Jesus’ Precious Blood – Romans 5:8-9

  There are church buildings up and down this valley that are filled with people today. There are also a lot of people not in church, but we live amongst a great deal of religion. Many of our near-by churches are much younger than this one. And some of them just SEEM to be young. They behave like children – they are immature and foolish. The atmosphere in many of them is much different from ours. Some are so casual it’s hard to recognize them as church services. And others have a ceremonialism which make our services look like just a family reunion. There are churches today designed almost like dinner theaters with little tables toward the pulpit. Some have espresso counters at the back and rock bands in the front. Many have huge screens around the auditorium where modernized corrupted scriptures are projected. In some, people are made to feel that Bibles are not important enough to bring to church. Then those screens show the face of the preacher or pretty landscapes and seascapes. The music is high in tempo and up-beat, and the preaching, while sometimes high in energy, is often low in theology and content. I still get samples of the magazine “Christianity Today” – one had an article about modern church designs. It showed churches with indoor fountains, and ornate metal deck furniture as might be found by a pool. I saw churches with patios and large windows so that parishioners can sit outdoors and still “participate.” There was natural lighting, electric sound, satellite broadcasting and casual, non-worshipful atmosphere. And the sermon is designed to...

What Mean Ye by these Stones? – Acts 14:19

  As Joshua led Israel across the Jordan river there were 12 men chosen for a special two-tiered task. After the Lord miraculously stopped the flow of the water and the river bed dried, they were to find 12 large rocks to stack into a pile in the middle – where probably the current was the strongest. Then they were to find another 12 rocks that they were to carry out from the river bottom onto the western bank. These would then be used to make a cairn, or a memorial, of Israel’s dry-shod crossing of the Jordan. “And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of Jordan, and take ye up every man of you a stone upon his shoulder, according unto the number of the tribes of the children of Israel: That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them, That the waters of Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it passed over Jordan, the waters of Jordan were cut off: and these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children of Israel for ever.” Every geologist knows, as so do most children, the rocks and stones our planet have lots of stories to tell. Rock tell stories about floods and volcanos; They talk about animals and plants long since dead. They can give evidence to some murders, like that of Abel. Then there are stories...

The Faith of the Incurable Woman – Mark 5:25-34

  This miracle is sandwiched between two pieces of a larger miracle. When Christ Jesus came back from the healing of Legion on the southeast coast of Tiberias – After He authoritatively ordered an army of demons out of their sinful host – He was immediately accosted by Jairus, who plead with Him for the life of his little daughter. Quick as a wink Jesus began to walk from the shore up to rich part town to raise a dead little girl. But while briskly walking along, in the midst of a large “press” of people, there surreptitiously crept in behind Him a poor woman in need. Verse 24 says that “much people followed him, and thronged him.” This is the only place in the Bible where this word is used. Strong says that it means that the crowd squeezed around Jesus in the narrow streets of the city. And the noun “the press” suggests the same thought – it was a large crowd tightly packed together. Somehow, with determination, this woman squeezed through the crowd to touch Christ. And just as abruptly as Jesus started toward Jairus’ house, He stopped to help a suffering woman. All of the Gospel writers, but John, include this miracle in their accounts of Christ’s ministry. That surprises me, because John’s gospel was specifically inspired to magnify Christ’s deity and grace. This miracle magnifies the latter even before the former – the grace over the actual miracle. And it is outstanding for a couple of reasons: For example, we see the Lord’s absolutely calm control over everything. If He stops to help one...

Perfect Food – John 6:22-27 (Children’s message)

  Oh, how I wish that we had a time-machine. Do you know what I mean by a “time-machine?” It’s a make-believe machine which can take us to another place and another year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to travel to any event in history? Maybe you’d like to see George Washington crossing the Delaware River in the middle of winter. Perhaps you’d like to watch those brave men signing the Declaration of Independence. Or maybe you’d like something more simple – just to see your grandmother when she was your age. One of the things I’d do with a time-machine is go back to some of the events in the Bible. Maybe like this one of which we just read. Our time-machine would take us to the eastern shore of a large lake – called “Tiberias.” The Lord Jesus is there – He wanted to take His disciples away for a little holiday – a short vacation. But these were the very few days of Jesus’ popularity – almost everybody liked Jesus. As the disciples sailed across the lake, there were people running along the shore, watching the boat, waiting for it to come to land. And almost immediately, other little fishing boats began to pull up along the shore where the Saviour was. First, there were a 100 people, then 500, then 1,000, 2,000, 5,000 hungry souls – maybe more. That’s as many people than what lived in Post Falls, when I first moved here. As the sun began to set, sending beautiful colors across the lake, Jesus asked His disciples what they thought about...

Why I Glory in the Cross – Galatians 6:14

  Paul was contrasting what some people trusted for salvation and in what he put his trust. There were heretics running around Galatia who were teaching that sinners must implement and trust various religious laws and practices. As a result, some of those people grew proud of their religious accomplishments and success. But actually, what they were doing further condemned their souls, because their faith was misplaced. Paul concluded his epistle by saying, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” How often during your Christian life – even before that – have you read or heard the words of our text? We have heard and repeated those words so frequently I’m afraid they have lost much of their strength. Those who were closer to the event, looked at it far differently that most of us. On a different occasion, when Paul was explaining his faith to King Agrippa – a man who knew exactly what the crucifixion of Christ entailed, he blurted out, Paul, “Thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.” “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ…” What was this crucifixion for which Paul was willing to be called insane? We can probably all picture the shape of the cross; I think the general image is correct. But how thick were the necessary pieces of lumber? 8×10? 12×12? And how was the cross member attached to the central beam? Do you think the Romans payed skilled carpenters to inset the two pieces so that they were flush?...

“It is the Lord” – John 21:1-7

  Here is a true saying about history – it tends to repeat itself. Babylon arose, attained, decayed and fell. Persia arose, attained, decayed and fell; and so did Israel, Greece, Rome and a hundred other societies. Our own nation is in the late “decay” stage and is ready to fall. Certainly history is history, and Biblical history, although special, is still history. About 3 years before the events of this scripture, Peter, James & John had been fishing on this same lake. History was in the process of repeating itself. I wonder why they didn’t think about that as they labored all night without catching anything? Their hearts should have been filled with warm memories of their Saviour. Perhaps fishing without catching was common – so they didn’t give any consideration to the Lord. The Sea of Galilee or Tiberias, is a good sized lake, but it’s definitely not huge. It is roughly the size, and similar to the shape, of Priest Lake, but it’s not nearly as deep. (If you aren’t familiar with Priest Lake, all that I can say is that I feel sorry for you.) If you are familiar with Priest Lake, you can probably imagine that everywhere those disciples looked they could have seen the shadow of the Lord Jesus. On one side Jesus stood and said, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” And over there He fed the 5,000, and over there He fed the 4,000. Over on that side He healed the man called “Legion,” & from that direction He walked on the water. On that hill...

And He was Buried – I Corinthians 15:1-4

  I have probably referred to this scripture a thousand times in the last 25 years. I have used it, among other ways, as a definition of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But even after a thousand visits there is always something new to consider. This is not the cold, dead word of man, but the living Word of God. It is not that God makes new revelation. It is just that He sometimes shines a light down on a scripture from a different angle, and the light versus shadow reveals something which had always been there. One of the best messages at last years’ Bible conference in Kentucky was a sermon by Brother Jeff Short from this text, and I’d like to share with you my interpretation of his thoughts. Paul tells us that Christ died for our sins according to the scripture, then He was buried, and three days later He rose again to be seen by more than 500 people. There are two obvious highlights – Christ died as the sinner’s sacrifice – His blood was presented as the atonement for many. And then He was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead. Between those two mountain peaks there is – “and He was buried” – how important is that intermediate statement? Could not Christ have been resurrected if He had not been buried? What if the body had been left on the cross for three days, despite the Jew’s wishes to take it down? Or what if His body had been cast into Gehenna –...

The Unholy War – Psalms 2 (Acts 7:51-60)

  One of John Bunyan’s books was entitled “The Holy War.” I have chosen to reverse that title for our message this morning. I want to comment on what happened to Deacon Stephen by taking a brief look at this Second Psalm. Most of the people of the world, even religious people, wonder why we bother studying the Bible. For most of them the Bible is as relevant as a screen-door on the International Space Station. But both Acts and Psalms are as much 21st century as are cell phones. And I’m not talking about last year’s cell phones with speed dial and call-forwarding, I’m talking about today’s cell phones with satellite internet access and a HD video digital camera. Because both Acts and Psalms are God’s message for people in every place and every age. The pictures that we find in both these chapters are high quality “selfies.” Stephen defended himself against the charges of the Jews by retelling the history of Israel. If we didn’t know better we’d be apt to think that this would be well-received by those priests and rabbis. After all it was their nation. They were as proud of their history as most Americans are of theirs. And the people to whom Stephen was preaching were among the most religious in all the world. Self-righteous people don’t mind historical, non-personal sermons – so things began just fine. But then Stephen got personal – very, very personal. He reminded those learned men that their history was actually one of rebellion against God and rejection of the revelation of God. His audience exploded, and the...

How Can a Man be Justified with God? – Job 25:1-6

  After a couple of months of complicated theological messages, let’s go simple this morning. My outline may be hundreds of years old and preached by thousands of gospel evangelists. But the flesh on those old bones are mine as you will probably see in a few minutes. It is a topical message on the subject of salvation from sin – or more literally “justification before God.” You might think that a sermon on justification should come from the New Testament not the Old. And in fact, we will spend most of our time in the New Testament. But it has to be remembered that our Bible is not made up of two books. It is one book with two major divisions. And the message, although coming from opposite directions is the same in both halves. It is basically explained here, originating in what might be the first book ever inspired by God. “How then can a man be justified with God, or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?” Verse 5 is an example of Hebrew poetic parallelism – a statement and then a restatement. The second half of the verse somewhat repeats the first part of the verse. This is very common in Proverbs, but it is found throughout the Old Testament. A paraphrase of this verse based on the basic meanings of the most important words, would be something like this: “How can a man be made clean in the sight of God; how can a natural human being he be translucent or transparent in God’s sight.” The verse doesn’t supply the...

Eating the Flesh of the Son of Man – John 6:47-58

  I have been spending quite a bit of time this week working on Sunday School lessons. Lessons which I might not get to teach for three months. Then again, if the Lord comes soon, I may not get to teach it at all. Whatever the case, the subject of this scripture has been on my heart for several days. And rather than wait, I’d like to consider this now. For several months now, the theme of our 10 o’clock Bible study has been a comparison of our doctrines to that of Roman Catholicism in the light of the Word of God. And the subject that I’ve been working on this week has been the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, the Mass, “transubstantiation.” I’ve been re-reading what took place at the Last Supper and what Christ Jesus teaches us here. In the observance of the Mass, it is Catholic doctrine that the substance of the bread is miraculously changed into the substance of Christ’s body. Christ is transmitted or transmuted into the wafer – the bread. They say that Jesus did it at the Last Supper when He took the bread, blessed it and said, “Take, eat, this is my body.” And they declare that their priests continue to do what Christ did. The body of Christ is transubstantiated into the bread – the substance is moved across into the bread. The prefix “trans” means to “to cross.” The “Trans-Canada Highway” crosses the entire nation from Victoria to Newfoundland. By the way, Protestants teach that the body of Christ JOINS with the bread, but the bread is still bread. Roman...

Christianity’s Most Hated Doctrine – Deuteronomy 4:32-40

  The scripture which we just read is a part of a great history lesson which Moses was sharing with Israel. Many of the older generation had already passed on, and a second generation of Egyptian escapees was growing up and assuming important positions within the thirteen tribes. Perhaps they had heard the story of Israel and Jehovah from their parents, but they needed to hear it again. And so do you and I. Because it is more about God than it was about His chosen nation. And what is said about the Lord still applies and relates to us today. This morning’s title is – “Christianity’s Most Hated Doctrine.” Several points of this doctrine are suggested and sometimes underscored in this scripture. There are very few professing Christians who would have a problem with any of it as we have read it. But as soon as what is said here is applied to them or to their loved ones, their hackles shoot up. What do we read here? God created man upon the earth, and God spoke out of the midst of fire. God sovereignly chose and delivered one nation out of the midst of another nation. “Unto thee it was shewed, that thou mightest know that the LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.” “Because he loved thy fathers, therefore he chose their seed after them, and brought thee out in his sight with his mighty power out of Egypt.” And God chose to drive away greater and mightier nations from before Israel – and He did with ease. “Know therefore this day, and...

Correcting a Wrong Impression – Exodus 15:11

  This verse comes in the middle of a song which Moses taught to Israel after their miraculous escape from Egypt. In her crossing of the Red Sea, the Egyptian army was destroyed and Pharaoh died. It was the culmination of a war between the gods of Egypt and the One True and Living God – Jehovah. In his praise, using a rhetorical question, Moses accurately described the Lord “Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” At this time of the year, there is a great deal of talk about Jesus, the son of Mary. Sadly, so much of it is out of the context of the only true revelation that we have about the incarnation. There is much talk about “Jesus the son of MARY.” While this is accurate, it is often hides the more important reality – “Jesus Christ is the Son of GOD.” And who is that God? What can we say about Him? Many people picture Him as the benevolent man up-stairs who kindly sent His son to Bethlehem as the offspring of Mary – honoring her. Millions of cards have been mailed with quotations from the early chapters of Matthew and Luke. But I guarantee that there has never been a Christmas card, Easter card or any kind of greeting card with the words of Exodus 15:11 printed in it. How does the Lord want us to picture Him? This is His revelation. Moses mentions several specifics, creating a concise three point message. Before we get to that revelation,...

Patience – Nahum 1:1-3

  How patient are you? I have known some Christians who appeared to be proud of their IM-patience – their lack of patience. That has always surprised me, because I’ve never considered impatience to be a good thing. But I have to admit, I can’t find a scripture which clearly condemns it. The words “impatience” and “impatient” cannot be found in the Bible. But then, on the other hand, there are dozens of scriptures which clearly encourage patience. We found it four times in the scripture which we read from James a few minutes ago. One of the things for which Christ praised some of the churches in Revelation was their patience. “I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy PATIENCE, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil…” “(Thou) hast borne, and hast PATIENCE, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.” “I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy PATIENCE, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.” “Because thou hast kept the word of my PATIENCE, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” Christ praised patience, and so did Paul. Paul also exhorted and encouraged us in it. “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through PATIENCE and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” “Thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, PATIENCE, meekness.” “Be not slothful, but followers of...

The Goodness of God – Mark 10:17-22

  Most Christians are familiar with the account of the rich, young ruler. He was thoroughly sincere in his question: “What shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” Today, he might have been a Roman Catholic, a Mormon, one of any number of sects or denominations. Oh, but he wasn’t willing to listen or to learn from the Lord’s answer. Are you? Evangelists have been preaching this text for two millennia, but many have missed an important point. The young man’s question revolved around what he could DO to become a heir of God’s eternal life. Sermons have been built around the fact that inheritances are not earned; they are a part of a birthright. Other lessons have touched on the man’s obedience to the law, but without genuine sacrifice. No, he had never killed anyone nor committed adultery, but he was not a true servant of God. Many liberal preachers have taught that without giving to the poor one can’t be their kind of Christian. But it’s not if he had sold his possessions and given the proceeds away he would have inherited eternal life. The Lord referred to this self-less sacrifice somewhat the way Paul spoke of the law. The man’s unwillingness proved him to be a sinner . He was more interested in himself than God or anyone else. Slinking away in sadness, only pointed out that he was not submissive to the Lordship of Christ. Thousands of evangelistic messages have come from variations of these thoughts. But something which I and thousands of others have never preached stems from Jesus’ introductory words to...

The Eternality of God – Psalm 90

  You and I live in a variety of houses – some are old, some are newer; some have basements & some don’t. Some are two storey, some are bungalows, some are modular – the varieties go on an on. But for most of our houses, at the foundation lays a substance called “concrete.” Concrete may make up the slab upon which the rest of the house was erected. There may be a crawl space, but again, it is usually made of concrete. And if there is a basement to your house, it is almost assuredly made of the same material. Concrete is amazing material – some of the concrete buildings of ancient Rome are still standing. As are thousands of skyscrapers, parking lots and dams like the Hoover and Grand Coulee. 60% of American Interstate Highways are made of concrete, as are most home driveways. Concrete is just about everywhere that man wants to build something. And what is concrete? Basically, it is made up of cement, sand, gravel and water, mixed differently for different purposes. We understand sand and water, but then we have to ask about the composition of cement. There are several varieties, but they are basically made from calcium, silicon and a few other things. My point is this – when we look at a slab of concrete we may see only one thing – a slab of concrete. But actually we are looking at the sum of all its parts. And if that concrete was not correctly blended –if there is too little calcium or too much sand – it will not endure....