April 16, 2017 [[[ BLESSED EASTER SUNDAY.....RESURRECTION DAY ]]]

"a" Church

"E.A.S.T.E.R!!!"

John 11 v 25

"Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"





Dear God,
Thank You that You make all things new. Thank You for the victory and power in Jesus’ Name. Thank You that You hold the keys over death, that by Your might, and by Jesus’s will, He was raised from the grave, paving the way for us to have new life with You. Thank You Lord that You provided a way for our escape from the eternal Hell fire.

We confess our need for You…fresh…new…again. We ask that You renew our hearts, minds, and lives, for the days ahead. We pray for Your LOVE, grace, and mercy to be in our lives.

Keep Your words of truth planted firm within us, that we share them with others, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to Your word. And when the enemy reminds us of how sinful we were and begins hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that Your voice speaks louder and stronger, reminding us we are safe with You and that Your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that You will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on Your solid ground.

Shine Your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for Your glory and purposes. Set Your way before us. All Your plans will succeed. May we reflect Your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs Your presence and healing.

Thanks be to You God, for Your indescribable gift! To You be glory and honor for ever and ever, especially on this Resurrection Day, in Jesus’ name, Amen and eternally Amen .

This week we celebrate the greatest event in human history, the RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!

The foundation of Christianity is in the VERY REAL and POWERFULLY VERIFIED PHYSICAL RESURRECTION OF OUR LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR Jesus Christ!!!

 Without the reality of the resurrection, without EASTER Sunday there is no faith…….

 1 Corinthians 15 v 13-17

 “But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:  14. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.”

 *******But because of the reality of Jesus’ resurrection, those who LOVE and accept Him as Lord, God and Savior SHALL NOT BE ASHAMED, NOT EVER!!!!!!!

 Romans 1 v 16

 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

 To everyone that believes in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that EASTER Sunday morning and genuinely LOVE Him, Life Eternal IS THEIRS!!!!!!! IS OURS!!!!!!!

 Romans 10 v 11

 “For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

 Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 As we look to that Sunday morning that we call EASTER, we must realize it is far more than just that one morning in Jerusalem!         

                            E.A.S.T.E.R.

 Eternity……………………From all eternity Jesus was, He had no beginning and no end!

 Proverbs 8 v 22-30

 “The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.  23. I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. 24. When there were no depths, I was brought forth; when there were no fountains abounding with water. 25.  Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: 26.  While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. 27. When he prepared the heavens, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: 28. When he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: 29. When he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: 30. Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;”

 Everlasting to everlasting He was with God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, THEY WERE ONE!!!!!!!

 Even from eternity Jesus Christ delighted in mankind, and LOVED us!!!

 Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end!!!

 Revelation 1 v 8

 “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

 Jesus Christ is the beginning of all things and HE IS ETERNALLY THE ALMIIGHTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 Yet He became man and entered this world as a little babe in swaddling clothes…

 Luke 2 v 6-7A

 “And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger…”

 Jesus Christ became man that through His death many WOULD BE SAVED!!!

 All His earthly life He was about His Father’s business!!!

 Luke 2 v 49

 “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?”

 Jesus gave sight to the blind, the ability to walk to the lame, cleansed lepers and all manner of diverse diseases and infirmities…

 Jesus raised the dead, and gave hearing to the deaf…

 He preached the gospel of repentance to the poor and to all who would listen…

 Luke 7 v 7

 “Then Jesus answering said unto them, Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached.”

 All His life Jesus Christ ministered to the needs of others. Through Jesus Christ all have the opportunity to be saved!!!

 John 12 v 47

 “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.”

 Sinless throughout His incarnation and forever, tempted every bit as any human being, yet never sinning…

 Hebrews 4 v 15

 “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

 For to be the perfect blood sacrifice for the forgiveness of our sins, ONCE FOR ALL TIME; He must be a lamb without spot or blemish…

 1 Peter 1 v 18-19

 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19. But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”

 Hebrews 10 v 10

 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

 Sinless He is our only Savior…….

 Acts 5 v 31

 “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

 2 Timothy 1 v 10

 “But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

 Our sinless Savior brings eternal life to those who LOVE Him…

 Tomb, Jesus Christ died for our sins, and was placed in a tomb…

 Matthew 26 v 1-2

 “And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2. Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.”

 Jesus was betrayed by a friend, Judas Iscariot one of the twelve.

 Psalms 41 v 9

 “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.”

 We often seem surprised that one of the apostles Jesus chose betrayed Him. Yet with each of our own sins we betray the LOVE God has for each and everyone one of us, and with each of our sins WE OURSELVES STRIKE THE HAMMER PIERCING OUR SAVIOR WITH THE NAILS OF THE CROSS WE PUT HIM ON!!!

 Matthew 27 v 35

 “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.”

 As Jesus was suffering and dying upon the cross for the healing and forgiveness of our sins, with our sins we callously stole His clothes and gambled them away…

 Mark 15 v 37

 “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.”

 Jesus Christ breathed His last human breath on this side of eternity…

 Matthew 27 v 59-60

 “And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60. And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulchre, and departed.”

 Jesus did not even have His own tomb, but in His death He had a borrowed tomb…

 Jesus Christ was placed in a tomb because of YOUR’S, MINE, and OUR SINS…

 Jesus died!!!

 Entered Hell for our sakes…

 Matthew 12 v 40

 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

 For our sakes Jesus went to Hell!!!

 1 Peter 3 v 18-19

 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the spirit: 19. By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;”

 Jesus died, was separated from God the Father, and went to Hell for the forgiveness of our sins…

 Resurrection, on the third day, Jesus Christ raised Himself from the dead!!!

RAISED HIMSELF FROM THE DEAD!!!!!!!

 John 2 v 19, 21

 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I Will raise it up…21. But he spake of the temple of his body.”

 Thus proving He is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and the one true eternal God!!!

 Savior of ALL WHO WILL LOVE AND ACCEPT HIM!!!!!!!

 He is risen!!!!!!!

 He is resurrected!!!

 The first fruit of all those who will be resurrected because of His great LOVE!!!!!!!

 1 Corinthians 15 v 20

 “But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.”

 Now because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, we to can have confidence that we too will be raised!!!

 Romans 6 v 8-11

 “Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9. Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11.  Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

 And because Jesus Christ will die no more WE CAN KNOW WE WILL LIVE WITH HIM FOR EVERMORE, FOR ETERNITY!!!!!!!

 And we who LOVE Him will die no more…

 Amen!!!!!!!

Revelation 21:4 (NIV2011)
4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

Through His resurrection, we can partake in His sufferings and can be conformed to His likeness.

 E.A.S.T.E.R

 ETERNAL, JESUS IS FROM EVERLASTING TO EVERLASTING…

ALL HIS LIFE HE SERVED GOD THE FATHER, AND MINISTERED TO HUMANITY…

SINLESS TO BE OUR SAVIOR…

TOMB, HE DIED THAT AND WENT TO THE TOMB THAT WE MIGHT BE SAVED BY HIS DEATH AND…

ENTERED HELL TO PREACH TO THOSE WHO WERE IMPRISONED…

RESURRECTED THAT PROVES JESUS IS THE CHRIST THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD, THE ONLY SAVIOR, THE ONE TRUE GOD!!!!!!!

Through His resurrection we too might live…….

 John 11 v 25

 "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:"

 And because of EASTER though we may die, we will never ever be separated from God, and WE WILL LIVE FOR EVER……………………………………………………

 Blessed EASTER!!!

 Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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April 9, 2017





“a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

 "The Epistle of Jude"

 Jude v 1

"Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called:"

Father, We desire to be more LOVING and joyful. We know that when we reflect LOVE and joy, then it will be mirrored back to us. Father, help us to be less of what we shouldn't be and more of what we should be. We are ready to fully embrace LOVE with a grateful heart. We desire to live our lives joyfully rather than fearfully. Father, We are Your children. Help us to live every moment of our lives with gratitude, child-like curiosity and kindness. We also desire to call into our lives relationships that also reflect these same qualities.

Protect our troops overseas, and guide our President and our government to do the right things.

We ask this through Jesus Christ's Most Precious Blood, the eternal blood, in His Sacred Name and Holy Face. Amen and eternally Amen……………………….

This week we will turn our attention to the small New Testament book, the “Letter of Jude”, the book of Jude.

As we begin our discussion, we first must ask the question: Who was Jude?

Many Theologians including John Wesley believe Jude to be the step brother or half brother of Jesus Christ Himself.

“The brother of James — St. James was the more eminent, usually styled, “the brother of the Lord.” John Wesley

Matthew 13 v 55

“Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?

Listed is James and his brother Judas (Jude), as sons of Mary the Mother of Jesus…

We suggest Jude and his brother James were half brothers of Jesus, all having Mary as their Mother, Jude and James being begotten by Joseph and Jesus being the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD…

Others suggest Jude is a step brother of Jesus, being the son of Joseph from a previous marriage and not a blood relation to Jesus at all.

Still other Theologians fewer in number believe that Jude is not the brother of Jesus at all, that both Jude and James were very common names to the Jews in those days and so it is possible this Jude simply had a brother named James and neither were related to Jesus at all by blood. ***Jude refers to himself “as a servant of Jesus Christ”, in-other-words perhaps just one of many disciples of Jesus Christ the Messiah!!!

Adam Clarke states:

“The author of the epistle himself has assumed neither the title of apostle of Jesus Christ, nor of brother of Jesus Christ, but calls himself only ‘Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James.”

Being a servant of Jesus Christ is to declare Jesus to be the writer’s Lord, God, and Savior; a Child of the one true God!!! So clearly Jude was a devote follower of Jesus Christ. Secondly, Jude acknowledges that he is indeed the brother of James. Though we cannot say with absolute certainty whom this James was, obviously he must have be a well-known follower of Jesus Christ or there would have be no reason to mention the relationship…

What we do know is this, Jude in what he wrote and said demonstrates with ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY his ABSOLUTE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST, and his life’s dedication to the purity and reality of the one true Gospel of Jesus Christ!!!

Jude by the inspiration of God the Holy Spirit exhorts fellow Christians to stand unwavering in their faith, warns followers of false teachers and the potential damning influence of their false teachings, Jude vividly describes these manipulative deceivers of mankind and their final estate, warns believers not to be surprised by these evil seducers and especially of their presence within the church itself, and finally Jude concludes his 25 verse letter with a beautiful doxology of encouragement and praise…….

Jude v 2-4

“Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. 3. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 4. For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

In the time of Jude as in our present age as in the earthly history of mankind to come after us; Jude admonishes us that are genuine followers of the one true Gospel, LOVERS of Jesus Christ, THAT WE MUST BE DILIGENT, EVER CONSCIENCIOUS IN OUR EFFORTS TO UPHOLD THE TRUTH OF GOD, AS INERRANT AND INFALLIBLY LAID DOWN IN THE BIBLE!!!

The true Gospel, the true word of God the Bible and it’s ABSOLUTELY WORD BY WORD INSPIRATION BY GOD HIMSELF MUST BE TAUGHT IN IT’S COMPLETENESS, NEVER ADDED TO OR SUBTRACTED FROM…

It is what binds our salvation to a common incorruptible seed WHICH IS THE SOURCE OF GENUINE SALVATION…

1 Peter 1 v 23-25

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

This word, this Bible, this ONLY TESTAMENT, is what binds genuine Christians to each other and bestows salvation on those who genuinely repent of their sins and acknowledge that JESUS CHRIST IS THEIR LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR!!!!!!!

***This Jude says we MUST ABSOLUTELY STAY FIRM TO!!!!!!! *******Be diligent to!!!!!!!

Isaiah 7 v 9B

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”

Passionately Jude pleads to all professing Christians to stay absolutely true to God’s word, and not only to believe it, but to intimately claim it as your own heart, as your own soul, as your whole being and to fervently share the true faith in Jesus Christ and His Bible, God’s Holy Writ: WITH ALL PEOPLE!!! ***Everywhere!!!!!!!

Jude warns there are certain people who have called themselves part of the Christian faith, that claim they are true disciples of Jesus Christ. They may even do what appears to be wonderful works of love and dedication to the gospel, who by the reality of their hearts’ miss-use and aggressively at times abuse the grace of God. Using grace as an excuse to sin freely, using their positions to pervert and attempt to make the Gospel message obtuse and irrelevant to mankind.

*They may claim to accept the grace of God, while denying their, our, responsibility of living our moment by moment lives in the purity and holiness of His Spirit!!!

Ephesians 2 v 8-19

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast. 10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

These people in the time of Jude undoubtedly were indoctrinated with Gnosticism and its belief that, since the grace of God was wide enough to cover any sin, a person could sin as they pleased. The more a person sinned, the greater the grace, therefore, why worry about sin? Grace was being perverted into a justification for continuing to sin.

**They may claim the atoning blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, while denying it’s ABSOLUTE POWER TO SAVE…

They denied our only Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. There is more than one way in which a person can deny Jesus Christ:

(1) A person can deny Jesus Christ in the day of persecution.

(2) A person can deny Jesus Christ for the sake of convenience.

(3) A person can deny Jesus Christ by their daily life and conduct.

(4) A person can deny Jesus Christ by developing false ideas about Him and His Bible.

If these false teachers in Jude’s time were in actuality Gnostics, they would have two mistaken ideas about Jesus. First, they taught since the body, being matter, was evil, they would hold that Jesus only seemed to have a body and was a kind of spirit ghost in the apparent shape of a man. The Greek for "to seem" is dokein; and these people were called Docetists. They would deny the real manhood of Jesus Christ. Second, they would deny His uniqueness. They believed that there were many stages between the evil matter of this world and the perfect spirit which is God; and they believed that Jesus was only one of the many stages on the way.

Jesus however said:

John 14 v 6

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Jesus IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD, His life’s example IS THE ONLY PERFECT EXAMPLE WE HAVE!!!

Many today will claim Jesus Christ died for our sins, but that His atoning blood sacrifice WAS NOT ENOUGH, that we must save ourselves, atone for our own sins by the good works of righteousness that we do under our own power……

Titus 3 v 5-6

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6. Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;”

No wonder Jude was terrified and alarmed at these false and seductive teachers. Jude was faced with a situation in which they had wormed their way into the church, and were twisting the grace of God into a justification, and even a reason, for sinning in the most blatant way; and who denied both the manhood and the uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His power to save humanity.

Jude v 5-7

“I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. 6. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. 7. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.”

Jude issues a warning to these evil people who were perverting the belief and conduct of the church. Jude tells them that he is, in fact, doing nothing other than remind them of things of which they are perfectly well aware of. In a sense it is true to say that all preaching within the Christian church is not so much bringing to people new truth as confronting them with truth they already know, but have forgotten or are disregarding. It has rightfully been said: IT IS NOT THE HARD TO UNDERSTAND TEACHINGS IN THE BIBLE THAT CAUSE PROBLEMS, BUT RATHER THE PASSAGES AND TEACHINGS WE READILY UNDERSTAND, YET, REFUSE TO LISTEN TO AND OBEY!!!!!!!

James 1 v 22

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

To understand the first two examples which Jude cites from history we must understand one thing. The evil people who were corrupting the church did not regard themselves as enemies of the church and of Christianity; they regarded themselves as the advanced thinkers, a cut above the ordinary Christian, the spiritual elite. Jude chooses his examples to make clear that, even if a person has received the greatest privileges, they may still fall away into disaster, and even those who have received the greatest privileges from God cannot consider themselves safe but must be on constant watch against the mistaken things.

The first example is from the history of Israel. Jude goes for his story to Numbers chapter 13 and 14. The mighty hand of God had delivered the people from slavery in Egypt. What greater act of deliverance could there be than that? The guidance of God had brought the people safely across the desert to the borders of the Promised Land. What greater demonstration of his Providence could there be than that? So, at the very borders of the Promised Land, at Kadesh-Barnea, spies were sent out to spy out the land before the final invasion took place. With the exception of Caleb and Joshua, the spies came back with the opinion that the dangers ahead were so terrible and the people so strong, that they could never win their way into the Promised Land. The people rejected the report of Caleb and Joshua, who were for going on, and accepted the report of those who insisted that the case was hopeless. This was a clear act of disobedience to God and of complete lack of faith in Him. The result was that God gave judgment that of these people, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, all over twenty would never enter the Promised Land but would wander in the wilderness until they were dead.

Numbers 14 v 32-33

“But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness. 33. And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.”

Numbers 32 v 10-13

“And the Lord's anger was kindled the same time, and he sware, saying, 11. Surely none of the men that came up out of Egypt, from twenty years old and upward, shall see the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob; because they have not wholly followed me: 12. Save Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite, and Joshua the son of Nun: for they have wholly followed the Lord. 13. And the Lord's anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed.”

This was an image which haunted the mind of both Paul and the writer to the Hebrews:

1 Corinthians 10 v 5-11

“But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8.  Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.10. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

Hebrews 3 v 18-19

“And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? 19. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.”

Hebrews 4 v 2

“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”

It is the proof that even the person the greatest opportunity can meet with disaster before the end, if THEY, WE, fall away from obedience and lapses from faith.

Johnstone Jeffrey tells of a great man who absolutely refused to have his life-story written before his death. "I have seen," he said, "too many men fall out on the last lap."

John Wesley warned, "Let, therefore, none presume on past mercies, as if they were out of danger."

In his dream John Bunyan saw that even from the gates of heaven there was a way to hell.

Not that a genuinely saved person can lose their salvation, BUT WE CAN ABSOLUTELY LOSE OUR CHRISTIAN WITNESS AND THE JOY OF OUR SALVATION BY ALLOWING FALSE TEACHERS AND/ OR FALSE DOCTRINES TO BE TOSSED ABOUT IN OUR CONGREGATIONS…….

As for those who merely profess salvation, or are merely searching for the true Gospel, false teachers and false doctrines can potentially ever destroy THEIR CHANCES OF ETERNAL SALVATION!!!

Thus Jude warns these people that, great as their knowledge or wisdom seem to have been, they must still have a care lest disaster come upon them.

***It is a warning which each of us would do well to heed.***

Jude v 8-9

“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. 9. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee”.

Jude begins this passage by comparing the evil people of his day  with the false prophets whom Scripture condemns.

Deuteronomy 13 v 1-5

“If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, and 2. And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; 3.  Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4. Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. 5. And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the Lord thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.”

These verses sets down what is to be done with "the prophet or the dreamer of dreams" who corrupts the nations and seduces the people, from their loyalty to God. Such a prophet is to be mercilessly killed. These men whom Jude attacks are false prophets, dreamers of false dreams, seducers of the people, and must be treated as such.

***Their false teaching resulted in two major products.

ONE, It made them corrupt the flesh. We have already seen the twofold direction of their teaching on the flesh. First, the flesh was entirely evil, and, therefore, of no importance; and so the instincts of the body could be given their way without control. Second, the grace of God was all-forgiving and all-sufficient and therefore, sin did not matter since grace would forgive every sin. Sin was only the means whereby grace was given its opportunity to operate.

TWO, They detested angels. Celestial powers and angelic glories are names for ranks of angels within the angelic hierarchy. This follows immediately after the citing of Sodom and Gomorrah as dreadful examples; and part of the sin of Sodom was the desire of its people to misuse its angelic visitors:

Genesis 19 v 1-11

“And there came two angels to Sodom at even; and Lot sat in the gate of Sodom: and Lot seeing them rose up to meet them; and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground; 2. And he said, Behold now, my lords, turn in, I pray you, into your servant's house, and tarry all night, and wash your feet, and ye shall rise up early, and go on your ways. And they said, Nay; but we will abide in the street all night. 3. And he pressed upon them greatly; and they turned in unto him and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. 4. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5. And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7. And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  8. Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9. And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them. And they pressed sore upon the man, even Lot, and came near to break the door. 10. But the men put forth their hand, and pulled Lot into the house to them, and shut to the door. 11. And they smote the men that were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great: so that they wearied themselves to find the door.”

The men Jude attacks spoke evil of the angels. To prove how terrible a thing that was Jude cites an instance from an apocryphal book, The Assumption of Moses. One of the strange things about Jude is that he so often makes his quotations from these apocryphal books. Such quotations seem strange to us; but these books were very widely used at the time when Jude was writing and the quotations would be very effective.

The story in The Assumption of Moses runs as follows. The strange story of the death of Moses is told in:

Deuteronomy 34 v 1-6

“And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2. And all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3. And the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4. And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither. 5. So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord. 6. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.”

In the book: “The Assumption of Moses”, the scene goes on to add the further story that the task of burying the body of Moses was given to the archangel Michael. The devil disputed with Michael for possession of the body. He based his claim on two grounds. Moses' body was matter; matter was evil; and, therefore, the body belonged to him, for matter was his domain. Second, Moses was a murderer, for had not he slain the Egyptian whom he saw smiting the Hebrew.

Exodus 2 v 11-12

“And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren. 12. And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.”

And, if he was a murderer, the devil had a claim on his body. The point Jude is making is this. Michael was engaged on a task given him by God; the devil was seeking to stop him and was making claims he had no right to make. But even in a collection of circumstances like that Michael spoke no evil of the devil but simply said, "The Lord rebuke you!" If the greatest of the good angels refused to speak evil of the greatest of the evil angels, even in circumstances like that, surely no human being may speak evil of any angel.

What the people Jude was reproving were saying about the angels we do not know. Perhaps they were saying that they did not exist; perhaps they were saying they were evil, or perhaps they were even saying the angels were giving additional revelation from God that was not contained in the Gospel, in the books that we call the Bible.  But clearly they were saying something false about God’s faithful angels…

At this point we will stop for today, and next time we will complete at least this attempt at a discussion of the Letter of Jude…….

Remember God’s warnings through Jude, EVER BE VIGILENT IN DISCOVERING FALSE TEACHERS AND FALSE DOCTRINES, AND MOST DILIGENT SHARE THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL OF YOUR FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST WITH AS MANY AS YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SO…….

And those of you who profess “another testament”, another gospel, a better more complete book or doctrine, TAKE HEED LEAST YE BE ETERNALLY DAMNED!!!!!!!

******May God teach us His ETERNAL “TRUTH” the Holy Bible!!!!!!!*******

Acts 17 v 11

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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​April 2, 2017

​“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"A Crisis of Faith"

2 Kings 19 v 15

"And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the Cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth."

Today’s Prayer:

alm 31:1-24 (RSV)
1 In thee, O LORD, do I seek refuge; let me never be put to shame; in thy righteousness deliver me! 2 Incline thy ear to me, rescue me speedily! Be thou a rock of refuge for me, a strong fortress to save me! 3 Yea, thou art my rock and my fortress; for thy name's sake lead me and guide me, 4 take me out of the net which is hidden for me, for thou art my refuge. 5 Into thy hand I commit my spirit; thou hast redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God. 6 Thou hatest those who pay regard to vain idols; but I trust in the LORD. 7 I will rejoice and be glad for thy steadfast love, because thou hast seen my affliction, thou hast taken heed of my adversities, 8 and hast not delivered me into the hand of the enemy; thou hast set my feet in a broad place. 9 Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eye is wasted from grief, my soul and my body also. 10 For my life is spent with sorrow, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my misery, and my bones waste away. 11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries, a horror to my neighbors, an object of dread to my acquaintances; those who see me in the street flee from me. 12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead; I have become like a broken vessel.3 Yea, I hear the whispering of many -- terror on every side! -- as they scheme together against me, as they plot to take my life. 14 But I trust in thee, O LORD, I say, "Thou art my God." 15 My times are in thy hand; deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors! 16 Let thy face shine on thy servant; save me in thy steadfast love! 17 Let me not be put to shame, O LORD, for I call on thee; let the wicked be put to shame, let them go dumbfounded to Sheol. 18 Let the lying lips be dumb, which speak insolently against the righteous in pride and contempt. 19 O how abundant is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for those who fear thee, and wrought for those who take refuge in thee, in the sight of the sons of men! 20 In the covert of thy presence thou hidest them from the plots of men; thou holdest them safe under thy shelter from the strife of tongues. 21 Blessed be the LORD, for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me when I was beset as in a besieged city. 22 I had said in my alarm, "I am driven far from thy sight." But thou didst hear my supplications, when I cried to thee for help. 23 Love the LORD, all you his saints! The LORD preserves the faithful, but abundantly requites him who acts haughtily. 24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the LORD!

 Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen…………………….

“Go home and put your head upon your pillow and sleep as you never have before, for He that watches over the nation and people of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps and it is He who has said: ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you!!!”

HCS, sbc

I am a child of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. So a technique that is often used in both television and movies I will employ here. Our text is the present, but I begin my sermon as a flash back.

The year was approximately 740 BC, Israel and Judah had been a divided kingdom for a great many years. Israel followed in the sins of Jeroboam their king. As a result of their continuing sin, God carried them away to Assyria as prophesied by His prophets. This process of captivity was gradual, yet on going, and took over 150 years.

During the reign of Hoshea king of Israel in 721 BC, over 27,290 persons were carried away from Samaria to Assyria under Assyrian King Sargon the Second.

In Judah King Ahaz had been ruling for many years. And like Jeroboam had also lead his people into sin.

2 Kings 18 v 1

“Now it came to pass in the third year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Hezekiah the son of Ahaz king of Judah began to reign.”

Hezekiah was 25 years old when he began to reign in his father’s stead. According to the scriptures he reigned a total of 29 years in Jerusalem. Unlike Hoshea, Hezekiah did not follow in the footsteps of his father.

2 Kings 18 v 3

“And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his father did.”

He followed in the steps of King David and served the Lord. As a godly king, he restored the “Temple”, purging it of all idols, repairing it, and ultimately reopening it. Ahaz his father had greatly neglected it and brought it to near ruins. His task was in rooting out Canaanite fertility cults and pagan practices and idols.

2 Kings 18 v 4

“He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.”

His efforts were so thorough he even removed the “high places”. These were centers of idolatrous worship in his kingdom. Further he removed, idolatrous images and cut down the groves they were in.

Even more decisive was his destruction of the brazen serpent of Moses.

Numbers 21 v 9

“And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”

Up and to Hezekiah’s reign this serpent of brass had become an object of idolatrous worship, having incense burned to it.

2 Chronicles 30 v 1

“And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, to keep the passover unto the Lord God of Israel.”

His great purging of sin was climaxed by the “great” celebration of the Passover. Not only was all of Judah called, but he summoned all the remnant of the ten tribes of Israel.

2 Kings 18 v 5

“He trusted in the Lord God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.”

Hezekiah was a man, a king, that LOVED God with his whole heart. And did all he could to bring Judah back to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob!

Five years into Hezekiah’s reign, 27,290 people from the kingdom of Israel were forcibly taken into captivity by Assyria. It visibly seemed time was running out for the people of Judah!

Hezekiah was not only a godly king, but he was also a “warrior” king. He was no coward, and he believed in and LOVED his people and his country: Judah.

In 714 BC he fought an aggressive war against the Philistines. He was so successful he not only took cities his father had lost,

2 Chronicles 28 v 18

“The Philistines also had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with the villages thereof, and Timnah with the villages thereof, Gimzo also and the villages thereof: and they dwelt there.”

He even dispossessed many of the cities of the Philistines:

2 Kings 18 v 8

“He smote the Philistines, even unto Gaza, and the borders thereof, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.”

Starting around 715 BC, Assyria made numerous invasions into Judah.

In addition to his moral and spiritual reform, Hezekiah also built up Judah’s economy and military defenses. 

2 Chronicles 32 v 28-29

“Storehouses also for the increase of corn, and wine, and oil; and stalls for all manner of beasts, and cotes for flocks. Moreover he provided him cities, and possessions of flocks and herds in abundance: for God had given him substance very much.”

2 Chronicles 32 v 3-5

“Also he strengthened himself, and built up all the wall that was  broken, and raised it up to the towers, and another wall without, and repaired Millo in the city of David, and made darts and shields in abundance. And he set captains of war over the people, and gathered them together to him in the street of the gate of the city, and spake comfortably to them, saying, Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him:”

2 Chronicles 32 v 30

“This same Hezekiah also stopped the upper watercourse of Gihon, and brought it straight down to the west side of the city of David. And Hezekiah prospered in all his works.”

Early in the reign of Sennacherib king of Assyria, Hezekiah revolted against him. Believing that Assyria was far too busy with its other conquests to worry about Judah. So he stopped the ongoing monetary tribute to Assyria.

2 Kings 18 v 13

“Now in the fourteenth year of king Hezekiah did Sennacherib king of Assyria come up against all the fenced cities of Judah, and took them.”

Hezekiah’s gamble was wrong, and soon the king of Assyria had invaded Judah. Like Israel and so many of the other surrounding nations, now many of Judah’s cities were captured and conquered…

A king’s or a president’s worst fears were about to be realized in the life of Hezekiah.

His kingdom was being invaded, conquered city by city and the enemy was ever approaching the holy city, Jerusalem. Jerusalem the home of Judah’s government, and eternal site of God’s holy “Temple”, where God met with humankind.

***It was one thing to lose cities and people, it was another thing for the “Temple” of YHWH to be captured and desecrated by a pagan army!! An army and king that served and worshipped another god.

Hezekiah, this godly king, this warrior king, was at his wit’s end. What to do, what to do? This could not happen on his watch. What would the pagan world say?

“You destroyed all the idols in your country, repaired your god’s “temple”, called your nation to repentance. Did all that in the name of your god: “yhwh”. And as a result, our gods have proven superior, our gods are true gods. And your god has been defeated by our glorious king and his avenging army by the hands of our gods!”

2 Kings 18 v 14-16

“And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria to Lachish, saying, I have offended; return from me: that which thou puttest on me will I bear. And the king of Assyria appointed unto Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the Lord, and in the treasures of the king's house. At that time did Hezekiah cut off the gold from the doors of the temple of the Lord, and from the pillars which Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid, and gave it to the king of Assyria.”

So worried for his people, his nation, God’s holy “Temple”, he begged the king of Assyria to once again accept monetary tribute from Judah. He literally desecrated the holy “Temple” himself, stripping it of it’s precious gold, in hopes of appeasing this pagan power.

But the humbling and desecrating of God’s king, and God’s “Temple” was not enough for the king of Assyria. Why should he settle, no power on earth or in the heavens above had been able to stand against his vicious and invading army. No nation, no god, not even Israel, had been able to stand up to Assyria!

All had fallen, all had been defeated, all had been conquered. All the one time powerful nations of the region, had been subdued, and taken into bondage by the mighty power of the hand of Sennacherib, king of Assyria. No nation’s god, was able to protect them from his mighty hand!

2 Kings 18 v 17

“And the king of Assyria sent Tartan and Rabsaris and Rabshakeh from Lachish to king Hezekiah with a great host against Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. And when they were come up, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is in the highway of the fuller's field.”

And the blasphemy Hezekiah hoped to avoid by submitting to the king of Assyria occurred any way. And the representatives of the king of Assyria spoke:

2 Kings 18 v 22

“But if ye say unto me, We trust in the Lord our God: is not that he, whose high places and whose altars Hezekiah hath taken away, and hath said to Judah and Jerusalem, Ye shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem?”

They continued:

2 Kings 18 v 28-30

“Then Rabshakeh stood and cried with a loud voice in the Jews' language, and spake, saying, Hear the word of the great king, the king of Assyria: Thus saith the king, Let not Hezekiah deceive you: for he shall not be able to deliver you out of his hand: Neither let Hezekiah make you trust in the Lord, saying, The Lord will surely deliver us, and this city shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

So arrogant were the messengers of the King of Assyria they literally said in verse 27, ‘we have come to bring such fear into your lives that your people will eat their own dung, and drink their own piss!’

Vulgar, vulgar were they, absolutely no fear of Hezekiah or Judah’s God. But why should they fear, they had known only victory and defeat of all who opposed them.

They unremittingly spoke on:

2 Kings 18 v 31

“Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me, and then eat ye every man of his own vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his cistern:”

Make a deal with us, worship our king and his god. And we will let you live in your homes and eat your own crops. Stay, we may not ever come to take you into captivity. Only deny your worthless god, and your embarrassment for a king. Bow down to our master, our gods and now yours, and live.

2 Kings 18 v 33-35

“Hath any of the gods of the nations delivered at all his land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? Where are the gods of Hamath, and of Arpad? where are the gods of Sepharvaim, Hena, and Ivah? have they delivered Samaria out of mine hand? Who are they among all the gods of the countries, that have delivered their country out of mine hand, that the Lord should deliver Jerusalem out of mine hand?”

2 Kings 19 v 10

“Thus shall ye speak to Hezekiah king of Judah, saying, Let not thy God in whom thou trustest deceive thee, saying, Jerusalem shall not be delivered into the hand of the king of Assyria.”

‘Your god cannot help you, he is puny, insignificant, nothing. He deceives you, and you will die because of him!’

“Consider very carefully what we say:”

2 Kings 19 v 11-13

“Behold, thou hast heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, by destroying them utterly: and shalt thou be delivered? Have the gods of the nations delivered them which my fathers have destroyed; as Gozan, and Haran, and Rezeph, and the children of Eden which were in Thelasar? Where is the king of Hamath, and the king of Arpad, and the king of the city of Sepharvaim, of Hena, and Ivah?”

And Hezekiah received from the hands of the Assyrian king’s messengers a letter and read all that they had spoken to his people. And great “fear” over took him. This mighty “warrior” king WAS SO TERRIBLY AFRAID!!!

It was true, all the nations, all the gods of those nations and peoples had failed and been conquered. They had been killed, or taken into captivity and been made slaves of Assyria. With all their power, and wisdom, and faith in their gods, they had been destroyed!!!

***Even the Northern kingdom of Israel, had been defeated and carried off into captivity, to Assyria!

What to do, what to do? The clock was ticking, the horns of devastation were about to sound in Jerusalem…Tick tock, tick tock, time, time was running out. What to do, what to do?

Serve Assyria and live, or have faith in his God, and perhaps die like every other nation and people, and god? Tick tock, tick tock!!! His head pounding in pain, sweating tears of blood perhaps.

What to do, what to do?

Hezekiah takes the letter and stumbling as he walks as a man consumed with agonizing terror goes to the “Temple” of YHWH, and falls to his knees.

The time has come, the crisis of his Faith, what will he do?

Will he continue in his worship of YHWH, his absolute trust in Him, or will he submit to the king of Assyria, and kneel and worship the Assyrian gods, that he “might” live?

And now we return to the present, our text:

2 Kings 19 v 15

"And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said, O Lord God of Israel, which dwellest between the Cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; thou hast made heaven and earth."

Deep from within, he reaches for strength, and power, and faith. *******By the power of the Holy Spirit, he stands up and for all the world to hear, he declares:

‘Thou art thee God!!!!!!!’

‘You my God, are the one and true God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! Creator of heaven and earth, all must bow before you and your glory, and power, and majesty!!!’

‘It is true that Sennacherib has destroyed all the nations and thrown all their gods into the fire to be utterly destroyed!’

‘But they are not you, for they are not real. You YHWH, and you alone, are “The” God!!!!!!!’

‘The true God, and only unto you will I bow down and worship!!!!!!!’

2 Kings 19 v 19

“Now therefore, O Lord our God, I beseech thee, save thou us out of his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only.”

As he rose from the smoldering ashes of his fears, and the very real realties of the pending devastation and disaster of his kingdom and his people and his God’s “Temple”, he emerged with the “faith of his God!!!

And the rest is genuine history:

2 Kings 19 v 35

“And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.”

So, that mighty king, of that mighty nation Assyria, with all it worthless, idolatrous gods did flee:

2 Kings 19 v 36

“So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed, and went and returned, and dwelt at Nineveh.”

Now the world tells you not to believe in Jesus Christ, not to trust His word the Bible. ‘Your God cannot help you in your time of need. He cannot help you through a divorce, through drug or alcohol addiction. He cannot help you through death of a LOVED one, through the illness you have. He cannot help you in school, or work, or in the danger you are in. In these very troubling economic times, your God cannot prevent the coming disaster; Your God is no God at all, there is no God.’

Liberal television and comedians, like the messengers of the Assyrian king in the time of Hezekiah, mock God, denounce His “Bible”. Laugh at believers, ridicule them, point out our flaws and our inappropriate behaviors that are not keeping with our faith.

They say you have to be a fool, dimwitted to believe in a God.

And so is it time for your “Crisis of Faith”, do you choose the world and what it says, or do you choose the God of King Hezekiah, king of Judah?

In your hour and moment of need, do you give into this “world’s” god, or to YHWH, the one and only True God?

The world repeats, ‘what of all these other gods, these gods of other religions and peoples, are they not gods?

Why then would you be so foolish to believe your God is real, the God of your parents, of your culture exists?’

‘Why are your holy scriptures real and not theirs?’

This is the “Crisis of your Faith’, how will you respond?

***“The” God, responded to Hezekiah’s faith and prayer:

2 Kings 19 v 34

“For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake, and for my servant David's sake.”

*What will your decision of “faith be?

Joshua says:

Joshua 24 v 15B

“…but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

And what about Sennacherib king of mighty Assyria, this man who denounced, ridiculed, and scoffed at: “THE GOD”:

What happened to him???

2 Kings 19 v 37

“And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.”

    The End…Amen and Amen!!!!!!!

What will your crisis of faith reveal about you???????

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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March 26, 2017





[[[ On March 26, 1975 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord, God, and Savior: THANK YOU JESUS !!!!!!! ]]]





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Five: Part Four”

James 5:16-20 (RSV)
16 Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. 17 Eli'jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. 18 Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit. 19 My brethren, if any one among you wanders from the truth and some one brings him back, 20 let him know that whoever brings back a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

Oh Lord, I confess in and of myself I am completely unworthy and certainly undeserving to serve You, Your people, or any of your creation. I confess my ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE ON YOU, and beg Thee to give me wisdom, insight, and grace to faithfully teach Your Word, the Bible, in such a way that Your TRUTH and LOVE are vividly expressed to all those who hear or read my words, Your Words, to their growth, their betterment, and to the joy of their eternal souls……………..Lord Thy will be done, in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen…………………………. 

Here is my final installment in our present study in the book of James………………………………..

There are in this passage three basic ideas of Jewish religion.

(i) There is the idea that all sickness is due to sin. It was a deeply-rooted Jewish belief that where there were sickness and suffering, there must have been sin.

"There is no death without guilt," said the Rabbis, "and no suffering without sin."

The Rabbis, therefore, believed that before a man could be healed of his sickness his sins must be forgiven by God. Rabbi Alexandrai said,

 "No man gets up from his sickness until God has forgiven him all his sins."

That is why Jesus began his healing of the man with the palsy by saying, "My son, your sins are forgiven",

Mark 2:5 (RSV)
5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, "My son, your sins are forgiven."

It is often feelings of guilt or how an individual internalizes them that hinder the healing process and can also cause our immune systems not to work properly and thus can be the source of our illnesses, not always, but more often than we are willing to admit…The Jew always identified suffering and sin. The truth is NO PERSON can know any genuine health of soul or mind or body until they, we, are right with God.

(ii) There is the idea that, to be effective, confession of sin has to be made to men, and especially to the person wronged, as well as to God. In a very real sense it is easier to confess sins to God than to confess them to men; and yet in sin there are two barriers to be removed—the barrier it sets up between us and God, and the barrier it sets up between us and our fellow-men. If both these barriers are to be removed, both kinds of confession must be made when possible. This was, in fact, the custom of the Moravian Church and Wesley took it over for his earliest Methodist classes. They used to meet two or three times a week "to confess their faults to one another and to pray for one another that they might be healed." This is clearly a principle which must be used with wisdom. It is quite true that there may be cases where confession of sin to each other may do infinitely more harm than good; but where a barrier has been erected because of some wrong which has been done, a man must put himself right both with God and his fellow-man.

(iii) Above all, there is the idea that no limits can be set to the power of prayer. The Jews had a saying that he who prays surrounds his house with a wall stronger than iron. They said,

"Penitence can do something; but prayer can do everything."

To them prayer was nothing less than contacting the power of God; it was the channel through which the strength and grace of life flowed freely and unabated. *** How much more must this be so for a Christian?

Tennyson wrote:

"More things are wrought by prayer

Than this world dreams of. Wherefore, let thy voice

Rise like a fountain for me night and day.

For what are men better than sheep or goats

That nourish a blind life within the brain,

If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer

Both for themselves and those who call them friend?

For so the whole round earth is every way

Bound by gold chains about the feet of God."

As the Jew saw it, and as indeed it is, the only cure for the health of our world is for each of us to be right with God and right with our fellowmen, and we need to bring to bear upon each of us through prayer the mercy and the might of God.

Before we leave this passage there is one interesting technical fact that we must note. It quotes Elijah as an example of the power of prayer. This is an excellent illustration of how Jewish rabbinic exegesis developed the meaning of Scripture. The full story is in 1 Kings 17-18. The three years and six months—a period also quoted,

Luke 4:25 (RSV)
25 But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Eli'jah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when there came a great famine over all the land;

Is a deduction from,

1 Kings 18:1 (RSV)
1 After many days the word of the LORD came to Eli'jah, in the third year, saying, "Go, show yourself to Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth."

Further, the Old Testament narrative does not say that either the coming or the cessation of the drought was due to the prayers of Elijah; he was merely the prophet who announced its coming and its going. But the Rabbis always studied Scripture under the microscope. In,

1 Kings 17:1 (RSV)
1 Now Eli'jah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, "As the LORD the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word."

We read:  "As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word." Now the Jewish attitude of prayer was standing before God; and so in this phrase the Rabbis found what was to them an indication that the drought was the result of the prayers of Elijah. In,

1 Kings 18:42 (RSV)
42 So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Eli'jah went up to the top of Carmel; and he bowed himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees.

We see that Elijah went up to Carmel, bowed himself down upon the earth and put his face between his knees. Once again the Rabbis saw the attitude of agonizing prayer; and so found what was to them an indication that it was the prayer of Elijah which brought the drought to an end.

In this passage there is set down the great differentiating characteristic of Christian truth. It is something from which a man can wander. It is not only intellectual, philosophical and abstract; it is always moral truth.

This comes out very clearly when we go to the New Testament and look at the expressions which are used in connection with truth. Truth is something which a person must LOVE,

2 Thessalonians 2:10 (RSV)
10 and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

It is something which a person must obey,

Galatians 5:7 (RSV)
7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth?

It is something which a person must display in life,

2 Corinthians 4:2 (RSV)
2 We have renounced disgraceful, underhanded ways; we refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God's word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

It is something which must be spoken in LOVE,

Ephesians 4:15 (RSV)
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,

It is something which must be witnessed to,

John 18:37 (RSV)
37 Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice."

It is something which must be manifested in a life of LOVE,

1 John 3:18-19 (RSV)
18 Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth. 19 By this we shall know that we are of the truth, and reassure our hearts before him

It is something which liberates,

John 8:32 (RSV)
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free."

It is something which is the gift of the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus Christ,

John 16:13-14 (RSV)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.
14 He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Clearest of all is the phrase in,

John 3:21 (RSV)
21 But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God.

That is to say, Christian truth is something which must be done. It is not only the object of the search of the mind; it is always moral truth issuing in action. It is not only something to be studied but something to be done; not only something to which a person  must submit only their mind but something to which they must submit their whole life.

James finishes his letter with one of the greatest and most uplifting thoughts in the New Testament; and yet one which occurs more than once in the Bible. Suppose a person goes wrong and strays away; and suppose a fellow-Christian rescues them from the error of their ways and brings them back to the right path. That person has not only assisted in saving their brother's soul, they have covered a multitude of their own sins. In other words, to assist in saving another's soul is the surest way of living out your own salvation…….

1 Peter 4:8 (RSV)
8 Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Philippians 2:12 (RSV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;



God will forgive much to the person who has been the means of leading another person back to Him.

This is a thought which shines forth every now and then from the pages of Scripture. Jeremiah says,

Jeremiah 15:19 (RSV)
19 Therefore thus says the LORD: "If you return, I will restore you, and you shall stand before me. If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless, you shall be as my mouth. They shall turn to you, but you shall not turn to them.

Daniel writes:

Daniel 12:3 (RSV)
3 And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.

The advice to the young Timothy is:

1 Timothy 4:16 (RSV)
16 Take heed to yourself and to your teaching; hold to that, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

There is a saying of the Jewish Fathers:

 "Whosoever makes a man righteous, sin prevails not over him."

Clement of Alexandria says that the true Christian reckons that which benefits his neighbor also benefits his own salvation. It is told that an ultra-evangelical lady once asked Wilberforce, the liberator of the slaves, if his soul was saved.

"Madame," he answered, "I have been so busy trying to save the souls of others that I have had no time to think of my own."

It has been said that those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves; and certainly those who bring the lives of others to God cannot keep God out of their own. The highest honor God can give is bestowed upon people who lead others to God; for the person who does that does nothing less than share in the work of Jesus Christ, the Savior of men.


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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March 19, 2017


​“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Five: Part Three”

James 5:12-15 (RSV)
12 But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath, but let your yes be yes and your no be no, that you may not fall under condemnation. 13 Is any one among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing praise. 14 Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
15 and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. In Jesus most extraordinarily awesome name, Amen and eternally Amen...........................

James is repeating the teaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount,

Matthew 5:33-37 (RSV)
33 "Again you have heard that it was said to the men of old, `You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.'
34 But I say to you, Do not swear at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God, 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool, or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 Let what you say be simply `Yes' or `No'; anything more than this comes from evil.

This teaching was very necessary in the days of the early church. James is not thinking of what we call bad language but of confirming a statement or a promise or an undertaking by an oath. In the ancient world, there were two evil practices.

(i) There was a distinction—especially in the Jewish world—between oaths which were binding and oaths which were not binding. Any oath in which the name of God was directly used was considered to be definitely binding; but any oath in which direct mention of the name of God was not made was held not to be binding. The idea was that, once God's name was definitely used, He became an active partner in the transaction, but He did not become a partner unless His name was so introduced. The result of this was that it became a matter of skill and sharp practice to find an oath which was not binding. This made a mockery of the whole practice of confirming anything by an oath!!!

(ii) There was in this age an extraordinary amount of oath-taking. This in itself was quite wrong. For one thing, the value of an oath depends to a large extent on the fact of it being very seldom necessary to take one. When oaths became a commonplace, they ceased to be respected as they ought to be. For another thing, the practice of taking frequent oaths was nothing other than a proof of the prevalence of lying and cheating. In an honest society no oath is needed; it is only when men cannot be trusted to tell the truth that they have to be put upon oath.

((( It use to be a hand shake was a binding agreement, now in our society a contract with a plethora of small print is our oath of choice!!! )))

In this the ancient writers on morals thoroughly agreed with Jesus. Philo says,

"Frequent swearing is bound to beget perjury and impiety."

The Jewish Rabbis said,

"Accustom not thyself to vows, for sooner or later thou wilt swear false oaths."

The Essenes forbade all oaths. They held that if a man required an oath to make him tell the truth, he was already branded as untrustworthy.

The great Greeks held that the best guarantee of any statement was not an oath but the character of the man who made it; and that the ideal was to make ourselves such that no one would ever think of demanding an oath from us because he would be certain that we would always speak the truth.

((( The Greek’s had the heart of God in that!!!!!!! )))

The New Testament view is that every word is spoken in the presence of God and ought, therefore, to be true; and it would agree that the Christian must be known to be a person of such honor that it will be quite unnecessary ever to put us on an oath. Unfortunately, Christendom falls far short of God’s desires for us!!! The New Testament would not entirely condemn oaths but it would deplore the human tendency to falsehood which on occasion makes oaths necessary.

Here we have set out before us certain dominant characteristics of the early church.

It was a singing church; the early Christians were always ready to burst into song. In Paul's description of the meetings of the Church at Corinth, we find singing an integral part,

1 Corinthians 14:15 (RSV)
15 What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

1 Corinthians 14:26 (RSV)
26 What then, brethren? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

When Paul thinks of the grace of God going out to the Gentiles, it reminds him of the joyous saying of the Psalmist:

Psalm 18:49 (RSV)
49 For this I will extol thee, O LORD, among the nations, and sing praises to thy name.

Romans 15:9 (RSV)
9 and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, "Therefore I will praise thee among the Gentiles, and sing to thy name";

The Christians they speak to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord,

Ephesians 5:19 (RSV)
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,

The word of Christ dwells in them, and they teach and admonish each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in their hearts to the Lord,

Colossians 3:16 (RSV)
16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

There was a joy in the heart of the early Christians which issued from their lips in songs of praise for the mercy and the grace of God.

The fact is that the heathen world has always been sad and weary and frightened. Matthew Arnold wrote a poem describing its bored weariness.

"On that hard Pagan world disgust

And secret loathing fell;

Deep weariness and sated lust

Made human life a hell.

In his cool hall, with haggard eyes,

The Roman noble lay;

He drove abroad in furious guise

Along the Appian Way;

He made a feast, drank fierce and fast,

And crowned his hair with flowers—

No easier nor no quicker past

The impracticable hours."

We often covet the riches and sexual opportunities we imagine the world to have, yet in their uncontained lives is ultimately DEEP SEEDED PAIN, DESPAIR, and LONELINESS!!!!!!!

In contrast with that weary mood the accent of the Christian is singing joy. That was what impressed John Bunyan when he heard four poor old women talking, as they sat at a door in the sun:

"Methought they spake, as if joy did make them speak."

When Bilney, the martyr, grasped the wonder of redeeming grace, he said,

"It was as if dawn suddenly broke on a dark night."

Archibald Lang Fleming, the first Bishop of the Arctic, tells of the saying of an Eskimo hunter:

"Before you came the road was dark and we were afraid. Now we are not afraid, for the darkness has gone away and all is light as we walk the Jesus way."

Unfortunately many in the world look down on our joy. My Dad who I LOVED greatly would say this about the Christian joy,

“They walk around with that sickening sweet smile on their faces...”

To not have Jesus Christ in your heart is to be unable to comprehend real joy..........

Always the church has been a singing Church. When Pliny, governor of Bithynia, wrote to Trajan, the Roman Emperor, in A.D. 111 to tell him of this new sect of Christians, he said that his information was that

"they are in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it is light, when they sing in alternate verses a hymn to Christ as God."

In the orthodox Jewish synagogue, since the Fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, there has been no music, for, when they worship, they remember a tragedy;  but in the Christian Church, from the beginning until now, there has been the music of praise, for the Christian remembers an Infinite LOVE and enjoys a present and eternal glory.

Another great characteristic of the early church was that it was a healing Church. Here it inherited its tradition from Judaism. When a Jew was ill, it was to the Rabbi he went rather than to the doctor; and the Rabbi anointed him with oil—which Galen the Greek doctor called

"the best of all medicines"—and prayed over him.

Few communities can have been so devotedly attentive to their sick as the early church was.

Justin Martyr writes that numberless demoniacs were healed by the Christians when all other exorcists had been helpless to cure them and all drugs had been unavailing.

Irenaeus, writing far down the second century, tells us that the sick were still healed by having hands laid on them.

Tertullian, writing midway through the third century, says that no less a person than the Roman Emperor, Alexander Severus, was healed by anointing at the hands of a Christian called Torpacion and that in his gratitude he kept Torpacion as a guest in his palace until the day of his death.

One of the earliest books concerning Church administration is the Canons of Hippolytus, which goes back to the end of the second century or the beginning of the third. It is there laid down that men who have the gift of healing are to be ordained as presbyters after investigation has been made to ensure that they really do possess the gift and that it comes from God. That same book gives the noble prayer used at the consecration of the local bishops, part of which runs:

"Grant unto him, O Lord... the power to break all the chains of the evil power of the demons, to cure all the sick, and speedily to subdue Satan beneath his feet."

[[[[[[[[[[[[[[ Oh yes Lord SO BE IT !!! ]]]]]]]]]]]]]]

In the Clementine Letters the duties of the deacons are laid down; and they include the rule:

"Let the deacons of the Church move about intelligently and act as eyes for the bishop.... Let them find out those who are sick in the flesh, and bring such to the notice of the main body who know nothing of them, that they may visit them, and supply their wants."

[[[ We can learn much from the early Church, have we fallen so far from grace??????? ]]]

In the First Epistle of Clement the prayer of the Church is:

"Heal the sick; raise up the weak; cheer the faint-hearted."

A very early Church code lays it down that each congregation must appoint at least one widow to take care of women who are sick. For many centuries the Church consistently used anointing as a means of healing the sick. In fact it is important to note that the sacrament of unction, or anointing, was in the early centuries always designed as a means of cure, and not as a preparation for death as it now is in the Roman Catholic Church. It was not until A.D. 852 that this sacrament did, in fact, become the Sacrament of Extreme Unction, administered to prepare for death.

The Church has always cared for her sick; and in her there has always resided the gift of healing. The social gospel is not an appendix to Christianity; it is the very essence of the Christian faith and life.

Lord bless those in need, heal those who are sick, save those who are Lost, and help each of us who are Your children make this season of the celebration of Your Son’s Resurrection a joy to all those we see and meet, in our thoughts, words, and especially our deeds towards all. In Jesus name, Amen and Amen.........................................................

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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March 12, 2017

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Five: Part Two”

James 5:7-11 (RSV)
7 Be patient, therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it until it receives the early and the late rain. 8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. 9 Do not grumble, brethren, against one another, that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the doors. 10 As an example of suffering and patience, brethren, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. 11 Behold, we call those happy who were steadfast. You have heard of the steadfastness of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

Lord, hear our prayers...........May we respond to this day and every day to the tasks of each day with the thorough conviction that You are coming soon and that for our obligation of LOVE, we fervently do all the more to bring the Lost to Your kingdom, and to the saving arms of Your only begotten Son Jesus the Christ. Give us the heart of Your Son, the wisdom of Your Son through diligent study of Your Word the Bible, give us the joy of Your Son, the mercy and grace of Your Son, and the super-human patience and mercy of Your Son to accomplish all You want us to. Help us be a blessing to You, each other, to all the people around us, to be Your children, in Jesus name Amen and eternally Amen..............................

The early church lived in expectation of the immediate Second Coming of Jesus Christ; and James exhorts his people to wait with patience for the few years which remain. The farmer has to wait for his crops until the early and the late rains have come. The early and the late rains are often spoken of in Scripture, for they were all-important to the farmer of Palestine,

Deuteronomy 11:14 (RSV)
14 he will give the rain for your land in its season, the early rain and the later rain, that you may gather in your grain and your wine and your oil.

Jeremiah 5:24 (RSV)
24 They do not say in their hearts, `Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.'

Joel 2:23 (RSV)
23 "Be glad, O sons of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD, your God; for he has given the early rain for your vindication, he has poured down for you abundant rain, the early and the latter rain, as before.

The early rain was the rain of late October and early November without which the seed would not germinate. The late rain was the rain of April and May without which the grain would not mature. The farmer needs patience to wait until nature does her work; and the Christian needs patience to wait until Christ comes.

During that waiting they must confirm their faith. They must not blame one another for the troubles of the situation in which they find themselves for, if they do, they will be breaking the commandment which forbids Christians to judge one another,

Matthew 7:1 (RSV)
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged.

If we break that commandment, we will be condemned. James has no doubt of the nearness of the coming of Christ. The judge is at the door, he says, using a phrase which Jesus himself had used,

Mark 13:29 (RSV)
29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

Matthew 24:23 (RSV)
23 Then if any one says to you, `Lo, here is the Christ!' or `There he is!' do not believe it.

It so happened that the early church was mistaken. Jesus Christ did not return within a generation. But it will be of interest to gather up the New Testament's teaching about the Second Coming so that we may see the essential truth at its heart.

We may first note that the New Testament uses three different words to describe the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

(i) The commonest is parousia, a word which has come into English as it stands. It is used in,

Matthew 24:3 (RSV)
3 As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the close of the age?"

Matthew 24:27 (RSV)
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

Matthew 24:37 (RSV)
37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

Matthew 24:39 (RSV)
39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

1 Thessalonians 2:19 (RSV)
19 For what is our hope or joy or crown of boasting before our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you?

1 Thessalonians 3:13 (RSV)
13 so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-16 (RSV)
15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first;

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (RSV)
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 2:1 (RSV)
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren,

1 Corinthians 15:23 (RSV)
23 But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

1 John 2:28 (RSV)
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

2 Peter 1:16 (RSV)
16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

2 Peter 3:4 (RSV)
4 and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation."

In secular Greek this is the ordinary word for someone's presence or arrival. But it has two other usages, one of which became quite technical. It is used of the invasion of a country by an army and especially it is used of the visit of a king or a governor to a province of his empire. So, then, when this word is used of Jesus, it means that His Second Coming is the final invasion of earth by heaven and the coming of the King to receive the final submission and adoration of His subjects.

Philippians 2:10-11 (KJV)
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(ii) The New Testament also uses the word epiphaneia,

Titus 2:13 (RSV)
13 awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,

2 Timothy 4:1 (RSV)
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

In ordinary Greek this word has two special usages. It is used of the appearance of a god to his worshipper; and it is used of the accession of an emperor to the imperial power of Rome. So, then, when this word is used of Jesus, it means that His Second Coming is God appearing to His people, both to those who are waiting for him and to those who are disregarding him.

(iii) Finally the New Testament uses the word apokalupsis. Apokalupsis in ordinary Greek means an unveiling or a laying bare; and when it is used of Jesus, it means that His Second Coming is the laying bare of the power and glory of God come upon men.

Here, then, we have a series of great pictures.

The Second Coming of Jesus is the arrival of the King;

it is God appearing to His people and mounting His eternal throne;

it is God directing on the world the full blaze of His heavenly glory.

Thus the scriptures clearly teaches Jesus Christ is all of creations: *ONLY KING, *ONLY GOD, and *THE FULL HEAVENLY GLORY on earth!!!

We may now gather up briefly the teaching of the New Testament about the Second Coming and the various uses it makes of the idea.

(i) The New Testament is clear that no man knows the day or the hour when Christ comes again. So secret, in fact, is that time that Jesus himself does not know it; it is known to the Father alone

Matthew 24:36 (RSV)
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Mark 13:32 (RSV)
32 "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

From this basic fact one thing is clear. Human speculation about the time of the Second Coming is not only useless, it is blasphemous; for surely no person should seek to gain a knowledge which is hidden from Jesus Christ Himself and resides only in the mind of God the Father.

(ii) The one thing that the New Testament does say about the Second Coming is that it will be as sudden as the lightning and as unexpected as a thief in the night,

Matthew 24:27 (RSV)
27 For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

Matthew 24:37 (RSV)
37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

Matthew 24:39 (RSV)
39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 (RSV)
2 For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

2 Peter 3:10 (RSV)
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.

We cannot wait to get ready for His coming; we must be ready for WHENEVER HE COMES!!!!!!!.

So, the New Testament urges certain duties upon us as Christians.

(i) We must be forever on the watch,

We are servants whose master has gone away and not knowing when He will return, must have everything ready for His return, whether it be at morning, at midday, at evening, or as we hear or read this message,

Matthew 24:36-51 (RSV)
36 "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they did not know until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one is taken and one is left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one is taken and one is left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the householder had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have watched and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect. 45 "Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? 46 Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. 47 Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. 48 But if that wicked servant says to himself, `My master is delayed,' 49 and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eats and drinks with the drunken, 50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, 51 and will punish him, and put him with the hypocrites; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.

(ii) Long delay must not produce despair or forgetfulness,

2 Peter 3:4 (RSV)
4 and saying, "Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things have continued as they were from the beginning of creation."

God does not see time as men do. To Him a thousand years are as a watch in the night and even if the years pass on, it does not mean that He has either changed or abandoned his design.

(iii) Men must use the time given them to prepare for the coming of the King. They must be sober,

1 Peter 4:7 (RSV)
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.

They must get to themselves holiness,

1 Thessalonians 3:13 (RSV)
13 so that he may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.

By the grace of God they, we, must become blameless in body and in spirit,

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (RSV)
23 May the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

They must put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light now that the day is far spent,

Romans 13:11-14 (RSV)
11 Besides this you know what hour it is, how it is full time now for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed; 12 the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; 13 let us conduct ourselves becomingly as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

We must use the time given us to make ourselves such that we can greet the coming of the King with joy and without shame.

(iv) When that time comes, they must be found in fellowship. Peter uses the thought of the Second Coming to urge men to love and mutual hospitality,

1 Peter 4:8-9 (RSV)
8 Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another.

Paul commands that all things be done in LOVE—Maran-atha—the Lord is at hand,

1 Corinthians 16:14 (RSV)
14 Let all that you do be done in love.

1 Corinthians 16:22 (RSV)
22 If any one has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!

He says that our forbearance must be known to all men because the Lord is at hand,

Philippians 4:5 (RSV)
5 Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand.

The word translated "forbearance" is epieikes which means the spirit that is more ready to offer forgiveness than to demand justice. The writer to the Hebrews demands mutual help, mutual Christian fellowship, mutual encouragement because the day is coming near,

Hebrews 10:24-25 (RSV)
24 and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

[[[ Its true we are not saved by going to Church, but, we are submitting to our glorious God and Savior’s will WHEN WE DO!!!!!!! ]]]

The New Testament is sure that in view of the Coming of Christ we must have our personal relationships right with our fellow-men. *Ouch, DOES THAT HIT HOME TO ANYONE???

The New Testament would urge that no person ought to end a day with an unhealed breach between oneself and another, lest in the night Christ should come.

(v) John uses the Second Coming as a reason for urging men to abide in Christ,

1 John 2:28 (RSV)
28 And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.

Surely the best preparation for meeting Christ is to live close to Him every day, moment by moment.

Much of the imagery attached to the Second Coming is Jewish, part of the traditional apparatus of the last things in the ancient Jewish mind. There are many things which we are not meant to take literally. But the great truth behind all the temporary pictures of the Second Coming is that this world is not purposeless but going somewhere, that there is one divine far-off event to which the whole creation moves.

It is always a comfort to feel that others have gone through what we have to go through. James reminds his readers that the prophets and the men of God could never have done their work and borne their witness had they not patiently endured. He reminds them that Jesus Himself had said that the man who endured to the end was blessed for he would be saved,

Matthew 24:13 (RSV)
13 But he who endures to the end will be saved.

[[[ Which does not mean we are saved by enduring, or that we cannot know we are saved until His coming; but rather, that as genuine Christians we will endure many things whether we want to or not, and so we should try and be patient, knowing trials will come to us all!!! ]]]

Then he quotes the example of Job, of whom in the synagogue discourses they had often heard. We generally speak of the patience of Job which is the word the King James Version uses. But patience is far too passive a word. There is a sense in which Job was anything but patient. As we read the tremendous drama of his life we see him passionately resenting what has come upon him, passionately questioning the conventional arguments of his so-called friends, passionately agonizing over the terrible thought that God might have forsaken him. Few men have spoken such passionate words as he did; but the great fact about him is that in spite of all the agonizing questionings which tore at his heart, he never lost his faith in God.

Job 13:15 (RSV)
15 Behold, he will slay me; I have no hope; yet I will defend my ways to his face.

Job 16:19 (RSV)
19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high.

Job 19:25 (RSV)
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at last he will stand upon the earth;

His is no unquestioning submission; he struggled and questioned, and sometimes even defied, but the flame of his faith was never extinguished.

The word used of him is that great New Testament word hupomone, which describes, not a passive patience, but that gallant spirit which can breast the tides of doubt and sorrow and disaster and come out with faith still stronger on the other side. There may be a faith which never complained or questioned; but still greater is the faith which was tortured by questions and still believed. It was the faith which held grimly on that came out on the other side,

Job 42:12 (RSV)
12 And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she-asses.

Or the doubt of Thomas, that came out on the other side of his doubt to declare forever to Jesus”

John 20:28 (RSV)
28 Thomas answered him, "My Lord and my God!"

There will be moments in life when we think that God has forgotten, but if we cling to the remnants of faith, at the end we, too, shall see that God is very kind and very merciful.

Revelation 3:20-22 (RSV)
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.
22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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March 5, 2017




“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Five: Part One”

James 5:1-6 (RSV)
1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. 2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. 3 Your gold and silver have rusted, and their rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure for the last days. 4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. 5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; he does not resist you.

Lord God Jehovah, we look at our divided marriages, our divided families, our divided nation, and our divided world, and it is easy to fall into fear, anxiety, and despair. The Church itself is divided into chaff and wheat, the vast majority simply believing what they want to, and those who truly and genuinely have saving faith in You being called, FOOLS, SELF-RIGHTEOUS, HATERS, HOMOPHOBES, BIGOTS, etc. It can be too much!!! We want to LOVE as You do, but as You are rejected by so many, we are rejected by family, friends, LOVED ones, society as a whole and the world that we presently live in. It’s hard to see our society as it is changing so rapidly into a HEINOUSLY SINFUL CULTURE, calling GOOD evil and EVIL good.

So many, ideas, so many thoughts, so many self-serving dreams. Oh God, is this the hour, the moment, the time of the end??? Help us Lord where ever we find ourselves to stay faithful to You, Your Son, the Holy Spirit, and Your only inerrant, infallible word the Bible. Help us not seek our understanding but Your understanding, not our love, but Your LOVE, not our compassion, but Your compassion, not our strength, but Your strength, and not our wills, but, THY WILL BE DONE!!!

Help us to have the supernatural faith to go on, the supernatural LOVE, grace, mercy, and tender kindness to reach out to this lost and dying world, to LOVE our enemies, our persecutors, all people You put in our path. Be with us, and through us, and give us the will and way to live the lives You give us, according to Your desire not ours. We humbly pray, that in the midst of dreadful darkness, You would give us light, hope, and extraordinary joy. Help us in every way to be Your children, in Jesus our sacred Savior’s name, Amen and eternally Amen……………

Today we continue in James:

James 5:1-6 has two aims. First, to show the ultimate worthlessness of all earthly riches; and second, to show the detestable character of those who are possessed by them. By doing this James hopes to prevent his readers from placing all their hopes and desires on earthly things.

If you knew what you were doing, he says to the rich, you would weep and wail for the terror of the judgment that is coming upon you at the Day of the Lord. The vividness of the picture is increased by the word which James uses for to nail. It is the verb ololuzein, which is onomatopoeic and carries its meaning in its very sound. It means even more than to wail, it means to shriek, and in the King James Version is often translated to howl; and it depicts the frantic terror of those on whom the judgment of God has come,

Isaiah 13:6 (RSV)
6 Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!

Isaiah 14:31 (RSV)
31 Wail, O gate; cry, O city; melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks."

Isaiah 15:2-3 (RSV)
2 The daughter of Dibon has gone up to the high places to weep; over Nebo and over Med'eba Moab wails. On every head is baldness, every beard is shorn; 3 in the streets they gird on sackcloth; on the housetops and in the squares every one wails and melts in tears.

Isaiah 16:7 (RSV)
7 Therefore let Moab wail, let every one wail for Moab. Mourn, utterly stricken, for the raisin-cakes of Kir-har'eseth.

Isaiah 23:1 (RSV)
1 The oracle concerning Tyre. Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for Tyre is laid waste, without house or haven! From the land of Cyprus it is revealed to them.

Isaiah 23:14 (RSV)
14 Wail, O ships of Tarshish, for your stronghold is laid waste.

Isaiah 65:14 (RSV)
14 behold, my servants shall sing for gladness of heart, but you shall cry out for pain of heart, and shall wail for anguish of spirit.

Amos 8:3 (RSV)
3 The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day," says the Lord GOD; "the dead bodies shall be many; in every place they shall be cast out in silence."

We might well say that it is the word which describes those undergoing the tortures of the damned.

A very intimate, personal pain, that permeates every part of a person’s being.......................................................................................

All through this passage the words are vivid and pictorial and carefully chosen. In the east there were three main sources of wealth and James has a word for the decay of each of them.

There were corn and grain. That is the wealth which grows rotten (sepein).

There were garments. In the east garments were wealth. Joseph gave changes of garments to his brothers,

Genesis 45:22 (RSV)
22 To each and all of them he gave festal garments; but to Benjamin he gave three hundred shekels of silver and five festal garments.

It was for a beautiful mantle from Shinar that Achan brought disaster on the nation and death on himself and his family,

Joshua 7:21 (RSV)
21 when I saw among the spoil a beautiful mantle from Shinar, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a bar of gold weighing fifty shekels, then I coveted them, and took them; and behold, they are hidden in the earth inside my tent, with the silver underneath."

It was changes of garments that Samson promised to anyone who would solve his riddle,

Judges 14:12 (RSV)
12 And Samson said to them, "Let me now put a riddle to you; if you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty festal garments;

It was garments that Naaman brought as a gift to the prophet of Israel and to obtain which Gehazi sinned his soul,

2 Kings 5:5 (RSV)
5 And the king of Syria said, "Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel." So he went, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten festal garments.

2 Kings 5:22 (RSV)
22 And he said, "All is well. My master has sent me to say, `There have just now come to me from the hill country of E'phraim two young men of the sons of the prophets; pray, give them a talent of silver and two festal garments.'"

It was Paul's claim that he had coveted no man's money or apparel,

Acts 20:33 (RSV)
33 I coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel.

These garments, which are so splendid, will be food for moths (setobrotos).

Matthew 6:19 (RSV)
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal,

The climax of the world's inevitable decay comes at the end. Even their gold and silver will be rusted clean through (katiasthai). The point is that gold and silver do not actually rust; so James in the most vivid way is warning people that even the most precious and apparently most indestructible things are doomed to decay.

This rust is proof of the impermanence and ultimate valuelessness of all earthly things. More, it is a dread warning. The desire for these things is like a terrifying rust eating into people's bodies and souls. Then comes a grim sarcasm. It is a fine treasure indeed that any person who concentrates on these things is heaping up for themselves at the last. The only treasure they will possess is a consuming fire which will WIPE THEM OUT!!!!!!!

It is James' conviction that to concentrate on material things is not only to concentrate on a decaying delusion; it is to concentrate on self-produced destruction.

Not even the most cursory reader of the Bible can fail to be impressed with the social passion which blazes through its pages. No book condemns dishonest and selfish wealth with such searing passion as it does. The book of the prophet Amos was called by J. E. McFadyen "The Cry for Social Justice." Amos condemns those who store up violence and robbery in their palaces,

Amos 3:10 (RSV)
10 "They do not know how to do right," says the LORD, "those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds."

He condemns those who tread on the poor and themselves have houses of hewn stone and pleasant vineyards—which in the wrath of God they will never enjoy,

Amos 5:11 (RSV)
11 Therefore because you trample upon the poor and take from him exactions of wheat, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.

God lets loose His wrath on those who give short weight and short measure, who buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes, and who palm off on the poor the refuse of their wheat.

Amos 8:4-7 (RSV)
4 Hear this, you who trample upon the needy, and bring the poor of the land to an end, 5 saying, "When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances, 6 that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and sell the refuse of the wheat?"
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: "Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

Isaiah warns those who build up great estates by adding house to house and field to field,

Isaiah 5:8 (RSV)
8 Woe to those who join house to house, who add field to field, until there is no more room, and you are made to dwell alone in the midst of the land.

The sage insisted that he who trusts in riches shall fall,

Proverbs 11:28 (RSV)
28 He who trusts in his riches will wither, but the righteous will flourish like a green leaf.

Luke quotes Jesus as saying,

Luke 6:24 (RSV)
24 "But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation.

It is only with difficulty that those who have riches enter into the Kingdom of God,

Luke 18:24 (RSV)
24 Jesus looking at him said, "How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!

Or as Matthew shares,

Matthew 19:24 (RSV)
24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Riches are a temptation and a snare; the rich are liable to foolish and hurtful lusts which end in ruin, for the love of money is the root of all evils,

1 Timothy 6:9-10 (RSV)
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and hurtful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

In the inter-testamental literature there is the same note.

"Woe to you who acquire silver and gold in unrighteousness.... They shall perish with their possessions, and in shame will their spirits be cast into the furnace of fire" (Enoch 97: 8).

In the Wisdom of Solomon there is a savage passage in which the sage makes the selfish rich speak of their own way of life as compared with that of the righteous,

Wisdom of Solomon 2:6-12 (RSV)
6 "Come, therefore, let us enjoy the good things that exist, and make use of the creation to the full as in youth. 7 Let us take our fill of costly wine and perfumes, and let no flower of spring pass by us. 8 Let us crown ourselves with rosebuds before they wither. 9 Let none of us fail to share in our revelry, everywhere let us leave signs of enjoyment, because this is our portion, and this our lot. 10 Let us oppress the righteous poor man; let us not spare the widow nor regard the gray hairs of the aged. 11 But let our might be our law of right, for what is weak proves itself to be useless. 12 "Let us lie in wait for the righteous man, because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions; he reproaches us for sins against the law, and accuses us of sins against our training.

One of the mysteries of social thought is how the Christian religion ever came to be regarded as "the opiate of the people" or to seem an other-worldly affair. There is no book in any literature which speaks so explosively of social injustice as the Bible, nor any book which has proved so powerful a social dynamic. It does not condemn wealth as such but there is no book which more strenuously insists on wealth's responsibility and on the perils which surround a person who is abundantly blessed with this world's goods.


Here is condemnation of selfish riches and warning of where they must end.

(i) The selfish rich have gained their wealth by injustice. The Bible is always sure that the labourer is worthy of his hir,

Luke 10:7 (RSV)
7 And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the laborer deserves his wages; do not go from house to house.

1 Timothy 5:18 (RSV)
18 for the scripture says, "You shall not muzzle an ox when it is treading out the grain," and, "The laborer deserves his wages."

The day laborer in Palestine lived on the very verge of starvation. His wage was small; it was impossible for him to save anything; and if the wage was withheld from him, even for a day, he and his family simply could not eat. That is why the merciful laws of Scripture again and again insist on the prompt payment of his wages to the hired laborer.

Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (RSV)
14 "You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brethren or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns; 15 you shall give him his hire on the day he earns it, before the sun goes down (for he is poor, and sets his heart upon it); lest he cry against you to the LORD, and it be sin in you.

Leviticus 19:13 (RSV)
13 "You shall not oppress your neighbor or rob him. The wages of a hired servant shall not remain with you all night until the morning.

Proverbs 3:27-28 (RSV)
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it" -- when you have it with you.

Jeremiah 22:13 (RSV)
13 "Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice; who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing, and does not give him his wages;

Malachi 3:5 (RSV)
5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the LORD of hosts.

Sirach 34:22 (RSV)
22 To take away a neighbor's living is to murder him; to deprive an employee of his wages is to shed blood.

Tobit 4:14 (RSV)
14 Do not hold over till the next day the wages of any man who works for you, but pay him at once; and if you serve God you will receive payment. "Watch yourself, my son, in everything you do, and be disciplined in all your conduct.

The law of the Bible is nothing less than the charter of the laboring man. The social concern of the Bible speaks in the words of the Law and of the Prophets and of the Sages alike. Here it is said that the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts! The hosts are the hosts of heaven, the stars and the heavenly powers. It is the teaching of the Bible in its every part that the Lord of the universe is concerned for the rights of the laboring men, women, and all those who work.......

(ii) The selfish rich have used their wealth selfishly. They have lived in soft luxury and have played the wanton. The word translated to live in soft luxury is truphein. It comes from a root which means to break down; and it describes the soft living which in the end saps and destroys a person's moral fiber. The word translated to play the wanton is spatalan. It is a much worse word; it means to live in lewdness and lasciviousness. It is the condemnation of the selfish rich that they have used their possessions to gratify their own love of comfort and to satisfy their own lusts, and that they have forgotten all duty to their fellow-men.

(iii) But anyone who chooses this pathway has also chosen its end. The end of specially fattened cattle is that they will be slaughtered for some feast; and those who have sought this easy luxury and selfish wantonness are like men who have fattened themselves for the day of judgment. The end of their pleasure is grief and the goal of their luxury is death. Selfishness always leads to the destruction of the soul. This is very significant, thus worth repeating!!!

Selfishness always leads to the destruction of the soul.

(iv) The selfish rich have slain the unresisting righteous man. It is doubtful to whom this refers. It could be a reference to Jesus.

Acts 3:14 (RSV)
14 But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you,

It is Stephen's charge that the Jews always slew God's messengers even before the coming of the Just One,

Acts 7:52 (RSV)
52 Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered,

It is Paul's declaration that God chose the Jews to see the Just One although they rejected him,

Acts 22:14 (RSV)
14 And he said, `The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Just One and to hear a voice from his mouth;

Peter says that Christ suffered for our sins, the just for the unjust,

1 Peter 3:18 (RSV)
18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit;

The suffering servant of the Lord offered no resistance.

Isaiah 53:7 (RSV)
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth.

Peter quotes and says,

1 Peter 2:23 (RSV)
23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten; but he trusted to him who judges justly.

It may well be that James is saying that in their oppression of the poor and the righteous man, the selfish rich have crucified Christ again. Every wound that selfishness inflicts on Christ's people is another wound inflicted on Christ.

It may be that James is not specially thinking of Jesus when he speaks about the righteous man but of the evil man's instinctive hatred of the good man. We have already quoted the passage in The Wisdom of Solomon which describes the conduct of the rich. That passage goes on:

Wisdom of Solomon 2:13-20 (RSV)
13 He professes to have knowledge of God, and calls himself a child of the Lord. 14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts; 15 the very sight of him is a burden to us, because his manner of life is unlike that of others, and his ways are strange. 16 We are considered by him as something base, and he avoids our ways as unclean; he calls the last end of the righteous happy, and boasts that God is his father. 17 Let us see if his words are true, and let us test what will happen at the end of his life; 18 for if the righteous man is God's son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries. 19 Let us test him with insult and torture, that we may find out how gentle he is, and make trial of his forbearance. 20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death, for, according to what he says, he will be protected."

These, says the Sage, are the words of men whose wickedness has blinded them.

Alcibiades, the friend of Socrates, for all his great talents often lived a riotous and debauched life. And there were times when he said to Socrates:

"Socrates, I hate you; for every time I see you, you show me what I am."

The evil person would gladly eliminate the good people, for the righteous by their mere existence remind the Lost of what they are and of what they ought to be.

We must remember it is not by our words alone, but by our deeds that people see Jesus.............................


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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February 26, 2017




“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Four: Part Three”

James 4:11-17 (RSV)
11 Do not speak evil against one another, brethren. He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. 12 There is one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you that you judge your neighbor? 13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and get gain"; 14 whereas you do not know about tomorrow. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and we shall do this or that." 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

O Lord, give us more LOVE, more self-denial, more likeness of Thee. Teach us to sacrifice our comforts to others, and our likings for the sake of doing good. Make us kindly in thought not judging others, gentle in word not condemning others, generous in deed, doing for others. Teach us that it is better to give than receive; better to forget ourselves than to put ourselves before others; better to minister than to be ministered unto. And unto Thee, the God of all LOVE, be all the glory and praise, both now and forever, in Jesus sweet name Amen and eternally Amen..................................

Dr. Adrian Rogers said:

“We should pray as if all depends on God and work as if it all depends on us.”

Further he said,

“We can do more than pray AFTER we’ve prayed, but we can do no more than pray until we’ve prayed.”

Let us begin:

The word James uses for to speak harshly of, or, to slander is katalalein. Usually this verb means to slander someone when he is not there to defend himself. This sin slander (the noun is katalalia) is condemned all through the Bible. It is the Psalmist's accusation against the wicked man:

Psalm 50:20 (RSV)
20 You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son.

The Psalmist hears God saying,

Psalm 101:5 (RSV)
5 Him who slanders his neighbor secretly I will destroy. The man of haughty looks and arrogant heart I will not endure.

Paul lists it among the sins which are characteristic of the unredeemed evil of the pagan world,

Romans 1:30 (RSV)
30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents,

It is one of the sins which he fears to find in the warring Church of Corinth,

2 Corinthians 12:20 (RSV)
20 For I fear that perhaps I may come and find you not what I wish, and that you may find me not what you wish; that perhaps there may be quarreling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder.

It is significant to note that in both these passages slander comes in immediate connection with gossip. Katalalia is the sin of those who meet in corners and gather in little groups and pass on confidential tidbits of information which destroy the good name of those who are not there to defend themselves. The same sin is condemned by Peter,

1 Peter 2:1 (RSV)
1 So put away all malice and all guile and insincerity and envy and all slander.

There is great necessity for this warning. People are slow to realize that there are few sins which the Bible so unsparingly condemns as the sin of irresponsible and malicious gossip. There are few activities in which the average person finds more delight than this; to tell and to listen to the slanderous story—especially about some distinguished person—is for most people a fascinating activity. We do well to remember what God thinks of it. James condemns it for two fundamental reasons.

(i) It is a breach of the royal law that we should LOVE our neighbor as ourselves

James 2:8 (RSV)
8 If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.

Leviticus 19:18 (RSV)
18 You shall not take vengeance or bear any grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

Obviously we cannot LOVE our neighbor as ourselves and speak slanderous evil about them!!! Now, if a person breaks a law knowingly, they set themselves above the law. That is to say, they have made themselves a judge of the law. But a person's duty is not to judge the law, but to obey it. So the person who speaks evil of their neighbor has appointed themselves a judge of the law and taken to themselves the right to break it, and therefore stands condemned.

(ii) It is an infringement of the prerogative of God. To slander our neighbor is, in fact, to pass judgment upon them. And no human being has any right to judge in the sense of condemning any other human; THE RIGHT TO CONDEMN, TO FIND GUILTY, TO SENTENCE TO HELL BELONGS TO THE ONE TRUE GOD AND HIM ALONE!!!!!!! ***As Christians it is our obligation of LOVE to warn people of the potential ETERNAL consequences of sin, of their sin, but WE HAVE NO RIGHT TO CONDEMN OR SEND THEM THERE!!!!!!!***

It is God alone who is able to save and to destroy. This great prerogative runs all through Scripture.

Deuteronomy 32:39 (RSV)
39 "`See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.

1 Samuel 2:6 (RSV)
6 The LORD kills and brings to life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

2 Kings 5:7 (RSV)
7 And when the king of Israel read the letter, he rent his clothes and said, "Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man sends word to me to cure a man of his leprosy? Only consider, and see how he is seeking a quarrel with me."

Jesus warns that we should not fear men, who at the worst can only kill the body, but should fear him who can destroy both body and soul,

Matthew 10:28 (RSV)
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

As the Psalmist had it, it is to God alone that the issues of life and of death belong,

Psalm 68:20 (RSV)
20 Our God is a God of salvation; and to GOD, the Lord, belongs escape from death.

To judge, meaning to condemn another is to take to ourselves a right to do what God alone has the right to do; and they who do are reckless, who deliberately infringe on the prerogatives of God!!!

We might think that to speak evil of our neighbor is not a very serious sin. But Scripture would say that it is one of the worst of all because it is a breach of the royal law and an infringement of the rights of God.

Here again is a contemporary picture which James' readers would recognize, and in which they might well see their own portrait. The Jews were the great traders of the ancient world; and in many ways that world gave them every opportunity to practice their commercial abilities. This was an age of the founding of cities; and often when cities were founded and their founders were looking for citizens to occupy them, citizenship was offered freely to the Jews, for where the Jews came money and trade followed. So the picture is of a man looking at a map. He points at a certain spot on it, and says,

"Here is a new city where there are great trade chances. I'll go there; I'll get in on the ground floor; I'll trade for a year or so; I'll make my fortune and come back rich."

James' answer is that no man has a right to make confident plans for the future, for he does not know what even a day may bring forth. Man may propose but God disposes.

The essential uncertainty of the future was deeply impressed on the minds of men of all nations. The Hebrew sage wrote,

Proverbs 27:1 (RSV)
1 Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring forth.

Jesus told his story of the rich but foolish man who made his fortune and built up his plans for the future, and forgot that his soul might be required of him that very night,

Luke 12:16-21 (RSV)
16 And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' 18 And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' 20 But God said to him, `Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

Ben Sirach wrote,

Sirach 11:18-19 (RSV)
18 There is a man who is rich through his diligence and self-denial, and this is the reward allotted to him: 19 when he says, "I have found rest, and now I shall enjoy my goods!" he does not know how much time will pass until he leaves them to others and dies.

Seneca said:

"How foolish it is for a man to make plans for his life, when not even tomorrow is in his control."

And again:

"No man has such rich friends that he can promise himself tomorrow."

The Rabbis had a proverb:

"Care not for the morrow, for ye know not what a day may bring forth. Perhaps you may not find tomorrow."

Dennis Mackail was the friend of Sir James Barrie. He tells that, as Barrie grew older, he would never make an arrangement for even a social engagement at any distant date. "Short notice now!" he would always say.

James goes on. This uncertainty of life is not a cause either for fear or for inaction. It is a reason for realizing our complete dependence on God. It has always been the mark of a serious-minded man that he makes his plans in such dependence. Paul writes to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 4:19 (RSV)
19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power.

1 Corinthians 16:7 (RSV)
7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.
Xenophon writes,

"May all these things be, if the gods so will. If anyone wonders that we often find the phrase written, 'if the gods will,' I would have him to know that, once he has experienced the risks of life, he will not wonder nearly so much."

Plato relates a conversation between Socrates and Alcibiades. Alcibiades says:

"I will do so if you wish, Socrates."

Socrates answers,

"Alcibiades, that is not the way to talk. And how ought you to speak? You ought to say, 'If God so wishes.'"

Minucius Felix writes,

"'God grant it'—it comes instinctively to the ordinary man to speak like that."

The true Christian way is not to be terrorized into fear and paralyzed into inaction by the uncertainty of the future; but to commit the future and all our plans into the hands of God, always remembering that these plans may not be within God's purpose.

The man or woman, who does not remember that, is guilty of arrogant boasting.

I remember once I offered to take a man from Evanston, Wyoming to Afton, Wyoming a distance of about 150 miles. I offered to do it for free and at his convenience, but he became angry with me when I ended with, “The Lord willing”. He accused me of not really wanting to do it, but that COULD NOT HAVE BEEN ANY FARTHER FROM THE TRUTH!!! *He saw my absolute dependence on God as an excuse for inaction; I saw it as an opportunity to TRUST GOD for my next breath.............Needless to say I took him, but we never really talked again, to me to deny ABSOLUTE DEPENDENCE ON GOD WAS A SIN!!!

The word is alazoneia. Alazoneia was originally the characteristic of the wandering quack. He offered cures which were no cures and boasted of things that he was not able to do. The future is not within the hands of mankind for us to arrogantly claim that we have the power to decide it.

James ends with a threat.

If a person knows that a thing is wrong and still continues to do it, that to them is sin. James is in effect saying, "You have been warned; the truth has been placed before your eyes." To continue now in the self-confident habit of seeking to dispose of one's own life is sin; for the person who has been reminded that the future is not in their hands but in God's.

And so it is, NOT OUR WILLS BUT, THY WILL BE DONE...............


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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​February 19, 2017

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

 “James Four: Part Two [ B ]”

James 4: 4-10 (RSV)
4 Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us"? 6 But he gives more grace; therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

Lord, we come to You with humble hearts, Lord save those who are Lost, heal those who are ill, provide for those who have physical needs, protect those who are in danger, deliver those who have emotional, psychological, or spiritual problems, help those who have financial need, use us to help in any way, help us to LOVE You, Your people, all of Your creation as You would have us, let us truly, and genuinely LOVE You, with ALL OUR HEARTS, MINDS, BODIES, SOULS, and STRENGTH; give us the Humility of Christ, the Truth of Christ, and the eternal LOVE of Jesus Christ, in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen...................................

Let us begin where we left off last week...

What is this destructive pride? The word for proud is huperephanos which literally means one who shows himself above other people. Even the Greeks hated pride. Theophrastus described it as

"a certain contempt for all other people."

Theophylact, the Christian writer, called it,

"the citadel and summit of all evils."

Its real terror is that it is a thing of the heart. It means arrogance; but the person who suffers from it might well appear to be walking in downcast humility, while all the time there is in their heart a vast contempt for all other human beings.

***It shuts itself off from God for three reasons.

(i) It does not know its own need. It so admires itself that it recognizes no need to be supplied.

(ii) It cherishes its own independence. It will be beholden to no man and not even to God.

(iii) It does not recognize its own sin. It is occupied with thinking of its own goodness and never realizes that it has any sin from which it needs to be saved. A pride like that cannot receive help, because it does not know that it needs help, and, therefore, it cannot ask.

The humility for which James pleads is no cringing thing. It has two great characteristics.

(i) It knows that if a man takes a resolute stand against the devil, he will prove him a coward.

"The Devil," as Hermas puts it, "can wrestle against the Christian, but he cannot throw him."

This is a truth of which the Christians were fond, for Peter says the same thing,

1 Peter 5:8-9 (RSV)
8 Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.

The great example and inspiration is Jesus in His own temptations. In them Jesus showed that the devil is not invincible; when he is confronted with the word of God, the Bible, he can be put to flight. The Christian has the humility which knows that we must fight our battles with the tempter, not in our own power, but in the power of God.

(ii) It knows that it has the greatest privilege of all, access to God. This is a tremendous thing, for the right of approach to God under the old order of things belonged only to the priests,

Exodus 19:22 (RSV)
22 And also let the priests who come near to the LORD consecrate themselves, lest the LORD break out upon them."

The office of the priest was to come near to God for sin-stained people,

Ezekiel 44:13 (RSV)
13 They shall not come near to me, to serve me as priest, nor come near any of my sacred things and the things that are most sacred; but they shall bear their shame, because of the abominations which they have committed.

But through the work of Jesus Christ any man, woman, or child can come boldly before the throne of God, certain that they will find mercy and grace to help in time of need,

Hebrews 4:16 (RSV)
16 Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

There was a time when only the High Priest might enter the Holy of Holies, but we have a new and a living way, a better hope by which we draw near to God,

Hebrews 7:19 (RSV)
19 (for the law made nothing perfect); on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.

((((((( Hallelujah, Hallelujah, H A L L E L U J A H !!!!!!! )))))))

JESUS CHRIST IS KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORD!!!!!!! 

The Christian must have humility, but it is a humility which gives us undaunted courage and knows that the way to God is open to the most fearful Saint.

In James' thought the ethical demand of Christianity is never far away. James has talked about the grace which God gives to the humble and which enables the Christian to meet the great demands in our lives. But James is sure that there is something needed beyond asking and passive receiving. He is sure that moral effort is a prime necessity.

His appeal is addressed to sinners. The word used for sinner is hamartolos, which means the hardened sinner, the person whose sin is obvious and notorious. Suidas defines hamartoloi  as

"those who choose to live in company with disobedience to the law, and who love a corrupt life."

From such people James demands a moral reform which will embrace both their outward conduct and their inner desires. He demands both clean hands and a pure heart,

Psalm 24:4 (RSV)
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.

The phrase cleanse your hands originally denoted nothing more than ceremonial cleansing, the ritual washing with water which made a man ceremonially fit to approach the worship of God. The priests must wash and bathe themselves before they entered on their service,

Exodus 30:19-21 (RSV)
19 with which Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet.
20 When they go into the tent of meeting, or when they come near the altar to minister, to burn an offering by fire to the LORD, they shall wash with water, lest they die. 21 They shall wash their hands and their feet, lest they die: it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his descendants throughout their generations."

The orthodox Jew must ceremonially wash his hands before he ate,

Mark 7:3 (RSV)
3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;

But men came to see that God required much more than an outward washing; and so the phrase came to stand for moral purity.

Psalm 26:6 (RSV)
6 I wash my hands in innocence, and go about thy altar, O LORD,

It is Isaiah's demand that men should,

Isaiah 1:16 (RSV)
16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil,

It was equated with ceasing to do evil.......In the letter to Timothy men are urged to lift holy hands to God in prayer,

1 Timothy 2:8 (RSV)
8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

The history of the phrase shows a deepening consciousness of what God demanded. Men began by thinking in terms of an outward washing, a ritual thing; and ended by seeing that the demand of God was moral, not ritual.

Biblical thought demands a fourfold cleansing.

1) It demands a cleansing of the lips

Isaiah 6:5-6 (RSV)
5 And I said: "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!" 6 Then flew one of the seraphim to me, having in his hand a burning coal which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

2) It demands a cleansing of the hands

Psalm 24:4 (RSV)
4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false, and does not swear deceitfully.

3) It demands a cleansing of the heart

Psalm 73:13 (RSV)
13 All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence.

4) It demands a cleansing of the mind

James 4:8 (RSV)
8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind.

That is to say, the ethical demand of the Bible is that a person's words and deeds and emotions and thoughts should all be purified. Inwardly and outwardly a person must be clean, for only the pure in heart shall see God,

Matthew 5:8 (RSV)
8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

 

In his demand for a godly sorrow James is going back to the fact that Jesus had said,

Matthew 5:4 (RSV)
4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Luke 6:20-26 (RSV)
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 "Blessed are you that hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. "Blessed are you that weep now, for you shall laugh. 22 "Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, on account of the Son of man! 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven; for so their fathers did to the prophets.
24 "But woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation. 25 "Woe to you that are full now, for you shall hunger. "Woe to you that laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. 26 "Woe to you, when all men speak well of you, for so their fathers did to the false prophets.

We must not read into this passage something James does not mean. He is not denying the joy of the Christian life. He is not demanding that men should live a gloom-encompassed life in a shadowed world. He is doing two things. He is pleading for sobriety in place of frivolousness, and is doing so with all the intensity of one whose natural instincts are puritan; and he is describing, not the end, but the beginning of the Christian life.

He demands three things.

(i) He demands what he calls affliction. The verb is talaiporein and it can describe—Thucydides so uses it—the experiences of an army whose food is gone and who have no shelter from the stormy weather. What James is here encouraging is a voluntary abstinence from lavish luxury and over-the-top comfort. He is talking to people who are in LOVE with the world; and he is pleading with them not to make luxury and comfort the standards by which they judge all life. It is discipline which produces the scholar; it is rigorous training which creates the athlete; and it is a wise abstinence which produces the Christian who knows how to use the world and its gifts aright.

(ii) He demands that they should mourn, that their laughter should be turned to sorrow and their joy to gloom. Here, James is describing the first step of the Christian life which is taken when a person is confronted with God and with their own sin. That is a daunting experience. When Wesley preached to the miners of Kingswood, they were moved to such grief that the tears made potholes as they ran down the grime of their faces. But that is by no means the end of the Christian life. The terrible sorrow of the realization of heinousness of our own sin moves on to the thrilling joy of our sins forgiven. But to get to the second stage a we must go through the first. James is demanding that these self-satisfied, luxury-loving, unworried hearers of his should be confronted with their own sins and should be ashamed, grief-stricken and afraid; for only then can they reach out for grace and go on to a joy far greater than their earthbound pleasures.

“Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay.”   C.S. Lewis

“Man must come to a knowledge of himself, be terrified of himself, and be crushed as a prelude to receiving and appreciating God’s grace, forgiveness, and new life in Jesus Christ.”   Martin Luther

***It often worries me when a professing Christian says, “I was never that bad”, or, “I could never do that evil of a sin.” It suggests to me they have NEVER CATEGORICALLY COME TO THE REALIZATION OF HOW TOTALLY DEPRAVED AND MONSTROUS A SINNER THEY WERE WITHOUT JESUS CHRIST AS THEIR INTIMATELY PERSONAL LORD AND SAVIOR!!!***

(iii) He demands that they should weep. It is perhaps not reading too much into this to say that James may well be thinking of tears of sympathy. Up to this time these luxury-loving people have lived in utter selfishness, quite insensitive to what the poet called "the world's rain of tears." James is insisting that the griefs and the needs of others should pierce the armor of their own pleasure and comfort. A person is not a Christian until they become aware of the poignant cry of that humanity for which Jesus Christ died.

So, then, in words deliberately chosen to waken the sleeping soul, James expects that his hearers should substitute the way of abstinence for the way of luxury; that they should become aware of their own sins and mourn for them; and that they should become conscious of the world's need and weep for it.

James concludes with the demand for a godly humility. All through the Bible there runs the conviction that it is only the humble who can know the blessings of God. God will save the humble person,

Job 22:29 (RSV)
29 For God abases the proud, but he saves the lowly.

Proverbs 29:23 (RSV)
23 A man's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.

Isaiah 57:15 (RSV)
15 For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

They that fear the Lord will humble their souls in His sight, and the greater a person is the more they ought to humble themselves, if they, we, are to find favor in the sight of our God,

Sirach 2:17 (RSV)
17 Those who fear the Lord will prepare their hearts, and will humble themselves before him.

Sirach 3:17 (RSV)
17 My son, perform your tasks in meekness; then you will be loved by those whom God accepts.

Jesus Himself repeatedly declared that it was the person who humbled himself who alone would be exalted,

Matthew 23:12 (RSV)
12 whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Luke 14:11 (RSV)
11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

***Only when a person realizes their own ignorance will they, we, ask God's guidance.

***Only when a person realizes their own poverty in the things that matter will they genuinely pray for the riches of God's grace.

***Only when a person realizes their own weakness in necessary things will they, we, come to draw upon God's strength.

***Only when a person realizes their own sin will they realize their, our, need of the Savior and of God's forgiveness.......

In life there is one sin which can be said to be the basis of all others; and that is forgetting that we are creatures and that God is creator. When a person realizes their essential creatureliness, THEN AND ONLY THEN WILL THEY REALIZE THEIR ESSENTIAL HELPLESSNESS AND GO TO THE SOURCE FROM WHICH THAT HELPLESSNESS CAN ALONE BE SUPPLIED!!!!!!!

Such a dependence begets the only real independence;  for then we as human beings may face life not in our own strength but in God's and are given victory through His grace and mercy.......

SO LONG AS WE REGARD OURSELVES AS INDEPENDENT OF GOD, WE WILL ALWAYS BE ON THE WAY TO UTTER COLLAPSE AND DESOLATION AS INDIVIDUALS AND AS THE HUMAN RACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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February 12, 2017

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Four: Part Two [ A ]”

James 4:4-10 (RSV)
4 Unfaithful creatures! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. 5 Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us"? 6 But he gives more grace; therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
8 Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you men of double mind. 9 Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to dejection. 10 Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will exalt you.

James 4:4-10 (KJV)
4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. 5 Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy? 6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. 9 Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

We lift up our prayers to You O Lord God Jehovah. First, for the Lost people of this world, Lord help us and by the power of Your Holy Spirit convince them of the reality of Your existence, and by Your LOVE, grace, and mercy convict them and all of us of our own personal sins. Have that conviction turn to sorrow, and that sorrow to remorse, and that remorse to confession, and our confession to repentance. Then Lord, Forgive, Redeem, and save them from all their past, present and future sins, above all SAVE ALL OF US FROM OUR OWN FOOLISH FALLIN NATURES, and reconcile the newly saved to Yourself, and for those of us who have already been saved return us to Your sweet fellowship, we most humbly pray................

Second Lord, we pray for all the little children of the world, those not yet conceived and to the oldest of the oldest children, whoever You consider a child, save them Lord at the earliest possible opportunity, by the indwelling of Your Holy Spirit help them to grow in maturity and wisdom of Your word, keep them in the LOVING palms of Your hands and NEVER LET THEM GO..................Bless this message and in all things not our wills be done, but YOUR WILL BE DONE, in Jesus tender, sweet name Amen and eternally Amen............   

The King James Version makes this passage even more difficult than it is.

In it the warning is addressed to adulterers and adulteresses. In the correct text the word occurs only in the feminine. Further, the word is not intended to be taken literally; the reference is not to physical but to spiritual adultery. The whole conception is based on the common Old Testament idea of Yahweh as the husband of Israel and Israel as the bride of God.

Isaiah 54:5 (RSV)
5 For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called.

Jeremiah 3:20 (RSV)
20 Surely, as a faithless wife leaves her husband, so have you been faithless to me, O house of Israel, says the LORD.'"

This idea of Yahweh as the husband and the nation of Israel as the wife, explains the way in which the Old Testament constantly expresses spiritual infidelity in terms of physical adultery. To make a covenant with the gods of a strange land and to sacrifice to them and to intermarry with their people is,

Exodus 34:15-16 (RSV)
15 lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and when they play the harlot after their gods and sacrifice to their gods and one invites you, you eat of his sacrifice, 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters play the harlot after their gods and make your sons play the harlot after their gods.

((( We unfortunately as New Testament era believers tend to ignore this warning. Marriage is hard enough, raising children is hard enough, without being married to a non-believer or a spouse of a different faith...Once married we must live with the potential consequences!!! )))

God also warns us of this same serious danger in the New Testament as well,

2 Corinthians 6:14-15 (RSV)
14 Do not be mismated with unbelievers. For what partnership have righteousness and iniquity? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 15 What accord has Christ with Be'lial? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?

Marriage and living by faith is hard enough!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is God's forewarning to Moses that the day will come when the people,

Deuteronomy 31:16 (RSV)
16 And the LORD said to Moses, "Behold, you are about to sleep with your fathers; then this people will rise and play the harlot after the strange gods of the land, where they go to be among them, and they will forsake me and break my covenant which I have made with them.

It is Hosea's complaint that the people have played the harlot and forsaken God,

Hosea 9:1 (RSV)
1 Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved a harlot's hire upon all threshing floors.

It is in this spiritual sense that the New Testament speaks of "an adulterous generation",

Matthew 16:4 (RSV)
4 An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah." So he left them and departed.

Mark 8:38 (RSV)
38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of man also be ashamed, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

***And the picture came into Christian thought in the conception of the Church as the Bride of Christ,

2 Corinthians 11:1-2 (RSV)
1 I wish you would bear with me in a little foolishness. Do bear with me!
2 I feel a divine jealousy for you, for I betrothed you to Christ to present you as a pure bride to her one husband.

Ephesians 5:24-27 (RSV)
24 As the church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.

Revelation 19:7 (RSV)
7 Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready;

Revelation 21:9 (RSV)
9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."

This form of expression may offend some delicate LIBERAL ears; but the picture of Israel as the bride of God and of God as the husband of Israel has something very precious in it. It means that to disobey God is like breaking the marriage vow. It means that all sin is sin against LOVE!!!!!!! It means that our relationship to God is not like the distant relationship of king and subject or master and slave, but like the warm intensely intimate relationship of husband and wife. It means that when we sin, any sin, even a simple “white lie”, we break God's heart, as the heart of one partner in a marriage may be broken by the desertion of the other.

In this passage James says that love of the world is enmity with God and that he who is the friend of the world thereby becomes the enemy of God. It is important to understand what he means.

(i) This is not spoken out of contempt for the world. It is not spoken from the point of view which regards earth as a desert drear and which denigrates everything in the natural world.

There is a story of a Puritan who was out for a walk in the country with a friend. The friend noticed a very LOVELY flower at the roadside and said, "That is a LOVELY flower." The Puritan replied, "I have learned to call nothing LOVELY in this lost and sinful world." That is not James' point of view; he would have agreed that this world is the creation of God; and like Jesus he would have rejoiced in its beauty.

(ii) We have already seen that the New Testament often uses the word kosmos in the sense of the world apart from God. There are two New Testament passages which well illustrate what James means. Paul writes,

Romans 8:7-8 (RSV)
7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law, indeed it cannot; 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

What he means is that those who insist on assessing everything by purely human standards are necessarily at conflict with God. The second passage is one of the most poignant epitaphs on the Christian life in all literature:

2 Timothy 4:10 (RSV)
10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessaloni'ca; Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

The idea is that of worldliness. If material things are the things to which he dedicates his life, clearly he cannot dedicate his life to God. In that sense the person who has dedicated their life to the world is at enmity with God.

(iii) The best commentary on this saying is that of Jesus:

Matthew 6:24 (RSV)
24 "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

There are two attitudes to the things of this world and the things of time. We may be so dominated by them that the world becomes our master. Or we may so use them as to serve our fellow-men and prepare ourselves for eternity, in which case the world is not our master but our servant. A person may either use the world or be used by it. To use the world as the servant of God and men is to be the friend of God, for that is what God meant the world to be. To use the world as the controller and dictator of life is to be at enmity with God, for that is what God never meant the world to be.

James 4:5 (RSV)
5 Or do you suppose it is in vain that the scripture says, "He yearns jealously over the spirit which he has made to dwell in us"?

Is exceedingly difficult. To begin with, it is cited as a quotation from Scripture, but there is no part of Scripture of which it is, in fact, anything like a recognizable quotation. We may either assume that James is quoting from some book now lost which he regarded as Scripture; or, that he is summing up in one sentence what is the eternal sense of the Old Testament and not meaning to quote any particular passage.

Further, the translation is difficult: There are two alternative renderings which in the end give much the same sense.

"He (that is, God) jealously yearns for the devotion of the spirit which he has made to dwell within us,"

Or:

 "The Spirit which God has made to dwell within us jealously yearns for the full devotion of our hearts."

In either case the meaning is that God is the jealous LOVER who will tolerate no rival. The Old Testament was never afraid to apply the word jealous to God. Moses says of God to the people:

Deuteronomy 32:16 (RSV)
16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominable practices they provoked him to anger.

He hears God say,

Deuteronomy 32:21 (RSV)
21 They have stirred me to jealousy with what is no god; they have provoked me with their idols. So I will stir them to jealousy with those who are no people; I will provoke them with a foolish nation.

In insisting on His sole right to be worshipped, God in the Ten Commandments says,

Exodus 20:5 (RSV)
5 you shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

Exodus 34:14 (RSV)
14 (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

Zechariah hears God say,

Zechariah 8:2 (RSV)
2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am jealous for Zion with great jealousy, and I am jealous for her with great wrath.

Jealous comes from the Greek zelos which has in it the idea of burning heat. The idea is that God LOVES humanity with such a passion that He cannot bear any other LOVE within the hearts of mankind.

((((((( GET THAT, HE LOVES YOU, HE INTENSELY AND COMPLETELY LOVES YOU.................................................................................)))))))

It may be that jealous is a word which nowadays we find it difficult to connect with God, for it has acquired a lower significance; but behind it is the amazing truth that God is the LOVER of our souls, EVERYONE OF US!!!!!!!

John 3:16 (RSV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

There is a sense in which LOVE must be dispersed among all people and over all God's children; but there is also a sense in which LOVE gives and demands an exclusive devotion to one person ((( AS IN MARRIAGE, WHERE ONE MAN AND ONE WOMAN BECOME SPIRITUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY ONE FLESH!!! ))). It is profoundly true that a person can be in LOVE only with one person at one time; if any of us think otherwise, we DO NOT KNOW THE MEANING OF LOVE!!!

James goes on to meet an almost inevitable reaction to this picture of God as the jealous LOVER. If God is like that, how can any man give to Him the devotion He demands and deserves? James' answer is that, if God makes a great demand, He gives great grace to fulfil it; and the greater the demand, the greater the grace God gives.

But grace has a constant characteristic—a person cannot receive it until they have realized their need of it, and has come to God humbly pleading for help. Therefore, it must always remain true that God sets Himself against the proud and gives lavishly of His grace to the humble.

Proverbs 3:34 (RSV)
34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he shows favor.

1 Peter 5:5 (RSV)
5 Likewise you that are younger be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

We will end here for today with this thought for the week ahead, “HOW MUCH DO YOU REALLY LOVE GOD???”

Matthew 10:37 (RSV)
37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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February 5, 2017





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Four: Part One”

James 4:1-3 (RSV)
1 What causes wars, and what causes fightings among you? Is it not your passions that are at war in your members? 2 You desire and do not have; so you kill. And you covet and cannot obtain; so you fight and wage war. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

Lord, what fools we mortals be. We seem to live to fight, to covet and desire what we do not have, or even to lust after more of what things we already do have. As a result of our sinful obsessions, we lie, we cheat, we steal, we cause wars and rumors of wars and even cold bloodedly kill each other.......WE so often let our emotional passions control us and so we sin against Thee. Oh gracious heavenly Father carry us from our minds and hearts of sin, deliver us from our irrational yearnings and guide us unto all righteousness. Help us in thought, word, and deed to ABSOLUTELY LIVE FOR THEE and to serve Thee, to LOVE our fellow man, and to treat all of Your creation with the wise, tender care You created us to do. Lord save Your creation and deliver us from all evil in Jesus mighty name, Amen and eternally Amen.........................................

God through James is setting before His people a basic question—whether their aim in life is to submit to the will of God or to gratify their own desires for the pleasures of this world? James warns that, if pleasure is the policy of life, nothing but strife and hatred and division can possibly follow. He says that the result of the over-mastering search for pleasure is polemoi  "wars" and machai   "battles." He means that the feverish search for pleasure issues in long-drawn-out resentments which are like wars and can lead to global wars, and sudden explosions of enmity which are like battles between individuals and can lead to devastatingly genuine battles around the world. The ancient moralists would have thoroughly agreed with him.

When we look at human society we so often see a seething mass of hatred and strife. Philo writes,

"Consider the continual war which prevails among men even in times of peace, and which exists not only between nations and countries and cities, but also between private houses, or, I might rather say, is present with every individual man; observe the unspeakable raging storm in men's souls that is excited by the violent rush of the affairs of life; and you may well wonder whether anyone can enjoy tranquility in such a storm, and maintain calm amidst the surge of this billowing sea."

The root cause of this unceasing and bitter conflict is nothing other than desire. Philo points out that the Ten Commandments culminate in the forbidding of covetousness or desire, for desire is the worst of all the passions of the soul.

"Is it not because of this passion that relations are broken, and this natural goodwill changed into desperate enmity? That great and populous countries are desolated by domestic dissensions? and land and sea filled with ever new disasters by naval battles and land campaigns? For the wars famous in tragedy... have all flowed from one source—desire either for money or glory or pleasure. Over these things the human race goes mad."

Lucian writes,

"All the evils which come upon man—revolutions and wars, stratagems and slaughters—spring from desire. All these things have as their fountain-head the desire for more."

Plato writes,

"The sole cause of wars and revolutions and battles is nothing other than the body and its desires."

Cicero writes,

"It is insatiable desires which overturn not only individual men, but whole families, and which even bring down the state. From desires there spring hatred, schisms, discords, seditions and wars."

Desire is at the root of all the evils which ruin life and divide men.

The New Testament is clear that this overmastering desire for the pleasures of this world is always a threatening danger to the spiritual life. It is the cares and riches and pleasures of this life which combine to choke the good seed,

Luke 8:14 (RSV)
14 And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature.

A person can become a slave to passions and pleasures and when we do malice and envy and hatred easily enter into life,

Titus 3:3 (RSV)
3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by men and hating one another;

The ultimate choice in life lies between pleasing oneself and pleasing God; and a world in which men's first aim is to please themselves is a battleground of savagery and division.

This pleasure-dominated life has certain inevitable consequences.

(i) It sets us at each other's throats. Desires, as James sees it, are inherently warring powers. He does not mean that they war within a person—although that is also true—but that they set us warring against each other, in the family, in the Church, in the community, in the city, in the state, in the country and can damn an entire world of people if not stopped by people turning to God in genuine repentance!!!!!!! The basic desires are for the same things—for money, for power, for prestige, for worldly possessions, for the gratification of bodily lusts. When most people are striving to possess the same things, life inevitably becomes a competitive arena. They trample each other down in the rush to grasp them. They will do anything to eliminate a rival. True obedience and not mere lip-service to the will of God, WIIL DRAW PEOPLE TOGETHER, for it is that will that we should LOVE and serve one another; obedience to the craving for pleasure drives us apart, for it drives us to destructive rivalry for the same things.

(ii) The craving for pleasure drives people to shameful deeds. It drives us to envy and to enmity; and even to murder. Before a person can arrive at a deed there must be a certain driving emotion, in their, in our hearts. We may restrain ourselves from the things that the desire for pleasure incites us to do; but so long as that desire is in our heart WE ARE NOT SAFE!!! It may at any time explode into ruinous action.

(((((((((((((( WE ALL NEED JESUS, OR WE ARE LOST!!!!!!! ))))))))))))))

The steps of the process are simple and terrible. A person allows themselves to desire something. That thing begins to dominate their thoughts; they find themselves involuntarily thinking about it in their or our waking hours and dreaming of it when we sleep. It begins to be what is aptly called a ruling passion. We, they begin to form imaginary schemes to obtain it; and these schemes may well involve ways of eliminating those who stand in our way. For long enough all this may go on in his mind. Then one day the imaginings may blaze into action; and they, we, I may find ourselves taking the terrible steps necessary to obtain our desire. Every crime in this world has come from desire which was first only a feeling in the heart but which, being nourished long enough, came in the end to action.

(iii) The craving for pleasure in the end shuts the door of prayer. If a person's prayers are simply for the things which will gratify their, our desires, they are essentially selfish and, therefore, it is not possible for God to answer them.

The true end of prayer is to say to God, "Thy will be done." The prayer of the man, woman, or child who is pleasure-dominated is: "My desires be satisfied." It is one of the grim facts of life that a selfish person can hardly ever pray aright; no one can ever pray aright until they remove self from the center of their own life and puts God there!!!!!!!!

In this life we have to choose whether to make our main object our own desires or the will of God. And, if we choose our own desires, we have thereby separated ourselves from our fellow-men and from God.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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​January 29, 2017





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Three: Part Three”

James 3:13-18 (RSV)
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good life let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. 15 This wisdom is not such as comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. 18 And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Lord, today and everyday is beautiful for it exists to serve You. May You give us the LOVE, grace, and mercy to grow in Your wisdom through the earnest reading and studying of Your only inerrant, infallible word the Bible. May we so grow in knowledge, wisdom, and maturity of our Faith, that we exercise due diligence in the living out each moment of our lives in service and action for Your Kingdom and Your glory and for the betterment of ALL PEOPLE, Lost and Saved alike!!! Let us not seek our own glory, our own desires, but always seek You in each and every breath of our lives, in thought, word, and DEED, in Jesus magnificently splendid name Amen and eternally Amen..............................................

Lord bless and comfort ALL THOSE WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES, in Jesus LOVING name, Amen and Amen!!!

James goes back, as it were, to the beginning of the chapter. His argument runs like this:

"Is there any of you who wishes to be a real sage and a real teacher? Then let him live a life of such beautiful graciousness that he will prove to all that gentleness is enthroned as the controlling power within his heart. For, if he has a fanatical bitterness and is obviously controlled by selfish and personal ambition, then, whatever claims he makes in his arrogance, all he does is to be false to the truth which he professes to teach."

James uses two interesting words. His word for zeal is zelos. Zelos need not be a bad word. It could mean the noble emulation which a man felt when confronted with some picture of greatness and goodness. But there is a very narrow dividing line between noble emulation and ignoble envy. The word he uses for selfish ambition is eritheia  which was also a word with no necessarily bad meaning. It originally meant spinning for hire and was used of serving women. Then it came to mean any work done for pay. Then it came to mean the kind of work done solely for what could be got out of it. Then it entered politics and came to mean that selfish ambition which was out for self and for nothing else and was ready to use any means to gain its ends.

A scholar and a teacher is always under a double temptation.

(i) They are under the temptation to arrogance. Arrogance was the besetting sin of the Rabbis. The greatest of the Jewish teachers were well aware of that. In The Sayings of the Fathers we read,

"He that is arrogant in decision is foolish, wicked, puffed up in spirit."

It was the advice of one of the wise men:

"It rests with thy colleagues to choose whether they will adopt thy opinion: it is not for thee to force it upon them."

Few are in such constant spiritual peril as teachers and preachers. They are used to being listened to and to having their words accepted. All unconsciously they tend, as Shakespeare had it, to say,

"I am Sir Oracle,

And when I open my lips let no dog bark!"

***It is very difficult to be a teacher or a preacher and to remain humble; but it is absolutely necessary.***

(ii) They are under the temptation to bitterness. We know how easily:

"learned discussion can produce passion."

The odium theologicum is notorious.

Sir Thomas Browne has a passage on the savagery of scholars to each other:

"Scholars are men of peace, they bear no arms, but their tongues are sharper than Actius' razor; their pens carry farther, and give a louder report than thunder: I had rather stand the shock of a basilisco, than the fury of a merciless pen." ((( Basillisco:..........mythological creature having the crest of a rooster and the body of a serpent. ))) 

Philip Lilley reminds us that Dr. H. F. Stewart said that the arguments of Pascal with the Jesuits reminded him of Alan Breck's fight with the crew of the Covenant in Stevenson's Kidnapped:

"The sword in his hand flashed like quicksilver into the middle of our flying enemies, and at every flash came the scream of a man hurt."

One of the most difficult things in the world is to argue without passion and to meet arguments without wounding. To be utterly convinced of one's own beliefs without at the same time being bitter to those of others is no easy thing; and yet it is a first necessity for the Christian teacher and scholar.

We may find in this passage four characteristics of the wrong kind of teaching.

(i) It is fanatical. The truth it holds is held with unbalanced violence rather than with reasoned conviction.

(ii) It is bitter. It regards its opponents as enemies to be annihilated rather than as friends to be persuaded.

(iii) It is selfishly ambitious. It is, in the end, more eager to display itself than to display the truth; and it is interested more in the victory of its own opinions than in the victory of the truth.

(iv) It is arrogant.  Its attitude is pride in its knowledge rather than humility in its ignorance. The real scholar will be far more aware of what he does not know than of what he know.

This bitter and arrogant wisdom, so-called, is very different from real wisdom. James first of all describes it in itself, and then in its effects. In itself it is three things.

(i) It is earthly.  Its standards and sources are earthly. It measures success in worldly terms; and its aims are worldly aims.

(ii) It is characteristic of the natural man. The word James uses is difficult to translate. It is psuchikos, which comes from psuche. The ancients divided man into three parts—body, soul and spirit. The body soma,  is our physical flesh and blood; the soul, psuche,  is the physical life which we share with the beasts; the spirit pneuma, is that which man alone possesses, which differentiates him from the beasts, which makes him a rational creature and kin to God. This is a little confusing for us, because we are in the habit of using soul in the same sense as the ancient people used spirit. James is saying that this wrong kind of wisdom is no more than an animal kind of thing; it is the kind of wisdom which makes an animal snap and snarl with no other thought than that of prey or personal survival.

(iii) It is devilish. Its source is not God, but the devil. It produces the kind of situation which the devil delights in, not God.

James then describes this arrogant and bitter wisdom in its effects. The most notable thing about it is that it issues in disorder. That is to say, instead of bringing people together, it drives them apart. Instead of producing peace, it produces strife. There is a kind of person who is undoubtedly clever, with acute brain and skillful tongue; but his effect, nevertheless, in any committee, in any church, in any group, is to cause trouble and to disturb personal relationships.  It is a sobering thing to remember that the wisdom he possesses is devilish rather than divine.

The Jewish sages were always agreed that the true wisdom came from above. It was not the attainment of man but the gift of God. Even true Wisdom is a GIFT FROM GOD!!!!!!!

Wisdom describes this wisdom as

Wisdom of Solomon 7:25 (RSV)
25 For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.

The same Jewish book prays,

Wisdom of Solomon 9:4 (RSV)
4 give me the wisdom that sits by thy throne, and do not reject me from among thy servants.

Wisdom of Solomon 9:10 (RSV)
10 Send her forth from the holy heavens, and from the throne of thy glory send her, that she may be with me and toil, and that I may learn what is pleasing to thee.

Ben Sirach began his book with the sentence,

Sirach 1:1 (RSV)
1 All wisdom comes from the Lord and is with him for ever.

Sirach makes Wisdom say,

Sirach 24:3 (RSV)
3 "I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and covered the earth like a mist.

With one voice the Jewish sages agreed that wisdom came to men from God.

James uses eight words to describe this wisdom, and everyone has a great picture in it.

(i) The true wisdom is pure. The Greek is hagnos  and its root meaning is pure enough to approach the gods. At first it had only a ceremonial meaning and meant nothing more than that a man had gone through the right ritual cleansings. So, for instance, Euripides can make one of his characters say,

"My hands are pure, but my heart is not."

At this stage hagnos describes ritual, but not necessarily moral, purity. But as time went on the word came to describe the moral purity which alone can approach the gods. On the Temple of Aesculapius at Epidaurus there was the inscription at the entrance:

"He who would enter the divine temple must be pure (((  hagnos ))), and purity is to have a mind which thinks holy thoughts."

The true wisdom is so cleansed of all ulterior motives and of self that it has become pure enough to see God. Worldly wisdom might well wish to escape God's sight; the true wisdom is able to bear His very scrutiny.

(ii) The true wisdom is eirenikos. We have translated this peaceable but it has a very special meaning. Eirene  means peace, and when it is used of men its basic meaning is right relationships between man and man, and between man and God. The true wisdom produces right relationships with God and men, humanity. There is a kind of clever and arrogant wisdom which separates man from man, and which makes a man look with superior contempt on his fellows. There is a kind of cruel wisdom which takes a delight in hurting others with clever, but cutting, words. There is a kind of depraved wisdom which seduces men away from their loyalty to God. *******But the true wisdom at all times brings people closer to one another and to God. *******

(iii) The true wisdom is epieikes. Of all Greek words in the New Testament this is the most untranslatable. Aristotle defined it as that

"which is just beyond the written law" and as "justice and better than justice" and as that "which steps in to correct things when the law itself becomes unjust."

The man who is epieikes  is the man who knows when it is actually wrong to apply the strict letter of the law. He knows how to forgive when strict justice gives him a Perfect right to condemn.

John 8:10-11 (RSV)
10 Jesus looked up and said to her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" 11 She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and do not sin again."

He knows how to make allowances, when not to stand upon his rights, how to temper justice with mercy, always remembers that there are greater things in the world than rules and regulations. It is impossible to find an English word to translate this quality. Matthew Arnold called it

"sweet reasonableness"

It is the ability to extend to others the kindly consideration we would wish to receive ourselves.

Luke 6:31 (RSV)
31 And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

Matthew 7:12 (RSV)
12 So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.

iv) The true wisdom is eupeithes. Here we must make a choice between two meanings.

(a) Eupeithes can mean ever ready to obey. The first of William Law's rules for life was,

"To fix it deep in my mind that I have but one business upon my hands, to seek for eternal happiness by doing the will of God."

If we take the word in this sense, it means that the truly wise man is forever ready to obey whenever God's voice comes to him.

(b) Eupeithes  can mean easy to persuade, not in the sense of being pliable and weak, but in the sense of not being stubborn and of being willing to listen to reason and to appeal. Coming as it does after epieikes, it probably bears this second meaning here. The true wisdom is not rigid but is willing to listen and skilled in knowing when wisely to yield.

((((((( Always being TEACHABLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )))))))

1 Thessalonians 5:21 (RSV)
21 but test everything; hold fast what is good,

((( Test even WHAT YOUR PASTORS, PREACHERS, and TEACHERS SAY !!!!!!! Test what I say, what ALL PROFESSING TEACHERS SAY !!!!!!! )))

How you ask????????????????????????????????????

2 Timothy 2:15 (RSV)
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

Acts 17:11 (RSV)
11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessaloni'ca, for they received the word with all eagerness, examining the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.

STUDY, STUDY, STUDY: THE BIBLE !!!!!!!

(v) We take the next two terms together. The true wisdom is full of mercy (eleos) and good fruits. Eleos  is a word which acquired a new meaning in Christian thought. The Greeks defined it as pity for the man who is suffering unjustly; but Christianity means far more than that by eleos.

(a) In Christian thought eleos  means mercy for the man who is in trouble, even if the trouble is his own fault. Christian pity is the reflection of God's pity; and that went out to men, not only when they were suffering unjustly, but when they were suffering through their own fault. We are so apt to say of someone in trouble,

"It is his own fault; he brought it on himself," and, therefore, to feel no responsibility for him. Christian mercy is mercy for anyone who is in trouble, even if they have brought that trouble on themselves.

How many times I have heard professing Christians say, THAT PERSON DOES NOT DESERVE OUR HELP, they made their own bed, now THEY MUST LIE IN IT. The complete opposite of God’s LOVE, or  mercy and grace..................................

An absolute and complete contradiction of God’s attitude towards you and I when GOD SAVED US AS UNWORTHY AS WE WERE AND STILL ARE WITHOUT HIS LOVE, grace and mercy upon our souls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Romans 5:8 (RSV)
8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

(b) In Christian thought eleos  means mercy which issues in good fruits, that is, which issues in practical help. Christian pity is not merely an emotion; it is action. We can never say that we have truly pitied anyone until we do what we can to help them.

(vi) The true wisdom is adiakritos,  undivided. This means that it is not wavering and vacillating; it knows its own mind, chooses its course and abides by it. There are those who think that it is clever never to make one's mind up about anything. They speak about having an open mind, being TOLERANT and about suspending judgment. But the Christian wisdom is based on the Christian certainties which come to us from God through Jesus Christ and His Holy Bible.

(vii) The true wisdom is anupokritos, without hypocrisy. That is to say, it is not a pose and does not deal in deception. It is honest; it never pretends to be what it is not; and it never acts a part to gain its own ends.

Finally, James says something which every Christian Church and every Christian group should have written on its heart. The Revised Standard Version correctly translates the Greek literally:

"The harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

This is a highly compressed sentence. Let us remember that peace, eirene, means right relationships between man and man. So, then, what James is saying is this,

"We are all trying to reap the harvest which a good life brings. But the seeds which bring the rich harvest can never flourish in any atmosphere other than one of right relationships between man and man. And the only people who can sow these seeds and reap the reward are those whose life work it has been to produce such right relationships."

That is to say, nothing good can ever grow in an atmosphere where people are at variance with one another. A group where there is bitterness and strife is a barren soil in which the seeds of righteousness can never grow and out of which no reward can ever come, The man, woman, or child, anyone  who disrupts personal relationships and is responsible for strife and bitterness has cut themselves off from the reward which God gives to those who sincerely attempt to live their lives well..................... ((( By the grace of God, and by vigilant study of His holy  Writ............................)))


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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January 22, 2017

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Three: Part Two”

James 3:3-12 (RSV)
3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses that they may obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Look at the ships also; though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue -- a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening fresh water and brackish? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Lord God Jehovah, we often speak without thinking, we rage and say the most mean spirited things from our mouths without considering the least consequences to our words..............Lord give us strength, wisdom and the resolve to curb the evil appetites of our minds and tongues, give us all we need to be Your children, and to speak LOVE, not evil, not revenge, not even truth with intent to be hurtful. Help us speak as You would have us speak, have us be silent when words would only harm. Lord, help us study Your word, and for LOVE sake, help us seek to be Your children according to Your holy Writ, in thought, word, and deed every moment of our lives, in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen............................................................

And Lord bless the 45th President of the United States: Donald J Trump and our Vice President Michael Pence and their families in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen……………………………  

It might be argued against James' terror of the tongue that it is a very small part of the body to make such a fuss about and to which to attach so much importance. To combat that argument James uses two pictures.

(i) We put a bit into the mouth of a horse, knowing that if we can control its mouth, we can control its whole body. So James says that if we can control the tongue, we can control the whole body; but if the tongue is uncontrolled, the whole life is set on the wrong way.

(ii) A rudder is very small in comparison with the size of a ship; and yet, by exerting pressure on that little rudder, the steersman can alter the course of the ship and direct it to safety. Long before, Aristotle had used this same picture when he was talking about the science of mechanics: "A rudder is small and it is attached to the very end of the ship, but it has such power that by this little rudder, and by the power of one man—and that a power gently exerted—the great bulk of ships can be moved." The tongue also is small, yet it can direct the whole course of a person's life.

Philo called the mind the charioteer and steersman of man's life; it is when the mind controls every word and it itself is controlled by Christ that life is safe.

James is not for a moment saying that silence is better than speech. He is not pleading for a Trappist life where speech is forbidden. He is pleading for the control of the tongue. Aristippus the Greek had a wise saying,

"The conqueror of pleasure is not the man who never uses it. He is the man who uses pleasure as a rider guides a horse or a steersman directs a ship, and so directs them wherever he wishes."

Abstention from anything is never a complete substitute for control in its use. James is not pleading for a cowardly silence but for a wise use of speech.

The damage the tongue can cause is like that caused by a forest fire. The picture of the forest fire is common in the Bible. It is the prayer of the Psalmist that God may make the wicked like chaff before the wind; and that his tempest may destroy them as fire consumes the forest and the flame sets the mountains ablaze,

Psalm 83:13-14 (RSV)
13 O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind.
14 As fire consumes the forest, as the flame sets the mountains ablaze,

Isaiah says,

Isaiah 9:18 (RSV)
18 For wickedness burns like a fire, it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

Zechariah speaks of,

Zechariah 12:6 (RSV)
6 "On that day I will make the clans of Judah like a blazing pot in the midst of wood, like a flaming torch among sheaves; and they shall devour to the right and to the left all the peoples round about, while Jerusalem shall still be inhabited in its place, in Jerusalem.

The picture was one the Jews of Palestine knew well. In the dry season the scanty grass and low-growing thorn bushes and scrub were as dry as tinder. If they were set on fire, the flames spread like a wave which there was no stopping.

The picture of the tongue as a fire is also a common Jewish picture.

Proverbs 16:27 (RSV)
27 A worthless man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.

Sirach 28:11 (RSV)
11 A hasty quarrel kindles fire, and urgent strife sheds blood.

There are two reasons why the damage which the tongue can do is like a fire.

(i) It is wide-ranging. The tongue can damage at a distance. A chance word dropped at one end of the country or the town can finish up by bringing grief and hurt at the other. The Jewish Rabbis had this picture:

"Life and death are in the hand of the tongue. Has the tongue a hand? No, but as the hand kills, so the tongue. The hand kills only at close quarters; the tongue is called an arrow because it kills at a distance. An arrow kills at forty or fifty paces, but of the tongue it is said,

Psalm 73:9 (RSV)
9 They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth.

It ranges over the whole earth and reaches to heaven."

That, indeed, is the peril of the tongue. A person can ward off a blow with the hand, for the striker must be in their presence. But anyone can drop a malicious word, or repeat a scandalous and untrue story, about someone whom they do not even know or about someone who stays hundreds of miles away, and cause infinite harm.

(ii) It is uncontrollable. In the tinder-dry conditions of Palestine a forest fire was almost immediately out of control; and no one can control the damage of the tongue.

"Three things come not back—the spent arrow, the spoken word and the lost opportunity."

There is nothing so impossible to kill as a rumor; there is nothing so impossible to obliterate as an idle and malignant story. Let a person, let us, before we speak, remember that once a word is spoken it is gone from our control; and let us think before we speak because, although we cannot get it back, WE MOST CERTAINLY WILL ANSWER FOR IT!!!!!!!

We must spend a little longer on this passage, because in it there are two especially difficult phrases.

(i) The tongue, says the Revised Standard Version is an unrighteous world. That ought to be the unrighteous world. In our bodies, that is to say, the tongue stands for the whole wicked world. In Greek the phrase is ho kosmos tes adikias, and we shall best get at its meaning by remembering that kosmos  can have two meanings.

(a) It can mean adornment, although this is less usual. The phrase, therefore, could mean that the tongue is the adornment of evil. That would mean that it is the organ which can make evil attractive. By the tongue people can make the worse appear the better reason; by the tongue people can excuse and Justify their wicked ways; by the tongue people can persuade others into sin. There is no doubt that this gives excellent sense; but it is doubtful if the phrase really can mean that.

(b) Kosmos can mean world. In almost every part of the New Testament kosmos means the world with more than a suggestion of the evil world. The world cannot receive the Spirit,

John 14:17 (RSV)
17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you.

Jesus manifests Himself to the disciples but not to the world,

John 14:22 (RSV)
22 Judas (not Iscariot) said to him, "Lord, how is it that you will manifest yourself to us, and not to the world?"

The world hates him and therefore hates his disciples,

John 15:18-19 (RSV)
18 "If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Jesus' kingdom is not of this world,

John 18:36 (RSV)
36 Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world."

Paul condemns the wisdom of this world,

1 Corinthians 1:20 (RSV)
20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

The Christian must not be conformed to this world,

Romans 12:2 (RSV)
2 Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

When kosmos  is used in this sense it means the world without God, the world in its ignorance of, and often its hostility to, God. Therefore, if we call the tongue the evil kosmos, it means that it is that part of the body which is without God. An uncontrolled tongue is like a world hostile to God. It is the part of us which disobeys Him.

(ii) The second difficult phrase is what the Revised Standard Version translates the cycle of nature (trochos) geneseos.  It literally means the wheel of being.

The ancients used the picture of the wheel to describe life in four different ways.

(i) The wheel is a circle, a rounded and complete whole, and, therefore, the wheel of life can mean the totality of life.

(ii) Any particular point in the wheel is always moving up or down. Therefore, the wheel of life can stand for the ups and downs of life. In this sense the phrase very nearly means the wheel of fortune, always changing and always variable.

(iii) The wheel is circular; it is always turning back upon itself in exactly the same circle; therefore, the wheel came to stand for the cyclical repetition of life, the weary round of an existence which is ever repeating itself without advancing.

(iv) The phrase had one particular technical use. The Orphic religion believed that the human soul was continually undergoing a process of birth and death and rebirth; and the aim of life was to escape from this treadmill into infinite being. So the Orphic devotee who had achieved could say,

"I have flown out of the sorrowful, weary wheel."

In this sense the wheel of life can stand for the weary treadmill of constant reincarnation.

It is unlikely that James knew anything about Orphic reincarnation, and the Bible clearly DOES NOT TEACH REINCARNATION.

Hebrews 9:27 (RSV)
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,

((( We DIE ONLY ONE PHYSICAL DEATH, THEN COMES JUDGEMENT BEFORE GOD!!!!!!! )))

It is not likely that a Christian would be afraid of the chances and changes of life. Therefore, the phrase most probably means the whole of life and living. What James is saying is that the tongue can kindle a destructive fire which can destroy all life; and the uncontrolled tongue itself is KINDLED WITH THE VERY FIRE OF HELL..................................Here indeed is its terror.

We know only too well from experience that there is a cleavage in fallen human nature. In man there is something of the ape and something of the angel, something of the hero and something of the villain, something of the Saint and much of the sinner. It is James' conviction that nowhere is this contradiction more evident than in the tongue.

With it, he says, we bless God. This was especially relevant to a Jew. Whenever the name of God was mentioned, a Jew must respond: "Blessed be he!" Three times a day the devout Jew had to repeat the Shemoneh Esreh, the famous eighteen prayers called Eulogies, every one of which begins, "Blessed be thou, O God." God was indeed eulogetos, The Blessed One, the One who was continually blessed. And yet the very mouths and tongues which had frequently and piously blessed God, were the very same mouths and tongues which cursed fellowmen. To James there was something unnatural about this; it was as unnatural as for a stream to gush out both fresh and salt water or a bush to bear opposite kinds of fruit. Unnatural and wrong such things might be, but they were tragically common.

(((((((How cruel and evil are our hearts to use God’s gracious and glorious gift of speech to hurt others in any way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)))))))

Peter could say,

Matthew 26:35 (RSV)
35 Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny you." And so said all the disciples.

That very same tongue of his denied Jesus with oaths and curses,

Matthew 26:69-75 (RSV)
69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a maid came up to him, and said, "You also were with Jesus the Galilean."
70 But he denied it before them all, saying, "I do not know what you mean." 71 And when he went out to the porch, another maid saw him, and she said to the bystanders, "This man was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72 And again he denied it with an oath, "I do not know the man." 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, "Certainly you are also one of them, for your accent betrays you."
74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately the cock crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, "Before the cock crows, you will deny me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

John who said "Little children, love one another,”, also said:

Luke 9:54-55 (RSV)
54 And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, "Lord, do you want us to bid fire come down from heaven and consume them?" 55 But he turned and rebuked them. 56 And they went on to another village.

Even the tongues of the apostles could say very different things.

John Bunyan tells us of Talkative:

"He was a saint abroad and a devil at home."

***Many a person speaks with perfect courtesy to strangers and even preaches LOVE and gentleness, and yet snaps with impatient irritability at his own family. ((( OUCH, it hits home with me!!!!!!! )))

***It has not been unknown for a man to speak with piety on Sunday and to curse a squad of workmen on Monday.

***It has not been unknown for a man to utter the most pious sentiments one day and to repeat the most questionable stories the next.

***It has not been unknown for a woman to speak with sweet graciousness at a religious meeting and then to go outside to murder someone's reputation with a malicious tongue.

These things, said James, should not be. Some drugs are at once poisons and cures; they are benefits to a man when wisely controlled by his doctor but harmful when used unwisely.

The tongue can bless or curse; it can wound or soothe; it can speak the fairest or the foulest things. It is one of life's hardest and plainest duties to see that the tongue does not contradict itself but speaks only such words as we would wish God to hear.

Let us all watch our words............................................

Matthew 12:36-37 (RSV)
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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January 15, 2017...............................................Good-bye AUSSIE

“a” Church
Evanston, Wyoming

Because of certain events in my life, instead of continuing in the Book of James today, this week we will have a different message.

“My Soul Refused To Be Comforted!!!“

Psalm 77:2 (RSV)
2 In the day of my trouble I seek the Lord; in the night my hand is stretched out without wearying; my soul refuses to be comforted.

O Savior of our souls, Will You meet us in our death, in the death of our LOVED ones? O Deliverer of our hope, Will You free us from our anguish? O Healer of our bodies, Will You cure all our diseases?

When we cry, torrents of tears Do You taste our bitterness? When we strive, struggling to survive Do You stand by and offer Your hand?
When we give up, with shattered dreams Do you pick up all the pieces?

O God of all our prayers, In silence and thunders we wait for Your answers. O Comforter of our broken hearts, In lonely night we search for Your solace. O Helper of our shattered strength, In unbearable burden we seek Your relief.

We know You are LOVE. When others judge our sorrow, You attend our hearts and minds. When our paths lead into dark storms, You light up our eyesight, our countenance. When we fall in our agony, You will lift us up to rise.

When we are lost alone and lingering in our sorrow, You will be with us, and guide us back to You.



O God, our Savior, listen to our prayers. Fill our grief-stricken souls with Your LOVE, heal our broken hearts, return us to Your rest. If You wish not to answer at this time, then please be with us, deliver us from our pain and sorrow, deliver us from our sins, and deliver us from this life of death and destruction………………….

O Lord God Jehovah, the only God, the great God, the all LOVING God, we beseech Thee to answer our prayers in Your blessed son’s name Jesus Christ, Amen and eternally Amen………………….

WHEN you meet with a person in great distress, you feel at once a desire to comfort him. That is to say, if you have an ordinarily tender heart. You cannot bear to see another in trouble without trying to minister to that diseased heart. But supposing that the person refuses to be comforted? Then you are foiled. What can you do? It is as though you met with a hungry man and offered him bread, but he rejected it. You tried to give him exquisite food, but he scorned it. You asked him what he could eat, but he altogether refused to accept any form of nourishment. Then what could you do? Your cupboard might be full and the door might be freely opened, but if the man would not eat, you could not remove his hunger. So, if a man in trouble refuses to be comforted, how are you to cheer and solace him? One man can lead a horse to the water, but a thousand cannot make him drink if he will not—and when a man in trouble refuses to be comforted, then LOVER and friend are put far from him—and his acquaintance into darkness.

Indeed, they soon need to be comforted, for disquietude is contagious and, sometimes, those who come to comfort another, go away provoked by his perversity. Many a man, whose heart was full of pity, has, at last, become indignant, and so has increased the sorrow which he intended to comfort—he has grown angry with the man who willfully put aside what was intended to encourage him.  With those few prefatory remarks, let us come to the text.

“My soul refused to be comforted.”

Note, concerning a man in such a case, first, possibly he may be right.

Secondly, he is probably wrong.

Thirdly, he may one day regret his conduct, as did Asaph, for, while he tells us that his soul refused to be comforted, he writes it down—not as an example for us to follow, but for our warning! 

I. First, then, when a man’s soul refuses to be comforted, POSSIBLY HE MAY BE RIGHT.  He may have a great spiritual sorrow and someone who does not at all understand his grief may offer to him a consolation which is far too slight. Not knowing how deep the wound is, this foolish physician may think that it can be healed with any common ointment. I have known men to say to a person in deep distress things which have really aggravated him and his malady, too.

“As he that takes away a garment in cold weather, and as vinegar upon nitre, so is he that singes songs to a heavy heart.”

“Oh,” they have said, “there is really nothing the matter with you, after all!”

 When the arrows of anguish were drinking up your soul, they have said,

“you are low-spirited.”

Who would not be low-spirited when he has had tremendous, unthinkable tragic loss???

“You are very nervous,” says another. “I am afraid you are LOSING YOUR FOCUS ON GOD AND ALL YOU ARE BLESSED WITH—you need cheerful people and amusement.”

That is poor consolation for one who feels that he is ready to die and that his soul chooses strangling rather than life! Reduced as he is to such a point of agony in his spirit, it is no wonder that the man should put away these comforters and say with Job,

“‘Miserable comforters are you all.’

Mine is not a sorrow that can be removed by the bowl or by the violin. Mine is not a grief that can be charmed away with your merriment, or laid to sleep by your ridicule, or belittled by your own pain, or values of loss. WE MUST NOT COMPARE THE MAGNITUDE OF SOMEONE’S ANGUISH, WITH ANOTHERS PAIN AND SORROW. The wound is too deep and too severe for you to cure. The man acts rightly when he puts aside these physicians without skill, of whom it may be said,

“They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace, where there is no peace.”

You may send such comforters away from you, for it is right to refuse to be comforted by them. You will do well to say, with Toplady—

 

 “If my Lord Himself reveals, No other good I want, Only Christ my wounds can heal, Or silence my complaint.  He that suffered in my stead, Shall my Physician be.  I will not be comforted Till Jesus comforts me.” 

So, too, it is equally right to refuse to be comforted when the comfort is untrue. When a man is under a sense of sin, I have known his friends say to him,

“You should not fret; you have not been so very bad. You have been, indeed, a very good sort of fellow.”

One says,

“I can recollect how kind you were to So-and-So and how honestly you behaved under such-and-such a temptation. You have not committed any very terrible sin—God help the world if you are a great sinner! I do not know what will become of the rest of us.”

Another says,

“You have only to pray and go to a place of worship, perhaps be a little more regular in your attention to religion and it will all come right again. You are not so bad as you think you are.”

Be off with you! Such talk as that is a lie and the man whom God has really awakened to feel his state by nature will refuse to be comforted by such falsehoods as those! However friendship may flatter, the man himself says,

“I know that I have broken God’s Law and that I deserve His wrath.”

Conscience will not be quieted by all the soft speeches of officious but ignorant friends! I charge you, before God, if the Spirit of Truth has begun to trouble you, never drink these sweet but poisonous consolations! Never think that you are good, or that you can make yourself good. Refuse to be comforted in any such way. That comfort which does not come from truth and from God’s Word, applied by the Holy Spirit, is a comfort to be rejected with scorn!  We have known others who have tried to comfort poor, mourning, repentant sinners in an unhallowed way. They have said,

“You need to raise your spirits. I can recommend you some fine old wine which will do you a world of good.”

Another will say,

“You should really get out of the house and see more people and shake yourself up. You should get with some happy, lively people—they would soon take this melancholy out of you.”

There was a poor man, who suffered from depression of spirit to the very worst degree, insomuch that life had become a weariness to him. Suicide was real possibility…………………..

He went to consult a certain physician who was noted for dealing with hypochondriacs and depressed persons. The doctor said to him,

“Now, my Friend, you are evidently very low in spirits—you should go to a comedy club. I went the other night, hearing So-and-So, and he made me laugh at such a rate that I am quite sure, if you went and heard him, you would soon get rid of all your depression.”

The patient took the doctor by the hand and said,

“Doctor, I am that man. I have made all the world laugh, but my heart is breaking all the while.”

What said Solomon?

“I said in my heart, Go to now, I will prove you with mirth, therefore enjoy pleasure. And, behold, this also is vanity. I said of laughter, It is mad. And of mirth, What does it do?”

I am sure that a person who is really troubled in spirit will increase his sorrow if he attempts to cure it in that way. It is only putting more fuel on the flame. It seems such a mockery to the spirit, when it is burdened with a sense of sin, to tell it to dance and make merriment!

“Can I be merry on the brink of Hell?” cries the sorrowful man.

“In danger every moment of death and certain that if death came, I should be lost, can I enjoy mirth? It cannot be!” 

There was a certain king of Hungary, a pious, gracious man, who was, at one time, deeply cast down and depressed. He had a brother, a worldly self-seeker, who rallied him about his despondency and, as far as he dared, mocked the poor broken heart of the king. It was the custom in Hungary that if a man was to be suddenly executed, a trumpeter should stand under his window and sound a blast of a certain kind—and then he was taken away to be put to death. The king sent the trumpeter, at the dead of night, to sound that blast under his brother’s window. The self-seeker knew what it meant, so he arose at once, but he begged the executioner to first take him to the king—and there he stood, white as a sheet and trembling from head to foot.

 “Brother,” said the king, “what ails you?”

“What ails me?” he said, “why, you sent your trumpeter under my window, and he sounded the death-blast, and I suppose that I am to die!”

“Well,” answered the king, “you tremble now, yet it is only because you are to die, whereas I have heard the thunder-blast of God and I stand in fear of everlasting judgment! Now, dear brother,” he added,

“perhaps you can sympathize with me. I only sent the trumpeter that you might be enabled to look with a little more compassion upon me when I am in trouble before God.” 

Ah, it is not laughter or mirth that will comfort the soul that has heard the voice of God saying,

“You have sinned and I must punish you. You have lived a careless, godless life, and now you must come to judgment. Can you answer for one of a thousand when I shall set your sins before My face? When I shall bring forth a plummet to try you and to see how you stand, how will you endure that test?”

No, no! Put aside all those hollow, unhallowed, empty comforts, and say,

“My soul refuses to be comforted in that way.” 

In a word, Brothers and Sisters, let me say that if your hearts are troubled on account of sin, refuse every comfort except that which comes through being washed in the precious BLOOD of Jesus  Christ which can make us whiter than snow! Refuse every comfort short of being born again and made a new creature in Jesus !

 Make this solemn resolve—“I will sooner die in prison than be let out except by His dear pierced hands. I will tremble before the wrath of God rather than I will dare to presume upon His mercy. I will wait till I have looked into the dear face of Him who died for me, and have read my pardon, there, before I will be comforted.”

If you resolve not to be comforted except in that Scriptural way, you will do well. 

II. But now, in the second place, with brevity, I want to show when this refusal is wrong. PROBABLY HE IS WRONG who says,

“My soul refused to be comforted.”  It is quite wrong if it is a temporal matter that causes your sorrow. Why do you refuse to be comforted, my Friend?

“I have lost one who was very dear to me—my beLOVED mother.”

“I have lost my child,” says another.

“It is my husband who has been taken away,” says a third, while a fourth cries,

“I have lost my sweet, precious, LOVING, companion, and friend and my soul refuses to be comforted.”

 

What, then, have you nobody left?

“No, nobody.”

And has God done you a wrong? Did not your mother belong to Him? Was not your child His? DID NOT YOUR BELOVED AUSSIE BELONG TO HIM???

He has only taken back what He lent you for a while—and because you have lost this one cistern, will you never drink of the fountain? Because the star is gone, will you never enjoy the sunlight? O dear Friend, I pray you, talk not so! 

“Ah,” says another,

“but I have lost my health! I found out, but a few days ago, that I have a deadly disease which will take me off, before long and, therefore, I refuse to be comforted.”

What? You will go down to your grave rebelling against God? Why should you not be sick? Better people than you have gone Home by heart disease, or cancer, or by some other illness. Would it not be well to make your submission to God about that matter and ask that you may have a Heaven to go to, and a place of joy when death comes?

“Ah,” cries another, “but all my earthly prospects are shattered. I thought that I should get on in the world, but now I find that I cannot, the door is locked against me. I can never be comforted.”

Are there no other doors? Are you sure that what you call your prospects would have been blessings to you if you had realized them? Does not God know better than you do and will it not be wise for you to pluck up courage and, as the world’s poet says—

“To take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them”?

Better far is it to act like that than to sit down in sullen gloom, or in fierce wrath against God! 

“Ah,” says another, “but mine is a very peculiar trouble. My LOVE has been slighted. One whom I LOVED very dearly has proven faithless and discarded me.”

Yes, and your heart is broken, and well it may be. But, my Friend, will you therefore refuse to LOVE Him who never forsakes those on whom He once sets His affection? Would it not be wiser to turn the current of your heart’s LOVE towards Him who is faithful and true, and who LOVES even to all eternity? That would be a wiser course of action, surely! Refuse not to be comforted, I pray you—you are only driving the dagger deeper and deeper into your wounds. You are making the bitter waters more bitter. All that you do in this direction is but increasing your sorrow. You are like sailors pumping the seawater into the ship instead of pumping it out! You are heaping on another burden, much heavier than God has put there, by refusing to be comforted. Instead of doing that, think of the mercies that you still have, think of how God can bless your troubles to you, think of the shortness of life, think of the glories of Heaven, think of the sufferings of your Lord who endured much more than you are called to bear—and no longer refuse to be comforted, for, if you do, worse troubles may come to you.  I heard a woman say to her child, as I passed her door,

“If you don’t leave off crying, I’ll give you something to cry about.” And I have known that to happen with some of the Lord’s children. They have had very small troubles and they have fretted and rebelled against God until they have had a much greater sorrow—they have had something to cry about! Oh, do not refuse to be comforted, but yield yourself to God! Willingly submit to the discipline of your dear Father’s hand.  But now I will suppose that yours is a spiritual trouble and yet you refuse to be comforted. Listen to me, I pray you, for a few minutes, for I am sure that I shall describe some of you. The Gospel is meant for sinners, for guilty sinners, for Hell-deserving sinners. It is meant for persons just like you, yet you put it away from you and refuse to be comforted. It would be such a comfort to you if you accepted it—you would have such joys as you never knew before. But no, you will not touch it, you turn aside from it. There are kind friends who, at one time, encouraged you to cast yourself upon Christ, but now you try to avoid them, you get out of their way if you can. You feel so sad that you do not want to be cheered, you scarcely desire to be encouraged. Perhaps I speak to some who have gone so far astray that they say,

“We cannot go back to the House of Prayer now.”

It is a horrible thing when people fall into such depths of sorrow that when they most need to come and hear, and be comforted, the devil says to them,

“Don’t go there any more—you will hear nothing for your comfort. The preacher will only confirm your condemnation,” and so he tries to keep them away from the means of Grace.

“Oh,” says one, “I used to delight in the Prayer Meeting, but I dare not go to it now! I feel that no prayers will ever be any blessing to me. I used to LOVE to hear Pastor’s voice, once, and I have laughed for very joy while hearing it. But now I do not want to listen to it any longer.”

No, you are refusing to be comforted.  It is also a terrible thing when Satan leads men to neglect the private means of Grace. They shut up the Bible and do not read it, being afraid that every Word should turn out to be a curse that will only make their sorrow deeper. Or, if they do read a promise, they say,

“That is not for us. It may be true to everybody else, but not to us.”

As to private prayer, such a man says,

“I cannot pray. God would not hear me, anyway, I am such a hypocrite. I have been such a backslider, I am so false, I am so guilty. It is no use for me to try to pray.”

That which ought to be the channel of sweetest consolation is neglected by those who refuse to be comforted! Some of them will even go so far as to deny the testimony of God.

*He says that He is merciful—they say that He is not.

*God declares that there is a propitiation for sin in the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST—they say that there is none.

*Jesus says, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out”—they say that He would cast them out if they came to Him.

*He invites them to come—they say that they cannot come.

*While He bids them to come near to Him and warns them that there is nothing in their way but their own evil hearts—yet they give God the lie and reject the only Savior! 

*They also refuse the testimony of those of us who are God’s witnesses—though this is but a small matter after refusing God’s own testimony!

We come and say, “Friend, if you will believe, you shall see the Glory of God. If you will simply cast yourself upon Christ, you shall live.”

Yet they do not believe us. There are some of you who would not doubt anything that I told you, I am sure that you would not—your esteem and affection would lead you to receive almost anything that I stated as fact—and yet you have put away from you, you have refused and rejected that glorious testimony which it is my life’s work to tell to you, namely, that Jesus Christ will receive you and cleanse you from every sin, if you will but come to Him just as you are and put your trust in Him! No, you refuse to be comforted. But how wicked this refusal is! What a wrong you do to our honest LOVE! What a wrong you do to the matchless LOVE of God!  Do you not remember the story of the good man who wanted to teach his little girl what faith was? He went down into the cellar, took away the ladder by which he had descended, and called to his child. “Ruth,” he said, “jump into my arms.” It was very dark down there, so she said, “Please, father, I can’t see you.” Then he replied, “you do not need to see me, I can see you—jump down.” With a merry laugh she sprang into the dark and was, in an instant, resting on her father’s bosom. Now, God bids us do just that! Can you not, by faith, take a leap in the dark, into your Heavenly Father’s arms? This is what you will do if you are really His child—but you will not do it unless you can say, “I will trust and not be afraid.”  I will tell you why people sometimes refuse to be comforted. One says, “I have been depressed such a long time.” Yes, but when the night is long, is that any proof that the morning will not come? It looks to me to be a good argument that the daylight is not very far off. “Oh,” says another, “but my depression is so deep! You cannot conceive how miserable I am.” Can I not? I think I have been in that dark dungeon where you now are and in the very corner where you are hiding. But even if I could not fully sympathize with you, the depth of your distress is to me an argument for your comfort, for God will first help the most helpless—and where there is the most misery, there will His mercy most swiftly come. So I look upon you with great hopefulness! If you are so thoroughly broken down, the Lord will surely speak comfort to you  among the very first. “Ah,” says another friend, “but I am under the impression that I shall never be saved.”

Perhaps you are, but I am under another impression, namely, that you will be saved! And I am under another impression, which I know is true—that is, if you will only cast yourself upon Christ by a simple faith, you shall be saved at once! I know that impression is true because here is the seal that made it—“Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

These are the words of Him who cannot lie or change! Do you still refuse to be comforted? 

“Oh,” says one, “but if you knew me, Sir, you would not talk so, for I have been such a great sinner!”

I think that is very likely. “Oh, but I mean it, Sir!” I hope you do. I trust you are not adding lies to your other sins.

“But, Sir, I have been such a sinner!”

Yes, I know what you mean, and I believe it. And I will tell you something about yourself that you probably do not believe—you are a worse sinner than you think you are.

“Oh, that cannot be!” you say. But I tell you that it is—you do not know what a sinner you are. Sin is a more horrible thing than imagination, itself, can conceive it to be.

“But I deserve the hottest place in Hell,” says one. Yes, but suppose that it is so, and that all you say is true? Yet, in the name of God, I tell you that “all manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,” for, “the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.” What is your sin? Have you committed falsehood, theft, fornication, murder? Is there any crime which you have committed which I dare not mention—some secret sin which has polluted you and left you a black blot upon the face of God’s earth? Yet come along with you, whoever you may be! If you are the sweepings of Helldom, yet come along with you, for Jesus Christ is able to save to the uttermost—let me say that word again—“ He is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him.”  Do not refuse to be comforted, for if you do, you will be a spiritual suicide! The man who will not eat and so dies of starvation is as much a suicide as he that puts the pistol to his head and blows out his brains. He that rejects Christ, damns himself as surely as he that gives himself, body and soul, to the devil. He that refuses what God has provided and will not have pardon through the precious blood, dashes himself upon the bosses of Jehovah’s buckler and fixes himself upon the point of the javelin of Divine Justice! Do not do it, I implore you! Be not among those who refuse to be comforted!

III. But now, lastly, for my time is nearly gone, YOU WILL HAVE TO REPENT OF REFUSING TO BE COMFORTED.  Possibly you will have to repent in a very terrible way. Suppose, now, that you should refuse to be comforted, and so should willfully go into a yet darker and deeper dungeon of despair?

 Suppose that your Christian friends should grow weary of you—I hope they will not—but suppose that godly man, or that godly woman who has so long followed you up, should, at last, despair of you and leave? Where would you be, then? And suppose that because you shut your eyes to the Light of God, God should take it away? What if you should have to move to a region where nobody will want to comfort you, where no minister will labor and travail for your soul’s salvation, where you shall sit under a dry and lifeless ministry, or perhaps under none at all—and you shall be left to go on down, down, down? God prevent it! But if ever that should be your sad lot, I hope there may still remain about you sufficient relics of life to make you say,

“Oh, that I had been willing to be comforted when I might have been, and had accepted the testimony of Grace before I had passed beyond the reach of those blessed means of mercy!”

But I do not mean to dwell upon that thought, for I have something much more cheerful to say.  I hope that many here present who have refused to be comforted, will yet regret it when they shall be enjoying the fullness of comfort. One of the things that I have sometimes said to myself, when I have been alone, has been this,

“How foolish you are!”

And if anybody had heard me, he would have known that I was upbraiding myself in the spirit of Christian and Hopeful when they were locked up in Giant Despair’s castle. You remember how Bunyan tells us that the pilgrims began to pray on Saturday, about midnight, and continued in prayer till almost the break of day, when Christian called out,

“What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom, called Promise, that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle.”

So he pulled it out of his bosom, put it in the lock, opened the door of the dungeon, and they soon were out! When they came to the outer door leading to the castle yard, the key fitted that, and they went through. Then they came to the great iron gate—the lock went horribly hard, but Christian kept working away at it and, at last, the bolt shot back, the big gate was open—and they escaped. 

But Giant Despair heard the noise and came down. And he was just about to fall upon his poor prisoners, when he was taken with a shaking fit—I have always been glad that the cruel old giant used to have epilepsy, so he could not catch the two pilgrims—and away they went! I am sure that when they got out, Christian kept saying to himself, “What a fool I have been! What a fool I have been! I have been lying in that dungeon all this while, when I might have been out ever so long ago.” If I ever hear you, who have had a similar experience, cry, “What a fool I have been,” I shall say, “That is quite right! You have hit the nail on the head this time,” for, whenever a man doubts the mercy of God, the best thing that I can say of him is that he is a fool! I could say a far worse thing than that, but when you refuse the sweet mercy, the tender love, the overflowing forgiveness, the generous kindness of the heart of Christ, you certainly act like a fool. And then, when you come to your right mind, I am sure that you will ask yourself, “How could I have refused so long to be comforted?”  Now, finally, when you and I get to Heaven, we shall regret that we ever refused to be comforted. “Oh,” says a poor sinner over there, “now you are drawing the long bow.” Which do you mean—for myself or for you? “Why, Sir, you said, ‘When you and I get to Heaven.’” Very well, which is the, “you,” and which is the, “I,” that you are quibbling about? Do you think that it is such a very great wonder that I should get to Heaven? If you do, I altogether agree with you, for it will be a wonder, indeed! “No,” you say, “I mean that it will be a wonder if I get there.” Yes, and I, too, think it will be so. You and I will be about equal wonders if we get there—and when we are there, by the rich mercy of God, by the infinite love of Christ—and we shall be, you know, as surely as we are here if we will but believe in Christ—you and I will meet together, one day, in Heaven. Why should we not? I will promise to meet you there! Come, we will make a bargain of it—I am going by Christ, the Way, and if you go by Christ, the Way, we shall get to the same place! And there will be the King in His beauty. I will guarantee you that you will not take much notice of me, or I of you, for the sight of the King will be so ravishing! Oh, what a Countenance! Oh, what a Glory! Oh, that matchless Lover of our souls! And I believe that, then, we shall, each of us, say, “However could I have refused to be comforted by Him when He had loved me with an everlasting love, when He had chosen me from before the foundation of the world, when He had bought me with His precious blood, when He had sought me by His Holy Spirit, when He had clothed me with His righteousness, when He had taken me into the family and made me His brother and a child of God, when He had gone to Heaven on purpose to prepare a place for me and sent His Spirit down to earth to prepare me for the place? Yet there was a time when I refused to be comforted by Him!” I think, if we could weep in Heaven, we would certainly weep glad tears of deep and solemn regret that ever we should have stood out against Him to whom we are married. Oh, on that wondrous wedding day, when He shall consummate His love and ours, He will not say, “You were difficult in the wooing. You refused Me many times.” But I do believe that I shall say to myself, “How could I have refused Him? How could I have treated Him so terribly?” And as I look at His dear hands, still scarred, I shall say to Him, “O my Savior, I cost You Your life, Your heart’s blood, and though I long refused You, yet You would have me! Oh, love unutterable! How I will love You throughout eternity!” But what regret we must feel that we ever rejected Him! Do not refuse to be comforted, dear Friend—come along with you and take at once the mercy that Jesus waits to give!  One little illustration, and I have done. I have noticed that when a dog is very hungry, he does not stand upon etiquette There is a butcher’s shop and no invitation is given to him to enter—but he makes himself very free and in he goes! There is a very nice little bit of meat on the block and the butcher has not the courtesy to offer it to him, though there is no creature that would more welcome it. So what does my friend, the dog, do? Why, he just makes a grab at it, seizes the meat, and then away he goes down the street! Now, if he can only get time to eat it, I will defy the butcher to get it away from him if he has taken it right into himself! I want you, poor Sinner, to be like that dog! There is the mercy of God—you do not believe that you ought to have it. Come and lay hold of it, for let me tell you this—Christ never takes away from the jaws of faith what faith once dares to seize! Take it and you have it! Believe even if you seem to have no right to believe! Commit a heavenly felony upon Divine Mercy! If the devil tells you that it is felony, come and take the mercy all the same, for he can never steal it from you! If you once get it, you have it forever. Oh, take it, then!— “Artful doubts and reasoning be  Nailed with Jesus to the tree.” 

Come and trust Him and He is yours forever! The Lord help you to do it, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen and eternally Amen.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc

In memory of my dear, sweet, precious, LOVING AUSSIE, YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THANK YOU JESUS FOREVER…………………………………. 





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January 8, 2017


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Three: Part One”

James 3:1-2 (RSV)
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all make many mistakes, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also.

Oh heavenly Father, how awesome and glorious is Your grace. It is by grace through faith that we are saved, and it is through Your ministers, teachers, preachers, missionaries and above all Your Holy Spirit that we are taught Your words as found in the holy Bible that lead to salvation. We pray that You would call the one’s best suited for these positions of great responsibility. Giving them all grace, wisdom, and humility to fulfil Your call upon their lives. Give us the grace and wisdom to know who these men and women of God are, so that we may LEARN FROM THEM, and mature in Your Word, and grow in grace and faith and to live our lives according to Your will, this day and EVERY day, in Jesus name Amen and eternally Amen......................................................

In the early church the teachers were of first rate importance Wherever they are mentioned, they are mentioned with honor. In the Church at Antioch they are ranked with the prophets who sent out Paul and Barnabas on the first missionary journey,

Acts 13:1 (RSV)
1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyre'ne, Man'a-en a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

In Paul's list of those who hold great gifts within the Church they come second only to the apostles and to the prophets,

1 Corinthians 12:28 (RSV)
28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, then healers, helpers, administrators, speakers in various kinds of tongues.

Ephesians 4:11 (RSV)
11 And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers,

The apostles and the prophets were forever on the move. Their field was the whole Church; and they did not stay long in any one congregation. But the teachers worked within a congregation, and their supreme importance was that it must have been to them that the converts were handed over for instruction in the facts of the Christian gospel and for edification in the Christian faith. It was the teacher's awe-inspiring responsibility that they could put the stamp of their own faith and knowledge on those who were entering the Church for the first time.

In the New Testament itself we get glimpses of teachers who failed in their responsibility and became false teachers. There were teachers who tried to turn Christianity into another kind of Judaism and tried to introduce circumcision and the keeping of the law,

Acts 15:24 (RSV)
24 Since we have heard that some persons from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions,

There were teachers who lived out nothing of the truth which they taught, whose life was a contradiction of their instruction and who did nothing but bring dishonor on the faith they represented,

Romans 2:17-29 (RSV)
17 But if you call yourself a Jew and rely upon the law and boast of your relation to God 18 and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed in the law, 19 and if you are sure that you are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, 20 a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth -- 21 you then who teach others, will you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who boast in the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you." 25 Circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law; but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26 So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. 28 For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly, nor is true circumcision something external and physical. 29 He is a Jew who is one inwardly, and real circumcision is a matter of the heart, spiritual and not literal. His praise is not from men but from God.

There were some who tried to teach before they themselves knew anything,

1 Timothy 1:6-7 (RSV)
6 Certain persons by swerving from these have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make assertions.

Others pandered to the false desires of the crowd,

2 Timothy 4:3 (RSV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings,

((((((( Just because someone looks good, and/or speaks with great articulation or oratory DOES NOT MAKE THEM A TEACHER FOR GOD’S KINGDOM!!! )))))))

 Uncle Buddy Robinson  was a great evangelist for God............For many years the powers to be in the Nazarene Church told him, he was inarticulate, spoke with a stutter, and NO ONE would ever understand him, let alone listen to him...............................HE BECAME THE GREATEST EVANGELIST OF HIS TIME!!!!!!!

Genuine teachers of God come in all shapes and sizes, with NO FORMAL EDUCATION to a vast wealth of secular and Seminary study. The only important thing IS GOD’S CALL UPON THEIR LIVES!!! That’s true of all of us..........................................................

But, apart altogether from the false teachers, it is James' conviction that teaching is a dangerous occupation for any person. The teacher’s instrument is speech and our agent the tongue. As Ropes puts it, James is concerned to point out "the responsibility of teachers and the dangerous character of the instrument they have to use."

The Christian teacher entered into a perilous heritage. In the Church he took the place of the Rabbi in Judaism. There were many great and saintly Rabbis, but the Rabbi was treated in a way that was liable to ruin the character of any man. His very name means, "My great one." Everywhere he went he was treated with the utmost respect. It was actually held that a man's duty to his Rabbi exceeded his duty to his parents, because his parents only brought him into the life of this world but his teacher brought him into the life of the world to come. It was actually said that if a man's parents and a man's teacher were captured by an enemy, the Rabbi must be ransomed first. It was true that a Rabbi was not allowed to take money for teaching and that he was supposed to support his bodily needs by working at a trade; but it was also held that it was a specially pious and meritorious work to take a Rabbi into the household and to support him with every care. It was desperately easy for a Rabbi to become the kind of person whom Jesus depicted, a spiritual tyrant, an ostentatious ornament of piety, a lover of the highest place at any function, a person who gloried in the almost subservient respect showed to him in public,

Matthew 23:4-7 (RSV)
4 They bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
5 They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, 6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, 7 and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.

Every teacher runs the risk of becoming "Sir Oracle." No profession is more liable to beget spiritual and intellectual pride.

There are two dangers which every teacher must avoid. In virtue of their office they will either be teaching those who are young in years or those who are children in the faith. They must, therefore, all their lives struggle to avoid two things. They must have every care that they are teaching the truth, and not their own opinions or even their own prejudices. It is fatally easy for a teacher to distort the truth and to teach, not God's version, but their, our own version. We must have every care that we do not contradict our teaching by our lives, continually, as it were, not, "Do as I do," but, "Do as I say." We must never get into the position when our scholars and students cannot hear what we say for listening and watching what we actually are. As the Jewish Rabbis themselves said,

"Not learning but doing is the foundation, and he who multiplies words multiplies sin" (Sayings of the Fathers 1: 18).

It is James' warning that the teacher has of his own choice entered into a special office; and is, therefore, under the greater condemnation, if he fails in it. The people to whom James was writing coveted the prestige of the teacher; James demanded that they should never forget the responsibility.

James sets down two ideas which were woven into Jewish thought and literature.

(i) There is no person in this world who does not sin in something. The word James uses means to slip up. "Life," said Lord Fisher, the great sailor, "is strewn with orange peel." Sin is so often not deliberate but the result of a slip up when we are off our guard. This universality of sin runs all through the Bible.

Romans 3:10 (RSV)
10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;

Romans 3:23 (RSV)
23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 1:8 (RSV)
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 (RSV)
20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

2 Esdras 8:35 (RSV)
35 For in truth there is no one among those who have been born who has not acted wickedly, and among those who have existed there is no one who has not transgressed.

There is no room for pride in human life, for there is not a man, woman or child  upon earth who has not some blot of which to be ashamed. Even the pagan writers have the same conviction of sin.

"It is the nature of man to sin both in private and in public life," said Thucydides (3: 45).

"We all sin," said Seneca, "some more grievously, some more lightly" (On Clemency 1: 6).

(ii) There is no sin into which it is easier to fall and none which has graver consequences than the sin of the tongue. Again this idea is woven into Jewish thought. Jesus warned men that they would give account for every word they spoke.

Matthew 12:36-37 (RSV)
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; 37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."

Proverbs 15:1-4 (RSV)
1 A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
2 The tongue of the wise dispenses knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. 3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. 4 A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

Of all Jewish writers, Jesus ben Sirach, the writer of Ecclesiasticus, was most impressed with the terrifying potentialities of the tongue.

Sirach 5:13 (RSV)
13 Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man's tongue is his downfall.

Sirach 6:1 (RSV)
1 and do not become an enemy instead of a friend; for a bad name incurs shame and reproach: so fares the double-tongued sinner.

Sirach 14:1 (RSV)
1 Blessed is the man who does not blunder with his lips and need not suffer grief for sin.

Sirach 19:15 (RSV)
15 Question a friend, for often it is slander; so do not believe everything you hear.

Sirach 22:27 (RSV)
27 O that a guard were set over my mouth, and a seal of prudence upon my lips, that it may keep me from falling, so that my tongue may not destroy me!

He has a lengthy passage which is so nobly and passionately put that it is worth quoting in full:

Sirach 28:13-26 (RSV)
13 Curse the whisperer and deceiver, for he has destroyed many who were at peace. 14 Slander has shaken many, and scattered them from nation to nation, and destroyed strong cities, and overturned the houses of great men. 15 Slander has driven away courageous women, and deprived them of the fruit of their toil. 16 Whoever pays heed to slander will not find rest, nor will he settle down in peace. 17 The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones. 18 Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not so many as have fallen because of the tongue. 19 Happy is the man who is protected from it, who has not been exposed to its anger, who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters; 20 for its yoke is a yoke of iron, and its fetters are fetters of bronze; 21 its death is an evil death, and Hades is preferable to it. 22 It will not be master over the godly, and they will not be burned in its flame.
23 Those who forsake the Lord will fall into its power; it will burn among them and will not be put out. It will be sent out against them like a lion; like a leopard it will mangle them. 24 See that you fence in your property with thorns, lock up your silver and gold, 25 make balances and scales for your words, and make a door and a bolt for your mouth.
26 Beware lest you err with your tongue, lest you fall before him who lies in wait.

We make jokes about our verbal mistakes, yet how great an ERROR can come from a foolish or false teacher’s word or teaching??? As Christians as sharers of God’s word, WE ARE PROVIDERS OF THE TRUTH, THE ONLY TRUTH THAT LEADS TO SALVATION...How concerned are we TO SHARE THE TRUTH, and not merely our opinion, or the opinion of our Pastor???

***STUDY***

***STUDY***

***STUDY***

2 Timothy 2:15 (RSV)
15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

For the Teacher, the Pastor, the Preacher, WE MUST FOR THE SAKE OF OUR STUDENTS, STUDY TO TEACH THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH TO THE VERY BEST OF OUR ABILITY!!!!!!!

Lord give us wisdom and LOVE to share Your Word the Bible to others to the very best of our ability by the power of the Holy Spirit that indwells EVERY GENUINE BELIEVER, in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen..............................................................................

John 16:13 (RSV)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

And finally:.......................................

Titus 2:7-8 (RSV)
7 Show yourself in all respects a model of good deeds, and in your teaching show integrity, gravity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be censured, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say of us.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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January 1, 2017 [[[ NEW YEAR'S DAY !!! ]]]





"a" Church


Evanston, Wyoming





“2017 !!!”

Joshua  22 v 5

“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the Lord charged you, to love the Lord your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Dear Father, God, Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for all that you've allowed into our lives, the good along with the hard things, which have reminded us how much we need you and rely on your presence filling us moment by moment, every single day.

We pray for the Holy Spirit to lead us each step of 2017 and our lives beyond. We ask that you will guide our decisions and turn our hearts to deeply desire you above all. We ask that you will open doors needing to be opened and close the ones needing to be shut tight. We ask that you would help us release our grip on the things to which you’ve said “no,” “not yet,” or “wait.” We ask for help to pursue you first, above every dream and desire you’ve put within our hearts.

We ask for your wisdom, for your strength and power to be constantly present within us. We pray you would make us strong and courageous for the road ahead. Give us ability beyond what we feel able, let your gifts flow freely through us, so that you are honored by our lives, and others would be drawn to you.

We pray that you’d keep us far from the seductions, snares and traps of temptations. That you would whisper in our ear when we need to run, and whisper in our heart when we need to stand our ground.

We pray for your protection over our families, friends, other LOVED ones and all those you put in our lives even if for only a glancing moment in time. We ask for your hand to cover us and keep us distanced from the evil intent of the enemy; that you would be a barrier to surround us, that we’d be safe in your hands. We pray that you would give us discernment and insight beyond our years, to understand your will, hear your voice, and know your ways.

We ask that you would keep our footsteps firm, on solid ground, helping us to be consistent and faithful. Give us supernatural endurance to stay the course, not swerving to the right or to the left, or being too easily distracted by other things that would seek to call us away from a close walk with you.

Forgive us for the times we have worked so hard to be self-sufficient, forgetting our need for you, living independent of your spirit. Forgive us for letting fear and worry control our minds, and for allowing pride and selfishness wreak havoc over our lives. Forgive us for not following your ways and for living distant from your presence.

We confess our need for you…fresh…new…again. We ask that you make all things new, in our hearts, in our minds, in our lives, for 2017. We pray for your refreshing over us.

Keep your words of truth planted firm within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us where we have been, hissing his lies and attacks our way, we trust that your voice speaks louder and stronger, as you remind us we are safe with you and your purposes and plans will not fail. We ask that you will be our defense and rear guard, keeping our way clear, removing the obstacles, and covering the pitfalls. Lord, lead us on your level ground.

We ask that you would provide for our needs, we ask for your grace and favor. We pray for your blessings to cover us, we pray that you would help us to prosper and make every plan that you have birthed in our heart to succeed. We pray that others would take notice of your goodness and could not help but to say, “These are the ones that the Lord has blessed.”

Help us to be great givers, help us to be generous and kind, help us to look to the needs of others and not be consumed by only our own.

May we be LOVERS of truth, may the fruits of your spirit be evident in our lives - your LOVE, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes.

May all your plans succeed in all our lives. May we reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.

To you be glory and honor, in 2017 and forever.

In Jesus’ name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen……………..

This is my first message in 2017………………………………….…

As almost always in this short span of time between Christmas and New Years we begin thinking of New Year’s resolutions. Most of us first think of losing weight, and then perhaps of spending more time with family and friends, others may be resolved to get better jobs or more education. The list as always is endless! But as Christians and with Jesus Christ at the center of our existence, what should be the most serious resolutions for the New Year for us? That of course is the topic of this week’s message.

In our text today Joshua is speaking to the tribes of Jews that would be living east of Jordan, and far away from the Tabernacle of YHWH and the rest of their Jewish brethren. We live in an age and a new era and a new year that even in these United States the commitment to God and the very belief in God is at a wane. Why even the very practice of celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ is under attack. The sweet and beautiful hymns of Christmas are laughed at and ridiculed by many. Some want to destroy the very thought of Christmas and others hate the celebration of Christmas with a violent passion!

The glorious joy and pleasure of giving gifts to each other as a symbol of our LOVE and devotion to Jesus Christ and our LOVE and desire for those to whom we give gifts has become tedious to some and to others a burden they simply DO NOT WANT TO BEAR…

Christmas something to “bear”, Christmas a burden, celebrating the birth of the little babe wrapped in swaddling clothes a insult to many, HOW CAN IT BE??????

***But it is “so” to many, and the world is quickly changing to a secular and anti-christ majority.

As Joshua speaks to his people, those who will be far from home and others who believe in YHWH as they do, Joshua’s words speak loud and clear to us today, in a world ever seeking out to annihilate even the slightest faith in our Lord, God, and Savior Jesus Christ…

Like many on the mission field who are alone without others to fellowship with in like beliefs and faith, we, here in this country, often even within our local churches find it difficult to find others genuinely committed to and truly in LOVE with Jesus Christ!!!

As the Jews of Joshua’s audience are well aware of the difficulties before them, Joshua exhorts and encourages them and us today, TO STAND FIRM IN OUR FAITH even though all of human society opposes our faith with great vigor and ever increasing force.

As we look forward to each day of 2016, and as Christians WE RESOLVE TO LIVE MORE LIKE JESUS CHRIST, Joshua speaks soberly and with great insight on WHAT WE SHOULD DO IN THIS  NEW YEAR!!!

Joshua speaks to key aspects of our personal relationship with God and breaks it up into six parts, each beginning with the infinitive (“to……….”)

We SHOULD GIVE DILIGENT ATTENTION to:

One: “To do the commandment and the law.”

That is, we SHOULD RESOLVE TO OBEY EVERY WORD THAT GOD GIVES US IN THE HOLY WRIT THE BIBLE!!!

Matthew 4 v 4

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

It is so easy to call ourselves Christians or simply as believers, and then to pick and choose what we want to accept and obey out of God’s holy word the Bible. ***Jesus clearly tells us, WE MUST OBEY EVERY WORD!!!

The world will declare we are blind fools for doing that, ignorant, stupid and exceedingly naïve people. Ex-President Jimmy Carter LEFT THE SOUTHERN BAPTIST CONVENTION, because HE CHOSE NOT TO BELIEVE OR OBEY EVERY WORD OF THE BIBLE!!!

Yet, Jesus Himself says: “obey every word.”

Television, radio, most media sources, those who claim to be politically correct, or to be very aware and emotionally stable, most of our human institutions, many from Hollywood, and even many who profess to be Christians will try to persuade with human logic and human reasoning THAT THE BIBLE IS NOT TO BE TRUSTED!!!!!!

Colossians 2:8 (KJV) 
8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Let us be resolved TO OBEY EVERY WORD GOD TELLS US THROUGH HIS HOLY, INERRANT, INFALLIBLE WORD THE BIBLE!!!

James 1 v 22

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

Two: “To LOVE the Lord thy God.”

This according to Jesus Christ, is the first and greatest commandment, this is the foundation of anything and everything that is worthy, noble, praiseworthy, or good in human and spiritual existence!!!

LOVING God with our whole mind, body, and soul IS THE CORNER STONE OF BEING AND DOING ANYTHING THAT IS TRULY GOOD…

We can only LOVE our fellow man and ourselves to the fullest extent WHEN WE FIRST LOVE GOD ABSOLUTELY AND WITHOUT QUESTION THE BEST WE CAN!!!!!!!

We MUST give first priority to the LOVE and worship of God.

Matthew 22 v 37-38

“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38. This is the first and great commandment.”

Further Jesus said:

Matthew 22 v 39-40

“And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Let us resolve in this New Year to LOVE GOD with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, and to LOVE all our fellow man as Jesus Christ WANTS US TO!!!

Three: “To walk in all His ways.”

The moment by moment, thoughts, words, and deeds of our lives both in private and in our public life SHOULD be consistent with the nature and purity of our beLOVED Savior Jesus Christ!!!

Our new natures created in us by the new birth through Jesus Christ should genuinely reflect our LOVE for Him and all that is part of His creation…

We should live lives every moment that are worthy of our being called Children of God…

2 Timothy 1 v 9

“Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.”

Certainly not by our own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives within us we should walk as Jesus Christ walks…

Ephesians 4 v 1

“I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,”

Colossians 1:10 (RSV)
10 to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.

Let us resolve to live each moment of our lives in ways that are pleasing not to the world, not to ourselves, but that are PLEASING TO GOD ALMIGHTY, OUR SAVIOR, REDEEMER,  AND KING!!!

Four: “To keep His commandments.”

The essential meaning of the phrase “to keep” in Hebrew literally means “to guard”! We are to defend His word the Bible, and our faith against ALL enemies whether from outside the church or from those false teachers and false brethren within our churches!!!

This can only be done if we diligently search the scriptures ourselves, SO WE KNOW and UNDERSTAND WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS…

We NEED to study the word of God, each of us, the very best we can, as often as we can…

Acts 17 v 11

“These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”

2 Timothy 2 v 16

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

Let us resolve in this New Year to study the word of God the Bible as often and as diligently as we can as our lives and others’ live DEPEND ON IT as we share it’s eternal truths boldly!!!

2 Timothy 4 v 2

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.”

Five: “To cleave unto Him.”

Our relationship with God SHOULD BE SO INTIMATE that we can always know and diligently follow His will for our lives…

We do this by habitual prayer, by regularly studying His word the Bible, by fellowshipping with other believers as often as we can,

1 Thessalonians 5 v 17

“Pray without ceasing.” 

Prayer is communication with God, or simply saying,  talking with God; when we pray we deepen our relationship with Him…

John 5 v 39

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

We grow in our relationship with God when we learn and understand more about Him…

Hebrews 10 v 25

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Expressing our LOVE for God by sharing our relationship with others increases our understanding and faith in Him…

As we begin the adventures that 2016  will bring let us resolve to pray, read, and share our LOVE for God with others as often as we can, thus naturally growing in a deeper and more fulfilling LOVE relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…….

Six: “To serve Him.”

As we keep our first “5” resolutions in the New Year we will most certainly be enabled by God to SERVE HIM and HIS CREATION WILLINGLY and WHOLEHEARTEDLY as our sixth and final resolution of this speech by Joshua suggests…

Matthew 25 v 40

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

What we do out of LOVE for others, WE ALSO DO AS LOVE FOR GOD!!!!!!!

As we reach out in LOVE not only to those who LOVE us but to everyone else too, WE WILL BE WALKING, LIVING, and REFLECTING THE PRECIOUS LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST…

We serve and LOVE God by doing all we can to help others in need, and by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with others, THAT THEY TOO MIGHT BE SAVED BY THE SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST…

Finally let us resolve TO SERVE GOD and TO SERVE OUR FELLOW HUMANITY IN THE HUMILITY and LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST THE ONE AND ONLY SAVIOR OF THE ENTIRE CREATION…….

One: “To do the commandment and the law.”

Two: “To LOVE the Lord thy God.”

Three: “To walk in all His ways.”

Four: “To keep His commandments.”

Five: “To cleave unto Him.”

Six: “To serve Him.”

If we do this as Christians, WE TRULY WILL HAVE A BLESSED NEW YEAR…….

Romans 8:14 (NIV2011)
14 For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc

*******BLESSED 2017 TO ONE AND ALL !!!!!!!*******​








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December 25, 2016 [[[ CHRISTMAS DAY !!!!!! ]]]




"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Good Tidings of Great Joy!!!"

Luke 2 v 1-15

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."

Lord, bless those who are in need, save, guide, direct, and provide for them, Spiritually, Physically, Emotionally, and Economically, in EVERY WAY…Lord remember Dakota today and, Lord give him complete victory over his illness. Thank you for Your Son Jesus Christ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In Jesus name, Amen and Eternally Amen…….

Merry Christmas 2016

Christmas by the decree of God's holy angels, is not just for the Saint, the believer; but the joy, beauty, and the wonder of Christmas is FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, is not a Christian holiday alone; it is a universal day of ABSOLUTE GREAT TIDINGS OF JOY!!!!!!!

***FOR ALL PEOPLE!!!***

As much as the self proclaimed Atheists or the ACLU may absolutely deny it, Christmas, is even for them!!!

It is the only day of the year that God reaches down to mankind, not as our judge, not as a holy light exposing sin; but rather God is meant to be seen exclusively as He really is, the very real and potentially, the Savior of the entire creation...

Christmas is not a day of fear, not a day meant to ponder guilt or depravity of oneself or others; It is a day to explore the joyous possibilities of Life Eternal, and the potential that God wants for all mankind.

Christmas is not even a day that one must make a choice, a choice for God, or a choice for something else. Christmas is the day for marvelous possibilities…….

In the Roman Empire periodical censuses were taken with the double object of assessing taxation and of discovering those who were liable for compulsory military service. The Jews were exempt from military service, and, therefore, in Palestine a census would be predominantly for taxation purposes. Regarding these censuses, we have definite information as to what happened in Egypt; and almost certainly what happened in Egypt happened in Syria, too, and Judaea was part of the province of Syria. The information we have comes from actual census documents written on papyrus and then discovered in the dust-heaps of Egyptian towns and villages and in the sands of the desert.

Such censuses were taken every fourteen years. And from A.D. 20 until about A.D. 270 we possess actual documents from every census taken. If the fourteen-year cycle held good in Syria this census must have been in 8 B.C. or perhaps 6 A.D. and either of those years may have been the actual year in which Jesus was born.

Those who would be Critics of the Bible used to question the historicity that every man had to go to his own city to be enrolled; but here is an actual government edict from Egypt:

"Gaius Vibius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt orders: `Seeing that the time has come for the house-to-house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing outside their districts to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census, and may also diligently attend to the cultivation of their allotments.”

If that was the case in Egypt, it may well be that in Judea, where the old tribal ancestries still held good, men had to go to the headquarters of their tribe. Here is an instance where further historical evidence has shown the accuracy of the Bible…

The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was 80 miles. The accommodation for travelers was most archaic. The eastern khan was like a series of stalls opening off a common courtyard. Travelers brought their own food; all that the innkeeper provided was fodder for the animals and a fire to cook.

The town was crowded and there was no room for Joseph and Mary. But in truth often a stable would be cleaner than the ancient roadhouse inn.

So it was in the common courtyard that Mary's child was born. Swaddling clothes consisted of a square of cloth with a long bandage-like strip coming diagonally off from one corner. The child was first wrapped in the square of cloth and then the long strip was wound round and round about him. Our word "manger" means a place where animals feed; and therefore it can be either the stable or even simply an animal troth with no covering at all.

That there was no room in the inn was representational of what was to happen to Jesus. The only place where there was room for Him was on an old rugged, splinter filled cross. He sought to find residence in the over-crowded hearts of men; He could not find it; and still His search for willing hearts and His ultimate rejection go on even to this very day.

It is a wonderful thing that the story should tell that the first announcement of God came to some shepherds. Shepherds were despised by the conventional good people of the day. They were quite unable to keep the details of the ceremonial law; they could not observe all the meticulous hand-washings and rules and regulations. Their flocks made far too constant demands on them; and so the orthodox looked down on them. It was to simple men of the fields that God's message first came. God’s message came first to those that the typical religious person would look down upon…

But these shepherds were in all likelihood very special shepherds. Since the animal offerings had to be animals without the slightest blemish; the priests had a special supply of perfect offerings that were always available for the Temple authorities. We know that these flocks were pastured near Bethlehem. It is most likely that these shepherds were in charge of the flocks from which the Temple offerings were chosen. It is a LOVELY thought that the shepherds who looked after the Temple lambs were the first to see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

It was a Jewish custom when a boy was born, that the local musicians congregated at the house to greet the boy babe with simple music. Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem and therefore that ceremony could not be carried out.

It is a LOVELY thought that the minstrels of heaven took the place of the minstrels of earth, and God’s holy angels sang the songs for Jesus that the earthly singers could not and would not sing.

Though these scriptures may bring thoughts of the rough simplicity of the birth of the Son of God, contrasting with what we would expect for the only begotten Son of God, if he had to be born into this world at all, it should have been, would have been in a palace or a mansion.

There was a European monarch who worried his court by often disappearing and walking incognito amongst his people. When he was asked not to do so for security's sake, he answered,

"I cannot rule my people unless I know how they live."

It is the great thought of the Christian faith that we have a God who knows the life we live because He too lived it and claimed no special advantage over common men.

God indeed understands our human condition, for He too lived through it…

As pastors, as preachers, as watchmen, as Christians, every day of our lives when the occasion is needful we must “warn” people of the consequences of sin. ***It is our duty, our responsibility, our calling as Children of God, IT IS OUR OBLIGATION OF LOVE through our new nature in Jesus Christ…

My sister Shirley once told me how a sermon really scared her daughter Lisa. My sister was furious about it, and so angry she was not sure she would continue to attend church. ***But sermons when they deal with the reality of sin, the consequences of sin and the very grave but just punishment that will “absolutely” one day come to the unrepentant sinner, IT IS TERRIFYING AT BEST, and truly unimaginable at worse…

No LOVING pastor or preacher enjoys preaching that kind of message, but we have NO APOLOGY FOR THEM EITHER! We do it because we must!!!

Ezekiel 3 v 17-18

"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."

***God though He LOVES each and every one of His creation so very, very much, and wants our eternal salvation, still must judge the unrepentant sinner. God is still ALL LOVING, but He is a “JUST” God as well. ***We cannot separate His LOVE from His “justice”, nor can He!!!

There is one “day” a year however, that pain and suffering, guilt and punishment for sin and God’s righteous and just wrath SHOULD BE SILENT from our pulpits, at least in my opinion. Why, because on that one “Day” IT IS SILENT FROM GOD’S OWN MESSAGE.

That one day is: “Christmas Day”!!!

Christmas is indeed a day of not just good tidings, but of GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, that is for ALL THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!

And though this day of glorious miracles is meant simply for us to see the Eternal Blessed Potentials of ALL OUR LIVES; still, by it’s very existence; DO NOT OUR HEARTS CRYOUT, THAT A DECISION MUST BE MADE???

A decision for the babe, for the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON of GOD, for the ONLY HOPE OF THE WORLD, for the ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WORLD???

For: Jesus Christ???

Oh, that the world might be saved!!!

And that very potential is because of Christmas Day…….

Yes Christmas Day is the beginning of Jesus' earthly human life and coldly and soberly leads to His DEATH and blood sacrifice upon the cross for all the world's sins. Finalizing on Easter Sunday, when Jesus resurrects Himself from the dead, giving all an opportunity to accept Him as LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR......

But Christmas Day is set aside from all the other days of the year; it is not about fear, it is not about death, it is not about judgment ...It is about LOVE, and HOPE, and GREAT JOY for all the world...

This is the theme, the goal, of Christmas Day:

Luke 2 v 10-11

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Blessed Christmas to all, In Jesus precious name, from all of us to all the world.......

Merry Christmas to ALL, and to ALL A BLESSED LIFE.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc​








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December 18, 2016


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"A Christmas Story"

Luke 14 v 13

"But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:"

Lord, Deliver us from this World of sin, this World of delusion, fear, hate, sorrow, death and despair. Deliver us from our own sins, weaknesses, and foolish behaviors. Oh most gracious Heavenly Father, Deliver us from our own doubts and lack of faith, kindly and most tenderly guide us on a path of true grace and genuine wisdom. Oh Lord, help us be the PEOPLE YOU WANT US TO BE!!! Strip us of all our fake self-righteousness, and help us to be truly humble, LOVING, and ever desiring to honor You, in everything we say and do. Help us to reach out to the Lost and hurting souls of this evil age, and in unpretentious LOVE and gentleness share the Gospel, the only Gospel, with those in need, and not just by word, but in actual deeds of action!!! Bless us as we study your Word, and assist us to live our moment by moment lives for You, in Jesus sweet, sweet name, Amen and eternally Amen…………….

The snow was falling, the air was chilled, the night was upon us. I was sitting in my warm cozy home in Evanston, Wyoming in front of the sparkling fire. The only noise to be heard was the crackling pops from the fiery ambers before me. The room was filled with the subtle fragrance of burning wood, a light smoke gave a slight mist in the air. My wife Maureen was working late that night at the Wyoming State Hospital. Aaron our youngest had long since moved to Los Angeles, California. Adam our oldest was in his room preparing to leave for work, working with the developmentally disabled in and around Evanston. Our dogs had taken refuge upon the couch, lying as if it were their home and not my own. I was sitting in my Lazy-boy chair, my feet raised, and reading God’s holy word the Bible.

When I turned to Luke chapter fourteen and verse thirteen and read: “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:"



It was if I had read this passage of scripture for the very first time. I felt flushed, and a very somber feeling fell upon me. I read the text over and over again. What was God trying to tell me, what was He wanting me to see, what was He wanting me to do? “Oh God”, I prayed, “Help me see, help me have the faith, the love, the mercy, and the grace to do whatever You call me to do?” As I prayed, as I read, as I pondered my thoughts, I began to sense a presence in the room. A presence that seemed kind and tender hearted, a spirit that seemed like the spirit of the very Son of God…

Jesus Christ…

As the night turned to late evening, my eyes began to feel very heavy, and the sand-man had made me very drowsy. As I sat, my eyes opened and closed as a fluttering of a feather, but I refused to succumb to sleep until my pondering was solved. At the very last, I knew what God would have me do. As my eyes closed for the night of blessed sleep, I could feel a smile coming upon my face. And, I heard a voice ever so tranquil, say: ‘Good night’. And, I fell asleep……………………….

The next morning I arose bursting with energy and with great anticipation upon my spirit. I dressed, and took no time for breakfast; I was off… First stop, the printers on main street. I opened the door, and as if lighter than air, I galloped to the counter, and asked: “Do you do formal invitations?” The clerk very friendly, said: “Of course we do”, and I handed her the engraving I wanted. It read: “By invitation of Jesus, you are cordially invited to my home this Saturday night, for dinner and other holiday wonders. Be ready to be picked up where we spoke, at 5:30 PM on Saturday. I am most honored to have you…” The clerk looked at me, and I could see she wanted to say something, but instead, she simply told me the cost and said they could be picked up the Tuesday morning before the date of the invitation. I leaped with excitement as I left the store. With a gleam on my face, I thought to myself; ‘so much to do, with so little time to do it.’

Boy was I psyched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt so alive, so full of joy, a truck could hit me, and I WOULD NOT FEEL A THING… I spent the day in preparation for Saturday. Later that evening I came home and explained all that God wanted me to do, to my wife and son. They looked at each other, over and over again; then asked the question the clerk had thought of asking, but never did. “Are you ok, do you know what you are doing? Do you understand what you are saying? Have you considered the cost, the time, the commitment, the dedication you will need?” I simply smiled and said: ‘the Lord’s will be done.’ Though they were a bit apprehensive, they did all they could to help me…

Tuesday came, and with it a bounce in my step, and a physical vigor I had not felt in years, I picked up the invitations, and immediately began passing them out.

To the family that lived in Meadow Vista in a trailer half demolished by a summer fire. A loving mother, a Father devoted to his children, yet struck with multiple sclerosis an unable to work. Four beautiful children, yet with clothes stained from smoke from the fire, with faith only children can have…

To the young man who walks up and down front street, always stopping to say ‘hi’ to people he meets. Then discussing the most intimate of details of his mental health issues with those strangers, because our social service systems are over worked and often not truly caring. Nor even the people who really know him are willing to take the time to listen…

To the young couple that live in subsidized housing, that few will visit because they say they smell of cigarette smoke, and the hygiene leaves much to be desired.

To the people who live in the cardboard village south of town, hidden in the Wasatch National Forest. The ones no true Church goers would ever dare to invite to THEIR church… They stink, they smell, they don’t want to work, they live like filthy animals, some say…

To the mother who is hooked on meth, that our culture despises and helps by simply putting her in jail, and making her attend workshops on self-awareness and good parenting skills. But never really takes a loving hand to know and understand her needs, her hurts, her desires. Simple answers for simple people, without regard to the reality of their lives…

To the woman who is too sick to work, yet told she is far too healthy to get Federal assistance, so she must live on $229.00 a month. Who is told by her charity caseworker: ’YOU MUST LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ She is told this in a community that the average studio rental is $500.00 a month, with a three year waiting period for rental assistance. Quick answers that answer nothing…

To the family of four, a father, a mother, and two precious little girls, who live under the bridge. A father who faithfully worked for his farmer boss for 10 years, who were forced into homelessness because of a debilitating work accident. The farmer gave them three months, but needed the home for his healthy employee…

To the old lady that lives alone, ignored by any family she may have, and denied fellowship with her local church, because the pastor told her: ‘WE DON’T WANT YOUR KIND IN OUR CHURCH’…

To the young man who struggles with his sexuality, laughed at and mocked by our society, called an abomination and pervert by many who should seek his salvation…

Many more invitations I passed out that day, in the name of Jesus. These invitations that seemed quite curious especially to those who received them. As I walked away, I heard such comments as:

‘is he nuts?’, ‘is he for real?’, ‘is he one of those Jesus’ freaks?’, ‘is he one of those do gooders, that really thinks he is better than us?’ ‘Who is this guy?’ Some people were clearly frightened, and most were certainly perplexed.

As I drove home that night, satisfied that I was doing right, I wondered just how many would come to my house that Saturday night? The rest of the week was filled with daily chores of work, and continued preparation for Saturday.

The invitations I had given out were of the finest paper, the engraving of pure gold; all done that those invited would know just how wonderful and special they were and are.

And on Saturday they would be surprised when the stretch limousines I had rented from Salt Lake City, would arrive to pick them up.

As 5:30 PM approached, as Scrooge had expressed in “A Christmas Carol”, I felt as gitty as a school boy, my hands were moist with sweat, my mouth was dry, but I was as high as a kite… “

The Lord’s will be done!”

The first limousine pulled up at my door at 5:38 PM, followed closely behind by another. My house is not a mansion, but for these my invited guests, it was a place of warmth and peace… The children immediately ran and fell on their knees in front of my 6 ½ foot Christmas tree. Loaded with presents, the children exclaimed: “Are these for us, are these for us!” Their parents quickly ran after them, and they too, were breathless with the sight of that tree full of Christmas cheer. “Children, children”, they said, “This is not our home, be polite. Wait and see what happens”.

I had to tell them, because I could not bear to make them wait. “Yes guys”, I said, “After dinner we can open the presents. There’s enough for everybody.” They shouted with a joy they had not experienced in years, and you could see tears of gladness in many of their parents’ eyes, as we all went into the dining room to be seated. Each had a place setting, each with their own name. A formal crystal and china place setting lay before them.

Placed upon their plates, to the children were wrapped in spectacular gift paper, children’s Bibles; and for the adults in equally stunning paper were adult Holy Bibles…

Though I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the wonder on their eyes, I began to speak:

“The food will be served in a minute, I just wanted you to know, you are all honored guests not by me, but of the Lord Jesus Christ! It is His birth we should be celebrating this time of year. I am so extremely happy to have you in my home, the home Jesus has so graciously allowed me to have for now. The Bibles you have opened and received are from Jesus, and are given to you in hope that you might seek to know Him better. *But right now enough talk, lets pray and dig in.”

As we finished the prayer; Turkey, Fried Chicken, Ham and Roast Beef were brought into be placed, along with all the side orders you can imagine. Green beans, corn on the cob, creamed corn, potatoes of every kind, salad of many nations, yams with marshmallows, cranberry sauce, salsas, radishes, carrots, on and on. Cheeses and fresh baked breads of every description and taste. Coffee, tea, milk, pop, almost anything a person could desire.

And for these who had often went to bed without anything to eat, it seemed as if they had died and gone to heaven… At first they just stared at this magnificent feast provided by Jesus, but children being children, did not wait to be told; they held their breaths for a brief moment in awe, and then chowed down. We the adults all laughed, and left formality behind and began to enjoy this Christmas meal…

I listened as we eat and was surprised at what I heard. Many were not so concerned about their needs, their situations, but rather of others who had not been invited, others who had chosen not to come.

“Was Willie with the terrible cough, going to make it to the New Year?” “Was Sarah finally going to get approved for disability?” “Was Johnny going to be able to go to public school without a home address?” “Where would the Smiths get the money to repair their car, so they could move to Nevada, so Tommy Smith could start his new job?”

Their conversations were not about themselves, but rather of the needs and concerns of others. Not like typical parties, that were full of gossip and self-concern.

“We hope to go to Hawaii next spring, I believe it may be our last because it is so built up and commercialized there?” My one year lease on my car is up, and I’m really concerned with what I will replace it with?” “Their problems are an act of God I tell you.” “I better get that raise, I’m totally worth it!”

As I could see we all were about to burst, I suggested we return to the Christmas tree. (The children were all for that)

As the children opened their presents, I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them and the adults as well. I shared how God loves us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for us. That by His death and resurrection the opportunity for salvation was made accessible to all sinners. I made abundantly clear, all of us were sinners, unless we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, God and Savior.

We discussed many other questions about the Bible that night.

Suddenly we were interrupted by a child talking to his mother. “Mommy we’ll have to get the lights turned on now, or I will not be able to play with my Wii Nintendo game system.”

The mother began to cry…

I spoke up:

“I hope you all realize that this night doesn’t end tonight. That after you all go home, Jesus, and myself will forget about your all. On the contrary, as we speak, those of you who have unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, are having those bills paid. And all your utilities will be turned on before you get home. Those of you who have no place to stay, know, you now do have a place to stay. You can stay either with me, or I have motels ready for you until we find you more permanent housing. Those of you who can work, will have jobs that you can be proud of, we just need a few weeks to get each of you a job you enjoy and that you are trained to do. If you need training or education, we will also see that you get all that you need. For those of you who cannot work, Jesus has provided for you as well. This will all take some time and I look forward to talking more intimately with each one of you. And Lord willing, perhaps we can become close friends. But in any event, tonight is only the beginning, and if you choose my assistance, by the will and grace of God, I will spend my life serving God, by helping you.”

Dessert was served, and even the adults got to open their presents.

The Mom that cried because her child did not have electricity for her Christmas present, came up to me and in a soft spoken voice said to me: “Your providing the electricity for my child is all the present I need.”

“That may be”, I said, “but this is Christmas, the season of unwarranted and abundant LOVE and GRACE.” As I handed her the keys to the car she needed to take the job she had been offered…

My wife and I stood at the door as we said good night to each of our BELOVED GUESTS. Each giving their own words of appreciation.

One asking us to pray with them, as they gave their very being to Jesus Christ, accepting Him as their Savior for ever more.

Oh and remember the young man with sexual orientation concerns? He confessed to me, that he had had a gun in his pocket that day when I gave him the invitation. He had planned to kill himself that very night, but then waited to see what would happen this night. As he hugged me good night with tears in his eyes, he handed me the gun, and said:

“Jesus has given me hope this night, hope of Love, hope of Mercy, hope of Grace, hope of Forgiveness, and Hope that I CAN OVERCOME MY SIN”… “God bless you he said as he stepped outside.

He was the last to leave that night, and I was so glad. For though I had had misty eyes throughout the evening, my eyes were now swelled with tears of unbelievable praise and joy for God and His Son Jesus Christ…My tears filled the room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That night as I sat in front of the fire, with my legs up, reclined in my lazy-boy chair; the snow once again falling, my eyes giving way to blessed rest, I heard an ever so still voice say:

“Well done my, good and faithful servant.”

And once again, I felt a smile breaking out upon my face, and in the corner by the fire, I thought I saw: JESUS, and He too had a smile, upon His face……………………………………………..

As consciousness gave way to sleep that Christmas night, As reality gave way to dreams, I heard:

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The Christmas story I have just shared of course was only a wonderful narrative.

*But why? Why can’t we read the word of God, this Christmas and every day of the year, take God at His word, and do as the Love of God would HAVE US DO???????

Then and only then will Tiny Tim’s prayer come to pass: “God bless us, bless us everyone!!!!!!!”

A closing thought, have you ever wondered why Christians celebrate Christ’s birth by exchanging presents with each other?

This too can be found in scripture:

Matthew 25 v 40

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

When we take the time and energy to get just that right present(s) for someone, WE ARE REALLY DOING IT FOR THE SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST; our presents of LOVE to each other are beautiful and wondrous symbols of OUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT TO JESUS CHRIST!!! Who gave us the greatest gift of all, Himself, His death for our sins, His resurrection for the assurance of our salvation and our eternal lives.................PRAISE BE GOD!!!!!!!

GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.......

Dr Harold Chris Smith, sbc ​





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December 11, 2016


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“A Christmas Prophecy”

Isaiah 9:6 (RSV)
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

Lord, as we celebrate this most magnificent season, the season that commemorates the greatest gift EVER GIVEN TO MANKIND, the birth of Your One and only One begotten Son Jesus the Christ, may we come with most humble and grateful hearts to your throne of grace. May we honestly and wholly bear every fragment of our mind, body, soul and spirit to Thee, confessing our weaknesses, our sins, our disappointments, and our joys; we ask You to forgive us, and assist us in living a more holy life for Thee, not because we must, not because of some demandment, but because we LOVE You so very much!!! Lord God YHWH, we beseech Thee to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness, and help us to celebrate this season as YOU WOULD HAVE US TO, showing this world who Your Son really is, in such a way that many who are Lost would come unto You with saving faith! Oh God, help us so comprehend your Words today and every day, that we grow in grace, wisdom and true LOVE for You, each other, and ALL those You came to save, In Your Son’s most stunning and exquisite name Jesus Christ we pay, Amen and Eternally Amen……………………………..

As we continue to celebrate this Christmas season, we turn to one of the most beautiful passages of prophecy on the Coming of God’s Messiah, the Anointed One, the world’s Savior, Jesus the Christ!!!

First let us look at the background and context of this verse…

Isaiah 9:1-5 (RSV)
1 But there will be no gloom for her that was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali, but in the latter time he will make glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. 2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. 3 Thou hast multiplied the nation, thou hast increased its joy; they rejoice before thee as with joy at the harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the spoil. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, thou hast broken as on the day of Mid'ian. 5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult and every garment rolled in blood will be burned as fuel for the fire.

The nation of Israel was in great despair. “The land of Zeb’ulun”, Zebulun, Naphtali, Manasseh, that is, the country of Galilee all-round the sea of Gennesareth, were the parts that principally suffered in the first Assyrian invasion under Tiglath-pileser.

 2 Kings 15:29 (RSV)
29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel Tig'lath-pile'ser king of Assyria came and captured I'jon, A'bel-beth-ma'acah, Jan-o'ah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naph'tali; and he carried the people captive to Assyria.

1 Chronicles 5:26 (RSV)
26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Til'gath-pilne'ser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.

Israel had sinned, turned their back on the living God. As a natural result of their sins and lack of faith, they were invaded and many were uprooted and taken from the only land and the only people they had ever known. Israel was in great darkness and gloom. As we are, when we are lost in sin, or are saved, but are living outside of God’s will for our lives. They were dazed, frightened, floundering like a person drowning in the sea, with the inability to save themselves, and unable to reach-out for help on their own.

God heard their prayers, He saw their anguish, and the One True God reached-out to Israel………………He sent His prophets proclaiming a gospel of good news and redemption. That a Messiah would come, an “Anointed One”, a king out of the line of David…………….Who would deliver them from all their enemies!

1 Samuel 2:10 (RSV)
10 The adversaries of the LORD shall be broken to pieces; against them he will thunder in heaven. The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; he will give strength to his king, and exalt the power of his anointed."

2 Samuel 7:8-14a (RSV)
8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David, `Thus says the LORD of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14a I will be his father, and he shall be my son…

God sent His prophets to encourage His people that one day His Son would come, and because of His coming the people of God WOULD BE SAVED………..

Isaiah 2:2-4 (RSV)
2 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. 4 He shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

There would be peace on earth forever and the people of God would live for EVER and EVER in the presence of the ever eternal living God!!!

 Isaiah 7:14 (RSV)
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Imman'u-el.

This Messiah, this Christ, would be “Immanuel”, Emmanuel, GOD WITH US!!!

There are over 365 prophecies of the Coming Messiah, each and every one Jesus Christ fulfilled or will when the proper time comes…….

This is the background and context that our main text is found, now let us examine what God tells us.

Isaiah 9:6 (RSV)
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called "Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

 How would the Messiah first come? He would come as a baby, a baby boy, a Son.

John 3:16-17 (KJV)
16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world;

THE SECOND PERSON OF THE HOLY TRINITY!!! THE ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD!!!

Luke 2:12 (RSV)
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger."

This Messiah would come in all humility as a baby needing his Mother.

One day the government OF ALL MANKIND WILL BE HIS!!! Will be upon His powerful shoulders…

Isaiah 22:22 (RSV)
22 And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

Here the government on Messiah's shoulder is in marked contrast to the "yoke and staff" of the oppressor on Israel's "shoulder".  The Messiah shall receive the kingdom of the earth from His Father, to vindicate it from the misrule of those to whom it was entrusted to hold it for and under the Most High, but who sought to hold it in defiance of His right; the Father asserts His right by the Son, the "Heir of all things," who will hold it for Him…

Daniel 7:13-14 (RSV)
13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.

The Messiah would be King of Kings and Lord of Lords for EVER and EVER, LIFE and KINGDOM WITHOUT END!!!

The Messiah’s name will be:

*WONDERFUL……..The word wonderful in this passage literally means “incomprehensible.” The Messiah will cause us to be “full of wonder.” The word is much weightier than the way it’s used in normal conversation today—we say things are “wonderful” if they are pleasant, LOVELY, or the least bit likable. The Messiah is wonderful in a way that is boggling to the mind.

The same word for “wonderful” is used in:

Judges 13:18 (RSV)
18 And the angel of the LORD said to him, "Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?"

When Manoah, Samson’s father, asked the LORD in a theophany

( a manifestation or appearance of God ), what His name was. The angel of the LORD responded, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?” In other words, “Why do you ask my name, since it is beyond your understanding?”
The person, the character, the beauty of the Messiah is too glorious for us, humanity, to understand with mere logic or reason, it takes spiritual and faithful eyes, and still, throughout ALL ETERNITY we will be searching out and learning more about our beLOVED Savior Jesus!!!

*Counselor……. In ancient Israel, a counselor was portrayed as a wise king, such as Solomon, giving guidance to his people.

1 Kings 4:34 (RSV)
34 And men came from all peoples to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and from all the kings of the earth, who had heard of his wisdom.

Isaiah uses this word again to describe the LORD: “This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom.” *The Messiah, Jesus is a wise counselor.

Isaiah 28:29 (RSV)
29 This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom.

The Messiah, Christ’s position as our Wonderful Counselor means we can trust Him to listen to our problems and guide us in the right direction NO MATTER WHAT…………………….

A very important point, this Messiah, this Anointed One, is the Counselor!!!

John 14:26 (RSV)
26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

The Messiah, He is the Counselor, He is the Holy Spirit, THE THIRD PERSON OF THE HOLY TRINITY!!!

Romans 11:33-34 (RSV)
33 O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
34 "For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?"

The Holy Spirit the counselor……………………..

The next two names for the Messiah are forever united!!!

*Mighty God // *Every Lasting Father………………….

There is ONLY ONE GOD!!!!!!!

Deuteronomy 4:35 (RSV)
35 To you it was shown, that you might know that the LORD is God; there is no other besides him.

2 Samuel 7:22 (RSV)
22 Therefore thou art great, O LORD God; for there is none like thee, and there is no God besides thee, according to all that we have heard with our ears.

1 Kings 8:60 (RSV)
60 that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God; there is no other.

Isaiah 43:10-11 (RSV)
10 "You are my witnesses," says the LORD, "and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am He. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.
11 I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior.

I AM, literally: YHWH; YHWH IS THE ONLY SAVIOR, the ONY GOD!!!!!!! There is NO OTHER GOD…………………………….

*He is God Almighty!!!!!!! ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, EVER PRESENT, everywhere!!! HE IS GOD, HE IS THE GOD, THE ABSOLUTELY ONLY GOD!!!!!!!

He is the Mighty God!!!

HE IS THE EVERLASTING FATHER!!!!!!!

He is the Creator God, He is the Father of ALL LIVING THINGS!!!!!!! For everything, that means EVERYTHING THAT WAS CREATED WAS CREATED BY HIM ALONE!!!!!!!

John 1:1-3 (RSV)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.

God the Father, THE FIRST PERSON OF THE HOLY TRINITY!!!

This Messiah is God, He is GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON, and GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT!!!!!!!

THE TRINITY

Jesus declared:

John 10:30 (RSV)
30 I and the Father are one."

The Trinity……………………………..

*Prince of Peace………………….. The Hebrew word for peace, “shalom,” is often used in reference to an appearance of calm and tranquility of individuals, groups, and nations. The Greek word eirene means unity and accord; Paul uses eirene to describe the objective of the New Testament church. But the deeper, more foundational meaning of peace is the spiritual harmony brought about by an individual’s restoration with God.

The Prince of Peace has COME TO SAVE A LOST WORLD OF SINNERS!!!!!!!

John 3:17 (RSV)
17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

The Messiah, God the Son came into this world humbling Himself, allowing death to take Him, that we who were lost might be saved by accepting Jesus’ BLOOD SACRIFICE UPON THE CROSS ALL OUR SINS BUILT FOR HIM!!!

Romans 5:8 (RSV)
8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are restored to a relationship of peace with God.

Romans 5:1-2 (RSV)
1 Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

This is the deep, abiding peace between our hearts and our Creator that cannot be taken away and the ultimate fulfillment of Christ’s work as “Prince of Peace.”

John 10:27-29 (RSV)
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me;
28 and I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.

But the Messiah’s, the Christ’s sacrifice provides more for us than eternal peace; it also allows us to have a relationship with the Holy Spirit, the Helper who promises to guide us.

John 16:7 (RSV)
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

John 16:13 (RSV)
13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come.

 Further, the Holy Spirit will manifest Himself in us by having us live in ways we couldn’t possibly live on our own, including LOVE, joy, and peace.

Galatians 5:22-23 (RSV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

This LOVE, joy, and peace are all results of the Holy Spirit working in the life of a believer. They are reflections of His presence in us. And, although their deepest, most vital result is to have us live in LOVE, joy, and peace with God, they can’t help but to spill over into our relationships with people. ((( If we do not hinder the Holy Spirit )))

This peace DOES NOT mean everything will be easy, that we will have nothing but a life of happiness, IT MEANS IN SPITE OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES, GOOD OR TERRIBLY BAD, OR ANYTHING IN BETWEEN, GOD IS FOR US, SO WHO CAN BE AGAINST US!!!

Romans 8:31-39 (RSV)
31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him? 33 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies; 34 who is to condemn? Is it Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us? 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, "For thy sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus is:

*The Son of God

*Wonderful

*Counselor

*Mighty God

*Everlasting Father

*Prince of Peace

Earthly kings, earthly great men and women will one day be gone, but Jesus Christ, that little babe, WILL NEVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US, BECAUSE HE IS GOD!!!!!!!

As we celebrate this season let us not forget, JESUS IS THE ONLY REASON FOR THE SEASON!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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December 4, 2016





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“Yes Virginia, There is a God!!!”

Lord as we begin this season of remembering your most precious gift to us, the birth of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ, May we look deep into our own hearts and minds and see if there is anything that You would not want to be a part of our lives, then grant us the strength, the wisdom, and the resolve to genuinely repent and turn our backs on those sins and weaknesses that cause harm in our lives and harm in the lives of those around us!!! Help us to truly live to LOVE, to serve, and to share Your LOVING kindnesses with those You put in our path. Let us this year and every year after SO LIVE OUR LIVES that Your LOVE is seen in us EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES. Be most gracious to us today as we ponder Your word, and FOREVER assist us in growing in your LOVE, grace, mercy, and eternal wisdom, in Jesus name, Amen and Eternally Amen……. 

Before we begin this morning’s sermon, I’d like to read Ben Stein’s response to those who wish to eliminate Jesus Christ from the joyous celebration of “Christmas”:

Remarks from CBS Sunday Morning - Ben Stein 

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday
Morning  Commentary.

My confession: 

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.  I don't feel threatened.  I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees. 

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me.  I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. 

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to. 

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. 

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).  Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?' 

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he's talking about.  And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' 

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. 

Are you laughing yet? 

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. 

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, 

Ben Stein

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As we prepare our hearts and minds for this Christmas season I am reminded of Christmases past. Though I was not yet born, and probably most of us were not. I remember the world famous letter to the editor of the New York Sun Newspaper back in 1897; the headline read: 'Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!'.

I wonder what would have been said, if the headline had read:

"Yes Virginia, There is a God!!!"

Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. So many of the little friends I know and most of their parents too say there is no real God. That people only made him up because of their fears of death and the over powering dread of life alone. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a real God?

Virginia…

Virginia, your little friends are wrong and most certainly their doubting parents are as well. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a God. And He can most certainly be seen in His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He exists as certainly as LOVE and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
 
Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no God! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry,  no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in God Almighty! You might as well not believe in Truth, Honesty, Justice, Purity, Loveliness, Grace, Mercy or Peace.

You might get your Papa to start reading the Holy Bible and taking you not only to Church, but Sunday School as well. Seek God out while He may be found, be watchful for Him in the daily experiences and tasks of life. See Him in the eyes of your friends and the people around you, not because they believe, but rather because God believes in them, He believes in you. Because He is the creator of all that we see and all that we cannot see and so often we take HIM for granted.

Know that this is why there is a Christmas Eve to celebrate, with songs of joy, presents of anticipation, and wonderful times with family and friends; the night of our dear, dear Savior’s birth.

But even if we cannot enjoy as so many do, because of our own loneliness or loss, or perhaps we do not seem to see God because of the evil of our age, our enemies and the sorrows that surround us…

What does that mean?

What if nobody believed in God, would that, could that change the truth of His existence?

The most real things in the world and the universe around us are those things which neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see the wind dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but would that prove once and for all that there is no wind?

Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in this world or in the one to come.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart.

Only faith, poetry, LOVE, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No God! Ridiculous!!! Of course there is a God!!! Thank God for His existence! He lives as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lives, and LOVES us just as the Holy Bible says He does.

He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years and eternally beyond,

He will continue to reach out to you and me and all who are truly willing to accept His Son Jesus Christ in faith that believe with hearts of LOVE for Him.

Yes Virginia, most certainly as I speak, that you or I exist, that the beauties of His majestic creation surrounds us, THERE IS A GOD, and He most indisputably: LOVES us ALL!!! 

Virginia, I leave you with this final thought; Today, this very moment of your and my life, of everyone’s life, is a great and awesome gift from God and never forget that is why we call now, this exact moment the PRESENT!!!!!!! 

Merry Christmas to all and to all a most blessed life……. 

Romans 5 v 8 

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” 

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc​





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November 27, 2016 





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Two: Part Three”

James 2:18-26 (RSV)
18 But some one will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe -- and shudder. 20 Do you want to be shown, you shallow man, that faith apart from works is barren? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by works, 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness"; and he was called the friend of God. 24 You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone. 25 And in the same way was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way? 26 For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so faith apart from works is dead.

O heavenly Father, we understand what You are saying through James. It is good if we profess salvation and allegiance to Your one and only begotten Son Jesus Christ, but that profession needs to lead somewhere and to mature. We pray that we do not believe in name only, but that You guide us and lead us into ALL works of righteousness, not to save ourselves because we cannot, not to simply be blindly obedient, but far, far more than that. To honor You by declaring our LOVE for You by our actions rooted and ever fused to our Faith in You and our LOVE for ALL Your creation because You first LOVED us..............Help us this day and everyday grow in maturity, wisdom, and grace in You and Your holy writ the Bible. May we live this moment and absolutely every moment for Your glory and for Your eternal kingdom, in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen...........................................

James is thinking of a possible objector who says, "Faith is a fine thing; and works are fine things. They are both perfectly genuine manifestations of real religion. But the one man does not necessarily possess both. One man will have faith and another will have works. Well, then, you carry on with your works and I will carry on with my faith; and we are both being truly religious in our own way." The objector's view is that faith and works are alternative expressions of the Christian religion. James will have none of it. It is not a case of either faith or works; it is necessarily a case of both faith and works.

In many ways Christianity is falsely represented as an "either or" when it must properly be a "both and".

(i) In the well-proportioned life there must be thought and action. It is tempting and it is common to think that one may be either a man of thought or a man of action. The man of thought will sit in his study thinking great thoughts; the man of action will be out in the world doing great deeds. But that is wrong. The thinker is only half a man unless he turns his thoughts into deeds. He will scarcely even inspire men to action unless he comes down into the battle and shares the arena with them. As Kipling had it:

O England is a garden and such gardens are not made

By saying, "O how beautiful," and sitting in the shade;

While better men than we began their working lives

By digging weeds from garden paths with broken dinner knives.

Nor can anyone be a real man of action unless he has thought out the great principles on which his deeds are founded.

(ii) In the well-proportioned life there must be prayer and effort. Again it is tempting to divide men into two classes—the Saints who spend life secluded on their knees in constant devotion and the toilers who labor in the dust and the heat of the day. But it will not do. It is said that Martin Luther was close friends with another monk. The other was as fully persuaded of the necessity of the Reformation as Luther was. So they made an arrangement. Luther would go down into the world and fight the battle there; the other would remain in his cell praying for the success of Luther's labors. But one night the monk had a dream. In it he saw a single reaper engaged on the impossible task of reaping an immense field by himself The lonely reaper turned his head and the monk saw his face was the face of Martin Luther; and he knew that he must leave his cell and his prayers and go to help. It is, of course, true that there are some who, because of age or bodily weakness, can do nothing other than pray; and their prayers are indeed a strength and a support. But if any average person thinks that prayer can be a substitute for effort, their prayers are merely a way of escape. Prayer and effort must go hand in hand.

(iii) In any well-proportioned life there must be faith and deeds. It is only through deeds that faith can demonstrate itself; and it is only through faith that genuinely righteous deeds will be attempted and done. Faith is bound to overflow into action; and action begins only when a person has faith in some great cause or principle which God has presented to them.

James offers two illustrations of the point of view on which he is insisting. Abraham is the great example of faith; but Abraham's faith was proved by his willingness to sacrifice Isaac at the apparent demand of God. Rahab was a famous figure in Jewish legend. She had sheltered the spies sent to spy out the Promised Land,

Joshua 21:1-21 (RSV)
1 Then the heads of the fathers' houses of the Levites came to Elea'zar the priest and to Joshua the son of Nun and to the heads of the fathers' houses of the tribes of the people of Israel; 2 and they said to them at Shiloh in the land of Canaan, "The LORD commanded through Moses that we be given cities to dwell in, along with their pasture lands for our cattle." 3 So by command of the LORD the people of Israel gave to the Levites the following cities and pasture lands out of their inheritance. 4 The lot came out for the families of the Ko'hathites. So those Levites who were descendants of Aaron the priest received by lot from the tribes of Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin, thirteen cities. 5 And the rest of the Ko'hathites received by lot from the families of the tribe of E'phraim, from the tribe of Dan and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, ten cities. 6 The Gersonites received by lot from the families of the tribe of Is'sachar, from the tribe of Asher, from the tribe of Naph'tali, and from the half-tribe of Manas'seh in Bashan, thirteen cities. 7 The Merar'ites according to their families received from the tribe of Reuben, the tribe of Gad, and the tribe of Zeb'ulun, twelve cities. 8 These cities and their pasture lands the people of Israel gave by lot to the Levites, as the LORD had commanded through Moses. 9 Out of the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Simeon they gave the following cities mentioned by name, 10 which went to the descendants of Aaron, one of the families of the Ko'hathites who belonged to the Levites; since the lot fell to them first. 11 They gave them Kir'iath-ar'ba (Arba being the father of Anak), that is Hebron, in the hill country of Judah, along with the pasture lands round about it. 12 But the fields of the city and its villages had been given to Caleb the son of Jephun'neh as his possession. 13 And to the descendants of Aaron the priest they gave Hebron, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasture lands, Libnah with its pasture lands, 14 Jattir with its pasture lands, Eshtemo'a with its pasture lands, 15 Holon with its pasture lands, Debir with its pasture lands, 16 A'in with its pasture lands, Juttah with its pasture lands, Beth-she'mesh with its pasture lands -- nine cities out of these two tribes; 17 then out of the tribe of Benjamin, Gibeon with its pasture lands, Geba with its pasture lands, 18 An'athoth with its pasture lands, and Almon with its pasture lands -- four cities. 19 The cities of the descendants of Aaron, the priests, were in all thirteen cities with their pasture lands. 20 As to the rest of the Ko'hathites belonging to the Ko'hathite families of the Levites, the cities allotted to them were out of the tribe of E'phraim. 21 To them were given Shechem, the city of refuge for the slayer, with its pasture lands in the hill country of E'phraim, Gezer with its pasture lands,

Later legend said that she became a proselyte to the Jewish faith, that she married Joshua and that she was a direct ancestress of many priests and prophets, including Ezekiel and Jeremiah. It was her treatment of the spies which proved that she had faith.

Paul and James are both right here. Unless Abraham had had faith he would never have answered the summons of God. Unless Rahab had had faith, she would never have taken the risk of identifying her future with the fortunes of Israel. And yet, unless Abraham had been prepared to obey God to the uttermost, his faith would have been unreal; and unless Rahab had been prepared to risk all to help the spies, her faith would have been useless.

These two examples show that faith and deeds are not opposites; they are, in fact, inseparables. No person will ever be moved to action without faith; and no person’s professed faith is genuine unless it moves them to the action they are capable of doing through God’s grace. Faith and deeds are opposite sides of a person's experience of God. But only God is the unconditional authoritative judge of any person’s actions or faith!!!!!!!

Call the person not heretic whose works attest 
Their faith in goodness by no creed confessed. 
Whatever in LOVE's name is truly done 
To free the bound and lift the fallen one 
Is done to Christ. Whoso in deed and word 
Is not against Him labors for our Lord. 
When He, who, sad and weary, longing sore 
For LOVE's sweet service, sought the sisters' door, 
One saw the heavenly, one the human guest, 
But who shall say which LOVED the Master best?

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Christ my King, my Master, let my whole life be, 
Spent in blessed service only until Thee 
        Let me serve Thee gladly, That the world may know 
    'Tis a happy privilege, Thee to serve below. 

Let me serve Thee humbly, 
                Thine be all the praise, 
    'Tis Thy love alone which tunes my feeble lays; 
Let me serve Thee quickly--Time will soon be o'er 
    I would fain lead many to heaven's peaceful shore. 

Let me serve Thee ever, from morning until eve, 
    My earliest and my latest breath, my King, Thou shall receive. 
And oh when service here is spent, and Heaven is won 
        Grant that I too, dear Master, may hear Thy sweet "Well done!"

By:.................................... Frances Ridley Havergal

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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November 20, 2016





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James Two: Part Two”

James 2:12-17 (RSV)
12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy; yet mercy triumphs over judgment. 14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is ill-clad and in lack of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Lord, we beseech Thee, that our faith, that our salvation is not used for our benefit alone, that works of righteousness and caring deeds would flow from our hearts onto our hands and feet, that we may reach out to others not in words or prayers alone, but that our actions would vividly and gloriously demonstrate Your LOVE in and through us for others. That we might not merely hear Thy word and so deceive ourselves, but that we might live out our salvation to the fullest, by living to serve You moment by moment in Thought, Word, and Deed, and serving all those You put in our paths to their benefit and to Your glory and name. Let us so LOVE You and ALL You have created as a beautiful reflection of Your LOVE! In Jesus most wonderful name, Amen and eternally Amen................................

As he comes to the end of a section, James reminds his readers of two great facts of the Christian life.

(i) The Christian lives under the law of liberty, and it is by the law of liberty we will be judged. What he means is this. Unlike the Pharisee and the orthodox Jew, the Christian is not a person whose life is governed by the external pressure of a whole series of rules and regulations imposed on us from without. We are governed by the inner compulsion of LOVE. We follow the right way, the way of LOVE to God and LOVE to all others, not because any external law forces us to do so nor because any threat of punishment frightens us into doing so, but because the LOVE of Christ within our hearts compels us TO DO SO!!! ((((((( IT IS OUR DESIRE TO DO SO!!!!!!! )))))))

(ii) The Christian must ever remember that only those who shows mercy will find mercy. This is a principle which runs through all Scripture. Ben Sirach wrote,

Sirach 28:2-5 (RSV)
2 Forgive your neighbor the wrong he has done, and then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. 3 Does a man harbor anger against another, and yet seek for healing from the Lord? 4 Does he have no mercy toward a man like himself, and yet pray for his own sins?
5 If he himself, being flesh, maintains wrath, who will make expiation for his sins?

Jesus said,

Matthew 5:7 (RSV)
7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.

Matthew 6:14-15 (RSV)
14 For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father also will forgive you; 15 but if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Matthew 7:1-2 (RSV)
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

Jesus tells of the condemnation which fell upon the unforgiving servant,

Matthew 18:24-35 (RSV)
24 When he began the reckoning, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand talents; 25 and as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, with his wife and children and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 So the servant fell on his knees, imploring him, `Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.' 27 And out of pity for him the lord of that servant released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same servant, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat he said, `Pay what you owe.' 29 So his fellow servant fell down and besought him, `Have patience with me, and I will pay you.' 30 He refused and went and put him in prison till he should pay the debt. 31 When his fellow servants saw what had taken place, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, `You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you besought me; 33 and should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?' 34 And in anger his lord delivered him to the jailers, till he should pay all his debt. 35 So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart."

Scripture teaching is agreed that he who would find mercy must himself be merciful. And James goes even further, for in the end he says that mercy triumphs over judgment; by which he means that in the day of judgment the person who has shown mercy will find that their mercy has even blotted out their own sin.

Now of course we cannot be saved by showing mercy, but we are saved by God TO SHOW MERCY TO OTHERS!!! Our own sinful past and our present imperfections and God’s mercy upon us SHOULD BE EXCEEDINGLY ENOUGH FOR US TO HUMBLY DESIRE TO SHOW MERCY TO OTHERS!!!!!!

This is a passage which we must take as a whole before we look at it in parts, for it is so often used in an attempt to show that James and Paul were completely at variance. It is apparently Paul's emphasis that a person is saved by faith alone and that deeds do not come into the process at all.

Romans 3:28 (RSV)
28 For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (RSV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God --9 not because of works, lest any man should boast.

Titus 3:5 (RSV)
5 he saved us, not because of deeds done by us in righteousness, but in virtue of his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal in the Holy Spirit,

Galatians 2:16 (RSV)
16 yet who know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ, and not by works of the law, because by works of the law shall no one be justified.

***It is often argued that James is not simply differing from Paul but is flatly contradicting him. This is a matter we must investigate.***

(i) We begin by noting that James' emphasis is in fact a universal New Testament emphasis. It was the preaching of John the Baptist that men should prove the reality of their repentance by the excellence of their deeds,

Matthew 3:8 (RSV)
8 Bear fruit that befits repentance,

Luke 3:8 (RSV)
8 Bear fruits that befit repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves, `We have Abraham as our father'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.

It was Jesus' preaching that men should so live that the world might see their good works and give the glory to God,

Matthew 5:16 (RSV)
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Jesus insisted that it was by their fruits that men must be known and that a faith which expressed itself in words only could never take the place of one which expressed itself in the doing of the will of God,

Matthew 7:15-21 (RSV)
15 "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. 18 A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will know them by their fruits. 21 "Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

Nor is this emphasis missing from Paul himself. Apart from anything else, there can be few teachers who have ever stressed the ethical effect of Christianity as Paul does. However doctrinal and theological his letters may be, they never fail to end with a section in which the expression of Christianity in deeds is insisted upon. Apart from that general custom Paul repeatedly makes clear the importance he attaches to deeds as part of the Christian life. He speaks of God who will render to every man according to his works,

Romans 2:6 (RSV)
6 For he will render to every man according to his works:

He insists that every one of us shall give account of himself to God,

Romans 14:12 (RSV)
12 So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

He urges men to put off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light,

Romans 13:12 (RSV)
12 the night is far gone, the day is at hand. Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light;

Every person shall receive their own reward according to their own labor,

1 Corinthians 3:8 (RSV)
8 He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor.

We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ so that every one may receive good or evil, according to what we have done in the body,

2 Corinthians 5:10 (RSV)
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive good or evil, according to what he has done in the body.

The Christian has to put off the old nature and all its deeds,

Colossians 3:9 (RSV)
9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices

The fact that Christianity must be ethically demonstrated is an essential part of the Christian faith throughout the New Testament.

(ii) The fact remains that James reads as if he were at variance with Paul; for in spite of all that we have said Paul's main emphasis is upon grace and faith and James' upon action and works. But this must be said—what James is condemning is not Paulinism but a perversion of it. The essential Pauline position in one sentence was:

Acts 16:31 (RSV)
31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household."

But clearly the significance we attach to this demand will entirely depend on the meaning we attach to believe. There are two kinds of belief.

There is belief which is purely intellectual. For instance, I believe that the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle equals the sum of the squares on the other two sides; and if I had to, I could prove it—but it makes no difference to my life and living. I accept it, but it has no effect upon me.

There is another kind of belief. I believe that two and two make four, and, therefore, I will resolutely refuse to pay more than four dollars for two two dollar bars of chocolate. I take that fact, not only into my mind, but into my life and action.

What James is arguing against is the first kind of belief, the acceptance of a fact without allowing it to have any influence upon life. The devils are intellectually convinced of the existence of God; they, in fact, tremble before Him; but their belief does not alter them in the slightest. What Paul held was the second kind of belief for him to believe in Jesus Christ meant to take that belief into every section of life and to live by it.

It is easy to pervert Paulinism and to emasculate believe of all effective meaning; and it is not really Paulinism but a misunderstood form of it that James condemns. He is condemning profession without practice and with that condemnation Paul would have entirely agreed.

(iii) Even allowing for that, there is still a difference between James and Paul—they begin at different times in the Christian life. Paul begins at the very beginning. He insists that no man can ever earn the forgiveness of God. The initial step must come from the free grace of God; a man can only accept the forgiveness which God offers him in Jesus Christ.

James begins much later with the professing Christian, the man who claims to be already forgiven and in a new relationship with God. Such a man, James rightly says, must live a new life for he is a new creature. He has been justified; he must now show that he is sanctified With that Paul would have entirely agreed.

The fact is that no man can be saved by works; but equally no man can be saved that does not produce works. By far the best analogy is that of a great human LOVE. He who is LOVED is certain that he does not deserve to be LOVED; but he is also certain that he must spend his life trying to be worthy of that LOVE.

The difference between James and Paul is a difference of starting-point. Paul starts with the great basic fact of the forgiveness of God which no person can ever earn or deserve; James starts with the professing Christian and insists that a person must grow in our Christian Faith exhibiting more and more righteous deeds. We are not saved by our good deeds; we are saved TO DO GOOD OR RIGHTEOUS DEEDS; these are the twin truths of the Christian life.

Ephesians 2:8-10 (RSV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God -- 9 not because of works, lest any man should boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Paul's emphasis is on the first and James' is on the second. In fact they do not contradict but complement each other; and the message of both is essential to the Christian faith in its fullest form. As the paraphrase has it:

Let all who hold this faith and hope

In holy deeds abound;

Thus faith approves itself sincere,

By active virtue crown'd.

The one thing that James cannot stand is profession without practice, words without deeds. He chooses a vivid illustration of what he means. Suppose a man to have neither clothes to protect him nor food to feed him; and suppose his so-called friend to express the sincerest sympathy for his sad plight; and suppose that sympathy stops with words and no effort is made to alleviate the plight of the unfortunate man, what use is that? What use is sympathy without some attempt to turn that sympathy into practical effect? I give here two personal examples of FAILED FAITH...........

First, as a young timid Christian I was stopped by a hitchhiker who exclaimed:

“Do you want to get in trouble?”

Making a long story short, he had had his life threatened, so I took him to the Police. They either could do nothing, or simply did not believe his story. I had no home of my own so for the night, I put him up in a motel. The Holy Spirit was telling me to spend time with him; instead, I just gave him money. Why, because I was afraid to do the deed of staying with him as God wanted. For me, I took the easy way out, and GAVE HIM MONEY. The next day I found out he spent the money on beer and had a woman spend the night with him.

My faith DID NOT MATCH MY ACTUAL DEEDS..............

Second:

In my 30+ years as a Minister of the Lord Jesus Christ I have seen numerous Pastors refuse to help people because they DID NOT TRUST THEM or their Church did not have the money to assist them. Both reasonable explanations!! However, you can take the time to question the person, make appropriate phone calls to their family and friends, contact local governmental or community agencies to assist or find resources for them...........Doing nothing is not usually your only option!!! Their Faith DOES NOT MATCH THEIR DEEDS...........

Faith without deeds is dead. This is a passage which would appeal especially to a Jew.

(i) To a Jew almsgiving was of paramount importance. So much so that righteousness and almsgiving mean one and the same thing. Almsgiving was considered to be a man's one defense when he was judged by God. The Jewish teacher Sirach wrote:

Sirach 3:30 (RSV)
30 Water extinguishes a blazing fire: so almsgiving atones for sin.

In Tobit it is written,

Tobit 4:8-10 (RSV)
8 If you have many possessions, make your gift from them in proportion; if few, do not be afraid to give according to the little you have. 9 So you will be laying up a good treasure for yourself against the day of necessity. 10 For charity delivers from death and keeps you from entering the darkness;

When the leaders of the Jerusalem Church agreed that Paul should go to the Gentiles the one injunction laid upon him was not to forget the poor,

Galatians 2:10 (RSV)
10 only they would have us remember the poor, which very thing I was eager to do.

This stress on practical help was one of the great and LOVELY marks of Jewish piety.

(ii) There was a strain of Greek religion to which this stress on sympathy and almsgiving was quite alien. The Stoics aimed at apatheia, the complete absence of feeling. The aim of life was serenity. Emotion disturbs serenity. The way to perfect calm was to annihilate all emotion. Pity was a mere disturbance of the detached philosophic calm in which a man should aim to live.

So Epictetus lays it down that only he who disobeys the divine command will ever feel grief or pity (Discourses 3: 24, 43).

When Virgil in the Georgics (2: 498) draws the picture of the perfectly happy man, he has no pity for the poor and no grief for the sorrowing, for such emotions would only upset his own serenity.

This is the very opposite of the Jewish point of view. For the Stoic blessedness meant being wrapped up in his own philosophic detachment and calm; for the Jew it meant actively sharing in the misfortunes of others.

(iii) In his approach to this subject James is profoundly right. There is nothing more dangerous than the repeated experiencing of a fine emotion with no attempt to put it into action. It is a fact that every time a person feels a noble impulse without taking action, they become less likely ever to take action. In a sense it is true to say that a person has no right to feel sympathy unless they at least try to put that sympathy into action. A concern for someone is not something in which to luxuriate; it is something which at the cost of effort and of toil and of discipline and of sacrifice and sometimes of much personal time,  MUST BE TURNED INTO ACTUAL GOOD DEEDS THAT GENUINELY ARE THE STUFF THE CHRISTIAN LIFE SHOULD BE MADE UP OF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen...


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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November 13, 2016



“a” Church
Evanston, Wyoming

“James Two: Part One”

James 2:1-11 (RSV)
1 My brethren, show no partiality as you hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man with gold rings and in fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, "Have a seat here, please," while you say to the poor man, "Stand there," or, "Sit at my feet," 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my beloved brethren. Has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you, is it not they who drag you into court? 7 Is it not they who blaspheme that honorable name which was invoked over you? 8 If you really fulfil the royal law, according to the scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you do well.
9 But if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become guilty of all of it. 11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," said also, "Do not kill." If you do not commit adultery but do kill, you have become a transgressor of the law.

Lord we are burdened by the awful fact that so many of us judge others by their appearance. The way they look, are they pretty, or handsome, thin or not thin, rich or not rich, dressed well, or not so well. Or the way they talk, the size of their vocabulary, or the lack thereof, the way they smell or the clothes they wear...We have a fallen nature that spends more time on the perceived faults, sins and weaknesses of others, than on the known faults, sins and weaknesses within us!!!

Yet we call ourselves good Christians, and make a mockery of all our Savior died for......Lord grant us to see others through Your eyes, help us care for others as you care for them, help us genuinely express compassion as You demonstrate compassion, help us to provide tenderness as You offer tenderness, help us LOVE others as You graciously LOVE others, including us.......

Oh Lord, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change; courage to change the things we can; and wisdom to know the difference. Lord, aid us in living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as You did, this sinful world as it is, not as we would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if we surrender to Your Will; that we may be reasonably blessed in this life and supremely blessed with You forever in ETERNITY!!! In Jesus most beautiful name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen.......

Respect of persons is the New Testament phrase for undue and unfair partiality; it means kissing-up to someone, because he is rich or influential or popular or good looking. It is a fault which the New Testament consistently condemns.

***It is a fault I have personally seen over and over again.........

I was once asked to preach in Lieu of a call. I called the Church the Thursday before to make sure all things were going according to the plan. I was informed they had forgotten all about me. They had another candidate coming, instead of saying they would correct their mistake, they apologetically asked if I could come the following Sunday. I thought a moment, and asked will you be voting on him that night after he preaches, they said yes.........So I said let’s wait and see if you even will need me after the vote. I called on Tuesday of that week not to appear too anxious. This is all that really matters...........

“When he walked through those doors for the very first time, WE KNEW HE WAS THE ONE!!”

((( Appearance )))

 I was at a Church, where the leadership including the pastor were very concerned about MONEY. They not only kissed-up to the wealthy looking visitors, but they would openly discourage needy people from coming to THEIR CHURCH............”We can’t help you.” And the most needy would simply stop attending!!!

I was at a Church, that many of the members insisted I SHOULD NOT INVITE MY BLACK FRIENDS TO CHURCH.........................

I could go on...............................

It is a fault of which the orthodox Jewish leaders completely acquitted Jesus. Even they were bound to admit that there was no respect of persons with him,

Luke 20:21 (RSV)
21 They asked him, "Teacher, we know that you speak and teach rightly, and show no partiality, but truly teach the way of God.

Mark 12:14 (RSV)
14 And they came and said to him, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?

Matthew 22:16 (RSV)
16 And they sent their disciples to him, along with the Hero'di-ans, saying, "Teacher, we know that you are true, and teach the way of God truthfully, and care for no man; for you do not regard the position of men.

After his vision of the sheet with the clean and unclean animals upon it, the lesson that Peter learned was that with God there is no respect of persons,

Acts 10:34 (RSV)
34 And Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,

It was Paul's conviction that Gentile and Jew stand under a like judgment in the sight of God, for with God there is no favoritism,

Romans 2:11 (RSV)
11 For God shows no partiality.

This is a truth which Paul urges on his people again and again,

Ephesians 6:9 (RSV)
9 Masters, do the same to them, and forbear threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Colossians 3:25 (RSV)
25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

The word itself is curious—prosopolempsia. The noun comes from the expression prosopon lambanein. Prosopon  is the "face"; and lambanein here means "to lift up." The expression in Greek is a literal translation of a Hebrew phrase. To lift up a person's countenance was to regard him with favor, in contradistinction perhaps to casting down his countenance.

Originally it was not a bad word at all; it simply meant to accept a person with favor. Malachi asks if the governor will be pleased with the people and will accept their persons, if they bring him blemished offerings,

Malachi 1:8-9 (RSV)
8 When you offer blind animals in sacrifice, is that no evil? And when you offer those that are lame or sick, is that no evil? Present that to your governor; will he be pleased with you or show you favor? says the LORD of hosts. 9 And now entreat the favor of God, that he may be gracious to us. With such a gift from your hand, will he show favor to any of you? says the LORD of hosts.

But the word rapidly acquired a bad sense. It soon began to mean, not so much to favor a person, as to show favoritism, to allow oneself to be unduly influenced by a person's social status or prestige or power or wealth. Malachi goes on to condemn that very sin when God accuses the people of not keeping his ways and of being partial in their judgments,

Malachi 2:9 (RSV)
9 and so I make you despised and abased before all the people, inasmuch as you have not kept my ways but have shown partiality in your instruction."

A great characteristic of God is his complete impartiality. In the Law it was written,

Leviticus 19:15 (RSV)
15 "You shall do no injustice in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.

John 7:24 (RSV)
24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."

There is a necessary emphasis here. A person may be unjust because of the snobbery which kiss-ups to the rich; and may be equally unjust because of the inverted snobbery which glorifies the poor.

Sirach 35:12 (RSV)
12 Do not offer him a bribe, for he will not accept it; and do not trust to an unrighteous sacrifice; for the Lord is the judge, and with him is no partiality.

The Old and New Testaments unite in condemning that partiality of judgment and favoritism of treatment which comes of giving undue weight to a man's social standing, wealth or worldly influence. And it is a fault to which everyone is more or less liable.

Proverbs 22:2 (RSV)
2 The rich and the poor meet together; the LORD is the maker of them all.

In, ((( A Jewish text )))

Sirach 10:23 (RSV)
23 It is not right to despise an intelligent poor man, nor is it proper to honor a sinful man.

We do well to remember that it is just as much respect of persons to kiss-up to the crowd as it is to brown-nose to a tyrant.

It is James' fear that snobbery may invade the Church. He draws a picture of two men entering the Christian assembly. The one is well-dressed and his fingers are covered with gold rings. The more ostentatious of the ancients wore rings on every finger except the middle one, and wore far more than one on each finger. They even hired rings to wear when they wished to give an impression of special wealth.

"We adorn our fingers with rings," said Seneca, "and we distribute gems over every joint."

Clement of Alexandria recommends that a Christian should wear only one ring, and that he should wear it on his little finger. It ought to have on it a religious emblem, such as a dove, a fish or an anchor; and the justification for wearing it is that it might be used as a seal.

So, then, into the Christian assembly comes an elegantly dressed and much be-ringed man. The other is a poor man, dressed in poor clothes because he has no others to wear and unadorned by any jewels. The rich man is ushered to a special seat with all ceremony and respect; while the poor man is bidden to stand, or to squat on the floor, beside the footstool of the well-to-do.

That the picture is not overdrawn is seen from certain instructions in some early service order books. Ropes quotes a typical passage from the Ethiopia Statutes of the Apostles:

"If any other man or woman enters in fine clothes, either a man of the district or from other districts, being brethren, thou, presbyter, while thou speakest the word which is concerning God, or while thou hearest or readest, thou shalt not respect persons, nor leave thy ministering to command places for them, but remain quiet, for the brethren shall receive them, and if they have no place for them, the lover of brothers and sisters, will rise, and leave a place for them... And if a poor man or woman of the district or of other districts should come in and there is no place for them, thou, presbyter, make place for such with all thy heart, even if thou wilt sit on the ground, that there should not be the respecting of the person of man but of God."

Here is the same picture. It is even suggested that the leader of the service might be liable, when a rich man entered, to stop the service and to conduct him to a special seat.

There is no doubt that there must have been social problems in the early church. The Church was the only place in the ancient world where social distinctions did not exist. There must have been a certain initial awkwardness when a master found himself sitting next to his slave or when a master arrived at a service in which his slave was actually the leader and the dispenser of the Sacrament. The gap between the slave, who in law was nothing more than a living tool, and the master was so wide as to cause problems of approach on either side. Further, in its early days the Church was predominantly poor and humble; and therefore if a rich man was converted and came to the Christian fellowship, there must have been a very real temptation to make a fuss of him and treat him as a special trophy for Christ.

The Church must be the one place where all distinctions are wiped out. There can be no distinctions of rank and prestige when men meet in the presence of the King of glory. There can be no distinctions of merit when men meet in the presence of the supreme holiness of God. In God’s presence all earthly distinctions are less than the dust and all earthly righteousness is as filthy rags. In the presence of God all men are one.

James 2:4 (RSV)
4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

There is a problem of translation. The word diekrithete can have two meanings:

(i) It can mean, "You are wavering in your judgments, if you act like that." That is to say, "If you pay special honor to the rich, you are torn between the standards of the world and the standards of God and you can't make up your mind which you are going to apply."

(ii) It may mean, "You are guilty of making class distinctions which in the Christian fellowship should not exist."

I prefer the second meaning, because James goes on to say, "If you do that, you are judges whose thoughts are evil." That is to say, "You are breaking the commandment of Him who said,

Matthew 7:1-5 (RSV)
1 "Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

"God," said Abraham Lincoln, "must love the common people because he made so many of them."

Christianity has always had a special message for the poor. In Jesus' first sermon in the synagogue at Nazareth His claim was:

Luke 4:18 (RSV)
18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

His answer to John's puzzled inquiries as to whether or not he was God's Chosen One culminated in the claim:

Matthew 11:5 (RSV)
5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

The first of the Beatitudes was,

Matthew 5:3 (RSV)
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

And Luke is even more definite:

Luke 6:20 (RSV)
20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: "Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.

During the ministry of Jesus, when He was banished from the synagogues and took to the open road and the hillside and the seaside, it was the crowds of common men and women to whom His message came. In the days of the early church it was to the crowds that the street preachers preached. In fact the message of Christianity was that those who mattered to no one else mattered intensely to God.

1 Corinthians 1:26 (RSV)
26 For consider your call, brethren; not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth;

That means “ME”, that means “YOU”, that means: ALL WHO JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR...................................

THAT MEANS THE WHOLE HUMAN RACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is not that Christ and the Church do not want the great and the rich and the wise and the mighty; we must beware of an inverted snobbery, as we have already seen. But it was the simple fact that the gospel offered so much to the poor and demanded so much from the rich, that it was the poor who were swept into the Church. It was, in fact, the common people who heard Jesus gladly and the rich young ruler who went sorrowfully away because he had great possessions. James is not shutting the door on the rich—far from that. He is saying that the gospel of Christ is especially dear to the poor and that in it there is a welcome for the person who has none to welcome them, and that through it there is a value set on the person whom the world regards as valueless.

((((((( THAT MEANS ME TOO.........................................)))))))

((((((( THAT MEANS YOU ALSO.....................................)))))))

In the society which James inhabited the rich oppressed the poor. They dragged them to the law-courts. No doubt this was for debt. At the bottom end of the social scale men were so poor that they could hardly live and moneylenders were plentiful and extortionate. In the ancient world there was a custom of summary arrest. If a creditor met a debtor on the street, he could seize him by the neck of his robe, nearly throttling him, and literally drag him to the law-courts. That is what the rich did to the poor. They had no sympathy; all they wanted was the uttermost dollar. It is not riches that James is condemning; it is the conduct of riches without sympathy.

1 Timothy 6:10 (RSV)
10 For the love of money is the root of all evils; it is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced their hearts with many pangs.

It is the love of wealth that is the root of all evil, NOT simply having wealth...........................................

It is the rich who abuse the name by which the Christians are called. It may be the name Christian by which the heathen first called the followers of Christ at Antioch and which was given at first as a jest. It may be the name of Christ, which was pronounced over a Christian on the day of his baptism. The word James uses for called (epikaleisthai) is the word used for a wife taking her husband's name in marriage or for a child being called after his father. The Christian takes the name of Christ; we are called after Christ. We are in a very real sense married to Christ, or born and christened into the family of Christ.

The rich and the masters would have many a reason for insulting the name Christian. A slave who became a Christian would have a new independence; he would no longer cringe at his master's power, punishment would cease to terrorize him and he would meet his master clad in a new manhood. He would have a new honesty. That would make him a better slave, but it would also mean he could no longer be his master's instrument in sharp practice and petty dishonesty as once he might have been. He would have a new sense of worship; and on the Lord's Day he would insist on leaving work aside in order that he might worship with the people of God. There would be ample opportunity for a master to find reasons for insulting the name of Christian and cursing the name of Christ.

The connection of thought with the previous passage is this. James has been condemning those who pay special attention to the rich man who enters the Church. "But," they might answer, "the law tells me to LOVE my neighbor as myself. Therefore we are under duty to welcome the man when he comes to Church." "Very well," answers James, "If you are really welcoming the man because you LOVE him as you do yourself, and you wish to give him the welcome you yourself would wish to receive, that is fine. But, if you are giving him this special welcome because he is a rich man, that is respect of persons and that is wrong—and so far from keeping the law, you are in fact breaking it. You don't LOVE your neighbor, or you would not neglect the poor man. What you love is wealth—and that is not what the law commands."

James calls the great injunction to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves the royal law. There can be various meanings of the phrase. It may mean the law which is of supreme excellence; it may mean the law which is given by the King of the kings; it may mean the king of all laws; it may mean the law that makes men kings and is fit for kings. To keep that greatest law is to become king of oneself and a king among men. It is a law fit for those who are royal, and able to make men royal.

James goes on to lay down a great principle about the law of God. To break any part of it is to become a transgressor. The Jew was very apt to regard the law as a series of detached injunctions. To keep one was to gain credit; to break one was to incur debt. A man could add up the ones he kept and subtract the ones he broke and so emerge with a credit or a debit balance. There was a Rabbinic saying,

"Whoever fulfils only one law, good is appointed to him; his days are prolonged and he will inherit the land."

Again many of the Rabbis held that

"the Sabbath weighs against all precepts,"

To keep it was to keep the law.

As James saw it, the whole law was the will of God; to break any part of it was to infringe that will and therefore to be guilty of sin. That is perfectly true. To break any part of the law is to become a transgressor in principle. Even under human justice a man becomes a criminal when he has broken one law. So James argues:

"No matter how good you may be in other directions, if you treat people with respect of persons, you have acted against the will of God and you are a transgressor."

There is a great truth here which is both relevant and practical. We may put it much more simply. A person may be in nearly all respects a good person; and yet we may spoil ourselves by one fault. We may be moral in our action, pure in ours speech, meticulous in ours devotion. But we may be hard and self-righteous; rigid and unsympathetic; and, if so, OUR GOODNESS IS SPOILED!!!!!!!

We do well to remember that, though we may claim to have done many a good thing and to have resisted many an evil thing, there may be something in us by which everything is spoiled.

Romans 3:23 (NIV2011)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Thus we ALL NEED A SAVIOR, and THE ONLY SAVIOR IS JESUS CHRIST............................................................................................

1 John 1:8-10 (NIV2011)
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

The TRUTH is, no matter how you see yourself or the people around you, GOD LOVES US ALL, and wants us all TO GENUINELY LOVE ALL SINNERS, ALL PEOPLE...................................FOR NO ONE, NOT EVER, CAN SAVE THEMSELVES!!! And NO ONE BUT GOD IS TRULY GOOD!!!!!!!

Titus 3:5 (NIV2011)
5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV2011)
8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

Mark 10:18 (RSV)
18 And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone.

((((((( NOT ME, NOT YOU, NONE OF US ARE GOOD, ONLY GOD IS TRULY GOOD................





As we close today oh Lord, we beseech Thee that you would protect President Elect Donald Trump and President Elect Michael Pence and their families, guide them and direct them TO DO THY WILL, not their's, not our's, but YOUR WILL. Grant them the wisdom, grace, and mercy to lead this nation and ALL IT'S PEOPLE, may they mend the great divide in our nation, may they uplift and provide health care, education, and great job opportunities for this land, may they help secure the safety of this nation, and this world. May they be the men YOU WANT THEM TO BE, and have them be great examples of men of true faith in You. Oh Lord heal this nation, and we pray all these these things in the name of the only Savior Jesus ChrisT, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen...................................................

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc​​








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November 6, 2016

"a” Church
Evanston, Wyoming

“James One: Part Four”

James 1:16-27 (RSV)
16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. 18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of first fruits of his creatures. 19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, 20 for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. 21 Therefore put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if any one is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who observes his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer that forgets but a doer that acts, he shall be blessed in his doing. 26 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain. 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Creator Lord, the source of all wisdom and purpose, and the one who blesses our sincere labor; be with us in our work to guide and govern our world. Give to all people work that enhances human dignity and bonds us to one another. Give us pride in our work, a fair return for our labor, and joy in knowing that our work finds its source in you............... 

O God, through human labors you continually perfect the immense work of your creation. Listen to the prayers of your people, and grant to everyone employment that calls us to our best and unite us with each other, so that we can serve our brothers and sisters, and your world, through our work.

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor:  Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give to us all the desire to bring fourth glorious fruit for your kingdom, sharing in all LOVE and compassion the Humility of Jesus Christ, the Truth of Jesus Christ, and the LOVE of Jesus Christ to ALL THOSE YOU PUT IN OUR LIVES................. This we ask through your Son Jesus Christ, who lives in unity with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen and eternally Amen.........................................

Once again James stresses the great truth that every gift that God sends is good.

James 1:17 (RSV)
17 Every good endowment and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Might well be translated:

"All giving is good."

That is to say, there is nothing which comes from God which is not good. There is a strange phenomenon here in the Greek. The phrase which we have translated, "Every good endowment and every perfect gift," is, in fact, a perfect hexameter line of poetry. Either James had a rhythmic ear for a fine cadence or he is quoting from some work which we do not know.

What he is stressing is the unchangeableness of God. To do so he uses two astronomical terms. The word he uses for variation is parallage, and the word for the turn of the shadow is trope.. Both these words have to do with the variation which the heavenly bodies show, the variation in the length of the day and of the night, the apparent variation in the course of the sun, the phases of waxing and waning, the different brilliance at different times of the stars and the planets. Variability is characteristic of all created things. God is the creator of the lights of heaven—the sun, the moon, the stars. The Jewish morning prayer says,

"Blessed be the Lord God who hath formed the lights."

The lights change but he who created them never changes.

Hebrews 13:8 (RSV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

Further, his purpose is altogether gracious. The word of truth is the gospel; and by the sending of that gospel it is God's purpose that people should be reborn into a new life. The shadows are ended and the certain word of truth has come.

That rebirth is a rebirth into the family and the possession of God. In the ancient world it was the law that all first-fruits were sacred to God. They were offered in grateful sacrifice to God because they belonged to him. So, when we are reborn by the true word of the gospel, we become the property of God, even as the first-fruits of the harvest did.

James insists that, so far from ever tempting man, God's gifts are invariably good. In all the chances and changes of a changing world they never vary. And God's supreme object is to re-create life through the truth of the gospel, so that mankind should know that we belong by right to Him.

There are few wise men who have not been impressed by the dangers of being too quick to speak and too unwilling to listen. A most interesting list could be compiled of the things in which it is well to be quick and the things in which it is well to be slow. In the Sayings of the Jewish Fathers we read:

"There are four characters in scholars.

*Quick to hear and quick to forget; his gain is cancelled by his loss.

*Slow to hear and slow to forget; his loss is cancelled by his gain.

*Quick to hear and. slow to forget; he is wise.

*Slow to hear and quick to forget; this is an evil lot."

Ovid bids men to be slow to punish, but swift to reward. Philo bids a man to be swift to benefit others, and slow to harm them.

In particular the wise men were impressed by the necessity of being slow to speak. Rabbi Simeon said,

"All my days I have grown up among the wise, and have not found aught good for a man but silence...Whoso multiplies words occasions sin."

Jesus, the son of Sirach, writes,

Sirach 5:11-12 (RSV)
11 Be quick to hear, and be deliberate in answering. 12 If you have understanding, answer your neighbor; but if not, put your hand on your mouth.

Proverbs is full of the perils of too hasty speech.

Proverbs 10:19 (RSV)
19 When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.

Proverbs 13:3 (RSV)
3 He who guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Proverbs 17:28 (RSV)
28 Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

Proverbs 29:20 (RSV)
20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

((( I must confess I am often convicted by these scriptures, anger can be a curse....................................................................................)))

Hort says that the really good man will be much more anxious to listen to God than arrogantly, garrulously and stridently to shout his own opinions. The classical writers had the same idea. Zeno said,

"We have two ears but only one mouth, that we may hear more and speak less."

When Demonax was asked how a man might rule best, he answered,

"Without anger, speaking little, and listening much."

Bias said,

"If you hate quick speaking, you will not fall into error."

The tribute was once paid to a great linguist that he could be silent in seven different languages. Many of us would do well to listen more and to speak less.

It is James' advice that we should also be slow to anger. He is probably meeting the arguments of some that there is a place for the blazing anger of rebuke. That is undoubtedly true; the world would be a poorer place without those who blazed against the abuses and the tyrannies of sin. But too often this is made an excuse for petulant and self-centered irritation.

***The teacher will be tempted to be angry with the slow and backward and still more with the lazy scholar. But, except on the rarest occasions, he will achieve more by encouragement than by the lash of the tongue.

***The preacher will be tempted to anger. But "don't scold" is always good advice to him; he loses his power whenever he does not make it clear by every word and gesture that he LOVES his people. When anger gives the impression in the pulpit of dislike or contempt it will not convert the souls of men.

***The parent will be tempted to anger. But a parent's anger is much more likely to produce a still more stubborn resistance than it is to control and direct. The accent of LOVE always has more power than the accent of anger; and when anger becomes constant irritability, petulant annoyance, nitpicking nagging, it always does more harm than good.

To be slow to speak, slow to anger, quick to listen is always good policy for life.

((( I wish I could always practice what I preach!!!!!!! )))

James uses a series of vivid words and pictures.

He tells his readers to strip themselves of all filthiness. The word he uses for strip is the word used for stripping off one's clothes. He bids his hearers get rid of all defilement as a man strips off soiled garments or as a snake sloughs off its skin.

Both the words he uses for defilement are vivid. The word we have translated filthiness is ruparia; and it can be used for the filth which soils clothes or soils the body. But it has one very interesting connection. It is a derivative of rupo and, when rupos is used in a medical sense, it means wax in the ear. It is just possible that it still retains that meaning here; and that James is telling his readers to get rid of everything which would stop their ears to the true word of God. When wax gathers in the ear, it can make a person deaf; and a person's sins can make them deaf to God. Further, James talks of the growth (perisseia) of rank or vice. He thinks of vice as tangled undergrowth or a cancerous growth which must be cut away.

He bids them receive the inborn word in gentleness. The word for inborn is emphutos, and is capable of two general meanings.

(i) It can mean inborn in the sense of innate as opposed to acquired. If James uses it in that way he is thinking of much the same thing as Paul was thinking of when he spoke of the Gentiles doing the works of the law by nature because they have a kind of law in their hearts,

Romans 2:14-15 (RSV)
14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them

It is the same picture as the Old Testament picture of the law,

Deuteronomy 30:14 (RSV)
14 But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it.

It is practically equal to our word conscience. If this is its meaning here, James is saying that there is an instinctive knowledge of good and evil in a man's heart whose guidance we should at all times obey.

John Wesley would call the Prevenient  Grace, the grace that goes before, the grace that God puts in all mankind.................

(ii) It can mean inborn in the sense of implanted, as a seed is planted in the ground.  In 4 Ezra 9:31 ((( not the Biblical book ))) we read of God saying:

"Behold, I sow my law in you, and you shall be glorified in it forever."

If James is using the word in this sense, the idea may well go back to the Parable of the Sower,

Matthew 13:3-9 (RSV)
3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: "A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears, let him hear."

Which tells how the seed of the word is sown into the hearts of men. Through his prophets and his preachers, and above all through Jesus Christ, God sows His truth into the hearts of men and the man who is wise will receive it and welcome it.

It may well be that we are not required to make a choice between these two meanings. It may well be that James is implying that knowledge of the true word of God comes to us from two sources, from the depths of our own being, and from the Spirit of God and the teaching of Christ and the preaching of men. From inside and from outside come voices telling us the right way; and the wise man will listen and obey. But all in submission to what God’s holy Writ says, the Bible.................................It is inerrant and infallible!!!!!!!

He will receive the word with gentleness. Gentleness is an attempt to translate the untranslatable word prautes. This is a great Greek word which has no precise English equivalent. It is the quality of the man whose feelings and emotions are under perfect control. Andronicus Rhodius, commenting on Aristotle, writes,

"Prautes is moderation in regard to anger...You might define prautes as serenity and the power, not to be lead away by emotion, but to control emotion as right reason dictates."

The Platonic definitions say that prautes is the regulation of the movement of the soul caused by anger. It is the temperament (krasis) of a soul in which everything is mixed in the right proportions.

No one can ever find one English word to translate what is a one word summary of the truly teachable spirit. The teachable spirit is docile and tractable, and therefore humble enough to learn. The teachable spirit is without resentment and without anger and is, therefore, able to face the truth, even when it hurts and condemns. The teachable spirit is not blinded by its own overmastering prejudices but is clear-eyed to the truth. The teachable spirit is not seduced by laziness but is so self-controlled that it can willingly and faithfully accept the discipline of learning. Prautes  describes the perfect conquest and control of everything in a man's nature which would be a hindrance to his seeing, learning and obeying the truth.


Again James presents us with two of the vivid pictures of which he is such a master.

First of all, he speaks of the man who goes to the church meeting and listens to the reading and expounding of the word, and who thinks that that listening has made him a Christian. He has shut his eyes to the fact that what is read and heard in Church must then be lived out. It is still possible to identify Church attendance and Bible reading with Christianity but this is to take ourselves less than half the way; the really important thing is to turn that to which we have listened into action.

((((((( Not to simply say you LOVE God, you LOVE all humanity, you LOVE all God’s creation, but by your moment by moment actions LIVE OUT YOUR LOVE FOR ALL, in THOUGHT, WORD, and DEED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )))))))

BE YE DOERS OF THE LAW........................

Second, James says such a person is like one who looks in a mirror—ancient mirrors were made, not of glass, but of highly polished metal—sees the smudges which disfigure their face and the unkemptness of their hair, and goes away and forgets what they look like, and so omits to do anything about it. In our listening to the true word we have  revealed to us that which we are and that which we ought to be. We see what is wrong and what must be done to put it right; but, if we are only a hearer, we remain just as we are, and all our hearing has gone for nothing.

James does well to remind us that what is heard in the holy place must be lived in the market place—or there is no point in hearing at all.

This is the kind of passage in James which Luther so much disliked. He disliked the idea of law altogether, for with Paul he would have said,

Romans 10:4 (RSV)
4 For Christ is the end of the law, that every one who has faith may be justified.

"James," said Luther,

"drives us to law and works."

And yet beyond all doubt there is a sense in which James is right. There is an ethical law which the Christian must seek to put into action. That law is to be found first in the Ten Commandments and then in the teaching of Jesus.

We are saved not by works of righteousness, but God saves us, TO DO GOOD WORKS!!!

James calls that law two things.

(i) He calls it the perfect law. There are three reasons why the law is perfect.

(a) It is God's law, given and revealed by Him. The way of life which Jesus laid down for His followers is in accordance with the will of God.

(b) It is perfect in that it cannot be bettered. The Christian law is the law of LOVE; and the demand of LOVE can never be satisfied. We know well, when we LOVE someone, that even though we gave them all the world and served them for a lifetime, we still could not satisfy or deserve their LOVE.

(c) But there is still another sense in which the Christian law is perfect. The Greek word is teleios which nearly always describes perfection towards some given end. Now, if a man obeys the law of Christ, he will fulfil the purpose for which God sent him into the world; he will be the person he ought to be and will make the contribution to the world he ought to make. He will be perfect in the sense that he will, by obeying the law of God, realize his God-given destiny.

(ii) He calls it the law of liberty; that is, the law in the keeping of which a man finds his true liberty. All the great men have agreed that it is only in obeying the law of God that a man becomes truly free.

"To obey God," said Seneca, "is liberty."

"The wise man alone is free," said the Stoics, "and every foolish man is a slave."

Philo said "All who are under the tyranny of anger or desire or any other passion are altogether slaves; all who live with the law are free."

So long as a man has to obey his own passions and emotions and desires, he is nothing less than a slave. It is when he accepts the will of God that he becomes really free—for then he is free to be what he ought to be. His service is perfect freedom and in doing his will is our peace.

We must be careful to understand what James is saying here. The Revised Standard Version translates the phrases,

James 1:27 (RSV)
27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

The word translated religion is threskeia, and its meaning is not so much religion as worship in the sense of the outward expression of religion in ritual and liturgy and ceremony. What James is saying is,

 "The finest ritual and the finest liturgy you can offer to God is service of the poor and personal purity."

To him real worship did not lie in elaborate vestments or in magnificent music or in a carefully wrought service; it lay in the practical service of mankind and in the purity of one's own personal life. It is perfectly possible for a Church to be so taken up with the beauty of its buildings and the splendor of its liturgy that it has neither the time nor the money for practical Christian service; and that is what James is condemning.

In fact James is condemning only what the prophets had condemned long ago.

Psalm 68:5 (RSV)
5 Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

It was Zechariah's complaint that the people pulled away their shoulders and made their hearts as adamant as stone at the demand to execute true justice, to show mercy and compassion every man to his brother, to oppress not the widow, the fatherless, the stranger and the poor, and not to entertain evil thoughts against another within the heart,

Zechariah 7:6-10 (RSV)
6 And when you eat and when you drink, do you not eat for yourselves and drink for yourselves? 7 When Jerusalem was inhabited and in prosperity, with her cities round about her, and the South and the lowland were inhabited, were not these the words which the LORD proclaimed by the former prophets?" 8 And the word of the LORD came to Zechari'ah, saying, 9 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, Render true judgments, show kindness and mercy each to his brother, 10 do not oppress the widow, the fatherless, the sojourner, or the poor; and let none of you devise evil against his brother in your heart."

It was Micah's complaint that all ritual sacrifices were useless, if a man did not do justice and love kindness and walk humbly before God,

Micah 6:6-8 (RSV)
6 "With what shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? 7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?" 8 He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

All through history men have tried to make ritual and liturgy a substitute for sacrifice and service. They have made religion splendid within the Church at the expense of neglecting it outside the Church. This is by no means to say that it is wrong to seek to offer the noblest and the most splendid worship within God's house; but it is to say that all such worship is empty and idle unless it sends a man out to LOVE God by LOVING his fellow-men and to walk more purely in the tempting ways of the world.

Matthew 22:37-40 (NIV)
37 Jesus replied: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

LET US BE DOERS OF THE LOVE OF GOD, and not mere hearers!!!!!!!

Lord Jehovah we ask in Jesus our beLOVED Savior’s name that Your hand will be upon the elections this Tuesday, and satan would be thwarted in every way, Amen and eternally Amen…………………………..

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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​October 30, 2016


"a" Church


Evanston, Wyoming





​“James One: Part Three”

James 1:9-15 (RSV)
9 Let the lowly brother boast in his exaltation, 10 and the rich in his humiliation, because like the flower of the grass he will pass away. 11 For the sun rises with its scorching heat and withers the grass; its flower falls, and its beauty perishes. So will the rich man fade away in the midst of his pursuits. 12 Blessed is the man who endures trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted with evil and he himself tempts no one; 14 but each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

LORD GOD YHWH, TEACH US TO SEE YOUR FACE and to find it’s imprint in all acts of mercy and compassion, and in all for whom You died; by Your Holy Spirit, change us, and conform us to Your own image, that through our lives, Your light may shine in this dark world, for the glory of your name. 

LORD God, let our minds rest in Your Word the Bible, let us soberly and with joyous intensity seek to do Your will in all things, when doubt and grief would overwhelm us, let faith open our eyes to see Your hand at work in our lives and enable us to turn toward the future with hope and grace and toward each other in perfect LOVE. 

GRACIOUS LORD, when we falter and deny You and when we clutch and hoard what is Yours to give, recall us to Yourself that LOVE may be renewed in repentance; then open our hands to give and inspire us to work once more for the good of others and always for Your glory. 

GRANT US YOUR PEACE, O LORD, and strengthen our faith in You, that we may live as witness to Your gospel and rejoice in Your presence among us. In Jesus most wondrous name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen.......................................................

As James saw it, Faith in Jesus Christ brings to every person WHAT WE NEED!!!!!!! As Mayor put it

"As the despised poor learns self-respect, so the proud rich learns self-abasement."

(i) The Christian Faith brings to the poor in spirit a new sense of their, our, OWN VALUE!!!

(a) We learn that ALL OF US matter in the Church. In the early church there were not class distinctions. It could happen that the slave was the minister of the congregation, preaching and dispensing the sacrament, while the master was no more than a humble member. In the Church the social distinctions of the world are obliterated and none matters more than any other.

((( Have we as the modern day Church strayed from this godly principle??? )))

(b) We learn that ALL OF US matter in the world. It is the teaching of Christianity that every man, woman, and child has a task to do in this world. Every person is of use to God and even if they be confined to a bed of pain, the power of their prayers can still act on the world and it’s inhabitance.

((((((( YES, YOU CAN BE USED BY GOD, IF YOU BELONG TO HIM IN FAITH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )))))))

(c) We learn that WE ALL matter to God,  As Muretus said long ago,

"Call no man worthless for whom Christ died."

((((((( HE DIED FOR EVER SINNER, EVERYWHERE !!!!!!! )))))))

(ii) Christianity brings to the rich a new sense of self-abasement. The great peril of riches is that they tend to give a person a false sense of security. They feel that they are safe; they feel that they have the resources to cope with anything and to buy themselves out of any situation they or LOVED ones may wish to avoid.

James draws a vivid picture, very familiar to the people of Palestine. In the desert places, if there is a shower of rain, the thin green shoots of grass will sprout; but one day's burning sunshine will make them vanish as if they had never been. The scorching heat is the kauson. The kauson was the south-east wind, the Simoon. It came straight from the deserts and burst on Palestine like a blast of hot air when an oven door is opened. In an hour it could wipe out all vegetation.

This is a picture of what a life dependent on riches can be like. A person who puts their trust in riches is trusting in things which the probabilities and ups and downs of life can take from them at any moment. Life itself is uncertain. At the back of James' mind there is Isaiah's picture:

Isaiah 40:6-7 (RSV)
6 A voice says, "Cry!" And I said, "What shall I cry?" All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the LORD blows upon it; surely the people is grass.

Consider this:

Psalm 103:15-16 (RSV)
15 As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; 16 for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

James' point is this. If life is so uncertain and people are so vulnerable, calamity and disaster may come at any moment. Since that is so, ANYONE is a fool to put all their trust in things—like wealth—which we may lose at any moment. We are only wise if we put our trust in things which we cannot lose.

Matthew 6:19-21 (RSV)
19 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

 

So, then, James urges the rich to cease to put their trust in that which their own power can amass. James urges them to admit their essential human helplessness and humbly to put their trust in God, who alone can give the things which abide forever.

To the person who meets trials in the right way there is joy here and in the hereafter.

(i) In this life we become a more sterling worth. If we are dokimos; if we are like metal which is cleansed of all alloy. The weaknesses of our characters  are eradicated; and we emerge strong and pure.

(ii) In the life to come we receive the crown of life. There is far more than one thought here. In the ancient world the crown stephanos, had at least four great associations.

(a) The crown of flowers was worn at times of joy, at weddings and at feasts,

Song of Songs 3:11 (RSV)
11 Go forth, O daughters of Zion, and behold King Solomon, with the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding, on the day of the gladness of his heart.

The crown was the sign of festive joy.

(b) The crown was the mark of royalty. It was worn by kings and by those in authority. Sometimes this was the crown of gold; sometimes it was the linen band, or fillet, worn around the brows,

Psalm 21:3 (RSV)
3 For thou dost meet him with goodly blessings; thou dost set a crown of fine gold upon his head.

Jeremiah 13:18 (RSV)
18 Say to the king and the queen mother: "Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head."

(c) The crown of laurel leaves was the victor's crown in the games, the prize which the athlete coveted above all,

2 Timothy 4:8 (RSV)
8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.

(d) The crown was the mark of honor and of dignity. The instructions of parents can bring a crown of grace to those who listen to them,

Proverbs 1:8-9 (RSV)
8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and reject not your mother's teaching; 9 for they are a fair garland for your head, and pendants for your neck.

Wisdom provides a person with a crown of glory,

Proverbs 4:7-9 (RSV)
7 The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. 8 Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. 9 She will place on your head a fair garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown."

In a time of disaster and dishonor it can be said,

Lamentations 5:15-16 (RSV)
15 The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning. 16 The crown has fallen from our head; woe to us, for we have sinned!

We do not need to choose between these meanings. They are all included. The Christian has a joy that no other individual or religious group can ever have. Life for us is like being forever at a feast. We have a royalty that other people have never realized for, however humble our earthly circumstances, we are the child of God. we have a victory which others cannot win, for we meet life and all its demands in the conquering power of the presence of Jesus Christ. We have a new dignity for we are ever conscious that God thought us worth the life and death of Jesus Christ HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON!!!!!!!

What is the crown? It is the crown of life; and that phrase means that it is the crown which consists of life. The crown of the Christian is a new kind of living which is life indeed; through Jesus Christ we have entered into life more abundant.

James says that if the Christian meets the testings of life in the steadfast constancy which Christ can give, life becomes infinitely more splendid than ever it was before. The struggle is the way to glory, and the very struggle itself is a glory.

At the back of this passage lies a Jewish way of belief to which all of us are to some extent prone. James is here rebuking the person who puts the blame for temptation on God.

Jewish thought was haunted by the inner division that is in every individual. It was the problem which haunted Paul:

Romans 7:22-23 (RSV)
22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members.

Every man, woman, and child are pulled in two directions. Purely as an interpretation of experience the Jews arrived at the doctrine that in every person there were two tendencies. They called them the Yetser Hatob, the good tendency, and the Yetser Hara', the evil tendency. This simply stated the problem; it did not explain it. In particular, it did not say where the evil tendency came from. So Jewish thought set out to try to explain that.

The writer of Ecclesiasticus was deeply impressed with the havoc that the evil tendency causes.

 "O Yetser Hara', why wast thou made to fill the earth with thy deceit?"

Sirach 37:3 (RSV)
3 O evil imagination, why were you formed to cover the land with deceit?

In his view the evil tendency came from Satan, and man's defense against it was our own will.

Sirach 15:14-15 (RSV)
14 It was he who created man in the beginning, and he left him in the power of his own inclination. 15 If you will, you can keep the commandments, and to act faithfully is a matter of your own choice.

There were Jewish writers who traced this evil tendency right back to the Garden of Eden. In the apocryphal work, The Life of Adam and Eve, the story is told. Satan took the form of an angel and, speaking through the serpent, put into Eve the desire for the forbidden fruit and made her swear that she would give the fruit to Adam as well. "When he had made me swear," says Eve, "he ascended up into the tree. But in the fruit he gave me to eat he placed the poison of his malice, that is, of his lust. For lust is the beginning of all sin. And he bent down the bough to the earth, and I took of the fruit and ate it." In this conception it was Satan himself who succeeded in inserting the evil tendency into man; and that evil tendency is identified with the lust of the flesh. A later development of this story was that the beginning of all sin was in fact Satan's lust for Eve.

The Book of Enoch has two theories. One is that the fallen angels are responsible for sin (85). The other is that man himself is responsible for it. "Sin has not been sent upon the earth, but man himself created it" (98: 4).

But every one of these theories simply pushes the problem one step further back. Satan may have put the evil tendency into man; the fallen angels may have put it into man; man may have put it into himself. But where did it ultimately come from?

To meet this problem, certain of the Rabbis took a bold and dangerous step. They argued that, since God has created everything, He must have created the evil tendency also. So we get Rabbinic sayings such as the following.

"God said, It repents me that I created the evil tendency in man; for had I not done so, he would not have rebelled against me. I created the evil tendency; I created the law as a means of healing. If you occupy yourself with the law, you will not fall into the power of it. God placed the good tendency on a man's right hand, and the evil on his left."

The danger is obvious. It means that in the last analysis a person can blame God for our, their, own sin. We can say, as Paul said,

Romans 7:15-24 (RSV)
15 I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. 17 So then it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin which dwells within me. 21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inmost self, 23 but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin which dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?

***Of all the strange and absolutely false doctrines surely the strangest and most foolish is that God is ultimately responsible for sin.***

From the beginning of time it has been man's first instinct to blame others for his own sin. The ancient writer who wrote the story of the first sin in the Garden of Eden was a first-rate psychologist with a deep knowledge of the human heart. When God challenged Adam with his sin, Adam's reply was,

Genesis 3:12-13 (RSV)
12 The man said, "The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree, and I ate." 13 Then the LORD God said to the woman, "What is this that you have done?" The woman said, "The serpent beguiled me, and I ate."

Humanity has always been an expert in evasion!!!

Robert Burns wrote:

Thou know'st that Thou hast formed me

With passions wild and strong;

And list'ning to their witching voice

Has often led me wrong.

In effect, he is saying that his conduct was as it was because God made him as he was. The blame is laid on God. So men blame their fellows, they blame their circumstances, they blame the way in which they are made, for the sin of which they are guilty.

James sternly rebukes that view. To him what is responsible for sin is our own evil desire. Sin would be helpless if there was nothing in humanity to which it could appeal. Desire is something which can be nourished or stifled. An individual can control and even, by the grace of God, eliminate it if we deal with it immediately!!! But we so often allow our thoughts to follow certain tracks, and our steps to take ourselves into certain places and our eyes to linger on certain things; and so stimulate desires. We can so hand ourselves over to Christ and be so engaged on good things that there is no time or place left for evil desire.

Philippians 4:8 (RSV)
8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

***It is usually idle hands for which Satan finds mischief to do; it is the unexercised mind and the uncommitted heart which is most vulnerable......***

If a person encourages desire long enough, there is an inevitable consequence. Desire becomes action.

Further, it was the Jewish teaching that sin produced death. The life of Adam and Eve says that the moment Eve ate of the fruit she caught a glimpse of death. The word which James uses in,

James 1:15 (RSV)
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death.

Which the King James and the Revised Standard Versions translate brings forth death, is an animal word for birth; and it means that sin spawns death. Mastered by desire, a person becomes less than a person, less than a human, and descends to the level of a brute, vicious animal.......

((((((( Such is what the Lie of Evolution teaches our children, and thus why would they not feel free to kill one another??? For after all, survival IS FOR THE FITTEST!!!!!! )))))))

*******In God’s eyes we are ALL WANTED, All WORTHY, ALL CALLED TO BE HIS EVER LIVING CHILDREN!!! *******

The great value of this passage is that it urges upon each individual our personal responsibility for sin. No person was ever born without desire for some wrong thing. And, if a person deliberately encourages and nourishes that desire until it becomes full-grown and monstrously strong, it will inevitably issue in the action which is sin—and that is the way to death. Such a thought—and all human experience admits it to be true—must drive us to that grace of God which alone can make and keep us clean, and which is available to all.

John 3:16-17 (RSV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

Revelation 22:17 (RSV)
17 The Spirit and the Bride say, "Come." And let him who hears say, "Come." And let him who is thirsty come, let him who desires take the water of life without price.

2 Corinthians 6:2 (RSV)
2 For he says, "At the acceptable time I have listened to you, and helped you on the day of salvation." Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Romans 10:9-13 (RSV)
9 because, if you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved. 11 The scripture says, "No one who believes in him will be put to shame." 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and bestows his riches upon all who call upon him. 13 For, "every one who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."

Today, right now, YOU, That’s right YOU can become a Child of the ONE TRUE GOD.........................................Say yes to Jesus Christ...


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc











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​October 23, 2016





“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“James One: Part Two”

James 1:2-8 (KJV)
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; 3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. 6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. 7 For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
8 A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

Oh Lord, when will we ever learn? We hate each other more than hating the sin that kills, betrays and destroys us. We hate people telling us NO, instead of hating our own inappropriate behaviors and ignore how they affect others and ourselves! We call evil good and good evil; we call immorality moral and normal and morality immoral and abnormal!!! We laugh at those who live by faith, and DEMAND our rights at the expense of others rights!!! We demand TOLERANCE for us, but have none for others!!! We demand respect for ourselves and feel EVEYONE ELSE DESERVES NONE!!! We covet what others have, and demand our share of the pie, but provide none for others......................We are the World, will we ever TURN TO YOU, Lord hear our prayer...

As Christians Lord, we must workout our Faith with fear and trembling, living to serve You, to live for You, to LOVE the Lost, to not live like the Lost, but to share the Humility of Jesus Christ, to share the LOVE of Jesus Christ and to share the Truth of Jesus Christ with ALL THOSE AROUND US, Lord hear our prayer in Jesus name Amen and eternally Amen......................

James never suggested to his readers that Christianity would be for them an easy way. He warns them that they would find themselves involved in what the King James Version calls divers temptations. The word translated temptations is peirasmos, whose meaning we must fully understand, if we are to see the very essence of the Christian life.

Peirasmos  is not temptation in our sense of the term; it is testing (trial in the Revised Standard Version). Peirasmos  is trial or testing directed towards an end, and the end is that he who is tested should emerge stronger and purer from the testing. The corresponding verb peirazein, which the King James Version usually translates to tempt, has the same meaning. The idea is not that of seduction into sin but of strengthening and purifying. For instance, a young bird is said to test (peirazein) its wings. The Queen of Sheba was said to come to test (peirazein) the wisdom of Solomon. God was said to test (peirazein) Abraham, when he appeared to be demanding the sacrifice of Isaac,

Genesis 22:1 (RSV)
1 After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him, "Abraham!" And he said, "Here am I."

When Israel came into the Promised Land, God did not remove the people who were already there. He left them so that Israel might be tested peirazein  in the struggle against them,

Judges 2:22 (RSV)
22 that by them I may test Israel, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the LORD as their fathers did, or not."

Judges 3:1 (RSV)
1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had no experience of any war in Canaan;

Judges 3:4 (RSV)
4 They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by Moses.

The experiences in Israel were tests which went to the making of the people of Israel,

Deuteronomy 4:34 (RSV)
34 Or has any god ever attempted to go and take a nation for himself from the midst of another nation, by trials, by signs, by wonders, and by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, and by great terrors, according to all that the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

Deuteronomy 7:19 (RSV)
19 the great trials which your eyes saw, the signs, the wonders, the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, by which the LORD your God brought you out; so will the LORD your God do to all the peoples of whom you are afraid.

Here is a great and uplifting thought. Hort writes:

"The Christian must expect to be jostled by trials on the Christian way."

Consider this great and precious Truth:

Philippians 1:29 (RSV)
29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake,

All kinds of experiences will come to us. There will be the test of the sorrows and the disappointments which seek to take our faith away. There will be the test of the seductions which seek to lure us from the right way. There will be the tests of the dangers, the sacrifices, the unpopularity which the Christian way must so often involve. But they are not meant to make us fall; they are meant to make us soar. They are not meant to defeat us; they are meant to be defeated. They are not meant to make us weaker; they are meant to make us stronger. Therefore we should not bemoan them; we should rejoice in them. The Christian is like the athlete. The heavier the course of training he undergoes, the more he is glad, because he knows that it is fitting him all the better for victorious effort. As Browning said, we must

"welcome each rebuff that turns earth's smoothness rough," for every hard thing is another step on the upward way.

James describes this process of testing by the word dokimion. It is an interesting word. It is the word for sterling coinage, for money which is genuine and unalloyed. The aim of testing is to purge us of all impurity.

To purge ALL IMPURITY from us.........................

Matthew 5:48 (RSV)
48 You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (RSV)
7 For God has not called us for uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.

If we meet this testing in the right way, it will produce unswerving constancy (or steadfastness as the Revised Standard Version translates it). The word is hupomone, which the King James Version translates as patience; but patience is far too passive. Hupomone  is not simply the ability to bear things; it is the ability to turn them to greatness and to glory. The thing which amazed the heathen in the centuries of persecution was that the martyrs did not die grimly, they died singing. One smiled in the flames; they asked him what he found to smile at there. "I saw the glory of God," he said, "and was glad." Hupomone  is the quality which makes a man, woman, or child able, not simply to suffer things, but to vanquish them. The effect of testing rightly endured is strength to bear still more and to conquer in still harder battles.

This unswerving constancy in the end makes a person three things.

(i) It makes us perfect. The Greek is teleios  which usually has the meaning of perfection towards a given end. A sacrificial animal is teleios  if it is fit to offer to God. A scholar is teleios  if he is mature. A person is teleios  if he is full grown. This constancy born of testing well met makes a person teleios  in the sense of being fit for the task that he or she was sent into the world to do. Here is a great thought. By the way in which we meet every experience in life we are either fitting or unfitting ourselves for the task which God meant us to do either in this life, the life to come, or both!!!!!!!

(ii) It makes us complete. The Greek is holokleros  which means entire, perfect in every part. It is used of the animal which is fit to be offered to God and of the priest who is fit to serve Him. It means that the animal or the person has no disfiguring and disqualifying blemishes. Gradually this unswerving constancy removes the weaknesses and the imperfections from a person's character. Daily it enables us to conquer old sins, to shed old blemishes and to gain new virtues, until in the end we become entirely fit for the service of God and of our fellow-human beings.......

((((((( This is where we as Christians so often fail, our minds are so obsessed with the heavenly, to serve God, we neglect serving the people around us that, that yes, God put in our lives to serve!!!!!!! )))))))

(iii) It makes us deficient in nothing. The Greek is leipesthai  and it is used of the defeat of an army, of the giving up of a struggle, of the failure to reach a standard that should have been reached. If a person meets the testing in the right way, if day by day, moment by moment we develop this unswerving constancy, day by day, moment by moment we will live more victoriously and reach nearer to the standard of Jesus Christ Himself.

Romans 8:29 (RSV)
29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren.

 Those God foreknew would LOVE and accept His Son Jesus Christ He predestined TO BECOME MORE AND MORE LIKE HIS SON.....................

Philippians 1:6 (RSV)
6 And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

And the good work of salvation HE and only HE began in you, HE, JESUS CHRIST WILL COMPLETE, WE WHO ARE SAVED THROUGHOUT ETERNITY WILL GROW AND MATURE AND BECOME MORE AND MORE LIKE HIM...Never becoming divine, but becoming “like” Him in perfect LOVE!!!!!!!

There is a close connection between this passage and what has gone before. James has just told his readers that, if they use all the testing experiences of life in the right way, they will emerge from them with that unswerving constancy which is the basis of all the virtues. But immediately the question arises,

"Where can I find the wisdom and the understanding to use these testing experiences in the right way?"

James' answer is,

"If a man feels that he has not the wisdom to use aright the experiences of this life—and no man in himself possesses that wisdom—let him ask it from God."

One thing stands out. For James, the Christian teacher with the Jewish background, wisdom is a practical thing. It is not philosophic speculation and intellectual knowledge; it is concerned with the business of living. The Stoics defined wisdom as

"knowledge of things human and divine."

But Ropes defines this Christian wisdom as

"the supreme and divine quality of the soul whereby man knows and practises righteousness."

Hort defines it as

"that endowment of heart and mind which is needed for the right conduct of life."

James 1:22 (RSV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

It is not enough to say YOU LOVE JESUS, Jesus WANTS YOU TO LIVE OUT YOUR LOVE FOR HIM IN HOW YOU LIVE YOUR MOMENT BY MOMENT LIVES.................................................................................

In the Christian wisdom there is, of course, knowledge of the deep things of God; but it is essentially practical; it is such knowledge turned into action in the decisions and personal relationships of everyday life. When a person asks God for that wisdom, they, we, must remember two things.

(i) He must remember how God gives. He gives generously and never casts up the gift. "All Wisdom," said Jesus the son of Sirach, "cometh from the Lord and is with him for ever",

Sirach 1:1 (RSV)
1 All wisdom comes from the Lord and is with him for ever.

But the Jewish wise men were well aware how the best gift in the world could be spoiled by the manner of the giving. They have much to say about how the fool gives.

Sirach 18:15-18 (RSV)
15 My son, do not mix reproach with your good deeds, nor cause grief by your words when you present a gift. 16 Does not the dew assuage the scorching heat? So a word is better than a gift. 17 Indeed, does not a word surpass a good gift? Both are to be found in a gracious man.
18 A fool is ungracious and abusive, and the gift of a grudging man makes the eyes dim.

Sirach 20:14-15 (RSV)
14 A fool's gift will profit you nothing, for he has many eyes instead of one. 15 He gives little and upbraids much, he opens his mouth like a herald; today he lends and tomorrow he asks it back; such a one is a hateful man.

The same writer warns against,

Sirach 41:22 (RSV)
22 of meddling with his maidservant -- and do not approach her bed; of abusive words, before friends -- and do not upbraid after making a gift;

There is a kind of giver who gives only with a view to getting more than he gives; who gives only to gratify his vanity and his sense of power by putting the recipient under an obligation which he will never be allowed to forget; who gives and then continuously casts up the gift that he has given. But God gives with generosity. Philemon, the Greek poet, called God "the lover of gifts," not in the sense of loving to receive gifts, but in the sense of loving to give them. Nor does God cast up his gifts; He gives with all the splendor of His LOVE, because it is His nature to give.

((((((( GOD WANTS TO SAVE YOU, GOD WANTS TO BLESS

YOU!!!!!!! )))))))

(ii) We must remember how the asker must ask.

***We must ask without doubts.

***We must be sure of both the power and the desire of God to give.

If We ask in doubt, our mind is like the broken water of the sea, driven hither and thither by any chance wind. Mayor says that he is like a cork carried by the waves, now near the shore, now far away. Such a man is unstable in his ways.

Hort suggests that the picture is of a man who is drunk, staggering from side to side on the road and getting nowhere. James says vividly that such a man is dipsuchos,  which literally means a man with two souls, or two minds, inside him. One believes, the other disbelieves; and the man is a walking civil war in which trust and distrust of God wage a continual battle against each other.

If we are to use aright the experiences of life to beget a sterling character, we must ask wisdom from God. And when we ask, we must remember the absolute generosity of God and see to it that we ask believing that we shall receive what God knows it is good and right for us to have.

God is by His very nature EXCEEDINGLY GENEROUS, UNSWERVINGLY PLENTIFUL IN GIVING TO THOSE WHO LOVE HIM AND ARE CALLED TO HIS PURPOSE, THAT MEANS YOU!!!!!!!

Romans 8:28 (RSV)
28 We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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October 16, 2016​





"a" Church





​Evanston, Wyoming





​​“A Slave of God”

James 1:1 (RSV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

James 1:1

1 ιακωβος θεου και κυριου ιησου χριστου δουλος ταις δωδεκα φυλαις ταις εν τη διασπορα χαιρειν

Lord God YHWH, may Your words be like a lamp that lights our way. May Your LOVE be like a compass that gives us direction. May Your truth be like a signpost bringing clarity for our daily lives. May Your peace be like a measure that guides all our life’s decisions. May Your hope be like a flag that declares we walk with You. May Your words be in our minds, Your LOVE guide our feet, Your truth be a sign, Your peace be a measure, And Your hope be a flag, As we walk close to You at this time. Lord hear our prayer, In Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen................

Today we will turn to the book of James, and depending on how the Lord leads, we may continue through this book to it’s close, but for now, we will study this text..........................

 At the very beginning of his letter James describes himself by the title wherein lies his only honor and his only glory, the servant or more precisely a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. With the exception of Jude he is the only New Testament writer to describe himself by that term (doulos) without any qualification. Paul describes himself as the slave of Jesus Christ and his apostle,

Romans 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God

((( Again servant is literally “SLAVE” )))

Philippians 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philip'pi, with the bishops and deacons:

But James will go no further than to call himself the slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. There are at least four implications in this title.

(i) It implies absolute obedience. The slave knows no law but his master's word; he has no rights of his own; he is the absolute possession of his master; and he is bound to give his master unquestioning obedience.

((( As Christians, we should give God unquestionable obedience, not because we MUST, but rather because we LOVE Him and want to please Him.......................However knowing full well, we will often fall short!!!!!!!)))

Romans 3:23 (RSV)
23 since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

1 John 1:8-10 (RSV)
8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

(ii) It implies absolute humility. It is the word of a person who thinks not of their, our privileges but of their, our duties, not of their, our rights but of our obligations. It is the word of the person who has lost their self in the service of God.

Galatians 2:20 (RSV)
20 I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

It is my opinion that HUMILITY is a significant characteristic of a genuine Christian, but even a sinner can seem humble!!!

(iii) It implies absolute loyalty. It is the word of the person who has no interests of their own, because what they do, they do for God, for their beLOVED Savior Jesus Christ. Their, our own profit and their own preference do not enter into their calculations; Their, our loyalty is to God and God alone..........................

(iv) Yet, at the back of it, this word implies a certain pride. So far from being a title of dishonor it was the title by which the greatest ones of the Old Testament were known. Moses was the doulos of God,

1 Kings 8:53 (RSV)
53 For thou didst separate them from among all the peoples of the earth, to be thy heritage, as thou didst declare through Moses, thy servant, when thou didst bring our fathers out of Egypt, O Lord GOD."

((( Again servant literally means SLAVE )))

Daniel 9:11 (RSV)
11 All Israel has transgressed thy law and turned aside, refusing to obey thy voice. And the curse and oath which are written in the law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.

Malachi 4:4 (RSV)
4 "Remember the law of my servant Moses, the statutes and ordinances that I commanded him at Horeb for all Israel.

So were Joshua and Caleb,

Joshua 24:29 (RSV)
29 After these things Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being a hundred and ten years old.

Numbers 14:24 (RSV)
24 But my servant Caleb, because he has a different spirit and has followed me fully, I will bring into the land into which he went, and his descendants shall possess it.

So were the great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob,

Deuteronomy 9:27 (RSV)
27 Remember thy servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not regard the stubbornness of this people, or their wickedness, or their sin,

So was Job,

Job 1:8 (RSV)
8 And the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?"

So was Isaiah,

Isaiah 20:3 (RSV)
3 the LORD said, "As my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia,

Doulos is distinctively the title by which the prophets were known,

Amos 3:7 (RSV)
7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.

Zechariah 1:6 (RSV)
6 But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, As the LORD of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us."

Jeremiah 7:25 (RSV)
25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day;

By taking the title doulos James sets himself in the great succession of those who found their freedom and their peace and their glory in perfect submission to the will of God. The greatness mission to which every Christian can ever aspire is that of being the slave of God.

There is one unusual thing about this opening salutation. James sends greetings to his readers; using the word chairein which is the regular opening word of salutation in secular Greek letters. Paul never uses it. He always uses the distinctively Christian greeting, "Grace and peace",

Romans 1:7 (RSV)
7 To all God's beloved in Rome, who are called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:3 (RSV)
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:2 (RSV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:3 (RSV)
3 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ,

Ephesians 1:2 (RSV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:2 (RSV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:2 (RSV)
2 To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colos'sae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.

1 Thessalonians 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, Silva'nus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalo'nians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2 Thessalonians 1:2 (RSV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philemon 1:3 (RSV)
3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

This secular greeting occurs only twice in the rest of the New Testament, in the letter which Claudius Lysias, the Roman officer, wrote to Felix to ensure the safe journeying of Paul,

Acts 23:26 (RSV)
26 "Claudius Lys'ias to his Excellency the governor Felix, greeting.

In the general letter issued after the decision of the Council of Jerusalem to allow the Gentiles into the Church,

Acts 15:23 (RSV)
23 with the following letter: "The brethren, both the apostles and the elders, to the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cili'cia, greeting.

This is interesting, because it was James who presided over that Council,

Acts 15:13 (RSV)
13 After they finished speaking, James replied, "Brethren, listen to me.

It may be that he used the most general greeting that he could find because his letter was going out to the widest public.

The letter is addressed to the twelve tribes who are scattered abroad. Literally the greeting is to the twelve tribes in the Diaspora, the technical word for the Jews who lived outside Palestine. All the millions of Jews who were, for one reason or another, outside the Promised Land were the Diaspora... This dispersal of the Jews throughout the world was of the very greatest importance for the spread of Christianity, because it meant that all over the world there were synagogues, from which the Christian preachers could take their start; and it meant that all over the world there were groups of men and women who themselves already knew the Old Testament, and who had persuaded others among the Gentiles, at least to be interested in their faith. Let us see how this dispersal took place.

Sometimes—and the process began in this way—the Jews were forcibly taken out of their own land and compelled to live as exiles in foreign lands. There were three such great movements.

(i) The first compulsory removal came when the people of the Northern Kingdom, who had their capital in Samaria, were conquered by the Assyrians and were carried away into captivity in Assyria,

2 Kings 17:23 (RSV)
23 until the LORD removed Israel out of his sight, as he had spoken by all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.

1 Chronicles 5:26 (RSV)
26 So the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, the spirit of Til'gath-pilne'ser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, namely, the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manas'seh, and brought them to Halah, Habor, Hara, and the river Gozan, to this day.

These are the lost ten tribes who never returned. The Jews themselves believed that at the end of all things all Jews would be gathered together in Jerusalem, but until the end of the world these ten tribes, they believed, would never return. They founded this belief on a rather fanciful interpretation of an Old Testament text. The Rabbis argued like this:

"The ten tribes never return for it is said of them, 'He will cast them into another land, as at this day',

Deuteronomy 29:28 (RSV)
28 and the LORD uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as at this day.'

As then this day departs and never returns, so too are they to depart and never return. As this day becomes dark, and then again light, so too will it one day be light again for the ten tribes for whom it was dark."

(ii) The second compulsory removal was about 580 B.C. At that time the Babylonians conquered the Southern Kingdom whose capital was at Jerusalem, and carried the best of the people away to Babylon,

2 Kings 24:14-16 (RSV)
14 He carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths; none remained, except the poorest people of the land. 15 And he carried away Jehoi'achin to Babylon; the king's mother, the king's wives, his officials, and the chief men of the land, he took into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon. 16 And the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon all the men of valor, seven thousand, and the craftsmen and the smiths, one thousand, all of them strong and fit for war.

Psalm 137:1-7 (RSV)
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. 2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres. 3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!" 4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign land? 5 If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither!
6 Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I do not remember you, if I do not set Jerusalem above my highest joy! 7 Remember, O LORD, against the E'domites the day of Jerusalem, how they said, "Rase it, rase it! Down to its foundations!"

In Babylon the Jews behaved very differently; they stubbornly refused to be assimilated and to lose their nationality. They were said to be congregated mainly in the cities of Nehardea and Nisibis. It was actually in Babylon that Jewish scholarship reached its finest flower; and there was produced the Babylonian Talmud, the immense sixty-volume exposition of the Jewish law. When Josephus wrote his Wars of the Jews, the first edition was not in Greek but in Aramaic, and was designed for the scholarly Jews in Babylon. He tells us that the Jews rose to such power there that at one time the province of Mesopotamia was under Jewish rule. Its two Jewish rulers were Asidaeus and Anilaeus; and on the death of Anilaeus it was said that no fewer than 50,000 Jews were massacred.

(iii) The third compulsory transplantation took place much later. When Pompey conquered the Jews and took Jerusalem in 63 B.C., he took back to Rome many Jews as slaves. Their rigid adherence to their own ceremonial law and their stubborn observance of the Sabbath made them difficult slaves; and most of them were freed. They took up residence in a kind of quarter of their own on the far side of the Tiber. Before long they were to be found flourishing all over the city. Dio Cassius says of them,

"They were often suppressed, but they nevertheless mightily increased, so that they achieved even the free exercise of their customs."

Julius Caesar was their great protector and we read of them mourning all night long at his bier. We read of them present in large numbers when Cicero was defending Flaccus. In A.D. 19 the whole Jewish community was banished from Rome on the charge that they had robbed a wealthy female proselyte on pretence of sending the money to the Temple and at that time 4,000 of them were conscripted to fight against the brigands in Sardinia; but they were soon received back. When the Jews of Palestine sent their deputation to Rome to complain of the rule of Archelaus, we read that the deputation was joined by 8,000 Jews resident in the city. Roman literature is full of contemptuous references to the Jews, for anti-Semitism is no new thing; and the very number of the references is proof of the part that the Jews played in the life of the city.

Compulsory transplantation took the Jews by the thousand to Babylon and to Rome. But far greater numbers left Palestine of their own free-will for more comfortable and more profitable lands. Two lands in particular received thousands of Jews. Palestine was sandwiched between the two great powers, Syria and Egypt and was, therefore, liable at any time to become a battleground. For that reason many Jews left it to take up residence either in Egypt or in Syria.

During the time of Nebuchadnezzar there was a voluntary exodus of many Jews to Egypt,

2 Kings 25:26 (RSV)
26 Then all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the forces arose, and went to Egypt; for they were afraid of the Chalde'ans.

As far back as 650 B.C. the Egyptian king Psammetichus was said to have had Jewish mercenaries in his armies. When Alexander the Great founded Alexandria special privileges were offered to settlers there and the Jews came in large numbers. Alexandria was divided into five administrative sections; and two of them were inhabited by Jews. In Alexandria alone there were more than 1,000,000 Jews. The settlement of the Jews in Egypt went so far that about 50 B.C. a temple, modelled on the Jerusalem one, was built at Leontopolis for the Egyptian Jews.

The Jews also went to Syria. The highest concentration was in Antioch, where the gospel was first preached to the Gentiles and where the followers of Jesus were first called Christians. In Damascus we read of 10,000 of them being massacred at one time.

So, then, Egypt and Syria had very large Jewish populations. But they had spread far beyond that. In Cyrene in North Africa we read that the population was divided into citizens, agriculturists, resident aliens and Jews. Mommsen, the Roman historian, writes:

"The inhabitants of Palestine were only a portion, and not the most important portion, of the Jews; the Jewish communities of Babylonia, Syria, Asia Minor and Egypt were far superior to those of Palestine."

 That mention of Asia Minor leads us to another sphere in which the Jews were numerous. When Alexander's empire broke up on his death, Egypt fell to the Ptolemies, and Syria and the surrounding districts fell to Seleucus and his successors, known as the Seleucids. The Seleucids had two great characteristics. They followed a deliberate policy of the fusion of populations hoping to gain security by banishing nationalism. And they were inveterate founders of cities. These cities needed citizens, and special attractions and privileges were offered to those who would settle in them. The Jews accepted citizenship of these cities by the thousand. All over Asia Minor, in the great cities of the Mediterranean sea coast, in the great commercial centers, Jews were numerous and prosperous. Even there, there were compulsory transplantations. Antiochus the Great took 2,000 Jewish families from Babylon and settled them in Lydia and Phrygia. In fact, so great was the drift from Palestine that the Palestine Jews complained against their brethren who left the austerities of Palestine for the baths and feasts of Asia and Phrygia; and Aristotle tells of meeting a Jew in Asia Minor who was

"not only Greek in his language but in his very soul."

It is quite clear that everywhere in the world there were Jews. Strabo, the Greek geographer, writes:

"It is hard to find a spot in the whole world which is not occupied and dominated by Jews."

Josephus, the Jewish historian writes:

"There is no city, no tribe, whether Greek or barbarian, in which Jewish law and Jewish customs have not taken root."

The Sibylline Oracles, written about 140 B.C., say that every land and every sea is filled with the Jews. There is a letter, said to be from Agrippa to Caligula, which Philo quotes. In it he says that Jerusalem is the capital not only of Judaea but of most countries by reason of the colonies it has sent out on fitting occasions into the neighboring lands of Egypt, Phoenicia, Syria, Coelesyria, and the still more remote Pamphylia and Cilicia, into most parts of Asia as far as Bithynia, and into the most distant corners of Pontus; also to Europe, Thessaly, Boeotia, Macedonia, Aetolia, Attica, Argos, Corinth, and the most and best parts of the Peloponnese. And not only is the continent full of Jewish settlements, but also the more important islands—Euboea, Cyprus, Crete—to say nothing of the lands beyond the Euphrates, for all have Jewish inhabitants.

The Jewish Diaspora was coextensive with the world; and there was no greater factor in the spread of Christianity.

James writes to the twelve tribes in the Diaspora. Who has he in his mind's eye as he writes? The twelve tribes in the Diaspora could equally well mean any of three things.

(i) It could stand for all the Jews outside of Palestine. We have seen that they were numbered by the million. There were actually far more Jews scattered throughout Syria and Egypt and Greece and Rome and Asia Minor and all the Mediterranean lands and far off Babylon than there were in Palestine. Under the conditions of the ancient world it would be quite impossible to send out a message to such a huge and scattered constituency.

(ii) It could mean Christian Jews outside Palestine. In this instance, it would mean the Jews in the lands closely surrounding Palestine, perhaps particularly those in Syria and in Babylon. Certainly if anyone was going to write a letter to these Jews, it would be James, for he was the acknowledged leader of Jewish Christianity.

(iii) The phrase could have a third meaning. To the Christians, the Christian Church was the real Israel. At the end of Galatians Paul sends his blessing to the Israel of God,

Galatians 6:16 (RSV)
16 Peace and mercy be upon all who walk by this rule, upon the Israel of God.

The nation Israel had been the specially chosen people of God; but they had refused to accept their place and their responsibility and their task. When the Son of God came they had rejected him. Therefore all the privileges which had once belonged exclusively to them were passed on to the Christian Church, for it was in truth the chosen people of God. Paul,

Romans 9:7-8 (RSV)
7 and not all are children of Abraham because they are his descendants; but "Through Isaac shall your descendants be named."
8 This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are reckoned as descendants.

It was his conviction that the true descendants of Abraham were not simply those who could trace their physical descent from him but those who had made the same venture of faith as he had made. The true Israel was composed not simply of the Jewish people, nor of one race but of those who accepted Jesus Christ in faith. So, then, this phrase may well mean the Christian Church at large.

We may choose between the second and the third meanings, each of which gives excellent sense. James may be writing to the Christian Jews scattered amidst the surrounding nations; or he may be writing to the new Israel, which includes the Christian Church.

Are you His SLAVE, is Jesus your Lord???

Luke 6:46 (RSV)
46 "Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?


Submitted by: harold chris smith a SLAVE





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October 9, 2016





"a" Church

Bear River, Wyoming

Evanston, Wyoming

"Little Sins!!!"

Genesis 19 v 20

"Behold now, this city is near to flee unto, and it is a little one: Oh, let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live."

Father,

There are no words to express how filthy I, we feel every time we break Your heart.  The guilt and the shame are overwhelming!  Lord, I, we need Your touch right now.  We are so sick of being “born again” and still doing the things we hate doing.  Like Paul, we are conflicted.  “For I do not do what I want, but do the very thing that I hate.” (Romans 7:15)

We are so very remorseful!!!  Father, we ask for Your forgiveness right now.  We are shocked that our lives have come to a point where even some sins don’t affect us at all.  Father, we have some hard layers on our hearts that need peeling away.  Please take away our hearts of stone and give us hearts of flesh.  The hardness is a barrier between us that we cannot endure!!!  I, we LOVE You and we are so lamentably repentant for our selfish actions of sin. 

Thank You for Your forgiveness, Lord.  Without forgiveness I, we are nothing.  With Your forgiveness we are whole again.  We praise Your Name!  In Jesus name we pray Amen and eternally Amen and Amen…………




In this day and age of easy believerism, and a myriad of professing Christians in all denominations taking very lightly their commitment to God and His Word the Holy Bible, this sermon IS VITALLY RELEVENT, and VITALLY IMPORTANT!!! DO WE WALK WORTHY OF OUR CALLING AS ADOPTED CHILDREN OF GOD!!!

As Lot and his family flee the wrath of God on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he fears where he will end up. Seeing the town of Zoar a far off he asks God if he can go there.

As an answer to Lot’s prayer, God does indeed spare Zoar. But today’s message is not about this account of Lot’s life. Rather it is inspired by the meaning of the name Zoar. Zoar means literally: ‘little one”. This phrase “little one” we will use as a type of watchword.

Satan has many devices and strategies in his attempt to destroy and ruin the souls of people, and the witness and ministry of professing Christians; ALL people God created and LOVES. Satan  employs counterfeit weights, balances, and times.

Its too soon to seek God, wait until you have sewn all you wild oats. Have some fun first, before you make the pledge.

Its too late to ask God to forgive you, your too old and set in your ways. You’ve lived to long being your own master, living your own life, God could never pardon you now, it’s just too late.

You’re a Christian, you can’t admit you do or think that, what will people think, what will you think? Your sanctified holy you can’t  acknowledge  sin in your life, it’s only an “infirmity”, not a sin. You can’t  sin you’re a Christian says Satan…

1 John 1 v 8; 10

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…10. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

And perhaps Satan’s best strategy is miss-leading quantities. He will

declare great sins to be “little ones”, and little sins to be oh so insignificant, nothing at all, not even needing forgiveness because they are so little, and do such little harm. Are they not “little ones”? Many souls, of boys and girls, women and men have been snared, trapped, destroyed believing, ‘is it not, a little one?’ How many have stepped into a shallow stream, and being deceived, walked farther and farther, until the current grabbed them and suddenly carried them away to their doom? All the time, Satan laughing, saying: ‘isn’t it, a little one?’ The best of believers have always feared: ‘little ones’.

Daniel 6 v 8-10

“Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.”

Darius the king had set a law that no one could kneel and pray to anyone or ask a petition of any God, but to himself, for 30 days. Just 30 days, such a little time, is it not, a ‘little one?’

Yet Daniel knowing the law and understanding the risk of death, kneeled down in front of his open windows and prayed, three times a day. Could he have not closed the windows, and prayed in silence, for just 30 days. Would it have been so long a time? Would it not have been such a little time, such a ‘little one’, such a little thing to do?

Daniel 3 v 16-18

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.”

By decree of king Nebuchadnezzar all of his subjects, were ordered to kneel down and worship a golden idol. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego defied the order of the king, and risked death in a fiery furnace. THEY WOULD KNEEL TO NO GOD OR IDOL, BUT TO THE ONE TRUE GOD OF THE JEWS AND OF ALL OF CREATION.

But could they not bow down, could they not kneel, but not mean it? Would it not be a “little thing”, to pretend, to kneel, but to know within their hearts, they did not  truly worship this pagan idol. Could they not have kneeled and silently worshipped the true God, but allow all those present to think they were worshipping the golden idol? Would it not be just a ‘little one’, a little lie?

*They could burn for God, but not turn from God…

Martin Arethusa an early bishop of the church was ordered to burn incense to an idol. The cost was less than a penny. It would take so little to save his life. A penny is it not a “little one”, a little price to pay, to live?

He refused. His captors stripped him, and had small children stab him. They smeared honey on him, and he was stung to death…

Satan says, such a “little” compromise, it’s so tiny a thing, is it not a “little one”? 

As the early church grew many were ordered to pay religious tribute to Caesar as deity. They, just once a year, would pay a very small coin, a coin, that one could always find in the street. Then sign a statement saying, ‘they worshipped” Caesar, and go home, their obligation done for the year. But many a Christian would die a violent death, or watch their children be killed and torn apart by wild animals, because they refused to pay that coin. Was it not a “little” coin. Such a little tribute, such a little price to pay? Such a “little one”, such a little task to do to save the life of their precious children, and their own lives as well? Or sign that statement, no one need know you did not mean it. No one was actually forced to really worship Caesar. You could say you did, and run off happily cursing him. Would it not be such a “little” lie, such a “little” thing? To imply by your actions or words something that was not true but knowing in your heart what was true. Such a “little thing”, such a “little act”, to save your life…

How do we overcome such deception of Satan?

Consider this statement in scripture:

Isaiah 60 v 22A

“A little one shall become a thousand,…”

First by realizing how little sins lead to greater sins. 

Consider the swinging suspension bridges of old. They began as a rope tide on to the end of an arrow, and once across, many great things were pulled across. Until one day a mighty bridge was finished, a bridge that could support man, beast and much equipment. From a line on a rope, to a mighty bridge.

Sin develops as a thought, a thought becomes a desire, a desire becomes a look, a look becomes a touch, a touch becomes a deed, a deed becomes a habit, and a habit becomes something much worse…

Consider the “little” sin of Achan.

Joshua 7 v 1

“But the children of Israel committed a trespass in the accursed thing: for Achan, the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed thing: and the anger of the Lord was kindled against the children of Israel.”

Joshua 7 v 19-21

“And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the Lord God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me. And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the Lord God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.”

Was it not just a “little” cloth, just a “little” amount of silver, just a “little” wedge of gold? Was it not a “little one”?

Joshua 7 v 24-25

“And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.”

As Satan laughed, as he screamed with utter delight, ‘was it not a little one?’

All of Achan’s family, his sons, and daughters, his oxen, and asses, all that he possessed and LOVED were stoned to death. Then the remains were thrown in a pile and set ablaze. That nothing but ashes would remain. All because of a “little one”, a “little” sin…

Wasn’t it just a “little one”?

Little sins multiply so quickly. Consider the little locust. Small in size, but when they gather together and swarm, nothing, absolutely nothing will remain as they pass by. The slightest morsel of edible food will not remain.

Army ants again so small, but when they swarm and march, only devastation and death follow…

The Scottish thistle, small in stature. A visiting guest to Australia brought some seeds. Now Australia is covered with them…

But Satan says, ’isn’t it a little one?”

Consider a little pebble, almost non-existent it’s so small. But put in a person’s shoe, it can make the mightiest of men limp…

“Isn’t it a little one?”

Even we as Christians have a habit of qualifying sin. A white lie is not as bad as an evil lie; a half-truth is truth even if your deliberate omission is to imply something that is not true many profess erroneously. Isn’t yelling at someone not as bad as hitting someone, hitting someone is not as bad as hurting someone, Hurting someone is not as bad as killing someone. Killing an old person, isn’t as bad as killing a younger person.

Killing one person is not as bad as being a serial killer…

James 2 v 10-11

“For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”

This lie of Satan, these counterfeit weights, balances, and times, are they not but: “little ones”!

In God’s eyes, the littlest of tiny white lies, the smallest of false insinuations is as bad as the worst of murders. If all Adam ever did was tell an ever so innocent white lie or an ever so little half-truth to his wife Eve, our lives of total depravity would still be the same!!!

*******Jesus was murdered and crucified on that bloody evil cross, for the “least” of sins…*******

***If I have not made it clear to this point, SIN is SIN, and the least, tiniest, most insignificant, least consequential, littlest of SINS IS ABSOLUTELY A HEINOUS SIN!!!***

We often say, ‘I’d never do that”. But Jesus says, it doesn’t matter, if you have committed just one sin, one “little one”, YOU ARE GUILTY OF BREAKING IT ALL!!!

YOU HAVE SINNED!!!!!!!

The Law of God is like a pane of luminously sparkling crystal clear glass. One infinitesimal blemish, one microscopic imperfection made by His creation on it, cracks the pane, breaks His Law, RUINS THE GLASS, BREAKS THE WHOLE LAW…….

If this is so, then how can anyone be saved? How can anyone be a Christian?

1 John 2 v 1

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

As Christians we must look at ourselves, have we somehow compromised with the world. Do we justify or rationalize our attitudes and behaviors? Do we hold onto resentments, anger, hurt feelings, perceived betrayals or insults we perceive we have received, instead of repenting of those sins and forgiving those we believe have hurt us? Do we justify our sins by denying them all together, or calling them something else like just “human infirmities”; after all we are only human. Or classifying them as reasonable and right???

As Christians we often try to deny that we are imperfect, that on occasion we do more than just make mistakes, that sometimes we actually have sinned. So many times, even from the pulpit I have seen Christians dismiss their “little sins” as almost nothing at all, by comparing them to what they think are bigger sins…

That I fear is the virus Satan is spreading in our Christian Churches today. If we deny our “little sins” as being so slight, so insignificant, really not sins at all, THEN WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO REPENT FROM THEM, BECAUSE WE IGNORE THEY EVEN EXIST!!!

“Aren’t they little ones???”

Do we not see the tiniest of sins in others, yet we cannot see how our own so “little of sins”, have grown into mammoth boulders because we have denied them for so many years? I don’t sin, I just can’t sin I am a Christian after all…

Matthew 7 v 3-5

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4. Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5. Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.”

How can we as Christians help others see the truth of their sin, if we fail to recognize or acknowledge our own “little sins”? How can we truly LOVE them and relate to them if we deny our own “little sins”, our own imperfections and our own weaknesses, our own emotional and spiritual needs??? How can we genuinely LOVE others and show them the un-judgmental compassion Jesus Christ has so awesomely declared to us, that while we were yet unrepentant sinners HE GAVE UP HIS LIFE THAT WE MIGHT BE SAVED???

We especially as Christians MUST NOT DENY OUR OWN “LITTLE SINS” JUST TO PRESERVE SOME NOTION WE ARE ABOVE SINNING…Nor should we assume all emotional or psychological issues are weaknesses or lack of faith, thus denying that they exist in us,  often to our destruction or to the pain of those that LOVE us and see our needs…Many Christians are terrified in sharing their psychological needs because so many see them as a result of sin or lack of faith, so they do not seek help, and they LIVE IN HELL ON EARTH BECAUSE OF PEOPLES’ INCORRECT VALUE JUDGMENTS!!!

For when we declare we do not sin after our salvation, after being set apart (sanctified), by implication WE CALL GOD and HIS WORD LIARS!!! But perhaps even worse than that, because God understands our foolishness; WE SET OURSELVES ABOVE THOSE WE ARE CALLED TO REACH OUT TO, WE SET OURSELVES ABOVE THOSE WE ARE CALLED TO LOVE…….

Whether we like it or not, the WORLD CAN SEE “OUR LITTLE SINS”.

There is the old saying, “calling a rose by any other name, it is still a rose”. *******Calling our “little sins” by any other name (infirmities, weaknesses, frailties, humanness, observations, white lies, half truths, etc, etc, etc), THEY ARE STILL SINS…….*******

For the Christian to deny our “little sins”, to reject our own psychological or spiritual needs because we somehow think it reflects on our faith or lack of it, IS ALSO A SIN!!!

If we acknowledge that we are not God and that we will never be God, and that while we are still on this side of eternity we are human beings with very real human scars, then as Christians we should, we must admit our “little sins”, our emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs, for to deny them IS TO SAY TO GOD “YOU CANNOT HELP ME”, and that, is A SIN…….

Realizing that any sin is a “big” sin, should help us see how truly evil we are without Jesus Christ. To acknowledge that even as genuine Christians we may sin occasionally, we may struggle with doubts, with very real fears, with grief, depression and despair IS ONLY TO ACKNOWLEGDE HOW WE SO ABSOLUTELY NEED OUR BELOVED LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES!!!

And that is, A VERY GOOD THING!!!!!!!

“Isn’t it, a little one?”

In God’s eyes it’s a “BIG ONE”!!!

I do not live up to this standard either, but NEVER-THE-LESS IT IS GOD’S STANDARD…….

Let us repent and be forgiven…

1 John 2 v 1-3

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 3. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.”

Submitted by: chris smith, sbc




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October 2, 2016





​"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

2007, 2011, 2015, 2016

"Family" 

Mark 3 v 31-35 

"There came then his brethren and his mother, and, standing without, sent unto him, calling him. 32. And the multitude sat about him, and they said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 33. And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren? 34. And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! 35. For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." 

Dear Father God, how it must grieve Your Holy Spirit that we have caused such barriers and divisions to be established within the body of Christ and yet it was His prayer that we are one in unity of the Spirit – one in the bond of peace – one in fellowship and LOVE towards all those that are called by Your name, help us be a family. We pray that You will help every member of Your Church to live in harmony with each other. May we be united in LOVE and enable us to pray with the mind of Christ, to be guided by the Spirit of God and to glorify You with heart, voice, and deed. Keep us from worldly ways, may our lives be a witness of Your LOVE, not only in what we think, say, but in all that we do……………………

Heavenly Father Forgive us of our unbiblical prejudices and un-Christian principles – forgive us of our own biases and unloving attitudes that we may have towards others. Forgive us for being too quick to criticize, for berating the Lost, instead of LOVING them into the kingdom with TRUTH, JUSTICE and MERCY………   

Help us Lord to LOVE others as You have LOVED us – to LOVE without prejudice or bias.

Bind Your family of believers together in intimate LOVE and in the unity of the Holy Spirit– and that ALL who trust in Your sacrifice at Calvary are forgiven of all our sins, citizens of heaven and accepted by You, in the BeLOVED name of Jesus we pray all these things, Amen and eternally Amen.

It seems I often start out a message with the same statement: 

“We live in an age…” 

But its true, we live in an age when we have lost our understanding of what a ‘real‘  family is. We often call people friends that in the past, we would not have even thought them to be close acquaintances. We are desperate for intimacy, and companionship, so many of us have grown up in broken homes, or what the politically correct people choose to say: “dysfunctional families”… 

As a result we have lost the sense of this closeness, this deep intimacy and what it really is. Jesus had been ministering to the crowds of people seeking to know who He really was. As He spoke to many, His Mother and other family members came to Him, and as our text says: 

“…thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee.” 

Jesus uses this incident, to ask a question which is as pertinent now, today, as it was then. 

“Who is my mother, or my brethren? “ 

We have parents that brutalize, torture, and murder their children. We have children, who have no problem with killing their parents. We have families, siblings, parents, aunts and uncles, etc; that literally can’t stand each other. 

My sister Pat’s family is an example. I had always envied them because they were a family of seven brothers and sisters. I was raised as the youngest child, with my siblings grown and on their own, so I longed for the closeness of a big family. *However as they grew, they grew apart, even from their parents; and not just in physical distance, but in emotional and spiritual distance as well. They are family by blood, but in living experience, they are not family at all. So very sad… 

Our churches are filled with people suffering from this lack of understanding, this lack of knowing and experiencing family intimacy. So even our Church families often lack this cohesion, this unity, this solidity, of what makes a family a family… 

So then back to the question Jesus posed, 

“Who is my mother, or my brethren? “ 

Jesus by even posing this question, points out, the conditions of a true family. He shows, it is not solely a matter of flesh and blood. 

It can happen that a person is really nearer to someone who is no blood relation to themselves at all. 

What then, is a genuine family, more precisely, an authentic Church family? 

A Common Experience 

One quality of a good family is a common experience. Especially experiences or circumstances, that demand a common resolution. 

It has been said that two people really become friends when they are able to say to each other, "Do you remember?" and then to go on and talk about the things they have come through together. 

My dearest friend, Reverend Fred Tarlton and I went to seminary together, lived together, struggled financially together, met our future wives at the same church(Chapel Hill Church of the Nazarene) and we each married in 1981, July (me), October (him), and in the same location: Kansas City, Missouri. 

We have been separated for many years (23+) because of where God in His divine wisdom chose to send us to serve and minister. Yet, we still consider ourselves “best” friends!!! Why, because we can sit back and reminisce about the past, the past that we both were so intimately involved with and experienced together. Those early years of the 1980’s and 1990’s so molded us and so left us fundamentally changed, that we forever are bound and bonded together as eternal friends. 

He hurts when I hurt, he feels joy when I feel joy, his loss is my loss and his gain is my gain. That is family, that is relationship, that is philia: brotherly love... 

Why, because of our common experiences, that made us the people we are today…
 
Someone tells the story of meeting an elderly black woman. An acquaintance of hers had died. "You will be sorry," he said, "that Mrs. So-and-so is dead." "Yes," she said but without showing any great grief. "I saw you just last week," he said, "laughing and talking with each other. You must have been great friends." "Yes," she said, "I was friendly with her. I used to laugh with her; but to be real friends folk have got to weep together." 

In our age we often substitute, pot-lucks, and outings, and workshops, and work relationships, and sexual encounters, as intimacy and closeness. ***But it is the experiences that draw people together in need or sorrow, that truly bind people together as family, as genuine friends… 

In this day and age, it seems we try so hard to hide, to conceal, our pain, sorrow, and disappointments; especially from those we ‘call’ our friends, our family… 

***But genuine family, a genuine friend, will actually be those who willingly experience both joy and sorrow with their loved ones! 

This being so, as Christians, we should be the closest of friends, the closest of families; because: we share the greatest of common experiences!!! 

We, if we are ‘real’ Christians, we all have shared in the common experience of: being loved, spared, and saved from our sins by the shed blood of Jesus Christ……. 

We have agonized over the immensity of our own sinfulness. We have wept and sorrowed deeply because of the evil we so willing had thought or done. We have struggled with the intoxicating, addictive seduction of temptation. We have mourned to the point of inner cataclysm, till by the grace of God; WE FOUND JESUS!!! 

As Christians, we all share the common experience of being raised from spiritual death, to life everlasting, as adopted Children of God… 

No longer Sinners lost in sin; but Saints saved, sanctified, new creations in Jesus Christ the First and the Last, the worthy lamb of God!!!!!!! 

1 Corinthians 6 v 11 

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” 

2 Corinthians 5 v 17 

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 

As Christians we share the common experience of being rescued from our carnal sinful nature, by the LOVE OF GOD… 

A Common Interest

Secondly, a great quality of a great family, or a tremendous relationship, is a common interest. Doing things together, enjoying things together, wanting and liking the same things. Seeking the same things… 

A. M. Chirgwin tells us a very interesting thing in The Bible in World Evangelism. One of the greatest difficulties that distributors of the Scriptures have is not so much to sell their books as to keep people reading them. He goes on, 

“A distributor in pre-Communist China had for years been in the habit of going from shop to shop and house to house. But he was often disappointed because many of his new Bible readers lost their zeal, until he hit upon the plan of putting them in touch with one another and forming them into a worshipping group which in time became a duly organized Church.” 

Only when these isolated units became part of a group which was bound together by a common interest did real family, real fellowship, a real relationship come into being.
 
Christians have that common interest because they are all people who desire to know more about Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 5 v 6 

“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” 

As real Christians, we hunger (HUNGER!!!) as a starving child hungers for food; we hunger to know Jesus and His precious word the Bible. 

As actual Christians, we thirst (THIRST!!!) as a lost wanderer in the hottest, driest desert seeks water to drink, a drink to save his life; we thirst to know, understand, and to live our lives in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 6 v 33 

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 

Luke 12 v 31 

“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” 

Putting the old desires of the heart and mind behind us, we as Christians share the common interest of knowing and living for God!!!!!!! 

We seek Him, at Church, in our quiet times, in our prayer life, in our daily reading of the Bible, in our relationships with other Christians; all to know more about Jesus and how to live a loving, serving life as He did and still does!!!!!!! 

As Christians we have the greatest common interest, that of knowing Jesus Christ… 

A Common Submission

Thirdly, a wonderful quality of a family, of a true friendship is a common submission…
 
The disciples were a very diverse group of individuals. All sorts of beliefs and opinions were mixed up among them. A tax-collector like Matthew and a passionate nationalist like Simon the Zealot ought to have hated each other like poison and no doubt at one time did. But they were bound together because both had accepted Jesus Christ as Master and Lord. They submitted their lives to Him, and lived for Him… 

Any platoon of soldiers will be made up of men and women from different backgrounds and from different walks of life and holding very different opinions; yet, if they are long enough together, they will be welded into a band of comrades because of the common submission which they all share. People can become friends of each other when they share a common master. 

People can love each other only when they all love Jesus Christ. 

Both Fred and I were saved by Jesus Christ, both he and I were called to be servants of Jesus Christ, we were both called to be ministers of Jesus Christ, we were both called by a common submission; a love relationship with Jesus Christ! 

Galatians 2 v 20 

“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.” 

As Christians, we all live not to suit our old sinful nature, but to submit to our new nature born by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ . To submit our minds, bodies, and souls, EVERYTHING WITHIN US, to LOVE AND SERVE HIM AND HIS CREATION!!!!!!!

As Christians, we have the common submission to the will and authority of our Lord, God, and eternal Savior: JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!! 

A Common Endeavor

Fourth, and finally, a glorious and essentially precious quality of a beautiful family or intimate friendship is a common endeavor. There is nothing so binding of people together like a common endeavor. 

Here there is a great lesson for the church. A. M. Chirgwin, talking of renewed interest in the Bible, asked, 

"Does this point to the possibility of a new approach to the ecumenical problems based on biblical rather than on ecclesiastical considerations?" 

Our churches will never become genuine, growing families with truly intimate friendships for all, so long as we squabble about the ordination of our ministers, the structure of church government, the administration of the sacraments, the type of music for worship, or the length of a service and all the rest of it. 

I had the privilege to serve as Mission Director at Caruthersville Church of the Nazarene in Caruthersville, Missouri before I left to go to seminary. While I was gone inner bickering within the church and self-centered professing ChrisTians VOTED THE PASTOR OUT ((( a very good pastor: Reverend Hollinsworth ))), and ultimately inner fighting within the congregation, CLOSED THEIR DOORS’ FOREVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was honored to be a Sunday School Teacher and back-up preacher with Bellvue Baptist Church in Bellvue, Colorado for a few years. While there I noticed several families who HAD THE ATTITUDE IT WAS THEIR CHURCH, THEIR PROPERTY, everyone else who attended were just necessary regular “visitors” to them. I was told my services were no longer needed, and again after I left, inner bickering, fighting, gossiping, and self-centeredness professing ChrisTians caused THAT CHURCH TO CLOSE IT’S DOORS’ FOREVER!!!!!!!

We as ChrisTians must SUBMIT EVERY PART OF OUR LIVES TO JESUS CHRIST, we must never lose focus on our glorious Savior Jesus Christ, and the fact THAT IT IS CHRSIT’S CHURCH NOT OURS, OUR LIVES ARE NOT OURS, BUT WE BELONG COMPLETELY TO HIM AND HIS SERVICE……………………………………..***The one thing on which we can all come together is the fact that all of us are seeking to win the Lost (all people) for Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 28 v 19-20 

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” 

Loving people so much, as Jesus Christ did, THAT WE ARE WILLING TO RISK ALL THAT WE HAVE AND POSSESS TO BRING THE LOST TO A SAVING REPENTENCE!!!!!!! 

John 15 v 13 

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” 

***All people, everywhere, to a LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!!! 

2 Peter 3 v 9B 

“…but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 

Willing to risk even our eternal souls for those needing Jesus’ saving grace……. 
Even those who would seek to destroy us… 

Matthew 5 v 43-45 

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
 
Not merely people who dislike us, but even those who would kill us: 

Exodus 32 v 31-32 

“And Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” 

Romans 9 v 2-3 

“That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. 3. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:”
 
God the FATHER, God the SON, God the Holy Spirit; even mere men like Moses and Paul, are willing to do all they can for the goal, the loving endeavor to bring all to salvation in a love relationship with Jesus Christ!!! 

As Christians we have the fabulous and magnificent opportunity to succeed at the supreme endeavor of eternity, that of bringing by the power and grace of God, eternal salvation to the world; to all those willing to accept Jesus Christ as their LORD, GOD, AND SAVIOR!!!!!!! 

To be unified in intimate oneness with God, His angels, and with all our fellow Christians, in bringing even just one lost soul to a love relationship with Jesus Christ!!! 

Luke 15 v 7A 

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth…” 

As Christians we are the only human beings that can actively participate in “our common endeavor”, that of sharing Jesus Christ with others. 

Truly, truly, if having a common endeavor is a quality of a wonderful family, of a fantastic relationship; then most certainly we above all people should possess and be the greatest examples of a loving family and a splendid and joyous and most intimate of loving relationships… 

If the true qualities of a family or of an intense and intimate relationship comes from a Common Experience, a Common Interest, a Common Submission, and a Common Endeavor, then Christians above all mankind possess its secrets, for all are seeking to know Christ better and to bring others within His Kingdom. 

*******However else we may differ or disagree, AS GENUINE CHRISTIANS WE CAN, WE MUST AGREE ON THIS…….

Mark 3 v 35 

“For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother." 

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc










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September 25, 2016

"a" Church

Bear River, Wyoming

Evanston, Wyoming

2009, 2016

"What About B.O.B.??? Pt. 3"

“B”

Matthew 5 v 14-16

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be  hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

This week we turn our attention to the final letter in our acronym B.O.B.

The first B stands for Believe, and it’s simplest meaning is to have ABSOLUTE faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His ONLY inerrant infallible word the Bible. Jesus Himself has called us to Believe!!!

Mark 1 v 15

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

Jesus also calls ALL true Christians to Believe every word that has been spoken by God and has been recorded faithfully by inspiration of God the Holy Spirit in the Bible and only IN THE BIBLE!!!

Matthew 4 v 4

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

To Believe in Jesus Christ and His word the Bible ABSOLUTELY, and to have ABSOLUTE faith and trust in EVERYTHING THAT THE BIBLE DECLARES ABOUT HIM. ***Jesus calls ALL CHRISTIANS ALL PEOPLE TO TRUST HIM and HIM ONLY WITH THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY!!!!!!!

This leads to the second letter O, which stands for the word Obey. As true Christians we are called to Obey that which we believe in.

James 1 v 22

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

There are millions and perhaps billions who profess to be Christians, yet how many of us ACTUALLY DO WHAT JESUS CHRIST CALLS US TO DO???

Luke 6 v 46

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

How many of us call Jesus Lord, Lord, yet we pick and choose for ourselves what we want to believe, we do only the “things” we feel comfortable in obeying…***Jesus Christ calls us to Obey and do EVERYTHING HE ASKS US TO, we are to test ALL teachings in light of what the Bible actually says; THEN OBEY THAT WHICH IS TRUE!!!

We are to Believe EVERYTHING THAT JESUS CHRIST BELIEVES AND TEACHES, WE ARE TO OBEY EVERYTHING HE TELLS US TO DO IN LIGHT OF WHAT THE BIBLE ACTUALLY DECLARES!!!

We Believe because We LOVE Him, we Obey because we want to please Him…….

We Believe utterly in Jesus Christ, we Obey fully everything Jesus teaches us to do, all, with the help of the Holy Spirit!!!

In thought and action not always perfectly, but in heart and soul always…….

Now we look at the third letter in our acronym B.O.B. the final B.

Bestow

As true Children of God, as genuine “born again” believers, we are to Believe in, and Obey the gospel of Jesus Christ and to Bestow that same gospel which we have received with whosoever God puts in our paths, in our lives!!!

In our text today, Jesus calls the true disciple of Himself, “the light of the world”. That light which we are is the inner glow of the true light living in the genuine Christian. The true light is of course Jesus Christ.

John 9 v 5

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

While He was physically in this world, Jesus Christ was the light of true salvation. Now He lives in each genuine Christian, and our light is the reflection of His salvation in our very souls.

The radiance which shines from the Christian comes from the presence of Christ within the Christian's heart. We often speak about a radiant bride, but the radiance which shines from her comes from the LOVE which has been born within her heart. The light of the Christian is the glow of Jesus Christ’s LOVE within us.

It may well be said that this is the greatest compliment that was ever paid to the individual Christian, for in it Jesus commands the Christian to be what He Himself claimed to be. When Jesus commanded His followers to be the lights of the world, He expected nothing less than that they, we, SHOULD BE LIKE HIMSELF.

When Jesus said that the Christian must be the light of the world, what did he mean?

A light is first and foremost something which is meant to be seen. The houses in Palestine were very dark with only one little circular window perhaps not more than eighteen inches across. The lamp was like a sauce-boat tiled with oil with the wick floating in it. It was not so easy to rekindle a lamp in the days before matches existed. Normally the lamp stood on the lampstand which would be no more than a roughly shaped branch of wood; but when people went out, for safety's sake, they took the lamp from its stand, and put it under an earthen bushel measure, so that it might burn without risk until they came back. The primary duty of the light of the lamp was to be seen.

So then, our salvation, our faith, our personal Belief, our daily moment by moment Obedience is something WHICH IS MEANT BY GOD TO BE SEEN!!! As someone has well said,

"There can be no such thing as secret discipleship, for either the secrecy destroys the discipleship, or the discipleship destroys the secrecy."

A genuine Christian WILL BE VISIBLE TO ALL…

Not because we deliberately force ourselves to do something, for light is seen by it’s very nature. Our faith is seen because THAT IS WHO WE ARE. A natural quality of light is to be seen, if we are Christian, even in our silence our new nature in Jesus Christ WILL BE SEEN!

Further, our faith, our salvation should not be visible only within the Church. A Christian whose effects stop at the church door is not much use to anyone.

***We should be even more visible in the ordinary activities of the world. Our Christianity should be visible in the way we treat a sales clerk across the counter, in the way we order a meal in a restaurant, in the way we treat our employees or serve our employer, in the way we play a game or drive or park a car, in the daily language we use, in the daily literature we read. A Christian should be just as much a Christian in the factory, the workshop, the shipyard, the mine, the schoolroom, the surgery, the kitchen, the golf course. the playing field as we are in church. Jesus did not say, "You are the light of the Church"; He said, "You are the light of the world," and in a person’s life in the world our Christianity should be evident to all.

That quality of light, that quality of the true Christian IS SEEN SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE TRUE CHRISTIANS…

Light is seen in darkness…

But light has another quality, a light is a guide. On the runways of most airports, we may see the line of lights which marks the runway for the planes to land and takeoff safely. We know how difficult even the city streets were when there were no lights. A light is something to make clear the way.

So then a Christian must make the way clear to others. That is to say, a Christian must of necessity be an example. One of the things which this world needs more than anything else is people who are prepared to be vessels of goodness. Suppose there is a group of people, and suppose it is suggested that some questionable thing should be done. Unless someone makes their protest the thing will be done. But if someone rises up and says, "I will not be a party to that," another and another and another will rise to say, "Neither will l." But, had they not been given the lead, they would have remained silent.

There are many people in this world who have not the moral strength and courage to take a stand by themselves, but if someone gives them a lead, they will follow; if they have someone strong enough to lean on, they will do the right thing. It is the Christian's duty, our obligation of LOVE to take the stand which the weaker brother will support, to give the lead which those with less courage will follow. The world needs its guiding lights; there are people waiting and longing for a lead to take the stand and to do the thing which they do not dare by themselves.

Another quality of light can often be a warning light. A light is often the warning which tells us to halt when there is danger ahead.

For true Christians it is our obligation of LOVE to Bestow, to share with others the warnings of sin throughout the Old and New Testaments. To make very clear what God defines as sin, His ultimate punishments for those sins, and to supply the world with the ONLY, ONLY, ONLY SOURCE FOR FORGIVENESS AND REAL SALVATION; FOR ANY, ANY, ANY PERSON; Jew or any nationality anywhere in ALL OF CREATION!!! ***That is often difficult, and it is often hard to do it in a way which will not appear to do more momentary harm than eventual good; ***but one of the most poignant tragedies in life is for someone, especially a young person, to come and say to us, "I would never have been in the situation in which I now find myself, if you had only spoken in time."

The light which can be seen, the light which warns, the light which guides, these are the lights which the Christian must be.

Matthew 28 v 19-20

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Jesus calls every Christian, every “real”, “true”, “genuine” Christian to Bestow, to share, THE SAVING GOSPEL THAT THEY TRULY RECEIVED and ACCEPTED, to share what they Believe, to share what they willing choose to Obey  TO ALL WHOM THEY HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE WITH…….

It was said of Florence Alishorn, the famous teacher and principal, that if she ever had occasion to rebuke her students, she did it "with her arm round about them." If our warnings are, given, not in anger, not in irritation, not in criticism, not in condemnation, not in a desire to hurt, but in LOVE, they will be effective.

As Christians it is our greatest obligation of LOVE to Bestow what we Believe and Obey out of our eternal LOVE for Jesus Christ and for our LOVE of all of God’s creation…….

What about B.O.B.???

Without Believing, having ABSOLUTE faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him only, THERE CAN BE NO FORGIVENESS OR REDEMPTION.

Hebrews 11 v 6

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Without Obeying, a person can never experience the most intimate of relationships with God or God’s people…

2 Thessalonians 3 v 14-15

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

God does not turn His back on the disobedient disciple, that disciple by their disobedience turns their back on God and they themselves walk away from God…

We are saved by grace and grace alone, NOT ANY ACT OF FAITH OR OBEDIENCE ON OUR PARTS WILL EVER SAVE US!!!***But once saved God expects us to Obey…….

Ephesians 2 v 10

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Without Bestowing our faith, our faith is dead!!!

James 2 v 18-26

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

You Believe as Jesus Christ calls you to, you Obey as God and His only inerrant infallible words the Bible teaches you to, yet you do not share His gospel, His truth, His plan for salvation, again James:

James 2 v 26

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

What about B.O.B.???

When it is all said and done, most certainly every true Christian everywhere, MUST BE VERY FAMILIAR WITH B.O.B, MUST PRACTICE B.O.B. IN THOUGHT WORD AND DEED EVERY DAY…

Whether we remember the acronym B.O.B. or not, if we are truly  God’s Children, B.O.B. whether we know it or not, will always be seen in the lives of “TRUE” CHRISTIANS…….

So what about B.O.B. in your life???

Do you Believe, Obey, and Bestow the true gospel of Jesus Christ with others???????

What Would Jesus Do???

WWJD???????

B.O.B.???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc








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September 18, 2016

"a" Church

Bear River, Wyoming
Evanston, Wyoming
2009, 2016

 "What About B.O.B.? Part Two"

"O"

Hebrews 5 v 9

"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

Last time we introduced a “new” acronym for our Christian faith, new but based solely on very old Biblical principles, known henceforth as: B.O.B. With it we discovered a new catch phrase, perhaps a simpler way of understanding genuine Christian faith: “What about B.O.B.???”

That is the question each genuine, born again believer must ask themselves. What about. B.O.B. in our Christian walk, do we indeed practice and live what God tells us to in His holy, inerrant, infallible word the Bible??? Do we reproduce this acronym in our daily behaviors; do our moment by moment lives truly reflect the concept of B.O.B., and what about B.O.B. in our private unseen lives behind closed doors??? Should we even be concerned about B.O.B. if we are Christians???

Last time we gave a word to the first “B”, that word was Believe.

As Jesus put it we must repent from all our sins and Believe in faith ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING GOD’S ONLY INERRENT INFALIBLE WORD THE BIBLE SAYS…….

Not man’s opinion of what the Bible teaches, but what God the Holy Spirit actually makes known to us through every jot and tittle of it…….

To Believe is much more than acknowledging the truth of it, the truth of who Jesus Christ actually is, or simply accepting the eternal value of the Bible’s content, but to Believe IS TO PUT INTO PRACTICE WHAT YOU BELIEVE and HAVE ABSOLUTE FAITH IN…….

Christians ARE TO: Believe!!!

But belief IS NOT ENOUGH, NOR IS KNOWING THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST ENOUGH!!! Nor is understanding that Jesus Christ is the only Lord, the only God and the only Savior enough. Demons believe, they know everything the gospels declare about Jesus Christ, they even acknowledge His eternal right of Lordship over them.

James 2 v 19

“Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

But the Demons ARE ETERNALLY LOST!!!

The word for Believe or faith implies more than knowing something, it intimately implies Obeying What you Believe in…….

The second letter of our acronym is the letter O, and it stands for:

Obey.

As genuine Christians we must not only Believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we MUST Obey it as well!!!!!!!

We are not saved by our obedience, but rather we are obedient because we ARE SAVED by Him…

In-other-words because WE LOVE GOD, WE WANT TO OBEY HIM!!!!!!!

Obey

So then, what does it mean to Obey???

The word Obey means to submit or conform in action to (some guiding principle, impulse, one's conscience, etc.). In our text, to submit to and conform our behavior to God’s holy, inerrant, infallible word the Bible. As a branch of Christian ethics, obedience is to be viewed not only with respect to the relationships existing between God and man and between man and society but also with respect to the example of Christ and man’s personal relationship with Him.

To Obey the commandments of God must be the object of our constant (moment by moment) endeavors. ***Nothing less than complete self-surrender to God and reverent trust in Jesus Christ can make this possible in the life of the true believer. The obedience Jesus calls us to as genuine Christians has at it’s origin IN HAVING ABSOLUTE TRUST IN WHAT WE BELIEVE. Therefore we Believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ cover to cover (both: Old and New Testaments), and we “willing” Obey ALL THAT GOD’S BIBLE REALLY SAYS!!!

James 1 v  22

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

We not only hear God’s words, WE OBEY GOD’S WORDS AS WELL!!!

Jesus said:

Luke 6 v 46

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

We are saved by God’s grace, but we are seen as His by WHAT WE DO…….

Matthew 5 v 14-16

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

God is glorified in our Obeying Him. We Obey God, we Obey Jesus Christ in submitting to and Obeying EVER WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF OUR LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR:

Matthew 4 v 4

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

As true disciples of Jesus Christ we cannot pick and choose what we will Obey, WE MUST OBEY THE SLIGHTEST JOT and TITLLE OF THE LAW, FROM IT’S LEAST SIGNIFICANT POINT TO IT’S MOST ESSENTIAL TRUTH, WE MUST OBEY!!!!!!!

Matthew 5 v 18-19

“For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

To do otherwise, we chance the damnation of those around us WHO ARE NOT “BORN AGAIN” BELIEVERS…

We are to do our very best with the power and aide of the Holy Spirit to Obey perfectly God’s will!!!

Matthew 5 v 48

“Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

God is our standard, not our fellow man…

Romans 2 v 13

“(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

1 John 3 v 18

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Over and over again God consistently affirms throughout the Holy Writ the necessity of genuine Christians living righteous obedient lives.

2 Thessalonians 1 v 11-12

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: 12. That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

WE ARE TO OBEY GOD and HIS WORD THE BIBLE WITH EVERY FIBER OF OUR BEING!!!!!!!

*******WE ARE TO BE HOLY!!!!!!!*******

1 Thessalonians 4 v 7-8

“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8.  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

God has called us to Obey Him, to Obey Him ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!

Ecclesiastes 12 v 13

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

We live in an age however where the average person considers their own morals and values as the standard and they do everything to deny God AS THE UNCHANGABLE and ETERNAL STANDARD!!!

As Christians WE OF ALL PEOPLE MUST SEE JESUS CHRIST and HIM ONLY AS OUR ONLY EXAMPLE, AS OUR ONLY STANDARD OF TRUE OBEDIENCE!!!

As Jesus Christ Obeys, WE MUST Obey…….

We Obey not because we are commanded to, not because we are told to, not because God’s word demands it, WE OBEY BECAUSE AS CHILDREN OF ALMIGHTY GOD WE LOVE JESUS CHRIST COMPLETELY. *******We genuinely want to please Him ETERNALLY…….

FOREVER!!!!!!!

MOMENT BY MOMENT, PRIVATELY and PUBLICALLY!!!!!!!

Acts 5 v 29

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

As Peter declares “let us Obey God rather than man”…

Romans 6 v 16

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Let us Obey God rather than our own sinful nature or that of this desperately fallen world…

Let us heed Paul’s warning to the Galatians,

Galatians 3 v 1

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”

The world says, “Believe if you must, but you must not be so foolish to Believe everything the Bible says. Obey if you want, but do not be so naïve, so backwards to Obey everything the Bible claims to be the Word of God.

As Satan deceived Eve,

Genesis 3 v 1

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Let not the world deceive YOU!!!

Let not false teachers deceive YOU!!!

Let not false doctrine deceive YOU!!!

KNOW THE BIBLE FOR YOUR SOUL and THE SOULS OF OTHERS DEPENDS ON IT!!!!!!!

Joshua 24 v 21-24

“And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.  22. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. 24. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.”

Jesus calls us to Obey His words, His gospel, His Father who is in heaven, God the Holy Spirit who indwells ALL BELIEVERS…….

1 Samuel 12 v 14

“If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God:”

Jeremiah 7 v 23

“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”

We as His Children are called to Obey Him…….

That is if we are truly and genuinely His Children??? 

Are we worried about this nation of ours, it’s existence depends on whether WE OBEY GOD AS HIS FOLLOWERS:

Jeremiah 12 v 17

“But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the Lord.”

Again we are warned if we DO NOT OBEY:

2 Thessalonians 3 v 14

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

Salvation certainly is by grace through faith which is our God given Belief in Jesus Christ, yet full INTIMATE fellowship with God is DEPENDENT ON WHETHER WE CHOOSE TO OBEY HIM!!!

The difference between a victorious Christian and a moody, discontented Christian is in HOW THEY OBEY GOD DAILY, IN THEIR MOMENT by MOMENT LIVES!!!

We may not always see victory in the battles of our daily lives, but if we truly Believe and wholeheartedly Obey God and His Words, WE WILL ALWAYS SEE FINAL VICTORY IN THE WARS OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!!

1 Peter 4 v 17-18

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

If we as true Christians DO NOT Obey God, our lives will declare our disobedience, and we WILL NOT REACH OUR FULL POTENTIAL OF INTIMACY WITH GOD ON THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY…

As the beautiful hymn goes:

 When we walk with the Lord
      in the light of his word,
      what a glory he sheds on our way!
      While we do his good will,
      he abides with us still,
      and with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there's no other way
      to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
 
2.    Not a burden we bear,
      not a sorrow we share,
      but our toil he doth richly repay;
      not a grief or a loss,
      not a frown or a cross,
      but is blest if we trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
3.    But we never can prove
      the delights of his love
      until all on the altar we lay;
      for the favor he shows,
      for the joy he bestows,
      are for them who will trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
4.    Then in fellowship sweet
      we will sit at his feet,
      or we'll walk by his side in the way;
      what he says we will do,
      where he sends we will go;
      never fear, only trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
Jesus Christ calls us to Obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to Trust and Obey…….
 
Hebrews 5 v 9

"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

So, “What About B.O.B.???”

***Do YOU Believe???

***Do YOU Obey???

Should YOU???

Must WE???

“What About B.O.B.???”

Next week, Lord willing, we will finish the study of the acronym B.O.B.

Believe

Obey

B???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc





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September 11, 2016




"a" Church

Bear River, Wyoming

Evanston, Wyoming

2009, 2016

 

"What about B.O.B.? Part One"

 "B"

 Mark 1 v 15

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”


Matthew 4 v 17

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Luke 13 v 3

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Luke 13 v 5

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Many years ago when I worked for Disabled Resource Services of Ft. Collins, Colorado I had a conversation with the then office secretary. She argued, because her Youth Pastor told her so “Jesus only wanted belief in Him. Repentance was not necessary because no where in the Bible did Jesus every say we needed to repent.”

Her Youth Pastor who she was quick to point out had often taught on television, WAS IN GREAT ERROR!!!

We should never assume anyone, including those in authority over us, no matter how respected or admired they are by others, nor how educated they appear, or eloquent they speak, or how professional they seem, nor how attractive they appear to the eye; NO ONE IS PERFECT, AND ANYONE MAY BE A FALSE TEACHER!!!

Matthew 7 v 22-23

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Everything should be proved, affirmed in light of what the inerrant infallible word of God the Bible says!!!

1 Thessalonians 5 v 21

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Which means, YOU, ME, EVERY GENUINE CHRISTIAN MUST DILIGENTLY SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES “FOR THEMSELVES”!!!

Today I introduce a new catch phrase for our faith. It is “What about B.O.B.???” Do you believe in B.O.B.? Who is B.O.B, what is B.O.B.? Do you need to put into practice B.O.B.???

B.O.B. of course is an acronym, this week we will discuss the first “B”:

Believe

Jesus Himself has told us in our main text today that we must “repent”, meaning, not only must we acknowledge our sins, admit we are sinners, lost, deserving absolutely of Hell-fire, but we must with the help of the Holy Spirit renounce, denounce, literally turn our backs on our own sins.

This is only possible by anyone as a direct result of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ!!!

God is the initiator, the power to accomplish, and the sustainer of our ability to repent. He is as the Bible says the author and finisher of our faith…….

Hebrews 12 v 2

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

To be a genuine Christian “you” must Believe. First, what does it mean to believe?

To believe in the framework of our text means: to soberly take Jesus Christ at His word. Trust what He says, trust EVERYTHING He says in His holy word the Bible…

The Greek word here is “pisteuo” it is interchangeable with our English word faith. So according to Jesus a genuine, born again believer is a person who remains steadfast in his or her faith in Jesus Christ. To Believe is to be FULLY PERSADED IN THE GOD OF THE OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS, TO COMPLETELY TRUST WHAT THE WORD OF GOD THE BIBLE SAYS and PROMISES.

Believe = Faith, Trust, absolute Confidence in; TO TRUST OR HAVE FAITH IN GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON (JESUS CHRIST), and GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT…

To Believe as Christ calls us has three general features:

1) Believe that the world, including “you” can be SAVED BY, and SAVED ONLY BY THE REDEMPTIVE WORKS OF Jesus Christ!!!

(Saving Faith)

John 3 v 16-17

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

John 5 v 24

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Ephesians 2 v 8-9

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Romans 10 v 9-11

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”

Believe that only through Jesus Christ and His works CAN ANYONE BE SAVED!!!!!!!

John 14 v 6

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Acts 4 v 12

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

To Believe such, to have that kind of faith gives “you” an unchangeable and PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY, an unforfeitable eternal relationship with Jesus Christ as clearly described in innumerable passages throughout the Holy Writ:

Here are only a few:

Romans 11 v 29

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

Philippians 1 v 6

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

John 6 v 39-40

“And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Hebrews 10 v 14

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

1 John 5 v 13

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

1 Peter 1 v 23, 25

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever...25. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

2 Corinthians 1 v 22

“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”

Etc, etc, etc…….

2) Believe in our personal relationship with God and other believers. To be set apart as exclusively His children…

(Sanctifying Faith)

We as “true” Christians, “true” followers of Jesus Christ, we are set apart from the world, we are a holy people, we are not to live as the world lives. ***We live not to sin, nor to live for ourselves or our own desires but rather WE LIVE TO BE LIKE JESUS… 

Romans 6 v 11, 13-14

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord…13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

1 Corinthians 1 v 2

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

Ephesians 4 v 1-3

“I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3.  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

God gives the genuine God filled, LOVER of Jesus Christ the grace, LOVE, and mercy TO WALK and LIVE AS JESUS CHRIST DID. Though Christ was perfect and without sin, and we are not perfect, and most likely will sin occasionally after we are His (though we can live a sin free life), AS “TRUE” CHRISTIANS OUR SOLE GOAL IN LIFE IS TO LOVE GOD and TO LOVE ALL THAT HE LOVES, and TO PLEASE HIM CONTINUALLY…….

To Believe this, to trust God this much, to have such faith is to enable one to live a life WORTHY OF SONS and DAUGHTERS OF GOD…….

3) Believe in the spiritual gifts that each saved individual can receive TO SERVE GOD and ALL OF HIS CREATION…….

(Serving Faith)

Romans 12 v 6-9

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8. Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

Hebrews 2 v 4

“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

To Believe this allows the genuine Christian TO PRACTICE WHAT HE OR SHE ACTUALLY BELIEVES…….

Jesus calls us specifically TO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST… What is the Gospel, this Good News WE ARE CALLED TO BELIEVE?

It was preeminently good news that Jesus Christ came to bring to humanity. If we follow the word “euaggelion”, good news, gospel through the New Testament we can see at least something of its content.

A) It is the good news of truth:

Galatians 2 v 5

“To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Colossians 1 v 5

“For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;”

Until Jesus came, humanity could only guess and grope after God.

Job 23 v 3

“Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!”

Marcus Aurelius said that the soul can see but dimly, and the word he uses is the Greek word for seeing things through water. But with the coming of Jesus we can see clearly what God is like. No longer do we need to guess and grope; WE CAN KNOW…

B) It is the good news of hope:

Colossians 1 v 23

“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

The ancient world was a pessimistic world. Seneca talked of "our helplessness in necessary things." In their struggle for goodness men were defeated. The coming of Jesus brings hope to the hopeless heart.

C) It is the good news of peace:

Ephesians 6 v 15

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”

The penalty of being a fallen human is to have a split personality. In human nature the beast and the angel are strangely intermingled. It is told that once Schopenhauer, the gloomy philosopher, was found wandering. He was asked, "Who are you?" "I wish you could tell me," he answered. Robert Burns said of himself, "My life reminded me of a ruined temple. What strength, what proportion in some parts! What unsightly gaps, what prostrate ruins in others!"

Man's trouble has always been that we are haunted both by sin and by goodness. The coming of Jesus Christ unifies that disintegrated personality into one. We find victory over our warring self by being conquered by Jesus Christ. By submitting to His Lordship in our lives

D) It is the good news of God's promise

Ephesians 3 v 6

“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

It is true to say that we have always thought rather of a God of threats than a God of promises. ***All non-Christian religions think of a demanding God; only Christianity tells of a God who is more ready to give than we are to ask.

E) It is the good news of immortality:

2 Timothy 1 v 10

“But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

To the pagan, to the atheist world, life is the road to death; humanity is characteristically a dying species; but Jesus Christ came with the good news that we are on the way to life rather than death.

F) It is the good news of salvation:

Ephesians 1 v 13

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”

Salvation is not merely a negative thing; it is also positive. It is not simply liberation from penalty and escape from past sin; it is the power to live life victoriously and to conquer sin.

The message of Jesus Christ is good news indeed.

Salvation is not for a select few, a predestined minority, but for as many that are WILLING TO BELIEVE AS JESUS CHRIST CALLS US TO BELIEVE…….

2 Peter 3 v 9

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

***Now is the most important question of “your” eternity: DO “YOU” BELIEVE???????

What about B.O.B.??? Next week, we will continue our study of the acronym B.O.B., do you believe in B.O.B., SHOULD YOU???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc​​





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