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...

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...