Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Suffering series: Introduction

 

The Reality of suffering 

“Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.”  That is a true statement made to Job by one of his false comforters.  Certainly it is a truth of which we are all aware.  Though I rejoice at the birth of  babies; I also grieve for them as I think of a lifetime of trouble that awaits them. 

Suffering of believers and unbelievers is a fact of life in this present sin-cursed world. Listen to Paul in Romans 8:22-23  “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is, the redemption of our bodies.”  Would you notice here that the Christian’s body is still as much under the curse of sin as the unbeliever’s body?  Our souls are redeemed.  We are bound for Heaven,  but while we live on this earth, we continue to experience the curse of sin in our bodies. 

 

Reasons for suffering 

Sometime we suffer for wrong doing.  Take it patiently and learn from it. However, sometimes we suffer for doing right. Peter writes of this in I Peter. 2:20-23 “For what glory is it, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently?  But if, when ye do well and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  For even hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow His steps; Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth. Who, when He suffered, He threatened not, but committed Himself to Him who judgeth righteously.”  

 

Our Response to suffering 

Listen to the godly response of the Psalmist to affliction and agree with him.  “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word.  It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy statutes.”  Psalm 119:67,71 

 

The Rewards of suffering 

As we saw in the last verse,  suffering can draw us to Christ and His Word. That is what sanctification is all about.  Listen with your heart to I Peter 5:10  “But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal  glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered awhile, make you perfect, stablish, strength, settle you.”  Dear suffering Christian, are you beginning to see the blessing of suffering? 

Another reward that comes to those who suffer for their stand for Christ is that in the future we will reign with Him.  II Timothy 2:12  “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us.” 

 

The Relief from suffering  There is coming a day when we are going to be released from these sin-cursed  bodies.  Read II Corinthians 5:1-8 addressed to Christians and let me summarize  it for you.  We know that when we die, our souls immediately go to Heaven to be with Jesus.   Our bodies eventually turn to dust. In the meantime we groan with pain at times in these bodies and we long to be with Jesus.  It’s not that we are anxious to die.  No one in his right mind looks forward to dying, but our assurance of Christ’s resurrection gives us confidence to face death, knowing that to be absent from our bodies is to immediately be in the presence of Jesus. 

If you do not yet have that blessed assurance of Heaven when you die,  I urge you to read the rest of II Corinthians 5 and discover how simple it is to trust Christ and have that assurance today.

May 10, 2006 Posted by | Suffering | Comments Off on Suffering series: Introduction

Make Me Thy Fuel

From prayer that asks that I may be

Sheltered from winds that beat on Thee,

From fearing when I should aspire,

From faltering when I should climb higher

From silken self, O Captain, freeThy soldier who would follow Thee.

From subtle love of softening things,

From easy choices, weakenings,

(Not thus are spirits fortified,

Not this way went the Crucified)

From all that dims Thy Calvary

O Lamb of God, deliver me.

Give me the love that leads the way,

The faith that nothing can dismay

The hope no disappointments tire,

The passion that will burn like fire;

Let me not sink to be a clod;

Make me Thy fuel, Flame of God.

By Amy Wilson Carmichael

A missionary to India’s children a century ago.

May 10, 2006 Posted by | Service Series | Comments Off on Make Me Thy Fuel

Light and Darkness

The eye is the gate for letting light into the body.  As light enters our eyes, we see people and things and we are able to read..  As in the physical realm, so in the spiritual realm.  When we have spiritual light, we have spiritual vision.  When we lack spiritual light, we live in spiritual darkness.  When we are double-minded, our spiritual vision is blurred and that results in spiritual darkness.

  

DON’T HIDE YOUR LIGHT 

Listen to what Jesus said about this in Luke 11:33-36 “No man when he lights  a candle puts  it in a secret place. neither under  a bushel;  but on a candle stick, that they which come in may see the light.  The light of the body is the eye. Therefore, when your eye is single or healthy, your whole body also  is  full of light,  but when your  eye is evil or diseased, your body is also full of darkness.  If your whole body therefore  be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle gives  you light.” 

What is Jesus saying here?  He’s warning that if we have received the Light of the Gospel, beware of attempting to hide it; otherwise, the light we have will be turned into darkness.  Rather, let it shine. 

Remember the little chorus we learned as kids?   “This little light of mine.  I’m gonna to let it shine.” The second stanza was, “Hide it under a bushel? NO!  I’m gonna to let it shine. Then the third stanza was “Don’t let Satan blow it out.  I’m gonna let it shine.”   With this message, I want to help you make sense out of that  chorus. 

THIS WORLD LIES IN SPIRITUAL DARKNESS 

This world of lost men and women lies in spiritual darkness because they have rejected the Word of God and the Gospel in particular.  In  I John 5:19  we read “The whole world lies in darkness.” Would you turn to Psalm 107 and let me point out some verses to you on this subject?   Here the Psalmist is thanking the Lord for redeeming them from the power and darkness of Satan. Though  he is speaking of redeemed Israel from the bondage of Egypt,  we can certainly apply this passage to our own lives. We who have put our trust in Christ have been redeemed from Satan’s  Kingdom of Darkness.  In verse 10 he speaks of us as sitting in darkness, in the shadow of death and in bondage to Satan. Why?  Simply because we  rebelled against God’s Word, holding it in contempt.  In verse 13 he tells of how when we called to God in our trouble, He saved us out of our distress. He brought us out of darkness and broke the chains of bondage. 

JESUS IS THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD 

This was prophesied in Psalm 27:1,  Isaiah 9:2,  6-7 and   60:1-3.    In John 1:4-12,  8:12,  9:5,  and 12:35,46  Jesus proclaims Himself as the Light of the World.   This same truth is taught in I John 1 and Revelation 21:23. 

WE CHRISTIANS ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD 

 

In His Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus gives this  responsibility to us to be the Light of the World.  Paul challenges us with this same responsibility in Ephesians 5:8-14. and in Philippians 2:14-16.  Peter also teaches this responsibility in I Peter 2:9-12.   

As the moon reflect the light of the sun, so we are to reflect the Light of Christ. The way Christ makes us His lights in the world is by living in us by His Holy Spirit.  The light we reflect is actually Christ living out His life in us.  This is taught in  Galatians 2:20  

HIS WORD, THE BIBLE, GIVES US THIS LIGHT 

 

As a candle needs an unending supply of wax to keep shining  and as an oil lamp needs an unending supply of oil to keep shining,  so we can have an unending supply of light as we read and study God’s Word.   In II Peter 1:19-21 Peter tells us of this light  of God’s inspired Word which we hold in our hands.   

I John 1:5-7 shows us how we can walk in this Light.  God’s Word is Light to us.  As we read and obey it,  we walk in the Light.  When we disobey it, that is sin.  When we continue in sin we walk in darkness.  When we confess our sin as SIN and make no excuses for it,  God forgives us and we are immediately cleansed and enabled once again to walk in the Light.  Read in Psalm 119:105, and 130 of how God’s Word provides the Light we need to walk in this dark world. 

JESUS’  WARNING  IN LUKE 11:34-36 AND LUKE 8:16-18 

 

In these verses Jesus is warning us to take heed how we hear the Word of God.  Watch your attitude  when you come to church and when you read and study God’s Word.  If our spiritual eyesight is healthy and we are surrendered to the indwelling Holy Spirit; we are able to read and hear God’s Word and profit and grow.   If we are rebelling against God,  our spiritual eyesight is blurred and even darkened to where we can receive nothing from God’s Word.   

If we are attempting to be neutral about Jesus, we are being double-minded and we will receive nothing. See James 1:8 on this.  

In John 3:18-21 Jesus teaches that those who trust Him are no longer under condemnation. Those who reject Him as Saviour are still under condemnation. Our position before God is revealed by our attitude towards His Word.  Those who hunger to know God by reading and hearing and studying His Word, are given spiritual Light.  Those who rebel against God hate His Word and hate going to a church where God’s Word is clearly preached.  

IN WHICH DIRECTION ARE YOU WALKING? 

 

If you are a genuine Christian you are walking in the Light. As you grow older, the light grows brighter and brighter. See Proverbs 4:18   One day you will be in Heaven where Christ, the Lamb of God, is the eternal light 

If you are  rejecting Christ, you are still lost in your sins. You are walking in spiritual darkness and as you grow older the path grows darker and darker.  See Proverbs 4:19   You stumble through life not knowing where you are going.  Before you lies Hell fire and outer darkness. Please, take time to read these verses and then decide if you really want to go on rejecting Christ and spend eternity in Hell.  Matthew 22:1-13  Luke 16:19-21  II Peter 2:17  Jude 13  Revelation 16:10.  I encourage you to also go to the link on  ETERNTY on this web site. 

Christian friend,  if you are trying to hide your light, read the warning Jesus has for you in Luke 11:33-35 again.  If you are rejecting the spiritual Light God has given you, although you may be a Christian, you are bound to stumble through life in darkness, wasting your life.   

Your choices are these.   You cannot be neutral.  See Luke 11:23  

Hunger after Christ.  Spend time in His Word daily reading and studying it.  Get involved in a church where Bible preaching is central. Spend time searching out the Hidden Treasures of this web site.   Your life will be filled with Christ’s Light and you will be a testimony for Christ to others. As you grow older the light will grow brighter and one day you will fall asleep in this world and awake in the presence of Christ. 

Reject  Christ and His Word. Quit going to a Bible preaching church.  Your life will be filled with growing darkness.  As you ignore God’s Word,  because life is not a vacuum, you will find yourself  feeding on and absorbing moral pollution.  You will live out your days wasted in growing darkness and in the end you will slip from this life into the darkness and torment of hell. 

My prayer for you is that you will make the right choice.   

May 10, 2006 Posted by | Light and Darkness | Comments Off on Light and Darkness

Church series: Which Church Saves?

From the magnificent Crystal Cathedral in southern California to the humblest little Baptist Church in the mountains of Kentucky; from the giant, modern day contemporary churches to the small independent Bible churches hidden on back streets of America; from the ostentatious TV sets of the modern Charismatic movement to the little Pentecostal churches in rural USA; from the beautiful Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, to the gigantic and powerful Roman Catholic Church; from the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Halls to the Seventh Day Adventist churches meeting each Sabbath day; from the liturgical Presbyterian, Lutheran, Episcopalian and Methodist churches to the free-spirited independent, non-denominational churches across America; from the Jewish synagogues to the Buddhist to the Muslims and whatever else is out there in religion land; I can positively affirm that membership in any of these temples or churches, including the church I pastor, do not save sinners from going to hell.

There is no salvation in being a baptized, devout, Mass-attending Catholic; nor is there salvation in being an AMEN shouting, baptized by immersion Baptist, nor anything in between.

Churches do not save. Baptism by sprinkling, immersion or pouring does not save. Good works do not gain you merit to get into Heaven. Sacraments do not save, nor do they make you holy. Being religious in order to go to Heaven is a lie of Satan.

My fifty plus years of preaching and pastoring churches does not add even an ounce of merit to make me deserving of Heaven.

All the money given down through the years to religious and charitable causes and all the hours of sacrificial labor has not enabled one soul to become a saint or earn Heaven.

Walking down an aisle in response to an invitation to be saved in an evangelistic crusade or in a local church does not guarantee Heaven for anyone.

Heaven is not for sale! The price is too high. You and I could never pay it. You can’t bribe God to let you into Heaven. God does not weigh your good works against your evil deeds to determine whether you go to Heaven.

Heaven is only for sinlessly perfect people. We cannot have one spot of sin on our record; not one lie, not one lustful thought, not one act of disobedience or unfaithfulness to God. That would be enough to send us to Hell for eternity. Are you ready to throw up your hands in despair and cry out to God, “I give up? I’m hopeless and helpless to save myself! God, in your mercy and grace, save me or I am lost forever!”

If so, God is ready to save you. He is ready to impute to you His very righteousness. In fact, the price of your salvation has already been paid in full by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus died and rose again 2000 years ago to pay the penalty for all your sins. If you have given up trying to make yourself fit by your religious efforts, and are willing to trust Christ’s shed blood as full payment for your sins, God will save you right now. Ask Him to save you today. He will do it this very moment and you will know it. His Spirit will come to live in your heart and bear witness with your spirit that you now belong to God. You will be born again into God’s family.

Your assurance of salvation is found in His Word. Read John 1:12 3:16-18 5:24 6:37 and Romans 10:9-13 I John 5:11-13 Revelation 3:20. Believe His Word and be convinced. Read Paul’s testimony of how he turned his confidence from religion to Christ in Philippians 3. Then contact me and let me know you have been born again into God’s family. I want to rejoice with you and help you get started walking a new life of joy and blessing and purpose like you have never known before.

May 10, 2006 Posted by | Church Series | Comments Off on Church series: Which Church Saves?

Church series: Why people reject Christ?

If salvation from an eternity in Hell is as simple as receiving Christ as Saviour, why do you continue to reject Him?  Why are you so hateful towards Jesus Christ, so hateful as to even use His name to vent your anger?  Why do you despise and hate the Christian who  presents the Gospel to you?

If someone rescued you or your loved ones from a burning house or a burning car, you would be grateful for life.   If someone gave you a gift of $1,000,000 with no strings attached, you could not contain your appreciation for him.

Well then, why does it upset and even infuriate you when someone shows you God’s plan of salvation from an eternity in Hell fire?  Why do you hate our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ who died and paid the full penalty for your sins?  Why do you so despise the Bible that tells you the story of God’s wonderful grace?

Ready for the answer?

Your pride and self-righteousness!  Yes, it is offensive before our Holy God. The Prophet Isaiah, describes   “all of our righteousness as stinking bloody rags.” Isaiah 64:6   It’s because you think of yourself as a good person that you see no need of a Saviour. You are offended when anyone should dare to tell you what God thinks of you.

Not only have you chosen to reject Christ, but  your will is in bondage to Satan himself and you are a slave of the devil.  He has you  in bondage to sin and he has deceived you to think that a religion of your choice is the answer. Satan doesn’t mind you being religious. He is a master of religion.  He fascinates you with religion;  anything but Jesus Himself.

The Apostle Paul had this same problem, as do all of us, until God confronted him on the road to Damascus as he was on his way to persecute Christians.  God knocked him to the ground and in a moment his life was changed forever. The story is found in Acts 9  and he records in Philippians 3  his testimony of the change that took place.

If you will this moment admit the truth that you are a proud, self-righteous sinner and if you will listen to the voice of God’s Holy Spirit as He knocks on the door of your heart to show you your need of Jesus who died and rose again to pay the full penalty for your sins, and if you will receive Him by faith as you sit there at your computer;  God will work a miracle in your life by delivering you from the bondage of Satan and cause you to be born again and make you His child. His Spirit will take up residence in you and make you a brand new person.

Yes, your body will be the same.  Yes, you will still stumble and sin and fail the Lord.  You won’t live a perfect life by a long shot.  But you will have a love for Christ and even for me for sharing this good news with you.

Amazingly, the sin you once loved, you will begin to hate and the Bible you once hated will become your most precious possession.  This web site which once bored you, will become a fascinating source of spiritual food and you will not be able to get enough of it.  In humiliation and appreciation you will share this good news with others.

May 10, 2006 Posted by | Church Series | Comments Off on Church series: Why people reject Christ?