Love Gone Bad – Romans 1:28-32; Colossians 3:1-5

There are two adjectives used in these scriptures used to describe love: “inordinate” and “unnatural.” As much as the world wants to tell us that love is the panacea for all our problems, it isn’t. In fact, love can be the cause of a great many of our problems. Colossians 3:5 tells the child of God to kill, murder, or otherwise “mortify” his inordinate affections. That word “inordinate” is the Greek word “pathos,” and it is found three times in our Bibles. Once it is translated simply “affection,” then here it is “inordinate affection” and once it is “lust.” Obviously, not all “affection” is good. Many people have great affection things which are actually poison – like alcohol and drugs. “Inordinate affection” must be killed, because it is in a war against us, with a desire to kill us. It is a virus, a cancer which is bent upon destruction. Remember I Peter 2:11 – “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly LUSTS, which war against the soul.” Then Romans 1:31 speaks of people “without natural affection” and it is clearly defined in the context. There is a great deal of affection which is contrary to God’s original intent for us. Although it is not automatic, love is a natural thing; it is normal for people to love. And almost everybody loves something. Hopefully it is a good person, or, even better, the Lord. But sadly, that natural love is often placed on unnatural things. And then in that case that natural love becomes “inordinate” and “unnatural.” For example, it is possible to love...

Appropriate Questions – Isaiah 45:1-13

Wednesday I said that when we are trying to evangelize, we should do our best to avoid superfluous questions. There IS an answer to the question, “Where did Cain get his wife?” but it doesn’t need to distract from our friend’s spiritual condition and his need of salvation. The man who asks, “Can God create a rock so big he can’t lift it,” or “How many angels can sit on the head of a pin,” is trying really hard to keep from hearing that he is a sinner who is in need of a Saviour. Table those questions about the rapture and Millennial Kingdom. Avoid all the questions you possibly can. But sometimes that man has legitimate doubts and problems which simply must be answered. The scripture we just read is extremely important, because in it God mentions a man – a foreign king – who had, at that time, not yet been born. It is another point of evidence, proving the divine nature of the Bible. Isaiah 45 was recorded about the year 712 BC, and its subject, Cyrus, is reintroduced to us in II Chronicles and Ezra 1 about 175 years LATER. This prophecy is not referring to any other man, but a future king of the Medes and Persians. But that is not really my subject for this morning. Cyrus was raised an idolater – most likely a polytheist – worshiping more than one imitation God. To that man God says, “I am the LORD – Jehovah – and there is no one else, there is no God beside me.” And Cyrus is told that Jehovah...

Sharing Christ with the Unbeliever – Isaiah 43:1-11

Your neighbor – the one who has lived beside you for fifteen years has moved away, and now you have new neighbors. Of course you immediately introduce yourself and share with them some home-baked cookies. But when you invite them to church, you are surprised – shocked – to learn they are practicing Muslims. They seem cool towards you – cold – so you find an excuse to excuse yourself, and you go home. But the Lord begins to burden you about those people. Surprising even yourself, your heart begins to yearn for their salvation. What can you do to bring those people to the Lord? I am not going to share with you any magic formulas for you to follow. Over the centuries, Baptists have used many different means to share the gospel with people. Some of them have had their place and have been used by God, while some of them haven’t. We have had our colporteurs – people dedicated to traveling about sharing Bibles, good books and gospel tracts with people who could read but who didn’t necessarily have much material to read. Medieval Anabaptists were very successful in sharing Christ in this way. There have been periods in Christian history when large evangelistic meetings were used by God. Large halls were secured and money was spent on various forms of advertizing. In the days before television and Netflix, people looked for entertainment, and a well-known evangelist could provide that entertainment – even for the glory of the Lord. Despite what some people think they see in the scripture, door-to-door, cold-calling, has been a RECENT improvisation...

May 2

James Barnett Taylor was born in England in 1804. His family moved the next year to New York City. At the age of 13, James was born again – he placed his faith in the sacrifice which Christ Jesus made on the cross. After that he was baptized and joined the First Baptist Church. The same year his father moved the family to Virginia, where at the age of 16, young Bro. Taylor began to preach the gospel. He was ordained on this day in 1826 by the Sandy Creek Baptist Church. In 1826 J. B. Taylor became pastor of the Second Baptist Church of Richmond, where he served for sixteen years. During that time there were 660 members added to the church, three new churches were started out of their ministry and about a dozen men were called from their membership into the ministry. After his ministry in Richmond, he went on the pastor several other Baptist Churches. Bro. Taylor believed in an educated membership and ministry. He led in the formation of several Sunday Schools and Bible societies. In 1839 he was elected to be the chaplain of the University of Virginia. He was also very interested in the spiritual condition of the Blacks in his state. He was appointed to work with the secretary of the Freedmen’s Bureau, and his last sermons were preached in Alexandria to Black congregations. He ministered faithfully during a very difficult time in American history, dying on December 22,...

Why Jehovah isn’t a Muslim – Mark 12:28-34

Your next door neighbor – the one who has lived there for fifteen years – tells you one day that he is selling his house and moving to a condominium. You are shocked. You didn’t see that coming. Then a week later the “For Sale” sign goes up. You see people coming and going next door. There is an open house. Two weeks after that, above the “For Sale” sign, there is another which says, “Sale Pending.” Exactly five weeks after your neighbor’s announcement, a van pulls up and furniture begins to move into the now empty house. You are curious about your new neighbors. Will they be as tolerable as your former neighbor? Eventually, a car pulls up and a man, woman and three kids pile out and run into the house. You carry a plate full of cookies next door and introduce yourself. In the course of your conversation you tell them that you are a Christian, and you invite them to church. It is then you learn that your new neighbors are Muslims. There are about 3.5 million Muslims in the United States. That is not a large percentage – slightly more than 1% – but the scene I just painted is becoming more and more common. In England there are 2.6 millions Muslims in a population of 66 million – more than 5%. As their numbers grow, they are going have to find places to live; your neighborhood is one such place. Even if they don’t live next door, you may find them at places you do business – banks, stores, gas stations. To your...

March 2021

Dear Pastor and Brethren: A Better Month March has proved to be a better month in the sense of being wanner in temperature and a better attendance in the services. Some, however, have been unable to attend due to sickness, leaving our attendance for the month as follows: 9, 11, 11, and 12 for the four Sundays in March. A Special Urgent Need – I Jn.3:17 On the 6th of April, we received an urgent audio message from Bro. Jose Manuel Garcia Alarcon, pastor of the church on the island of Tenerife, Spain. Due to the Covid-19 infection and the extreme measures taken by the Spanish government, everything was shut down except for buying groceries, dog walking, and garbage disposal. Spain is a socialist/communist country. Due to these extreme measures, In January, 2021, Bro. Garcia was forced into retirement and was paid 1500 euros ($1792. 54 ). They have been using that money for living expenses ever since, getting help from their three daughters and their husbands as needed. He has filed for his pension, but because of the government shutdown he won’t receive it until June or July or later. As a result of these negative economic measures, Bro. Garcia is concerned that they will have to shut the doors of the meeting place and stop having public church services unless the Lord supplies the funds necessary to keep it open. The church has been in operation for twenty-six years since the Lord used us to establish it on April 9th, 1995. Your giving enabled us to establish that church, and they have remained faithful. Right now, the...

April 25

John Koontz died on this day in 1832. He was buried in a small family graveyard on a hill overlooking the Shenandoah river. Bro. Koontz was perhaps the first Baptist preacher to proclaim the gospel in what was then known as Shenandoah County, Virginia. His ministry was such a success that he nearly died years before 1832. His preaching roused the violent hatred of many native Virginians. On one occasion, near Smith’s Creek, he was met by a gang who forbade his preaching. When a highly respected local man, Captain Learhorn, insisted that he preach, he proceeded, but after the meeting the gang threatened the preacher with death if he ever came back. Undeterred he eventually returned. When he was discovered and beaten with the butt end of a large cane. Again refusing to promise never to return, the beating continued until Bro. Koontz was nearly disabled with broken bones and internal injuries. Sometime later, he and a close friend, Martin Kaufman were in a house awaiting the announced preaching hour. Koontz was in separate room when a man burst in and began beating Kaufman with a stick, thinking he was the preacher. Many blows fell before the man became aware that he was mistaken. Shame made him slink away, but Kaufman had been severely wounded. On another occasion a group of men had arrested Bro. Koontz and were transporting him to jail. When a man, who had earlier heard the preacher, tried to rescue him, he was beaten off. A few miles further up the road, the evangelist warned the mob to be careful, because if he was...

What Paul Didn’t Say – Galatians 2:20

The well-known Greek expert A.W. Robertson says of this verse – “One of Paul’s greatest mystical sayings.” I’m not sure what he means by the word “mystical,” but I have to agree that this is a wonderful statement. I hope you have it memorized and can quote it to yourself when you need it. “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” I have preached from this verse two or three times, and I have read dozens of other messages. One common outline is to point the apparent contradictions – which aren’t contradictions at all. “I have been crucified, NEVERTHELESS I live.” “I live, YET NOT I, but Christ liveth in me.” These statements make no sense to the unbeliever. But to Paul they were clear, because as he said, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.” Paul understood, through the Spirit, that his life was hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). I hope that is something you understand to some degree as well. Then he concluded his thought – “I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Perhaps the greatest conundrum of the verse is in this last clause. The Son of God “loved me, and gave himself for me.” “Why should He love me so? Why should He love me so? Why should my Savior to Calvary...

Distractions, Deviations and Divergencies – I Corinthians 15:51-58

We have just read the conclusion of Paul’s exposition of the doctrine of resurrection. This may have been the most controversial Christian doctrine of his day. The details of this doctrine are often debated in our day, but it was even more important in Paul’s. One of the major Jewish sects, the Sadducees, denied this doctrine entirely (Matthew 22:18). And even though the Pharisees believed in resurrection generally, they refused to accept the proof that Jesus of Nazareth was raised from the dead, proving Himself to be the eternal Son of God. As I’ve pointed out before, nearly every sermon in the Book of Acts expressly declares Jesus’ resurrection, because it was such a hot topic. One of Paul’s conclusions here is – “if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.” As I say, Jesus’ resurrection was under attack, and souls were in jeopardy as a result. So I Corinthians 15 – one of the longest chapters in any of Paul’s epistles – definitively teaches the importance of Christ’s resurrection – and our resurrection in Him. Then he concludes with a statement about the Christian life and doctrine in general – “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye STEDFAST, UNMOVEABLE, always ABOUNDING in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” One of the problems with American society is a lack of consistency. The media tries to tell us that the police are not consistent in their application of force and the law. Parents are not consistent and uniform in the raising...

April 18

The father of James Fife was an elder in an Edinburgh Presbyterian Church. When a baby was presented to the church for sprinkling, the pastor, knowing that the mother was not a Christian, questioned who would “sponsor” the child. This lead to an extended church discussion and then a study of baptism as found in the Bible. As a result, the pastor and half the congregation united with the local Baptist church – that included the senior Mr. Fife. Shortly after that, one by one the rest of the family trusted Christ, were baptized and began serving the Saviour. When a wealthy uncle left his estate to James Fife and his brothers, the siblings left Scotland for Virginia. After serving as engineer for the city of Richmond, James once again took up preaching the gospel, as he had done in the old country. Soon he was the spiritual leader of four churches in Goochland County. James Fife was a powerful preacher – in part because he committed the entire New Testament to memory. He could quote chapter and verse for any thing he needed, giving him authority which the Church of England vicars lacked. It is said that he preached with unction, and people often responded with great emotion and shouting, although he discouraged extended outbursts. On this day in 1820 he began a trip to Philadelphia by stagecoach and steamboat to participate in the third annual meeting of the Baptist Missionary Society, which became known as the Triennial Convention. After eventually settling in Charlottesville, Virginia, Bro. Fife served seven different churches all within about twenty-miles. On one occasion...