The Power of God unto Salvation – Romans 1:14-17; I Corinthians 1:17-18

Did you know that the coronavirus is a relatively large molecule as viruses go? And yet, I have read, a hundred million corona particles can sit on the head of a pin. And by the way, it usually takes a hundred million of those particles to begin to infect someone. When that virus does infect and multiply, the effects are devastating to a human respiratory system. The point is: powerful things – and terrible effects – can be contained in tiny packages. Our subject this morning is the power of God. Now, the God to whom I refer is “Elohim,” the Almighty God – not some imitation or make-believe God. The power of Elohim is unlimited, and it is uncontainable when men get it in their heads to try to thwart it. Just as science hasn’t come up with a way to stop a hurricane out in the Atlantic Ocean, and there is no cork, or fountain of water, or atomic bomb which can stop a raging volcano, even so when God flexes his little finger – things happen, and mankind has to step back or die. Just as God’s power can be seen in the hurricane and earthquake, it can also be seen in the virus and mosquito. Sometimes God’s power can be seen by the eye, and it can be felt by the flesh. But at other times, it is as silent and incidental as a thought of the heart. I have quoted Proverbs 21:1 many times over the last few weeks – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of...

Our Father which Art in Heaven – Matthew 6:9-13

I hope to use Christ’s model prayer as a guide for making a complex subject simple. This being “Father’s Day,” I’d like to talk to you about the Fatherhood of God. It is a complex subject when we try to talk about Fatherhood and Sonship within the Trinity. God is the Father to God the Son in ways we will never understand – even when we have our future perfect and glorified minds. Besides that – as the Creator, Elohim is father to everyone. And more importantly He is Father to His special people in a special way. Let me begin by saying that I turned to my library, pulling out one set of theologies and 4 books on the subject of God. I was looking for some guidance for an outline to use this morning. “God the Father” wasn’t listed in the index of my 8 volume set “Systematic Theology” by L. S. Chafer. And the neo-evangelical, J. I. Packer in his book “Knowing God” didn’t think it important that we know Him as Father. He had twenty-two chapters with nothing in depth on this aspect of God. A.W. Pink has a book called “Gleanings in the Godhead,” but I couldn’t glean anything in his 25 chapters on the fatherhood of God Stephen Charnock’s and Daniel Chamberlin’s books on God didn’t spend any time on the subject either. I have other theologies, but I have to admit that I gave up at that point and didn’t open any of them. The truth is – the Bible is better than of the theologies of men. And there are over...

The King’s Pleasure – Nehemiah 2:5-8

Proverbs 21:1 is clearly related to our text. It says – “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” Solomon – himself a king as great as Artaxerxes Longimanus – willingly bowed to God – “I may be a human king, but there is a King greater than I, and His dominion is greater than mine. My power may be seen in domestic laws, in the execution of criminals, in levying taxes and in armies, but Jehovah’s power is often undetected as it works in the hearts of men turning them this way and that.” This is a hated idea, because we all by nature want to be sovereign over our little dominions – our lives. But this is so commonly taught in the Bible that to deny it is to cast aside the right to be called a “Bible-believing Christian.” Proverbs 16:1 – “The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD.” I believe that Jehovah was preparing the heart of Artaxerxes, and his answer to Nehemiah was of God. In all this we see a blending of God’s will, Nehemiah’s prayers and the will of the king of Persia. Also, I wonder how much the counsel of his wife had to do with the direction of his heart. Is there a reason that she is specifically mentioned in this text? Did God use the queen to influence her husband? Earlier, Ezra praised God with the words, “Blessed be the LORD God of our fathers, which hath...

What Makes You Sad? – Nehemiah 2:1-3

The books of Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther should be studied together or in succession, because they are interrelated and interlocked. The Book of Nehemiah follows the Book of Ezra in time, and Ezra, the man, is found in both books. Artaxerxes is named in two of the books, and Ahasuerus is also mention in two, but not the same two. Esther was Ahasuerus’ Queen some time after Cyrus, but before Artaxerxes the king in this chapter. Before we go on, we need to tie two statements together. Verse 1 concludes with the words, “Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence.” And verse 2 ends with “Then I was very sore afraid.” Nehemiah wasn’t simply afraid when the king pointed out his obvious sadness. He was “VERY sore afraid.” He was exceedingly afraid – terrified. How odd that seems to us. How could Nehemiah’s attitude or sadness be a reason to fear the king? There is a statement in Esther which sheds light on this. In the midst of the three emigrations of Jews to Judah, racial prejudice among the heathen below the level of king, was rampant. Everywhere they turned the Jews were either loved or hated – often out of envy, as in the case of Daniel. Esther’s cousin was hated because he honored God and wouldn’t play the political games of the day. Anti-Semitism is nothing new. Not only was there hatred in Judah led by Sanballot and others, fomenting persecution against the returnees. But even in Shushan the hatred against Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah still roiled in the hearts of some Chaldeans...

The King’s Cupbearer – Nehemiah 1:11

“Why are you here in this auditorium this morning?” Or, why, instead of gardening or working on your vehicle are you sitting in front of a screen watching this broadcast of our church service? The simple answer is that the sovereign God ordained that it be so. And in either case the Lord put it in your heart to participate. But beyond that He gave our church the money to buy this building and then supplied the experts and equipment to make this all happen. God has a purpose in presenting today’s message to you. The question is – “What will you make of that opportunity?” Mis-applying the words of Paul to a small degree – “despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” It is a part of the goodness of God which has brought us together today. Now, let me modify my first question just slightly – “Why or how is it that you are the person you are?” Why did you become a school teacher? An auto mechanic? A housewife? A butcher? Whatever? Was it your desire from the time of your earliest memories? Was it accidental? Or thrust upon you? For most people my age, looking back we can see throughout our lives, a combination of good choices and bad choices; changing circumstances and sometimes the miraculous hand of God. The truth is: in every case, the hand of God has been there the whole time, sometimes pushing and sometimes ameliorating the problems our bad decisions have made. You have skilled...

The Godly Christian in a Post-Christian World – Nehemiah 1:1-11

Borrowing from a recent lesson by Bro. Fulton, I am going to say that Nehemiah was a unique individual. Austin pointed out that David, during his exile from home, had a hard time living for God. He had no support structure; only one young inexperience priest; no godly wife to encourage him. He had no access to the Tabernacle of God; his godly friend Jonathan was forbidden to him. He was captain over a pretty motley crew, so generally speaking his companions weren’t much help. I Samuel 22:2 – “And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him.” It was through no fault of his own that he had no church, no pastor and no Christian brethren to uplift him. He had no access to Biblical preaching, the prayers of like-minded men, even a Christian handshake. And yet, despite moments, minutes and months of living in the flesh, he was an above average saint. Well, Nehemiah was in much the same situation. Nehemiah – even while in Shushan – had limited access to the outward aspects of his religion. By the way, I need to correct a mistake I uttered last Sunday. I said that when Nehemiah got to Jerusalem there were no strong priests there to support him. I said that Ezra had passed away. I discovered my mistake Monday when in my reading I fought Ezra once again in the spot light. Ezra led the second emigration to Jerusalem which was only 10 years before Nehemiah’s. And the truth is, he was...

Rational Religion – Isaiah 1:1-20

A great many people in our world today think that the old, ancient religions are irrelevant? “In the light of modern scientific thought, we don’t need religions like Bible Christianity.” The people who say such things, think of themselves as intelligent; that they are thinkers. But the fact is that most of them are pseudo-intelligent at best – or plain, old, everyday non-thinkers. Many have heard some famous writer or Hollywood star, and they repeat what they have been told. And some of those pseudo-intelligent notables are often inventing new religions and new gods, to go along with their new movies, new phones, new medical techniques and new modes of transportation. But reality is – the majority of the fallen children of Adam are merely looking for excuses to avoid thinking about the one true and living God. Of course, it must acknowledged there are hundreds of ancient religions which are not worth a second thought. With one exception of course – the faith that Abraham had – and Moses and David. I believe that Adam was saved by grace through faith in the same way the Lord has saved me. The old ways are without a doubt the very best ways. We aren’t going to stop eating vegetables simply because our great grandparents ate vegetables. I am, not going to stop enjoying the heat of the sun, just because that same sun warmed the faces of Adam and Abraham. And I am not going to trash the worship of Jehovah simply because He was worshiped by godly people 5,000 years ago. The Bible is as relevant in the...

Do You See Yourself in Job’s Reflection? – Job 1:1

There are people who, knowing a little bit about the Bible, picture themselves as the descendants of Job. They have heard about some Bible character who lost everything, and they remember his unusual name. He had been at the top of the world in so many ways, but every one of those avenues to success had been blocked, and then stripped away, like some sort of evil ambush. He lost his oxen and asses to marauding Sabeans, and at nearly the same moment three bands of Chaldeans rustled all the man’s camels. Immediately on the heels of that, a great wind, perhaps like an American tornado, brought down the house where all of Job’s children were celebrating something – a birthday, perhaps birth – something. Not long after that Job’s health broke. He came down with a terrible disease which ate away his very skin. When Mrs. Job could take it no longer she turned on her husband – “Then said his wife unto him. Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.” Some of our half-educated neighbors picture themselves as grandchildren of Job, because these are troublesome times – much of which related to this Covid-19 problem. Not only have 39,000 Americans died, and 161 thousand people world-wide … But the reaction – the over reaction – of dictatorial governments, has effectually stripped millions of people of their camels, asses and oxen, taking from them the opportunity of earing a living. We are even forbidden, threatened, and sometimes fined for entering our houses of worship. And we are encouraged to mask our faces. It is believed...

Resurrection Results (33 AD) – Mark 16:1-7

This is arguably the most religious week of the calendar year. For the people of Israel, the Passover began last Thursday, and for most professing “Christians” today is Easter. Only the rest of the world – Muslims, Hindus and other unbelievers would argue with me. But there is a pall – a dark cloud, a funeral shroud – draped over us this year. We aren’t gathering as we usually do – rejoicing together in the empty tomb, publically singing the great resurrection hymns. And for those Catholics and Protestants whose salvation depends on the festivities of this day, they must be pulling their religious hair out worrying about the future of their idolatrous souls, especially since they could be running a fever of 102º by tomorrow evening. Because born-again Christians are not bound to the empty tomb for deliverance from sin, I had considered not preaching the resurrection this morning. It seemed to me, under the circumstances, that there could be better subjects to address this “Easter.” But Thursday, as I sat down at my desk, the Lord brought me to my senses and back to the subject of His resurrection. According to the calendar this is “Easter.” I believe it is the day after Christ’s resurrection. And as such it is as appropriate a subject in a plague-infested-2020 as it is any other year. Let’s begin with my understanding of the events of the last week of our Lord’s earthly life. I believe that Christ was crucified at about noon on Wednesday, and He died just before sundown that day. In haste that Wednesday He was laid in...

Nobility in a Time of Crisis – John 4:43-54

According to the website “Worldometer.com” as of 7:10 this morning there are, or have been 311,656 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the United states, with 1,225,035 world-wide. It also points out that there have been 8,454 deaths in this country for this disease. Most of us don’t have a natural immunity to this disease, so fighting it off is a life-and-death struggle. When people are diagnosed with the virus, there is cause for fear, especially for the weak and elderly. And for most of the severe and critical patients, of whom there are at 6,000 this morning, it basically requires a miracle for their recovery. But there have also been 14,828 Americans who have made it safely through their Corona Virus infection. Some of those escapees have really had miraculous recoveries – pulled back by an unseen hand from death’s door. 90-year-old, Geneva Wood was a resident at the Life Care Center in Kirkland where 35 people died. Her family were told to say their good-byes, because the doctors had done everything they could. But miraculously, Geneva is now at home with her family, continuing to recover. 82-year-old, Sid Lovenbury is alive and well after his doctors had completely given up hope. And 102-year-old Italica Grondona, of Genoa, Italy was in the hospital for 20 days with the Coronoa Virus. Today she is back in her home well and as healthy as a centenarian can be. She was born in 1917, and it is possible she may have also escaped the Spanish Flu. Bob Marcus and his wife were both confirmed Covid-19 patients and were placed in isolation in...

Magnificent Mercy – Psalm 138:1-8

  Our country is in serious trouble – our world is in trouble. But it’s not so much the Covid-19 virus as it is our world’s sinful reaction to that virus and the hysteria surrounding it. Knowing that our God controls all things – great and small – Christians should assume that He directs every tiny molecule of that bug. And even if any of us become infected, Jehovah has already ordained whether we will succumb to it or eventually toss it aside like a spring-time cold. There are dozens of ways in which we might more useful and glorious to God if we were sick than in our current good health. But that doesn’t mean we should tempt the Lord by exposing ourselves and others. The problem is that the world refuses to recognize God’s sovereign control of this plague – and last week’s earthquake in Utah – and the tsunami of locusts sweeping through parts of Africa and the Middle East right now. God, in His infinite wisdom most likely has multiple purposes in this pandemic. He intends to use sickness in some people; economic upheaval in others; and spiritual matters in others. And as far as God’s saints are concerned, the effect should be humble submission to His will. We should be praying for the sick – to repent before the Lord, while they are getting well. We should pray that those whose incomes are gone would turn to the Lord who owns the cattle on a thousand hills. We should be in prayer that God will use the great upsurge in internet ministries. We should...

Why was Elijah Translated? – II Kings 2:1,9-13

For some reason or other, over the last year we have considered various things about the Prophet Elijah. These messages haven’t come from any one source or cause – from some book or article I’ve read. And I don’t believe that I have been the one who has preached all those messages. They haven’t been sequential – they have been totally random – and with different purposes. But I will tell you that this week I did read an interesting book on the life of Elijah by F.B. Meyer. And Wednesday when I began asking the Lord for a message, one question rose to the top of my heart, and I couldn’t shake it. I don’t know why – I don’t know what the Lord’s purpose might be – but I feel lead to ask a question for which we don’t have a definitive answer. “Why did Elijah leave the world in the way that he did?” “Why was he translated?” As I was chatting with someone about this question, it was said, “It was because he was so close to the Lord.” We’ve probably all heard this sort of thing – especially about Enoch, the first man to be translated. Genesis 2:18 – “Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch: And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And ENOCH WALKED with GOD after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And ENOCH WALKED with GOD: and he was not; for God took him.”...

Unsearchable Riches – Ephesians 3:1-12

The year is 1859; the place is somewhere in the wilds of Northern California. An old, solitary prospector is leading his equally-old donkey through some unchartered wilderness. The man has a dream, a rifle, a pick and a shovel, and a pot for boiling his coffee – but very little else. As he walks deep into a box canyon, his well-trained eye sees a little color emanating from a protruding rock face. Taking his pick, he chops at it for a few minutes, concluding that it is, indeed, a tiny vein of gold. After unloading and hobbling his animal, he begins to investigate his find a little more closely. After a few days of hard work he finds that the tiny vein of gold leads to a bigger artery. Then after weeks of back-breaking work he realizes that he has a claim to the richest gold strike in human history. With each swing of the pick more gold is revealed, and the seam seems to grow, going on for ever. There is silver, too, and other minerals with which he is unfamiliar. Almost overnight this once poor prospector has become one of the richest men in the world. And the fact is, he has no idea exactly how much gold there is in this mountain and how rich he has become. Unlike every other gold strike ever made, this vein goes on for ever – it is totally unsearchable. In this letter the Apostle Paul praises God for permitting him to be a minister of the gospel. He has been called to preach the “mystery of Christ” – the...

Intercession Exposition – Hebrews 7:14-28

When I make the statement, “I like classical music,” what do you think I am saying? Some might think, “Oh, Bro Oldfield likes opera.” Actually, there is very little opera that I like, because most of it is sung in foreign languages. I haven’t learned to understand it. The only exceptions are when the melody is so outstanding that the words are not important. Others might answer my statement: “Our pastor likes Strauss and Vienese waltz music.” Again, the syrupy sweetness of Strauss upsets my emotional stomach after a few minutes. To me, it’s like too many pieces of thick fudge or a third Nanaimo bar. Someone else says, “The preacher likes Stravinsky and the modern classical composers,” but I don’t like most of their discordant stuff. The point is, everybody has a different idea about classical music. And it’s sad to say that most people condemn it before they ever examine it in all its various phases. There is a story about the 19th century Baptist preacher, John Broadus. Contrary to his own preference he was induced to hear a world-famous singer at a fancy concert hall. The man sang song after song – from opera – from European composers in French, Spanish and Italian. And with every song, Broadus’ opinion of the man was sinking lower and lower and lower. “If the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?” Or conversely, who can really enjoy it? But then at the end of the concert the soloist sang a beautiful rendition of the old folk song “Home, sweet Home.” It so moved Broadus...

The Friendship of Jesus – John 15:9-17

Let’s start with an hypothetical. An acquaintance of yours knows that you are a Christian. You have spoken to this person about Christ a time or two, but there hasn’t been much response. Then one day he comes to you with a troubled face, telling you that he has a spiritual question. At this you get a little excited. “What is it?” And the reply is: “What must I do to be a friend of Jesus?” “A friend of Jesus?” How do you experts in Biblical evangelism feel about “becoming a friend of Jesus?” To be honest I have had a bit of a problem with the idea in the past. And from time to time I’ve even pointed out the word “friend” in some of our hymns. In this case, maybe you think – What audacity! You say to yourself, “I don’t hear anything in this that hints of repentance – or even conviction for sin.” What temerity to think that some wretched sinner can come along and decide to become “a friend of Jesus.” It sounds like all this person wants is what he might get from our Saviour. He might also say, “I would like to be a friend of Bill Gates or Donald Trump.” Who does this guy think he is? Perhaps we should ask the person what he means by “friendship with Jesus.” What is it to you to be anyone’s friend? What is your definition of friendship in general? The dictionary defines a “friend” as “a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.” Does this inquirer...