Hidden Treasures

The Bible is much more than a book of religion.

Travailing for the Lost

In our study of the first eight chapters of Romans we’ve learned how God takes a lost, unworthy sinner and imputes God’s righteousness to his account through faith in Christ who shed His blood to pay the penalty for our sins.  We’ve also seen in Romans 6-8 how God sanctifies us, enabling us to live holy lives through the power of  His indwelling Holy Spirit.

Now in Romans 9-11 we learn more wonderful truths concerning our salvation and how  Israel  fits into the picture.   In these three chapters we learn of  Israel’s past in chapter 9,  her present in chapter 10 and her future in chapter 11.   We focus our attention now on the first three verses of  Romans 9.

PAUL’S HEART-CRUSHING SORROW

 

Paul, who had been a Jewish Pharisee and a chief enemy of Christ before his conversion,  speaks in Romans 9:1-3  and 10:1-3  of his great heaviness of heart and his crushing sorrow for Israel who rejects Christ as her Messiah and Saviour.

We Christians should all bear that crushing sorrow for our loved ones, both family and friends, as well as our nation, for  Israel  and for a lost world who are still without Christ.

THE SEED SAVES, YOU AND I DO NOT SAVE ANYONE!

Psalm 126:5-6 encourages us to go to those we love with the Gospel.  We can’t save anyone; but the Gospel can.   This passage encourages us with the promise that if we go to those we love,  weeping with a broken heart,  sharing the Gospel; that we will doubtless come with rejoicing bearing our sheaves with us.  That is, we will see success.  We don’t save anyone, but God can save them if we just give them the Good News.  As you grow in your love for God, you will also grow in love for lost sinners.

Sharing a good Gospel tract is one way.  I try to find creative ways to share my Hidden Treasures web site with friends and strangers. If this web site has helped you,  I encourage you to share it also.  When you do, you  offer people the opportunity to read over 600 Bible-teaching articles on a vast array of practical topics, including The Gospel which is woven throughout.  

I keep pouring my time and energy into this web site with the assurance that even though I may never meet nor hear of converts to Christ now,  one day I will have the joy of meeting them in Heaven.  Perhaps you are one of those who have come to faith in Christ.  I look forward to an eternity of getting to know you. 

You may have noticed that I include good jokes under A Merry Heart  and Gems of other writers in this web site.  I trust that those who read the jokes and gems may also read salvation messages and be saved.

The Gospel, (The Good News) clearly presented in II Corinthians 5:21,  is the germinating Seed which  must penetrate the heart of the unbeliever in order for him to have eternal life.

Before a woman can have a baby, she must travail in pain in labor and delivery.  Isaiah 66:8 reminds us that Israel travailed before she  had children. So when we travail in sorrow for the lost and share the Gospel with them, some are going to be saved.

That burden has constantly been on me throughout the years of my ministry. Actually that burden came upon me after I was saved at the age of nine.  My heart constantly aches for the lost.  Now that I am retired, that sorrow for the lost does not let up.  Wherever I am, whatever I am doing, the weight of a lost world is always on my heart and mind.   When I go into a restaurant for a meal, I see people around me, including the waiter/ waitress and think about ways I can reach out to them with the Gospel.  

Recently I was in a grocery store and heard the man in the check-out line ahead of me telling one joke after another to the cashier.  So I suggested to him that he might like to go to my Hidden Treasure’s web site and read over 40 good jokes he might enjoy.  He appeared to appreciate my suggestion and I expect he has already been to this site.

Luke 19:41  tells us that Jesus wept over  Jerusalem.  Are you weeping over your nation and over a lost world?   In  America we are in the most desperate times I have ever seen.  I am tempted to be depressed and angry over the ineptness and stupidity of many of our politicians; but as Christ, I need to have a broken heart and weep over a sin-sick nation. Our disease of sin as a nation is far deeper than the vast chasm between liberal and conservative politics.  

Dear reader, have you received the Good News of the Gospel, as found in II Corinthians 5:21,  John 3:16,  Acts 16:31?   I’m not asking you to change your life.  God will deal with you concerning any change you need to make in your life and He will give you His supernatural power to make the change.  Trust Him now while God is speaking to you through His Word.  See the urgency of getting off the road to Hell and getting on the road to Heaven in  II Corinthians 6:1-2 NOW!  Then get into a serious reading and studying of God’s Word.  Submit yourself to Him and He will make the necessary changes.

 

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November 27, 2011 Posted by | Romans | Comments Off on Travailing for the Lost

Is God Fair?

Is God unfair?  The ungodly and sometimes we Christians in our weaker moments have no problem charging God with unfairness.  How dare we!  Paul, dealing with the ungodly as they hurl their charges of unfairness towards God, writes in Romans 9:20 “Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?  Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it say, ‘Why have You made me thus?”

Those introductory questions, lead us into our current studies in Proverbs as we come to the 11th chapter and are introduced to the theme of the justice of God.    We read in Proverbs 11:1 “A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight.”

God is fair and just.  He loves  honesty and fairness. He hates dishonesty and cheating and so should we.

Anyone who understands the truth of Justification should understand and appreciate the truth that God in infinitely fair in His dealings with us.

Let me ask you a question.  Is God fair when He condemns all of humanity as fallen, sinners because of Adam’s sin six thousands years ago?

CONSIDER THE OPTIONS

1. God could have overlooked our sins.  Is that possible? In no way!  A holy just God cannot overlook sin.  Sin must be punished.  God had warned Adam, “In the day you eat of that fruit you shall surely die!”   God is holy and as such He cannot overlook and excuse sin.

2. God could have allowed every man to stand or fall on his own merit.  I’m so glad God did not choose that option.  Yes,  it would have been fair and just.  But no one can stand before God.  As sons and daughters of Adam, we have inherited his sinful nature.  There would have been no hope for anyone.

3. And so God in His love and justice chose to save us through a Representative.   That Representative was no less than God Himself come down in a human body,  the Lord Jesus!   Jesus took our place and bore our sins in His own body on the cross and then God  took Jesus’ perfect righteousness and put it to the account of every sinner who would come in humility before God as a sinner and put his trust in Jesus as His Representative and Saviour.

WHY DID GOD CHOOSE TO SAVE US THROUGH CHRIST?

 

As the entire human race fell into sin and condemnation in the person of Adam,  so all those who put their trust in the Second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ,  are freed from the condemnation of sin and are given the Gift of eternal life through Christ.  Read Romans 4:12-21  Underline the words, one and many and all.  Read that passage again and ask God to help you grasp the truth of one, many and all, as I have just explained to you.

IS IT FAIR FOR GOD TO DECLARE YOU PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS AND FIT FOR HEAVEN IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST, THE SECOND ADAM?

 

No, it is not fair!  It is MORE THAN FAIR!   It is GRACE!   It is ultimately the only way  God could save us and declare us perfectly righteous and fit for Heaven.  If this is not yet clear to you read Romans chapter 5 over again until you grasp it.  Read this message over again until you see that this is the only way God could have saved us.  For you to miss this truth is to remain lost in your sins with no hope of salvation.  God is gracious.  He gives us far more than we deserve.   Listen to Paul rejoice in the wonderful grace of God as you read it  in Romans 11:32-36.

Revelation 15:3 tells us that the day is coming when we will join the Saints throughout the ages in singing together the Song of the Lamb,  “Great and marvelous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are Thy ways, Thou King of Saints.”  Can you sing that song of The Lamb, (the Lord Jesus) who was slaughtered on the cross for your sins?  If your trust is in Christ, you can start singing that song from the depths of your heart right now, even as you will throughout eternity in Heaven.

Concluding where we started in Proverbs 11:1, no wonder God delights in a just weight.   God is absolutely just.   But He is more than that.  He is loving and gracious.

November 24, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Is God Fair?

Tending to Life or Death

We continue contrasting the wise and foolish, the righteous and the unrighteous, in Proverbs 10, beginning with verse 16. Understand that we’re not talking about self-righteousness. There is nothing good about self-righteousness.  It is repulsive and stinks to high Heaven. The only true righteousness is Christ’s righteousness which God imputes, or puts to the account of sinners who trust His blood sacrifice on the cross as the atonement for their sins. I trust you know Christ as your righteousness. If you don’t, I urge you to go to my SALVATION series and get that settled today.  Then  follow along in your Bible in Proverbs 10 by reading the verse first. Then follow along with my comments on the verse.

Do you tend to life or death?

Basically verse 16 is teaching us that everything that a Christian who is clothed in Christ’s righteousness thinks, says or  does tends to life. He has eternal life.  Eternal life is a new quality of life, not just an extension of the old life you had before you were saved.   It is the imputed life of Jesus which results in His life being  imparted to you so that you begin to think and live as Jesus would live and love as Jesus would love.  Not perfectly!  But you begin the journey which will ultimately culminate in perfection in Heaven.

On the other hand, everything the natural, unconverted man or woman thinks, says or does tends to his physical and spiritual destruction and death.  Romans 3:10-18

 

How do  you handle reproof?

Verse 17 teaches that if you truly are saved and are on that journey with Christ, you will show it by the way you respond to reproof and instruction from the Bible.  On the other hand, you are treading on dangerous ground if you refuse reproof and instruction from God’s Word.

Does what you say and how you say it bless or curse others?

Verses 18-21 concerns our tongue, that is our speech.  I remind you of what I said in our previous study  about  verses 11-14 of this chapter which also concern our speech.  The righteous bless with their words; whereas the wicked stir up strife and  eventually destroy themselves and others.

Verses 18-21 warn us to beware of attempting to hide our hatred of others with lying and flattering lips or outright slander.  Which is worse?  It’s all despicable sin.   

Verse 19 warns us to beware of talking too much.  The more we say, the more chance we have of saying something worthless; or worse, plain evil. That’s a warning to me, a preacher.  I’ve spoken a LOT of words in my 55 years of pastoring and I’ve written a  LOT  of words and posted them to this web site.  My constant prayer is that whenever I speak or write, it always brings glory to God.  You’ll have to be the judge as you read Hidden Treasures.   

Basically, if our purpose is not to glorify Christ, then perhaps we had better not speak it or write it.

Verses 20-21 reminds us that the words of the wise feed many; whereas the words of fools is worthless and harmful.  Fools die for lack of wisdom and if they are written or preached words, they can lead their listeners to Hell.

What do you covet?

I love verse 22.  “The blessing of the Lord makes rich and He adds no sorrow with it.”    On the other hand, those who covet material wealth are going to be led astray and lead others astray and be plagued with sorrow. That was Paul’s warning to young Pastor Timothy in I Timothy 6:10 and to all who read,  that those whose chief purpose in life is to gain wealth, end up  bringing much needless sorrow into their lives.   Wealth in itself is not evil, but a  life given to that one great purpose of accumulating wealth  can  bring sorrow.

Proverbs 10:23  warns us that fools enjoy doing mischief or sin. They also enjoy reading and enjoying sin on television and at the movies. It becomes their life.   It’s on their minds continually day and night. They have a desire to live out what they’ve seen and heard.

Proverbs 10:24 warns us that what we expect, will probably happen; whether it is a wicked man’s fear of evil or a godly man’s righteous desires.  Our thinking has much bearing on what happens.   Psalm 37:4 reminds us to “Delight ourselves in the Lord and He shall give us the desires of our heart.”    God has proven that to me repeatedly through my life.  Christ has been the delight of my life since I trusted Him as a child and I have repeatedly enjoyed the desires of my heart throughout my life.

Are you a good or evil influence on others?

Proverbs 10:25  reminds us that the wicked soon pass away and are forgotten.  The righteous in Christ have eternal life and their godly influence continues to bless many.

Are you lazy?

Proverbs 10:26  warns us that we cannot trust lazy people. They will always let you down.  Therefore lazy people cannot be entrusted with any responsibility.  

I Corinthians 4:2 reminds us that the most important qualification for any responsibility and privilege is  faithfulness.   If you can’t be faithful in keeping your room clean,  you need not apply for anything more important.  

Do you want God to use you?  Be faithful in the little things and Luke19:17  tells us we will be faithful in the big opportunities that come our way.

What does your future generally hold for you?

Proverbs 10:27  reminds us and warns us that those who have a healthy fear of offending a holy God with our sins is probably going to live a long, healthy life.   There are exceptions to that statement.  We’ll leave the exceptions with God and not try to understand all His ways.   But verse 27 continues, ” the years of the wicked shall be shortened.”    Give this serious thought.

Proverbs 10:28-29  reminds us that the righteous can expect a life of gladness; whereas the wicked can expect a life of sorrow and destruction.

Proverbs 10:30  reminds me that as a joint-heir with Christ,  this earth which is going to be renewed by Christ,  is mine for eternity. On the other hand, the wicked are one day going to be removed from this earth to spend eternity in Hell.   See my messages on HELL on this web site, to learn more about this eternal habitation of the wicked who reject Christ.

How important is your speech?

Verse  31-32  of Proverbs 10 close out this chapter with the matter of our speech.  The Bible has  much to say about our speech.   Our speech says so much about us.  It reveals our heart and what is most important to us.   We either bless people or else we are simply empty, boring  wind-bags.

May we constantly be aware of the little things we say and do and the values we hold and the interests that consume our attention and our faithfulness in the little things.  They all affect our success and usefulness in this life and  throughout eternity.

November 21, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Tending to Life or Death

Wise vs Fools

The entire book of Proverbs contrasts wisdom vs folly  and  righteousness vs unrighteousness.

Proverbs 1-9 introduces us to the topic of Heavenly Wisdom, contrasting it with sinful folly.

Beginning with chapter 10  we are introduced  to specific, but unrelated statements contrasting wisdom and righteousness with foolishness and unrighteousness.   Let’s consider them.

WISE AND FOOLISH SONS CONTRASTED  10:1 

 

Nothing accomplished in life by Christian parents and teachers brings more joy than seeing our sons and daughters and students grow up to know God and live in obedience to His Word.  See also Proverbs 23:15-26

Nothing in life brings Christian parents and teachers greater heartbreak  than raising  foolish, rebellious sons or daughters or students.  Proverbs 15:20.  

Parents are given the responsibility in Proverbs 22:6 to train up  their children in the way they should go.  We will deal with this further, Lord willing, when we come to that passage in this Proverbs series.

WEALTH OR POVERTY  10:2-10

 

Proverbs 10:2-5 teaches that the wicked can offer nothing of eternal value or profit to God for themselves.  Their efforts and resources are of no value to God. Matthew 6:19-20 and Luke 12:19-20.  Their material wealth is of no value when it comes to eternal life.

Only righteousness enables us to gain eternal life.  Of course, that righteousness is not self-righteousness, as Titus 3:5-6 makes clear. Therefore,  the only righteousness which is of eternal value is the imputed righteousness of Christ to our account.  That is justification, which is clearly explained in Romans 3:21- 5:21in my Roman’s series.  

 

That imputed righteousness changes our hearts and makes possible a changed life of God’s imparted righteousness. Such righteousness is  taught throughout the New Testament as the doctrine of Sanctification.

God promises to meet all our needs, as promised in Proverbs 10:3. This promise is repeated throughout the Bible, as seen in Psalm 1:6, 3:8, 5:12, 23:1, 34:17, 19,22, 37:25,  Matthew 6:25-26 and Philippians 4:19.

There may be times when we are physically hungry, as Paul testified of himself in I Corinthians4:11and II Corinthians 11:27; however, God promise our souls will never be famished or starve.  My wife and I experienced this  through different seasons of our lives, especially early in our marriage and through some financially lean years; however we never starved and these experiences taught us to appreciate what we had and how to manage our money wisely.

For a number of years during the early years of our ministry, we lived well below the poverty level,  but we never starved and we always experienced the enriching presence of God in our poverty. For that reason we never considered ourselves as poor nor did we ever apply for government assistance. 

Let me warn any would-be preacher that you are crazy and evil to choose the ministry as a way of gaining wealth.  If you are not in the ministry for the spiritual wealth of others, get out now before God brings down His judgment on you.  Proverbs 10:3 warns that God casts away the substance of the wicked!  

Read God’s warning in Luke 12:29-20 to the foolish, wicked farmer who lived only for himself and had no heart for God.  Paul warned of preachers who were in the ministry for filthy lucre’s sake.  I Timothy 3:3, Titus 1:7,11,  Peter warned of it in I Peter 5:2,

Proverbs 10:4-5 shows the path to  wealth and to poverty?

Laziness is the path to poverty and shame.  See also Proverbs 19:16, 20:4,23:21, 24:30-34.

Diligence and hard work  mark the path of those who are blessed materially.  Proverbs 10:5,  13:4  and 22:29.

The righteous are blessed and memorialized while the wicked are destroyed and often violently.  Proverbs 10:6-10

THE POWER OF OUR WORDS 10:11-14

 

The righteous bless with their words; whereas the wicked stir up strife and  eventually destroy themselves

DON’T TRUST YOUR RICHES  10:15

 

Read in Luke 12:16-21 of  Jesus’ warning concerning the rich farmer who lived only for himself.

Christ is our City of  Refugeand our strong tower in which we hide from the wrath and judgment of God.  Proverbs 18:10-11   Have you fled to Christ to hide from the judgment of God on you as a sinner?   Do it now! Come as a guilty, helpless sinner to God and cast yourself on Christ who died to pay the penalty of your sins and give you eternal life.

 

 

November 19, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Wise vs Fools

Retirement

Here are some thoughts on retirement our oldest son, Steve, sent to me on Nov. 5th, 2011,

“Tomorrow, my dad is retiring from fifty-five years of ministry to the Church. He has served selflessly, faithfully and heartily. But while he will no longer draw a salary from it, he will not retire from the Church. Far from it. In one sense, he is perhaps about to  enter, if symbolically, into a richer church experience.

For that last sentence to make sense, you must understand the way I use the word, “Church,” since there are many ways people define it. My definition for the purpose of this note is that body of Christians or Christ followers, not yet with Christ physically, but which is uncomfortable with the world system defined apart from God. It finds both its meaning and purpose in a nexus between heaven and earth. It is peopled with sinful creatures, yet it bears in itself the seed of holy perfection, awaiting its germination and full flowering. It is weak and tired, but feels deep down, and occasionally demonstrates, a supernatural strength that causes it to soar on wings like eagles; to run and not grow weary; to walk and not faint. The Church, at its best and most authentic manifestations, is heavenly minded, but of tremendous earthly good. It loves God most of all, yet that love translates into a great love of those must unlike God. In this regard, it reflects the very incarnation of it’s head and redeemer, Jesus Christ. It strives for pure devotion to God, yet struggles with countless limitations that hold it back like a sea anchor in its voyage though history. It focuses on the finish line, but stumbles in the race, sometimes in the most embarrassing and disgraceful ways. In a way it is neither this, nor that. It lives in ontological middleness. That place is as uncomfortable as it sounds. But it’s where it does the most good. In this middleness, Dad has served as a servant and a shepherd of Christ’s sheep.

Monday morning, he will awake to different kind of day. There will be no sermons to prepare, no meetings to attend, no official pastoral visits to the sick or distressed. But what kind of day will it be? The popular, advertised image of retirement is about relaxation, traveling to interesting places, spending more time with grandchildren and perhaps a little more fishing, artistic endeavors or golf. Some who can afford to take early retirement at say 50 to 60, might get to enjoy quite a few of these benefits for some time. But in its stark essence, what is retirement? Why do we retire? In general, it is because we are flagging – tired, perhaps dog-tired. We are making way for a younger generation. Perhaps on many days, we may feel we’ve lost our competitive edge.  Let’s be honest, we are nearing the end of life, perhaps soon or not very soon at all, but inexorably.

For Christians, retirement is an entrance into a new middleness. We may be quite functional, but clearly, we are declining – in strength, health, and vigor. When our health begins to fail, some might say we have “one foot in the grave.” For mature, spiritually healthy Christians, we still love our present mortal lives, but long for something better, more solid, more perfect. We don’t wish to leave our loved ones, but we miss our loved ones who have gone ahead. And we long to see Jesus – in the flesh.  We are in a nexus of sorts; between a mortality that is not what it used to be, and immortality. We are content, or not, with what we have been, but we long to be something more – something better.

Retirement for the self-aware Christian, is a bit like membership in the Church. Not completely this or that; an in-between place. And as Christians who are heavenly-minded enough to be of greater earthly good, so retired Christians are in a place to be the same. With eyes of faith, they gaze toward the brightening of the eastern sky, looking for the first rays of heavenly light. And in that vague, dusky light, they can be of tremendous value to those who follow them. They point the way; remind us of the bigger picture. They are keeping it real. How do I know this? Dad and Mom are already doing this and have been for sometime. I appreciate it. I think everyone does. And perhaps now, they will have more time for it.”

November 11, 2011 Posted by | Retirement, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Retirement

The Choice is Yours

In  Proverbs  9  Wisdom is personified  as speaking and challenging us to come to Him for wisdom.    Most Christians are familiar with the truth  that Christ is our Redeemer, our Righteousness and our Sanctification.   In I Corinthians1:30-31 we learn that The Lord Jesus Christ is also our wisdom.   You may recall from our study of Proverbs 8  that the theme of that chapter is Christ our Wisdom.  We continue that theme in Proverbs 9.

The mystery of Christ is that He who is eternal God the Creator, came into this world 2000 years ago as a new born baby, the supernaturally- conceived Son of God born to a virgin, Mary.

He is the Saviour to all who come in humility as sinners and trust the sacrifice of His shed blood on the cross as the full payment for our sins.  This Saviour is also our Wisdom.

Chapter 9 begins by emphasizing the rich feast provided for us by Wisdom. Solomon, who had the magnificent Temple  built in his day,  is speaking in this chapter of this beautiful temple.  We Christians in this Church Age are being built together a Christ’s  Holy  Temple.  I Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:15-20

Christ by His Holy Spirit dwells in us.   

THE RICH PROVISION OF CHRIST  Proverbs 9:1-2

Christ, previously seen as our wisdom in  chapter 8 is now seen in chapter 9 as furnishing us a feast. This feast is a picture of our redemption.

Solomon’s temple is a picture of the House Wisdom has built.  This is a veiled  picture of Christ’s  Church which He is building today.

The feast is described in Proverbs 9:1 and 5 as including bread and wine. This refers to Communion, also known as The Lord’s Supper which is a  type or picture of Christ’s sacrifice of His body and His blood sacrificed  for our redemption.  

Ephesians describes our salvation as a feast of blessings which commences with our salvation and continues throughout our lives.  Read through Ephesians to begin to grasp the wealth of our salvation. Ephesians 1-3 describes our wealth.  Ephesians 4-5 describes our walk and Ephesians 6 describes our warfare.

THE INVITATION IS GIVEN  Proverbs 9:3-6

The Maidens, referred to in Proverbs 9:3 are a type of the Church. sent out to invite people to the Gospel banquet.  Isn’t it amazing how the unsaved try to avoid those who would invite them to the Gospel banquet?  Somehow the devil has programmed into their thinking that Christian witnesses are trying to rope them and bring them into some sort of religious bondage. I’ll admit that there is religious bondage found and taught in some churches. But Christ’s true Church simply desires to invite people to a Gospel banquet of salvation and freedom from the bondage of sin and religion offered freely to anyone who recognizes and confesses his need of Christ.

Who is invited to the Banquet?  The Simple.   Review the third message in this Proverbs series to identify the Simple.  Basically the Simple include those who recognize their need of Christ and trust Him. 

WHAT IS THE INVITATION?  Proverbs 9:4-6

The invitation is salvation from sin offered to all to come to Jesus. This invitation is found repeatedly in the Gospel of John.   John 6:35, 51-58, 63.7:37-38 and in Revelation22:17.  The invitation is also found in the Old Testament. One example is in Isaiah 55:1-3.

With the Gift of Salvation is the challenge to turn from sin to a new direction. 9:6.   It is evident from Scripture that when one is justified through faith in Christ, sanctification  and spiritual growth follow. Sanctification and growth follow conversion.  I Peter 2:1-3

RESPONSE TO THE INVITATION  Proverbs 9:7-9

Some receive the Gospel invitation and are saved.  Others scorn and  reject it and remain lost. 

The Bible is not teaching us that preachers are never to reprove.  On the contrary, Peter reproved in Acts 2 and the Church grew. The Deacon Stephen preached and reproved in Acts 6-7 and was stoned. Paul, moved and convicted through Stephen’s preaching and martyrdom was saved and transformed. Paul teaches preachers in II Timothy 4:2 to reprove and rebuke their congregations in love and honesty.  Jesus reproved Pharisees.

Preachers are told in II Timothy 2:2-3  to reprove, those who  may or may not listen to them.  The Prophet Ezekiel in Ezekiel 3:4-11 was also commanded  to warn  Israel  to listen to and obey God.   The response of the listeners was not Ezekiel’s responsibility; nor is it the responsibility of preachers in this day. 

As a preacher through  fifty-five years of ministry, I also have experienced the varied responses of listeners from those who loved me and appreciated what I taught them to those who hated me and would have tried to remove me from my pulpit.  Whenever God’s Word is preached, there are no neutral listeners.   People will  love or hate the preaching of God’s Word and they either love or hate the messenger.  Christ-rejecters will hate us and those who love Christ will love us and grow wiser.  That’s the message of Proverbs 9:8-9. 

 RESULTS OF OBTAINING WISDOM AND REDEMPTION. 9:10-12

Wisdom begins with a respectful fear of  offending a Holy God.  Proverbs 9:10 and 1:7

A  knowledge of the Holy comes with study of  God’s Word. Proverbs 9:10

Such knowledge of God may  result in long life.  Proverbs 9:11

God’s wisdom is profitable to our well  being, profit  and a long life.  9:11-12

Reject God and His Word to  your hurt.

IN CONTRAST TO CHRIST AND HIS WISDOM,  EVIL INVITES US TO FOLLOW HER INTO SIN.  Proverbs 9:13-18  

In contrast with what Christ offers, what does Satan and his evil workers offer us?   Noise, confusion ignorance, death.  Sounds like the typical  TV and movie fare.

What is her message? That Illicit sex,  smoking and drinking and taking drugs is fun  and brings popularity and good feelingss.  Proverbs  9:17

But it doesn’t tell you the whole message. It tries to hide the fact that sin brings misery, a wasted life and ultimately judgment and death. Proverbs9:18; 2:18-19, 5:22-23, 7:24-27,  Romans6:23   Galatians  6:7-8  Ecclesiastes 11:9

Your choice is to choose Christ and live or  reject Christ and die.

November 10, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on The Choice is Yours

My Concert 10/9/11

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1fb0YFvrMo

A piano concert I presented to Alameda Bible Church on Oct. 9th 2011 just before I retired as pastor on November 6, 2011. If you wish to sing along,  copy and paste and print the songs below  as I play them in this order.   

_

JESUS LED ME ALL THE WAY

John W. Peterson

Someday life’s journey will be o’er

And I shall reach that distant shore.

I’ll sing while ent’ring Heaven’s door-

Jesus led me all the way.

_

Chorus 

_

Jesus led me all the way.

Led me step by step each day.

I will tell the saints and angels

As I lay my burden down.

Jesus led me all the way.

_

If God should let me there review

The winding paths of earth I knew

It would be proven clear and true

Jesus led me all the way.

_

And hitherto my Lord has led,

Today He guides each step I tread.

And soon in Heav’n it will be said

Jesus led me all the way.

 _

I’ve A Longing in MY Heart

        Dorothy Masters

 

I’ve  longing in my  heart for Jesus,

I’ve a longing in my heart to see His face.

I am weary, O so weary, of traveling here below,

I’ve a longing in my heart for Him.

 _

We Shall See His Lovely Face 

             Norman Clayton

We shall see His lovely face, some bright golden morning,

When the clouds have rifted and the shades have flown

Sorrows will be turned to joy, Heartaches gone forever,

No more night. Only light. When we see His face.

_

God shall wipe away all tears .some bright golden morning.

When the journey’s ended and the course is run.

No more crying, pain or death in that home of gladness

Trials cease.  All is peace,  When we see His face.

_

We shall meet to part no more. Some bright golden morning.

At the gates of glory where our loved ones stand

Songs of victory fill the skies  in that hour of greeting.

Endless days, Endless praise when we see His face.

_

  Song of the Soul Set Free

Oswald J. Smith                      Alfred H. Ackley

_

Fairest of ten thousand is Jesus Christ, my Savior,
The Lily of the Valley, The Bright and Morning Star.
He is all my glory, and in this heart of mine
Forevermore I’m singing a song of love divine.

Refrain
‘Tis the song of the soul set free,
And its melody is ringing.
‘Tis the song of the soul set free;
Joy and peace to me it’s bringing.
‘Tis the song of the soul set free;
And my heart is ever singing,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The song of the soul set free!

_

Once my heart was burdened, but now I am forgiven,
And with a song of gladness, I’m on my way to heav’n.
Christ is my Redeemer; my Song of Songs is He.
My Savior, Lord, and Master–to Him my praise shall be.

_
 
Angels cannot sing it–this song of joy and freedom,
For mortals only know it, the ransomed and the free.
Slaves were they in bondage and deepest misery;
But now they sing triumphant their songs of liberty.

_

 HE GIVETH MORE GRACE

Annie Johnson Flint

_

He giveth more grace as our burdens grow greater,
He sendeth more strength as our labors increase;
To added afflictions He addeth His mercy,
To multiplied trials He multiplies peace.

_

His love has no limits, His grace has no measure,
His power no boundary known unto men;
For out of His infinite riches in Jesus
He giveth, and giveth, and giveth again.

_

When we have exhausted our store of endurance,
When our strength has failed ere the day is half done,
When we reach the end of our hoarded resources
Our Father’s full giving is only begun.

_

           I NEVER WALK ALONE
Words and music       Alfred H. Ackley

_

 I never walk alone, I have the Saviour,
Who walks beside me everywhere I go;
My heart rejoices in His loving favor,
And all who will His saving grace may know.

_

Chorus
I never walk alone, Christ walks beside me,
He is the dearest Friend I’ve ever known,
With such a Friend to comfort and to guide me,
I never, no, I never walk alone.

_

I never walk alone, in stormy weather,
When winds of trouble sweep about my head;
I know I’m safe, because we are together,
And ’round me His protecting love is spread. 

_

FOLLOW ME
 Ira Stanphill

_
I traveled down a lonely road and no one seemed to care,
The burden on my weary back had bowed me to despair,
I oft complained to Jesus how folks were treating me,
And then I heard Him say so tenderly,
“My feet were also weary upon the Calv’ry road,
The cross became so heavy I fell beneath the load,
Be faithful weary pilgrim, the morning I can see,
Just lift your cross and follow close to me.”

_

“I work so hard for Jesus” I often boast and say,
“I’ve sacrificed a lot of things to walk the narrow way,
I gave up fame and fortune; I’m worth a lot to thee,”
And then I heard Him gently say to me,
“I left the throne of glory and counted it but loss,
My hands were nailed in anger upon a cruel cross,
But now we’ll make the journey with your hand safe in mine,
So lift your cross and follow close to me.”

_

Oh Jesus if I die upon a foreign field someday
‘Twould be no more than love demands, no less could I repay,
“No greater love hath mortal man than for a friend to die,”
These are the words he gently spoke to me,
“If just a cup of water I place within your hand
Then just a cup of water is all that I demand,”
But if by death to living they can thy glory see,
I’ll take my cross and follow close to thee.

_

Negro spiritual

 

I’m so glad Jesus llifted me.

I’m so glad Jesus llifted me.

I’m so glad Jesus llifted me.

Singing glory, Hallelujah!

Jesus lifted me.

_

I Will Pilot Thee       

Emily D. Wilson

_

Sometimes when my faith would falter

And no sunlight I can see

I just lift mine eyes to Jesus

And I whisper, “Pilot me.”

Chorus

Fear thou not, for I’ll be with thee

I will still thy pilot be,

Never mind the tossing billows,

Take my hand and trust in Me.

_

Often when my soul is weary

And the days seem oh so long,

I just look up to my Pilot

And I hear this blessed song.

_

When temptations round me gather

And I almost lose my way,

Somehow in the raving tempest,

I can hear my Saviour say,

When I come to Jordan’s river

And its troubled waters see

On the brink I’ll see my Saviour

And I know He’ll pilot me.

  The Secret of His Presence 

Ellen Lakshmi Goreth        George C. Stebbins

In the secret of His presence

How my soul delights to hide.

Oh, how precious are the lessons

Which I learn at Jesus side

Earthly cares can never vex me,

Neither trials lay me low;

For when Satan comes to tempt me,

To the secret place I go.

To the secret place I go. 

When my soul is faint and thirsty

‘Neath the shadow of His wing

There is cool and pleasant shelter

And a fresh and crystal spring;

And my Saviour rests beside me

As we hold communion sweet:

If I tried, I could not utter

What He says when thus we meet.

What He says when thus we meet.

Only this I know I tell Him

All my doubts, my griefs and fears;

Oh how patiently He listens

And my drooping soul He cheers:

Do you think He ne’er reproves me?

What a false friend He would be,

If He never never told me

Of the sins which He must see.

Of the sins which He must see.

Would you like to know the sweetness

Of the secret of the Lord?

Go and hide beneath His shadow:

This shall then be your reward;

And when- e’er you  leave the silence

Of that happy meeting place,

You must mind and bear the image

Of the Master in your face,

Of the Master in your face.

        The Haven of Rest

H.L. Gilmour   George D. Moore

My soul in sad exile, was out on life’s sea,

So burdened with sin and distress,

Til I heard a sweet voice saying “Make me your choice.”

And I entered the haven of rest

Refrain

I’ve anchored my soul in the haven of rest,

I’ll sail the wide seas no more;

The tempest may sweep o’er the wild stormy deep

In Jesus I’m safe evermore.

I yielded myself to His tender embrace,

And faith taking hold of the Word,

My fetters fell off and I anchored my soul.

The haven of rest in my Lord.

The song of my soul since the Lord made me whole

Has been the old story so blest,

Of Jesus who’ll save whosoever will have

A home in the haven of rest.

 Holy Holy Holy

Reginald Heber                                      John B. Dykes

Holy, Holy, Holy!  Lord God Almighty!

Early in the morning our songs shall rise to Thee

Holy, Holy Holy!  Merciful and Mighty!

God in three Persons, blessed Trinity.

Holy, Holy, Holy!  All the saints adore Thee,

Casting down their golden crown around the glassy sea;

Cherubim and seraphim falling down before Thee

Which wert and art and evermore shall be.

Holy, Holy, Holy, .Tho’  the darkness hide Thee,

Tho’ the eye of sinful man Thy glory may not see,

Only Thou art holy; There is none beside Thee

Perfect in love and power and purity.

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty!

All Thy works shall praise Thy name in earth and sky and sea;

Holy, Holy, Holy, Merciful and Mighty!

God in three persons, Blessed Trinity,!

November 9, 2011 Posted by | 2011 | Comments Off on My Concert 10/9/11

Christ, Our Wisdom

The theme of  Proverbs 8 is  Christ our Wisdom.   That is in harmony with what Paul teaches us in I Corinthians 1:30-31 where he teaches that Christ  is not only our righteousness, sanctification and redemption, but He is also  our wisdom.

Only those who know, trust and love Christ, have wisdom.  Those who reject Christ  and the eternal life He offers those who trust Him, are fools. In an earlier study in this Proverb’s series, we identified the four categories of people.

1. The Simple are those who know nothing or very little. All children are born simple.

2.  As we grow and mature, we are confronted with the truth of God’s Word. Those who approach it half-heartedly and carelessly, choosing to reject it and  go their own way are scorners.

3. In time, scorners become set in their rejection of God’s Word and become fools.

4. Those who take the Bible seriously and receive it as God’s holy, infallible Word and determine to live by it become wise.

DEFINITION OF WISDOM

Wisdom is the God-given ability of one who has received Christ as Saviour and Lord, to also receive the Bible as it is, the inspired, infallible Word of God and use knowledge and his I Q (whatever it is) to process facts, situations and assess people with discernment and good judgment so as to make the right choices and enjoy favor in the eyes of God and bless others to the glory of God.

Now from Proverbs 8 note:

I. GOD’S WISDOM AVAILABLE  8:1-5

 

Contrast the call of sin in Proverbs 7:6-20  with the call of wisdom and salvation in Proverbs 8:4-5 to those who are yet simple and fools.   

Would you note that those who have an understanding heart will have an understanding mind? Proverbs 8:5.

 Wisdom is primarily a heart matter;  not an intellectual matter!

Only those who have a love for God, according to Proverbs 8:17 will earnestly seek it from God’s Word, according to Proverbs 2:1-11,16 and find deliverance from sin.

II. GOD’S WISDOM DESCRIBED  8:6-9

 

It is described as excellent  Psalm 8

It is described as right in Proverbs 8:6-8  So to  do right is to do what God’s Word says.  

It is described as truth in Proverbs  8:7  Jesus  also identifies Himself  as the way, the truth, and the life in  John 14:6

As the Bible is God’s Holy Word; so Christ,  the Way, the Truth and the Life is also opposed to sin, according to Proverbs 8:7-8

The Bible is plain, simple and  easy to understand to those who want to understand it.  Proverbs 8:9 and  Proverbs 28:5. 

 

III THE VALUE OF WISDOM   8:10-21

 

Jesus taught In Luke 18:18-26 that God’s wisdom is more valuable than money & material wealth.

IV. CHRIST HIMSELF IS OUR WISDOM  8:22-36

 

He is eternal  Proverbs 8:22-26

He is the Creator of this earth, as well as the universe.  Proverbs 8:27-29, John 1,  Colossians 1, Hebrews 1 and  Revelation 1

As Jesus is His Father’s delight. Proverbs 8:30, so  we who have come to Him by faith  are Christ’s delight  Proverbs 8:31-32

Christ is our Saviour and wisdom.  Proverbs 8:32-36  I Corinthians 1:30-31 

 

V. INVITATION FOR US TO KNOW CHRIST AS  OUR SAVIOUR, OUR LIFE AND OUR WISDOM  Proverbs 8:32-36

Thoe who listen to, read and search God’s Word, find Christ and in trusting Him discover life and eternal life.

 To reject Christ is to remain in spiritual death and destroy ourselves. Proverbs 8:36

November 5, 2011 Posted by | PROVERBS | Comments Off on Christ, Our Wisdom

Installation of Pastor Lee

Charge to the Church and the new Pastor

on the occasion of the installation of

Pastor Peter Lee as pastor of Alameda Bible Church,

Albuquerque, NM. Nov. 6th 2011

by retiring Pastor Mal Bicker

 

Wake Up and Get Dressed!

Isaiah 52

Isaiah 52, as well as the entire Old Testament, though addressed to Israel, has application to Christ’s Church.  Paul states in II Tim. 3:16-17 .  “All Scripture (from Genesis through Revelation) is given by  inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine,  for reproof, for direction,  for instruction in  righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, fully furnished or equipped unto  all good  works.”

The Isaiah 52 prophecy of God’s ultimate victory for Israel  over her  enemies applies to the final triumph  of His Church over Satan and his anti-God world system.

Note in this 52nd chapter of Isaiah a:

CHARGE TO THE CHURCH  52:1-6

CHARGE TO OUR NEW PASTOR  52:`7-12

THE MESSAGE WE PREACH. 52:13-15

Let’s start with the message we preach as we consider Isaiah 52:13-15.

 

I. THE MESSAGE WE PREACH. Isaiah 52:13-15

 “My servant” is no less than Christ,  the Son of God.  Read a companion passage to this in  Isaiah 42:1-8.  Here is another of more than a dozen Messianic references in Isaiah  referring to Jesus as “My Servant”. 

Isaiah 52:14 clearly prophesies and describes the crucifixion of Christ and the unspeakable cruelty of His enemies before and during His crucifixion. His face was so marred, it was shocking to look on Him.

Verse 15 refers to the sprinkled blood sacrifice of Christ on Calvary’s cross  for the sins of the world.

 Peter writing about our salvation through Christ’s blood  in  I Peter 1:2. writes, “Elect according to foreknowledge of  God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit  unto obedience of Christ” who endured the cross and whose blood was sprinkled to save us.

Aaron, Moses’ brother and  the High Priest in the  days of Israel’s wilderness experience, sprinkled the  Mercy Seat in the Holy of Holies in the Tabernacle with the blood of animal sacrifices for sin.  All of this description of bloody animal sacrifices for sin, as it is described in  Lev. 16 and throughout that Book is a foreshadow of Christ’s  purchase of His Church through His shed  Blood.

The Apostle Paul, in his warning to the Ephesian elders in Acts20:28, refers to the importance of preaching Christ’s blood. It is one of the Fundamentals of the Faith,  Apart from faith in that shed blood sprinkled  for our sins, there is no salvation. 

Another Fundamental of the Faith and major theme of our salvation found in the Isaiah 52 passage is Christ’s Resurrection and His  exaltation, as prophesied  in Isaiah 52:13.

Perhaps the major passage in the Bible concerning the exaltation of Christ  is found  in Philippians 2:5-11 where it speaks of His resurrection from the dead and His  return to Heaven where  God has exalted Him as Lord.

One day He is returning to this world to be exalted  as King over all  earth, we read in  Psalm 2 and many other passages of the Bible.

This is the message we preach and has been preached here at Alameda Bible Church for  over seventy-two years. Christ’s deity and His blood atonement is a message which must never be surrendered  nor compromised.

 

II. CHARGE TO THE CHURCH  Isaiah 52:1-6

 

This charge to the church is primarily addressed to Israel  concerning Zion, a hill upon which Jerusalem  and the temple were built and where God dwelt.  Zion  is also a type of the Church. So Zion  has application for us, the church, as do all Old Testament and New Testament Scripture,

In Isaiah 52:1-2  We are charged to awake from our spiritual slumber and be separate from sin.  Christ’s Church could be likened to  a sleeping  giant, unaware of her strength.

To backslide is to sell ourselves into bondage to Satan, Isaiah 52:1-3. There we are urged to get out of the dust and filth of this world and be clean and  beautiful for God’s glory.  We are urged to reflect our beautiful garments,  Christ’s righteousness described in  Isaiah 61:10.   That’s what attract people to Christ!

Isaiah 52:3-4 continues to describe how as we sold ourselves into sin in the person of Adam, our first father, so without money we can find freedom from the penalty of sin and victory over the power of sin, through trusting in Christ, our mighty Deliverer.

Isaiah 52:5-6 continues  with the truth that no longer need we  be enslaved by the world and it’s sins and blasphemy of Christ’s name. Through trusting Christ, the Gift of God’s free grace, we can be redeemed from our sins and be given the free Gift of eternal life in Heaven.

Though we have all followed our first father, Adam, into sin. we can’t pass the blame to him.  We are each responsible for our own sins. But thank God, we can be redeemed from our sins without price to us, for the Lord Jesus paid the full price for our sins on the cross.  Thank God for the free Gift of God’s grace to us.

We can & must be delivered from worldiness.  Isaiah 52:4-6 reminds us that God’s name is blasphemed by the wicked lives of those who call themselves  Christians.  Paul also warns Pastor Titus  in Titus 2:1-10 of the importance of Christians living a godly life in their homes as well as in public so that Christ name be not blasphemed.  Such sin among Christians breaks my heart far more than the evil of lost, hell-bound sinners.

Isaiah 66:8 reminds us that  when  Zion travailed in prayer, She bore children.  Psalm 126:5-6 teaches the same truth.  When the church goes forward bearing the seed of  the Word, the Gospel  and  travailing in prayer, we return  rejoicing, bearing precious fruit.

Psalm 137:1-6 reminds us that as the Israelites in captivity were homesick for Zion  and too depressed and heart sick to sing their  songs of  Zion; so when we are backslidden and out of fellowship with Christ, we have no heart to sing  our songs of  Zion.

May God protect Alameda  Bible  Church  from ever becoming a  proud, uppity social club who know all the  correct doctrine; but who gives the cold  shoulder to visitors who may be spiritually ignorant and may not look and act as we do.  Perhaps some might even appear difficult to get to know and love and some may appear plain rude, ignorant and  obnoxious. We are commanded to love them to Christ. 

 

III. THE CHARGE TO THE MESSENGER. Isaiah 52:7-12

 

Isaiah begins by describing the beautiful feet of Gospel preachers in  Isaiah 52:7.  Paul quotes this same verse in Romans 10:15.  Before we can preach the Gospel to sinners, we have to go where they are. Seldom are they going to come to church.

In Ezekiel 34:1-10 Ezekiel gives a scathing rebuke from God to self-serving shepherds who make no effort to reach the lost with the Gospel.

Again, in Ezekiel 3:17-19 God warns Christians, especially Christian leaders of the awesome responsibility we have to warn sinners of the danger or rejecting God’s salvation through Christ.        

Alameda  Bible  Church  has had faithful  Watchmen throughout  her over seventy-two  years of  existence. Now I pass the baton, the sacred responsibility  to you, Pastor Lee,  to keep watching and waiting and serving the Lord as the days grow  darker  before the dawn of Christ’s return.  

Paul warns in I Corinthians 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the Faith, act as men, be strong.”  In the next verse,16:14  he reminds us to serve the Lord in love. In fact, he devotes the entire chapter of I Corinthians 13 to reminding us to serve in love to Christ and to those we minister.

 Pastor Lee,  as a minister of the Gospel,  I remind you from I Peter 5:2-4  that  we pastors and Christian leaders  are not to lord it over The church, but to be godly examples of faithfulness, humility and  love,

Don’t hesitate to give us the Truth.  They’ve proven to me that they can take it and not be offended, if it is Scriptural, if it’s spoken in love and  if it is  backed by  integrity and consistency.

MY TESTIMONY

 

I thank God for the privilege these past twenty-two years of being  Christ’s messenger to  Alameda  Bible  Church. These have been some of the most blessed and certainly the most peaceful years of my life. as a pastor.

I thank you, Alameda  Bible  Church  for your kindness, respect, care, love and generosity to Pat and me ever since we came.

And now I challenge you to show that same loving support to  Pastor Peter Lee who has been called  here  to continue the work of living and  preaching  the Gospel. May we all show that same love and acceptance  to his wife, Sandy and to their children, Andrew, Matthew and Emery

 INSTALLATION PRAYER

Elders come now and lay hands on our new pastor as Dr. Larry Bacon, Chairman of our Elder Board, asks God’s power and blessing on him and as we offer our prayerful support and encouragement to him.

 

Afterwards your new pastor, Pastor Peter Lee, will lead us in a closing prayer.

Then Pastor Peter Lee and  his family will join me in the foyer to give you all an opportunity to greet them and get to know them.

 

 

 

 

November 4, 2011 Posted by | Retirement | Comments Off on Installation of Pastor Lee