in order to call away His saints which are living upon the earth. The calling-away is generally called “the rapture” although I prefer “the translation.” Some speak of “the rapture of the church,” but it is more correct to say “translation of the saints.” God’s saints will be instantly moved and changed from one sphere of life to another. Those Christians will be translated just like Enoch. Hebrews 11:5 – “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him.” Following the translation will come the tribulation, and after that Christ will return again with those translated saints to establish His one thousand year millennial kingdom. The most common opinion among the liberal religionists – those denying a literal interpretation of the Bible – is a denial of the return of Christ at all, and a complete denial of a literal millennial kingdom. That is called the “a-millennial” position. “A” is a prefix negating something – “no millennium.” Related to “a-millennialism” because of their similar allegorical interpretations of the scriptures, some people believe Christ will return, but...

The Filling of the Spirit – Ephesians 5:18

  Bro. Stewart has in his employ a young man who professes to have been recently converted to Christ. Of course, none of us can judge the man’s heart, but it sounds as though he might have been converted to the Holy Spirit rather than to Christ. Because of this man, over the last couple of weeks, Bro. James has been asking me questions about the Holy Spirit and particularly, the subject of the Spirit’s filling. These questions have put the Spirit high on my mental activity list, and this has prompted both of our messages today. As a refresher course, let’s consider once again what the Bible says about the filling of the Holy Spirit. And just as I returned to this subject through questions, let me begin by asking you a number of questions. For example, when the Lord Jesus was nearing His crucifixion what did He tell the disciples He would do in order to bless them in His absence? He authorized a more intense ministry of the Spirit. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless.” “When he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come....

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem – Psalm 122

  Mrs. Charlotte Yeoman was a member of our church in Calgary thirty-five years ago. She has remained such a family friend that Judy and I refused to visit Canada a few weeks ago without driving eight hours out of our way to spend a day with her and her husband. Sister Yeoman is a kind, generous and godly woman, who loves the Lord with all her heart. And she loves the Oldfields. Over the years she has sent countless packages to us – clothing, odds and ends, even postage stamps. And almost from the first year we met, she has been giving me books – all kinds of books. Some of those books have been a blessing, while others were not worth the waste of a match. Earlier this month, once again we were showered with used clothing and a few books. Last week I read one of the books I was given – the subject of which was prophecy. Its author is a well-known pretrib, premillennialist, who wanted to tell me all about one of the Biblical signs which he had recently discovered – proving the nearness of Christ’s second coming. He pastors a mega-church in San Antonio, and he has a TV, speaking and publishing ministry as well. I have to admit to having doubts about the thesis of his book even before opening to the first page. But of course, I fully agree with him on the imminent return of the Saviour. The book began with the author’s second most favorite theme – his support of the nation of Israel. He is one of the...

Thus Saith the Lord – Exodus 4:21-23; 5:1; 7:17; 8:1, 20; 9:1, etc.

  Let me begin this evening by giving you my outline: “Thus saith the Lord” is the Baptist’s Banner. It is the Christian’s Comfort, the Sinner’s Censure, and the Servant’s Summons. “Thus saith the Lord” ends in the Enemy’s Execution, and therefore it must be the Minister’s Message. So there you have it – “Thus saith the Lord.” You have my permission to fall asleep, if you can repeat those five points before you nod off. But if you want to continue on during a very short message, we have to agree about the subject matter. The world contains a lot of things which are touted to be the Word of God. There are the Koran for the Muslim and the Veda of the Hindus. There are the Writings of Confucius and the Lun Lu. Some claim that “Science and Health,” the “Book of Mormon,” and “Desire of the Ages” are scriptures. But we’re not thinking about what MEN think is the Word of God. We not thinking about the Talmud, the “Traditions of the Learned Elders of Zion,” or papal edicts ex-cathedra. Nor am I thinking about all the modern versions and perversions purporting to be the Holy Bible. All the various scriptures and versions of the Bible give Satan opportunity to continue to ask: “Yea, hath God said?” What is the Word of God, and thus what is the “Thus saith the Lord?” There is no doubt in my mind that in the English language it is the Authorized King James Bible. Although I own many versions of the Bible, they are used to collect the dust...

The Church in Colossae – Colossians 1:14-24

I read of a man who was in town on business; it was going to take about ten days. As he was walking his hotel after dinner one evening he noticed a sign which read “Chinese Laundry.” By that time he had plenty of dirty clothes, so he made a note of the address. In the morning he was back with a big bundle of dirty laundry. When he plopped the big bag down, the clerk demanded to know what he was doing. The man said, “Well, I’ve heard that Chinese Laundry’s do excellent work, so I brought my dirty clothes.” Quickly the young lady replied, “But this isn’t Chinese Laundry; we’re a sign shop.” Similarly, there are a lot of establishments out there which have the title “church” in window, but actually they are in some kind of other business. Last Sunday, Judy and I were in a modern North American city of 1.4 million people. Our hosts are reasonably sure that there isn’t a scriptural church anywhere in that city or its environs. But we did attend two congregations, both of which THINK they are churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the morning we visited a Baptist church of moderate size – with about a hundred people in that service. The pastor had a message on “the New Covenant,” using what he said was Hebrews 8. Sadly, I found it hard to recognize because it was in a translation which I couldn’t recognize. But of course, I can’t immediately recognize any of the versions produced in the last 120 years. The bulletin announced that there was...

The Humility of John – Matthew 3:11-14

John the Baptist gives us and example to use for a study of humility. The Lord hates pride and loves humility. The Lord loved John. We all need to be more humble than we are, but it needs to be a Biblically-governed humility. It needs to come from within us, from the place where the Holy Spirit resides. Once in a while, we need to be humiliated, but that is not necessarily a long-term good thing. John was a humble man by nature – probably because he was filled with the Holy Spirit. John is an example of humility. But someone might read parts of this chapter and wonder why I would say such a thing. Does verse 7 sound like a humble man? “When he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” Some might even quarrel with John’s primary message – “Repent: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” Does an image of this wild man in the wilderness reflect the character of a humble soul? He sounds eccentric, bizarre, and even flashy in a negative sort of way. Conversely, many people can talk the humble talk, whether or not that is the inward truth. Is it possible to be both bold and humble at the same time? Maybe our problem in regard to John is in our definition of humility. What is the grace of humility? What is it to be humble? Parts of humility involve lowliness, meekness, mildness, modesty and submissiveness. Webster...

Receiving the Word of God – I Thessalonians 2:13-20

Years ago there was a Christian young man, 14-yrs-old, who had landed his first real job. He was a helper in a hardware store which was owned by his uncle. One day a customer came in and ordered a couple of pounds of nails, and Billy was sent to help the man. Into the scale went the nails until the dial read exactly two pounds. And then the customer told him to throw in another scoop of nails. He said that the young man who used to work there had always done that and had gotten a nice tip. “Oh, no, I couldn’t do that. The boss wouldn’t like that.” “But,” said the customer, “Your boss isn’t here is he?” The Christian young man pointed at his chest and replied, “Yes sir, He is always here.” There are thousands of people who go to church and call themselves “Christians” who are not Christians. No one can be a real Christian without possessing – and being possessed – by Christ. Simply asking Jesus come into one’s dead and putrefying heart, is not the way to become a Christian. But then again, Christ DOES possess the heart of every Christian. It is possible to join the Moose Lodge without being a Moose. It is possible to joint the Elks without being a wapiti. It is possible join to join the American Automobile Association and not own a pick-up truck. But its impossible to be the kind of Christian we find in the Bible without possessing Christ. It is also safe to say, it is impossible to be a Christian without receiving,...

Does it Matter? – John 14:1-3

As quite often happens, this morning’s message didn’t go the way I originally intended. Thursday, as I sat down to prepare, I had a plan in mind, but the Holy Spirit had another. And as is usually the case, the Lord won the day, and my message ended up different than I expected. But God has permitted me to continue my original thought in this afternoon’s message. Joseph was born to Jacob and Rachel relatively late in their lives. He was born with a divine purpose, which was unknown for many years by his parents or the family. As Joseph later explained to his brothers while in the dinning room of the Egyptian Prime Minister – “God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.” The question is moot, but I’ll ask it anyway – “What if Joseph had not gone to Egypt and arisen to his high position under Pharaoh?” Whatever plans men might have had, it was the intention of God to place Joseph on the Egyptian throne. It was decreed by Jehovah and even prophesied early in Joseph’s life. What if the family had studied Joseph’s dreams about stars and wheat and properly interpreted them? Would it have mattered? The truth is – the family misinterpreted God’s revelation, but the prophesy was fulfilled anyway. What if they...

The Love of Loot – I Timothy 6:10

We looked at this scripture just recently, considering, what we might call, the Spirit’s secondary purpose. Going back over my notes, I decided to approach it a second time considering the Lord’s primary purpose. And that is in spite of the fact that Baptists are infamous for preaching about money. I knew a family of Campbellites down in Deming, New Mexico, who refused to visit our services. They said that all the Baptist preachers they had ever heard had two problems – First, they were constantly filling their sermons with crocodile tears. And secondly they preached too much about money. I will see if I can conjure up a few tears as I preach about money this evening. And then again, maybe you’ll cry after you hear about the Baptist preacher named Don Holesapple? A woman called him and asked him to perform a funeral service for her pet cat, Homer. Holesapple explained that this was a little out his arena, and he referred her to the local Presbyterian. Three hours later the woman called back, in tears because no one would perform the funeral. The Presbyterian recommended the Methodist, who recommended somebody else, who recommended some other preacher. The lady told the Baptist that she was willing to pay the willing preacher $1,000 for the service. It only took Holesapple a moment to mull the situation over – after which he replied – “Well, why didn’t you tell me that Homer was a Baptist cat?” We Baptists have some just and unjust reputations, but I have fought hard to avoid them all. Yet, breaking with my own personal...

Our Guiding Pillar – Exodus 13:20-22; Numbers 9:15-17

  If I was given the word “pillar” in a word association test, and I had not just read these verses from the Old Testament, I’d probably think of some sort of Grecian column. I doubt that anyone thinks of “guidance” in any relation to the simple word “pillar.” The Word of God certainly does, but there are other things that the word contains in the scriptures. For example, the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth.” That means that each and every scriptural assembly of Christ sits upon and also holds up the truth of God. Another scriptural image of “pillars” were those massive columns in the temple of God. But this evening I want to consider that very special “Pillar” of cloud and fire which we find in Israel’s history. The first time Israel met the Pillar of God, they were just beginning their exodus from Egypt. It lead them in the way they should go, and it provided a covering, protecting them from the enemy. You could say that it isolated them from the world. Through that Pillar of cloud by day and Pillar of fire at night, God told the nation when to move. If it moved north, then Israel was to move north; if it moved east they headed east. When the pillar stopped moving, it indicated that Israel was to stop and make camp. It was, among other things, a symbol of the presence of their God. At times, it was from that Pillar that the Lord spoke to Moses. It was a great privilege for Israel to be associated with...

Tendencies toward Temptation – I Timothy 6:6-11

Obviously, here is a scripture which talks about money – riches, wealth. We have positive comments, like – “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” We have positive exhortations, such as – “Having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” And then there are the negatives, like – “The love of money is the roof of all evil.’ But it’s not in these things that I’m primarily interested this evening. Let’s think more about the tendencies of temptation generally. While Paul is applying his thoughts to the subject of riches, his words apply to many areas of our lives. In verse 9 he might have said, “They that desire pleasure or fun….” He might have said, “Those who long for luxury and ease….” “Those who have a passion for fame….” “Those who want to be successful….” This could apply to a thousand different things. And just as I want to be more victorious over sin and temptation in my life, I hope you have same desire. There are two essential ingredients to the improvement of our society. First, God’s people must knuckle down and fight their own personal sins. Then, and only then, will they be able to lead Satan’s people to new life in Christ Jesus. And that is when this world will begin to improve morally and socially. This evening, I want to address, primarily, the tendencies to temptation which are found in us. First, there are certain TYPES OF CHARACTER which are more prone to cave-in to temptations. The more strong-willed and ambitious we are, the more susceptible to sin we become. And that flies straight...

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...