Abram, the Warrior of God – Genesis 14:1-25

  Brother Fulton and I were chatting the other day, when he mentioned that he had enjoyed teaching through a passage full of genealogies. We agreed that if God put something into His Word it must be there for a reason. My Bible has about 1,300 pages, but it could be infinitely longer. The Holy Spirit has done some editing for us. Can you imagine what the Lord could have recorded in His Word, but hasn’t? The Book of John concludes with the words, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” And still we have many chapters of nothing but name after name. There must be a reason. I was reading the book “Chats from a Minister’s Library” by Wilbur M. Smith, and this chapter was brought up. It was a fascinating article describing how the four kings of from Mesopotamia swept around and then attacked the five kings of the Jordan valley from the south. It wasn’t so much the military strategy which peeked my interest. I was struck with a couple of other things, but I am not sure that I will be able to verbalize my cogitations. Here we are a quarter of the way into one of the most important books in the Bible and we are confronted with ten verses of ancient, useless names and information. Who cares who was king of Shinar four thousand years ago? And where is Shinar anyway? Why do we...

A Worthy Life – Ephesians 4:1-3

  A lot of people would give God permission to make them His children, if it guaranteed an eternal inheritance. Yet many of those same people would refuse God the right to direct that person’s life. But the right of creation creates a number of other rights for the Creator. The Bible teaches that the potter has power over the clay. The right of blessing walks hand in hand with the right of direction. and only ostrich-like professing Christians miss fact that God outlines how He wants us spend our lives. I know from experience that many sermons on Christian living end up with a list of negatives. Sometimes that is necessary – Children need to hear specifics, and I’m afraid we are all children. Sometimes, a simple, “Be good while I’m gone,” just isn’t sufficient. Sometimes it needs to be said, “Don’t spray-paint the dog; don’t glue the pages of sister’s book together, and don’t try to build a camp-fire in the living room.” But, of course, I am being silly – these are a bit extreme, aren’t they? No child is that dumb, is he? Actually, even the children of God are that dumb. What sort of sins have you committed since you were saved? Some of those sins have been more than just dumb. Despite our weaknesses, It shouldn’t be necessary for the Christian to hear only negatives. The power, effects, blessings and testimony of the Christian life are positive. And if our neighbor sees only the negatives in our Christian lives, he is not going to be interested in our Saviour. We need to have...

The Blessing of the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:1-14

  It could be argued that this message is a continuation of our short series from I Peter 2:9-10. It is not, but the fact is, this does a consider another of the great blessings we have as Christians. As I said at least once during that series, it may take eternity for us to fully understand and then to express our thanksgiving for all that is contained in our salvation.   Addressing primarily Christians, as Paul was doing in this letter to the Romans….. When you entered the Family of God, through divine grace and the sacrifice of Christ, you instantly began to enjoy a number of new relationships. You became a part of a chosen generation, and a royal priesthood, and an holy nation. You became a one of the Lord’s peculiar people. And in the midst of those things, you began a new relationship with God, the Holy Spirit. That relationship is so important that Christians need to stop and consider it from time to time. To illustrate this new relationship, let’s pretend that you are young and deeply in love. You have found the person with whom you’d like to spend the rest of your life. You two seem perfectly matched and compatible in every possible way. You have the same kind of faith and the same Saviour – in fact you met in the House of God. You enjoy the same sort of music, and you have the same recreational interests. You have the same taste in food; and your life’s goals and interests are compatible. And there was instant acceptance by each other’s...

That Ye Should Show Forth the Lord’s Praises – I Peter 2:9-10

  A month ago, when we first approached this scripture, I didn’t intend for it to become a series. I simply wanted to teach a lesson on the priesthood of the believer. But as we have seen, that is only one of the blessed privileges which the Lord has given to His children. There are six relationships listed, each of which are a blessing to my heart, and I hope to yours as well. “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people. You have been called “out of darkness into (God’s) marvellous light.” “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This evening I’d like to conclude it all by considering what Peter said in the midst of all these blessings. “That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Then he went on, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you and strangers and pilgrims……” Verse 15 – “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” The Lord has infinitely blessed us, but there was a special purpose in it. Before we get to the Lord’s purpose in saving us, let me ask a question seems to come out of left field. Why are religious people religious? George Gallop and Pew Research, two major survey groups, say that between 37% and 39% of the people of this country attend church regularly. The American population...

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...