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...

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...