Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

A.B.C.’s 70th Anniversary

 

 

On Sunday, March 1, 2009 we celebrated  the 70th Anniversary of Alameda Bible Church. I preached from Psalm 48. The theme of this Psalm is Jehovah,  the one true God of Israel and His holy city, Jerusalem.

 

Whereas, Jerusalem and the Temple  were the glory of God’s people, Israel;  Christ Himself is our glory as His Church. Let us, His Church,  glory: not primarily in a church, a building, or a location; but in Christ Himself.

 

ISRAEL GLORIED IN JERUSALEM 

 

Israel gloried in Jerusalem and in their temple location, Mount Zion. They gloried in Jehovah who dwelt with His people in Jerusalem, the city of Jehovah.

 

In Isaiah 6:1-3 we learn that Jehovah’s glory filled the temple. In fact,  His glory fills the earth. The major theme of Psalm 48 is that Jehovah God is the glory of Israel.

 

At the same time, Israel was God’s glory, as we learn in Isaiah 46:13

 

The world boasts that Rome is the “eternal city”.  The Bible teaches that Jerusalem is the eternal city. Founded about 1400 BC, it has been in existence for over 3400 years.  For one thousand years after religious and political Rome is destroyed, as prophesied in Revelation 17-18; Christ will be reigning over the whole earth from Jerusalem.  So with 1,000 years to go, it will have been in existence for at least 4400 years.

 

ISRAEL REJECTED THEIR GOD

 

Though Israel gloried in the Temple and in their city, Jerusalem; they rejected their God throughout Old Testament history.  As early as 700 BC they were trodden down by gentile nations in this order:  Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. As Jesus prophesied in Luke 21:24,  since Israel has been back in her homeland, she has continued to be trodden down by her neighboring nations.  Most horrible was the brutal attempt to annihilate them by the Nazi’s during World War II.

 

In spite of that miserable treatment,  Psalm 48 prophesies that the day is coming when  Jerusalem will be the mountain of God‘s holiness, the joy of the whole earth and the city of the great King, referring to Jesus.  Zechariah prophesies  in chapter 12-14 of his prophesy that in the Millennium, Jesus will reign over the whole earth from Jerusalem.

 

THE CHURCH’S GLORY

 

Zion as Jerusalem,  referred to in this Psalm,  is a type of Christ’s Church.  As Israel gloried in their city Jerusalem as the joy of the whole earth; so in this Church Age, we His Church,  glory in Christ alone.  We share Paul’s testimony in Galatians 6:14. “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world.”

 

We are thankful for our Church and for those who years ago sacrificed that we might have this prime location and this church plant debt free.  We’re thankful for those who built this church on God’s Word and passed on to us a church that stands faithfully on the Fundamentals of the Faith, in particular, 

 

Our primary glory is in the eternal, unchanging God of Israel, who by God’s grace. is our God today.

 

WHO IS THIS GOD WHO WILL BE OUR GOD FOREVER AND EVER?

 

He’s certainly not the God of our imagination or opinion; but the holy, eternal God revealed in Scripture.  This God we have made our God by personally receiving His Son as our Saviour from sin.  With Thomas, who met Jesus after the Resurrection, we gladly acknowledge Him as “our Lord and our God.”

 

When we trust Christ as our Saviour and as we begin reading and studying His Word and attending a Church where it is faithfully taught, we grow in our knowledge of God.

 

1. We recognize the God of the Bible as our God, our Lord, our Shepherd and the foundation for our lives.  Without Him we have nothing and are nothing and can do nothing.

 

2. We begin to understand that He is great and sovereign in the affairs of men and nations and in control at all times.

 

3. We understand that Christ is Holy and that His spiritual Kingdom is His Church, according to Colossians 1:13.   At the same time, we understand that His literal, holy Millennial Kingdom will one day be a reality.

 

4. As God, He demanded holiness from His people Israel. Leviticus 20:7 So in this Church Age, He demands holiness from His people today, as He taught in His Sermon on the Mount  in Matthew 5:48.  Since none of us has any ability to live that holy life of ourselves,  He graciously provides it.

 

First He imputes His holiness to our account when we trust Him as Savior.

Then He imparts it to us by His Word and by His  Holy Spirit.

 

5. We understand that He desires and is worthy of our praise continually, even when we don’t feel like praising Him. Learn the secret in Hebrews 13:15.

 

6. We understand that God is immutable. That is, He is unchanging in this constantly changing world. The changes in our world are usually for the worse.   Rejoice that He never changes.  Malachi 3:8  and Hebrews 13:8. His moral standards do not change. His plan of salvation does not change. It’s always been by God’s grace through our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ who died and rose again to pay the penalty for our sins.  In Old Testament times, Israel was also saved by faith in the promised Saviour.  In accordance with God’s laws, they sacrificed innocent animals for their sins, which sacrifices pointed to the coming sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God,

the perfect and final sacrifice who takes away the sins of the world.

 

7. We understand that God is eternal. Deuteronomy 33:27 assures us that “The eternal God is our refuge and underneath are the everlasting arms.” Because He is eternal, we are eternal.  Each of us will spend eternity in Heaven or in Hell.

 

8. Thank God for His eternal, inspired, infallible Word, the Bible  to which we all have access.    Proverbs 29:18 speaks of its importance.  “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”   The vision is not speaking of dreams, but of God’s Word. Those who know His Word and feed on it are growing.  Those who ignore and rebel against His Word are perishing.

 

The Bible and Christianity were the foundation upon which our nation was founded.  In recent years the Bible has systematically been removed from school classrooms and from our national life.  As a result, America is in rapid decline.  America is crumbling before our eyes: morally, economically and politically.

 

Into such a nation, state and city,  Alameda Bible Church was planted seventy years ago in 1939.  I was a first grader in the pubic schools of Toronto, Canada.  Little did I dream then that I would one day be a pastor in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  Such has been my privilege for these last almost twenty years.   We were planted here to be a light in the midst of spiritual darkness.

 

THE GOD OF OUR PAST

 

Years ago a Christian family donated land on El Pueblo Rd. in the North Valley of Albuquerque to be the home for a Gospel preaching church which was named  Alameda Community Chapel.  Years later the name was changed to Alameda Bible Church.

 

This church was born at a time when Bible believing churches were departing from the Faith to compromise with Liberalism.  I don’t know what battles this church fought then, but I know that in the mid fifties and sixties, I was fighting battles with Liberalism.  As a result two churches left a liberal denomination to become thriving, growing churches, faithful to the Word of God.

 

Almost thirty years ago  God led this church to found a Christian  School as a ministry of the church.  Over the years we have operated a K-12 Christian

School and have graduated over 100 students.

 

The God of our Fathers, is our same God today.  Thank God that although we are far from perfect saints and won’t be until we stand glorified in His presence; yet we are growing in love and unity.  By God’s grace, our church stands just as true to the Bible as it was when it was founded seventy years ago.

 

We never want to forget what God has done for us, nor forget the sacrifices  and the steadfastness of our forefathers.  At the same times, we don’t want to get stuck in a rut of living in the past.  As we remember and are grateful for our past, at the same time, we are open to what God wants to do through us now and in the future.

 

We don’t want to ever get in the depressing mental and stagnant state of thinking, “It can’t be done! or  “We never did it this way before!”

 

THE GOD OF OUR PRESENT

 

We must learn the balance of staying true to unchanging Biblical truth; and at the same time, learning to relate to and reach this generation with the uncompromising Truth of God’s Word.

 

As Jerusalem at over 2500 feet in elevation and surrounded by mountains,  was pictured in Psalm 48 as “beautiful for situation”; so our church has been strategically placed in the beautiful North Valley at 5000 feet and bordered on the east by 10,000 feet mountains. We are accessible to two major arteries of Albuquerque.  It’s less than a twenty minute drive from just about any part of the city. We must reach out to people as Ambassadors for Christ.

 

THE GOD OF OUR FUTURE

 

Let us never forget that it is Christ who is building His Church and we are privileged to be a part of His work as well surrender to Him.  No matter what happens politically,  we have Christ’s promise that He is building His Church and the gates of Hell cannot stop our onward progress.

 

 

 

 

February 25, 2009 - Posted by | Church Series

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