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September 19, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

***Welcome to This Week's Sermon:

"Thy Word Is Truth: Part Five"

Psalms 119 v 33-40

"Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end. 34 Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. 35 Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. 36 Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. 37 Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way. 38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear. 39 Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good. 40 Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness."

Dear Adonai, we long to be in Your Holy presence, Oh Adonai. Sit right beside us as we learn. Bring understanding to our minds as Your teachings are revealed to us through Your Holy Writ.

Bless us with divine knowledge so that we have the understanding enabling us to teach others. Help us to learn how to be more understanding, kind, patient and compassionate towards our brothers and sisters, and all Your creation, as You had when You walked the earth and came to save us.

In Jesus’ mighty name, we declare and decree that a revelation of wisdom and knowledge of the word would be dawned upon each one of us, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen........

As we continue our study of God’s holy Word the Bible let us not grow weary, for as the eyes are the keys to the soul in man, God’s Word is the passion of Almighty God!!!

John Calvin wrote of the Word of God, “there is a bit of divinity in it”. Not that the Bible is divine nor should it be worshipped, but that its purpose and its very existence IS MEANT TO DRAW PEOPLE TO THE ONE TRUE GOD AND TO HELP ASSIST IN DEVELOPING AN INTENSE INTIMATE LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS…….

*******Jesus Christ*******

I don’t want to coerce anyone to be excited about LOVING the Word of God, nor do I want anyone to fake being amazed and astounded by it; I pray YOU CAN LOVE IT FOR YOURSELVES. As I most certainly do. Besides God, my wife Maureen, my wonderful sons Adam and Aaron; THE WORD OF GOD IS THE GREATEST TREASURE OF MY LIFE!!!!!!!


May the universe SEE THE TRUTH OF THY WORD, “THY WORD IS TRUTH”!!!!!!!

This Fifth section of Psalms 119 is entitled: the letter “h” HE.

V 33…Teach me, O LORD, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Only God’s Holy Spirit can teach us the truth and understanding of His Word. We cannot read on our own, we cannot understand the Bible UNLESS THE HOLY SPIRIT IS TEACHING US.

John 14 v 26

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”

The desire to read and the ability to understand what we read IS THE GIFT OF GOD…….

That desire to read and understand God’s holy Word enables the genuine believer TO KEEP ALL THE HOLY STATUTES TO THE VERY END, OBEYING IS A CHOICE NOT SIMPLY AN UNOBTAINABLE DESIRE…

The indwelling of the Holy Spirit gives us the grace, mercy, and power to live righteous lives, even, moment by moment…

1 Thessalonians 4 v 7-8

“God didn't call us to be sexually immoral but to be holy. 8 Therefore, whoever rejects this {order} is not rejecting human authority but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.”

The person who seeks God through His Word SEEKS A GLORIOUS THING, AND THE FINAL RESULT WILL BE ETERNAL LIFE!!!!!!!!

V 34…Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Only God can give us spiritual understanding through His Words in the inerrant infallible Bible, though God sent Pastors, Preachers, Evangelists, Teachers, Witnesses, through genuine “born again” believers to assist our search of spiritual growth and discerment!

Again cry out to God for guidance and supernatural spiritual understanding, and THEN YOU SHALL BE ABLE TO KEEP THE LAW, WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART…….

The power of CHOICE!!!

With salvation comes freedom of choice, with sin comes slavery…

V 35…Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein

do I delight.

Only you Lord can keep me in the path of your commandments, and because of your LOVE for me, I delight in YOUR BIBLE!

V 36…Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.


V 37…Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Once again it is obvious only in God’s grace and strength can our sins be controlled, Lord, you turn my eyes away from vanity and sin. Only in your WAY DO I HAVE LIFE.

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.”

V 38…Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Stablish, Lord MAINTAIN YOU WORDS TO ME. Keep your promises. I am totally devoted TO WORSHIPPING YOU…….

Not because I must, but because of my great LOVE for you…….

V 39…Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

Turn the reproach of the world away from me, for the world hates me because I LOVE you and want to ever obey your holy precepts…

They seek to find my hidden sins THAT THEY MIGHT RIDICULE ME.

V 40…Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

You have searched my heart oh Lord, and you know I LOVE you and your Words, give me life through YOUR RIGHTEOUSNESS…….

God and God alone can teach us His precepts through His glorious Words. Only He can give us true wisdom. ***Only Jesus Christ and He alone can give us salvation. Only by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit can true Christians live holy lives. To deny we can live Holy lives IS A LIE FROM SATAN!!!

LOVE God and His Words for this is the only way we can be truly blessed and free…….

                      Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


September 12, 2021 

((( What would be my Dad's birthday, he would be: 113 )))

*Welcome to This Week's Sermon: 

"Thy Word Is Truth: Part Four"

Psalms 119 v 25-32

“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word. 26 I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes. 27 Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works. 28 My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word. 29 Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously. 30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me. 31 I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame. 32 I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”

You Adonai, are worthy to be glorified, Jehovah is Your name, accept our praises today in Jesus name. You said if our sins are as red as crimson, You would make it white as snow, we come to Your throne of mercy, purge us from all sins and make us spotless.

Heavenly father, You are the provider and protector of our lives. Today we want to worship Your name. We praise You and give You all adoration, accept our thanks. We commit all the activities of today and every day into Your hands, let everything we do be to Your glory and at the end, let us be refreshed with Your presence in our lives.

Gracious Father, You are the maker of heaven and earth, the God of all flesh, You made all things according to the word of Your power and You made us the head of all creation. We are here today to glorify You. Make our praises and worship accepted in thy sight. You made us understand that You inhabit the praise of Your people, come down Lord and ride on the wings of our praise. In our gathering today let us feel You, refresh us in You, renew us and make us grow in You.

As we start today, guide us through according to Your will. We pray all these things, along with all unspoken prayers, In Jesus' splendidly glorious name. Amen and eternally Amen

Daleth is the fourth letter of the Hebrew alphabet and it is the title of the fourth section of Psalms 119…

Thus far we have learned in section one “Alepth”, that the Bible IS GOD’S WORD, AND GOD’S WORD ALONE!!!


In the third section “Gimel” we discussed the various problems associated with humanity that hinder our willing and joyous obedience to God’s awesome and holy perfect Word. We realized only by COMLETELY FOCUSING ON JESUS CHRIST AND HIS HOLY BIBLE IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE…


Certainly good Christian devotional books are great faith helps but only as they DO NOT CONTRADICT ANY REAL TEACHING FROM THE BIBLE!!!!!!! *******GOD WILL NEVER CONTRADICT HIS LIVING WORD THE BIBLE!!!

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER……………………………………

Now let us turn to “Daleth”:

V 25…“My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word.”

In the natural man, in our fallen natures, our souls seek dust, we seek death. But through the LOVE and diligent study of God’s Word WE SEEK LIFE AND LIFE EVERLASTING…


V 26 “I have declared my ways, and thou heardest me: teach me thy statutes.”

I have conscientiously searched my ways and have recognized my sinfulness. You oh Lord have heard my prayers of repentance. Please, now teach me your holiness, teach me your holy perfect word…….

That I might LIVE IN THEM…….

V 27…”Make me to understand the way of thy precepts: so shall I talk of thy wondrous works.”



V 28…”My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.”

My tears overflow from the sorrows of my heart, God have mercy on me, strengthen me ACCORDING TO YOUR MAGNIFICIENT WORD!!!!!!!

Philippians 4 v 13

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

V 29…”Remove from me the way of lying: and grant me thy law graciously.”

Lord God, there is so much that wishes to deceive me, so much which desires to hide the reality of your truth from me. Lies, lies, lies, are all I hear from secular society, from false prophets and false teachers, from even perhaps my inner demons. All wanting me to denounce you and your holy words the Bible! Constantly taking every effort to de-value your Word or make it irrelevant, impractical, or worthless……

Oh God, grant me thy law graciously, give it to me as a perfect moral code, have me see it and understand it through the Gospel of Jesus Christ not by the letter of the law that damns, but by the grace of your LOVING mercy that I may be forgiven…….

V 30…I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments have I laid before me.”

By the power of your saving grace I HAVE CHOSEN YOU AND THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH OF YOUR WORD, thy judgments do I study meticulously, protect me always from my spiritual weaknesses…

God gives each of us the choice to accept Him or reject Him, but God is the one that sustains us and keeps us in His eternal graces…….

V 31…”I have stuck unto thy testimonies: O LORD, put me not to shame.”

I have been eternally glued to the righteousness of thy testimonies, your Word is forever part of me; now Lord cover my sins. Blot out all of my past, present, and any future sins I may have, make me not ashamed in the hour of eternal judgment, FOR YOU HAVE ETERNALLY WIPED AWAY MY SINS FOREVERMORE!!!!!!!

Because I have accepted the saving grace of your Word and have humbly repented of all my sins, and tenderly receive Jesus Christ as my only Lord, my only God, and my only Savior. For only His shed blood can pay for my sins and the sins of the world!!!!!!!

Praise be His holy name!!!

V 32…”I will run the way of thy commandments, when thou shalt enlarge my heart.”

I will live moment by moment by the power of your grace to willingly and joyously obey your commandments, your wonderful words. My heart and soul shall ever grow towards your perfection, drawing closer and closer to your glorious righteousness. Why because I must, no, because I LOVE you so………………………………

Thy Word ever draweth me to you…….

This section of Psalms 119 makes clear without God and His Word we are imperfect. Therefore in light of His Word we must confess our sins. Pleading for His mercy and grace through His Word. Let us pray that God gives us the strength and power to trust and obey His Word, for: There is no other way…

Trust And Obey Hymn

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.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


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 blessed if we trust and obey.


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.


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.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


September 5, 20


"Thy Word Is Truth: Part Three"

Psalms 119 v 17-24

"Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. 18 Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. 19 I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me. 20 My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times. 21 Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments. 22 Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies. 23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes. 24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors."

Lord of heaven and earth praise your holy name, for being the rock of our salvation. Many things change throughout this earthly life, only one thing stays eternally the same, Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today, and forever. As life throughs a plethora of ever shifting events that keep our frail human natures in unrest, we can turn to you for unity, consistency and eternal hope. Guide us this day and every day in Jesus blessed name. Amen and eternally Amen…  

Today we continue the study of Psalms 119…….

“The Word of God is to your spirit what your blood is to your body.”

Adrian Rogers

“Want more faith? Get into God’s Word.”

Adrian Rogers

The Third Division of this Psalm is Gimel.

David realizes Satan and the evils of this world will do anything to hinder a person’s sincere desire to obey and keep God’s Word. So he prays that God would remove all hindrances to LOVING obedience of the Word.

V 17... Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.

With your grace and mercy Lord save me and give me the strength and power to obey your Word. Without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living within the “born again” believer IT IS ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE TO KEEP GOD’S WORD!!!

***Only in salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ can anyone have an eternal joyful life!!!

Life comes through Jesus Christ and Him alone…

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.

V 18… Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Lord God open my eyes THAT I MAY SEE AND UNDERSTAND YOUR HOLY WORD. Help me to see how glorious and awesome YOUR WORD IS. Put that sparkle in my eyes that DECLARES THE JOY OF KNOWING, UNDERSTANDING, and the PLEASURE OF LOVING YOUR SACRED WRIT!!!

Let me see thy perfect wisdom and equity of your inerrant, infallible Word the Bible…….

V 19… I am a stranger in the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

Far from perfect am I, are we, of man’s fallen nature; we are born strangers to your will and Word, SHOW ME I PRAY THY COMMANDMENTS OF PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS…

Keep me strong and full of your grace and mercy through your Words of salvation…….

Should I frequently be destitute of your ordinances, LEAVE ME NOT WITHOUT YOUR HOLY SPIRIT’S TEACHING…….

V 20… My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.

My soul is so imperfect and full of infirmities, I rigorously desire to focus on your judgments and to possess them as reality in my life at all times…

Oh dear Lord help me to live each moment of my life for you and in sincere and joyous LOVE for your holy Bible…

Make me thine Oh Lord…

Make me thine…….

Let my fervor and zeal be for YOU and YOUR MAGNIFICENT WORD…

V 21… Thou hast rebuked the proud that are cursed, which do err from thy commandments.

Let not the pride of my heart curse me, let not my worldly understanding deceive me; humble me that I may know to seek and obey your Word continuously. Let not this world’s wisdom lie to me, LET ME SEE and KNOW YOUR WORDS OF WISDOM ALWAYS!!

V 22… Remove from me reproach and contempt; for I have kept thy testimonies.

This world laughs at me and has utter contempt for my person because I LOVE you and keep you and your Word first in my life. I know I do right in LOVING you and obeying your supreme Word, stop the enemy from attempting to destroy me…


V 23… Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

Even the Princes and powers that be of this world seek to destroy me and wish to completely obliterate my witness in your Word. The trials and problems of this world seek to extinguish my faith and genuine trust in your holy, holy, holy Word. Finances, problems with my spouse, kids, family, friends and co-workers, neighbors, and even Church members desire to unravel my complete confidence in you and your holy Bible; YET I WILL CONTIOUSLY MEDITATE ON YOUR WORD, WITH YOUR OMNIPOTENTANT HELP I WILL NEVER DENY YOUR WORD…….

Thy Word IS TRUTH!!!!!!!

V 24… Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellors.

I will always delight in your Word, my true pleasure is in reading and obeying your Word, my only righteous and perfect and complete counsel COMES FROM YOUR WORD, THE BIBLE!!!!!!!

Thy Word is TRUTH, THE ONLY REAL TRUTH…………………..

For those who believe otherwise are greatly deceived…

*******Every one of us will be known for something when we are gone from this earthly life. Do you know what I pray my family, friends, and acquaintances’ will say about me? THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. I want those who knew me best to honestly be able to say: “That man’s life was centered in the only message that really matters, that of what the Bible says”…….

May the grace and Word of God be with us always……………….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


August 29, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

***Welcome to This Week's Sermon:

"Thy Word Is Truth: Part Two"

Psalms 119 v 9-16

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. 10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. 11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. 12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes. 13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. 16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word."


Lord, God Al Mighty, may Your Holy Spirit, intervene in the lives of all women, children, and men who struggle with abusive LOVED ones. Emotional and physical abuse are very terrible things. Give those strength who need to get away from those who abuse them, give strength to those You want to remain in their homes. Deliver them and show Your LOVE in a very real way to them.

For those who abuse, intervene, grab them, shake them, deliver them from this cursed sin. Show them LOVE and redeem them. Protect all little ones from those who would abusive, protect all the women, married or not, from their abusive relationships, and Lord even men often struggle in abusive relationships, protect them as well. Give people the strength and wisdom to Know and do what they need to. Provide friends who LOVE them and are there when their friend needs help.

Lord there is abuse, murder, wars, and devastating sin in this world, Lord deliver us from ourselves, deliver us from our sins, and deliver the human race from all our sins.

What makes a people and our foundations strong, what makes us mighty to overcome, what gives us power over Satan's call??? Nothing less than a LOVE relationship with You Father, we plead for the Lost of the world, we pray for ourselves, Come Lord Jesus come.

In Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen.......

As we continue our study of Psalms 119 and its absolute devotion TO GOD’S HOLY WORD THE BIBLE, we want to first remember from the first set of “8” verses THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT MAKES PERFECTLY CLEAR, THE BIBLE IS ENTIRELY THE WORD OF GOD!!!

V1: The Law of God, V2: His testimonies, V3: His ways, V 4: Thy precepts, V5: Thy statutes, V6: Thy commandments, V7: Thy righteous judgments,  again in V8: Thy statutes…And the end of willingly obeying them is Happiness or more precisely Blessedness.

As we begin the discussion of the section Beth, we see living God’s word in our moment by moment actions in life is HOLINESS OF HEART. And again it brings BLESSEDNESS, and ETERNAL JOY!!!

In-other-words WE WERE CREATED TO LIVE HOLY, HOLY, HOLY LIVES, and FAILURE TO DO SO NATURALLY BRINGS SORROW and UNHAPPINESS!!!***Without Holiness of heart there can be no eternal joy, or real happiness in this life…


Only through the diligent study of the Bible and with the assistance of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit living in the heart of the “born again” believer can we even attempt to be holy. ***Only in Christ CAN WE BE HOLY…….


As we see the worth of living a holy life and the function in the life of a genuine believer, God chooses an interesting person. A young man, young men are usually strong, seeking any experience they can get, living more by their hormones and sexual passions than anything else, tending to be stubborn and headstrong. God illustrates that even with this type of and individual, truly listening to God through His word the Bible, and putting it into daily action and keeping their, our, focus on God, WE TRULY CAN LIVE A HOLY LIFE FOR GOD…….   

So turn in your Bibles to Psalms 119 v 9-16

“9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.”

How can young people control their desires, their passions, their exploding hormones? How can a young person get away from their sinful thoughts and ways? ***By seriously considering WHAT THE WORD OF GOD SAYS, and by submitting to the Holy Spirit and with all their heart seeking to obey God’s word…

Matthew 6 v 33

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

How can the very young, how can adults, how can seniors, live holy lives, the same way the strong young men and women do, BY KEEPING THEIR FOCUS ON JESUS CHRIST and GENUINELY LOVING JESUS CHRIST WITH THEIR, OUR, WHOLE HEART and BEING…

We must examine ourselves and confess our sins and weaknesses to our Lord, God, and Savior: Jesus Christ!!!

“10 With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.”

We must continually seek after God with all our mind, our whole body, and our whole spirit, and with all our strength. We must make sincere, earnest prayers to our Father who is eternally in heaven for guidance, strength, and understanding of Him and His Holy Scriptures. We must CHOOSE TO BE OBEDIENT!!!!!!!

“11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

We must truly and tenderly treasure God’s word the Bible in our heart, mind, and soul.  Indisputably holding the Bible to be the authentic and perfect source for our faith and LOVE for Jesus Christ…

The understanding and obedience to the Bible to be the measure of our spiritual and eternal wealth…….

And the reason for this great devotion and faith and trust in God’s word. IS SO WE DO NOT SIN AGAINST OUR GREAT LOVE, JESUS CHRIST…

Why, because we our commanded so? NO, because WE LOVE HIM SO…….

“12 Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.”

Praise God, for only He can truly teach us His way, His statutes, His word, His truths, His desires for our lives, his Bible; by His awesome grace and undeserved mercy in our lives…….

“13 With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth.”

We must for LOVE sake declare with our lives, and our words, how much God has forgiven us and that He put our sins upon Himself THAT WE MIGHT BELIEVE and BE SAVED BY THE GLORIOUS SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST!!!


Praise His name…….

“14 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches.”

Again, we must genuinely see God’s Bible and absolute submission to it as the greatest joy of our lives. Why because we must???

No. no, no, because WE LOVE GOD SO VERY, VERY, VERY MUCH…….

And simply obey what we think the Bible says, NO, or what others say the Bible says, NO, but, WE OBEY WHAT THE BIBLE ACTUALLY SAYS!!!!!!!

That takes soberness of mind, and much study of the Bible and a great deal of prayer!!!!!!!

“15 I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”

Self examination in light of what the word of God says and to obey that light is absolutely essential in our lives. We must not just read, just hear, but, DO WHAT GOD WANTS US TO THROUGH HIS HOLY WRIT!!!!!!!

“16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.”

We must vigorously LOVE and find joy and happiness in God’s holy Bible. Why, because it is there FOR ALL TO SEE and POSSESS…

In our moment by moment lives, in private or public, in thought, word, and deed, WE MUST NEVER FORGET GOD’S HOLY WORD…

We must know it, believe it, and obey it; why, because OF HIS GREAT LOVE…………………………………………………

Our LOVE for Him………………………………………….

Let us pray.

See you next week.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


August 22, 2021


a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Thy Word Is Truth"

John 17 v 17

"Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."

“I have read other books. The Bible reads me.”

Adrian Rogers

“This book will keep you from sin, or SIN WILL KEEP YOU FROM THIS BOOK.”

Dwight Moody

“The Scriptures are shallow enough for a babe to come and drink without fear of drowning and deep enough for Theologians to swim in without ever reaching the bottom”

St. Jerome

Today and conceivably for the next several months we will be discussing the only inerrant, infallible words of God, the Bible.

There are a plethora of secular people who denounce the Bible as an archaic book of myths THAT HAS NO EARTHLY OR HEAVENLY GOOD FOR THE HUMAN RACE. There are still others that have a aura of religious conviction about them that denounce the Bible as a book once full of God’s truth but has been long since corrupted by time and human deception.

There are still others who claim a relationship with Jesus Christ but criticize the Bible as a book of some truths and some myths that are not to be taken literally…

There are still others and by far the fewer in number that hold the Bible to be the written words of God and they live and die by it’s precepts…….***By all of it’s precepts.

As we discuss God’s word the Bible we will do so through Psalms 119 the book of the Bible, in it’s 176 verses most dedicated to God’s living word.

But first what does our main text say today…

This is an extremely important Scripture in that Jesus Christ is speaking. Praying to God the Father, Jesus say’s, “sanctify them”.

The word “sanctify” means to: to make holy; to set apart as sacred; to consecrate; to purify free from sin. In-other-words to separate for God’s service and glory, to make one a Child of God; to have one become a genuine “born again” believer…

Then Jesus Christ asserts the only way a person can become a Child of God is through the truth! What is the truth, Jesus proclaims for all to hear, “Thy word is truth”…

Jesus is declaring with the authority of His Messiahship, as the only begotten Son of God, as God incarnet, in the flesh, THAT THE ONLY WAY TO ETERNAL SALVATION IS THROUGH A LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AS FOUND AND FOUND ONLY THROUGH THE ETERNAL TRUTH, THE WORD OF GOD, THE BIBLE!!!

“The Bible is not the book of the week; it is not the book of the month; nor is it the book of the year. It is the book of the ages!”

Adrian Rogers

Psalms 119 does not give itself to an easy analysis in general terms; it is enough to say that it treats in general on the privileges and blessedness of those who observe the LAW of the Lord. That LAW or WORD is exhibited by various names and words tending to show its various excellences. The words that are used to express God’s revelation of His word the Bible are: Testimonies; Commandments; Precepts; Word; Law; Ways; Truth; Judgments; Righteousness; Statutes.

This is one of several alphabetical or acrostic Psalms. It is divided

into twenty-two parts, corresponding to the number of letters in the

Hebrew Alphabet. Every part is divided into eight verses; and each

verse begins with the letter of the alphabet which forms the title of

each part. For example the first eight verses begin with “a” aleph, the second eight “b” beth, etc…….

Thus we will discuss eight verses at a time, today we will look at the first eight verses in this Psalm.

Psalms 119 v 1-8

“Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD. 2 Blessed are they that keep his testimonies, and that seek him with the whole heart. 3 They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. 4 Thou hast commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. 5 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! 6 Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. 7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments. 8 I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly.`”

Blessed eternally are the “perfect ones” who walk moment by moment in obedience to God’s LAW, the holy writ, the Bible…

A person who not only hears or reads the word of God but actually puts God’s Bible into moment by moment action or practice WILL BE BLESSED FOREVER…

The person who seeks God through His testimonies WITH HIS WHOLE HEART WILL AGAIN BE BLESSED…

As verse “3” clarifies, this person who obeys God’s word WILL DO NO INIQUITY. By the power of God’s word in their life will stay away from idolatry, injustice, and wrong doing…

God has commanded that we diligently, soberly, conscientiously read and study God’s precepts so that we can put them into action…

Simply knowing God’s word IS NOT ENOUGH, KNOWING GOD IS NOT ENOUGH, OBEYING God’s word because you LOVE Jesus Christ, THAT’S ENOUGH…….

Only by God’s grace and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit will we be able to understand and obey God’s holy word…

***Only God can direct our paths to keep His statutes.

***We are totally lost without Him!!!

A sinner’s heart will grow cold and callous and not be ashamed in his own heart, but the person who genuinely seeks after God and His word, his conscience will declare his need for repentance. All of God’s commands need to be LOVED and obeyed; ***partial obedience IS STILL DISOBEDIENCE!!!***

God’s Commands are universal to all of creation…….

When we have sincerely and genuinely studied God’s words with the goal to joyously obey them, WE WILL FOR LOVE SAKE OBEY THEM FOR GOD’S GLORY…


Isaiah 55 v 10-11

“For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

God’s “word” the Bible is true and refreshing, and by God’s power and will, IT WILL ALWAYS BE VICTORIOUS and ACCOMPLISH GOD’S PURPOSE…….Even as we read it and share it !!!

Amen and Amen

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



August 15, 2021

​“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…………………………. 

If my computer will cooperate, 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


Sermon: James Five: Part Three


August 8, 2021

​“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, DISPAIR, 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 bring 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


August 1, 2021

“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 God 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 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


July 25, 2021

“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, today we come to you with broken hearts. We LOVE you Lord, but we are weak and when we honestly look at our lives we often stray from living for You. And Lord sometimes we do not want to give it up. We struggle with the “old-man”, and by Your great and merciful grace we regularly overcome. But sometimes, just sometimes we want to hold on to something, wanting You, yet desiring something that is against Your will, knowing it is wrong, not wanting to hurt or disobey you, yet wanting to hold on so tightly to this sin. Crying for You and it at the same time. We beg You, I beg You, even in these sins help us over come, help us, help us oh heavenly Father, help us, help us, help us in spite of ourselves, in spite of the terribly destructive seduction of these things in our lives. We most humbly come to You in prayer for us, this day, oh Lord, but still wanting the world to accept You. But today change us, correct us, heal us from any and all sins in our lives, make us Your faithful children,

in Jesus name alone we pray, 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 hire,

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


July 18, 2021


“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


July 11, 2021

“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 we can, 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 !!!!!!! )))))))


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.......


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


July 4, 2021

“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.

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 prayer, the message that follows and in all things n
ot 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,"


 "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


June 27, 2021

“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


June 20, 2021

“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..............................................

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 knows.

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.


(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


June 13 2021

“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............................................................  

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 gets 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,


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


June 6, 2021

“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.

Lord this past week You took my sister to eternity, death was never part of your plan, but because of mankind’s sin it happens to all of us one day, us, or family, friends, LOVED ones, or people we’ve never met. It is sad and frankly quite bitter for those who are left behind. Grant all those who knew my sister Pat comfort, peace, and hope. I especially pray for her children, my nephews and nieces: Bobbie, Debbie, Nancy, Vicky Gary, Tina, and Jasson. Lord be with them.

In Jesus name Amen and eternally Amen and 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 to teach converts and members of the Church instruction in the facts of the Christian gospel and for edification in the Christian faith, and our lives and works as God’s adopted children. 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???




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.


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


May 30, 2021

“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?


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


May 23, 2021

“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 belief 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 good 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..............


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


May, 16, 2021

“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 especially 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.


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


May 9, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Mother's Day"

Genesis 3 v 16A

"Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children;..."

Let us pray:

Dear Father, we approach Your throne on behalf of the mothers whom You have entrusted with the care of Your most precious little ones. We thank You for creating each mom with a unique combination of gifts and talents. We thank You for the sacrifice of self each mom gives for her children. For the late nights spent rocking a colicky infant. For the hands calloused from washing, wiping, scrubbing, mixing, backing, stirring, hugging, patting, disciplining, holding, writing, erasing, painting, and pouring.

We thank You for the gift of time moms give for their kids, whether it’s stay-at-home moms, working moms, and moms who have some combination of the two. We thank You for the flexibility of moms, for their tirelessness, their perseverance, and their devotion.

We pray You give each mom strength. Help her to see in every mundane task the eternal, cosmic significance that You place on motherhood. Help her to understand that the most radical, world-changing events may be happening anonymously in her home. Help her to forgive those who undermine her significance.

We especially pray for single moms, who must lean solely on You for the fathering of their children. We thank You that you’re big arms surround children who may never know their earthly father. We also pray for the mothers who never had the honor of bearing children, but whose nurturing extends to the many poor and needy who cross the threshold of their lives.

We ask You to be the daily bread of tired mothers. We ask You to be their living water. We ask You to be their source of spiritual and physical strength. We pray that the same grace that flowed from Father to Son to us in salvation will flow from mothers to their children. We pray that each mother rejects perfectionism and instead embraces the goodness of the gospel. We pray the rhythms of repentance and forgiveness shape every home.

Lord, give each mother a worshipful reverence of You, the Creator and Sustainer of life. Help each mother to rest in the knowledge that they are but stewards of Your children and that only Your Spirit can produce change into the hearts of each boy and girl. May each mother find rest in You.

Most of all, Lord, on this day in which we honor mothers, may we LOVE and cherish the special women who have born us, who have nurtured us, and who have prayed for our well-being. May our hearts overflow with gratitude to You, who formed and knitted each of us in a mother’s womb.

Bless our moms who are no longer with us, let them know how much we LOVE, adore, and passionately miss them.......

We praise You Father, for all women and Mothers, bless each and every one of them, we glorify Your name, and we pray all these things in Jesus who is Your Son, and who has a Mother named Mary, in Jesus name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen…………..

The word "mother" appears in the Old Testament approximately 235 times and in the New Testament no less than 87 times for a grand total of 322 times; for today’s message I looked at each and everyone...

This world is full of sin and is very corrupt, yet even in this world it is recognized how vitally important "Mothers" are.  As a nation and as a world we celebrate and rightfully so, "Mother's Day!!!

Consider our main text, child birth has always had pain associated with it for women from the very beginning and because of the fall of mankind the pain was greatly increased. Yet women all over the world gladly and joyfully endure the excruciating pain to give birth to the LOVES of their lives, their children !!!


It has been said by women universally that if men had to suffer the pain and anguish of child birth THERE WOULD NEVER BE ANY CHILDREN! I believe that is so, for God has put a special heart in “most” women that makes having a little bundle of joy worth everything to them, it’s called a Mother’s LOVE!!!!!!!

Today we will search the scriptures to get just a little glimpse at what God’s inerrant infallible word the Bible says about “Mothers”…

But first, I will tell you a little bit about my Mother. Her name was Frances Cecilia Pauline (Wrobleski) Smith. She was born in Detroit, Michigan; the daughter of two Polish immigrants. She was raised to speak both Polish and English, but by the time I was able to appreciate her dual language much of her Polish was forgotten by her; but some remained.

I’d like to say she displayed very Christian attributes, but the truth is SHE WAS SIMPLY MY WONDERFUL MOTHER! Far from perfect, with her Polish temper, but in human terms and as her son, SHE WAS A VERY, VERY GOOD PERSON and MOTHER! I thank God with all my heart for her!!!!!!!

She taught me by example to be a very hard worker, that whatever we do, we do to the best of our ability. She taught me to be honest, far more honest than what the typical person’s idea of honesty is. She showed me how to genuinely LOVE people and how to stand up for myself and not be a wet noodle. She showed me how to have passion in my life and to be compassionate towards others and how to stay faithful to what I believe. She inspired me to openly show LOVE to others. As a Catholic she forced me to go to Church and laid the foundation that would lead me one day to my greatest joy, my personal and intimate LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!!!

Only God knows if I would have ever come to know Him as my Lord, God, and Savior if my Mother had not made me go to Church in the childhood years of my life.

Proverbs 22 v 6

“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

Thank God for my salvation and my Mother for making me look up toward God instead of down towards secularism!!!

With the very first payroll check I ever earned, the very first thing I ever purchased was flowers for my Mother, why, JUST BECAUSE!

Just because of her great LOVE for me and my four sisters…….

Perhaps what I remember most about my Mother was her great pain and unspeakable sorrow when my sister Theresa died of Leukemia.  *******How great a Mother’s LOVE!!!!!!!*******

“Her pain will be greatly multiplied!!!”

Jeremiah 31 v 15

“Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.”


Now let us look at just a few scriptures about Moms.

Genesis 3 v 20

“And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.”

Eve the wife of Adam was the very first Mother in all of creation.

Genesis 24 v 67

“Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death.”

In Isaac we see great sorrow in the loss of his Mother Sarah in her death.

Genesis 27 v 12-13

"Perhaps my father will feel me, and I shall seem to be a deceiver to him; and I shall bring a curse on myself and not a blessing.'' 13. But his mother said to him, "Let your curse be on me, my son; only obey my voice, and go, get them for me.''

Rebekah the Mother of Jacob LOVED her son so much, if it were possible, SHE WOULD HAVE GLADLY TAKEN ALL HIS PAIN and SUFFERING UPON HERSELF!

A Mother’s LOVE!!!

Exodus 20 v 12

"Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”

The fifth commandment, the first commandment not related specifically to God, IS TO HONOR THY FATHER and THY MOTHER”. It is a commandment with a promise, God so LOVED FATHERS AND MOTHERS, THAT IF WE SHOW THEM THE PROPER RESPECT FOR THEM, GOD PROMISES A LONG LIFE…

Leviticus 19 v 1-3

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2. "Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: `You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. 3. `Every one of you shall revere his mother and his father, and keep My Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God.   

Once again God declares how very important Mother’s are, God says TO REVERE THEM, we are to admire them, look up to them, respect them, to hold them in our highest regard. God even compares the importance of our Mothers TO KEEPING THE VERY SABBATHS OF GOD!!!


Judges 5 v 6-7

“"In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were deserted, and the travelers walked along the byways.

7. Village life ceased, it ceased in Israel, until I, Deborah, arose,  rose a mother in Israel.”

In the years before God gave the nation of Israel a king, God raised up Judges to rule over His people. Deborah a Mother in Israel was CHOSEN BY YHWH TO BE ONE OF THOSE JUDGES!!!

1 Samuel  2 v 18-19

“But Samuel ministered before the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. 19. Moreover his mother used to make him a little robe, and bring it to him year by year when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.”

Hannah the Mother of one of God’s greatest Judges Samuel, dedicated her BELOVED child to the work of God, sacrificing her raising of her own son, THAT HE MIGHT BECOME A GREAT MAN OF GOD…Never forgetting her son she would bring him clothing year by year that SHE HAD PUT HER BLOOD SWEAT and TEARS INTO AS SHE HAND MADE THEM…

A Mother’s LOVE!!!

Proverbs 1 v 8B-9

“…do not forsake the law of your mother; 9. for they will be graceful ornaments on your head, and chains about your neck.”

God tells us to obey our Mother’s, for it is their responsibility to teach us what we need to know to live a good and productive life. A good Mother’s teaching will be grace in our lives!!!

Proverbs 10 v 1B

“…but a foolish son is the grief of his mother.”

How a Mother’s children live their lives’ can be either a blessing or a curse if their children do evil. A Mother is always connected to their children even when they are grown. Mothers are terribly concerned about how their children live and respond to this life, the world, and the life to come…

“Your pain will be greatly multiplied”.

Proverbs 23 v 22B

“…do not despise your mother when she is old.”

Even as our Mothers grow old WE MUST ALWAYS LOVE and REVERE THEM, SO SAYS GOD!!!

Proverbs 29 v 15

“The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother. “

It is a God given obligation of LOVE for a Mother to discipline their children when it is necessary, and to teach their children the ways of Godly living!!!

The final chapter in the Book of Proverbs is about Mothers:

Proverbs 31 v 1-31

“The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him: 2. What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? 3. Do not give your strength to women, nor your ways to that which destroys kings. 4. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, nor for princes intoxicating drink; 5. lest they drink and forget the law, and pervert the justice of all the afflicted. 6. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, and wine to those who are bitter of heart. 7. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more. 8. Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. 9. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy. 10. Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. 11. The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain. 12.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life. 13. She seeks wool and flax, and willingly works with her hands. 14. She is like the merchant ships, she brings her food from afar. 15. She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants. 16. She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. 17. She girds herself with strength, and strengthens her arms. 18. She perceives that her merchandise is good, and her lamp does not go out by night. 19. She stretches out her hands to the distaff, and her hand holds the spindle.
20. She extends her hand to the poor, yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. 21. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household is clothed with scarlet. 22. She makes tapestry for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. 23. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. 24.  She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. 25. Strength and honor are her clothing; she shall rejoice in time to come. 26. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and on her tongue is the law of kindness. 27. She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29. "Many daughters have done well, but you excel them all.'' 30. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. 31. Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.”
King Lemuel, was probably Bathsheba’s special neckname for King Solomon. Here in Proverbs 31, Solomon remembers many things of  what his Mother said and did.  

She warns him not to drink alcohol because it can cloud a person’s proper thinking. She warns him that women can be confusing and if he allows his sexual passions to control him he could be in grave danger. She says stand up for TRUTH and JUSTICE, always be ready to defend those in genuine need. She says seek a good wife, a wife like minded that she can truly be a helpmate to you, and you to her.

It is good and a great blessing to be a stay at home Mom!!! But though some would suggest that this is the Bible’s only way, THEY ARE IN ERROR!!!

For as Solomon, King Lemuel continues, his Mother was a working Mother, a very hard working Mother outside the home. She had a business of her own in buying and selling real estate, but her work did not stop there, she made and sold linen garments. She wasn’t a silent Mom she spoke her mind and stood up for what she thought was right!!! She was always busy, never idle.

Man’s work is from sun-up to sun-down, but WOMENS WORK IS NEVER DONE…

She saw to it that her children were well taken care of. But to King Lemuel, first and foremost his Mother was a godly woman, LOVING and fearing the Lord God in reverential fear.

Behind every great man or woman IS A GODLY MOTHER…

As we close for today, I want us to take a look at how much Jesus Christ LOVED and HONORED His Mother:

John 19 v 26-27

“When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!''

27. Then He said to the disciple, "Behold your mother!'' And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home.”

As Jesus was suffering excruciating pain and dying upon the cross, blood and tears flowing from His eyes, as the humanly unbearable suffering of ALL the SINS of the whole human race were put upon His tender yet powerful shoulders, as the unthinkable occurred when God was separated from God, when God the Father and God the Holy Spirit turned away from Jesus LEAVING HIM ETERNALLY ALONE IN THAT MOMENT BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT LOOK UPON THE SINS!!! As Jesus cried out in gruesome torment:

Matthew 27 v 46

“And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?'' that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?''”

Jesus looked down and saw His BELOVED Mother, Mary, and took the time and the last of His dying breath to take care of her. Calling upon John the apostle to take care of her always…………………………………………

Let us LOVE our Mothers this day and every day with all the LOVE and passion that God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit SHOWED MARY THE MOTHER OF JESUS CHRIST THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD!!!!!!!


Though my Mother died December 5, 1979, “I LOVE you Mother!!!!!!!” Blessed Mother’s day to all you ladies out there !!!

Submitted by: a son…….


May 2. 2021

“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 this 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!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


April 25 2021

“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


April 18, 2021

“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 work out 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.


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.


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


April 11,2021

“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

ord 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 greatest 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


April 3, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming


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:"

Father we humbly pray:

Christ our life,

You are alive - in the beauty of the earth

in the rhythm of the seasons

in the mystery of time and space


Christ our life,

You are alive - in the tenderness of touch

in the heartbeat of intimacy

in the insights of solitude


Christ our life,

You are alive - in the creative possibility

of the dullest conversation

of the dreariest task

the most threatening event


Christ our life,

You are alive - to offer re-creation

to every unhealed hurt

to every deadened place

to every damaged heart


Christ our life,

You are alive forevermore.

On the third day you arose

by your own power. One

day we will arise by your

power. And we all will live

out eternity forevermore,

in your presence.

You set before us a great choice.

Therefore we choose life.

The dance of resurrection soars and

surges through the whole creation,

This is grace, dying we live.

so let us live.

In Jesus’ name Amen and eternally


Today 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 Eternally IS THEIRS!!!!!!! IS OURS!!!!!!!

Romans 10 v 11

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


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!         

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’S 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!!!

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!!!


He is risen!!!!!!!

Matthew 28 v 5-6

“And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. 6. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

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…


Philippians 3 v 10

“That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;”

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








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……………………………………………………

Happy EASTER!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


March 28, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

THE BLOOD !!!!!!! ”

Leviticus 17:11 (RSV)
11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it for you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement, by reason of the life.

Lord we lift our hearts to you. As the dawn breaks, may we carry the unity we share into every moment knowing that we are one with the risen Christ.

Lord, we lift our eyes to you. As the sunrises, may this moment stay with us, reminding us to look for the beautiful colours of promise in your word.

Lord, we lift our prayers to you. As the dew air falls, may we breathe this morning in and know that like the earth, you sustain us, keep us and work within us always.

And so, we lift our voices to you. We celebrate the greatest day in history, when Jesus rose from death, defeated darkness and bathed the world in stunning resurrection light. May we ever live to praise you!

In Jesus most compassionate and precious name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen……………………………………………...
Read more:

We will be celebrating Easter because through Jesus Christ’s shed blood many, all who are willing, are saved and alive for ETERNITY...............

Today’s message will focus on the blood of our most precious, kind, and LOVING Savior Jesus Christ..............................

Lord, we, ETERNALLY thank you...................We LOVE you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hebrews 9:22 (RSV)
22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

Just a Few Things the BLOOD of Jesus Christ Does for Us!!!!!!!

Matthew 26:28 (RSV)
28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

***Through Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone, HIS SHED BLOOD BRINGS THE REDEMPTION FROM OUR SINS!!!!!!!

John 6:53 (RSV)
53 So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you;

***The BLOOD of Jesus gives eternal life to those who consume it!!!!!!!

John 6:56 (RSV)
56 He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

***The BLOOD of Jesus most intimately allows Jesus Christ to indwell in us and us in Him!!!!!!!

Acts 20:28 (RSV)
28 Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son.

***The BLOOD of Jesus was the price that Jesus purchased His Church, ALL “BORN AGAIN” BELIEVERS!!!!!!!

Romans 3:25 (RSV)
25 whom God put forward as an expiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins;

***The BLOOD of Jesus is the means by which Jesus became the atonement for our sins!!!!!!!

Romans 5:9 (RSV)
9 Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.

***The BLOOD of Jesus justifies us and saves us from the wrath of God, that each and every one of us DESERVES!!!!!!!

Ephesians 1:7 (RSV)
7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace

1 Peter 1:18-19 (RSV)
18 You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold,
19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Revelation 5:9 (RSV)
9 and they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art thou to take the scroll and to open its seals, for thou wast slain and by thy blood didst ransom men for God from every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

***The BLOOD of Jesus redeems us!!!!!!! The price for our salvation was paid for ONCE AND FOR ALL TIME!!!!!!!

Ephesians 2:13 (RSV)
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ.

***The BLOOD of Jesus brings us who were lost and far away from Him, brings us very close to Him, to the very throne of our heavenly Father!!!!!!!

Colossians 1:14 (RSV)
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

***The BLOOD of Jesus brings us eternal redemption and forgiveness!!!!!!!

Colossians 1:20 (RSV)
20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

***The BLOOD of Jesus eternally reconciles us to our eternal Father, God, and Savior!!!!!!!

Hebrews 9:12 (RSV)
12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, taking not the blood of goats and calves but his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.


Hebrews 9:14 (RSV)
14 how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

***The BLOOD of Jesus cleanses us from dead works to serve the ever living God: YHWH!!!!!!!

Hebrews 10:19 (RSV)
19 Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,

***The BLOOD of Jesus is the means by which we enter the most holy place with boldness!!!!!!! We are eternally accepted!!!!!!!

Hebrews 12:24 (RSV)
24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.

***The BLOOD of Jesus speaks a better word than the blood of Abel!!!!!!! 

Hebrews 13:12 (RSV)
12 So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.

***The BLOOD of Jesus sanctifies us!!!!!!!

Hebrews 13:20-21 (RSV)
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21 equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in you that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

***The BLOOD of Jesus makes us complete for every good work under the Son, sun!!!!!!! We are without excuse, we can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens and equips us to serve Him in all good works!!!!!!!

1 John 1:7 (RSV)
7 but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

***The BLOOD of Jesus cleanses us from all sin, all past, present, and future sins!!!!!!! 

 1 John 5:8 (RSV)
8 There are three witnesses, the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree.

***The BLOOD of Jesus bears witness in the earth along with the Spirit and the water!!!!!!! 

Revelation 1:5 (RSV)
5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the first-born of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood

Revelation 7:14 (RSV)
14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

***The BLOOD of Jesus is the means by which Jesus washes us whiter than snow!!!!!!!

Revelation 12:11 (RSV)
11 And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.

***The BLOOD of Jesus is the means by which we overcome the accuser of the brethren!!!!!!!  We have overcome Lucifer, Satan himself !!!!!!!

Have faith in the blessed shed BLOOD of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:9 (RSV)
9 As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls.

The New Covenant is by the BLOOD of Jesus Christ:

Luke 22:20 (RSV)
20 And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

Hebrews 13:20 (RSV)
20 Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant,

By Jesus Christ’s BLOOD, though we die WE WILL RISE AGAIN, and forever be with Him in paradise!!!!!!!

Luke 23:43 (RSV)
43 And he said to him, "Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."

One Day...................................................................................................

"Nothing But The Blood"

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Come to us, Lord
You reward those who earnestly, diligently seek You
I wanna see Your face, I wanna know Your way
Come to us, Lord

We want You more than this life
More than our way Your way is higher
Your thoughts are higher
We surrender here tonight

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow
No other fount I know
Nothing but the blood of Jesus
Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Blessed Easter season one and all.........................Even to you, who choose not to believe....................................................

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.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


March 21, 2021

“a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Remember Lest We Forget: Part 2"

Revelation 2 v 5

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

How easy it is to forget. We often forget our promises, we forget how many numerous times God has intervened in our lives to save us from our own foolish decisions and quite frankly our own “stupid” selves!

Yet when some temptations come, we seem to put the pause button on and just run with it. All because in those moments of greatest weakness we take out eyes off God, and fail to “remember” His LOVE and wondrous sacrifice for us upon the cross!

Afterwards we are extremely remorseful and repentant as Christians, but that DOES NOT CHANGE THE FACT THAT WE HAVE ONE MORE TIME FAILED TO BE THE PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS ONES GOD HAS CALLED US TO BE!!! God has not only called us to be righteous but He has given US the indwelling of the Holy Spirit TO LIVE GOOD and PERFECTLY RIGHTEOUS LIVES!!!

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.”

***It was God the Holy Spirit indwelling in Jesus Christ the man that gave Jesus the strength to live a sinless life.

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.”

Jesus is fully God and fully man and as a man He lived a life of obedience and righteousness by His complete surrender to the indwelling Holy Spirit. ***Jesus always “remembered” who He was and never forgot to submit to the perfect will of His Father who is in heaven…

***We must always “remember” if we are genuine Children of God, truly and eternally “born again”, that WE MUST DO ALL WE CAN FOR LOVE’S SAKE TO LIVE A LIFE WORTHY OF OUR CALLING, WORTHY OF WHOSE WE ARE!!!

Ephesians 4 v 1
 “I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,”

Paul prays that we as “true” Christians would live our moment by moment lives in ways that glorify God and show the world THAT INDEED GOD CAN SAVE US FROM SIN!!!!!!!

Colossians 1 v 10

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;”

Living lives full of God pleasing good works that is being faithful and worthy of who and what we are as Christians. Being worthy is by our willing desire to grow in grace by sober and diligent study of God’s only inerrant, infallible word the Bible!!!

1 Thessalonians 2 v 12

“That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.”

We should walk worthy of God because of Jesus’ immense blood sacrifice upon the cross that saved us from not only our sins but from our very selves and because of that we have eternity in His kingdom and in His glory!!!

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.”

Oh to live lives worthy of God’s calling that we will GLORIFY THE VERY NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, that we live lives that fulfill the good and awesome goodness of our BELOVED Savior!!!!!!!

What an honor, what a privilege, what a tremendous obligation of LOVE to God and to all He LOVES!!!!!!! Let us hold industriously to “remembering” what our Lord and eternal Savior has called us to…….

Let us “remember”!!!!!!!

As we continue to “remember” all that God has done for us, let us again turn to a survey of scripture.

Psalms 25 v 6-7

“Remember, O LORD, thy tender mercies and thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old. 7 Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness' sake, O LORD.”

Here David asks God to ever “remember” His LOVE toward mankind that has existed from eternity in the heart of God. Further, David asks God to “remember” not, his sins nor his transgressions, but to remember His forgiveness of our sins which are rooted in God’s LOVING mercy towards His Children!!!

Psalms 77 v 10-11

“I will remember the works of the LORD: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. 12 I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.”

Here David promises as all Christians should, to “remember” all that God has so graciously done for us, not only recent things, but all that God has done for us from even before the beginning of creation. Let us “remember” to daily meditate upon what the Lord God has done for us SO THAT WE MIGHT SHARE HIS LOVE WITH OTHERS and  THAT THEY TOO, WILL “REMEMBER WHAT GOD HAS and WILL DO FOR THEM… ***If they only ask…….

Psalms 103 v 17-18

“But the mercy of the LORD is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children;
18 To such as keep his covenant and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”

Let us always “remember” God’s LOVING mercy is from everlasting to everlasting, in-other-words from before we were even created God LOVED us and wanted to show mercy upon all He had created. Yet we must not forget, WE MUST”REMEMBER” that we must always seek with the help of the Holy Spirit to not only to “remember” all of God’s word the Bible, but for LOVE’S sake, we must seek to OBEY GOD”S WORD as well!!!

James 1 v 22

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

Let us “remember” LOVE means doing the will of God…

Psalms 105 v 5

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;”


That proceed from His book, 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.”

How essential it is according to our great calling as Children of the MOST HIGH GOD, THE ONLY GOD, THE TRUE GOD, that we “REMEMBER” and OBEY NOT JUST SOME OF HIS WORDS, SOME OF HIS BIBLE, BUT EVERYTHING HE HAS DECLARED IN HIS BOOK OF BOOKS!!!!!!!

Let us always “REMEMBER”!!!

Isaiah 43 v 25

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

***For those who are truly “born again” believers, God WILL NEVER “REMEMBER” OUR SINS!!!!!!!***

God will never, ever, “remember” our sins because of Jesus’ LOVING voluntary blood sacrifice upon that man made cross, that we made with our sins…….



Isaiah 46 v 9

“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me,”


Though there are many decent, loving, and wonderful people who believe differently, LET US “REMEMBER” THEY ARE STILL WRONG!


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.”

1 John 2 v 2

“And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Though most will ultimately refuse Jesus’ LOVE, Jesus still died for us all!!!!!!!

As the Old Testament closes, once again God reminds us, because we forget so easily, God reminds us TO “REMEMBER” ALL HIS WORD. TO “REMEMBER IN TRUTH BOTH THE OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS, ALL 66 BOOKS OF THE BIBLE!!!

Malachi 4 v 4

“Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments.”

Let us “remember”!

We of the New Testament are no better in “remembering” than those who have gone before us…

Mark 8 v 14-21

“Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. 15 And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod. 16 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. 17 And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? 18 Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? 19 When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve. 20 And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven. 21 And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?”.

Now Jesus and His disciples had gotten aboard a boat and Jesus began to warn them of the leaven of the Pharisees and of those in political power. How many religious leaders and political leaders have hidden agendas in their hearts, and many of those agendas are not in obedience to God’s word!!! They may appear religious or righteous or morally appropriate but we must test all things according to God’s word…

1 John 4 v 1

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”

But the disciples did not understand, they thought because they had forgotten to bring bread that Jesus was somehow referring to the leaven (bread) that the Pharisees had. They could not put two and two together and “remember” as Jesus had done miracle after miracle in their sight and how Jesus had miraculously fed over 5,000 people with abundance of food and bread left over, they perceived He was talking about a lack of food. ***Jesus was very concerned of their, our, lack of “remembering”; Jesus realized how important “remembering” is TO UNDERSTANDING HIS LOVE and HIS CALL UPON OUR LIVES…….

We must most certainly “remember”!

Luke 1 v 72

“To perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant;”

We are reminded to “remember” that God’s promises of the coming Messiah, the Christ, Jesus Christ, were foretold and promised by God in a holy covenant to His people in the Old Testament. Let us praise God and “remember” the coming messiah Jesus Christ was fulfilled in the New Testament…….

Luke 24 v 6-8

“He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, 7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. 8 And they remembered his words,”

Let us always “remember” that while Jesus was yet alive He prophesied of His death and resurrection for the sake of mankind. And let us “remember” two things, how time and circumstance helped the disciples forget that Jesus was to rise from the dead, and let us “remember”, THE DISCIPLES FINALLY DID “REMEMBER”, and BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THEIR FAITH and MEMORY LEAD TO THE BIRTH OF THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH, THAT WE ARE PRILEDGED TO HAVE IN OUR LIVES TO THIS VERY DAY!!!

Let us “remember” and not take the churches existence for granted!!!

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.”

Let us “remember” Jesus Christ died that the Christian Church be born!!!!!!!

John 15 v 20

“Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

Let us “remember” the world hated Jesus Christ, they hated His teaching, they hated His LOVE, they hated His compassion, THEY HATE HIS BLOOD SACRIFICE, THE WORLD, US INCLUDED MURDERED HIM; and so they will hate us and seek to destroy us for turning our lives to Him…

But let us “remember” Jesus continued to minister to the world, that some might be saved!!!***We as genuine Christians for LOVE sake must do the same!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Acts 20 v 35

“I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Let us eternally “remember” the very words of Jesus, “IT IS MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE”; LET US LIVE OUR LIVES ACCORDINGLY…….

***Let us “remember” all those in need, and let us help who we can, however we can…….Always in God’s LOVE…….


How quickly we forget! As a minister, I have had countless numbers of professing Christians come up to me and say, they still feel guilty, and they still feel their sins are not forgiven. Even very well meaning Pastors and other ministers of the Gospel say at the judgment seat of Christ, Jesus will discuss our sins.

Not so says God’s inerrant word, “remember”:

Hebrews 10 v 17

“And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”

When we are saved, our sins and iniquities will be “remembered” NO MORE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Then finally let us look at our main text for today:

Revelation 2 v 5

“Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Some of us who have truly LOVED and accepted Jesus Christ as our only Lord, our only God, and our only Savior, sometimes, just sometimes, do to the trials and pressures of this earthly life have fallen away from what we have LOVED and believed. No we have not lost our salvation, but somehow we have lost our way. Our hearts and minds are confused and befuddled by the cares and worries of this world. God tells us the only cure for our malady IS TO “REMEMBER”!!!

To “remember’ the day we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior, to “remember” how sinful we were, and how gracious and LOVING God was to forgive us for all our unrighteousness. To “remember” how much God in His LOVE and mercy has forgiven us. To repent of all those things that have clouded and damaged our daily relationship with Him. To “remember” how faithful we once were, and turn back to Him, and do the faithful things we use to do, and with God’s powerful hand be more faithful than ever before!!!!!!!

Oh, LET US “REMEMBER”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

For those who have nothing to “remember”, “remember” Jesus Christ of Nazareth has died for you. His perfect life and His willing BLOOD SACRIFICE paid the total cost for YOUR sins. Something that YOU and all of us could not do for ourselves, only Jesus Christ could save us from our sins!!!

Remember He calls YOU to Himself:

Revelation 3 v 20

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

“Remember” Jesus comes to YOU, He stands at the door of YOUR heart, He wants nothing more than for YOU to open YOUR heart’s door to allow Him to come in. ***If YOU open YOUR heart’s door by the grace of the Holy Spirit in YOUR life, JESUS WILL COME IN and ETERNALLY SAVE YOU!!!


1 John 1 v 9

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

“Remember” God can and will save YOU, if YOU want to be saved!!!

2 Corinthians 6 v 2

“(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)”

Today can be, THE DAY OF YOUR SALVATION!!!!!!!


Romans 10 v 8-11

“But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 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.”


YOU will not be ashamed if YOU LOVE Jesus Christ!!!

Let us “remember”, lest we forget…

Again Rudyard Kipling said over a hundred years ago:

"Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget."

As we close let us “remember” what Jesus Christ promised His disciples, all genuine Christians:

Matthew 28 v 20B

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

As a Christian “remember”, WE ARE NEVER ALONE!!!!!!!

NEVER !!!!!!!


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


March 14, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Remember Lest We Forget"

Revelation 3 v 3

“Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”

Lord Adonai, You give the World so much LOVE and beauty, You give each of us Born Again Believers so much more, and yet we all so often forget what You have done for us during our trials and temptations, and when we are on the verge of taking the next step into sin, blinded and indifferent when we sin. Why oh Lord, are our memories so clouded and faulty at times. Why ??? Is it sin in our lives, is it simply forgetfulness, are we just ignorant, what is it??? But we know oh Lord it is righteous to remember Your deeds, it is an absolute necessity in our daily lives to remember Your wonders.

Help us Father to remember You always, to live our lives in the light of who You are and in what You have done for us individually and collectively. Let Your glorious LOVE, grace, and astronomical mercy ever guide our steps. Break the spell that sin and doubt have upon us, give us remembrance, strength, and wisdom to live our lives according to Your will. Give us Your LOVE that we reach out to each other and the World as You would have us. Let us truly be Your children in thought, word, and deed, and magnificently glorify You in front of all. God give us a complete remembrance of Your holy deeds, and in Jesus name answer this pray, and bring absolute victory in our lives, eternally Amen and Amen………………………………God we LOVE you !!!

Today's message was inspired by the Holy Spirit through a quote by Rudyard Kipling from over a hundred years ago, he said:

"Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget."

Mankind has a plethora of blessings the Lord God YHWH bestows upon us, I think of how soon we forget. I think of how the people of Israel so quickly forgot about how God Almighty so miraculously and wondrously delivered them from the Egyptians by the parting of the Red Sea. I think about how God so tremendously saved me on March 26, 1975 and how throughout my life I have seen the hand of God upon my life. Yet, when trials and problems come, I so often forget what He has done for me, and in forgetfulness I toss His LOVE and protection aside and fear and try to solve my problems myself.

I thought it might be nice to survey some of the many scriptures that discuss remembering.

The first two times “remember” is used in the Bible, it is after God has to destroy the evil world that man has caused by our sin.

Genesis 6 v 5

“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

So God saved man through Noah, and God made a covenant with mankind and His creation after the worldwide flood.

Genesis 9 v 15-16

“ And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth.”

God pledged an everlasting covenant that day with all of His creation; He eternally promised that He WOULD ALWAYS REMEMBER HIS COVENANT NEVER AGAIN TO ALLOW A WORLDWIDE FLOOD, HE PLEDGED NEVER TO FORGET!!!

God “remembers”!!!

Genesis 40 v 23

“Yet did not the chief butler remember Joseph, but forgat him.”

Joseph had interpreted a dream for Pharaoh’s butler in which the butler was restored to his position with Pharaoh. He was asked to remember and tell Joseph’s kindness. In this case however the butler for got and because he failed to “remember” Joseph spent more time in prison.

Not remembering this time caused pain…

Finally the chief butler did “remember”, and Joseph ultimately became second in charge of all of Egypt…

Genesis 41 v 9

“Then spake the chief butler unto Pharaoh, saying, I do remember my faults this day:”

The chief butler “remembered” his sin against Joseph, and because he remembered and repented Joseph was set free…

Exodus 13 v 3

“And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.”

Then God by His omnipotent hand did save the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Israel) by parting the Red Sea, and allowed them to escape out of Egypt on dry land and drowning the majority of Egyptian soldiers as the Red Sea suddenly by the willful hand of God returned to it’s normal course…

Moses implored the people never to forget this glorious work of His LOVE toward them…

But they soon forgot…

Exodus 20 v 8

“Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

God specifically commanded the nation and people of Israel NEVER TO FORGET THE SABBATH DAY( EVE FRIDAY TO EVE SATURDAY), TO ALWAYS KEEP IT HOLY AS A DAY OF WORSHIP, FOCUSED ON YHWH. By way of a universal principle all genuine believers must keep at minimum at least one day of holy worship for YHWH!!!!!!!

We must always “remember” to worship God our eternal Savior and King!!!!!!!

Leviticus 26 v 40-42

“If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; 41 And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: 42 Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.”

That person, persons, or nation that is willing to humble themselves and acknowledge and repent of their sins, God will “remember” His individual and collective promises to us and GOD WILL FORGIVE US and HEAL OUR LAND and NATION of OUR SINS…….


Deuteronomy 7 v 18

“Thou shalt not be afraid of them: but shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt;”

God speaks to His people and says, “do not be afraid of the people around you”; “remember ALL THAT I HAVE DONE FOR YOU. ***Remember my LOVE for YOU, and be not afraid or worried though you may have many trials or problems…I too, WILL REMEMBER YOU!!!!!!!

Deuteronomy 8 v 17-19

“And thou say in thine heart, My power and the might of mine hand hath gotten me this wealth. 18 But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.”

In these troubled and uncertain economic times we would do well to “remember”, wealth or any success we work for is not obtained by the power of our own strength or by the ability of our own intellect but rather any worthy success comes from God as we diligently seek to serve and obey His laws for our lives as found in the words of God the Bible!!!!!!!

***Further it is very important to “remember”, if we choose to forget God, or we choose to believe in some other god, or in no god at all, IT WOULD BE WISE TO “REMEMBER” THERE WILL BE CONSEQUENCES TO PAY!!!

Deuteronomy 32 v 7

“Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.”

“Remember” to ask your elders about the things of God, for they will tell you the wonderful works that God has done in their lives and in the lives of the generations before them.

The hymn “It Is Well with My Soul”, how God can turn inconceivable heartache into something THAT BLESSES THE SOUL…


This hymn was writ­ten af­ter two ma­jor trau­mas occurred in the in writer’s life, Horatio G. Spaf­ford. The first was the great Chi­ca­go Fire of Oc­to­ber 1871, which ru­ined him fi­nan­cial­ly (he had been a weal­thy bus­i­ness­man). Short­ly af­ter, while cross­ing the At­lan­tic, all four of Spaf­ford’s daugh­ters died in a col­li­sion with an­o­ther ship. Spaf­ford’s wife Anna sur­vived and sent him the now fa­mous tel­e­gram, “Saved alone.” Sev­er­al weeks lat­er, as Spaf­ford’s own ship passed near the spot where his daugh­ters died, the Ho­ly Spir­it in­spired these words. They speak to the eter­nal hope that all be­liev­ers have, no mat­ter what pain and grief be­fall them on earth.

Let us “remember” the LOVE God has shown us, and the LOVE He has shown those who have gone before us…

Let us REMEMBER!!!!!!!

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.


It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.


My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!


For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.


But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord!
Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!


And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Let us REMEMBER…….

David thanking God for all that God had done for him and the nation of Israel wrote a psalm and said this,

1 Chronicles 16 v 12

“Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth;”

We as Christians truly for LOVE’S sake must “remember” ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US! How easily we forget, saved by grace, protected by His presence in our lives, yet fear, frustration, despair, agony, and gloom take hold of us when we struggle with the normal trials and temptations of this life. How we so easily forget, how easily we lose our focus on OUR ETERNALLY LOVING and CARING GOD!!!!!!!


Psalms 20 v 7

“Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.”

Most of us trust in our own abilities and strengths or the goodness of humanity or the power of the government, let us as Christians ALWAYS “REMEMBER” THE ONE TRUE GOD and SAVIOR: JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!

Let us take time as we prepare for the gathering of our friends and LOVED ones this Lord’s Day, let us soberly and diligently take time to REMEMBER ALL THAT GOD HAS DONE FOR US!

All that God has done for others, let us “REMEMBER”…

My Mother is gone now, but I REMEMBER!

My Father is gone now, but I REMEMBER!

My sisters Theresa and Dorothy are gone now, but I REMEMBER!

I “remember” their lives and how much LOVE and beauty they brought into my life. I “remember”, they all, WERE BLESSINGS FROM GOD!!!!!!!

I “REMEMBER”!!!!!!!

The day of my salvation, I “remember”!!!!!!! Alone sitting in my car, I was supposed to be studying for a test for one of my college classes. In stead I was reading a green pocket college edition New Testament given to me by a member of Gideon’s…

I “remember”, I “remember”!!!!!!!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Let us “remember”, while we were yet sinners, lost desperately in sin, Jesus Christ died for us!

Romans 5 v 8

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Let us “REMEMBER”!

Next week we will look at some more scriptures on “remembering”, that is, if, I don’t forget…

In closing:

"Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, lest we forget, lest we forget."

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


March 7, 2021

"What About B.O.B.??? Pt. 3"


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."


Forty martyrs

"History knows them as the 40 martyrs of Sebaste. They were soldiers in the famed Twelfth Legion of Rome's imperial army, around A.D. 320. One day the captain informed his troops that Emperor Licinius had sent down an edict commanding all soldiers to offer a sacrifice to his pagan god. Forty of the soldiers were followers of Christ, and they refused.

The emperor decided to make an example of the soldiers, so he marched them onto a frozen lake and stripped them of their clothes. "Renounce your God and you will be spared from death," he told them. Not one man came forward. Throughout the night the men stayed together, singing their song of victory: "Forty Martyrs for Christ."

When morning came, 39 of the men had frozen to death. The one survivor recanted his confession of faith. The officer in charge that night had been so moved by the scene that during his watch he'd come to Jesus, so he broke rank and walked out onto the ice. Stripping his clothes he openly confessed his faith in Christ. He refused to renounce his new faith. When the ordeal was over, the Roman soldiers carried 40 frozen men off of the ice.

What kind of Christians are we???????

Now 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.”


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 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.


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???


What did the “Forty” do?

***What will you do???

What about B.O.B.???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


February 28, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"What About B.O.B.? Part Two"


Hebrews 5 v 9

"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;"

Jehovah-Raah (The Lord My Shepherd), We call upon You in all humility, for we are without strength or ability to Believe in You, or to LOVE You, or to Obey You without Your mighty Spirit indwelling us.

Lord, help us with Your great grace and strength to live our moment by moment lives in Obedience to Your Holy inerrant Word the Bible. Give us such faith and LOVE to joyously and freely desire with our entire being to Obey You in every thought, word, and deed we have.

Help us to live up to the Holy calling You put upon our lives. To LOVE You with all our heart, mind, body, and soul. To serve You with all our strength and being. To LOVE our fellow man as YOU DO. To reach out to all those who are in physical, emotional, and financial need, and do what we are able and capable of doing to show Your LOVE, and our LOVE, for them and their needs and concerns.

Grant us the LOVE, compassion, and will to boldly reach out to the Lost souls of this fallen world, and share the wonderful and magnificent gospel of Your one and only begotten Son Jesus Christ. Pleading with them with all integrity of heart of their need for a personal LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ.

Help us to be “good” stewards of this world, and all that You have created. Give us insight, wisdom, and the where with to do all that we can and need to, to make this world, and all Your creation the very best it can be. For Your glory and the health of all creation.

Finally heavenly Father, we indeed praise You for all You have done, and we submit this prayer in the name of Your blessed Son, our great Shepherd and Savior’s name: Jesus Christ, Amen and eternally Amen……………………………

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 IN EVERYTHING GOD’S ONLY INERRENT INFALIBLE WORD THE BIBLE SAYS…….

Matthew 4 v 17

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

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:


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!!!!!!!


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 “willingly” 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 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 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…….



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!!!


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.
      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.
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.
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.

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;"

A final word, our Obedience is not defined as never sinning again, but rather, with God the Holy Spirit’s help, genuinely and sincerely desiring: NEVER WANTING TO SIN AGAIN !!!

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.




Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


February 21, 2021

"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"What about B.O.B.? Part One"


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.”


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”:


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.


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…….

 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


February 14, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“In His Steps: Part Seven”

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. Father

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Let us pray:

Lord, You are so good to us. You give us life, each breath, and You provide EVERYTHING we need to live a good and righteous life. I can’t speak for all of us, but, I pray for forgiveness for rarely using your tools and resources to genuinely live the life You wanted me to. I have, we have, failed You in so many ways, and yet You LOVE us, You LOVE me. When I think of that I am astonished that You LOVE me!!!

Thank You for the faith and grace You have given each of us. Thank You for the plethora of experiences You have given each of us, each unique and personalized for every individual. Thank You for our Mothers, our Fathers, our brothers, our sisters, thank you for all our family friends and LOVED ones. Thank You Lord for our brothers and sisters in ChrisT. Thank You LORD even for those we may call our enemies. Thank You so very much for Your holy word the Bible, and all the true teachers and preachers, and expounders of Your word. Thank You Lord FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERTHING!!!!!!!

Lord, help us LOVE ALL YOUR CREATION, every man, woman, and child, every animal, everything that You have given life to. Lord, help us LOVE as You do, help us be that salt, that light You saved us to be; help us Oh Lord to truly be Your Children. In Jesus ChrisT’s name, Amen, Amen, and eternally Amen…….

Today we close our series of sermons on the Character and Qualities that should be in every ChrisTian, knowing full well, I myself, and each of us fall short, me, the most of all……………………………………

61) Decisive

Romans 12:2 (KJV)
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Matthew 5:37 (KJV)
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.

Decisive is sticking to right and just decisions based on God’s perfect will as seen through His holy words the Bible.

62) Patient

Romans 12:12 (KJV)
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

Psalm 27:14 (RSV)
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; yea, wait for the LORD!

Isaiah 40:31 (RSV)
31 but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Patience is the fortitude to accept from others difficult situations that we do not like. With God, it is trust of His timing, and not giving Him a deadline.

63) Zealous

Luke 2:49 (RSV)
49 And he said to them, "How is it that you sought me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?"

John 2:17 (RSV)
17 His disciples remembered that it was written, "Zeal for thy house will consume me."

John 8:29 (RSV)
29 And he who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him."

Zealous is maintaining our joyful passion for our faith and call, not allowing our church or us to fall into a rut of meaningless rhetoric. Doing God’s word, NOT JUST PREACHING IT!!!!!!!

64) Teach

Matthew 7:28 (RSV)
28 And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching,

Matthew 28:19-20 (RSV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

John 7:16 (RSV)
16 So Jesus answered them, "My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me;

Mark 4:2 (RSV)
2 And he taught them many things in parables, and in his teaching he said to them:

2 John 1:9 (RSV)
9 Any one who goes ahead and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God; he who abides in the doctrine has both the Father and the Son.

Teach is to share God’s holy word the Bible, the insights we’ve gleaned and what we have learned from others, to disciple one another.

65) Merciful

Luke 6:36 (RSV)
36 Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.

Merciful is demonstrating more forgiving and gracious kindness than the world requires. Including not brow beating or condemning those who are still in sin, but LOVING them as ChrisT LOVES you and I…….

66) Thoroughness

Ecclesiastes 9:10 (RSV)
10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going.

Colossians 3:23 (RSV)
23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men,

Thoroughness is careful diligence that carries out our call with our very best for God’s approval.

67) Endurance//Perseverance

Galatians 6:9 (RSV)
9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.

Endurance is the inner strength to remain in Him with staying power in order to accomplish God’s will. Perseverance is not being faint with our call, but being able to persist and continue to deal with stress so we can accomplish what God calls us to.

68) Persuasiveness 

2 Timothy 2:25-26 (RSV)
25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, 26 and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Persuasiveness advocates God’s Word to others so they can be changed in their thinking and can conform to His will. Always share in LOVE and humility, your goal is to encourage those in need, not condemn or discourage them……………….This is a special gift from the Holy Spirit!!!

Consider this:

Isaiah 55:11 (RSV)
11 so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.


Therefore we need not play tricks, get angry, or anything else, simply be LOVING, honest, and sincere, showing mercy and grace, and getting out of the way of the Holy Spirit………………………….

69) Grace

Psalm 94:11 (RSV)
11 the LORD, knows the thoughts of man, that they are but a breath.

James 4:6 (RSV)
6 But he gives more grace; therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble."

Grace is elegant simplicity with great humility and calm that minimizes coarseness. It is seeing the one Lost as a friend, a family member of humanity, a person in need, not one needing chastisement, but a helping hand, not one to shake your fingers at, but one needing your whole hand to pull them into the LIFERAFT of salvation!!!

70) Godly Priorities

Matthew 6:33 (RSV)
33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well.

Godly Priorities is choosing to follow Scriptural precepts NO MATTER WHAT, because they are truly from God!!!!!!!

GOD MUST ALWAYS BE FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We must see all things through Him………………………………………………….

As Jesus declared:

Matthew 22:37-40 (RSV)
37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."


We have discussed over these last several weeks the “70” characteristics and the qualities that should be seen in a genuine ChrisTian………………………………….

Including today’s:

61) Decisive

62) Patient

63) Zealous

64) Teach

65) Merciful

66) Thoroughness

67) Endurance//Perseverance

68) Persuasiveness 

69) Grace

70) Godly Priorities

The “3” most important things we must take from this series of sermons is:

1) We, all of us, must have Jesus as our Savior, for none of us can ever on our own live up to any of these characteristics and qualities, let alone all of them, without the LOVE, grace, and mercy of God; which can only be found through a LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ and Him alone……………

2) We must LOVE God, God the Father, God the only Son Jesus ChrisT, and God the Holy Spirit first and foremost, before ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING!!!!!!!

3) We are to LOVE one another as God LOVES us, to the very best of our ability, our family, our friends, our LOVED ones, and even our so called enemies MUST BE LOVED BY US!!!!!!!

Being a ChrisTian is not easy, but, it is worth our eternal souls…………..

May the Lord bless each and every one of you………………………………..

Submitted by: Harold Chris Smith, sbc


February 7, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“In His Steps: Part Six”

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. Father

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Why Oh Lord do worthy prayers go unanswered, when prayers of health, prayers of safety, prayers of LOVE and genuine concern seem to go up in smoke never to be heard again? We understand that You are ALL LOVING, ALL CARING, ALL POWERFUL, ALL KNOWING, and exist EVERYWHERE and at ALL TIMES!!!

Yet LOVED ones die, freaky accidents seem to abound, if someone goes to the left instead of right THEY LIVE OR DIE. If we walked just a few seconds faster or slower, if we had slept one minute less or more, THINGS MIGHT BE VASTLY DIFFERENT OH LORD……………

Why or Lord why, must we have heart ache, despair, loneliness, and death??? Why oh Lord why??? God we LOVE You so much, but sometimes oh Lord, sometimes we just must ask why. It’s not that we doubt You or have any less faith than we should, but we see the inequalities of life, we see what seems like bad luck and chance. We see heinous and vicious crimes, much evil upon the earth, and we cry out, why of Lord why……………………..

Why, why, why????????????????????????

Thank you oh Lord, that we may ask why, and thank you oh Lord when one day we will know why. Until that day oh Lord, give us Your grace, Your LOVE, Your peace, Your patience,  Your strength to go on serving You and all Your creation ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES…………………..Be with us no matter what happens, and please oh Lord comfort those who must ask WHY, in Jesus name Amen and eternally Amen…………………………………

In the last several weeks I have been often asked “WHY”, and to be honest: I DO NOT KNOW……………………………………………….


Today we continue our discussion of qualities and characteristics that are appropriate for genuine ChrisTians.

51) Agreeable

Amos 3:3 (RSV)
3 "Do two walk together, unless they have made an appointment?

Agreeable finds Biblical solutions and support for others, without compromising truth. This is exceedingly indispensable; we must reflect God’s LOVE, mercy, grace, justice and righteousness in a way that is not attacking or aggressive, yet NEVER COMPROMISING THE WORD OF GOD THE BIBLE!!!

52) Avoiding

James 1:19 (RSV)
19 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger,

I must admit this is something I habitually struggle with. Avoiding anger is the knowing of its destructive force and striving to maintain “cool” and serenity. If we display UNNECESSARY anger we will do much to weaken the truth we share with others!!!

53) Being a good example

1 Peter 2:21-22 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips.

1 Peter 2:12 (RSV)
12 Maintain good conduct among the Gentiles, so that in case they speak against you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

1 Peter 2:15 (RSV)
15 For it is God's will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

1 Peter 2:17 (RSV)
17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Being a Good Example is doing all you can to be a living example of the LOVE, the mercy, the compassion and the purity of Jesus Christ, though it is a cliché, often YOU WILL BE THE ONLY CHRISTIAN SOMEONE WILL EVER SEE……………..

Scary and sobering thought!!!!!!!

54) Child-like Faith

Matthew 18:2-4 (RSV)
2 And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them,
3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Childlike Faith is the wonder and awe of what Christ did for us. It is something that we should never lose. It is that very faith that the LOST WILL HUNGER TO HAVE!!!!!!! Let us keep our enthusiasm, OUR JOY OF OUR SALVATION and not become just a subculture or a simple routine!

55) Discreet

Psalm 112:5 (RSV)
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice.

Discreet is the ability to not bully people with our personality or actions, or even with sound and right opinions. It is giving serious respect, attention, and thought to what we say and do. This is a type of humility that gives much trustworthiness, credibility, and authority to what we share in LOVE about Jesus ChrisT……

56) Not to swear or slander others

James 1:26 (RSV)
26 If any one thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this man's religion is vain.

Not to swear or slander is refusing to verbally hurt others!!! How many countless times have we heard professing ChrisTians or moralists call people “perverts”, “monsters”, “pathetic”, “disgusting”, “evil”, “worthless”, etc, etc, etc……………………….If we realize how sinful we are without ChrisT, if we honestly see ourselves as THE WORST OF SINNERS without Christ, if we TRULLY BELIEVE THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WE CAN DO TO SAVE OURSELVES, WE ARE SAVED BY HIS GRACE AND HIS GRACE ALONE, THEN WHERE DOES THAT RAGE OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS FROM WITH IN COME FROM???


[[[[[[[ IT MUST STOP, IT MUST END, NOW !!!!!!! ]]]]]]]

The only people Jesus was harsh with were RELIGIOUS HYPOCRITES!!!!!!!

Matthew 5:3 (RSV)
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Psalm 51:16-17 (RSV)
16 For thou hast no delight in sacrifice; were I to give a burnt offering, thou wouldst not be pleased. 17 The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

If we have the humble spirit God desires of us, we will reach out to each other, to the LOST, in kindness, LOVE, compassion, mercy, and with sincere honesty…………………………………………..

ONLY GOD IS GOOD, NO HUMAN BEING HAS ANYTHING TO BE SELF-RIGHTEOUS ABOUT, NOT EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

57) Sincerity

Joshua 24:14 (RSV)
14 "Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

1 Peter 1:22 (RSV)
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere love of the brethren, love one another earnestly from the heart.

Sincerity is deep honesty that is readily doing what is right, with pure and LOVING intention.

58) Selflessness

Titus 2:14 (RSV)
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Selflessness is the altruistic giving of ourselves to others, as Jesus Christ gave Himself to us.

59) Honest

Hebrews 7:26 (RSV)
26 For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

Honest is being truthful and doing what is genuine and right before God and others.

60) Security

Proverbs 29:25 (RSV)
25 The fear of man lays a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD is safe.

John 6:27 (RSV)
27 Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of man will give to you; for on him has God the Father set his seal."

Security is trust and reliance upon God for our daily needs. This is not laziness, but working with God’s values, and organizing our life around God’s Will with an eternal outlook in mind for a secure feeling. We are safe because of God’s protection.

51) Agreeable

52) Avoiding

53) Being a good example

54) Child-like Faith

55) Discreet

56) Not to swear or slander others

57) Sincerity

58) Selflessness

59) Honest

60) Security

These things and many more we as genuine ChrisTians should strive for in our search to WALK IN HIS STEPS!!!

Next week we will conclude these studies of the qualities and characteristics of true BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS!!!

God be with my sons Adam and Aaron, and with all of our precious children, in Jesus name Amen and Amen……………………………………..

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


January 31, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“In His Steps: Part Five”

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.

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Father, we praise Your holy name. Thank You for Your great grace, Your amazing LOVE, Your tremendous salvation!!! Lord we turn to You this day with one general theme, help us to LOVE You with all our hearts, minds, souls, with EVERY FABRIC OF OUR BEINGS…

Give us the LOVE, the grace, the wisdom, the mercy, the compassion, the incredible patience that is needed to reach out to the LOST and especially the young professing ChrisTians of this new generation. The truth of the Bible has been clouded, miss-interpreted, ignored, and simply DELETED by many. We have a plethora of professing ChrisTians THAT HAVE ABSOLUTELY KNOW REAL IDEA WHAT A GENUINE CHRISTIAN REALLY IS. They go to Church sometimes, read sometimes, the parts of the Bible that sound good to them, they practice and do what they want to do, they see NO ONE as an AUTHORITY, NO ONE as any more knowledgeable than they, all opinions are neither right or wrong, simply different. Their center, their guide, their only source is WHAT THEY THINK, and they foolishly call that the inspiration of the spirit………………….

We beg Thee with all earnest to bring a great revival to the Church, a revival, a return, TO THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH OF GOD!!! Your truth YHWH, and Your truth alone. God let not Your gospel die, let not Your enemies DESTROY THE AUTHORITY AND BEAUTY OF YOUR HOLY BIBLE. Help us be part of the solution, part of this great revival, in Jesus supreme and preeminently unsurpassably transcendent name, Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN…………..

Today we will continue in the characteristics and qualities of genuine ChrisTians…

39) Self-control

1 Thessalonians 5:22 (KJV)
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Self-Control will allow us to have discipline, and restraint with obedience to God and others in authority. And will help with accepting the AUTHORITY OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, THE BIBLE!!!

40) Reverence

1 Peter 2:13-14 (RSV)
13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right.

Reverence is recognizing and respecting all people, not just because of their position in life, but because ChrisT died for them, regardless of their personality, looks, or anything else, they, we, all deserve respect because GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE, NOT JUST YOU OR ME!!!

41) Devotion

Colossians 3:2-3 (RSV)
2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

Devotion is aligning personal desires, plans, worship, and hope with God. How, by reading and believing EVERY WORD OUT OF THE BIBLE IN IT’S CORRECT CONTEXT!!!!!!!    

Matthew 4:4 (RSV)
4 But he answered, "It is written, `Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

42) Discernment

1 Samuel 16:7 (RSV)
7 But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart."

Proverbs 19:2 (RSV)
2 It is not good for a man to be without knowledge, and he who makes haste with his feet misses his way.

Discernment is the ability to see people and situations the way they really are with of neutrality and justice, while also being cautious with right timing and actions. Doing the right thing is not always easy nor is it necessarily giving people what they want or what sounds good.

I gave a person in need a motel room, money for food, said I’d be back in the morning. I left because I was young and I admit afraid!!! In the morning he had used the money for alcohol and boasted he had a woman stay with him. I put him up in a motel room, but instead of taking the time to discern about the next step, HE WOUND UP ABUSING WHAT I HAD DONE FOR HIM IN THE NAME OF CHRIST. *The sin was on him, but I learned a lifelong lesson…In assisting people, we must take the necessary time and effort to DISCERN WHAT REALLY NEEDS TO BE DONE!!!

Giving, helping, serving the WRONG PEOPLE, will take our time, our resources, and our effort AWAY FROM THOSE PEOPLE WHO REALLY NEED OUR HELP!!!!!!! Yes if we must error, it must be on the side of caring, but, THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO NOT TAKE THE TIME TO DISCERN THE SITUATION AT HAND. NOR IS IT AN EXCUSE TO SIMPLY DO NOTHING!!!!!!!

LOVE IS NOT EASY, it has a cost…………………………………………………….

But, IT’S WORTH THE COST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

43) Discipline

1 Timothy 4:7-10 (RSV)
7 Have nothing to do with godless and silly myths. Train yourself in godliness; 8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. 9 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance.
10 For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.

Discipline is upholding and continuing a consistent and well-ordered life through godly obedience, regardless of how we feel. Again IT TAKES EFFORT, IT COMES WITH A COST!!!




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 3:5-6 (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, 6 which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,

Acts 4:12 (RSV)
12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."


44) Determination

Psalm 119:30 (RSV)
30 I have chosen the way of faithfulness, I set thy ordinances before me.

Determination is the ability to make difficult decisions and accomplish God’s goals based on the truths of God’s Word, regardless of the opposition or what we may prefer to do. WE OBEY GOD’S WORD!!!!!!!

45) Integrity

Psalm 78:72 (RSV)
72 With upright heart he tended them, and guided them with skilful hand.

Integrity is the obedience to a biblical moral code of values that have honor, truth, and reliability. It will allow one to keep his or her word and do our best even when no one else is looking.

46) Meekness

Numbers 12:3 (RSV)
3 Now the man Moses was very meek, more than all men that were on the face of the earth.

Psalm 62:5 (RSV)
5 For God alone my soul waits in silence, for my hope is from him.

Meekness is not about being weak! It is strength under control, which yields personal rights and expectations to God. Jewish history tells of Moses at the head of Pharaoh’s army, then ultimately leading the People of Israel to the Promised Land, all by meekly obeying the WILL OF GOD. Strong, yet submissive to God, It means we acknowledge God has put certain people in authority over us, yet, we DO NOT BLINDLY FOLLOW THEM, we STUDY THE BIBLE THAT WE MIGHT DISCERN THEIR WORDS, THEIR TEACHINGS………………………

1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 (RSV)
20 do not despise prophesying, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good,

Nothing that is true will contradict the inerrant, infallible Word of God, the “66” books of the Old and New Testaments, the Bible!!!!!!!


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.

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.

Study, study, study the Bible, Pray, pray, pray, have personal and group Bible Studies, THERE IS A COST, being a ChrisTian isn’t easy, but, IT IS THE VERY BEST THING TO BE!!!!!!!

47) Loyalty

Proverbs 17:17 (RSV)
17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Loyalty is remaining committed to those whom God has brought into our lives and has called us to serve, even in times of difficulty.

48) Purpose

Matthew 22:37-40 (RSV)
37 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets."

Matthew 28:19-20 (RSV)
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."

John 13:34-35 (RSV)
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

Purpose is in knowing who we are in Christ and acting it out with our call. That is, devoting our life, Spiritual gifts, abilities, and call so it can bring out the best in people and situations. Our meaning of life will have eternal treasure and results.

LOVE, SERVE, LOVE………………………………………………..

49) Submissive

Ephesians 5:21 (RSV)
21 Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Submissive is, with awe and reverence, surrendering and yielding our will and plans over to God’s guidance and to those He puts in authority over us.

50) Self-acceptance

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (RSV)
9 but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Self-Acceptance is realizing we are deeply LOVED and accepted by Christ, thus, we can accept ourselves. To LOVE others we have to LOVE ourselves as Christ implies for us to. Self-hatred is not Biblical! Self-Acceptance will allow us to accept unchangeable physical features and situations that God has made, to allow us to focus on the more important things in life such as character and serving God and our fellow man !!!!!!!

For now that is enough for us to ponder……………………………….

39) Self-control

40) Reverence

41) Devotion

42) Discernment

43) Discipline

44) Determination

45) Integrity

46) Meekness

47) Loyalty

48) Purpose

49) Submissive

50) Self-acceptance

May the Lord assist us in being His Children, in Jesus name, Amen………………………..

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


January 24, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“In His Steps: Part Four”

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. Father

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Father, today I just want to talk to You, I don’t want to worry about how I sound, or even if I am theologically sounding in my verbiage.

 Father there are a great many LOST people in this world. Many far superior in intellect than I, they make strong often passionate arguments of why THEY DO NOT BELIEVE! Oh Lord I know without a doubt no matter how rational, reasonable, and sincere they sound, THEY ARE DEAD WRONG!!! What bothers me is, how do I reach them? They often seem brighter, with a far greater command of language and communication skills than I. I get frustrated, and I feel so inept, and often get off track on what I was trying to share…….Ending up in an argument, and with a complete loss of words.

Help me, help us or Lord, reach out to the Lost in LOVE and compassion, give me, give us supernatural skills and supernatural tools TO REACH THE LOST, without anger, or impatience, or anything else that might take our focus off Your gospel and Your plan for salvation.

Oh Lord, help us reach our LOVED ones, our families, friends, acquaintances, the people to the right of us, the people to the left of us, the people in front of us, and the people behind us……………Oh Lord, help us, be Your beautiful light in this world, in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen………………………………………………….

Today we continue our study of the characteristics and qualities that we as ChrisTians, as God’s children, should be striving for.

28) Kindness

Ephesians 4:32 (RSV)
32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Kindness is practicing benevolence ((( compassion, generosity, goodwill, etc, etc, etc ))) and a LOVING attitude towards others.

Luke 6:31 (RSV)
31 And as you wish that men would do to you, do so to them.

None of us want to be judged by strangers, why would we as God’s children immediately start judging others before getting to know them personally??? As much as I admire street corner preachers, it has always bothered me from on top of their soapboxes,  they look down on the crowd and presume to know them all to be sinners!!!


Kindness can go a long way toward getting to know people and developing a trust with each other……………………..People may not always agree, but they will genuinely listen to someone they trust.

29) Goodness

Matthew 19:16 (RSV)
16 And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?"

Goodness cannot save us, but it does display integrity, honesty, and compassion to others, and allows us to do the right thing. It allows others to SEE JESUS CHRIST IN US!!!

30) Encouragement

Psalm 119:28 (RSV)
28 My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to thy word!

Psalm 143:3 (RSV)
3 For the enemy has pursued me; he has crushed my life to the ground; he has made me sit in darkness like those long dead.

Matthew 3:17 (RSV)
17 and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased."

John 14:1 (RSV)
1 "Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-14 (RSV)
11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 12 But we beseech you, brethren, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you,
13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we exhort you, brethren, admonish the idlers, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

Encouragement will lift, support, and help others up through difficult circumstances, all from God’s perspective. Encouraging shows you care, it makes the person you are encouraging vulnerable to you, and you to them. It is a glue that gently binds people to one another…….

31) Attentiveness

Hebrews 2:1 (RSV)
1 Therefore we must pay the closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

Attentiveness will recognize the value of other people by giving them listening ears, respect, courtesy, and total concentration. This means paying attention to others, not just listening to our own needs and desires, and also giving genuine contemplation to God’s holy inerrant, infallible Word the Bible!!!!!!!

32) Enthusiasm

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.

Romans 12:11 (NIV2011)
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

Galatians 6:9 (RSV)
9 And let us not grow weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.

Colossians 3:23 (RSV)
23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men,

Enthusiasm will enable us to overcome disappointments and setbacks, so we can be positive, optimistic, and keep up our interest, attitude, and zeal, even when things are harsh. Enthusiasm for a task suggests inner joy and happiness, rather than simply being obedient!!!  It suggests genuine LOVE, and not merely DOING WHAT YOU ARE TOLD!!!

33) Initiative

 Proverbs 22:29 (RSV)
29 Do you see a man skilful in his work? he will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Philippians 3:14 (RSV)
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:13-15 (RSV)
13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me. 14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedo'nia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only;

Initiative will take the front position to recognize and do what needs to be done before being asked to do it. Being, ready, willing, and able to think for yourself, shows your ability and commitment to serve the Lord, His people, His world, His creation!!!

34) Thoughtfulness

Philippians 2:4 (RSV)
4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Thoughtfulness cares and considers and gives attention to others and their feelings and concerns first. ChrisT died for the world because HE LOVES US, he was very thoughtful of our personal eternities!!! We are saved for our sakes, for His LOVE’S sake, and for the sake THAT WE MAY LOVE AND TRULY BE THOUGHTFUL OF OTHERS!!!!!!!

35) Commitment

1 Timothy 6:20 (RSV)
20 O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge,

John 14:15 (RSV)
15 "If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

John 15:10 (RSV)
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love.

Commitment is being dedicated and pushing ahead as well as being satisfied with what you have. It is vowing to honor and be the best with what God has given of spiritual and material things. It is striving with EVERY FABRIC OF OUR BEING TO OBEY HIM, not because we are commanded to, but because WE LOVE HIM SO THAT WE WANT TO OBEY HIM, TO MAKE OUR FATHER, OUR FRIEND AND SAVIOR HAPPY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

IT IS AN ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT TO OUR LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

36) Conviction

Daniel 1:8 (RSV)
8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's rich food, or with the wine which he drank; therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.

Conviction is devotion to and following of the precepts of Scripture with zeal, whatever the cost.

WHATEVER THE COST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Salvation is free, ABSOLUTELY FREE, but LIVING FOR JESUS HAS A COST!!!!!!!

Luke 14:25-28 (RSV)
25 Now great multitudes accompanied him; and he turned and said to them, 26 "If any one comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it?

The conviction THAT LOVING JESUS CHRIST, is far more important than LOVING, our fathers, our mothers, our wives, our own children, OR EVEN OUR OWN LIVES!!! The CONVICTION THAT WE MUST BEAR OUR OWN CROSS IN SERVING HIM, THAT JESUS CHRIST MUST ALWAYS BE FIRST…………………………………………………………..

37) Diligence

Colossians 3:23 (RSV)
23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men,

Diligence, the LOVING of our call and the pursuing of our work, doing our best for His glory. To be diligent stewards of ALL THAT HE HAS MOST GRACIOUSLY GIVEN US; Our Salvation, our calling, our family, friends, and our acquaintances,  and absolutely THIS WORLD AND EVERYTHING HE CREATED…………………………………………..

38) Creative

1 Timothy 4:14 (RSV)
14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.

Creative is being resourceful and imaginative in using the best of the goods and talents we have been given to serve the Lord.

These are qualities that God wants us to strive for, each in our own way and according to our own individual abilities to do so, in the strength of the Holy Spirit!!!

28) Kindness

29) Goodness

30) Encouragement

31) Attentiveness

32) Enthusiasm

33) Initiative

34) Thoughtfulness

35) Commitment

36) Conviction

37) Diligences

38) Creative

Next week will be the second from the last sermon on our study of just a few of the characteristics and qualities of ChrisTians if we are to WALK IN HIS STEPS!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


January 17, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“In His Steps: Part Three”

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.

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

O God:

We thank Thee for Thy LOVE, we acknowledge all that You do for us seen and unseen, we are most grateful for all Your blessings to us, the good things and even the bad things that You use for our good and spiritual growth. Above all we glorify and worship You for who you are and the great gift of salvation You give to us through the BLOOD SACRIFICE of Your only begotten son Jesus Christ…………………

Give us strength to live another day;
Let us not turn coward before its difficulties or prove faithless to its duties; Let us not lose faith in other people; Keep us humble and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or the meanness of others; Preserve us from minding little wounds or giving them;
Help us to keep our hearts clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten us or take away the joy of our conscious integrity;

Open wide the eyes of our souls that we may see good in all things; Grant us this day some new vision of thy truth as we study Your word; Inspire us with the spirit of joy and gladness; and make us the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of our robust Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen and eternally Amen.

Today we continue to study the Biblical characteristics and qualities of a genuine ChrisTian……………………….

18) Joy

Proverbs 15:13 (RSV)
13 A glad heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is broken.

John 15:11 (RSV)
11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

John 17:13 (RSV)
13 But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

Joy will allow us to enjoy His creation, others, and our circumstances with an expression of delight and real, authentic happiness from and with harmony with God and others. Joy in our heart has the ability to save us from much external pain and frustrations……………….

19) Peace

Matthew 5:9 (RSV)
9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

Colossians 3:15 (RSV)
15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful.

Philippians 4:7 (RSV)
7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Peace is surrendering and yielding to the Lord’s control, for He is our ultimate peace!!! It is allowing tranquility to be our tone and to control our composure. This will be fueled by our harmonious relationship with God so we can hand over control of our heart, will, and mind to Him. Once we make real peace with God, we will be able to make and maintain peace with others. This peace is not necessarily the absence of strife in our lives, but spiritual tranquility in spite of our circumstances!!!

John 14:27 (RSV)
27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

This is the same peace we are to offer to the Lost through a LOVE RELATIONSHIP THEY CAN HAVE WITH JESUS CHRIST………………


20) Courage

Deuteronomy 31:6 (RSV)
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you."

1 John 4:4 (RSV)
4 Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.

Courage realizes that God has given us the strength to face any situation, trial, or peril. It is the ability to react, knowing that God is in control, that He who is in me is greater than he who is against me.

Philippians 4:13 (RSV)
13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

Romans 8:31 (RSV)
31 What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who is against us?

Romans 8:37-39 (RSV)
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.

Neither any external force, nor any inner insecurities, or feelings of failure, or unworthiness, or any other feeling or emotion can separate us from THE ABSOLUTE LOVE OF GOD!!!!!!!


NOT BECAUSE OF WHOM WE ARE, but because of WHO HE IS!!!!!!!


21) Purity and Holiness

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

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.

1 Timothy 1:5 (RSV)
5 whereas the aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith.

1 Timothy 5:22 (RSV)
22 Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor participate in another man's sins; keep yourself pure.

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.

Purity & Holiness is being set apart for God’s use, which is holiness in action. Not simply being “ DO NOTTERS”, but far more  being “DOERS OF LIFE”……………………………………………….

DOING that which is: true, honorable, just, pure, LOVELY, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, caring, compassionate, kind………………………………….



22) Obedience

Deuteronomy 13:4 (RSV)
4 You shall walk after the LORD your God and fear him, and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and cleave to him.

Proverbs 19:16 (RSV)
16 He who keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises the word will die.

John 15:14 (RSV)
14 You are my friends if you do what I command you.

2 Corinthians 10:5 (RSV)
5 We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

Obedience is submitting to do what God requires of us. It is also recognizing the authority that God has given to others, such as the pastor and Bible teachers, and the responsibility that God has given ChrisTians, the Church, TO REACH OUT TO THE LOST, THE NEEDY, TO OUR FELLOW HUMANITY AROUND US.



23) Forgiving

Luke 11:4 (RSV)
4 and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive every one who is indebted to us; and lead us not into temptation."

Luke 23:34 (RSV)
34 And Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." And they cast lots to divide his garments.

Ephesians 4:32 (RSV)
32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Colossians 3:13 (RSV)
13 forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Forgiving is the realization of how much we have been forgiven by Christ. This enables us to forgive the insignificant things that are done to us. It involves not being resentful to others, and ignoring the wrongs that we have received so we can heal relationships by expressing Christ’s LOVE. Understanding how GREAT OUR SINS WERE, HOW DEPRAVED WE ONCE WERE WITHOUT CHRIST, should MOVE US TO COMPASSION, PATIENCE, HUMILITY, and LOVE TOWARDS THOSE WHO STILL STRUGGLE WITH THEIR OWN SINS…………………………………………………..

24) Fairness

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.

Fairness sees a situation from the viewpoint of each person involved and not just ours. It seeks the best, just, equable solution, even if it hurts us. Professing ChrisTians are NOT ALWAYS RIGHT, nor are Non-professing ChrisTians ALWAYS WRONG!!! We are not to judge according to appearance, but are to make judgments based on sober, solemn, and with effort to discern the truth………………………..

Matthew 7:2 (RSV)
2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.

John 7:24 (RSV)
24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."


25) Wisdom

1 Kings 3:9 (RSV)
9 Give thy servant therefore an understanding mind to govern thy people, that I may discern between good and evil; for who is able to govern this thy great people?"

Psalm 119:97-98 (RSV)
97 Oh, how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day. 98 Thy commandment makes me wiser than my enemies, for it is ever with me.

Wisdom truly desires the knowledge of God’s Word the Bible and the proper application to our life. This will enable us to make good judgments and decisions. ALL OUR DECISIONS SHOULD BE BASED ON THE BIBLE, IN PROPER CONTEXT.


And “no”, I am not perfect at this either……………………………………

26) Diligence

Proverbs 10:4 (RSV)
4 A slack hand causes poverty, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.

Romans 12:11 (KJV)
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;

Colossians 3:23 (RSV)
23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men,

Diligence allows us to operate with our best for His highest with excitement and passion in order to complete our work and call from the Lord. We serve not to get paid, not to be rewarded, not to win or maintain our salvation, WE SERVE DILIGENTLY BECAUSE WE LOVE GOD, AND ALL THAT HE LOVES!!!!!!!




18) Joy

19) Peace

20) Courage

21) Purity and Holiness

22) Obedience

23) Forgiving

24) Fairness

25) Wisdom

26) Diligence

All these and many more are the qualities and characteristics of the genuine ChrisTian, next week we will continue to study more…………………..



Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


January 10, 2021

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“In His Steps: Part Two”

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.

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Oh Lord,  how we thank and praise You for the everlasting life that You have given to us Your children by Your wonderful grace and LOVE. May we grow day by day to be more like You, full of compassion, kindness, and victorious LOVE. Saturate our hearts with Your LOVE so that we as Your Church may LOVE You more and more with every passing breath,

Thank You, for Your Holy Spirit Who is encouraging us Your people to be more like Your beLOVED son Jesus ChrisT. I, we, want to reflect Your grace and Your beauty

in thought, word and deed. We ask that we may devote our time and hearts to reflect on all You have done for us –so that You are magnified more and more in our

lives, and that the people around us would see You through us – and that the beauty of our Lord and Redeemer Jesus ChrisT may be seen by all in our lives.

Heavenly Father, You have called us to grow in grace, to increase our understanding of Jesus and to develop a close and intimate LOVE-relationship with You. Lord, this is what I, we,  desire to do, and we pray we may come to know You more and more each and every day.

Thank You Father for the Bible, which is written to help all humanity understand Your ways, Your truth, Your LOVE, Your compassion, Your only begotten son Jesus ChrisT, and Your ONE AND ONLY WAY TO ETERNAL SALVATION, thank You for the indwelling Holy Spirit, Who has promised to guide us in the way that we should go.

We pray that we may learn to walk in spirit and truth so that we may mature in our Christian faith – as we study the Bible and learn to live godly lives in ChrisT Jesus,

Heavenly Father we are called to abide in Christ, to rest in His LOVE, to remain connected with the Lord Jesus and to depend upon Him in all things.. knowing that He alone is the true and living Vine - so that our lives might bear much fruit.. and glorify our Father in heaven.

We pray that by the power of Your Holy Spirit we as Your people, Your Church, may remain firmly connected to Christ and willingly submit to Your perfect pruning shears, so that any part in us that is not of Christ, may be trimmed away.. so that we may be enabled to grow in grace and mature in our Christian walk.

Root out any bad attitude, foolish thoughts or wrong motives that may start to formulate in our minds.. and which may hinder our growth or infect our spiritual life

- and help us we pray, to take every thought captive to Christ – so that we may become a fruitful branch and bear much fruit, assisting many to receive Your son

Jesus ChrisT as their only Lord, their only God, and only Savior - to the glory of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, forever and ever in Jesus

name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen…………………………………….

Today we continue to study the Biblical characteristics and qualities of a genuine ChrisTian……………………….

9) Gratitude

1 Corinthians 4:7 (RSV)
7 For who sees anything different in you? What have you that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift?

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (RSV)
18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Gratitude is an attitude of being thankful, even when we do not see what we have. This is an aspect of worship, expressing to God and others how they have benefited our lives by showing their support and benevolence.

10) Contentment

Romans 9:19-21 (RSV)
19 You will say to me then, "Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?" 20 But who are you, a man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me thus?"
21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for beauty and another for menial use?

Philippians 4:10-13 (RSV)
10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. 11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. 12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want.
13 I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

1 Timothy 6:6-9 (RSV)
6 There is great gain in godliness with contentment;
7 for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; 8 but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 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.

Contentment is the attitude of accepting whatever God provides for us, and being blessed with it. It does not seek what we do not need for gratification, and does not find happiness in the shallow things of life. It allows us to serve God and our fellow mankind effectively in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in………………………………..

11) Generosity

Deuteronomy 16:17 (RSV)
17 every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God which he has given you.

Matthew 10:8 (RSV)
8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay.

2 Corinthians 8:11-12 (RSV)
11 so that your readiness in desiring it may be matched by your completing it out of what you have. 12 For if the readiness is there, it is acceptable according to what a man has, not according to what he has not.

Generosity allows us to give to others because God has given abundantly to us. It is the wise use of stewardship and the attitude that all I have belongs to God and knowing we are the caretakers for His purpose. We give of our gifts, of our possessions, and the hardest of all, WE GIVE OF OUR TIME……………………….

Once when I was a young ChrisTian, I found a person on the streets of Detroit that needed assistance, he feared for his life. I took him to the Police, they said they COULD DO NOTHING. After listening to him and observing his demeanor, HE SCARED ME!!! I took my eyes off Jesus. Instead of spending time with him, I took the easy way out, and put him up in a motel and gave him money for food and left. The next day I found he used the money for beer, and a girl spent the night with him. *I did give out of LOVE, but I failed because I DID NOT GIVE OF MY TIME!!! Generosity includes ALL THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US.

12) Responsibility

Romans 14:12 (RSV)
12 So each of us shall give account of himself to God.

We are called as God’s stewards to manage that which belongs to God. While God has graciously entrusted us with the care, development, and enjoyment of everything He owns as His stewards, we are responsible to manage His holdings well and according to His desires and purposes.

Although God gives us “all things richly to enjoy,” nothing is ours. Nothing really belongs to us. God owns everything; we’re responsible for how we treat it and what we do with it. While we complain about our rights here on earth, the Bible constantly asks, What about your responsibilities? Owners have rights; stewards have responsibilities.

13) Dependability

1 Corinthians 4:2 (RSV)
2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.

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.

Dependable is being constantly reliable and trustworthy. It will allow us to continue in our commitments even if it means personal sacrifice. It will allow others to trust us and to seek us out in their times of need. Remember WE ARE HERE TO SERVE GOD AND OUR FELLOWMAN…….


14) Compassion

Job 29:13 (RSV)
13 The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.

Isaiah 40:11 (RSV)
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Matthew 9:36 (KJV)
36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.

Mark 1:41 (RSV)
41 Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, "I will; be clean."

1 Peter 3:8 (KJV)
8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

Compassion will feel the pain and plight of others. It will enable us to convey a deep feeling of LOVE and concern that moves us to meet their distresses, struggles, and needs. It will NOT ALLOW US TO LOOK DOWN ON PEOPLE AS SINNERS, but, AS BROTHERS AND SISTERS NEEDING TO BE SAVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

15) Efficient

Psalm 90:12 (KJV)
12 So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.

Ephesians 4:23-24 (RSV)
23 and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and put on the new nature, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

Ephesians 5:15-16 (RSV)
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,
16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil.

1 Peter 4:10 (RSV)
10 As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:

Efficient is being well organized, competent, and resourceful so we can make the most of every situation, doing our best and seeking better ways. LOVE is our foundation, but to simply arbitrarily do things, is not the answer. God wants us to study His word the Bible and be efficient and wise on how we behave and respond to situations HE PUTS US IN………………………………………………………….

16) Discretion

Psalm 112:5 (RSV)
5 It is well with the man who deals generously and lends, who conducts his affairs with justice.

Proverbs 22:3 (RSV)
3 A prudent man sees danger and hides himself; but the simple go on, and suffer for it.

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.

Discretion keeps our minds and focus on sound judgment, giving serious attention and thought to what is going on. It will carefully choose our words, attitudes, and actions to be right for any given situation, thus avoiding words and actions that could result in adverse consequences.  We are to LOVE, care, show compassion, but that DOES NOT MEAN WE DO NOT DISCERN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND ACT IN A PRUDENT AND JUDICIOUS WAY!!!

17) Understanding

Psalm 119:34 (RSV)
34 Give me understanding, that I may keep thy law and observe it with my whole heart.

Understanding is the ability to reason and comprehend situations. As ChrisTians WE DO NOT JUST BLINDLY DO THINGS, we must as ChrisT did, we must COUNT THE COST!!!

Next week we will continue with studying the Biblical characteristics and qualities of a genuine ChrisTian……………………….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


January 3, 2021

Blessed New Year !!!

a” Church

Evanston, Wyomimg

“ In His Steps: Part One ”

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.

1 Peter 2:21 (RSV)
21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

God, our Father, You have saved us and eternally redeemed us from all our past, present, and future sins. You have by Your LOVE and grace adopted us as Your children.

You have called us to be like Your only begotten Son Jesus ChrisT. We humbly request that You would teach us by Your word, by Your Holy Spirit TO BE AS MUCH LIKE HIM AS POSSIBLE. Living not for ourselves but for Him, living not for ourselves, but for those He willingly and sacrificially lived and died for.

Help us in our daily moment by moment lives to vibrantly, exuberantly, and luminously reflect genuinely and naturally the character and qualities of our beLOVED Savior, as we seek to follow in His LOVING footsteps.

Let us not merely say WE ARE CHRISTIANS, let us not merely say WE BELIEVE IN JESUS, let us not merely say we want to be good people, but with all Your omnipotent power, with all Your omniscience, we beseech Thee to help us possess in every fiber of our beings the glorious compulsion from within our souls to live, serve, and to be like Your Son Jesus……….

Let us not sway to the right or to the left, but seeking, learning, and living Your Holy Writ the “66” books of the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Bible, let us be Your Ambassadors of Your merciful reconciliation to all the world.

Give us wisdom, grace, mercy, strength, everything we need to serve You and Your LOVE according to Your sweet call on our lives. Let it be not us that lives, but ChrsT within us.

In Jesus the blessed Redeemer’s name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen……………………..

Over the course of the next several weeks we will be discussing the characteristics or qualities that indicate a person is a GENUINE CHRISTIAN……………………………

As we are to allow Jesus to live in and through us, it is our sweet, sweet, obligation of LOVE to reflect His character and qualities in our lives. So, we will study the scriptures TO SEE THE CHARACTER, THE QUALITIES, THAT EXEMPLIFY JESUS, so we can be more like Him.

Let us begin……………………………………………….


John 13:1 (RSV)
1 Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

John 15:13 (RSV)
13 Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

1 Corinthians 13:3 (RSV)
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 LOVE will enable us to appreciate our brothers and sisters in the Lord, and, our families, and of course all others GOD PUTS IN OUR LIVES. LOVE is taking the initiative, the creativity, the sincere effort to build up and meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. LOVE IS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND WORTHY……..

1 John 4:8 (RSV)
8 He who does not love does not know God; for God is love.

God is LOVE and if we are truly His, we WILL LOVE AS HE DOES!!! There is absolutely NO ROOM for being rude, condemning, or insulting to even the worst of sinners. THEY ARE NOT PERVERTS, ABOMINATIONS, MONSTERS, SUBHUMANS, OR DISGUSTING SINNERS!!! They are LOST brothers and sisters, AS WE WERE LOST, NEEDING SALVATION, THEY NEED SALVATION………………….

As ChrisT out of LOVE stands at the door of our hearts and knocks, begging us to LET HIM IN. We are the Redeemed, in the LIFE-BOATSOF HIS LOVE, AND IN LOVE STREACHING OUR HANDS OUT TO PULL THE LOST INTO THE SAVING LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST……………………..



Luke 22:27 (RSV)
27 For which is the greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves.

Philippians 2:8 (RSV)
8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

1 Peter 5:3-5 (RSV)
3 not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd is manifested you will obtain the unfading crown of glory. 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."

Humility minimizes arrogance and removes pride. It is understanding our fallen nature and tendency to think we are better than we are, and our striving to lift up ourselves above others and God. It is admitting that others, and more importantly God is responsible for our achievements. Humbleness will enable us to be a teachable person who is willing to have the attitude of submission and servant-hood, one who confesses sin and remembers how Christ served us! It is humility THAT DECLARES TO US WE ARE NO BETTER THAN THE WORST OF SINNERS!!! We are saved by God’s grace and His grace alone.

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 3:5-6 (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, 6 which he poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,


It is the same humility that Paul exemplifies, and that we should demonstrate by truly confessing without ChrisT WE ARE THE WORST OF SINNERS!!!!!!!

1 Timothy 1:15-16 (RSV)
15 The saying is sure and worthy of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners;
16 but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.

The LOVE of God and with the humility of God, WE SHOULD SEE IN THE LOST THOSE NEEDING TO BE RESCUED, REDEEMED, SAVED, not those needing to be condemned!!! For in their lost state THEY ARE CONDEMNED ALREADY……………………………


3) Patience

2 Peter 3:9 (RSV)
9 The Lord is not slow about his promise as some count slowness, but is forbearing toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

Romans 12:12 (RSV)
12 Rejoice in your hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

James 1:3 (KJV)
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

James 1:12 (RSV)
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.

Patience is showing tolerance and fortitude to others, and even accepting difficult situations from them and God without making demands and conditions. We realize the great effort God took to save us, therefore we should have great patience when sharing, caring, LOVING, and reaching out to the LOST………………..

I tried to help them, I tried to reach out to them, they’re just bad; is the result often of impatience and or laziness………………………..

4) Faithfulness

1 Corinthians 1:9 (RSV)
9 God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Matthew 17:19-20 (RSV)
19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not cast it out?" 20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, `Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you."

Matthew 25:21 (KJV)
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

Hebrews 11:1 (RSV)
1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 (RSV)
24 He who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

Faithfulness is the “gluing” fruit that will preserve our faith and the other characters of the Spirit as well as identify God’s Will so we can be dependable and trusting to God and others. 

5) Gentleness

Isaiah 40:11 (RSV)
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arms, he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

Philippians 4:5 (NIV2011)
5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

2 Timothy 2:24 (KJV)
24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

1 Thessalonians 2:7 (KJV)
7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:

Gentleness is the character that will show calmness, personal care, and tenderness in meeting the needs of others. Gently encouraging others to see a need of a change to their behavior. It is God’s job to convict of sin, not us!!! We are to gently point to the truth…………..

Fire and brimstone work and are needed for some, yet more people will be won to the Lord by gentleness and tenderness…………………

6) Friendship

John 15:15 (RSV)
15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.

Proverbs 27:17 (KJV)
17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

Friendship is the companionship and closeness we are to have with one another. It is the commitment to help form the character in others. This is not to be feared but embraced, even when it hurts! In most cases you must develop friendship with another before you can share God’s truth with them………………………..Friendship SHOWS YOU GENUINELY CARE!!! It is not our purpose to have victory over the LOST, it is our purpose to help THE LOST HAVE VICTORY OVER THEIR OWN SINS………

7) Honesty and Truthfulness

Titus 1:2 (RSV)
2 in hope of eternal life which God, who never lies, promised ages ago

2 Corinthians 8:21 (KJV)
21 Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.

Ephesians 4:25 (KJV)
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Honesty & Truthfulness mean being straight and honest with others and doing what is right. This trait will allow us to earn trust from others by being accurate with facts and situations.

8) Availability

Mark 1:17-18 (RSV)
17 And Jesus said to them, "Follow me and I will make you become fishers of men." 18 And immediately they left their nets and followed him.

Acts 16:10 (RSV)
10 And when he had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedo'nia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Availability is being willing to adjust our own schedule, agenda, and plans to fit the right desires of God and others. It makes personal priorities secondary to the needs of God and others. It is to reflect God’s priorities so we are always available to Him and others when we are serving. As Jesus is available to us, WE NEED TO BE AVAILABLE TO OTHERS…………………….




3) Patience

4) Faithfulness

5) Gentleness

6) Friendship

7) Honesty and Truthfulness

8) Availability

All that we do must be founded on LOVE, motivated by HUMILITY, executed with PATIENCE, FAITHFUL to God’s Word, shared GENTLY  to others, encouraging FRIENDSHIP, always based on HONESTY and TRUTH, and ever AVAILABLE to serve Him and our fellow man…………………………………….


Romans 5:8 (RSV)
8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

 Matthew 5:44-45 (RSV)
44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

Next week we will continue to study the qualities and characteristics that indicate a GENUINE CHRISTIAN……………………………….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


December 27, 2020

“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

New Year's 2021

"A Time for Every Season"

At the end of each year we look back with retrospect on the ending year. We think of our goals and dreams, our hopes and desires, what we had wanted to happen and what actually did happen. What we had reason to believe could and would happen, and those things which completely took us by surprise… We think of our joys and sorrows, our victories and defeats, our gains and our losses…We think of the world and how it is the same and how it has changed… And then we turn to the new year with our new hopes, and our new dreams and our new expectations…

Ecclesiastes 3 v 1-8

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3. A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5. A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6. A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7. A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8. A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

Lord as we make ready to leave the year 2020, let us not forget all the LOVE, mercy, and grace, that You have put upon our lives. Let us ever be grateful to You and praise You most genuinely for being “The” God, The ONLY God, and our God!!!!!!! Oh there would be no beauty in life without You!!! Thank You for all the successes we have had this year, we are thankful for what we have learned in our failures and losses. We praise You for the people You have put in our lives, and those You have decided to take from our presence. We are most grateful for our families, friends, and LOVED ones that You have bestowed upon each of us. We thank You for each breath, each experience, each moment of 2020.

We thank you and eternally glorify Your name for Your LOVE, Your most beLOVED Son and our Savior Jesus Christ, the most wonderful Holy Spirit, and Your eternally inerrant, infallible word the Holy Bible!!!

And finally we thank You for the New Year of 2021, and all that it holds for us! Oh Lord go with us, be with us, and above all help us to LOVE and serve You with every fiber of our being, help us to reach out to all those who are around us in sincere humility and LOVE. In Jesus name we pray, Amen and Eternally Amen!!!!!!!

In the coming year; many of us will experience great plenty and some of us great need. Some of us will discover our purposes in life, some of us will continue to search for our place in the sun. Many new ones will be born into this world.

Couples will become parents, and parents will become grandparents, there will be new godfathers and godmothers. There will be new students, and one’s graduating…

As the new come into the world, others will be leaving this world. LOVED one’s killed in war, by illness or accident, some destroyed by vicious and thoughtless evil ones. Some will die from natural causes, some that are listening to this message right now, may not be here for next Christmas, for our next new year, for the next message.

In 2021 there will be great opportunities to share the LOVE of Jesus Christ with others, and there will be many who are found not to be part of God’s kingdom…

There will be times when we must go to war, when we must protect ourselves and others from harm. There will be times when some must die for their sins and others who will die because of someone else’s sins.

There will be opportunities in 2021 to heal others by what we say and by what we do…….

There will be a time when the killing must stop, and people must find the peace of God…….

There will be times of uncontrollable weeping and pain and sorrow. There will be times of glorious joy and miraculous victories, times of unbelievable happiness, and times of tremendous loss for some… Times to laugh and times to cry, times to dance, and times we cannot. There will be times when we must give up much, and times we must give much to others.

Times when we must not judge, and times when we must judge…

There will be times when with all God’s LOVE we must embrace others, and times because of God’s LOVE we must not embrace them…

There will be times of loss, and times of gain…Times to give up and times to refuse to give up……. There will be times we must turn our back, and other times we must stand firm with others…

There will be times in 2021 that we must speak up even if it appears we are intolerant or hurtful to others. There will be other times we will feel like we will burst if we do not speak up, and yet for God’s purposes we must be silent…

There will be times we must declare the LOVE of God, and times we must declare His Judgment on sin……. There will be times of great opportunity to reconcile fallen mankind to God and bring peace into their lives, our lives, and there will be times when that must give way to God’s justice on sin….

A time of PEACE and a time of WAR; a time for SALVATION and yes, a time for DAMNATION…….

Only God knows what is in store for each one of us in 2021, but as surely as He is a LOVING, COMPASSIONATE GOD; those who are truly His can have absolute faith and assurance that He will go with us…That He WILL NEVER EVER LEAVE US OR FORSAKE US…….

Matthew 28 v 20B

“…and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

He will NEVER LET US GO!!!

John 6:37 (RSV)
37 All that the Father gives me will come to me; and him who comes to me I will not cast out.

Romans 8:38-39 (RSV)
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.

"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

By the WILL, LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY of GOD!!!!!!!

Blessed New Year 2021!!!!!!!

Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc