Without the Camp – Hebrews 13:10-14 (Numbers 19:1-10)

  There are very few things which so clearly demonstrate God’s hatred sin as the sacrifice of the Red Heifer. For example, this is a blood sacrifice which was made – not for the wicked – but for professing believers. This came after all the sin offerings, trespass offerings, the Passover and so on. The Lord still hates our sins, even after the atonement. The Red Heifer still bears the general characteristics of all sacrifices. There was the fact that a beautiful animal had to die for the sins of wretched men. Here was an animal which in no way had ever sinned against its Creator, and yet it was killed. Death is a result of sin, but this death had a special relationship to that sin. This was a vicarious death – a substitutionary death made on behalf of the sinner. “Without the shedding of blood there is no redemption” and deliverance from sin. But when God has ordained a substitution, if the criteria is met a switch can be made. This sacrifice was so horrific that it rendered everyone involved unfit further worship. The priest and all his helpers became unclean by offering this sacrifice. It was spiritually radio-active, and these people could not serve the Lord for the rest of the day, even though what they were doing was ordained and commanded by God Himself. God hates our sins. And among other things, all of this was done outside the tabernacle and outside camp. It was so horrendous and disgusting that it couldn’t be performed in the midst of general society. This was no superficial, smile...

The Lordship of our Lord – Romans 10:9-13

  This scripture contains a wonderful promise about one of the most important of all things. It speaks about salvation from sin though the Lord Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this is a scripture which is also very often abused. It is highly mis-used by ignorant people who claim to be “soul-winners.” Now there is nothing wrong with this scripture, and there is nothing wrong with being a soul-winner. But there is something very wrong with abusing, twisting and wresting scriptures from their context. This scripture is abused when it is taught that prayer or mere confession delivers people from their sins. AND it is abused when the Lordship of Christ is omitted. I would like, once again, to exalt our Saviour among us. Christ said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto myself.” This lifting up, of course, began at the cross. But it continues whenever the saints of God glorify His Name and properly teach His doctrine. I don’t have any illusions of greatly stirring your MINDS this morning, because it’s unlikely that I’ll say anything that moderately educated Christians don’t already know. But I do hope that the Holy Spirit will stir your HEARTS just a little bit. Who is this Lord Jesus Christ? We begin with the fact that He is the Lord of CREATION. Christ Jesus is the Lord of creation by His intrinsic – self-possessed and natural – creative power. “In the beginning was the Word (the Lord Jesus), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He same was in the beginning with God. All things were...

The Gender War – Genesis 1:26-28

  It’s been a few weeks now, but one morning last winter you awoke not feeling your usual perky self. You felt listless and unenergetic – you woke up tired – but not your usual tired – this was different. You didn’t have any appetite for breakfast and then later in the day you felt unusually warm. You had a tickle in your throat; you sneezed a few times; you were inexplicably irritable. Initially without your knowledge, there was a war going on inside your body. Some sort of infection had crept into your lungs and from there it spread into your blood stream. At some point your body reacted by sending out its army of defense, once again testifying to the marvelous creative design of the Almighty God. When you woke up that day there was a battle raging within you and you didn’t realize it. Similarly, outside our bodies, within society as a whole, there is a war raging, and for the most part the people around us are unaware of it. Even when the fever begins to rise and some are falling victim, others refuse to admit to the conflict. One reason is that the terms used to describe it are foreign to uneducated ears. Just as medical doctors and CDC might use unfamiliar words to talk about your infection, the Bible speaks about “Satan,” “Heavenly rebellion,” “human depravity” and “native weakness” – words which the religious layman might not understand or care to admit. This war to which I refer may not display itself with incendiary bombs, cannon fire and massive explosions. But if we...

The Path of Sin – Jeremiah 2:4-13

  As I read these words, it is with an emotion which is entirely human. No human being, poet or prophet, has been spiritual enough to fully understand these divine emotions. But I THINK I hear an anguish – a tear if you like – in the voice of God as He reasons with His chosen nation. Although Jehovah doesn’t possess the same passions we have, there is something here which can only be illustrated by the longing of a father rejected by his son. We have a hint here of the prodigal and the loving father awaiting and praying for his return. “Be astonished, O ye heavens: My people, my children have forsaken me.” The Son of God “came unto His own and His own received him not.” Incredible, astounding, flabbergasting, heart-breaking! There is a tendency, when the human interpreter looks at a passage so clearly pulled from antiquity, to think that he is pointing his finger at people other than the one’s to whom he is preaching. But I’ve been in the ministry too long to think that WE are any different from Israel. I know my own heart well enough to know that there lurks in it the shadow of the blackest of sins. And it doesn’t take a special pastoral gift to know that others are following the same pig trail through the same swamp. Think back over the last twenty-five years, and you too can name people who walked this path. Even some former members of this church. “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world and is departed unto Thessalonica.” “But all...

On the Back Side of Conversion – Acts 9:1-20

  Four or five weeks ago we considered the circumstances of Saul’s conversion to Christ – His salvation. The Lord sovereignly intervened in the life of a man who was determined to whatever he wanted to do with his three score and ten years on this earth. But he was instantly changed – converted. Here in this chapter Saul met the Christ who he had been so vehemently denying. He was saved from a future life of blasphemy, hatred and the wicked persecution of God’s saints. He was delivered from the guilt of his sins through the shed blood of the Saviour which he had been trying so hard to remove from the soil at Calvary and from the memories of God’s people. This salvation story is one which I have preached several times, and Lord willing, will preach again and again until the Lord is finished with me. It is a classic evangelical message, similar to thousands being preached around the world this morning. But — in many of those churches where the conversion of Saul is preached, the gospel message seems to stop at verse 6 or 7 or 8. Many evangelists think that once they get someone to repeat “the sinner’s prayer” their work is done. Some may encourage their “new convert” to be baptized, to join the local Baptist church, and to tithe, but these things are secondary – almost unimportant compared to “asking Jesus into their hearts.” But of course, no such words or ideas can be found in this scripture. And have you noticed the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us the moment in...

Unsaved Abraham – Genesis 15:1-6

  In the Old Testament, there are three major characters who stand head and shoulders above all others. And they don’t include King Saul, through whom that phrase was coined. I Samuel 9:2 says, that Saul was “a choice young man, and a goodly: and there was not among the children of Israel a goodlier person than he: from his shoulders and upward he was higher than any of the people.” No, the three most prominent men of the Old Testament were David, Moses and Abraham. We might pick others who excelled in various ways – like Daniel and Isaiah. But without doubt, the three I’ve mentioned are more prominent and probably the most important.. My personal favorite of the three is David. After all, our given names have the same number of letters. After David, many Jews felt that the most outstanding person in the scriptures was Moses. That man was the George Washington of their nation, leading Israel out of Egypt. And it was through him that God gave the law, which many of them believed made them good in the sight of God. Despite the biographies of these two, the most important and exceptional man in Old Testament was Abraham. Not only is he revered by both Christians and Jews, but also by Islam. He consumes more ink throughout the Bible than any other person except Christ. That doesn’t mean that Abraham’s history occupies more chapters in the Old Testament than Moses. And it isn’t that Paul is mentioned less in the New Testament than Abraham. But between both testaments, Abraham is mentioned more than any...

Atheism in the Last Days – II Timothy 3:1-9

  If you have never met someone calling himself an “atheist” then you have led a sheltered life. If you’ve never met someone who LIVED like an atheist then you had better check your pulse. They are just about as common as mosquitos, and they bear other similarities as well. Among other things, our text describes the modern atheist. From these words we can paint a verbal picture of that man or woman. And in doing so, I’d like to help you spot the atheist in your society. But additionally, I would also like you to see that there lurks a little atheism in each of our hearts. The Holy Spirit said through Paul that “perilous times” were coming. I believe that what he predicted are here today. They are hard, troublesome and dangerous times – which is the meaning of the word Paul used. These times are not necessarily perilous because of global warming, nuclear waste or the man who is in the White House. These are spiritually perilous times, and the cause is rooted in open, rampant sin. And these are perilous times because of runaway atheism. The twenty items mentioned in this text make up a description of the average atheist. It is not required that every point be found in a person before we have an actual atheist. There are confessed atheists who appear to be outwardly beneficial to society. And perhaps you are thinking, “I know a man who claims to be an atheist who is good, decent and helpful. He doesn’t appear to be overtly guilty of any of the things Paul mentions....

The Condescension of Christ – Philippians 2:1-11

  Have you ever been on a vacation which was so perfect – so wonderful – that you hated to return? Maybe it was to a place of absolute luxury, or a place of apparent perfect peace. Back home you knew that you had serious problems to solve or you knew that stress would immediately bring you back to the breaking point. But for a week, or maybe two weeks, you were absolutely free of those things – then it ended. What might be some words which might describe your condition when you got back to the real world: “Disoriented, disappointed, depressed …..”? Now, I’d like you to try to do the impossible: Imagine what the Son of God was experiencing prior to His incarnation. What are some words which might describe His condition and position before He became incarnate? “Glory, perfection, worship and adoration, supremacy, holiness………”? A word the Bible uses, but which doesn’t begin to describe Christ’s pre-incarnation condition is “rich.” II Corinthian 8:9 – “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he WAS rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” The word means what we would expect – “wealthy; abounding in resources.” But behind the word lays an infinite more. There must be ten thousand things which make the Lord Jesus unique among men. One of the excellencies of Christ is the sacrifice which He made just to come to this planet in order to become our Saviour. Take the change from perfect vacation to problems at home, and multiply them a thousand...

Divine Lightning – Acts 9:1-3

  Everyone who has ever become a child of God, has been saved in the same way. There are aspects of salvation which are always the same – things like justification and propitiation. When a person is born again, his regeneration always displays itself in repentance and faith. But while some things are always the same, some of the details are different. I suppose one might make a comparison with the human body. Just about everyone has the same number of bones, and they are in same general arrangement. But upon those bones are an infinite number of personal differences. One man’s repentance may manifest itself differently from that in another person – tears, shame. One woman’s saving faith may be exceedingly small while another’s is much more substantial. I would like you to consider what happened when Saul became a child of God. I have preached on the conversion of Saul before, but not from this particular direction. And why should we consider this person and his salvation again? Because if you would like to enjoy the eternal blessings this man came to enjoy, then you must be saved as he was. And if you claim to be a Christian, but you have not experienced the things Saul experienced, then perhaps you should reexamine your salvation. You may be deceiving yourself. BUT….. it’s not so much the details of this chapter which are particularly important. It is to what those details point and the picture they paint. So I hope to explain what happened that day on the way to Damascus. Then I’d like you to pay attention...

The Final Judgment – Revelation 20

  If I was to offer a $1000 prize to the person who could name North America’s longest-running television news magazine, I think my money would remain quite safe in my own pocket. The show to which I am referring started in 1966 and is still running – that is over 50 years. It is still running because it has usually been fair and accurate – as well as entertaining. It was the first of its kind – a magazine format where several stories were described in detail. If you guessed the CBS news show “60 Minutes” you’d be wrong by more than two years. “60 Minutes” is an American clone of the Canadian show called “W5.” To many people outside journalism, W5 doesn’t make any sense – it doesn’t mean anything. But to a journalism student, the five W’s are drilled into his head as requirements for accurate news reporting. Each story should provide a minimum of five details – who, what, where, when and why. Sadly, a great deal of modern journalism is filled with editorial opinion based on only one or two facts. Proper journalism should provide the reader with all the pertinent information, permitting the reader or listener to reach his own conclusions. This morning, I would like to use the five W’s as the outline for our thoughts. I have heard fanciful sermons on what we find here in Revelation 20, and you probably have as well. There is a place for fiction and fictionalized facts, but the pulpit is not one of those places. It is fun to read a story about a...

Received into Glory – I Timothy 3:16

  According to the Associated Press, Brian Kelly, of suburban Detroit, knew that he was dying. In July 1994 he had abdominal surgery, but there was no hope, and he knew it. So he went to his boss at the Independence Professional Fireworks and made special request. Based on the employee’s faithful service for more than twenty years, his request was granted. After his death, Kelly’s family took his ashes to Independence Fireworks, and they were packed them into a 12″ skyrocket. Then on August12 at a convention of fireworks technicians they shot Brian into the night sky. The rocket trailed two silvery comet tails and then exploded into red and green stars – along with the remains of Brian Kelly. He wanted to got out in blaze of glory, and everyone admitted that it was pretty spectacular. But ascending into THE Heavens is not exactly the same thing as ascending into Heaven. I Timothy 3:16 is one of the pivotal verses in the Bible. The subject matter of the verse is very important and worthy of a series of sermons. I have preached from this verse several times. But there are 8 points in this verse and each of those points could be expounded for at least an hour. And then there is the fact that most people, when they turn to I Timothy 3:16 in their Bibles, they can’t find all of the words which I have read to you this morning. The verse is obviously speaking about the Lord Jesus Christ, who was miraculously manifested in the flesh. We call it the “incarnation.” Christ is the...

Jeremiah’s Three Books – Jeremiah 36:1-32

  Years ago some philosopher gave this estimation of a full and fruitful life. He said – “Raise a good son, plant a good tree, and write a good book.” He suggested that it was not one or two, but all three that resulted in a good life. If that is the true measure of a man, then there are very few successful lives. I am of the opinion that Jeremiah was a great man, if not to the world, at least to Israel. Yet that man, had no sons or daughters that we know of to carry on his name and work. There is no evidence that he ever planted a tree. And although he wrote a book, it was not on the “New York Time’s Best Seller’s” list. Judging from Jeremiah’s life I think that there is hope for all of us. It’s about Jeremiah’s books that I’d like us to think this morning. There were three of them. And Jeremiah was Jeremiah through his books. Along with his pre-natal call by God, it was the Word of God that made Jeremiah Jeremiah. He had been in the ministry a few years when the Scriptures were re-discovered. They had been hidden in the long-neglected Temple. But during the revival under Josiah, both the Temple and the Word were restored to their place honor. It is a shame that Josiah was the father of the current wicked king Jehoiakim. Does that mean since Josiah didn’t have a good son, or plant a good tree, his life was a failure? Remember that the Word of God in Jeremiah’s day...

Adoration and Liberation – Matthew 26:3-13

  When it comes to Hollywood movies and Broadway shows, there isn’t much for Christians to enjoy. But every once in a while something comes along which is not as morally offensive as the majority. And one of those productions has been mentioned around here a time or two – “Fiddler on the Roof.” As many of you know, In the opening scene, Tevye, the poor Jewish milkman, explains some of the customs they have in the Russian community of Anatevka. He says if it wasn’t for those ancient traditions their precarious lives would come tumbling down. Nearly everyone in Anatevka were like fiddle players trying to stay balanced on the peaks of their roofs. Modern Christianity isn’t quite the same, but there is still a great deal of balancing and juggling. We’ve got our daily chores and sometimes there isn’t time to get them all done, so we have to pick and choose. We try to find a balance between necessary duties and the importance of rest and sleep. There is our devotional life which is often forced to take a back seat to the secular parts of life. So there is a conflict between things spiritual and things carnal. And another special balance is often made within our personal religion whether it should be or not. We have to balance worship with theology. Why is it that so often the man known for his Bible knowledge ISN’T also noted for his worship? Why is it that with all that is going on, worship – sincere daily praise and thanksgiving – is pushed to the back of our...

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...