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April 5, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The First Epistle to Timothy: Part One”

1 Timothy 1:1-2 (RSV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Blessed Lord, who has caused all the Holy Scriptures to be written for our leaning and well-being; Grant that we wisely comprehend them, read them, mark them, learn them, and inwardly digest them, and LOVINGLY and whole heartedly do what they say; that by patience, and comfort of the holy Word the Bible, we may embrace them, and EVER hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given to us who are “Born Again” through the precious shed blood of our blessed Redeemer and Savior Jesus Christ.

Give us the LOVE, compassion, and emphatic desire to reach out to those who have physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of any kind, that we may be willing to die ourselves if necessary, to bring others to a saving knowledge of Your ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS THE CHRIST.

Help us do our part during this awful pandemic in our nation and world, give us health and strength to do Your will, give us perseverance to do whatever is needed. Heal Lord the sick, the dying, give peace to their families and friends, give wisdom to those who are in authority over us, bless their decisions, and bless them. Bless those who by call are caring for the ill in any way, give them health, strength, wisdom, bless them and their willing efforts to serve those who are in great need. Lord be with us all, with all of Your creation.

Bless this service, this message, ALL THOSE WHO HEAR IT OR READ IT, in Jesus name, Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN!!!!!!!

A Brief Introduction…………………

Personal Letters

1 and 2 Timothy and Titus have always been regarded as forming a separate group of letters, different from the other letters of Paul. The most obvious difference is that they, along with the little letter to Philemon, are written to persons, whereas all other Pauline letters are written to Churches. The Muratorian Canon, which was the earliest official list of New Testament books, says that they were written "from personal feeling and affection." They are private rather than public letters.

 

Ecclesiastical Letters

But it very soon began to be seen that, though these are personal and private letters, they have significance and relevance far beyond the immediate. In,

1 Timothy 3:15 (RSV)
15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

The letters’ aims are set down. They are written to Timothy "that you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the Church of the living God." So, then, it came to be seen that these letters have not only a personal significance, but also what one might call an ecclesiastical significance. The Muratorian Canon says of them that, though they are personal letters written out of personal affection, "they are still hallowed in the respect of the Catholic Church, and in the arrangement of ecclesiastical discipline." Tertullian said that Paul wrote:

"two letters to Timothy and one to Titus, which were composed concerning the state of the Church (de ecclesiastico statu)."

It is not then surprising that the first name given to them was Pontifical Letters, that is, written by the pontifex, the priest, the controller of the Church.

Pastoral Letters

Bit by bit they came to acquire the name by which they are still known—The Pastoral Epistles. In writing of 1 Timothy Thomas Aquinas, as long ago as 1274, said,

"This letter is as it were a pastoral rule which the Apostle delivered to Timothy."

In his introduction to the second letter, he writes,

"In the first letter he gives Timothy instructions concerning ecclesiastical order; in this second letter he deals with a pastoral care which should be so great that it will even accept martyrdom for the sake of the care of the flock."

But this title, The Pastoral Epistles, really became affixed to these letters in 1726 when a great scholar, Paul Anton by name, gave a series of famous lectures on them under that title.

These letters then deal with the care and organization of the flock of God; they tell men how to behave within the household of God; they give instructions as to how God's house should be administered, as to what kind of people the leaders and pastors of the Church should be, and as to how the threats which endanger the purity of Christian faith and life should be dealt with.

The Growing Church

The supreme interest of these letters is that we get in them a picture of the infant Church. In those early days it was an island in a sea of paganism. The people in it were only one remove from their heathen origin. It would have been so easy for them to relapse into the pagan standards from which they had come; the tarnishing atmosphere was all around. It is most significant that missionaries tell us that of all letters the Pastoral Epistles speak most directly to the situation of the younger Churches. The situation with which they deal is being re-enacted in India, in Africa, in China every day. They can never lose their interest because in them we see, as nowhere else, the problems which continually beset the growing Church.

Let us begin First Timothy……………………………..

Never a man magnified his office as Paul did. He did not magnify it in pride; he magnified it in wonder that God had chosen him for a task like that. Twice in the opening words of this letter he lays down the greatness of his privilege.

(i) First, he calls himself an apostle of Christ Jesus. Apostle is the Greek word apostolos, from the verb apostellein which means to send out; an apostolos was one who was sent out. As far back as Herodotus it means an envoy, an ambassador, one who is sent out to represent his country and his king. Paul always regarded himself as the envoy and ambassador of Christ. And, in truth, that is the office of every Christian. It is the first duty of every ambassador to form a liaison between the country to which he is sent and the country from which he has come. He is the connecting link. And the first duty of every Christian is to be a connecting link between his fellow-men and women with Jesus Christ.

(ii) Secondly, he says that he is an apostle by the royal command of God. The word he uses is epitage. This is the word Greek uses for the injunctions which some inviolable law lays on a man; for the royal command which comes to a man from the king; and above all for the instructions which come to a man either directly or by some oracle from God. For instance, a man in an inscription dedicates an altar to the goddess Cybele, kat' epitagen, in accordance with the command of the goddess, which, he tells us, had come to him in a dream. Paul thought of himself as a man holding the king's commission.

If any person can arrive at this consciousness of being sent forth by God, a new splendor enters into life. However humble our part may be in it, we are on royal service.

"Life can never be dull again

When once we've thrown our windows open wide

And seen the mighty world that lies outside,

And whispered to ourselves this wondrous thing,

'We're wanted for the business of the King!'"

It is always a privilege to do even the most menial things for someone whom we LOVE and respect and admire. All the life of a Christian is on the business of the King.

Paul goes on to give to God and to Jesus two great titles.

He speaks of God, our Savior. This is a new way of speaking. We do not find this title for God in any of Paul's earlier letters. There are two backgrounds from which it comes.

(a) It comes from an Old Testament background. It is Moses' charge against Israel that Jeshurun "forsook God who made him, and scoffed at the Rock of his Salvation",

Deuteronomy 32:15 (RSV)
15 "But Jesh'urun waxed fat, and kicked; you waxed fat, you grew thick, you became sleek; then he forsook God who made him, and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.

The Psalmist sings of how the good man will receive righteousness from the God of his salvation,

Psalm 24:5 (RSV)
5 He will receive blessing from the LORD, and vindication from the God of his salvation.

It is Mary's song,

Luke 1:46-47 (RSV)
46 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

When Paul called God Savior, he was going back to an idea which had always been dear to Israel.

(b) There is a pagan background. It so happened that just at this time the title soter, Savior, was much in use. Men had always used it. In the old days the Romans had called Scipio, their great general, "our hope and our salvation." But at this very time it was the title which the Greeks gave to Aesculapius, the god of healing. And it was one of the titles which Nero, the Roman Emperor, had taken to himself. So in this opening sentence Paul is taking the title which was much on the lips of a seeking and a wistful world and giving it to the only person to whom it belonged by right.

We must never forget that Paul called God Savior. It is possible to take a quite wrong idea of the Atonement. Sometimes people speak of it in a way which indicates that something Jesus did pacified the anger of God. The idea they give is that God was bent on our destruction and that somehow his wrath was turned to LOVE by Jesus. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any support for that. It was because God so LOVED the world that He sent Jesus into the world,

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.

God is LOVE, and His motive and source for anything He DOES or SAYS is because of His magnificent LOVE……. JUSTICE, REDEMPTION, FORGIVENESS, TRIALS, CHASTISEMENTS AND YES, EVEN ETERNALLY DAMNATION IS ROOTED IN HIS MOST PERFECT LOVE!!!!!!!

God is Savior. We must never think or preach or teach of God who had to be pacified and persuaded into LOVING us, for everything begins from His LOVE.

Paul uses a title which was to become one of the great titles of Jesus—"Christ Jesus, our hope." Long ago the Psalmist had demanded of himself:

Psalm 43:5 (RSV)
5 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.

Paul himself speaks of,

Colossians 1:27 (RSV)
27 To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

John speaks of the dazzling prospect which confronted the Christian, the prospect of being like Christ; and goes on to say:

1 John 3:2-3 (RSV)
2 Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. 3 And every one who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.

In the early Church this was to become one of the most precious titles of Christ. Ignatius of Antioch, when on his way to execution in Rome, writes to the Church in Ephesus:

"Be of good cheer in God the Father and in Jesus Christ our common hope" (Ignatius: To the Ephesians 21:2).

Polycarp writes:

"Let us therefore persevere in our hope and the earnest of our righteousness, who is Jesus Christ" (Epistle of Polycarp 8).

(i) Men found in Christ the hope of moral victory and of self-conquest. The ancient world knew its sin. Epictetus had spoken wistfully of

"our weakness in necessary things."

Seneca had said that

"we hate our vices and love them at the same time."

He said,

"We have not stood bravely enough by our good resolutions; despite our will and resistance we have lost our innocence. Nor is it only that we have acted amiss; we shall do so to the end."

Persius, the Roman poet, wrote poignantly:

"Let the guilty see virtue, and pine that they have lost her for ever."

Persius talks of

"filthy Natta benumbed by vice."

The ancient world knew its moral helplessness only too well; and Christ came, not only telling men what was right, but giving them the power to do it. Christ gave to men who had lost it the hope of moral victory instead of defeat.

(ii) Humankind found in Christ the hope of victory over circumstances. Christianity came into the world in an age of the most terrible personal insecurity. When Tacitus, the Roman historian, came to write the history of that very age in which the Christian Church came into being, he began by saying,

"I am entering upon the history of a period rich in disaster, gloomy with wars, rent with seditions; nay, savage in its very hours of peace. Four emperors perished by the sword; there were three civil wars; there were more with foreigners, and some had the character of both at once... Rome wasted by fires; its oldest temples burned; the very capitol set in flames by Roman hands; the defilement of sacred rites; adultery in high places; the sea crowded with exiles; island rocks drenched with murder; yet wilder was the frenzy in Rome; nobility, wealth, the refusal of office, its acceptance, everything was a crime, and virtue was the surest way to ruin. Nor were the rewards of the informers less odious than their deeds. One found his spoils in a priesthood or a consulate; another in a provincial governorship, another behind the throne. All was one delirium of hate and terror; slaves were bribed to betray their masters, freedmen their patrons; and he who had no foe was betrayed by his friend." (Tacitus: Histories 1, 2).

((((((( Does History repeat itself??? )))))))

As Gilbert Murray said, the whole age was suffering from

"the failure of nerve."

Men were longing for some ring-wall of defense against

"the advancing chaos of the world."

It was Christ who in such times gave men the strength to live, and the courage, if need be, to die. In the certainty that nothing on earth could separate them from the LOVE of God in Christ Jesus, men found victory over the terrors of the age.

(iii) Men found in Christ the hope of victory over death. They found in Him, at one and the same time, strength for mortal things and the immortal hope. Christ, our hope, was—and still should be—the battle-cry of the Church.

It is to Timothy that this letter is sent, and Paul was never able to speak of him without affection in his voice.

Timothy was a native of Lystra in the province of Galatia. It was a Roman colony; it called itself "the most brilliant colony of Lystra," but in reality it was a little place at the ends of the civilized earth. Its importance was that there was a Roman garrison quartered there to keep control of the wild tribes of the Isaurian mountains which lay beyond. It was on the first missionary journey that Paul and Barnabas arrived there. ( Acts 14:8-21 ) At that time there is no mention of Timothy; but it has been suggested that, when Paul was in Lystra, he found a lodging in Timothy's home, in view of the fact that he knew well the faith and devotion of Timothy's mother Eunice and of his grandmother Lois,

2 Timothy 1:5 (RSV)
5 I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lo'is and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you.

On that first visit Timothy must have been very young, but the Christian faith laid hold upon him, and Paul became his hero. It was at Paul's visit to Lystra on the second missionary journey that life began for Timothy,

Acts 16:1-3 (RSV)
1 And he came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer; but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brethren at Lystra and Ico'nium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him; and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews that were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

Young as he was, he had become one of the ornaments of the Christian Church in Lystra. There was such a charm and enthusiasm in the lad that all men spoke well of him. To Paul, he seemed the very man to be his assistant. Maybe even then he had dreams that this lad was the very person to train to take up his work when his day was over.

Timothy was the child of a mixed marriage; his mother was a Jewess, and his father a Greek. Paul circumcised him. It was not that Paul was a slave of the law, or that he saw in circumcision any special virtue; but he knew well that if Timothy was to work amongst the Jews, there would be an initial prejudice against him if he was uncircumcised, and so he took this step as a practical measure to increase Timothy's usefulness as an evangelist.

From that time forward Timothy was Paul's constant companion. He was left behind at Beroea with Silas when Paul escaped to Athens, and later joined him there,

Acts 17:14-15 (RSV)
14 Then the brethren immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15 Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.

Acts 18:5 (RSV)
5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedo'nia, Paul was occupied with preaching, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.

He was sent as Paul's emissary to Macedonia,

Acts 19:22 (RSV)
22 And having sent into Macedo'nia two of his helpers, Timothy and Eras'tus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while.

He was there when the collection from the Churches was being taken to Jerusalem,

Acts 20:4 (RSV)
4 Sop'ater of Beroe'a, the son of Pyrrhus, accompanied him; and of the Thessalo'nians, Aristar'chus and Secun'dus; and Ga'ius of Derbe, and Timothy; and the Asians, Tych'icus and Troph'imus.

He was with Paul in Corinth when Paul wrote his letter to Rome,

Romans 16:21 (RSV)
21 Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosip'ater, my kinsmen.

He was Paul's emissary to Corinth when there was trouble in that unruly Church,

1 Corinthians 4:17 (RSV)
17 Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

1 Corinthians 16:10 (RSV)
10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.

He was with Paul when he wrote 2 Corinthians,

2 Corinthians 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Acha'ia:

2 Corinthians 1:19 (RSV)
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva'nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes.

It was Timothy whom Paul sent to see how things were going in Thessalonica and he was with Paul when he wrote his letter to that Church,

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.

1 Thessalonians 3:2 (RSV)
2 and we sent Timothy, our brother and God's servant in the gospel of Christ, to establish you in your faith and to exhort you,

1 Thessalonians 3:6 (RSV)
6 But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and has brought us the good news of your faith and love and reported that you always remember us kindly and long to see us, as we long to see you --

He was with Paul in prison when he wrote to Philippi, and Paul was planning to send him to Philippi as his representative,

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:

Philippians 2:19 (RSV)
19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you.

He was with Paul when he wrote to the Church at Colossae and to Philemon,

Colossians 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,

Philemon 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Phile'mon our beloved fellow worker

Constantly Timothy was by Paul's side, and when Paul had a difficult job to do Timothy was the man sent to do it.

Over and over again Paul's voice vibrates with affection when he speaks of Timothy. When he is sending him to that sadly divided Church at Corinth, he writes:

1 Corinthians 4:17 (RSV)
17 Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

When he is planning to send him to Philippi, he writes:

Philippians 2:20, 22 (RSV)
20 I have no one like him, who will be genuinely anxious for your welfare…
22 But Timothy's worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel.

Here he calls him "his true son." The word that he uses for "true" is gnesios. It has two meanings. It was the normal word for a legitimate child in contradistinction to illegitimate. It was the word for genuine, as opposed to counterfeit.

Timothy was the man whom Paul could trust and could send anywhere, knowing that he would go. Happy indeed is the leader who possesses a lieutenant like that. Timothy is our example of how we should serve in the faith. Christ and his Church need servants like that, and deserve servants like that.

Paul always began his letters with a blessing,

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.

In all these other letters only Grace and Peace occur. It is only in the letters to Timothy that Mercy is used,

2 Timothy 1:2 (RSV)
2 To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:4 (KJV)
4 To Titus, mine own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Saviour.

Let us look at these three great words.

(i) In Grace there are always three dominant ideas.

(a) In classical Greek the word means outward grace or favor, beauty, winsomeness, sweetness. Usually, although not always, it is applied to persons. The English word charm comes near to expressing its meaning. Grace is characteristically a LOVELY and a winsome thing.

(b) In the New Testament there is always the idea of sheer generosity. Grace is something unearned and undeserved. It is opposed to that which is a debt. Paul says that if it is a case of earning things, the reward is not a matter of grace, but of debt,

Romans 4:4 (KJV)
4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

It is opposed to works. Paul says that God's election of his chosen people is not the consequence of works, but of grace,

Romans 11:16 (RSV)
16 If the dough offered as first fruits is holy, so is the whole lump; and if the root is holy, so are the branches.

(c) In the New Testament there is always the idea of sheer universality. Again and again Paul uses the word grace in connection with the reception of the Gentiles into the family of God. He thanks God for the grace given to the Corinthians in Jesus Christ,

1 Corinthians 1:4 (RSV)
4 I give thanks to God always for you because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus,

He talks of the grace of God bestowed on the Churches of Macedonia,

2 Corinthians 8:1 (RSV)
1 We want you to know, brethren, about the grace of God which has been shown in the churches of Macedo'nia,

He talks of the Galatians being called into the grace of Christ,

Galatians 1:6 (RSV)
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel --

The hope which came to the Thessalonians came through grace,

2 Thessalonians 2:16 (RSV)
16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace,

It was God's grace which made Paul an apostle to the Gentiles,

1 Corinthians 15:10 (RSV)
10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me.

It was by the grace of God that he moved amongst the Corinthians,

2 Corinthians 1:2 (RSV)
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It was by grace that God called him and separated him from his mother's womb,

Galatians 1:15 (RSV)
15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace,

It is the grace given to him by God which enables him to write boldly to the Church at Rome,

Romans 15:15 (RSV)
15 But on some points I have written to you very boldly by way of reminder, because of the grace given me by God

To Paul the great demonstration of the grace of God was the reception of the Gentiles into the Church and his apostleship to them.

Grace is a LOVELY thing; it is a free thing; and it is a universal thing. As F. J. Hort wrote so beautifully:

"Grace is a comprehensive word, gathering up all that may be supposed to be expressed in the smile of a heavenly king, looking down upon his people."

(ii) Peace was the normal Jewish word of greeting, and, in Hebrew thought, it expresses, not simply the negative absence of trouble, but "the most comprehensive form of well-being." It is everything which makes for a person's highest good. It is the state a person is in when we are within the LOVE of God. F. J. Hort writes:

"Peace is the antithesis to every kind of conflict and war and molestation, to enmity without and distraction within."

"Bowed down beneath a load of sin, By Satan sorely pressed,

By war without and fears within, I come to thee for rest."

(iii) Mercy is the new word in the apostolic blessing. In Greek the word is eleos, and in Hebrew chesed. Now chesedh is the word which is often in the Old Testament translated loving-kindness; and when Paul prayed for mercy on Timothy, he is saying, to put it very simply, "Timothy, may God be good to you." But there is more to it than that. Chesed is used in the Psalms no fewer than one hundred and twenty-seven times. And time and time again it has the meaning of help in time of need. It denotes, as Parry puts it, "God's active intervention to help." As Hort puts it,

"It is the coming down of the Most High to help the helpless."

The Psalmist rejoices,

Psalm 40:11 (RSV)
11 Do not thou, O LORD, withhold thy mercy from me, let thy steadfast love and thy faithfulness ever preserve me!

In,

Psalm 57:3 (RSV)
3 He will send from heaven and save me, he will put to shame those who trample upon me. [Selah] God will send forth his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

In,

Psalm 86:14-16 (RSV)
14 O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seek my life, and they do not set thee before them. 15 But thou, O Lord, art a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. 16 Turn to me and take pity on me; give thy strength to thy servant, and save the son of thy handmaid.

He thinks of the forces of the evil men which are arrayed against him, and comforts himself with the thought that God is "abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness." It is by God's abundant mercy that he has given us the living hope of the resurrection,

1 Peter 1:3 (RSV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

The Gentiles should glorify God for that mercy which has rescued them from sin and hopelessness,

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";

God's mercy is God active to save. It may well be that Paul added Mercy to his two usual words, Grace and Peace, because Timothy was up against it and he wanted in one word to tell him that the Most High was the help of the helpless.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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March 29, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Ten”

2 Peter 3:10-18 (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. 11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire! 13 But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these, be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. 15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

Let us pray,

O Lord God, who sees that we put not our trust in anything that we do: Mercifully grant that by Thy omniscience, omnipotence, omnipresence we may be defended against all our adversaries, including our often own foolish behavior and will, and through all our adversities as well; grant us to ever be humble, teachable, kind, LOVING, and obedient to Your word, guide us today and every day as we study your word the holy word the Bible.

We pray for our Church, all Christian Churches, all communities, our country, and the world during this modern-day pandemic, with the Corna-virus. We do not know why this is happening now, and we need not know. But we pray with all our hearts that You would intervene in this terrible time, bless the wisdom, skill, and health of all those in the medical health field, bring speedily a vaccine or medicine that can bring victory over this virus. Heal those who are sick, comfort those who have died or are dying. Comfort families, friends, and LOVED ones, in this unprecedented time in human history.  Lord help us…

 In Jesus most blessed name, Amen and Eternally Amen…….


It inevitably happens that we speak and think in the terms which we know. That is what Peter is doing here. He is speaking of the New Testament doctrine of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, but he is describing it in terms of the Old Testament doctrine of the Day of the Lord.

The Day of the Lord is a conception which runs all through the prophetic books of the Old Testament. The Jews saw time in terms of two ages—this present age, which is wholly bad and past remedy  (( which I think we are understanding about our own present society!!! )); and the age to come, which is the golden age of God. How was the one to turn into the other? The change could not come about by human effort or by a process of development, for the world was on the way to destruction. As the Jews saw it and as the Bible fully teaches, there was only one way in which the change could happen; it must be by the direct intervention of God. The time of that intervention they called the Day of the Lord. It was to come without warning. It was to be a time when the universe was shaken to its foundations. It was to be a time when the judgment and obliteration of sinners would come to pass and, therefore, it would be a time of terror.

Isaiah 13:9 (RSV)
9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.

Joel 2:1-2 (RSV)
1 Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming, it is near, 2 a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness! Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains a great and powerful people; their like has never been from of old, nor will be again after them through the years of all generations.

Zephaniah 1:14-18 (RSV)
14 The great day of the LORD is near, near and hastening fast; the sound of the day of the LORD is bitter, the mighty man cries aloud there. 15 A day of wrath is that day, a day of distress and anguish, a day of ruin and devastation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness, 16 a day of trumpet blast and battle cry against the fortified cities and against the lofty battlements. 17 I will bring distress on men, so that they shall walk like the blind, because they have sinned against the LORD; their blood shall be poured out like dust, and their flesh like dung. 18 Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them on the day of the wrath of the LORD. In the fire of his jealous wrath, all the earth shall be consumed; for a full, yea, sudden end he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Isaiah 13:10-13 (RSV)
10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising and the moon will not shed its light. 11 I will punish the world for its evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant, and lay low the haughtiness of the ruthless. 12 I will make men more rare than fine gold, and mankind than the gold of Ophir. 13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken out of its place, at the wrath of the LORD of hosts in the day of his fierce anger.

What Peter and many of the New Testament writers did through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit was to identify the Old Testament pictures of the Day of the Lord with the New Testament conception of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Peter's picture here of the Second Coming of Jesus is drawn in terms of the Old Testament picture of the Day of the Lord.

He uses one very vivid phrase. He says that the heavens will pass away with a crackling roar (roizedon). That word is used for the whirring of a bird's wings in the air, for the sound a spear makes as it hurtles through the air, for the crackling of the flames of a forest fire.

One thing has to be held in the memory. The whole conception of the Second Coming is full of immense difficulty and ultimate despair for the Lost and final great joy for the Saints. But this is sure—there comes a day when God breaks into every life, for there comes a day when we must die; and for that day we must be prepared. We may say what we will about the Coming of Christ as a future event; we may feel it is a doctrine we have to lay on one side; but we cannot escape from the certainty of the entry of God into our own experience.

Hebrews 9:27 (RSV)
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,

Whether we die or Christ returns first, WE WILL MEET OUR MAKER, and He will either be our JUDGE or our MOST BELOVED and BLESSED SAVIOR………………………………..

The one thing in which Peter is supremely interested is the moral dynamic of the Second Coming. Since these things are going to happen and the world is hastening to judgment, obviously a person, we, must live a life of piety and of holiness. Not because our good works save us, BECAUSE THEY, NOT A ONE OF OUR OWN WORKS OR DEEDS CAN SAVE US:

Titus 3:5-8 (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,
7 so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life. 8 The saying is sure. I desire you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.

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.

But it is our obligation of LOVE that we willingly and joyfully make EVERY EFFORT to live Holy and devout lives for our God and to obey and live out in practical, authentic ways what His inerrant, infallible word the Holy Bible says!!!!!!! And not what we think it says, or even what a well-liked commentary might say it means, but obey and live out WHAT IT ACTUALLY DECLARES!!!!!!! So that we can be a Light, a reflective Light mind you, of God’s LOVE, but non-the-less a Light of hope and salvation, for those around us!!!

Matthew 5:14-16 (RSV)
14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 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.

John 9:5 (RSV)
5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

If there are to be a new heaven and a new earth and if that heaven and earth are to be the home of righteousness, obviously we must seek with all our minds and hearts and souls and strength to be fit to be a dweller in that new world.

That is what God means, when He inspires Paul to write:

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;

Or as James says,

James 1:22 (RSV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

And again,

James 2:14 (RSV)
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if a man says he has faith but has not works? Can his faith save him?

Our works and deeds can never save us, nor can they maintain our salvation in anyway; however, how we live our lives, how we genuinely LOVE others, even our enemies, IS PERHAPS THE ONLY LIGHT OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST THAT A PERSON WILL EVER SEE!!! What a glorious obligation of our LOVE for Our Lord, God, and Savior…….Jesus the Christ!!!!!!!

To Peter, as Moffatt rightly puts it,

"it was impossible to give up the hope of the advent without ethical deterioration."

Peter was right. If there is nothing in the nature of the Second Coming, nothing in the nature of a goal to which the whole creation moves, then life is going nowhere. That, in fact, was the heathen position. If there is no goal, either for the world or for the individual life, other than extinction, certain attitudes to life become well-nigh inevitable. These attitudes emerge in heathen epitaphs.

(i) If there is nothing to come, a man may well decide to make what he can of the pleasures of this world. So we come on an epitaph like this:

"I was nothing: I am nothing. So thou who art still alive, eat, drink, and be merry."

(ii) If there is nothing to live for, a man may well be utterly indifferent. Nothing matters much if the end of everything is extinction, in which a man will not even be aware that he is extinguished. So we come on such an epitaph as this:

"Once I had no existence; now I have none. I am not aware of it. It does not Concern me."

(iii) If there is nothing to live for but extinction and the world is going nowhere, there can enter into life a kind of lostness. Man ceases to be in any sense a pilgrim for there is nowhere to which he can make pilgrimage. He must simply drift in a kind of lostness, coming from nowhere and on the way to nowhere. So we come on an epigram like that of Callimachus.

"Charidas, what is below?" "Deep darkness." "But what of the paths upward?" "All a lie." "And Pluto?" (The God of the underworld). "Mere talk." "Then we're lost."

Even the heathen found a certain almost intolerable quality in a life without a goal.

In the doctrine of the Second Coming there is a blessed truth, a marvelous truth, it conserves that LIFE IS INDEED GOING SOMEWHERE—and without that conviction there is nothing to live for.

There is in this passage still another great conception. Peter speaks of the Christian as not only eagerly awaiting the Coming of Christ but as actually hastening it on. The New Testament tells us certain ways in which this may be done.

(i) It may be done by prayer. Jesus taught us to pray:

Matthew 6:10 (RSV)
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

The earnest prayer of the Christian heart hastens the coming of the King. If in no other way, it does so in this—that we who pray open our own hearts for the entry of the King.

(ii) It may be done by preaching.  Matthew tells us that Jesus said,

Matthew 24:14 (RSV)
14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.

All humanity must be given the chance to know and to LOVE Jesus Christ before the end of creation is reached. The missionary activity of the Church is the hastening of the coming of the King.

((( God bless all our missionaries and all those who share the Gospel of Jesus Christ!!! )))

(iii) It may be done by penitence and obedience. Of all things this would be nearest to Peter's mind and heart. The Rabbis had two sayings: "It is the sins of the people which prevent the coming of the Messiah. If the Jews would genuinely repent for one day, the Messiah would come." The other form of the saying means the same: "If Israel would perfectly keep the law for one day, the Messiah would come." In true penitence and in real obedience a person opens their own heart to the coming of the King and brings nearer that coming throughout the world. We do well to remember that our coldness of heart and our disobedience delay the coming of the King.

((((((( Ouch……………………..That hurts!!!!!!! )))))))…….It should!!!

Peter here cites Paul as teaching the same things as he himself teaches. It may be that he is citing Paul as agreeing that a pious and a holy life is necessary in view of the approaching Second Coming of the Lord. More likely, he is citing Paul as agreeing that the fact that God withholds His hand is to be regarded not as indifference on God's part but as an opportunity to repent and to accept Jesus Christ. Paul speaks of those who despise the riches of God's goodness and forbearance and patience, forgetting that his kindness is designed to lead people to repentance,

Romans 2:4 (RSV)
4 Or do you presume upon the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience? Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?

More than once Paul stresses the forbearance and the patience of God,

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;

Romans 9:22 (RSV)
22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the vessels of wrath made for destruction,

Both Peter and Paul were agreed that the fact that God withholds his hand is never to be used as an excuse for sinning but always as a means of repentance and an opportunity of improvement.

With its reference to Paul and its tinge of criticism of him, this is one of the most intriguing passages in the New Testament. It was this passage which made John Calvin certain that Peter did not himself write Second Peter because, he says, Peter would never have spoken about Paul like this. What do we learn from it?

(i) We learn that Paul's letters by this time were known and used throughout the Church. They are spoken of in such a way as to make it clear that they have been collected and published, and that they are generally available and widely read. We are fairly certain that it was about the year A.D. 90 that Paul's letters were collected and published in Ephesus. This means that Second Peter cannot have been written before that and, therefore, cannot be of the physical hand of Peter, who was martyred in the middle sixties of the century.

(ii) It tells us that Paul's letters have come to be regarded as Scripture. The misguided men twist them as they do the other Scriptures. This again goes to prove that Second Peter must come from a time well on in the history of the early Church, for it would take many generations for the letters of Paul to rank alongside the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

(iii) It is a little difficult to determine just what the attitude to Paul is in this passage. He is writing "in the wisdom which has been given to him." Bigg says neatly that this phrase can be equally a commendation or a caution! The truth is that Paul suffered the fate of all outstanding men. He had his critics. He suffered the fate of all who fearlessly face and fearlessly state the truth. Some regarded him as great but dangerous.

(iv) There are things in Paul's letters which are hard to understand and which ignorant people twist to their own ruin. The word used for hard to understand is (dusnoetos), which is used of the utterance of an oracle. The utterances of Greek oracles were always ambiguous. There is the classic example of the king about to go to war who consulted the oracle at Delphi and was given the answer:

"If you go to war, you will destroy a great nation."

He took this as a prophecy that he would destroy his enemies; but it happened that he was so utterly defeated that by going to war he destroyed his own country. This was typical of the dangerous ambiguity of the ancient oracles. It is that very word which Peter uses of the writings of Paul. They have things in them which are as difficult to interpret as the ambiguous utterance of an oracle.

Not only, Peter says, are there things in Paul's writings that are hard to understand; there are things which a man may twist to his own destruction. Three things come immediately to mind. Paul's doctrine of grace was twisted into an excuse and even a reason for sin ( Romans 6 ). Paul's doctrine of Christian freedom was twisted into an excuse for unchristian license,

Galatians 5:13 (RSV)
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.

Paul's doctrine of faith was twisted into an argument that Christian action was unimportant, as we see in James,

James 2:14-26 (RSV)
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. 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.

G. K. Chesterton once said that orthodoxy was like walking along a narrow ridge; one step to either side was a step to disaster. Jesus is God and man; God is LOVE and holiness; Christianity is grace and morality; the Christian lives in this world and lives in the world of eternity. Overstress either side of these great two-sided truths, and at once destructive heresy emerges. One of the most tragic things in life is when a person twists Christian truth and Holy Scripture into an excuse and even a reason for doing what they want to do instead of taking them as guides for doing what God wants them, us, to do.

In conclusion Peter tells us certain things about the Christian life.

(i) The Christian is a person who is forewarned. That is to say, We cannot plead ignorance. We know the right way and its rewards; we know the wrong way and its disasters. We have no right to expect an easy way, for we have been told that Christianity means a cross, and we have been warned that there will always be those who are ready to attack and to pervert the faith. To be forewarned is to be forearmed; but to be forewarned is also a grave responsibility, for we who know the right and does the wrong is under a double condemnation.

James 4:17 (RSV)
17 Whoever knows what is right to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

(ii) The Christian is a person with a basis for life. We ought to be rooted and founded in the faith. There are certain things of which we as genuine Christians can be absolutely certain. James Agate once declared that his mind was not a bed to be made and remade but that on certain things it was finally made up. There is a certain inflexibility in the Christian life; there is a certain basis of belief which never changes. The Christian will never cease to believe that, "Jesus Christ is Lord",

Philippians 2:11 (RSV)
11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

That Jesus is our Lord and God,

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

That Jesus is the ONLY Savior for ALL OF HUMANKIND!!!

John 14:6 (RSV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

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."

That we MUST BELIEVE EVERYTHING THE BIBLE TEACHES IN ITS PROPER 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.'"

We must never cease to be aware that there is laid on us the obligation of LOVE to make our lives fit our FAITH!!!!!!!

(iii) The Christian are men, women, and children with developing lives. The inflexibility of the Christian life is not the rigidity of death. The Christian must daily experience the wonder of grace, and daily grow in the gifts which grace can bring; and we must daily enter more and more deeply into the wonder which is in Jesus Christ. It is only on a firm foundation that a great building can tower into the air; and it is only because it has a deep root that a great tree can reach out to the sky with its branches. The Christian life is at once a life with a firm foundation and with an ever outward and upward growth.

1 Corinthians 3:11 (RSV)
11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

The only foundation for a TRUE Christian is Jesus Christ!!! And if we do not believe Jesus is and must be the foundation for ALL people, CAN WE REALLY BE CHRISTIANS???????

And so the letter finishes by giving glory to Christ, both now and to the end of time.

Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN!!!!!!!

Now that we have gone through First and Second Peter verse by verse we will continue in this vein by going through First and Second Timothy……………All being dependent on the will of God!!!!!!! The Lord Jesus Christ be with you all…….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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March 22, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Nine”

2 Peter 3:1-9 (RSV)
1 This is now the second letter that I have written to you, beloved, and in both of them I have aroused your sincere mind by way of reminder; 2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles. 3 First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions 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." 5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, 6 through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. 8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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.

Oh Lord God YHWH, who has prepared for them who genuinely LOVE You such magnificent things as pass all of our understanding and comprehension; Pour into our hearts such LOVE toward You, that we, LOVING You above all things, may obtain Your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; open our minds to your holy and precious word today, and help us to not leave this place today without the wisdom to go forward and serve you and LOVE all of your creation as You do.

Lord we know this sinful world deserves the Corona-virus and worse, but still, we pray for your healing touch on this world, our country, save us from our selves, save us from this pandemic.

Through Jesus Christ we pray, Amen and Eternally Amen……………..

Lord, please bless and save all the children of the world, protect them, and LOVE them……………..


In this passage we see clearly displayed the principles of preaching which Peter observed.

(i) He believed in the value of repetition. He knows that it is necessary for a thing to be said over and over again if it is to penetrate the mind. When Paul was writing to the Philippians, he said that to repeat the same thing over and over again was not a weariness to him, and for them it was the only safe way,

Philippians 3:1 (RSV)
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you.

***It is by continued repetition that the rudiments of knowledge are settled in the mind of the child. There is something of significance here. It may well be that often we are too desirous of novelty, too eager to say, or hear new things, when what is needed is a repetition of the eternal truths which people so quickly forget and whose significance they so often refuse to see. There are certain foods of which a person does not get tired of; necessary for our daily sustenance they are set before us every day. We speak about a man's daily bread and there are certain great Christian truths which have to be repeated again and again and which must never be pushed into the background in the desire for novelty or innovation or perceived freshness.

(ii) Peter’s God and ours believe in the need for reminders. Again and again the New Testament makes it clear that preaching and teaching are so often not the introducing of new truth but the reminding of a person of what they, we, already know. Moffatt quotes a saying of Dr. Johnson:

"It is not sufficiently considered that men more frequently require to be reminded than informed."

The Greeks spoke of "time which wipes all things out," as if the human mind were a slate and time a sponge which passes across it with a certain erasing quality. We are so often in the position of people whose need is not so much to be taught as to be reminded of what we already know.

(iii) Peter believed in the value of a compliment. It is his intention to rouse their pure mind. The word he uses for pure is (eilikrines), which may have either of two meanings. It may mean that which is sifted until there is no admixture of chaff left; or it may mean that which is so flawless that it may be held up to the light of the sun. Plato uses this same phrase—(eilikrines) (dianoia)—in the sense of pure reason, reason which is unaffected by the seductive influence of the senses. By using this phrase Peter appeals to his people as having minds uncontaminated by heresy. It is as if he said to them: "You really are fine people—if you would only remember it." The approach of the preacher should so often be that his hearers are not wretched creatures who deserve to be damned but splendid creatures who must be saved.

((( This is also true for those who share their faith with others. Most Sinners do not need to be told they are Sinners, whether they admit it or not, THEY KNOW, what they need to be told is GOD LOVES THEM ABSOLUTELY, and GOD CAN SAVE THEM RIGHT NOW!!! )))

They are not so much like rubbish fit to be burned as like jewels to be rescued from the mud into which they have fallen. Donald Hankey tells of "the beLOVED captain" whose men would follow him anywhere. He looked at them and they looked at him, and they were filled with the determination to be what he believed them to be. We always get further with people when we believe in them than when we despise them.

(iv) Peter believed in the unity of Scripture. As he saw it there was a pattern in Scripture; and the Bible was a book centered in Jesus Christ. The Old Testament foretells the coming of the Christ; the gospels tell of Jesus The Christ; and the apostles bring the message of that Christ to mankind!!!

1 Corinthians 3:11 (RSV)
11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

The characteristic of the heretics which worried Peter most of all was their denial of the Second Coming of Jesus. Literally, their question was: "Where is the promise of his Coming?" That was a form of Hebrew expression which implied that the thing asked about did not exist at all. "Where is the God of justice?" asked the evil men of Malachi's day,

Malachi 2:17 (RSV)
17 You have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet you say, "How have we wearied him?" By saying, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the LORD, and he delights in them." Or by asking, "Where is the God of justice?"

"Where is your God?" the heathen demanded of the Psalmist,

Psalm 42:3 (RSV)
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, "Where is your God?"

Psalm 79:10 (RSV)
10 Why should the nations say, "Where is their God?" Let the avenging of the outpoured blood of thy servants be known among the nations before our eyes!

"Where is the word of the Lord?" his enemies asked Jeremiah,

Jeremiah 17:15 (RSV)
15 Behold, they say to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come!"

In every case the implication of the question is that the thing or the person asked about does not exist. The heretics of Peter's day were denying that Jesus Christ would ever come again. It will be best here at the beginning to summarize their argument and Peter's answer to it.

The argument of Peter's opponents was twofold,

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."

"What has happened," they demanded, "to the promise of the Second Coming?" Their first argument was that the promise had been so long delayed that it was safe to take it that it would never be fulfilled. Their second assertion was that their fathers had died and the world was going on precisely as it always did. Their argument was that this was characteristically a stable universe and convulsive upheavals like the Second Coming did not happen in such a universe.

Peter's response is also twofold. He deals with the second argument first,

2 Peter 3:5-7 (RSV)
5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, 6 through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

His argument is that, in fact, this is not a stable universe, that once it was destroyed by water in the time of the Flood and that a second destruction, this time by fire, is on the way.

The second part of his reply is,

2 Peter 3:8-9 (RSV)
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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.

His opponents speak of a delay so long that they can safely assume that the Second Coming is not going to happen at all. Peter's is a double answer. (a) We must see time as God sees it. With him a day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. "God does not pay every Friday night." (b) In any event God's apparent slowness to act is not dilatoriness, negligent. It is, in fact, mercy. He holds his hand in order to give sinning men, women, and children another chance to repent and find salvation.

Peter goes on to his conclusion,

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.

The Second Coming is on the way and it will come with a sudden terror and destruction which will dissolve the universe in melting heat.

*******Dissolving that which is polluted by SIN and DECAY, and that which remains will be reborn, renewed, to it’s pure created and eternal state!!!*******

Finally comes Peter’s practical demand in face of all this. If we are living in a universe on which Jesus Christ is going to descend and which is hastening towards the destruction of the wicked, surely it behaves us to live in holiness so that we may be ready when the terrible day does come. The Second Coming is used as a tremendous motive for moral amendment so that we may prepare ourselves to meet THE GOD.

Such, then, is the general scheme of this chapter and now we look at it section by section.

Peter's first argument is that the world is not eternally stable. The point he is making is that the ancient world was destroyed by water, just as the present world is going to be destroyed by fire. The detail of this passage is, however, difficult.

He says that the earth was composed out of water and through water. According to the Genesis story in the beginning there was a kind of watery chaos.

Genesis 1:2 (RSV)
2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

Genesis 1:6 (RSV)
6 And God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters."

Out of this watery chaos the world was formed. Further, it is through water that the world is sustained, because life is sustained by the rain which comes down from the skies. What Peter means is that the world was created out of water and is sustained by water; and it was through this same element that the ancient world was destroyed.

Further to clarify this passage we have to note that the flood story developed. As so often in Second Peter and Jude the picture behind this comes not directly from the Old Testament but from the Book of Enoch. In Enoch 83: 3-5 Enoch has a vision:

"I saw in a vision how the heaven collapsed and fell to the earth, and, where it fell to the earth, I saw how the earth was swallowed up in a great abyss."

In the later stories the flood involved not only the obliteration of sinners but the total destruction of heaven and earth. So the warning which Peter is giving may be put like this: "You say that as things are, so they have ever been and so they ever will be. You build your hopes on the idea that this is an unchanging universe. You are wrong, for the ancient world was formed out of water and was sustained by water, and it perished in the flood."

We are left with this permanent truth that the person who will read history with open eyes can see within it the moral law at work and God's dealings with mankind.

Froude, one of the great historians, said that history is a voice sounding across the centuries that in the end it is always ill with the wicked and well with the good.

When Oliver Cromwell was arranging his son Richard's education, he said, "I would have him know a little history." In fact, the lesson of history is that there is a moral order in the universe and that he who defies it does so at his peril.

It is Peter's conviction that, as the ancient world was destroyed by water, the present world will be destroyed by fire. He says that that is stated "by the same word." What he means is that the Old Testament tells of the flood in the past and warns of the destruction by fire in the future. There are many passages in the prophets which Peter took  literally and which must have been in his mind. Joel foresaw a time when God would show blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke,

Joel 2:30 (RSV)
30 "And I will give portents in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and columns of smoke.

The Psalmist has a picture in which, when God comes, a devouring fire shall precede him,

Psalm 50:3 (RSV)
3 Our God comes, he does not keep silence, before him is a devouring fire, round about him a mighty tempest.

Isaiah speaks of a flame of devouring fire,

Isaiah 29:6 (RSV)
6 you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.

Isaiah 30:30 (RSV)
30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones.

The Lord will come with fire; by fire and by his sword will the Lord plead with all flesh,

Isaiah 66:15-16 (RSV)
15 "For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the stormwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. 16 For by fire will the LORD execute judgment, and by his sword, upon all flesh; and those slain by the LORD shall be many.

Nahum has it that the hills melt and the earth is burned at his presence; his fury is poured out like fire,

Nahum 1:5-6 (RSV)
5 The mountains quake before him, the hills melt; the earth is laid waste before him, the world and all that dwell therein. 6 Who can stand before his indignation? Who can endure the heat of his anger? His wrath is poured out like fire, and the rocks are broken asunder by him.

In the picture of Malachi the day of the Lord shall burn as an oven,

Malachi 4:1 (RSV)
1 "For behold, the day comes, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble; the day that comes shall burn them up, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

Peter has plenty of material for his prophecy…….

The Stoics also had a doctrine of the destruction of the world by fire; but it was a grim thing. They held that the universe completed a cycle; that it was consumed in flames; and that everything then started all over again, exactly as it was. They had the strange idea that at the end of the cycle the planets were in exactly the same position as when the world began. "This produces the conflagration and destruction of everything which exists," says Chrysippus. He goes on: "Then again the universe is restored anew in a precisely similar arrangement as before...Socrates and Plato and each individual man will live again, with the same friends and fellow-citizens. They will go through the same experiences and the same activities. Every city and village and field will be restored, just as it was. And this restoration of the universe takes place, not once, but over and over again—indeed to all eternity without end.... For there will never be any new thing other than that which has been before, but everything is repeated down to the minutest detail." History as an eternal tread-mill, the unceasing recurrence of the sins, the sorrows and the mistakes of men—that is one of the grimmest views of history that the mind of man has ever conceived. ((( And just to make it clear, that is not biblical!!! )))

Hebrews 9:27 (RSV)
27 And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,

No reincarnation, no past early lives, no pre-existence; one life, ONE JUDGMENT!!!

It must always be remembered and understood that, as the Jewish prophets saw it, and as Peter saw it, this world will be destroyed with the conflagration of God but the result will not be obliteration and the grim repetition of what has been before; the result will be a new heaven and a new earth. For the biblical view of the world there is something beyond destruction; there is the new creation of God. The worst that the prophet can conceive is not the death agony of the old world so much as the birth pangs of the new.

There are in this passage three great truths on which to nourish the mind and rest the heart.

(i) Time is not the same to God as it is to man. As the Psalmist had it:

Psalm 90:4 (RSV)
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

When we think of Eternity it is easy to feel dwarfed into insignificance; when we think of the slowness of human progress, it is easy to become discouraged into pessimism. There is comfort in the fact of God having all eternity to work in. It is only against the background of eternity that things appear in their true proportions and assume their real value.

(ii) We can also see from this passage that time is always to be regarded as an opportunity. As Peter saw it, the years God gave the world were a further opportunity for mankind to repent and turn to Him. Every day which comes to us is a gift of mercy. It is an opportunity to develop ourselves; to render some service to our fellow-men; to take one step nearer to God.

(iii) Finally, there is another echo of a truth which so often lies in the background of New Testament thought. God, says Peter, does not wish any to perish. God, says Paul, has shut them all up together in unbelief, that he might have mercy on all,

Romans 11:32 (RSV)
32 For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.

Timothy in a tremendous phrase speaks of God who will have all men to be saved,

1 Timothy 2:4 (RSV)
4 who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Ezekiel hears God ask:

Ezekiel 18:23 (RSV)
23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live?

Ever and again there shines in Scripture the glint of the larger hope. We are not forbidden to believe that somehow and some time the God who LOVES the world will bring the whole world to Himself.

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.

Though as Christians we understand, salvation is a LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ, and as much as He deserves our LOVE, LOVE is a free gift, and there are a plethora of people WHO WILL ULTIMATELY CHOOSE NOT TO LOVE HIM…….

God’s heart will truly ache on judgment day for the Lost, those who choose not to LOVE Him!!!

God grant us the desire and ability to share your LOVE with ALL THE WORLD!!!!!!! May we live our lives adamantly in an effort to draw ALL PEOPLE UNTO YOU in LOVE…………………In Jesus name, Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN…

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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March 15, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Eight”

2 Peter 2:12-22 (RSV)
12 But these, like irrational animals, creatures of instinct, born to be caught and killed, reviling in matters of which they are ignorant, will be destroyed in the same destruction with them, 13 suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you. 14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children! 15 Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be'or, who loved gain from wrongdoing, 16 but was rebuked for his own transgression; a dumb ass spoke with human voice and restrained the prophet's madness. 17 These are waterless springs and mists driven by a storm; for them the nether gloom of darkness has been reserved. 18 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error. 19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved. 20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

Let Thy merciful ears, O Lord God YHWH, be open to the prayers of Thy humble servants; that we may obtain our petitions, to LOVE Thee with our whole heart and being, to serve Thee with all our might, to LOVE  all of your creation as You do, to read and study Your Word the Bible, gleaning from it’s glorious pages wisdom and understanding that only Your Holy Spirit can supply us, and finally Lord, that we desire only that which pleases You from this day forward, in Jesus most magnificent name, Amen and Eternally Amen………………. 

Let us began today’s message:

Peter launches out into a long passage of magnificent invectives. Through it glows the fiery heat of flaming moral indignation. Evil people are like brute beasts, slaves of their animal instincts. But a beast is born only for capture and death, says Peter; it has no other destiny. Even so, there is something self-destroying in fleshly pleasure. To make such pleasure the be-all and the end-all of life is a suicidal policy and in the end even the pleasure is lost. The point Peter is making is this, and it is eternally valid—if a person dedicates their lives to these fleshly pleasures, in the end they ruin their bodily health and destroy their spiritual and mental character, and finally they cannot even enjoy their sinful appetites. The glutton destroys his appetite in the end, the drunkard his health and often his family, the sensualist his body and often that of their partner, the drug addict must take more and more drugs, ever increasing the quantity until they often over-dose and die, the self-indulgent his character and peace of mind.

These people regard daylight debauchery, dissipated reveling, abandoned carousing as pleasure. They are blots on the Christian fellowship; they are like the blemishes on an animal, which make it unfit to be offered to God. Once again we must note that what Peter is saying is not only religious truth but also sound common sense. The pleasures of the body are demonstrably subject to the law of diminishing returns. In themselves they lose their thrill, so that as time goes on it takes more and more of them to satisfy. The luxury must become ever more luxurious; the wine must flow ever more freely; everything must be done to make the thrill sharper and more intense. Further, a person becomes less and less able to enjoy these pleasures. They, those without Christ have given themselves to a life that has no future and so often to pleasure which ultimately has no end of pain……….

Peter goes on.

2 Peter 2:14 (RSV)
14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

Peter uses an extraordinary phrase which, strictly, will not translate into English at all. We have translated it: "They have eyes full of adultery." The Greek literally is: "They have eyes which are full of an adulteress." Most probably the meaning is they see a possible adulteress in every woman, wondering how she can be persuaded to gratify their lusts. "The hand and the eye," said the Jewish teachers, "are the brokers of sin." As Jesus said, such people look in order to lust,

Matthew 5:28 (RSV)
28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

They have come to such a stage that they cannot look on anyone without lust's intention.

As Peter speaks of this, there is a terrible deliberateness about it. They have hearts trained in unbridled ambition for the things they have no right to have. We have taken a whole phrase to translate the one word (pleonexia) which means the desire to have more of the things which a person has no right even to desire, let alone have. The picture is a terrible one. The word used for trained is used for an athlete exercising himself for the games. These people have actually trained their minds to concentrate on nothing but the forbidden desire. They have deliberately fought with conscience until they have destroyed it; they have deliberately struggled with their finer feelings until they have strangled them.

There remains in this passage one further charge. It would be bad if these people deluded only themselves; it is worse that they delude others. They entrap souls not firmly founded in the faith. The word used for to entrap is (deleazein), which means to catch with a bait. A person becomes really bad when they set out to make others as bad as themselves. The hymn has it:

All the mischief we have wrought,

All forbidden things we've sought,

All the sin to others taught:

Forgive, O Lord, for Jesus' sake.

Every individual must bear the responsibility for their own sins, but to add to that the responsibility for the sins of others is to carry an intolerable burden.

Peter likens the evil person of his time to the prophet Balaam. In the popular Jewish mind Balaam had come to stand as the type of all false prophets. His story is told in Numbers chapters 22 thru 24. Balak, King of Moab, was alarmed at the steady and apparently irresistible advance of the Israelites. In an attempt to check it he sent for Balaam to come and curse the Israelites for him, offering him great rewards. To the end of the day Balaam refused to curse the Israelites, but his covetous heart longed after the rich rewards which Balak was offering. At Balak's renewed request Balaam played with fire enough to agree to meet him. On the way his ass stopped, because it saw the angel of the Lord standing in its path, and rebuked Balaam.

It is true that Balaam did not succumb to Balak's bribes, but if ever a man wanted to accept a bribe, that man was he. In Numbers chapter 25 there follows another story. It tells how the Israelites were seduced into the worship of Baal and into lustful alliances with Moabite women. Jewish belief was that Balaam was responsible for leading the children of Israel astray; and when the Israelites entered into possession of the land, "Balaam the son of Beor they slew with the sword"…

Numbers 31:8 (RSV)
8 They slew the kings of Mid'ian with the rest of their slain, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba, the five kings of Mid'ian; and they also slew Balaam the son of Be'or with the sword.

In view of all this Balaam became increasingly the type of the false prophet. He had two characteristics which were repeated in the evil men of Peter's day.

(i) Balaam was covetous. As the Numbers story unfolds we can see his fingers itching to get at the gold of Balak. True, he did not take it; but the desire was there. The evil men of Peter's day were covetous; out for what they could get and ready to exploit their membership of the Church for gain.     ((( Again, sound familiar??? )))

(ii) Balaam taught Israel to sin. He led the people out of the straight and into the crooked way. He persuaded them to forget their promises to God. The evil men of Peter's day were seducing Christians from the Christian way and causing them to break the pledges of loyalty they had given to Jesus Christ.

The man who LOVES gain and who lures others to evil forever stands condemned. ((( Unless they truly repent and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior!!! )))

Peter is still rolling out his tremendous denunciation of the evil men, the evil people.

They flatter only to deceive. They are like wells with no water and like mists blown past by a squall of wind. Think of a traveler in the desert being told that ahead lies a spring where he can quench his thirst and then arriving at that spring to find it dried up and useless. Think of the husbandman praying for rain for his parched crops and then seeing the cloud that promised rain blown uselessly by. As Bigg has it:

"A teacher without knowledge is like a well without water."

James 3:1 (RSV)
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.

I constantly analyze my intentions as I preach or teach, and that is why, though some have complained, I share many scriptures as a validity of what I teach……………………. And also why I expect EACH OF YOU TO STUDY GOD'S WORD BEYOND WHAT YOU HEAR OR READ BY OTHERS!!!

But I digress………………………..

These men and even women are like Milton's shepherds whose "hungry sheep look up and are not fed." They promise a gospel and in the end have nothing to offer the thirsty soul.

Their teaching is a combination of arrogance and futility. Christian liberty always carries danger. Paul tells his people that they have indeed been called to liberty but that they must not use it for an occasion to the flesh,

Galatians 5:13 (RSV)
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.

Peter tells his people that indeed they are free but they must not use their freedom as a cloak of maliciousness,

1 Peter 2:16 (RSV)
16 Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.

These false teachers offered freedom, but it was freedom to sin as much as a person liked. They appealed not to the best but to the worst in a man’s desires. Peter is quite clear that they did this because they were slaves to their own lusts. Seneca said,

"To be enslaved to oneself is the heaviest of all servitudes."

Persius spoke to the lustful debauchees of his day of

"the masters that grow up within that sickly breast of yours."

These teachers were offering liberty when they themselves were slaves, and the liberty they were offering was the liberty to become slaves of lust. Their message was arrogant because it was the contradiction of the message of Christ; it was futile because those who followed it would find themselves a slave. Here again in the background is the fundamental heresy which makes grace a justification for sin instead of a power and a summons to nobility.

If they have once known the real way of Christ and have relapsed into this, their case is even worse. They are like the man in the parable whose last state was worse than his first,

Matthew 12:45 (RSV)
45 Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. So shall it be also with this evil generation."

Luke 11:26 (RSV)
26 Then he goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."

If a person has never known the right way, they cannot be condemned for not following it. But, if we have known it and then deliberately take the other way, we sin against the light; and it was better for us that we had never known the truth, for our knowledge of the truth has become our condemnation.

Yet NO ONE HAS AN EXCUSE TO DENY THE EXISTENCE OF GOD!!!!!!!

Romans 1:19-20 (RSV)
19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse;

We should never forget the responsibility which knowledge brings.

Peter ends with contempt. These evil men are like dogs who return to their vomit,

Proverbs 26:11 (RSV)
11 Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool that repeats his folly.

Like a sow which has been scrubbed and then goes back to rolling in the mud. They have seen Christ but are so morally degraded by their own choice that they prefer to wallow in the depths of sin rather than to climb the heights of virtue. It is a dreadful warning that men, women and even children can make themselves such that in the end the tentacles of sin are intimately around them and virtue for THEM, has lost its beauty.

Isaiah 5:20 (RSV)
20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!

Proverbs 17:15 (RSV)
15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.

Malachi 3:14-15 (RSV)
14 You have said, `It is vain to serve God. What is the good of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts? 15 Henceforth we deem the arrogant blessed; evildoers not only prosper but when they put God to the test they escape.'"

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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March 8, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Seven”

2 Peter 2:4-11 (RSV)
4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly; 6 if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomor'rah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly; 7 and if he rescued righteous Lot, greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked 8 (for by what that righteous man saw and heard as he lived among them, he was vexed in his righteous soul day after day with their lawless deeds), 9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.

Let us open in prayer:

Almighty and supremely gracious merciful God, of whose gift it cometh that thy faithful people do unto Thee true and valiant service: Grant, we beseech Thee, that we may most faithfully serve Thee in this life, in prayer, in worship, in diligent study of your word, in caring for the needs of others, in sharing your LOVE with ALL, even those we perceive to be our enemies, and in holiness of heart, mind, and body; that we fail not to attain Thy heavenly promises; through the merits of Jesus Christ and Him alone, our only Lord, our only God, and our only eternal Savior, in Jesus name we pray, Amen and Eternally Amen………………

Here before us is a passage which combines undoubted power and equally undoubted obscurity. The white heat of its rhetorical intensity glows through it to this day; but it moves in allusions which would be terrifyingly effective to those who heard it for the first time, but which have become unfamiliar to us today. It cites three notorious examples of sin and its destruction; and in two of the cases it shows how, when sin was obliterated, righteousness was rescued and preserved by the mercy and the grace of God. Let us look at these examples one by one.

(1) The Sin of the Angels

Before we retell the story which lies behind this in Jewish legend, there are two separate words at which we must look.

Peter says that God condemned the sinning angels to the lowest depths of hell. Literally the Greek says that God condemned the angels to Tartarus (tartaroun). Tartarus was not a Hebrew conception but Greek. In Greek mythology Tartarus was the lowest hell; it was as far beneath Hades as the heaven is high above the earth. In particular it was the place into which there had been cast the Titans who had rebelled against Zeus, the Father of gods and men.

The second word is that which speaks of the pits of darkness. Here there is a doubt. There are two Greek words, both rather uncommon, which are confused in this passage. One is siros or seiros which originally meant a great earthenware jar for the storing of grain. Then it came to mean the great underground pits in which grain was stored and which served as granaries. Siros has come into English via Provencal in the form of silo, which still describes the towers in which grain is stored. Still later the word went on to mean a pit in which a wolf or other wild animal was trapped. If we think that this is the word which Peter uses, and according to the best manuscripts it is, it will mean that the wicked angels were cast into great subterranean pits and kept there in darkness and in punishment. This well suits the idea of a Tartarus beneath the lowest depths of Hades.

But there is a very similar word seira, which means a chain. This is the word which the King James Version translates when it speaks of chains of darkness,

2 Peter 2:4 (KJV)
4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

The Greek manuscripts of Second Peter vary between seiroi), pits, and seirai, chains. But the better manuscripts have seiroi, and pits of darkness makes better sense than chains of darkness; so we may take seiros as right, and assume that here the King James Version is in error.

The story of the fall of the angels is one which rooted itself deeply in Hebrew thought and which underwent much development as the years went on. The original story is:

Genesis 6:1-5 (RSV)
1 When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, "My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
5 The LORD 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.

There the angels are called the sons of God, as they commonly are in the Old Testament. In Job, the sons of God come to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan comes amongst them,

Job 1:6 (RSV)
6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

Job 2:1 (RSV)
1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them to present himself before the LORD.

Job 38:7 (RSV)
7 when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

The Psalmist speaks of the sons of gods,

Psalm 89:6 (KJV)
6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD?

These angels came to earth and seduced mortal women. The result of this lustful union was the race of giants; and through them wickedness came upon the earth. Clearly this is an old, old story belonging to the childhood of the race.

This story was much developed in the Book of Enoch, and it is from it that Peter is drawing his allusions, for in his day that was a book which everyone would know. In Enoch the angels are called The Watchers. Their leader in rebellion was Semjaza or Azazel. At his instigation they descended to Mount Hermon in the days of Jared, the father of Enoch. They took mortal wives and instructed them in magic and in arts which gave them power. They produced the race of the giants, and the giants produced the nephilim, the giants who inhabited the land of Canaan and of whom the people were afraid,

Numbers 13:33 (RSV)
33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim); and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them."

These giants became cannibals and were guilty of every kind of lust and crime, and especially of insolent arrogance to God and man. The apocryphal literature has many references to them and their pride.

Wisdom of Solomon 14:6 (KJVApocrypha)
6 For in the old time also, when the proud giants perished, the hope of the world governed by thy hand escaped in a weak vessel, and left to all ages a seed of generation.

Wisdom tells how the proud giants perished.

Sirach 16:7 (KJVApocrypha)
7 He was not pacified toward the old giants, who fell away in the strength of their foolishness.

Tells how the ancient giants fell away in the strength of their foolishness. They had no wisdom and they perished in their folly.

Baruch 3:26-28 (KJVApocrypha)
26 There were the giants famous from the beginning, that were of so great stature, and so expert in war. 27 Those did not the Lord choose, neither gave he the way of knowledge unto them: 28 But they were destroyed, because they had no wisdom, and perished through their own foolishness.

Josephus says that they were arrogant and contemptuous of all that was good and trusted in their own strength (Antiquities 1.3.1). Job says that God charged his angels with folly,

Job 4:18 (KJV)
18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

This old story makes a strange and fleeting appearance in the letters of Paul.

1 Corinthians 11:10 (RSV)
10 That is why a woman ought to have a veil on her head, because of the angels.

Paul says that women must have their hair covered in the Church because of the angels. Behind that strange saying lies the old belief that it was the LOVEliness of the long hair of the women of the olden times which moved the angels to desire, and Paul wishes to see that the angels are not tempted again.

In the end even men complained of the sorrow and misery brought into the world by these giants through the sin of the angels. The result was that God sent out his archangels. Raphael bound Azazel hand and foot and shut him up in darkness; Gabriel slew the giants; and the Watchers, the sinning angels, were shut up in the abysses of darkness under the mountains for seventy generations and then confined for ever in everlasting fire. Here is the story which is probably in Peter's mind; and which his readers well knew. The angels had sinned and God had sent His destruction, and they were shut up forever in the pits of darkness and the depths of hell. That is what happens to rebellious sin.

The story does not stop there; and it reappears in another of its forms in this passage of Second Peter.

2 Peter 2:10 (RSV)
10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,

Peter speaks of those who live lives dominated by the polluting lusts of the flesh and who despise the glorious ones. The word is kuriotes), which is the name of one of the ranks of angels. They speak evil of the angelic glories. The word is doxai, which also is a word for one of the ranks of angels. They slander the angels and bring them into disrepute.

Here is where the second turn of the story comes in. Obviously this story of the angels is very primitive and, as time went on, it became rather an awkward and embarrassing story because of its ascription of lust to angels. So in later Jewish and Christian thought two lines of thought developed. First, it was denied that the story involved angels at all. The sons of God were said to be good men who were the descendants of Seth, and the daughters of men were said to be evil women who were the daughters of Cain and corrupted the good men. There is no scriptural evidence for this distinction and this way of escape. Second, the whole story was allegorized. It was claimed, for instance by Philo, that it was never meant to be taken literally and described the fall of the human soul under the attack of the seductions of lustful pleasures.

Augustine declared that no man could take this story literally and talk of the angels like that.

Cyril of Alexandria said that it could not be taken literally, for did not Jesus say that in the after-life men would be like angels and there would be no marrying or giving in marriage,

Matthew 22:30 (RSV)
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.

Chrysostom said that, if the story was taken literally, it was nothing short of blasphemy.

And Cyril went on to say that the story was nothing other than an incentive to sin, if it was taken as literally true.

It is clear that men began to see that this was indeed a dangerous story. Here we get our clue as to what Peter means when he speaks of men who despise the glorious ones and bring the angelic glories into disrepute by speaking slanderously of them. The men whom Peter was opposing were turning their religion into an excuse for blatant immorality.

Cyril of Alexandria makes it clear that in his day the story could be used as an incentive to sin.

Most probably what was happening was that the wicked men of Peter's time were citing the example of the angels as a justification for their own sin. They were saying, "If angels came from heaven and took mortal women, why should not we?" They were making the conduct of the angels an excuse for their own sin.

We have to go still further with this passage.

2 Peter 2:11 (RSV)
11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.

It finishes very obscurely. It says that angels who are greater in strength and in power do not bring a slanderous charge against them in the presence of God. Once again Peter is speaking allusively, in a way that would be clear enough to the people of his day but which is obscure to us. His reference may be to either of two stories.

(a) He may be referring to the story to which Jude refers in,

Jude 1:9 (RSV)
9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judgment upon him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you."

The archangel Michael was entrusted with the burying of the body of Moses. Satan claimed the body on the grounds that all matter belonged to him and that once Moses had murdered an Egyptian. Michael did not bring a railing charge against Satan; all he said was: "The Lord rebuke you." The point is that even an angel so great as Michael would not bring an evil charge against an angel so dark as Satan. He left the matter to God. If Michael refrained from slandering an evil angel, how can men bring slanderous charges against the angels of God?

(b) He may be referring to a further development of the Enoch story. Enoch tells that when the conduct of the giants on earth became intolerable, men made their complaint to the archangels Michael, Uriel, Gabriel and Raphael. The archangels took this complaint to God; but they did not rail against the evil angels who were responsible for it all; they simply took the story to God, for Him to deal with (Enoch 9).

As far as we can see today, the situation behind Peter's allusions is that the wicked men who were the slaves of lust claimed that the angels were their examples and their justification and so slandered them; Peter reminds them that not even archangels dared slander other angels and demands how men can dare to do so.

This is a strange and difficult passage; but the meaning is clear. Even angels, when they sinned, were punished. How much more shall men be punished? Angels could not rebel against God and escape the consequences. How shall men escape? And men need not seek to put the blame on others, not even on angels; nothing but their own rebelliousness is responsible for their sin.

((((((( The Devil made me do it, Demons made me do it……….NO YOU CHOSE TO DO IT!!!!!!! )))))))

(2) The Men of the Flood and the Rescue of Noah

The second illustration of the destruction of wickedness which Peter chooses may be said to lead on from the first. The sin introduced into the world by the sinning angels led to that intolerable sin which ended in the destruction by the deluge,

Genesis 6:5 (RSV)
5 The LORD 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.

In the midst of this destruction God did not forget those who had clung to Him, Noah was saved together with seven others, his wife, his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, and their wives. In Jewish tradition Noah acquired a very special place. Not only was he regarded as the one man who had been saved; but also as the preacher who had done his best to turn men from the evil of their ways. Josephus says,

"Many angels of God lay with women and begat sons, who were violent and who despised all good, on account of their reliance on their own strength.... But Noah displeased and distressed at their behaviour, tried to induce them to alter their dispositions and conduct for the better" (Antiquities 1.3.1).

Attention in this passage is concentrated not so much on the people who were destroyed as on the man who was saved. Noah is offered as the type of man who, amidst the destruction of the wicked, receives the salvation of God. His outstanding qualities were two.

(i) In the midst of a sinning generation he remained faithful to God. Later Paul was to urge his people to be not conformed to the world but transformed from 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.

It may well be said that often the most dangerous sin of all is conformity. To be the same as others is always easy; to be different is always difficult. But from the days of Noah until now he who would be the servant of God must be prepared to be different from the world. *Interestingly the word "holy", literally means: "To be different".......................

(ii) The later legends pick out another characteristic of Noah. He was the preacher of righteousness. The word for preacher used here is kerux, which literally means a herald.

Epictetus called the philosopher the kerux of the gods. The preacher is the man who brings to men an announcement from God. Here is something of very considerable significance. The good person is concerned not only with the saving of his or her own soul but just as much with the saving of the souls of others. We MUST NOT, in order to preserve our own purity live apart from humanity. We must be concerned to bring God's message to the Lost, not just the preachers, but all genuine Christians MUST REACH OUT TO THE LOST IN LOVE!!!!!!! A person ought never to keep to themselves the grace which they have received. It is always our duty to bring light to those who sit in darkness, guidance to the wanderer and warning to those who are going astray.

((( THIS IS EVERY GENUINE CHRISTIANS OBLIGATION OF LOVE!!! )))

(3) The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Rescue of Lot

The third example is the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and the rescue of Lot.

The terrible and dramatic story is told in Genesis chapters 18 and 19. It begins with Abraham's plea that God should not destroy the righteous with the guilty and his request that, if even ten just men are found in these cities, they may be spared ( Genesis 18: 16-33 ) Then follows one of the grimmest tales in the Old Testament.

The angelic visitors came to Lot and he persuaded them to stay with him; but his house was surrounded by the men of Sodom demanding that these strangers might be brought out for them to use for their unnatural lust ( Genesis 19: 1-11 ). By that terrible deed—at once the abuse of hospitality, the insulting of angels and the raging of unnatural lust—the doom of the cities was sealed. As the destruction of heaven came upon them Lot and his family were saved, except his wife, who lingered and looked back and turned into a pillar of salt ( Genesis 19: 12-26 ).

Genesis 19:29 (RSV)
29 So it was that, when God destroyed the cities of the valley, God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot dwelt.

Here again is the story of the destruction of sin and the rescue of righteousness. As in Noah, we see in Lot the characteristics of the righteous man.

(i) Lot lived in the midst of evil, and the very sight of it was a constant distress to him.

Moffatt reminds us of the saying of Newman: "Our great security against sin lies in being shocked at it."

Here is something very significant. It often happens that, when evils first emerge, people are shocked at them; but, as time goes on, they cease to be shocked at them and accept them as a matter of course. There are many things at which we ought to be shocked. In our own generation there are the problems of prostitution and promiscuity, drunkenness and drugs, the extraordinary gambling fever which has the country in its grip, the breakdown of the marriage bond, violence, vandalism and crime, death upon the roads, still-existing slum conditions and many others. In many cases the tragedy is that these things have ceased to shock and are accepted in a matter-of-fact style as part of the normal order of things. For the good of the world and of our own souls, we must keep alive the sensitiveness which is shocked by sin.

(ii) Lot lived in the midst of evil, and yet he escaped its taint. Amidst the sin of Sodom he remained true to God. If a person will remember it, we have in the grace of God an antiseptic which will preserve us from the infection of sin. ***No person, I repeat NO PERSON need be the slave of the environment in which we happen to find ourselves.

(iii) When the worst came to the worst, Lot was willing to make a clean break with his environment. He was prepared, however much he did not want to do so, to leave it forever. It was because his wife was not prepared to make the clean break that she perished. There is a strange verse in the Old Testament story. It says that, when Lot lingered, the angelic messengers took hold of his hand,

Genesis 19:16 (RSV)
16 But he lingered; so the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him forth and set him outside the city.

Consider this text from the New Testament:

1 Corinthians 10:13 (RSV)
13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

There are times when the influence of heaven tries to force us out of some evil situation. It may come to any person to have to make the choice between security and the new start; and there are times when a person can save their soul only by breaking clean away from their present situation and beginning all over again. It was in doing just this that Lot found his salvation; and it was in failing to do just this that his wife lost hers.

2 Peter 2:9-11 (RSV)
9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment, 10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones, 11 whereas angels, though greater in might and power, do not pronounce a reviling judgment upon them before the Lord.

Gives us a picture of the evil man. Peter with a few swift, vivid strokes of the pen paints the outstanding characteristics of him who may properly be called the bad man, the bad person.

(i) They are the desire-dominated person. Their life is dominated by the lusts of the flesh. Such a person is guilty of two sins.

(a) Every person has two sides to their nature. We have a physical side; we have instincts, passions and impulses which we share with the animal creation. These instincts are good—if they are kept in their proper place. They are even necessary for the preservation of individual life and the continuation of the race. The word temperament literally means a mixture. The picture behind it is that human nature consists of a large variety of ingredients all mixed together. It is clear that the efficacy of any mixture depends on each ingredient being there in its proper proportion. Wherever there is either excess or defect the mixture is not what it ought to be. We have a physical nature and also a spiritual nature; and personhood depends on a correct mixture of the two. The desire-dominated person has allowed their animal nature to usurp a place it should not have; they have  allowed the ingredients to get out of proportion and the recipe for personhood has gone wrong.

(b) There is a reason for this loss of proportion—selfishness. The root evil of the lust-dominated life is that it proceeds on the assumption that nothing matters but the gratification of its own desires and the expression of its own feelings. It has ceased to have any respect or care for others. Selfishness and desire go hand in hand.

The bad person is the one who has allowed one side of their nature a far greater place than it ought to have and who has done so because they are essentially selfish.

(ii) The audacious person. The Greek is tolmetes, from the verb tolman, to dare. There are two kinds of daring. There is the daring which is a noble thing, the mark of true courage. There is the daring which is an evil thing, the shameless performance of things which are an affront to decency and right. As the character in Shakespeare had it:

"I dare do all becomes a man. Who dares do more is none."

The bad person is the one who has the audacity to defy the will of God as it is known to them.

(iii) They are self-willed people. Self-willed is not really an adequate translation. The Greek is authades, derived from autos, self, and hadon, pleasing, and used of a person who has no idea of anything other than pleasing themselves. In it there is always the element of stubbornness. If a person is authades, no logic, nor common sense, nor appeal, nor sense of decency will keep them from doing what they want to do. As R. C. Trench says,

"Thus obstinately maintaining his own opinion, or asserting his own rights, he is reckless of the rights, opinions and interests of others."

The person who is authades is stubbornly and arrogantly and even brutally determined on their own way. The bad person is the one who has no regard for either human appeal or divine guidance.

(iv) They are the person who is contemptuous of the angels. We have already seen how this goes back to allusions in Hebrew tradition which are obscure to us. But it has a wider meaning. The bad person insists on living in one world. To them the spiritual world does not exist and they never hear the voices from beyond. They are of the wisdom of this world……They have forgotten that there is a heaven and are blind and deaf when the sights and sounds of heaven and faith try to break through to them.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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March 1, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Six”

2 Peter 2:1-3 (RSV)
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.
3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.

Almighty God, who through thine only-begotten Son Jesus Christ hast overcome death, and opened unto us the gate of everlasting life; we most humbly beseech thee, that, as by thy special grace preventing us thou dost put into our minds GOOD desires, so by thy continued help we may bring the same to good effect. As we study Your word this day, this week, may our hearts and minds be enlightened, may we receive Your Wisdom, Your Truth, and submit in every way to Your will and service; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen and Eternally Amen………………….. 

Dr. Adrian Rogers wrote:

“To believe in heaven is not to run away from life; it is to run toward it.”

That there should arise false prophets within the Church was something only to be expected, for in every generation false prophets had been responsible for leading God's people astray and for bringing disaster on the nation. It is worth while looking at the false prophets in the Old Testament story for their characteristics were recurring in the time of Peter and are still recurring today.

(i) The false prophets were more interested in gaining popularity than in telling the truth. Their policy was to tell people what they wanted to hear. The false prophets said,

Jeremiah 6:14 (RSV)
14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, `Peace, peace,' when there is no peace.

They saw visions of peace, when the Lord God was saying that there was no peace,

Ezekiel 13:16 (RSV)
16 the prophets of Israel who prophesied concerning Jerusalem and saw visions of peace for her, when there was no peace, says the Lord GOD.

In the days of Jehosaphat, Zedekiah, the false prophet, donned his horns of iron and said that Israel would push the Syrians out of the way as he pushed with these horns; Micaiah the true prophet foretold disaster if Jehosaphat went to war. Of course, Zedekiah was popular and his message was accepted; but Jehosaphat went forth to war with the Syrians and perished tragically,

1 Kings 22:34-37 (RSV)
34 But a certain man drew his bow at a venture, and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate; therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, "Turn about, and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded." 35 And the battle grew hot that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening he died; and the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. 36 And about sunset a cry went through the army, "Every man to his city, and every man to his country!" 37 So the king died, and was brought to Sama'ria; and they buried the king in Sama'ria.

In the days of Jeremiah, Hananiah prophesied the swift end of the power of Babylon, while Jeremiah prophesied the servitude of the nation to her; and again the prophet who told people what they wished to hear was the popular one.

Jeremiah 28:1-17 (RSV)
1 In that same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedeki'ah king of Judah, in the fifth month of the fourth year, Hanani'ah the son of Azzur, the prophet from Gibeon, spoke to me in the house of the LORD, in the presence of the priests and all the people, saying, 2 "Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon. 3 Within two years I will bring back to this place all the vessels of the LORD's house, which Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon took away from this place and carried to Babylon. 4 I will also bring back to this place Jeconi'ah the son of Jehoi'akim, king of Judah, and all the exiles from Judah who went to Babylon, says the LORD, for I will break the yoke of the king of Babylon." 5 Then the prophet Jeremiah spoke to Hanani'ah the prophet in the presence of the priests and all the people who were standing in the house of the LORD; 6 and the prophet Jeremiah said, "Amen! May the LORD do so; may the LORD make the words which you have prophesied come true, and bring back to this place from Babylon the vessels of the house of the LORD, and all the exiles. 7 Yet hear now this word which I speak in your hearing and in the hearing of all the people. 8 The prophets who preceded you and me from ancient times prophesied war, famine, and pestilence against many countries and great kingdoms. 9 As for the prophet who prophesies peace, when the word of that prophet comes to pass, then it will be known that the LORD has truly sent the prophet." 10 Then the prophet Hanani'ah took the yoke-bars from the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, and broke them. 11 And Hanani'ah spoke in the presence of all the people, saying, "Thus says the LORD: Even so will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon from the neck of all the nations within two years." But Jeremiah the prophet went his way. 12 Sometime after the prophet Hanani'ah had broken the yoke-bars from off the neck of Jeremiah the prophet, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 "Go, tell Hanani'ah, `Thus says the LORD: You have broken wooden bars, but I will make in their place bars of iron. 14 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: I have put upon the neck of all these nations an iron yoke of servitude to Nebuchadnez'zar king of Babylon, and they shall serve him, for I have given to him even the beasts of the field.'" 15 And Jeremiah the prophet said to the prophet Hanani'ah, "Listen, Hanani'ah, the LORD has not sent you, and you have made this people trust in a lie. 16 Therefore thus says the LORD: `Behold, I will remove you from the face of the earth. This very year you shall die, because you have uttered rebellion against the LORD.'" 17 In that same year, in the seventh month, the prophet Hanani'ah died.

Diogenes, the great cynic philosopher, spoke of the false teachers of his day whose method was to follow wherever the applause of the crowd led. One of the first characteristics of the false prophet is that he tells men what they want to hear and not the truth they need to hear.

(ii) The false prophets were interested in personal gain. As Micah said,

Micah 3:11 (RSV)
11 Its heads give judgment for a bribe, its priests teach for hire, its prophets divine for money; yet they lean upon the LORD and say, "Is not the LORD in the midst of us? No evil shall come upon us."

They teach for filthy lucre's sake,

Titus 1:11 (RSV)
11 they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach.

They identify godliness and gain, making their religion a money-making thing,

1 Timothy 6:5 (RSV)
5 and wrangling among men who are depraved in mind and bereft of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

We can see these exploiters at work in the early church. In The Didache, The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, which is what might be called the first service-order book, it is laid down that a prophet who asks for money or for a table to be spread in front of him, is a false prophet. "Traffickers in Christ," the Didache  calls such men (The Didache 11). The false prophet  is a covetous creature who regards people as dupes to be exploited for his own ends.

((( Sound familiar??? It should!!!!!!! )))

(iii) The false prophets were dissolute in their personal life. Isaiah writes:

Isaiah 28:7 (RSV)
7 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment.

Jeremiah says,

Jeremiah 23:14 (RSV)
14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a horrible thing: they commit adultery and walk in lies; they strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that no one turns from his wickedness; all of them have become like Sodom to me, and its inhabitants like Gomor'rah."

Jeremiah 23:32 (RSV)
32 Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, says the LORD, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them; so they do not profit this people at all, says the LORD.

The false prophet in himself is a seduction to evil rather than an attraction to good.

(iv) The false prophet was above all a man who led other men further away from God instead of closer to Him. The prophet who invites the people: "Let us go after other gods," must be mercilessly destroyed,

Deuteronomy 13:1-5 (RSV)
1 "If a prophet arises among you, or a dreamer of dreams, and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or wonder which he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, `Let us go after other gods,' which you have not known, `and let us serve them,' 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 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. 5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.

Which DOES NOT mean we as present day Christians kill or somehow destroy false teachers or prophets, it means WE TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION AGAINST THEM, BECAUSE THAT IS HOW HEINOUS AND DESTRUCTIVE FALSE, POOR, OR INCOMPLETE TEACHING CAN BE!!!

Therefore, each and every one of us MUST STUDY THE SCRIPTURES FOR OURSELVES AS MUCH AND AS BEST WE CAN; PRAY AS MUCH AS WE CAN, AND SPEND AS MUCH TIME WITH GOD AND LIKE MINDED “BORN AGAIN” BELIEVERS AS WE CAN!!!!!!!

2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing 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.

Hebrews 10:25 (RSV)
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.

So that we, all of us who profess to be Children of the One True God, can,

2 Timothy 4:2 (RSV)
2 preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching.

1 Peter 3:15 (NIV2011)
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

This is the only way, THAT WE CAN BE PREPARED, and we MUST be prepared, for there are a plethora of false prophets and teachers and on the surface they look, they smell, they can talk, JUST LIKE ONE OF US……………..Be prepared!!!!!!! And know even with sincere, sober, and diligent preparation, NO ONE IS BEYOND BEING DECEIVED!!!

 2 Peter 3:17 (RSV)
17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability.

1 Corinthians 10:12 (RSV)
12 Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

The false prophet takes people in the wrong direction.

These were the characteristics of the false prophets in the ancient days and in Peter's time; and they are their characteristics still.

In this verse Peter has certain things to say about these false prophets and their actions.

(i) They insidiously introduce destructive heresies. The Greek for heresy is (hairesis). It comes from the verb (haireisthai), which means to choose; and originally it was a perfectly honorable word. It simply meant a line of belief and action which a man had chosen for himself. In the New Testament we read of the (hairesis) of the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Nazarenes,

Acts 5:17 (RSV)
17 But the high priest rose up and all who were with him, that is, the party of the Sad'ducees, and filled with jealousy

Acts 15:5 (RSV)
5 But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up, and said, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to charge them to keep the law of Moses."

Acts 24:5 (RSV)
5 For we have found this man a pestilent fellow, an agitator among all the Jews throughout the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.

It was perfectly possible to speak of the (hairesis) of Plato and to mean nothing more than those who were Platonist in their thought. It was perfectly possible to speak of a group of doctors who practiced a certain method of treatment as a (hairesis).

But very soon in the Christian Church (hairesis) changed its complexion. In Paul's thought heresies and schisms go together as things to be condemned:

1 Corinthians 11:18-19 (RSV)
18 For, in the first place, when you assemble as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you; and I partly believe it, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.  

(haireseis), (the plural form of the word) are part of the works of the flesh;

Titus 3:10 (RSV)
10 As for a man who is factious, after admonishing him once or twice, have nothing more to do with him,

Why the change? The point is that before the coming of Jesus, who is the way, the truth, and the life, there was no such thing as definite, God-given truth. A person was presented with a number of alternatives any one of which they at the time were perfectly free to choose to believe. But with the coming of Jesus, God's truth came to humanity and WE MUST EITHER ACCEPT IT OR REJECT IT BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST IS THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH!!! The Truth on which all genuine TRUTH is founded!!!

Hebrews 13:8 (RSV)
8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and for ever.

1 Corinthians 3:11 (RSV)
11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

A heretic then became a person who believed what they wished to believe instead of accepting the truth of God which they, we, all of us,  ought to believe.

What was happening in the case of Peter's people was that certain self-styled prophets were insidiously persuading people to believe the things they wished to be true rather than the things which God had revealed to be true. They did not set themselves up as opponents of Christianity. Far from it. They set themselves up as the finest fruits of Christian thinking; and so it was gradually and subtly that people were being lured away from God's truth to other men's private opinions, which is what heresy is.

(ii) These people denied the Lord who had bought them. This idea of Christ buying people for Himself is one which runs through the whole New Testament. It comes from His own words that He had come to give His life a ransom for many,

Mark 10:45 (RSV)
45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

The idea was that people were slaves to sin and Jesus purchased them at the cost of, His own sinless innocent life, for Himself, and, therefore, for freedom.

1 Corinthians 7:23 (RSV)
23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

Christ redeemed us,

Galatians 3:13 (RSV)
13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us -- for it is written, "Cursed be every one who hangs on a tree" --

In the new song in the Revelation the hosts of heaven tell how Jesus Christ bought them with His blood out of every kindred and tongue and people and nation,

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,

This clearly means two things. It means that the Christian by right of purchase belongs absolutely to Christ; and it means that a life which cost so much cannot be squandered on sin or on cheap things.

The heretics in Peter's letter were denying the Lord who bought them. That could mean that they were saying that they did not know Christ; and it could mean that they were denying His authority. But it is not as simple as that; one might say that it is not as honest as that. We have seen that these men claimed to be Christians; more, they claimed to be the wisest and the most advanced of Christians.

Let us take a human analogy. Suppose a man says that he LOVES his wife and yet is consistently unfaithful to her. By his acts of infidelity he denies, gives the lie to his words of LOVE. Suppose a man protests eternal friendship to someone, and yet is consistently disloyal to him. His actions deny, give the lie to, his assertions of friendship. What these evil men, who were troubling Peter's people, were doing, was to say that they LOVED and served Christ, while the things they taught and did were a complete denial of Him.

(iii) The end of these evil men was destruction. They were insidiously introducing destructive heresies, but these heresies would in the end destroy themselves. There is no more certain way to ultimate condemnation than to teach another to sin.

In this short passage we see four things about the false teachers and their teaching.

(i) We see the cause of false teaching. It is evil ambition. The word is (pleonexia); (pleon) means more and -exia comes from the verb (echein), which means to have. (Pleonexia) is the desire to possess more but it acquires a certain flavor. It is by no means always a sin to desire to possess more; there are many cases in which that is a perfectly honorable desire, as in the case of virtue, or knowledge, or skill. But (pleonexia) comes to mean the desire to possess that which a person has no right to desire, still less to take. So it can mean covetous desire for money and for other people's goods; lustful desire for someone's person; unholy ambition for prestige and power. False teaching comes from the desire to put its own ideas in the place of the truth of Jesus Christ; the false teacher is guilty of nothing less than of usurping the place of Christ.

(ii) We see the method of false teaching. It is the use of cunningly forged arguments. Falsehood is easily resisted when it is presented as falsehood; it is when it is disguised as truth that it becomes menacing. There is only one touchstone. Any teacher's teaching must be tested by the only inerrant, infallible words of God the Holy Bible ( The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments ) and presence of Jesus Christ Himself.

Isaiah 8:20 (KJV)
20 To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

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.'"

Luke 6:46 (RSV)
46 "Why do you call me `Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?

(iii) We see the affect of the false teaching. It was twofold. It encouraged people to take the way of blatant immorality. The word is (aselgeia) which describes the attitude of the person who is lost to shame and cares for the judgment of neither society nor God. We must remember what was at the back of this false teaching. It was perverting the grace of God into a justification for sin. The false teachers were telling people that grace was inexhaustible and that, therefore, they were free to sin as they liked for grace would forgive.

This false teaching had a second effect. It brought Christianity into disrepute. In the early days, just as now, every Christian was a good or bad advertisement for Christianity and the Christian Church. It is Paul's accusation to the Jews that through them the name of God has been brought into disrepute,

Romans 2:24 (RSV)
24 For, as it is written, "The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you."

In the Pastoral Epistles the younger women are urged to behave with such modesty and chastity that the Church will never be brought into disrepute,

Titus 2:5 (RSV)
5 to be sensible, chaste, domestic, kind, and submissive to their husbands, that the word of God may not be discredited.

Any teaching which produces a person who deters people from Christianity instead of attracting them to it is false teaching, and the work of those who are enemies of Jesus Christ.

(iv) We see the ultimate end of false teaching and that is destruction. Sentence was passed on the false prophets long ago; the Old Testament pronounced their doom,

Deuteronomy 13: 3, 5 (RSV)
3 "you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or to that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you, to know whether you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul…5 But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has taught rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to make you leave the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from the midst of you.

It might look as if that sentence had become inoperative or was slumbering, but it was still valid, and the day would come when the false teachers would pay the terrible price of their falsehood. No Person, honestly sincere or otherwise who leads another person or persons astray against the genuine faith in Jesus Christ will never escape his or her own judgment!!!!!!!

That is why the scriptures warn, vividly and clearly:

James 3:1 (RSV)
1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, for you know that we who teach shall be judged with greater strictness.

Let us close in a very special prayer today:

Lord, God, Jehovah, we pray for ALL OF YOUR CREATION, may all that will, accept YOUR SON JESUS CHRIST as absolutely their only Savior, their only Lord, and their only God ((( Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ))). And Lord we pray for the fast and miraculous healing of all those with the Corna-virus, and may it’s affects on mankind and all Your creation be exceedingly insignificant. In Jesus’ precious name Amen and eternally Amen and Amen !!!!!!!

Submitted by, Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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February 23, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Five”

2 Peter 1:16-21 (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. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased," 18 we heard this voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have the prophetic word made more sure. You will do well to pay attention to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

O God, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all purity, goodness, and grace: Be ready we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayer of this, one of your Churches; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; May our minds be focused on you, living our daily, moment, by moment lives for you; helping us to serve you and all of your creation in a noble and practical way; help O gracious heavenly Father,  for us to worship you with every breath we take, and give us your Spirit as we study your word, in Jesus name, Amen and Eternally Amen!!!

Let us begin our study……………………………

Peter comes to the message which it was his great aim to bring to his people, concerning "the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." As we shall see quite clearly as we go on, the great aim of this letter is to recall people to the outright unconditional certainty in regard to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. The heretics whom Peter is attacking no longer believed in it; it was so long delayed that people had begun to think it would never happen at all.

((( Even back then……………….)))

Such, then, was Peter's message. Having stated it, he goes on to speak of his right to state it; and does something which is, at least at first sight, surprising. His right to speak is that he was with, Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration and that there he saw the glory and the honor which were given to him and heard the voice of God speak to him. That is to say, Peter uses the transfiguration story, not as a foretaste of the Resurrection of Jesus, as it is commonly regarded, but as a foretaste of the triumphant glory of the Second Coming. The transfiguration story is told in,

Matthew 17:1-8 (RSV)
1 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli'jah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah." 5 He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.

Mark 9:2-8 (RSV)
2 And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves; and he was transfigured before them, 3 and his garments became glistening, intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Eli'jah with Moses; and they were talking to Jesus.
5 And Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah." 6 For he did not know what to say, for they were exceedingly afraid. 7 And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, "This is my beloved Son; listen to him." 8 And suddenly looking around they no longer saw any one with them but Jesus only.

Luke 9:28-36 (RSV)
28 Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray. 29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered, and his raiment became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men talked with him, Moses and Eli'jah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was to accomplish at Jerusalem. 32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. 33 And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, "Master, it is well that we are here; let us make three booths, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah" -- not knowing what he said. 34 As he said this, a cloud came and overshadowed them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. 35 And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!" 36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen.

Was Peter right in seeing in it a foretaste of the Second Coming rather than a prefiguring of the Resurrection?

There is one particularly significant thing about the transfiguration story. In all three gospels, it immediately follows the prophecy of Jesus which said that there were some standing there who would not pass from the world until they had seen the Son of Man coming in His kingdom,

Matthew 16:28 (RSV)
28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."

Mark 9:1 (RSV)
1 And he said to them, "Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

Luke 9:27 (RSV)
27 But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God."

That would certainly seem to indicate that the transfiguration and the Second Coming were in some way linked together.

Whatever we may say, this much is certain, that Peter's great aim in this letter is to recall his people to a living belief in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and he bases his right to do so on what he saw on the Mount of Transfiguration.

In,

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.

There is a very interesting word. Peter says, "We were made eye-witnesses of his majesty." The word he uses for eye-witness is (epoptes). In the Greek usage of Peter's day this was a technical word. We have already mentioned the “Mystery Religions”. They were all of the nature of passion plays, in which the story of a god who lived, suffered, died, and rose again was played out. It was only after a long course of instruction and preparation that the worshipper was finally allowed to be present at the passion play, and to be offered the experience of becoming one with the dying and rising God. When he reached this stage, he was an initiate and the technical word to describe him was (epoptes); he was a privileged eye-witness of the experiences of God. So Peter says that the Christian is an eye-witness of the sufferings of Christ. With the eye of faith we see the Cross; in the experience of faith we die with Christ to sin and rise to righteousness.

***The Christian is made one with Jesus Christ in His death and in His risen life and power.***

This is a particularly difficult passage, because in both halves of it the Greek can mean quite different things. We look at these different possibilities and in each case we take the less probable first.

(i) The first sentence can well mean: "In prophecy we have an even surer guarantee, that is, of the Second Coming." If Peter did say this, he means that the words of the prophets are an even surer guarantee of the reality of the Second Coming than his own experience on the Mount of Transfiguration.

However unlikely it may seem, it is by no means impossible that he did say just that. When he was writing there was a tremendous interest in the words of prophecy whose fulfillment in Christianity was seen to prove its truth. We get case after case of people converted in the days of the early church by reading the Old Testament books and seeing their prophecies fulfilled in Jesus. It would be quite in line with that to declare that the strongest argument for the Second Coming is that the prophets foretold it.

(ii) But we think that the second possibility is to be preferred: "What we saw on the Mount of Transfiguration makes it even more certain that what is foretold in the prophets about the Second Coming must be true."

However we take it, the meaning is that the glory of Jesus on the mountain top and the visions of the prophets combine to make it absolute-certain that the Second Coming is a living reality which all people must expect and for which all people must prepare.

There is also a double possibility about the second part of this passage. "No prophecy of the Scripture," as the Revised Standard Version has it, "is a matter of one's own interpretation."

(i) Many of the early scholars took this to mean: "When any of the prophets interpreted any situation in history or told how history was going to unfold itself, they were not expressing a private opinion of their own; they were passing on a revelation which God had given them." This is a perfectly possible meaning. In the Old Testament the mark of a false prophet was that he was speaking of himself, as it were, privately, and not saying what God had told him to say. Jeremiah condemns the false prophets,

Jeremiah 23:16 (RSV)
16 Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes; they speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.

Ezekiel says,

Ezekiel 13:3 (RSV)
3 Thus says the Lord GOD, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!

Hippolytus describes the way in which the words of the true prophets came:

"They did not speak of their own power, nor did they proclaim what they themselves wished, but first they were given right wisdom by the word, and were then instructed by visions."

((( The Prophets and their visions were in subjection to the inerrant, infallible WORD OF GOD!!! )))

On this view the passage means that, when the prophets spoke, it was no private opinion they were giving; it was a revelation from God and, therefore, their words must be carefully heeded.

(ii) The second way to take this passage is as referring to our interpretation of the prophets. A situation was confronting Peter in which the heretics and the evil men were interpreting the prophets to suit themselves. On this view, which we support, Peter is saying: "No man can go to Scripture and interpret it as it suits himself."

This is of first-rate practical importance. Peter is saying that no person has the right to interpret Scripture, to use his own word, privately. How then must it be interpreted? To answer that question we must ask another. How did the prophets receive their message? They received it from the Spirit. It was sometimes even said that the Spirit of God used the prophets as a writer uses a pen or as a musician uses a musical instrument. In any event the Spirit gave the prophet his message. The obvious conclusion is that it is only through the help of that same Spirit that the prophetic message can be understood. As Paul had already said, spiritual things are spiritually discerned,

1 Corinthians 2:14-15 (RSV)
14 The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

As the Jews viewed the Holy Spirit, He has two functions—He brings God's truth to people and He enables people to understand that truth when it is brought. So, then, Scripture is not to be interpreted by private cleverness or private prejudice; it is to be interpreted by the help of the Holy Spirit by whom it was first given.

Practically that means two things.

(a) Throughout all the ages the Spirit has been working in devoted scholars who under the guidance of God have opened the Scriptures to us. If, then, we wish to interpret Scripture, we must never arrogantly insist that our own interpretation must be correct; we must humbly go to the works of the scholars to learn what they have to teach us because of what the Spirit taught them.

(b) There is more than that. The one place in which the Spirit specially resides and is especially operative is the Church; and, therefore, Scripture must interpret Scripture in the light of the teaching, the belief and the tradition of the Church. God is our Father in the faith, but the Church is our mother in the faith. If a person finds that their interpretation of Scripture is at variance with the teaching of the Church, they must humbly examine themselves and ask whether their guide has not been their own private wishes rather than the Holy Spirit.

It is Peter's insistence that Scripture does not consist of any man's private opinions but is the revelation of God to mankind through His Holy Spirit; and that, therefore, its interpretation must not depend on any person's private opinions but must ever be guided by that same Spirit who is still especially operative within the Church today and will be throughout eternity.

As we close today, I would like to quote Dr. Adrian Rogers:

“When the child of God LOVES the Word of God, and sees the Son of God, He is changed by the Holy Spirit of God into the image of God because he, we, have found the Truth of God.”

May this be true of each of us, In Jesus beautiful name Amen and Eternally Amen!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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February 16, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Four”

2 Peter 1:8-15 (RSV)
8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins. 10 Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election, for if you do this you will never fall; 11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these things, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to arouse you by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me. 15 And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Lord, may we find mercy in your sight, that we may worship you this moment, this hour, this week, with all our mind, body, soul, and strength. Grant to us, those to whom you have given a hearty desire to pray, a focused mind, a dedicated heart, a sober thought, to do thy will in all that we think, say, and do. Deliver us from the distractions of this life that we may concentrate on discerning and doing your will in our lives, now, and forever. Bless the reading and studying of your word, and may we grasp the knowledge and wisdom that you want to give us, and use it to the furtherance of your Kingdom to Your glory and for the salvation of the multitudes of the Lost, in Jesus name, Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN!!!

Peter strongly urges his people to keep climbing up this ladder of virtues which he has set before them. The more we know of any subject the more we are fit to know. It is always true that "to him that hath it shall be given." Progress is the way to more progress.

Moffatt says of ourselves and Jesus Christ:

"We learn him as we live with him and for him."

As the hymn has it:

May every heart confess thy name,

And ever thee adore,

And, seeking thee, itself inflame

To seek thee more and more.

***To keep climbing up the ladder of the virtues is to come ever nearer to knowing Jesus Christ; and the further we climb, the further we are able to climb.

On the other hand, if we refuse to make the effort of the upward climb, certain things happen.

(a) We grow blind; we are left without the guiding light that the knowledge of Jesus Christ brings. As Peter sees it, to walk without Christ is to walk in the dark and not to be able to see the way.

(b) We grow what Peter calls (muopazon). This word can have either of two meanings. It can mean short-sighted. It is easy to become short-sighted in life, to see things only as they appear at the moment and to be unable to take the long view of things, to have our eyes so fixed upon earth that we never think of the things beyond. It can also mean blinking, shutting the eyes. Again, it is easy in life to shut our eyes to what we do not wish to see, and to walk, as it were, in blinkers. To walk without Christ is to be in danger of taking the short-sighted or the blinkered view of life.

Further, to fail to climb the ladder of virtue is to forget that the sins of the old way of life have been cleansed away. Peter is thinking of baptism. At that time baptism was adult baptism; it was a deliberate act of decision to leave the old way and to enter upon the new. The person who, after baptism, does not begin upon the upward climb has forgotten, or never realized, the meaning of the experience through which they had passed. For many of us the parallel to baptism in this sense is entry into the membership of the Christian Church. To make our commitment to God and then to remain exactly the same, is to fail to understand what being a Christian and what church membership means, for our entry into it should be the beginning of a climb upon the upward way.

In view of all this, Peter urges his people to make every effort to confirm their calling by God. Here is a most significant demand. In one way all is of God; it is God's call which gives us entry into the fellowship of His people; without His grace and His mercy we could do nothing and could expect nothing. But that does not absolve us from every possible effort.

Let us take an analogy, which, although not perfect, may help us to understand. Suppose a man who is wealthy and kind picks out a poor boy, who would never otherwise have had the chance, and offers him the privilege of a university education. The benefactor is giving the boy something which he could never have achieved for himself; but the boy cannot make use of that privilege unless he is prepared to work, and the harder he works the more he will enter into the privilege offered to him. The gracious free offer and the personal hard work have to combine before the privilege becomes fully effective. Our personal effort and deeds cannot and never will save us, nor can our righteous works maintain our salvation, yet in order to receive fully the grace that God has given us, to live as close to Jesus Christ’s example as possible, WILL TAKE OUR EFFORT TOO!!!!!!!

((( We must work at it!!! )))

Philippians 2:12-13 (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; 13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

*******Saved by God’s grace and His grace alone, YET TO LIVE AND TO DO GOOD WORKS!!!!!!!*******

Ephesians 2:10 (RSV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

It is so with us and God. God has called us in His free mercy and His unmerited, undeserved  grace; but at the same time we for LOVE’S sake, joyously, and willingly desire to do EVERY thing in our power to labor upwards and onwards on the way to becoming more like our blessed Savior!!!!!!! ((((((( Not because we must, but because, WE GENUINELY WANT TO!!!!!!! )))))))

For we who are saved, born again, twice born, ARE NEW CREATURES, NEW CREATIONS IN JESUS CHRIST!!!

2 Corinthians 5:17 (RSV)
17 Therefore, if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come.

If we follow this upward way, Peter says, we shall in the end be richly gifted with the right of entry into his eternal kingdom; and we shall not slip upon the way. By this Peter does not mean that we will never sin. The picture in his mind is of a march and he means that we will never fall out upon the march and be left behind. If we set out upon this upward and onward way, the effort will be great but God's help will be exceedingly greater; and in spite of all the toil, God will enable us to keep going until we reach our journey's end.

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.

Here speaks the pastor's care. In this passage Peter shows us two things about preaching and teaching.

First, preaching is very often reminding a person of what they already know. It is the bringing back to memory that truth which has often been forgotten, or at which we refuse to look, or whose meaning we have not fully appreciated.  

Second, Peter is going to go on to uncompromising rebuke and warning, but he begins with something very like a compliment. He says that his people already possess the truth and are firmly established in it. Always a preacher, a teacher or a parent will achieve more by encouragement than by scolding. We do more to reform people and to keep them safe by, as it were, putting them on their honor than by condemning them with criticism. Peter was wise enough to know that the first essential to make people listen is to show that we believe in them.

Peter looks forward to his early death. He talks of his body as his tent, as Paul does,

2 Corinthians 5:4 (RSV)
4 For while we are still in this tent, we sigh with anxiety; not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

This was a favorite picture with the early Christian writers. The Epistle to Diognetus says,

"The immortal soul dwells in a mortal tent."

The picture comes from the journeyings of the patriarchs in the Old Testament. They had no abiding residence but lived in tents because they were on the way to the Promised Land. The Christian knows well that our life in this world is not a permanent residence but a journey towards the world beyond. We get the same idea in,

2 Peter 1:15 (RSV)
15 And I will see to it that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.

Peter speaks of his approaching death as his exodus, his departure. Exodus is, of course, the word which is used for the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, and their setting out to the Promised Land. Peter sees death, not as the end but as the going out into the Promised Land of God.

((( I almost, can’t wait…………………. )))

Peter says that Jesus Christ has told him that for him the end will soon be coming. This may be a reference to the prophecy in,

John 21:18-19 (RSV)
18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." 19 (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."

Jesus foretells that there will come a day when Peter also will be stretched out upon a cross. That time is about to come.

Peter says that he will take steps to see that what he has got to say to them will be held before their memory even when he is gone from this earth. That may well be a reference to the Gospel according to St. Mark. The consistent tradition is that it is the preaching material of Peter.

lrenaeus says that, after the death of Peter and Paul, Mark, who had been his disciple and interpreter, handed on in writing the things which it had been Peter's custom to preach.

Papias, who lived towards the end of the second century and collected many traditions about the early days of the Church, hands down the same tradition about Mark's gospel:

"Mark, who was Peter's interpreter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, all that he recollected of what Christ had said or done. For he was not a bearer of the Lord, or a follower of his; he followed Peter, as I have said, at a later date and Peter adapted his instruction to practical needs, without any attempt to give the Lord's words systematically. So that Mark was not wrong in writing down some things in this way from memory, for his one concern was neither to omit nor to falsify anything that he had heard."

It may well be that the reference here means that Peter's teaching was made still available to his people in Mark's Gospel after his death.

In any event, the pastor's aim was to bring to his people God's truth while he was still alive and to take steps to keep it in their memories after he was dead. Peter/Mark wrote, not to preserve his own name, but the name of Jesus Christ.

As all preachers and teachers of God’s holy word should do, WE ARE TO PREACH CHRIST NOT OURSELVES!!!!!!!

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 Corinthians 9:16 (RSV)
16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

Lord, make us an instrument of Your peace;

Where there is hatred, let us sow LOVE;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is error, the truth;

Where there is doubt, the faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, Grant that We may not so much seek

To be consoled, as to console;

To be understood, as to understand;

To be LOVED as to LOVE.

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Our Father, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in earth,
As it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,

The power, and the glory,

For ever and ever. In Jesus precious name,

Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN…………….


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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February 9, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Three”

2 Peter 1:3-7 (RSV)
3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature. 5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.

Lord God YHWH, We pray today with our hands and heads lifted heavenwardly in adoration. We pray today with our eyes, Lord, looking for the things that are not seen. We pray today with our hands, Lord, raising them in jubilant praise. We pray today with our knees, Lord, bowing in submission and contrition. We pray today with our feet, Lord, working with all our might.

May you be pleased Lord, with our hearts, our souls, our actions, our daily prayers and worship……………….In Jesus name, Amen and Eternally AMEN!!!

Lord bless and protect my wife, and everyone’s family, friends, and LOVED ones that are not with us this week. In Jesus’ name Amen…….

In 2 Pet 1:3-4 there is a tremendous and comprehensive picture of Jesus Christ.

(i) He is the Christ of power. In Him there is the divine power which cannot be ultimately defeated or frustrated. In this world one of the tragedies of life is that LOVE is so often frustrated because it cannot give what it wants to give, cannot do what it wants to do and must so often stand helpless while the LOVED one meets disaster. But always Christ's LOVE is backed by His power and is, therefore, an ABSOLUTELY victorious LOVE.

(ii) He is the Christ of generosity. He bestows on us all things necessary for true life and true religion. The word Peter uses for religion is (eusebeia), the characteristic meaning of which is practical religion. Peter is saying that Jesus Christ tells us what life is and then enables us to live it as it ought to be lived. He gives us a religion which is not withdrawal from this side of eternity but triumphant involvement in it.

(iii) He is the Christ of the precious and great promises. That does not so much mean that He brings us the great and precious promises, as that in Him, these promises come true. Paul put the same thing in a different way when he said that all the promises of God are Yes and Amen in Christ,

2 Corinthians 1:20 (RSV)
20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why we utter the Amen through him, to the glory of God.

That is to say Christ says, "Yes. So let it be," to these promises; Jesus Himself confirms and guarantees them. It has been put this way—once we know Jesus Christ, every time we meet a promise in Scripture which begins with the word "Whosoever," we can immediately say to ourselves, "That means me."

(iv) He is the Christ by whom we escape the world's corruption. Peter had to meet the antinomians, the people who used the grace of God as an excuse for sin. They declared that grace was wide enough to cover every sin; therefore, sin does not matter anymore, the grace of Christ will win forgiveness for it. For any person to speak like that is simply to show that person wants to sin. But Jesus Christ is the person who can help us overcome the fascination of the world's lust and cleanse us by His presence and His power. ***So long as we live in this world sin will never completely lose its fascination for us; but in the presence of Christ we have our defense against that fascination.

(v) He is the Christ who makes us sharers in the divine nature. Here again Peter is using an expression which the pagan thinkers well knew. They spoke much about sharing in the divine nature. But there was this difference—they believed that man had a share in the divine nature by virtue of being man. All men had to do was to live in accordance with the divine nature already in them. The trouble about that is that life flatly contradicts it. On every side we see bitterness, hatred, lust, crime; on every side we see moral failure, helplessness and frustration. Christianity says that people are capable of becoming sharers in the divine nature. It realistically faces man's actuality but at the same time sets no limit to OUR potentiality.

John 10:10B (RSV)
10B …I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.

As one of the great early fathers said, "He became what we are to make us what he is." We as human beings through Christ have the very REAL potential to share the nature of God—but only through a LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ can that potentiality be realized.

Peter says that we must bend all our energies to equip ourselves with a series of great qualities. The word he uses for to equip is (epichoregein) which he uses again in,

2 Peter 1:11 (RSV)
11 so there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

When he speaks of us being richly gifted with the right of entry into the eternal kingdom.

This is one of the many Greek words which have a pictorial background. The verb (epichoregein) comes from the noun (choregos), which literally means "the leader of a chorus." Perhaps the greatest gift that Greece, and especially Athens, gave to the world was the great works of men like Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, which are still among its most cherished possessions. All these plays needed large choruses and were, therefore, very expensive to produce. In the great days of Athens there were public-spirited citizens who voluntarily took on the duty, at their own expense, of collecting, maintaining, training and equipping such choruses. It was at the great religious festivals that these plays were produced. For instance, at the city Dionysia there were produced three tragedies, five comedies and five dithyrambs. Men had to be round to provide the choruses for them all, a duty which could cost as much as 3,000 drachmae. The men who undertook these duties out of their own pocket and out of LOVE for their city were called (choregoi), and (choregein) was the verb used for undertaking such a duty. The word has a certain lavishness in it. It never means to equip in any cheese-paring and miserly way; it means lavishly to pour out everything that is necessary for a noble performance. (Epichoregein) went out into a larger world and it grew to mean not only to equip a chorus but to be responsible for any kind of equipment. It can mean to equip an army with all necessary provisions; it can mean to equip the soul with all the necessary virtues for life. But always at the back of it there is this idea of a lavish generosity in the equipment.

So Peter urges his people to equip their lives with every virtue; and that equipment must not be simply a necessary minimum, but lavish and generous. The very word is an incitement to be content with nothing less than the LOVEliest and the most splendid life.

But there is something else at the back of this. In,

2 Peter 1:5-6 (RSV)
5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,

Peter goes on that we must, as the Revised Standard Version has it, add virtue to virtue, until the whole culminates in Christian LOVE. Behind this is a Stoic idea. The Stoics insisted that in life there must continuously be what they called (prokope), moral progress. (Prokope) can be used for the advance of an army towards its objective. In the Christian life there must be steady moral advance. Moffatt quotes a saying that,

"the Christian life must not be an initial spasm followed by a chronic inertia."

It is very apt to be just that; a moment of enthusiasm, when the wonder of Christianity is realized, and then a failure to work out the Christian life in continuous progress.

That brings us to still another basic idea here. Peter bids his people bend every energy to do this. That is to say, in the Christian life the supreme effort of a person must cooperate with the grace of God. As Paul has it:

Philippians 2:12-13 (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; 13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

It is true that everything is of faith; but a faith which does not issue in life is not faith at all, as Paul would heartily have agreed with James.

James 2:17 (RSV)
17 So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead.

Faith is not only commitment to the promises of Christ; it is also commitment to our obligations of LOVE in Christ!!!

Bigg well points out that Aristotle, in the Nicomachean Ethics, says that there are three theories of the source of happiness.

(i) It is something which can come by training, by learning and by the formation of right habits.

(ii) It is a matter of divine allotment, the gift of God.

(iii) It is all a matter of chance. (gk: ‘hap’ means: chance)

The truth is that, as the Christian sees it, happiness depends both on God's gift and on our effort. We do not earn salvation but at the same time we have to bend every energy towards the Christian objective of a LOVELY life. NOT BECAUSE WE MUST, BUT BECAUSE OF GOD’S GRACE WE GENUINELY WANT TO!!!!!!! Bengel, in commenting on this passage, asks us to compare the Parable of the Ten Virgins, five of whom were wise and five of whom were foolish. He writes:

"The flame is that which is imparted to us by God and from God without our own labor; but the oil is that which a man must pour into life by his own study and his own faithful effort, so that the flame may be fed and increased."

Faith does not exempt a person from good works, or authentic personal effort; the generosity of God does not absolve a person from exertion. Life is at its noblest and its best when our effort cooperates with God's grace to produce the necessary LOVEliness.

Ephesians 2:10 (RSV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Let us then look at the list of virtues which have to be added one to another. it is worth noting that in the ancient world such lists were common. It was a world in which books were not nearly so cheap and so readily available as they are today. Instruction, therefore, had for the most part to be carried in the pupil's head; and easily memorized lists were one of the commonest ways of inculcating instruction. One ingenious way of teaching the child the names of the virtues was by means of a game played with counters which could be won or lost, each of which bore the name of one of the virtues. Lists of virtues were common in the early Christian writings. Paul gives us the fruit of the Spirit,

Galatians 5:22-23 (RSV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.

In the Pastoral Epistles the man of God is bidden to follow after,

1 Timothy 6:11 (RSV)
11 But as for you, man of God, shun all this; aim at righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.

In The Shepherd of Hermas (Visions 3.8.1-7), faith, self-control, simplicity, innocence and reverence, understanding and love are daughters one of another.

In the Epistle of Barnabas (2) fear and endurance are the helpers of faith; patience and self-control are our allies; and when these are present a man can develop and possess wisdom, prudence, understanding and knowledge. Let us look one by one at the stages in the list which this letter gives us.

(i) It begins with faith (pistis); everything goes back to that. For Peter faith is the conviction that what Jesus Christ says is true and that we can commit ourselves to His promises and launch ourselves on His desires for our lives. It is the unquestioning certainty that the way to happiness and peace and strength on earth and in heaven is to accept Him at His word.

((( Trust and Obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey…)))

(ii) To faith must be added what the Revised Standard Version calls virtue and we have called courage. The word is (arete); it is very rare in the New Testament but it is the supreme Greek word for virtue in every sense of the term. It means excellence. It has two special directions in which its meaning moves.

(a) (Arete) is what we might call operative or efficient excellence. To take two examples of its usage from widely differing spheres—it can be used of land which is fertile; and it can be used of the mighty deeds of the gods. (Arete) is that virtue which makes a person a good citizen and friend; it is that virtue which makes a person an expert in the technique of living well.

(b) (Arete) often means courage. Plutarch says that God is a hope of (arete), not an excuse for cowardice. In 2 Maccabees we read of how Eleazar died rather than be false to the laws of God and his fathers; and the story ends by saying that he left his death for an example of noble courage (arete) and a memorial of virtue, not only to young men, but also to all the nation,

2 Maccabees 6:31 (KJVApocrypha)
31 And thus this man died, leaving his death for an example of a noble courage, and a memorial of virtue, not only unto young men, but unto all his nation.

In our main text it is not necessary to choose between these two meanings; they are both there. Faith must issue, not in the retirement of the monastery and the cell, but in a life effective in the service of God and man; and it must issue in the courage always to show whose it is and whom it serves.

(iii) To courage must be added knowledge. The word is (gnosis). In ethical Greek language there are two words which have a similar meaning with a very significant difference. (Sophia) is wisdom, in the sense of "knowledge of things both human and divine, and of their causes." It is knowledge of first causes and of deep and ultimate things. (Gnosis) is practical knowledge; it is the ability to apply to particular situations the ultimate knowledge which (sophia) gives. (Gnosis) is that knowledge which enables a person to decide rightly and to act honorably and efficiently in the day to day, moment by moment circumstances of life. So, then, to faith must be added courage and effectiveness; to courage and effectiveness must be added the practical wisdom to deal with life.

(iv) To this practical knowledge must be added self-control, or self-mastery. The word is (egkrateia), and it means literally the ability, to take a grip of oneself. This is a virtue of which the great Greeks spoke and wrote and thought much. In regard to a man and his passions Aristotle distinguishes four states in life.

There is (sophrosune), in which passion has been entirely subjugated to reason; we might call it perfect temperance.

There is (akolasia), which is the precise opposite; it is the state in which reason is entirely subjugated to passion—we might call it unbridled lust.

In between these two states there is (akrasia), in which reason fights but passion prevails; we might call it incontinence. There is (egkrateia), in which reason fights against passion and prevails; we call it self-control, or self-mastery.

(Egkrateia) is one of the great Christian virtues; and the place it holds is an example of the realism of the Christian ethic. That ethic does not contemplate a situation in which a person is emasculated of all passion; it envisages a situation in which our passions remain, but are under perfect control and so become our servants, not our tyrants.

(v) To this self-control must be added steadfastness. The word is (hupomone). Chrysostom called (hupomone) "The Queen of the Virtues." In the King James Version it is usually translated patience; but patience is too passive a word. (Hupomone), has always a background or courage.

Cicero defines patientia, its Latin equivalent, as:

"The voluntary and daily suffering of hard and difficult things, for the sake of honor and usefulness."

Didymus of Alexandria writes on the temper of Job:

"It is not that the righteous man must be without feeling, although he must patiently bear the things which afflict him; but it is true virtue when a man deeply feels the things he toils against, but nevertheless despises sorrows for the sake of God."

(Hupomone) does not simply accept and endure; there is always a forward look in it. It is said of Jesus, by the writer to the Hebrews,

Hebrews 12:2 (RSV)
2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

That is (hupomone), Christian steadfastness. It is the courageous acceptance of everything that life can do to us and the transmuting of even the worst event into another step on the upward way.

(vi) To this steadfastness must be added piety. The word is (eusebeia) and is quite untranslatable. Even piety is inadequate, carrying as it does a suggestion sometimes of something not altogether attractive. The great characteristic of (eusebeia) is that it looks in two directions. The person who has (eusebeia) always correctly worships God and gives Him His due; but the person always correctly serves their fellow-men and women and gives them their due. The person who is (eusebes) (the corresponding adjective) is in a right relationship both with God and our fellow-men and women. (Eusebeia) is piety but in its most practical aspect.

We may best see the meaning of this word by looking at the man whom the Greeks held to be its finest example. That man was Socrates whom Xenophon describes as follows:

"He was so pious and devoutly religious that he would take no step apart from the will of heaven; so just and upright that he never did even a trifling injury to any living soul; so self-controlled, so temperate, that he never at any time chose the sweeter instead of the better; so sensible, so wise, and so prudent that in distinguishing the better from the worse he never erred" (Xenophon: Memorabilia 1.5.8-11).

In Latin the word is pietas; and Warde Fowler describes the Roman idea of the man who possesses that quality:

"He is superior to the enticements of individual passion and of selfish ease; (pietas is) a sense of duty which never left a man, of duty first to the gods, then to father and to family, to son and to daughter, to his people and to his nation."

(Eusebeia) is the nearest Greek word for religion; and, when we begin to define it, we see the intensely practical character of the Christian religion. When a person becomes a Christian, they we, acknowledge a double obligation of LOVE, to God and to our fellow-men, women, and children.

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.'

(vii) To this piety must be added brotherly affection. The word is (philadelphia), which literally means LOVE of the brethren. The point is this—there is a kind of religious devotion which separates a person from other people. The claims of others become an intrusion on our prayers, our study of God's word and our meditation. The ordinary demands of human relationships become a nuisance. Epictetus, the great Stoic philosopher, never married. Half-jestingly he said that he was doing far more for the world by being an unfettered philosopher than if he had produced "two or three dirty-nosed children." "How can he who has to teach mankind run to get something in which to heat the water to give the baby his bath?" What Peter is saying is that there is something wrong with the religion which finds the claims of personal relationships a nuisance.

In studying and praying, I often get interrupted by other people and things, to be honest it often bothers me. Yet, I finally realize, what I’m doing IS FOR THEM, if I can’t stop, listen and help others, WHAT IS THE POINT OF MY STUDIES AND FAITH???????

I understood this in Seminary as well; there was a sense of guilt I felt in taking the time studying God’s word compared to actually PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE BY SERVING HIM AND THE PEOPLE AROUND ME!!!!!!!

James 1:22 (RSV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

There MUST BE TIME FOR BOTH, not, one or the other. To LOVE God is to spend time with Him, in reading the Bible, praying, and meditation, and our relationship with God is MEANT TO ENCOURAGE IN US THE DESIRE TO LOVE AND SERVE ALL OF HIS CREATION ACCORDING TO HIS WILL AND HIS TIMING!!!!!!!

(viii) The ladder of Christian virtue must end in Christian LOVE. Not even affection for the brethren is enough; the Christian must end with a LOVE which is as wide as that LOVE of God which causes His sun to rise on the just and on the unjust, and sends His rain on the evil and the good. The LOVE that sent His ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS CHRIST TO DIE FOR ALL MANKIND, NOT JUST THOSE WHO LOVE HIM BACK!!!!!!! The Christian must show to all humanity, all of God’s creation, the LOVE which God has shown to them, to us!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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February 2, 2020


A most glorious and wonderful birthday to my beLOVED wife, my "Forever Only", Maureen and to her sweet TWIN SISTER Kathleen !!! May you both have many more beautiful years to come.......


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Second Epistle of Peter: Part Two”

2 Peter 1:1-2 (RSV)
1 Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours in the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ: 2 May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

Almighty God, from whom every good prayer cometh, and who pourest out on all who desire it the Spirit of grace and supplication: deliver us, when we draw nigh to Thee, from coldness of heart and wanderings of mind, that with steadfast and focused thoughts and kindled affections we may worship Thee in spirit and in truth: through Jesus Christ our Lord…….Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN!!!!!!!

Adrian Rogers wrote:

“It’s not the length of the prayer but the depth that counts.”

The Second Epistle of Peter opens with a very subtle and beautiful allusion for those who have eyes to see it and knowledge enough of the New Testament to grasp it. Peter writes to "those to whom there has been allotted a faith equal in honor and privilege with our own" and he calls himself Simon Peter. Who were these people? There can really be only one answer to that. They must once have been Gentiles in contradistinction to the Jews who were uniquely the chosen people of God. Those who had once been no people are now the chosen people of God,

1 Peter 2:10 (RSV)
10 Once you were no people but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy but now you have received mercy.

Those who were once aliens and strangers to the commonwealth of Israel, and who were once far off, have been brought nigh,

Ephesians 2:11-13 (RSV)
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands -- 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ.

Peter puts this very vividly, using a word which would at once strike an answering chord in the minds of those who heard it. Their faith is equal in honor and privilege. The Greek is (isotimos); (isos) means "equal" and time means "honor." This word was particularly used in connection with foreigners who were given equal citizenship in a city with the natives. Josephus, for instance, says that in Antioch the Jews were made (isotimoi), equal in honor and privilege, with the Macedonians and the Greeks who lived there. So Peter addresses his letter to those who had once been despised Gentiles but who had been given equal rights of citizenship with the Jews and even with the apostles themselves in the kingdom of God.

Two things have to be noted about this great privilege which had been extended to the Gentiles.

(a) It had been allotted to them. That is to say, they had not earned it; it had fallen to them through no merit of their own, as some prize falls to a man by lot. In other words, their new citizenship was all of grace.

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,

*******(((((((NO ONE IS EVER SAVED OR  EVEN MAINTAINS THEIR OWN SALVATION BY ANYTHING THEY DO OR COULD EVER DO!!!)))))))*******

(b) It came to them through the impartial justice of their God and Savior Jesus Christ. It came to them because with God there is no "most favored nation clause"; His grace and favor go out impartially to every nation upon earth. The only responsibility on our part is to ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST AND HIM ALONE AS OUR ONLY 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."

John 14:6 (RSV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

((((((( NO ONE MEANS NO ONE, IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CULTURE, OR GEOGRAHPICAL LOCATION; JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY SAVIOR FOR ANYONE!!!!!!! )))))))

What has this to do with the name Simon, by which Peter is here called? In the New Testament, he is most often called Peter; he is fairly often called Simon, which was, indeed, his original name before Jesus gave him the name of Cephas or Peter,

John 1:41-42 (RSV)
41 He first found his brother Simon, and said to him, "We have found the Messiah" (which means Christ). 42 He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him, and said, "So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas" (which means Peter).

But only once in the rest of the New Testament is he called Simeon or Simon. It is in the story of that Council of Jerusalem in Acts chapter fifteen, which decided that the door of the Church should be opened wide to the Gentiles. There James says,

Acts 15:14 (RSV)
14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.

In this letter which begins with greetings to the Gentiles who have been granted by the grace of God privileges of equal citizenship in the kingdom with the Jews and with the apostles Peter is called by the name of Simon; and the only other time he is called by that name is when he is the principal instrument whereby that privilege is granted.

Simon has in it the memory that Peter is the man who opened doors. He opened the doors to Cornelius, the Gentile centurion (Acts 10); his great authority was thrown on the side of the open door at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15).

Peter calls himself the servant of Jesus Christ. The word is (doulos) which really means slave. Strange as it may seem, here is a title, apparently one of humiliation, which the greatest of men took as a title of greatest honor. Moses the great leader and lawgiver was the (doulos) of God,

Deuteronomy 34:5 (RSV)
5 So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD,

Psalm 105:26 (RSV)
26 He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen.

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.

Joshua the great commander was the (doulos) of God,

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.

David the greatest of the kings was the (doulos) of God,

2 Samuel 3:18 (RSV)
18 Now then bring it about; for the LORD has promised David, saying, `By the hand of my servant David I will save my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines, and from the hand of all their enemies.'"

Psalm 78:70 (RSV)
70 He chose David his servant, and took him from the sheepfolds;

In the New Testament Paul is the (doulos) of Jesus Christ,

Romans 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God

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:

Titus 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to further the faith of God's elect and their knowledge of the truth which accords with godliness,

A title which James,

James 1:1 (RSV)
1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.

Jude 1:1 (RSV)
1 Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James, To those who are called, beloved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:

Both proudly claim. In the Old Testament the prophets are the (douloi) of God,

Amos 3:7 (RSV)
7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.

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,

And in the New Testament the Christian frequently is Christ's (doulos),

Acts 2:18 (RSV)
18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

 1 Corinthians 7:22 (RSV)
22 For he who was called in the Lord as a slave is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a slave of Christ.

Ephesians 6:6 (RSV)
6 not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart,

Colossians 4:12 (RSV)
12 Ep'aphras, who is one of yourselves, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always remembering you earnestly in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God.

2 Timothy 2:24 (RSV)
24 And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to every one, an apt teacher, forbearing,

There is deep meaning here.

(i) To call the Christian the (doulos) of God means that he or she is inalienably possessed by God. In the ancient world a master possessed his slaves in the same sense as he possessed his tools. A servant can change his master; but a slave cannot. The Christian inalienably belongs to God.

(((((((And ABSOLUTELY LOVES BELONGING TO GOD!!! )))))))

(ii) To call the Christian the (doulos) of God means that he or she is unqualifiedly at the disposal of God. In the ancient world the master could do what he liked with his slave; he had even the power of life and death over him. The Christian has no rights of his or her own, for all are rights are surrendered to God.

(iii) To call the Christian the (doulos) of God means that we owe an unquestioning obedience to God. A master's command was a slave's only law in ancient times. In any situation the Christian has but one question to ask: "Lord, what will you have me do?" The command of God is his only law.

(iv) To call the Christian the (doulos) of God means that we must be constantly in the service of God. In the ancient world the slave had literally no time of his own, no holidays, no leisure. All his time belonged to his master. The Christian cannot, either deliberately or unconsciously, compartmentalize life into the time and activities which belong to God, and the time and activities in which he or she does what he or she likes. The Christian is necessarily the person every moment of whose time is spent in the service of God.

((((((( And some people preach being a Christian is easy, I don’t think so…………………………………………………………)))))))

We note one further point. Peter speaks of the impartial justice of our God and Savior Jesus Christ. The King James Version translates, "the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ," as if this referred to two persons, God and Jesus; but, as Moffatt and the Revised Standard Version both show, in the Greek there is only one person involved and the phrase is correctly rendered our God and Savior Jesus Christ. Its great interest is that it does what the New Testament very, very seldom clearly expresses. It calls Jesus God. The only unmistakable parallel to this is the eternal cry of Thomas:

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

Peter puts this in an unusual way. Grace and peace are to come from knowledge, the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Is he turning Christian experience into something dependent on knowledge? Or is there some other meaning here? First, let us look at the word which he uses for knowledge (epignosis). It can be interpreted in two directions.

(a) It can mean increasing knowledge. (Gnosis), the normal Greek word for knowledge, is here preceded by the preposition (epi) which means towards, in the direction of. (Epignosis) then could be interpreted as knowledge which is always moving further in the direction of that which it seeks to know. Grace and peace are multiplied to the Christian as he or she comes to know Jesus Christ better and better. As it has been put:

"The more Christians realize the meaning of Jesus Christ, the more they realize the meaning of grace and the experience of peace."

(b) (Epignosis) has a second meaning. Often in Greek it means full knowledge. Plutarch, for instance, uses it of the scientific knowledge of music as opposed to the knowledge of the mere amateur. So it may be that the implication here is that knowledge of Jesus Christ is what we might call "the master-science of life." The other sciences may bring new skill, new knowledge, new abilities, but the master-science, the knowledge of Jesus Christ, alone brings the grace men, women, and children need and the peace for which our hearts crave.

There is still more. Peter has a way of using words which were commonly on the lips of the pagans of his day and charging them with a new meaning. Knowledge was a much used word in pagan religious thought in the days when this letter was written. To take but one example, the Greeks defined (sophia), wisdom, as knowledge of things both human and divine. The Greek seekers after God sought that knowledge in two main ways.

(a) They sought it by philosophic speculation. They sought to reach God by the sheer power of human thought. There are obvious troubles there. For one thing, God is infinite; the mind of man is finite; and the finite can never grasp the infinite. Long ago Zophar had asked:

Job 11:7 (RSV)
7 "Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?

If God is ever to be known, He must be known, not because man's mind discovers Him but because He chooses to reveal Himself. For another thing, if religion is based on philosophic speculation, at its highest it can be the preserve of only the few, for it is not given to every person to be a philosopher. Whatever Peter meant by knowledge, he did not mean that.

(b) They sought it by mystical experience of the divine, until they could say, "I am thou, and thou art I." This was the way of the Mystery Religions. They were all passion plays; the dramatically acted story of some God who suffered and died and rose again. The initiate was carefully prepared by instruction in the inner meaning of the story, by long fasting and continence, and by the deliberate building up of psychological tension. The play was then played out with a magnificent liturgy, sensuous music, carefully calculated lighting and the burning of incense. The aim was that, as the initiate watched, he should so enter into this experience that he became actually one with the suffering, dying, rising, and eternally triumphant God. Again there are troubles here. For one thing, not everyone is capable of mystical experience. For another thing, any such experience is necessarily transient; it may leave an effect, but it cannot be a continual experience. Mystical experience is the privilege of the few.

(c) If this knowledge of Jesus Christ does not come by philosophic speculation or by mystical experience, what is it and how does it come? In the New Testament knowledge is characteristically personal knowledge. Paul does not say, "I know what I have believed"; he says,

2 Timothy 1:12 (RSV)
12 and therefore I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am sure that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

Christian knowledge of Christ is a deeply personal relationship with Him; it is knowing Him as a person and entering day by day, moment by moment, into a more intimate relationship with Him, a LOVE relationship.

When Peter speaks of grace and peace coming through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ, he is not intellectualizing religion; he is saying that Christianity means an ever-deepening personal LOVE-relationship with Jesus Christ. And that LOVE-relationship with Jesus Christ works to make all our relationships better…………………………

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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January 26, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“Introduction to the Second Epistle of Peter”

Help us, O God, now and at all times,

*To respect ourselves;

*To LOVE our fellow men, women, children, and every baby in their Mother’s womb;

*To reverence You O blessed Lord, with all our mind, body, and heart, with every micro-speck of our being;

That we may do nothing,

*To shame ourselves;

*To injury others;

*To grieve you;

*May we live and serve YOU Heavenly Father to bring the Lost to a saving knowledge of you ONLY BEGOTTEN SON JESUS THE CHRIST!!!!!!!

Through Jesus Christ our most beLOVED Savior we pray, Amen and ETERNALLY AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Neglected Book and Its Contents

Second Peter is one of the neglected books of the New Testament. Very few people will claim to have read it, still less to have studied it in detail.

E. F. Scott says

"it is far inferior in every respect to First Peter"; and goes on "it is the least valuable of the New Testament writings."

It was only with the greatest difficulty that Second Peter gained entry into the New Testament, and for many years the Christian Church seemed to be unaware of its existence. But, before we approach its history, let us look at its contents.

The Lawless Men

Second Peter was written to combat the beliefs and activities of certain men who were a threat to the Church. It begins by insisting that the Christian is a person, who has escaped from the corruption of this world,

2 Peter 1:4 (RSV)
4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.

We must always remember that we have been purged of our old sins,

2 Peter 1:9 (RSV)
9 For whoever lacks these things is blind and shortsighted and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

There is laid upon us the duty of moral goodness, which culminates in the great Christian virtue of LOVE,

2 Peter 1:5-8 (RSV)
5 For this very reason make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness,
7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. 8 For if these things are yours and abound, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

((( So who said being a Christian is EASY??????? Not me!!! )))

Let us set out the characteristics of the men whom Second Peter rebukes. They twist Scripture to make it suit their own purpose,

2 Peter 1:20 (RSV)
20 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation,

2 Peter 3:16 (RSV)
16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

They bring the Christian faith into disrepute,

2 Peter 2:2 (RSV)
2 And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.

They are covetous of gain and exploiters of their fellow-men,

2 Peter 2:3 (RSV)
3 And in their greed they will exploit you with false words; from of old their condemnation has not been idle, and their destruction has not been asleep.

2 Peter 2:14-15 (RSV)
14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!
15 Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be'or, who loved gain from wrongdoing,

They are doomed and will share the fate of the sinning angels,

2 Peter 2:4 (RSV)
4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;

The men before the Flood,

2 Peter 2:5 (RSV)
5 if he did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, a herald of righteousness, with seven other persons, when he brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;

The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah,

The false prophet Balaam,

2 Peter 2:15 (RSV)
15 Forsaking the right way they have gone astray; they have followed the way of Balaam, the son of Be'or, who loved gain from wrongdoing,

They are base creatures, ruled by their brute instincts,

Dominated by their lusts,

2 Peter 2:10 (RSV)
10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,

2 Peter 2:18 (RSV)
18 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

Their eyes are full of adultery,

2 Peter 2:14 (RSV)
14 They have eyes full of adultery, insatiable for sin. They entice unsteady souls. They have hearts trained in greed. Accursed children!

((( Sound familiar??? )))

They are presumptuous, self-willed and arrogant,

2 Peter 2:10 (RSV)
10 and especially those who indulge in the lust of defiling passion and despise authority. Bold and wilful, they are not afraid to revile the glorious ones,

2 Peter 2:18 (RSV)
18 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

They spend even the daylight hours in unrestrained and luxurious revelry,

2 Peter 2:13 (RSV)
13 suffering wrong for their wrongdoing. They count it pleasure to revel in the daytime. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their dissipation, carousing with you.

They speak of liberty but what they call liberty is unbridled license and they themselves are the slaves of their own lusts,

2 Peter 2:19 (RSV)
19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.

((( Scary Stuff…………….turning Christian grace and freedom to SLAVERY TO LUST AND SIN!!! )))

Not only are they deluded, they also delude others and lead them astray,

2 Peter 2:18 (RSV)
18 For, uttering loud boasts of folly, they entice with licentious passions of the flesh men who have barely escaped from those who live in error.

They are worse than those who never knew the right, because they knew what goodness is and have relapsed into evil, like a dog returning to its vomit and a sow returning to the mud after it has been washed,

2 Peter 2:20-22 (RSV)
20 For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overpowered, the last state has become worse for them than the first. 21 For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. 22 It has happened to them according to the true proverb, The dog turns back to his own vomit, and the sow is washed only to wallow in the mire.

((( I have to admit, this sounds like me some times……. )))

1 John 2:1-2 (RSV)
1 My little children, I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

It is clear that Peter is describing antinomians, men who used God's grace as a justification for sinning. In all probability they were Gnostics, who said that only spirit was good and that matter was essentially evil and that, therefore, it did not matter what we did with the body and that we could glut its appetites and it made no difference. They lived the most immoral lives and encouraged others to do so; and they justified their actions by perverting grace and interpreting Scripture to suit themselves.

The Denial of the Second Coming

Further, these evil men denied the Second Coming,

2 Peter 3:3-4 (RSV)
3 First of all you must understand this, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own passions 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."

((( Lets be honest, in human terms, their arguments SOUND QUITE REASONABLE AND LOGICAL. ***BUT THEY ARE LIES OF SATAN!!!!!! )))

They argued that this was a stable world in which things remained unalterably the same, and that God was so tardy that it was possible to assume that the Second Coming was never going to happen at all. The answer of Second Peter is that this is not a stable world; that it has, in fact, been destroyed by water in the Flood and that it will be destroyed by fire in the final conflagration (blaze),

2 Peter 3:5-7 (RSV)
5 They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago, and an earth formed out of water and by means of water, 6 through which the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. 7 But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist have been stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.

What they regard as being EXTREMELY TARDY is in fact God withholding His hand in patience to give all mankind another chance to repent and be saved,

2 Peter 3:8-9 (RSV)
8 But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 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.

((( Amen and ETERNALLY Amen!!!!!!! )))

But the day of destruction is coming,

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.

((((((( A rebirth of this polluted world which was  caused by humanity’s sins, reborn into the ETERNAL DWELLING OF GOD AND HIS PEOPLE………………………………………………………..)))))))

A new heaven and a new earth are on the way; therefore. goodness is an absolute necessity if a person is to be saved in the day of judgment,

With this Paul agrees, however difficult his letters may be to understand, and however false teachers deliberately misinterpret them,

2 Peter 3:15-16 (RSV)
15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

The obligation of LOVE for us who are genuine Christians is to stand fast, firmly founded in the faith, and to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ,

2 Peter 3:17-18 (RSV)
17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, beware lest you be carried away with the error of lawless men and lose your own stability.
18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

The Doubts of the Early Church

Such are the contents of the letter. For long it was regarded with doubt and with something very like misgiving. There is no trace of it until after A.D. 200. It is not included in the Muratorian Canon Of A.D. 170 which was the first official list of New Testament books. It did not exist in the Old Latin Version of the Scriptures; nor in the New Testament of the early Syrian Church.

The great scholars of Alexandria either did not know it or were doubtful about it.

Clement of Alexandria, who wrote outlines of the books of Scripture, does not appear to have included Second Peter.

Origen says that Peter left behind one epistle which is generally acknowledged; "perhaps also a second, for it is a disputed question."

Didymus commented on it, but concluded his work by saying: "It must not be forgotten that this letter is spurious; it may be read in public; but it is not part of the canon of Scripture."

Eusebius, the great scholar of Caesarea, who made a careful investigation of the Christian literature of his day, comes to the conclusion:

"Of Peter, one Epistle, which is called his former Epistle, is acknowledged by all; of this the ancient presbyters have made frequent use in their writings as indisputably genuine; but that which is circulated as his second Epistle we have received to be not canonical although, since it appeared to be useful to many, it has been diligently read with the other Scriptures."

It was not until well into the fourth century that Second Peter came to rest in the canon of the New Testament.

The Objections

It is the well-nigh universal judgment of scholars, both ancient and modern, that Peter is not the author of Second Peter. Even John Calvin regarded it as impossible that Peter could have spoken of Paul as Second Peter speaks of him,

2 Peter 3:15-16 (RSV)
15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

Although he was willing to believe that someone else wrote the letter at Peter's request. What, then, are the arguments against Peter's authorship?

(i) There is the extreme slowness, and even reluctance, of the early church to accept it. If it had been truly Peter's, there can be little doubt that the Church would have welcomed and honored it from the first. But the case was very different. For the first two centuries the letter is never quoted at all in any certain instance; it is regarded with doubt and suspicion for more than another century; and only late in the fourth century is it accepted.

(ii) The contents make it difficult to believe that it is Peter's. There is no mention of the Passion, the Resurrection and the Ascension of Jesus Christ; no mention of the Church as the true Israel; no mention of that faith which is undefeatable hope and trust combined; no mention of the Holy Spirit, of prayer, of baptism; and no passionate desire to call men to the supreme example of Jesus Christ. If one took away these great verities from First Peter there would be little or nothing left, and yet none of them occurs in Second Peter.

(iii) It is wholly different in character and style from First Peter. This was realized as early as Jerome who wrote:

"Simon Peter wrote two Epistles which are called Catholic, of which the authenticity of the second is denied by many because of the difference of the style from the first."

The Greek style of this letter is very difficult. Clogg calls it ambitious, artificial and often obscure, and remarks that it is the only book in the New Testament which is improved by translation.

Bishop Chase writes:

"The Epistle does produce the impression of being a somewhat artificial piece of rhetoric. It shows throughout signs of self-conscious effort. The author appears to be ambitious of writing in a style which is beyond his literary power."

He concludes that it is hard to reconcile the literary character of this letter with the supposition that Peter wrote it. Moffatt says:

"Second Peter is more periodic and ambitious than First Peter, but its linguistic and its stylistic efforts only reveal by their cumbrous obscurity a decided inferiority of conception, which marks it off from First Peter."

It might be claimed, as Jerome claimed, that, while Peter used Silvanus for First Peter, he used a different amanuensis for Second Peter and that this explains the change in style. But J. B. Mayor compares the two letters. He quotes some of the great passages of First Peter and then says:

"I think that none who read these words can help feeling that, not even in Paul, not even in John, is there to be found a more beautiful or a more living description of the secret of primitive Christianity, of the force that overcame the world, than in the perfect quaternion of faith and hope and love and joy, which pervades this short epistle (i.e. First Peter). No one could make the same assertion with regard to Second Peter: thoughtful and interesting as it is, it lacks that intense sympathy, that flame of love, which marks First Peter.... No change of circumstances can account for the change of tone of which we are conscious in passing from one epistle to the other."

It is the conclusion of that great and conservative scholar that no explanation, other than difference of authorship, can explain, not so much the difference in style as the difference in atmosphere between First and Second Peter. It is true that from the purely linguistic point of view there are 369 words which occur in First Peter which do not occur in Second Peter; and there are 230 words which occur in Second Peter and not in First Peter. But there is more than a difference in style. A writer can change his style and his vocabulary to suit his audience and his occasion. But the difference between the two letters in atmosphere and attitude is so wide that it is hardly possible that the same person should have written both.

(iv) Certain things within Second Peter point well-nigh irresistibly to a late date. So much time has passed that men have begun to abandon hope of the Second Coming altogether,

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."

The apostles are spoken of as figures of the past,

2 Peter 3:2 (RSV)
2 that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles.

The fathers, that is the founders of the Christian faith, are now figures of the almost dim and distant past; there have been generations between this letter and the first coming of the Christian faith,

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."

There are references which require the passing of the years to explain them. The reference to Peter's approaching death looks very like a reference to Jesus' prophecy in,

John 21:18-19 (RSV)
18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you girded yourself and walked where you would; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish to go." 19 (This he said to show by what death he was to glorify God.) And after this he said to him, "Follow me."

The Fourth Gospel was not written until about A.D. 100.

Above all there is the reference to the letters of Paul,

2 Peter 3:15-16 (RSV)
15 And count the forbearance of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him,
16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

From this it is quite certain that Paul's letters are known and used throughout all the Church; they are public property, and furthermore they are regarded as Scripture and on a level with "the other Scriptures"

2 Peter 3:16 (RSV)
16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures.

It was not until at least A.D. 90 that these letters were collected and published, and it would take many years for them to acquire the position of sacred Scripture. It is practically impossible that anyone should write like this until midway through the second century A.D.

Most of the evidence converges to genuinely suggest that Second Peter is a late book. It is not until the third century that it is quoted. The great scholars of the early church did not regard it as Peter's although they did not question its usefulness. The letter has references which require the passing of the years to explain them. The great interest of Second Peter lies in the very fact that it was the last book in the New Testament to be written and the last to gain entry into the New Testament.

In Peter's Name

How, then, did it become attached to the name of Peter? The answer is that it was deliberately attached. This may seem to us a strange proceeding but in the ancient world this was common practice. Plato's letters were written not by Plato but by a disciple in the master's name. The Jews repeatedly used this method of writing. Between the Old and the New Testament, books were written under the names of Solomon, Isaiah, Moses, Baruch, Ezra, Enoch and many another. And in New Testament times there is a whole literature around the name of Peter—The Gospel of Peter, The Preaching of Peter, The Apocalypse of Peter.

One salient fact makes this method of writing even more intelligible. The heretics used it. They issued misleading and malignant books under the names of the great apostles, claiming that they were the secret teaching of the great founders of the Church handed down by word of mouth to them. Faced with this, the Church retaliated in kind and issued books in which men set down for their own generation the things they were quite sure that the apostles would have said had they been facing this new situation. There is nothing either unusual or discreditable in a book being issued under the name of Peter although Peter did not write it. The writer in humility was putting the message which the Holy Spirit had given him into the mouth of Peter because he felt his own name was unworthy to appear upon the book.

We will not find Second Peter easy to read; but it is a book of first-rate importance because it was written to men who were undermining the Christian ethic and the Christian doctrine and who had to be stopped before the Christian faith was wrecked by their perversion of the truth.

After sober, prayful study of the criticisms to determine whether they were based on provable fact or assumption. The external evidence is not very strong for this epistle, but as we have seen, the fact that it was accepted into the canon in spite of the other pseudo-Petrine literature argues favorably for it. Concerning the internal evidence, it should be obvious that the critics’ interpretations of historical references are based on assumption. Valid explanations can be given for each historical reference fitting in the first century. The dependence on stylistic differences is too subjective to place much emphasis on, and it can be explained as caused by use of an amanuensis for First Peter. The denial of personal references seems to display an unwarranted prejudice and questionable understanding on the part of the critic. Until actual, objective proof is shown to the contrary, I and the majority of conservative scholars Know and will continue to believe the author of Second Peter IS MOST CERTAINLY THE APOSTLE  PETER HIMSELF……………..

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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January 19, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Sixteen”

1 Peter 5:12-14 (RSV)
12 By Silva'nus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God; stand fast in it. 13 She who is at Babylon, who is likewise chosen, sends you greetings; and so does my son Mark. 14 Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you that are in Christ.

“O God, our most blessed Father, grant that this short time of worship may not be to us a nuisance and something with which we cannot be bothered. Grant that it may not be a mere formality which has to be pushed through because it is our custom. Give us today, this week, hearts which really want to tell You of their gratitude for Your gifts and of their sorrow for our mistakes. And make us to come with gladness, to wait with expectation, and to worship with concentration this day as we study Your word: in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen!!!”

Today, we study the final 3 verses of First Peter……………….

Peter bears witness that what he has written is indeed the grace of God, and he bids his people, amidst their difficulties, to stand fast in it.

He says that he has written through Silvanus. The Greek phrase (dia,  Silouanou) means that Silvanus was his agent in writing. Silvanus is the full form of the name Silas and he is almost certainly to be identified with the Silvanus of Paul's letters and the Silas of Acts. When we gather up the references to Silas or Silvanus, we find that he was one of the pillars of the early church.

Along with Judas Barsabas, Silvanus was sent to Antioch with the epoch-making decision of the Council of Jerusalem that the doors of the Church were to be opened to the Gentiles; and in the account of that mission Silvanus and Judas are called leading men among the brethren:

Acts 15:22 (RSV)
22 Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsab'bas, and Silas, leading men among the brethren,

Acts 15:27 (RSV)
27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth.

Not only did he simply bear the message, he commended it in powerful words, for Silvanus was also a prophet,

Acts 15:32 (RSV)
32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them.

During the first missionary journey Mark left Paul and Barnabas and returned home from Pamphylia,

Acts 13:13 (RSV)
13 Now Paul and his company set sail from Paphos, and came to Perga in Pamphyl'ia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem;

(( John Mark ))

In preparing for the second missionary journey Paul refused to have Mark with him again; the result was that Barnabas took Mark as his companion and Paul took Silvanus,

Acts 15:37-40 (RSV)
37 And Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphyl'ia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp contention, so that they separated from each other; Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,
40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of the Lord.

From that time forward Silvanus was Paul's right-hand man. He was with Paul in Philippi, where he was arrested and imprisoned with him,

Acts 16:19 (RSV)
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place before the rulers;

Acts 16:25 (RSV)
25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,

Acts 16:29 (RSV)
29 And he called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas,

He rejoined Paul in Corinth and with him preached the gospel there,

Acts 18:5 (RSV)
5 When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedo'nia, Paul was occupied with preaching, testifying to the Jews that the Christ was Jesus.

2 Corinthians 1:19 (RSV)
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we preached among you, Silva'nus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No; but in him it is always Yes.

So closely was he associated with Paul that in both the letters to the Thessalonians he is joined with Paul and Timothy as the senders of the letters,

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 1:1 (RSV)
1 Paul, Silva'nus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalo'nians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

It is clear that Silvanus was a most notable man in the early church.

It is most probable that Silvanus was far more than merely the scribe who wrote this letter for Peter and the bearer who delivered it. One of the difficulties of First Peter is the excellence of the Greek. It is Greek with such a classical tinge that it seems impossible that Peter the Galilaean fisherman should have written it for himself. Now Silvanus was not only a man of weight in the Church; he was also a Roman citizen,

Acts 16:25 (RSV)
25 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,

Acts 16:37 (RSV)
37 But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now cast us out secretly? No! let them come themselves and take us out."

In context, ‘the us’, is Paul and Silas………………..

Silas would be much better educated than Peter was. Most probably he had a large share in the composition of this letter. We are told that in China, when a missionary wished to send a message to his people, he often wrote it in the best Chinese he could achieve, and then gave it to a Christian Chinese to correct and put into proper form; or, he might even just tell the Christian Chinese what he wished to say, leaving him to put it into literary form for his approval. That is most likely what Peter did. He either gave his letter to Silvanus to polish into excellent Greek or else he told Silvanus what he wished said and left him to say it, adding the last three verses as his personal greeting.

Silvanus was one of those men the Church can never do without. He was content to take the second place and to serve almost in the background so long as God's work was done. It was enough for him that he was Paul's assistant, even if Paul forever overshadowed him. It was enough for him to be Peter's penman, even if it meant only a bare mention of his name at the end of the letter. For all that, it is no little thing to go down in history as the faithful friend and companion of both Peter and Paul of whom they so greatly depended. The Church always has need of people like Silvanus and many who cannot be Peters or Pauls can still assist the Peters and Pauls to do their work.

Although it sounds so simple, this is a troublesome verse. It presents us with certain questions difficult of solution.

(i) From whom are these greetings sent? The King James Version has "the Church that is at Babylon elected together with you, saluteth you." But "the Church that is" is in italics, which means that there is no equivalent in the Greek which simply says "the one elected together with you at Babylon" and the phrase is feminine. There are two possibilities.

(a) It is quite possible that the King James Version is correct. That is the way Moffatt takes it when he translates "your sister Church in Babylon." The phrase could well be explained as being based on the fact that the Church is the Bride of Christ and may be spoken of in this way. On the whole, the commonest view is that it is a Church which is meant.

(b) But it does have to be remembered that there is actually no word for Church in the Greek, and this feminine phrase might equally well refer to some well-known Christian lady. If it does, by far the best suggestion is that the reference is to Peter's wife. We know that she did actually accompany him on his preaching journeys,

1 Corinthians 9:5 (RSV)
5 Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a wife, as the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

***Clement of Alexandria (Stromateis 7.11.63) tells us that she died a martyr, executed in Peter's own sight, while he encouraged her by saying, "Remember the Lord." She was clearly a well-known figure in the early church.

Stromateis 7.11.63

“They say, accordingly, that the blessed Peter, on seeing his wife led to death, rejoiced on account of her call and conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, "Remember thou the Lord." Such was the marriage of the blessed and their perfect disposition towards those dearest to them.”

We would not wish to speak dogmatically on this question. It is perhaps more likely that the reference is to a Church; but it is not impossible that Peter is associating his wife and fellow-evangelist in the greetings which he sends.

(ii) From where was this letter written? The greetings are sent from Babylon. There are three possibilities.

(a) There was a Babylon in Egypt, near Cairo. It had been founded by Babylonian refugees from Assyria and was called by the name of their ancestral city. But by this time it was almost exclusively a great military camp; and in any event the name of Peter is never connected with Egypt. This Babylon may be disregarded.

(b) There was the Babylon in the east to which the Jews had been taken in captivity. Many had never come back and it was a center of Jewish scholarship. The great commentary on the Jewish Law is called the Babylonian Talmud. So important were the Jews of Babylon that Josephus had issued a special edition of his histories for them. There is no doubt that there was a large and important colony of Jews there; and it would have been quite natural for Peter, the apostle of the Jews, to preach and to work there. But we do not find the name of Peter ever connected with Babylon and there is no trace of him having ever been there. Scholars so great as Calvin and Erasmus have taken Babylon to be this great eastern city but, on the whole, I think the probabilities are against it.

(c) Regularly Rome was called Babylon, both by the Jews and by the Christians. That is undoubtedly the case in the Revelation where Babylon is the great harlot, drunk with the blood of the saints and the martyrs, (Revelation chapters 17-18). Rome being Babylon for John’s immediate readers, yet ultimately symbolic of the future Babylon of the end-time…The Godlessness, Just and luxury of ancient Babylon were, so to speak, reincarnated in Rome. Peter is definitely connected in tradition with Rome; and the likelihood is that it was from there that the letter was written.

(iii) Who is the Mark, whom Peter calls his son, and from whom he sends greetings? If we take the elect lady to be Peter's wife. Mark might quite well be literally Peter's son. But it is much more likely that he is the Mark who wrote the gospel. Tradition has always closely connected Peter with Mark, and has handed down the story that he was intimately involved with Mark's gospel. Papias, who lived towards the end of the second century and was a great collector of early traditions, describes Mark's gospel in this way:

"Mark, who was Peter's interpreter, wrote down accurately though not in order, all that he recollected of what Christ had said or done. For he was not a hearer of the Lord or a follower of his; he followed Peter, as I have said, at a later date, and Peter adapted his instructions to practical needs, without any attempt to give the Lord's words systematically. So that Mark was not wrong in writing down some things in this way from memory, for his one concern was neither to omit nor to falsify anything he had heard."

According to Papias, Mark's gospel is nothing other than the preaching material of Peter. In similar vein Irenaeus says that after the death of Peter and Paul at Rome,

"Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, also handed down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter."

It is the consistent story of tradition that Mark, the evangelist, was indeed a son to Peter, and all the likelihood is that these greetings are from him.

So, then, we may gather up the possibilities. "She who is at Babylon, and who has been chosen, as you have been chosen," may either be the Church or the wife of Peter, herself a martyr. Babylon may be the Babylon of the east but is more likely to be the great and wicked city of Rome. Mark might possibly be the actual son of Peter, about whom we know nothing else, but is more likely to be Mark, the writer of the gospel, who was to Peter as a son.

The most interesting thing here is the injunction to give each other the kiss of love. This was for centuries an integral and precious part of Christian fellowship and worship; and its history and gradual elimination, is of the greatest interest.

With the Jews it was the custom for a disciple to kiss his Rabbi on the cheek and to lay his hands upon his shoulder. That is what Judas did to Jesus,

Mark 14:44 (RSV)
44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard."

The kiss was the greeting of welcome and respect, and we can see how much Jesus valued it, for he was grieved when it was not given to him,

Luke 7:45 (RSV)
45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet.

Paul's letters frequently end with the injunction to salute each other with a holy kiss,

Romans 16:16 (RSV)
16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you.

1 Corinthians 16:20 (RSV)
20 All the brethren send greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

2 Corinthians 13:12 (RSV)
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.

1 Thessalonians 5:26 (RSV)
26 Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss.

In the early church the kiss became an essential part of Christian worship. "What prayer is complete," asks Tertullian, "from which the holy kiss is divorced? What kind of sacrifice is that from which men depart without the peace?" (Dex Oratione 18). The kiss, we see here, was called the peace. It was specially a part of the communion service. Augustine says that, when Christians were about to communicate, "they demonstrated their inward peace by the outward kiss" (De Amicitia 6). It was usually given after the catechumens ((a person under instruction in the rudiments of Christianity, as in the early church; a neophyte )) had been dismissed, when only members of the Church were present, and after the prayer before the elements were brought in. Justin Martyr says,

"When we have ceased from prayer, we salute one another with a kiss. There is then brought to the president bread and a cup of wine".

The kiss was preceded by the prayer

"for the gift of peace and of unfeigned love, undefiled by hypocrisy or deceit," and it was the sign that "our souls are mingled together, and have banished all remembrance of wrongs" (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 25.5.3).

The kiss was the sign that all injuries were forgotten, all wrongs forgiven, and that those who sat at the Lord's Table were indeed one in the Lord.

This was a lovely custom and yet it is clear that it was sadly open to abuse. It is equally clear from the warnings so often given that abuses did creep in.

**Athenagoras insists that the kiss must be given with the greatest care, for "if there be mixed with it the least defilement of thought, it excludes us from eternal life" (Legatio Christianis 32).

**Origen insists that the kiss of peace must be "holy, chaste and sincere," not like the kiss of Judas (Commentaria in Epistolam B. Pauli ad Romanos 10: 33).

**Clement of Alexandria condemns the shameless use of the kiss, which ought to be mystic, for with the kiss "certain persons make the churches resound, and thereby occasion foul suspicions and evil reports" (Paedagogus 3: 11).

**Tertullian speaks of the natural reluctance of the heathen husband to think that his wife should be so greeted in the Christian Church (Ad Uxorem 2: 4).

In the Church of the west these inevitable problems gradually brought the end of this lovely custom. By the time of the Apostolic Constitutions in the fourth century, the kiss is confined to those of the same sex—the clergy are to salute the bishop, the men the men and the women the women. In this form the kiss of peace lasted in the Church of the west until the thirteenth century. Sometimes substitutes were introduced. In some places a little wooden or metal tablet, with a picture of the crucifixion on it, was used. It was kissed first by the priest, and then passed to the congregation, who each kissed it and handed it on, each person to their neighbor, in token of their mutual LOVE for Christ and in Christ. In the oriental Churches the custom still obtains; it is not extinct in the Greek Church; the Armenian Church substituted a courteous bow.

We may note certain other uses of the kiss in the early church. At baptism the person baptized was kissed, first by the baptizer and then by the whole congregation, as a sign of his or her welcome into the household and family of Christ. A newly ordained bishop was given "the kiss in the Lord." The marriage ceremony was ratified by a kiss, a natural action taken over from paganism. Those who were dying first kissed the Cross and were then kissed by all present. The dead were kissed before burial.

To us the kiss of peace may seem very far away. It came from the day when the Church was a real family and fellowship, when Christians really did know and LOVE one another. It is a tragedy that the modern Church, often with vast congregations who do not know each other and do not even wish to know each other, could not use the kiss of peace except as a formality.

It was a lovely custom which was bound to cease when the reality of fellowship was lost within the Church.

"Peace to all of you that are in Christ," says Peter; and so he leaves his people to the peace of God which is greater than all the troubles and distresses the world can bring…….

Next week we will begin: “ The Second Epistle of Peter “……………..

Oh the day when we who belong to Jesus Christ will be freed from all our thoughts and attitudes of impurity!!!!!!!

 That will be a great Day of Rejoicing!!!!!!!

When we all get to heaven,
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus,
We’ll sing and shout the victory!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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January 12, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Fifteen”

1 Peter 5:6-11 (RSV)
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that in due time he may exalt you. 7 Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you. 8 Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking some one to devour. 9 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world. 10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, establish, and strengthen you. 11 To him be the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

THIS SCRIPTURE WILL BE OUR PRAYER FOR TODAY, AS WELL AS OUR STUDY FOR TODAY…

Now to our study:

Here Peter speaks in essentials, laying down certain laws for the Christian life.

(i) There is the law of humility before God. The Christian must humble himself under His mighty hand. The phrase the mighty hand of God is common in the Old Testament; and it is most often used in connection with the deliverance which God wrought for His people when He brought them out of Egypt. "With a strong hand," said Moses,

Exodus 13:9 (RSV)
9 And it shall be to you as a sign on your hand and as a memorial between your eyes, that the law of the LORD may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the LORD has brought you out of Egypt.

Deuteronomy 3:24 (RSV)
24 `O Lord GOD, thou hast only begun to show thy servant thy greatness and thy mighty hand; for what god is there in heaven or on earth who can do such works and mighty acts as thine?

God brought His people forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand,

Deuteronomy 9:26 (RSV)
26 And I prayed to the LORD, `O Lord GOD, destroy not thy people and thy heritage, whom thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, whom thou hast brought out of Egypt with a mighty hand.

The idea is that God's mighty hand is on the destiny of His people, if they will humbly and faithfully accept His guidance. After all the varied experiences of life, Joseph could say to the brothers who had once sought to eliminate him:

Genesis 50:20 (RSV)
20 As for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The Christian should never resent the experiences of life and never rebel against them, because we know that the mighty hand of God is on the tiller of our life and that YHWH, our Father, has a destiny for us…

(ii) There is the law of Christian serenity in God. The Christian must cast all our anxiety upon God.

Psalm 55:22 (RSV)
22 Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.

Matthew 6:25-34 (RSV)
25 "Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you shall eat or what you shall drink, nor about your body, what you shall put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And which of you by being anxious can add one cubit to his span of life? 28 And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin; 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O men of little faith? 31 Therefore do not be anxious, saying, `What shall we eat?' or `What shall we drink?' or `What shall we wear?' 32 For the Gentiles seek all these things; and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things shall be yours as well. 34 "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Let the day's own trouble be sufficient for the day.

The reason we can do this with confidence is that we can be certain that God cares for us. As Paul had it, we can be certain that He who gave us His only Son will with Him give us all things,

Romans 8:32 (RSV)
32 He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?

We can be certain that, since God LOVES and cares for us, life is not out to break us but to make us; and, with that assurance, we should accept any experience which comes to us, knowing that in everything God works for good with those who LOVE Him,

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.

(iii) There is the law of Christian effort and of Christian vigilance. We must be sober and watchful. The fact that we cast everything upon God does not give us the right to sit back and to do nothing. Cromwell's advice to his troops was:

"Trust in God, and keep your powder dry."

Peter knew how hard this vigilance was, for he remembered how in Gethsemane he and his fellow-disciples slept when they should have been watching with Jesus,

Matthew 26:38-46 (RSV)
38 Then he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me." 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, "My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt." 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, "So, could you not watch with me one hour? 41 Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." 42 Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, "My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, thy will be done." 43 And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44 So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words. 45 Then he came to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand."

The Christian is the person who trusts but at the same time puts all their, our effort and all our vigilance into the business of living for Christ, DOING FOR CHRIST!!!

James 1:22 (RSV)
22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.

(iv) There is the law of Christian resistance. The devil is ever out to see whom he can ruin. Again Peter must have been remembering how the devil had overcome him and he had denied his Lord. A person's faith must be like a solid wall against which the attacks of the devil exhaust themselves in vain. The devil is like any bully and retreats when he is bravely resisted in the strength of Jesus Christ. And ONLY IN THE STRENGTH OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!

James 4:7 (RSV)
7 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

(v) Finally, Peter speaks of the law of Christian suffering. He says that, after the Christian has gone through suffering, God will restore, establish, strengthen and settle us. Every one of the words which Peter uses has behind it a vivid picture. Each tells us something about what suffering is designed by God to do for a us.

(a) Through suffering God will restore a person. The word for restore is difficult in this case to translate. It is (kartarizein), the word commonly used for setting a fracture, the word used in,

Mark 1:19 (RSV)
19 And going on a little farther, he saw James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, who were in their boat mending the nets.

( Mending the nets )

 It means to supply that which is missing, to mend that which is broken. So suffering, if accepted in humility and trust and LOVE, can repair the weaknesses of a person's character and add the greatness which so far is not there. It is said that Sir Edward Elgar once listened to a young girl singing a solo from one of his own works. She had a voice of exceptional purity and clarity and range, and an almost perfect technique. When she had finished, Sir Edward said softly,

"She will be really great when something happens to break her heart."

Barrie tells how his mother lost her favorite son, and then says,

"That is where my mother got her soft eyes, and that is why other mothers ran to her when they had lost a child."

***Suffering had done something for her that an easy way could never have done. Suffering is meant by God to add the grace notes to life.

(b) Through suffering God will establish a person. The word is (sterixein), which means to make as solid as granite. Suffering of body and sorrow of heart do one of two things to a person. They either make them collapse or they leave us with a solidity of character which we could never have gained anywhere else. If we meet suffering, trials, problems with continuing faith and trust in Christ, we emerge like toughened steel that has been tempered in the fire.

(c) Through suffering God will strengthen a person. The Greek is (sthenoun), which means to fill with strength. Here is the same sense again. A life with no effort and no discipline almost inevitably becomes a flabby life. No one really knows what their faith means to them until it has been tried in the furnace of affliction. There is something doubly precious about a faith which has come victoriously through pain and sorrow and disappointment. The wind will extinguish a weak flame; but it will fan a strong flame into a still greater blaze. So it is with faith.

(d) Through suffering God will settle a person. The Greek is (themelioun), which means to lay the foundations. When we have to meet sorrow and suffering we are driven down to the very bedrock of faith. It is then that we discover what are the things which cannot be shaken. It is in time of trials that we discover the great truths on which real life is founded.

Suffering is very far from doing these precious things for every person. It may well drive a person to bitterness and despair; and may well take away such faith as they have or thought they had. ***But if it is accepted in faith of a LOVING, CARING, ALL POWERFUL FATHER ( YHWH ), WHO HOLDS US IN HIS SWEET, SWEET, GLORIOUSLY AWESOME HANDS, then certainty we can know, our Heavenly Father will never cause His children, us, who are truly “born again”, a needless tear, a fearful fright, then out of suffering come things which the easy way may never bring…….And things only God is now aware!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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January 5, 2020


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Fourteen”

1 Peter 5:1-5 (RSV)
1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed. 2 Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly, 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."

O Lamb of God, who, both by Your example and precept, instructed us to be meek and humble, give us grace throughout our whole lives, in every thought, and word, and work, to imitate Your meekness and humility. Mortify in us the whole body of pride; grant us to feel that we are nothing and have nothing, and that we deserve nothing but shame and contempt, but misery and punishment. Grant, O Lord, that we may look for nothing, claim nothing; and that we may go through all the scenes of life, not seeking our own glory, but looking wholly unto You, and acting wholly for You.

Let us never speak any word that may tend to our own praise, unless the good of our neighbor requires it; and even then let us beware, lest, to heal another, we wound our own souls. Let our ears and our hearts be ever shut to the praise that comes from men.

Give us a dread of applause, in whatsoever form, and from whatsoever tongue, it comes. Deliver our souls from this snare of hell; neither let us spread it for the feet of others. Whosoever perishes thereby, let their blood be upon their own head, and let not our hands be upon them.

O giver of every good and perfect gift, if at any time You please to work by our hands, teach us to discern what is our own from what is another’s, and to render unto You the things that are yours. As all the good that is done on earth You do it Yourself, let us ever return to You all the glory. Let us, as a pure crystal, transmit all the light You pour upon us; but never claim as our own what is Your sole property.

Make us that sensitive to Your holiness, O God, that we might indeed be aware of our own vileness and fall before You in humility and confession.

Have Thine own way Lord. Have Thine own way, Thou art the potter we are the clay. Mold us and make us after Thy will, While we are waiting yielded and still. Have Thine own way Lord, Have Thine own way. Search us and try us Master today. Whiter than snow Lord wash us just now, As in Thy presence humbly we bow. Have Thine own way Lord, Have Thine own way. Hold over our life absolute sway !!! Filled with Thy spirit till all can see Christ only always living in us.

In Jesus beautiful name we pray all these things, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen…….

As we draw to a close another Christmas Season and have celebrated the beginning of 2020, our studies turn back to the epistles of Peter.

Let us continue in First Peter…………………………………

Few passages show more clearly the importance of the eldership in the early church. It is to the elders that Peter specially writes and he, who was the chief of the apostles, does not hesitate to call himself a fellow-elder. It will be worth our while to look at something of the background and history of the eldership, the most ancient and the most important office in the Church.

(i) It has a Jewish background. The Jews traced the beginning of the eldership to the days when the children of Israel were journeying through the wilderness to the Promised Land. There came a time when Moses felt the burdens of leadership too heavy for him to bear alone, and to help him seventy elders were set apart and granted a share of the spirit of God,

Numbers 11:16-30 (RSV)
16 And the LORD said to Moses, "Gather for me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them; and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there; and I will take some of the spirit which is upon you and put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, that you may not bear it yourself alone. 18 And say to the people, `Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. 19 You shall not eat one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but a whole month, until it comes out at your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have rejected the LORD who is among you, and have wept before him, saying, "Why did we come forth out of Egypt?"'" 21 But Moses said, "The people among whom I am number six hundred thousand on foot; and thou hast said, `I will give them meat, that they may eat a whole month!' 22 Shall flocks and herds be slaughtered for them, to suffice them? Or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?" 23 And the LORD said to Moses, "Is the LORD's hand shortened? Now you shall see whether my word will come true for you or not." 24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the LORD; and he gathered seventy men of the elders of the people, and placed them round about the tent. 25 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was upon him and put it upon the seventy elders; and when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did so no more. 26 Now two men remained in the camp, one named Eldad, and the other named Medad, and the spirit rested upon them; they were among those registered, but they had not gone out to the tent, and so they prophesied in the camp. 27 And a young man ran and told Moses, "Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp." 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the minister of Moses, one of his chosen men, said, "My lord Moses, forbid them." 29 But Moses said to him, "Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD's people were prophets, that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!"
30 And Moses and the elders of Israel returned to the camp.

Thereafter elders became a permanent feature of Jewish life. We find them as the friends of the prophets,

2 Kings 6:32A (RSV)
32A Eli'sha was sitting in his house, and the elders were sitting with him…”

As the advisers of kings,

1 Kings 20:7-8 (RSV)
7 Then the king of Israel called all the elders of the land, and said, "Mark, now, and see how this man is seeking trouble; for he sent to me for my wives and my children, and for my silver and my gold, and I did not refuse him." 8 And all the elders and all the people said to him, "Do not heed or consent."

1 Kings 21:11 (RSV)
11 And the men of his city, the elders and the nobles who dwelt in his city, did as Jez'ebel had sent word to them. As it was written in the letters which she had sent to them,

As the colleagues of the princes in the administration of the affairs of the nation,

Ezra 10:8 (RSV)
8 and that if any one did not come within three days, by order of the officials and the elders all his property should be forfeited, and he himself banned from the congregation of the exiles.

Every village and city had its elders; they met at the gate and dispensed justice to the people,

Deuteronomy 25:7 (RSV)
7 And if the man does not wish to take his brother's wife, then his brother's wife shall go up to the gate to the elders, and say, `My husband's brother refuses to perpetuate his brother's name in Israel; he will not perform the duty of a husband's brother to me.'

The elders were the administrators of the synagogue; they did not preach, but they saw to the good government and order of the synagogue, and they exercised discipline over its members. The elders formed a large section of the Sanhedrin, the supreme court of the Jews, and they are regularly mentioned along with the Chief Priests and the rulers and the Scribes and the Pharisees,

Matthew 16:21 (RSV)
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.

Matthew 21:23 (RSV)
23 And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

Matthew 26:3 (RSV)
3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, who was called Ca'iaphas,

Matthew 26:57 (RSV)
57 Then those who had seized Jesus led him to Ca'iaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders had gathered.

Matthew 27:1 (RSV)
1 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death;

Matthew 27:3 (RSV)
3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that he was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders,

Luke 7:3 (RSV)
3 When he heard of Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his slave.

Acts 4:5 (RSV)
5 On the morrow their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem,

Acts 6:12 (RSV)
12 And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council,

And:

Acts 24:1 (RSV)
1 And after five days the high priest Anani'as came down with some elders and a spokesman, one Tertul'lus. They laid before the governor their case against Paul;

In the vision of the Revelation in the heavenly places there are twenty-four elders around the throne. The elders were woven into the very structure of Judaism, both in its civil and its religious affairs.

(ii) The eldership has a Greek background. Especially in Egyptian communities we find that elders are the leaders of the community and responsible for the conduct of public affairs, much as town councilors are today. We find a woman who had suffered an assault appealing to the elders for justice. When corn is being collected as tribute on the visit of a governor, we find that "the elders of the cultivators" are the officials concerned. We find them connected with the issuing of public edicts, the leasing of land for pasture, the ingathering of taxation. In Asia Minor, also, the members of councils were called elders. Even in the religious communities of the pagan world we find "elder priests" who were responsible for discipline. In the Socnopaeus temple we find the elder priests dealing with the case of a priest who is charged with allowing his hair to grow too long and with wearing woollen garments—an effeminacy and a luxury of which no priest should have been guilty.

We can see that long before Christianity took it over "elder" was a title of honor both in the Jewish and in the Greco-Roman world.


When we turn to the Christian Church we find that the eldership is its basic office.

It was Paul's custom to ordain elders in every community to which he preached and in every church which he founded. On the first missionary journey elders were ordained in every church,

Acts 14:21 (RSV)
21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Ico'nium and to Antioch,

Titus is left in Crete to ordain elders in every city,

Titus 1:5 (RSV)
5 This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you,

The elders had charge of the financial administration of the Church; it is to them that Paul and Barnabas delivered the money sent to relieve the poor of Jerusalem in the time of the famine,

Acts 11:30 (RSV)
30 and they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.

The elders were the counselors and the administrators of the Church. We find them taking a leading part in the Council of Jerusalem at which it was decided to fling open the doors of the Church to the Gentiles. At that Council the elders and the apostles are spoken of together as the chief authorities of the Church,

Acts 15:2 (RSV)
2 And when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question.

Acts 16:4 (RSV)
4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions which had been reached by the apostles and elders who were at Jerusalem.

When Paul came on his last visit to Jerusalem, it was to the elders that he reported and they suggested the course of action he should follow:

Acts 21:18-25 (RSV)
18 On the following day Paul went in with us to James; and all the elders were present. 19 After greeting them, he related one by one the things that God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. 20 And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, "You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed; they are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or observe the customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you but that you yourself live in observance of the law. 25 But as for the Gentiles who have believed, we have sent a letter with our judgment that they should abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from unchastity."

One of the most moving passages in the New Testament is Paul's farewell to the elders of Ephesus. We find there that the elders, as he sees them, are the overseers of the flock of God and the defenders of the faith:

Acts 20:28-29 (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. 29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock;

We learn from James that the elders had a healing function in the Church through prayers and anointing with oil:

James 5:14 (RSV)
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;

From the Pastoral Epistles we learn that they were rulers and teachers, and by that time paid officials.

1 Timothy 5:17 (RSV)
17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching;

The phrase double honor is better translated double pay).

When a man enters the eldership, no small honor is conferred upon him, for he is entering on the oldest religious office in the world, whose history can be traced through Christianity and Judaism for four thousand years; and no small responsibility falls upon him, for he has been ordained a shepherd of the flock of God and a defender of the faith.

Peter sets down in a series of contrasts the perils and the privileges of the eldership; and everything he says is applicable, not only to the eldership, but also to all Christian service inside and outside the Church.

The elder is to accept office, not under coercion, but willingly. This does not mean that a man is to grasp at office or to enter upon it without self-examining thought. Any Christian will have a certain reluctance to accept high office, because he knows only too well his unworthiness and inadequacy. There is a sense in which it is by compulsion that a man accepts office and enters upon Christian service. "Necessity," said Paul,

1 Corinthians 9:16 (RSV)
16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

"The love of Christ controls us," Paul said,

2 Corinthians 5:14 (RSV)
14 For the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.

But, on the other hand, there is a way of accepting office and of rendering service as if it was a grim and unpleasant duty. It is quite possible for a man to agree to a request in such an ungracious way that his whole action is spoiled. Peter does not say that a man should be conceitedly or irresponsibly eager for office; but that every Christian should be anxious to render such service as he can, although fully aware how unworthy he is to render it.

The elder is to accept office, not to make a shameful profit out of it, but eagerly. The word for making a shameful profit is (aischrokerdes). The noun from this is (aischrokerdeia), and it was a characteristic which the Greek loathed. Theophrastus, the great Greek delineator of character, has a character sketch of this (aischrokerdeia). Meanness—as it might be translated—is the desire for improper gain. The mean man is he who never sets enough food before his guests and who gives himself a double portion when he is carving the meat. He waters the wine; he goes to the theatre only when he can get a free ticket. He never has enough money to pay the fare and always borrows from his fellow-passengers. When he is selling corn, he uses a measure in which the bottom is pushed up, and even then he carefully levels the top. He counts the half radishes left over from dinner in case the servants eat any. Rather than give a wedding present, he will go away from home when a wedding is in the offing.

Meanness is an ugly fault. It is quite clear that there were people in the early church who accused the preachers and missionaries of being in the job for what they could get out of it as we do TO THIS VERY DAY. Paul repeatedly declares that he coveted no man's goods and worked with his hands to meet his own needs so that he was burdensome to no man,

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

1 Thessalonians 2:9 (RSV)
9 For you remember our labor and toil, brethren; we worked night and day, that we might not burden any of you, while we preached to you the gospel of God.

1 Corinthians 9:12 (RSV)
12 If others share this rightful claim upon you, do not we still more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

2 Corinthians 2:14 (RSV)
14 But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere.

It is certain that the payment any early office-bearer received was pitifully small and the repeated warnings that the office-bearers must not be greedy for gain shows that there were those who coveted more, as is STILL TRUE TODAY,

1 Timothy 3:3 (RSV)
3 no drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, and no lover of money.

Titus 1:7 (RSV)
7 For a bishop, as God's steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain,

One of my sins was and unfortunately still can be at times, a bad temper…………………..

Titus 1:11 (RSV)
11 they must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for base gain what they have no right to teach.

The point that Peter is making—and it is ever valid—is that no man or woman  dare accept office or render service for what they can get out of it. ((( That includes myself, or any of us!!! ))) Our desire must ever be to give and not to get.

The elder is to accept office, not to be a petty tyrant, but to be the shepherd and the example of the flock. Human nature is such that for many people prestige and power are even more attractive than money. There are those who love authority, even if it be exercised in a narrow sphere. Milton's Satan thought it better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven. Shakespeare spoke about a proud man, dressed in a little brief authority, playing such fantastic tricks before high heaven as would make the angels weep. The great characteristic of the shepherd is his selfless care and his sacrificial LOVE for the sheep. Any man who enters an office with the desire for preeminence, has got his whole point of view upside down. Jesus said to his ambitious disciples,

Mark 10:42-45 (RSV)
42 And Jesus called them to him and said to them, "You know that those who are supposed to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. 43 But it shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all.
45 For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

One thing in this passage which defies translation and is yet one of the most precious and significant things in it is what we have translated "petty tyrants over those allotted to your care." The phrase which we have translated those allotted is curious in Greek; it is (ton), (kleron), the genitive plural of (kleros) which is a word of extraordinary interest.

(i) It begins by meaning a dice or a lot. It is so used in:

Matthew 27:35 (RSV)
35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots;

Which tells how the soldiers beneath the Cross were throwing dice (kleroi),) to see who should possess the seamless robe of Jesus.

(ii) Second, it means an office gained or assigned by lot. It is the word used in:

Acts 1:26 (RSV)
26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi'as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.

Which tells how the disciples cast lots to see who should inherit the office of Judas the traitor.

(iii) It then comes to mean an inheritance allotted to someone, as used in,

Colossians 1:12 (RSV)
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

(iv) In classical Greek it very often means a public allotment or estate of land. These allotments were distributed by the civic authorities to the citizens; and very often the distribution was made by drawing lots for the various pieces of land available for distribution. Even if we were to go no further than this, it would mean that the office of the eldership and, indeed, any piece of service offered to us is never earned by any merit of our own but always allotted to us by God. It is never something that we have deserved but always something given to us by the grace of God.  ((((((( Something which our present Church era SEEMS TO HAVE FORGOTTEN!!!!!!! )))))))

But we can go further than this. (Kleros) means something which is allotted to a man.

Deuteronomy 9:29 (RSV)
29 For they are thy people and thy heritage, whom thou didst bring out by thy great power and by thy outstretched arm.'

We read that Israel is the heritage (kleros) of God. That is to say, Israel is the people specially assigned to God by His own choice. Israel is the (kleros) of God; the congregation is the (kleros) of the elder. Just as Israel is allotted to God, an elder's duties in the congregation are allotted to him. This must mean that the whole attitude of the elder to his people must be the same as the attitude of God to His people.

Here we have another great thought.

In 1 Peter 5:2 there is a phrase in the best Greek manuscripts which is not in the King James or the Revised Standard Versions.

1 Peter 5:2 (NIV2011)
2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve;

I have translated it: "Shepherd the flock of God, which is in your charge, not because you are coerced into doing so, but of your own free-will as God would have you to do." As God would have you to do is in Greek (kata0 (theon), and that could well mean quite simply like God. Peter says to the elders, "Shepherd your people like God." Just as Israel is God's special allotment, the people we have to serve in the Church or anywhere else are our special allotment; and our attitude to them must be the attitude of God. That includes ALL OF US WHO SERVE GOD, NOT JUST THOSE WHO ARE PAID!!! ***This Christ-like attitude SHOULD BE IN ALL GOD’s PEOPLE, but especially the elders……………………………….

What an ideal! And what a condemnation! It is our task to show to people God's forbearance,

*His forgiveness,

*His seeking LOVE,

*His illimitable service.

God has allotted to us a task and we must do it as He Himself would do it. That is the supreme ideal of service in the Christian Church.

One of the LOVELY things about this passage is Peter's attitude throughout it. He begins by, as it were, taking his place beside those to whom he speaks. "Your fellow-elder" he calls himself. He does not separate himself from them but comes to share the Christian problems and the Christian experience with them. But in one thing he is different; he has memories of Jesus and these memories color this whole passage. Even as he speaks, they are crowding into his mind.

(i) He describes himself as a witness of the sufferings of Christ. At first sight we might be inclined to question that statement, for we are told that, after the arrest in the garden,

Matthew 26:56 (RSV)
56 But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples forsook him and fled.

But, when we think a little further, we realize that it was given to Peter to see the suffering of Jesus in a more poignant way than was given to any other human being. He followed Jesus into the courtyard of the High Priest's house and there in a time of weakness he three times denied his Master. The trial came to an end and Jesus was taken away; and there comes what may well be the most tragic sentence in the New Testament:

Luke 22:61-62 (RSV)
61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times." 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

 In that look Peter saw the suffering of the heart of a leader whose follower had failed Him in the hour of His bitterest need. Of a truth Peter was a witness of the suffering that comes to Christ when men, women and even children and babes deny Him; and that is why Peter was so eager that his people might be staunch in loyalty and faithful in service.

(ii) Peter describes himself as a sharer in the glory which is going to be revealed. That statement has a backward and a forward look. Peter had already had a glimpse of that glory on the Mount of Transfiguration. There the sleeping three had been awakened, and, as Luke puts it,

Luke 9:32 (RSV)
32 Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, and when they wakened they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him.

Peter had seen the glory. But he also knew that there was glory to come, for Jesus had promised to His disciples a share in the glory when the Son of Man should come to sit on His glorious and eternal throne,

Matthew 19:28 (RSV)
28 Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of man shall sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Peter remembered both the experience and the promise of glory.

(iii) There can surely be no doubt that, when Peter speaks of shepherding the flock of God, he is remembering the task that Jesus had given to him when He had bidden him feed His sheep,

John 21:15-17 (RSV)
15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs." 16 A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep." 17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" And he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.

The reward of LOVE was the appointment as a shepherd; and Peter is remembering it.

(iv) When Peter speaks of Jesus as the Chief Shepherd, many a memory must be in his mind. Jesus had likened Himself to the shepherd who sought at the peril of His life for the sheep which was lost,

Matthew 18:12-14 (RSV)
12 What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

Luke 15:4-7 (RSV)
4 "What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? 5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, `Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost.' 7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Jesus had sent out His disciples to gather in the lost sheep of the house of Israel:

Matthew 10:5-6 (RSV)
5 These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, "Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

Jesus was moved with pity for the crowds, for they were as sheep without a shepherd:

Matthew 9:36 (RSV)
36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.

Mark 6:34 (RSV)
34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

***Above all, Jesus had likened Himself to the Good Shepherd who was ready to lay down His life for the sheep,

John 10:1-18 (RSV)
1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;
2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. 9 I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father."

The picture of Jesus as the Shepherd was a precious one, and the privilege of being a shepherd of the flock of Christ was for Peter the greatest privilege that a servant of Christ could enjoy. Which I agree whole heartedly with Peter…………………………………………………………..

Peter returns to the thought that the denial of self must be the mark of the Christian. He clinches his argument with a quotation from the Old Testament:

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

Here again it may well be that the memories of Jesus are in Peter's heart and are coloring all his thought and language. He tells his people that they must clothe themselves with the garment of humility. The word he uses for to clothe oneself is very unusual; it is (egkombousthai) which is derived from (kombos) which describes anything tied on with a knot. Connected with it is (egkomboma), a garment tied on with a knot. It was commonly used for protective clothing; it was used for a pair of sleeves drawn over the sleeves of a robe and tied behind the neck. And it was used for a slave's apron. There was a time when Jesus had put upon Himself just such an apron. At the Last Supper John says of Him that He took a towel and girded Himself, and took water and began to wash His disciples' feet:

John 13:4-5 (RSV)
4 rose from supper, laid aside his garments, and girded himself with a towel. 5 Then he poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which he was girded.

***Jesus girded Himself with the apron of humility; and so must his followers.***

It so happens that (egkombousthai) is used of another kind of garment. It is also used of putting on a long, stole-like garment which was the sign of honor and preeminence.

To complete the picture we must put both images together. Jesus once put on the slave's apron and undertook the humblest of all duties, washing His disciples' feet; so we must in all things put on the apron of humility in the service of Christ and of our fellow-men and women; but that very apron of humility will become the garment of honor for us, for it is he who is the servant of all who is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.

Amen and Amen……………………………Let us in LOVE, humbly serve one another, and seek to restore our lost brothers and sisters to Jesus Christ!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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December 29, 2019


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

New Year's 2020

"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 2019, 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, The One True 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 2019.

We thank you and eternally glorify Your name for Your LOVE, Your most beLOVED Son and our only 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 2020, 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 comes 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. Perhaps, I will not be here on this side of ETERNITY???

In 2020 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 2020 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 2020 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 2020, 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.

"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 2020 one and all !!!!!!!

Moadaron.com//aChurch.us

Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc..........................................


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December 22, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

[[[ I’M BACK FOR NOW ]]]

"Good Tidings of Great Joy!!!"

Luke 2 v 1-15

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us."

Lord, bless those who are in need, save, guide, direct, and provide for them, Spiritually, Physically, Emotionally, and Economically, in EVERY WAY, and help all Your children to do what we can to assist those who are in need in anyway…Thank You for Your Son Jesus Christ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In Jesus name, Amen and Eternally Amen and Amen…….

Merry Christmas 2019

Christmas by the decree of God's holy angels, is not just for the Saint, the believer; but the joy, beauty, and the wonder of Christmas is FOR EVERYONE!!!!!!!

"Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."

Christmas, the birth of Jesus Christ, is not a Christian holiday alone; it is a universal day of ABSOLUTE GREAT TIDINGS OF JOY!!!!!!!

***FOR ALL PEOPLE!!!***

As much as the self proclaimed Atheists or the ACLU may absolutely deny it, Christmas, is even for them!!!

It is the only day of the year that God reaches down to mankind, not as our judge, not as a holy light exposing sin; but rather God is meant to be seen exclusively as He really is, the very real and potentially, the Savior of the entire creation...

Christmas is not a day of fear, not a day meant to ponder guilt or depravity of oneself or others; It is a day to explore the joyous possibilities of Life Eternal, and the potential that God wants for all mankind.

Christmas is not even a day that one must make a choice, a choice for God, or a choice for something else. Christmas is the day for marvelous possibilities…….

In the Roman Empire periodical censuses were taken with the double object of assessing taxation and of discovering those who were liable for compulsory military service. The Jews were exempt from military service, and, therefore, in Palestine a census would be predominantly for taxation purposes. Regarding these censuses, we have definite information as to what happened in Egypt; and almost certainly what happened in Egypt happened in Syria, too, and Judaea was part of the province of Syria. The information we have comes from actual census documents written on papyrus and then discovered in the dust-heaps of Egyptian towns and villages and in the sands of the desert.

Such censuses were taken every fourteen years. And from A.D. 20 until about A.D. 270 we possess actual documents from every census taken. If the fourteen-year cycle held good in Syria this census must have been in 8 B.C. or perhaps 6 A.D. and either of those years may have been the actual year in which Jesus was born.

Those who would be Critics of the Bible used to question the historicity that every man had to go to his own city to be enrolled; but here is an actual government edict from Egypt:

"Gaius Vibius Maximus, Prefect of Egypt orders: `Seeing that the time has come for the house-to-house census, it is necessary to compel all those who for any cause whatsoever are residing outside their districts to return to their own homes, that they may both carry out the regular order of the census, and may also diligently attend to the cultivation of their allotments.”

If that was the case in Egypt, it may well be that in Judea, where the old tribal ancestries still held good, men had to go to the headquarters of their tribe. Here is an instance where further historical evidence has shown the accuracy of the Bible…

The trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem was 80 miles. The accommodation for travelers was most archaic. The eastern khan was like a series of stalls opening off a common courtyard. Travelers brought their own food; all that the innkeeper provided was fodder for the animals and a fire to cook.

The town was crowded and there was no room for Joseph and Mary. But in truth often a stable would be cleaner than the ancient roadhouse inn.

So it was in the common courtyard that Mary's child was born. Swaddling clothes consisted of a square of cloth with a long bandage-like strip coming diagonally off from one corner. The child was first wrapped in the square of cloth and then the long strip was wound round and round about him. Our word "manger" means a place where animals feed; and therefore it can be either the stable or even simply an animal troth with no covering at all.

That there was no room in the inn was representational of what was to happen to Jesus. The only place where there was room for Him was on an old rugged, splinter filled cross. He sought to find residence in the over-crowded hearts of men; He could not find it; and still His search for willing hearts and His ultimate rejection go on even to this very day.

It is a wonderful thing that the story should tell that the first announcement of God came to some shepherds. Shepherds were despised by the conventional good people of the day. They were quite unable to keep the details of the ceremonial law; they could not observe all the meticulous hand-washings and rules and regulations. Their flocks made far too constant demands on them; and so the orthodox looked down on them. It was to simple men of the fields that God's message first came. God’s message came first to those that the typical religious person would look down upon…

But these shepherds were in all likelihood very special shepherds. Since the animal offerings had to be animals without the slightest blemish; the priests had a special supply of perfect offerings that were always available for the Temple authorities. We know that these flocks were pastured near Bethlehem. It is most likely that these shepherds were in charge of the flocks from which the Temple offerings were chosen. It is a LOVELY thought that the shepherds who looked after the Temple lambs were the first to see the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

It was a Jewish custom when a boy was born, that the local musicians congregated at the house to greet the boy babe with simple music. Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem and therefore that ceremony could not be carried out.

It is a LOVELY thought that the minstrels of heaven took the place of the minstrels of earth, and God’s holy angels sang the songs for Jesus that the earthly singers could not and would not sing.

Though these scriptures may bring thoughts of the rough simplicity of the birth of the Son of God, contrasting with what we would expect for the only begotten Son of God, if he had to be born into this world at all, it should have been, would have been in a palace or a mansion.

There was a European monarch who worried his court by often disappearing and walking incognito amongst his people. When he was asked not to do so for security's sake, he answered,

"I cannot rule my people unless I know how they live."

It is the great thought of the Christian faith that we have a God who knows the life we live because He too lived it and claimed no special advantage over common men.

God indeed understands our human condition, for He too lived through it…

As pastors, as preachers, as watchmen, as Christians, every day of our lives when the occasion is needful we must “warn” people of the consequences of sin. ***It is our duty, our responsibility, our calling as Children of God, IT IS OUR OBLIGATION OF LOVE through our new nature in Jesus Christ…

My sister Shirley once told me how a sermon really scared her daughter Lisa. My sister was furious about it, and so angry she was not sure she would continue to attend church. ***But sermons when they deal with the reality of sin, the consequences of sin and the very grave but just punishment that will “absolutely” one day come to the unrepentant sinner, IT IS TERRIFYING AT BEST, and truly unimaginable at worse…

No LOVING pastor or preacher enjoys preaching that kind of message, but we have NO APOLOGY FOR THEM EITHER! We do it because we must!!!

Ezekiel 3 v 17-18

"Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. 18 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."

***God though He LOVES each and every one of His creation so very, very much, and wants our eternal salvation, still must judge the unrepentant sinner. God is still ALL LOVING, but He is a “JUST” God as well. ***We cannot separate His LOVE from His “justice”, nor can He!!!

There is one “day” a year however, that pain and suffering, guilt and punishment for sin and God’s righteous and just wrath SHOULD BE SILENT from our pulpits, at least in my opinion. Why, because on that one “Day” IT IS SILENT FROM GOD’S OWN MESSAGE.

That one day is: “Christmas Day”!!!

Christmas is indeed a day of not just good tidings, but of GOOD TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY, that is for ALL THE PEOPLE!!!!!!!

And though this day of glorious miracles is meant simply for us to see the Eternal Blessed Potentials of ALL OUR LIVES; still, by it’s very existence; DO NOT OUR HEARTS CRYOUT, THAT A DECISION MUST BE MADE???

A decision for the babe, for the ONLY BEGOTTEN SON of GOD, for the ONLY HOPE OF THE WORLD, for the ONLY SAVIOR OF THE WORLD???

For: Jesus Christ???

Oh, that the world might be saved!!!

And that very potential is because of Christmas Day…….

Yes Christmas Day is the beginning of Jesus' earthly human life and coldly and soberly leads to His DEATH and blood sacrifice upon the cross for all the world's sins. Finalizing on Easter Sunday, when Jesus resurrects Himself from the dead, giving all an opportunity to accept Him as LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR......

But Christmas Day is set aside from all the other days of the year; it is not about fear, it is not about death, it is not about judgment ...It is about LOVE, and HOPE, and GREAT JOY for all the world...

This is the theme, the goal, of Christmas Day:

Luke 2 v 10-11

"And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord."

Blessed Christmas to all, In Jesus precious name, from all of us to all the world.......

Merry Christmas to ALL, and to ALL A BLESSED LIFE.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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December 15, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

"A Christmas Story"

Luke 14 v 13

"But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:"

Lord, Deliver us from this World of sin, this World of delusion, fear, hate, sorrow, death and despair. Deliver us from our own sins, weaknesses, and foolish behaviors. Oh most gracious Heavenly Father, Deliver us from our own doubts and lack of faith, kindly and most tenderly guide us on a path of true grace and genuine wisdom. Oh Lord, help us be the PEOPLE YOU WANT US TO BE!!! Strip us of all our fake self-righteousness, and help us to be truly humble, LOVING, and ever desiring to honor You, in everything we say and do. Help us to reach out to the Lost and hurting souls of this evil age, and in unpretentious LOVE and gentleness share the Gospel, the only Gospel, with those in need, and not just by word, but in actual deeds of action!!! Bless us as we study your Word, and assist us to live our moment by moment lives for You, in Jesus sweet, sweet name, Amen and eternally Amen…………….

The snow was falling, the air was chilled, the night was upon us. I was sitting in my warm cozy home in Evanston, Wyoming in front of the sparkling fire. The only noise to be heard was the crackling pops from the fiery ambers before me. The room was filled with the subtle fragrance of burning wood, a light smoke gave a slight mist in the air. My wife Maureen was working late that night at the Wyoming State Hospital. Aaron our youngest had long since moved to Los Angeles, California. Adam our oldest was in his room preparing to leave for work, working with the developmentally disabled in and around Evanston. Our dogs had taken refuge upon the couch, lying as if it were their home and not my own. I was sitting in my Lazy-boy chair, my feet raised, and reading God’s holy word the Bible.

When I turned to Luke chapter fourteen and verse thirteen and read: “But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:"

It was if I had read this passage of scripture for the very first time. I felt flushed, and a very somber feeling fell upon me. I read the text over and over again. What was God trying to tell me, what was He wanting me to see, what was He wanting me to do? “Oh God”, I prayed, “Help me see, help me have the faith, the love, the mercy, and the grace to do whatever You call me to do?” As I prayed, as I read, as I pondered my thoughts, I began to sense a presence in the room. A presence that seemed kind and tender hearted, a spirit that seemed like the spirit of the very Son of God…

Jesus Christ…

As the night turned to late evening, my eyes began to feel very heavy, and the sand-man had made me very drowsy. As I sat, my eyes opened and closed as a fluttering of a feather, but I refused to succumb to sleep until my pondering was solved. At the very last, I knew what God would have me do. As my eyes closed for the night of blessed sleep, I could feel a smile coming upon my face. And, I heard a voice ever so tranquil, say: ‘Good night’. And, I fell asleep……………………….

The next morning I arose bursting with energy and with great anticipation upon my spirit. I dressed, and took no time for breakfast; I was off… First stop, the printers on main street. I opened the door, and as if lighter than air, I galloped to the counter, and asked: “Do you do formal invitations?” The clerk very friendly, said: “Of course we do”, and I handed her the engraving I wanted. It read: “By invitation of Jesus, you are cordially invited to my home this Saturday night, for dinner and other holiday wonders. Be ready to be picked up where we spoke, at 5:30 PM on Saturday. I am most honored to have you…” The clerk looked at me, and I could see she wanted to say something, but instead, she simply told me the cost and said they could be picked up the Tuesday morning before the date of the invitation. I leaped with excitement as I left the store. With a gleam on my face, I thought to myself; ‘so much to do, with so little time to do it.’

Boy was I psyched!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I felt so alive, so full of joy, a truck could hit me, and I WOULD NOT FEEL A THING… I spent the day in preparation for Saturday. Later that evening I came home and explained all that God wanted me to do, to my wife and son. They looked at each other, over and over again; then asked the question the clerk had thought of asking, but never did. “Are you ok, do you know what you are doing? Do you understand what you are saying? Have you considered the cost, the time, the commitment, the dedication you will need?” I simply smiled and said: ‘the Lord’s will be done.’ Though they were a bit apprehensive, they did all they could to help me…

Tuesday came, and with it a bounce in my step, and a physical vigor I had not felt in years, I picked up the invitations, and immediately began passing them out.

To the family that lived in Meadow Vista in a trailer half demolished by a summer fire. A loving mother, a Father devoted to his children, yet struck with multiple sclerosis an unable to work. Four beautiful children, yet with clothes stained from smoke from the fire, with faith only children can have…

To the young man who walks up and down front street, always stopping to say ‘hi’ to people he meets. Then discussing the most intimate of details of his mental health issues with those strangers, because our social service systems are over worked and often not truly caring. Nor even the people who really know him are willing to take the time to listen…

To the young couple that live in subsidized housing, that few will visit because they say they smell of cigarette smoke, and the hygiene leaves much to be desired.

To the people who live in the cardboard village south of town, hidden in the Wasatch National Forest. The ones no true Church goers would ever dare to invite to THEIR church… They stink, they smell, they don’t want to work, they live like filthy animals, some say…

To the mother who is hooked on meth, that our culture despises and helps by simply putting her in jail, and making her attend workshops on self-awareness and good parenting skills. But never really takes a loving hand to know and understand her needs, her hurts, her desires. Simple answers for simple people, without regard to the reality of their lives…

To the woman who is too sick to work, yet told she is far too healthy to get Federal assistance, so she must live on $229.00 a month. Who is told by her charity caseworker: ’YOU MUST LEARN TO BUDGET YOUR MONEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!’ She is told this in a community that the average studio rental is $500.00 a month, with a three year waiting period for rental assistance. Quick answers that answer nothing…

To the family of four, a father, a mother, and two precious little girls, who live under the bridge. A father who faithfully worked for his farmer boss for 10 years, who were forced into homelessness because of a debilitating work accident. The farmer gave them three months, but needed the home for his healthy employee…

To the old lady that lives alone, ignored by any family she may have, and denied fellowship with her local church, because the pastor told her: ‘WE DON’T WANT YOUR KIND IN OUR CHURCH’…

To the young man who struggles with his sexuality, laughed at and mocked by our society, called an abomination and pervert by many who should seek his salvation…

Many more invitations I passed out that day, in the name of Jesus. These invitations that seemed quite curious especially to those who received them. As I walked away, I heard such comments as:

‘is he nuts?’, ‘is he for real?’, ‘is he one of those Jesus’ freaks?’, ‘is he one of those do gooders, that really thinks he is better than us?’ ‘Who is this guy?’ Some people were clearly frightened, and most were certainly perplexed.

As I drove home that night, satisfied that I was doing right, I wondered just how many would come to my house that Saturday night? The rest of the week was filled with daily chores of work, and continued preparation for Saturday.

The invitations I had given out were of the finest paper, the engraving of pure gold; all done that those invited would know just how wonderful and special they were and are.

And on Saturday they would be surprised when the stretch limousines I had rented from Salt Lake City, would arrive to pick them up.

As 5:30 PM approached, as Scrooge had expressed in “A Christmas Carol”, I felt as gitty as a school boy, my hands were moist with sweat, my mouth was dry, but I was as high as a kite… “

The Lord’s will be done!”

The first limousine pulled up at my door at 5:38 PM, followed closely behind by another. My house is not a mansion, but for these my invited guests, it was a place of warmth and peace… The children immediately ran and fell on their knees in front of my 6 ½ foot Christmas tree. Loaded with presents, the children exclaimed: “Are these for us, are these for us!” Their parents quickly ran after them, and they too, were breathless with the sight of that tree full of Christmas cheer. “Children, children”, they said, “This is not our home, be polite. Wait and see what happens”.

I had to tell them, because I could not bear to make them wait. “Yes guys”, I said, “After dinner we can open the presents. There’s enough for everybody.” They shouted with a joy they had not experienced in years, and you could see tears of gladness in many of their parents’ eyes, as we all went into the dining room to be seated. Each had a place setting, each with their own name. A formal crystal and china place setting lay before them.

Placed upon their plates, to the children were wrapped in spectacular gift paper, children’s Bibles; and for the adults in equally stunning paper were adult Holy Bibles…

Though I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the wonder on their eyes, I began to speak:

“The food will be served in a minute, I just wanted you to know, you are all honored guests not by me, but of the Lord Jesus Christ! It is His birth we should be celebrating this time of year. I am so extremely happy to have you in my home, the home Jesus has so graciously allowed me to have for now. The Bibles you have opened and received are from Jesus, and are given to you in hope that you might seek to know Him better. *But right now enough talk, lets pray and dig in.”

As we finished the prayer; Turkey, Fried Chicken, Ham and Roast Beef were brought into be placed, along with all the side orders you can imagine. Green beans, corn on the cob, creamed corn, potatoes of every kind, salad of many nations, yams with marshmallows, cranberry sauce, salsas, radishes, carrots, on and on. Cheeses and fresh baked breads of every description and taste. Coffee, tea, milk, pop, almost anything a person could desire.

And for these who had often went to bed without anything to eat, it seemed as if they had died and gone to heaven… At first they just stared at this magnificent feast provided by Jesus, but children being children, did not wait to be told; they held their breaths for a brief moment in awe, and then chowed down. We the adults all laughed, and left formality behind and began to enjoy this Christmas meal…

I listened as we eat and was surprised at what I heard. Many were not so concerned about their needs, their situations, but rather of others who had not been invited, others who had chosen not to come.

“Was Willie with the terrible cough, going to make it to the New Year?” “Was Sarah finally going to get approved for disability?” “Was Johnny going to be able to go to public school without a home address?” “Where would the Smiths get the money to repair their car, so they could move to Nevada, so Tommy Smith could start his new job?”

Their conversations were not about themselves, but rather of the needs and concerns of others. Not like typical parties, that were full of gossip and self-concern.

“We hope to go to Hawaii next spring, I believe it may be our last because it is so built up and commercialized there?” My one year lease on my car is up, and I’m really concerned with what I will replace it with?” “Their problems are an act of God I tell you.” “I better get that raise, I’m totally worth it!”

As I could see we all were about to burst, I suggested we return to the Christmas tree. (The children were all for that)

As the children opened their presents, I shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them and the adults as well. I shared how God loves us so much that He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die for us. That by His death and resurrection the opportunity for salvation was made accessible to all sinners. I made abundantly clear, all of us were sinners, unless we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord, God and Savior.

We discussed many other questions about the Bible that night.

Suddenly we were interrupted by a child talking to his mother. “Mommy we’ll have to get the lights turned on now, or I will not be able to play with my Wii Nintendo game system.”

The mother began to cry…

I spoke up:

“I hope you all realize that this night doesn’t end tonight. That after you all go home, Jesus, and myself will forget about your all. On the contrary, as we speak, those of you who have unpaid rent, unpaid utilities, are having those bills paid. And all your utilities will be turned on before you get home. Those of you who have no place to stay, know, you now do have a place to stay. You can stay either with me, or I have motels ready for you until we find you more permanent housing. Those of you who can work, will have jobs that you can be proud of, we just need a few weeks to get each of you a job you enjoy and that you are trained to do. If you need training or education, we will also see that you get all that you need. For those of you who cannot work, Jesus has provided for you as well. This will all take some time and I look forward to talking more intimately with each one of you. And Lord willing, perhaps we can become close friends. But in any event, tonight is only the beginning, and if you choose my assistance, by the will and grace of God, I will spend my life serving God, by helping you.”

Dessert was served, and even the adults got to open their presents.

The Mom that cried because her child did not have electricity for her Christmas present, came up to me and in a soft spoken voice said to me: “Your providing the electricity for my child is all the present I need.”

“That may be”, I said, “but this is Christmas, the season of unwarranted and abundant LOVE and GRACE.” As I handed her the keys to the car she needed to take the job she had been offered…

My wife and I stood at the door as we said good night to each of our BELOVED GUESTS. Each giving their own words of appreciation.

One asking us to pray with them, as they gave their very being to Jesus Christ, accepting Him as their Savior for ever more.

Oh and remember the young man with sexual orientation concerns? He confessed to me, that he had had a gun in his pocket that day when I gave him the invitation. He had planned to kill himself that very night, but then waited to see what would happen this night. As he hugged me good night with tears in his eyes, he handed me the gun, and said:

“Jesus has given me hope this night, hope of Love, hope of Mercy, hope of Grace, hope of Forgiveness, and Hope that I CAN OVERCOME MY SIN”… “God bless you he said as he stepped outside.

He was the last to leave that night, and I was so glad. For though I had had misty eyes throughout the evening, my eyes were now swelled with tears of unbelievable praise and joy for God and His Son Jesus Christ…My tears filled the room!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That night as I sat in front of the fire, with my legs up, reclined in my lazy-boy chair; the snow once again falling, my eyes giving way to blessed rest, I heard an ever so still voice say:

“Well done my, good and faithful servant.”

And once again, I felt a smile breaking out upon my face, and in the corner by the fire, I thought I saw: JESUS, and He too had a smile, upon His face……………………………………………..

As consciousness gave way to sleep that Christmas night, As reality gave way to dreams, I heard:

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

The Christmas story I have just shared of course was only a wonderful narrative.

*But why? Why can’t we read the word of God, this Christmas and every day of the year, take God at His word, and do as the Love of God would HAVE US DO???????

Then and only then will Tiny Tim’s prayer come to pass: “God bless us, bless us everyone!!!!!!!”

A closing thought, have you ever wondered why Christians celebrate Christ’s birth by exchanging presents with each other?

This too can be found in scripture:

Matthew 25 v 40

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

When we take the time and energy to get just that right present(s) for someone, WE ARE REALLY DOING IT FOR THE SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST; our presents of LOVE to each other are beautiful and wondrous symbols of OUR LOVE AND COMMITMENT TO JESUS CHRIST!!!

GOD BLESS US, EVERYONE!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.......

God bless the staff and residents of Rocky Mountain Care Clearfield, in Jesus’ name, Amen and eternally Amen……………………………..

Dr Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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December 8, 2019



“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“Yes Virginia, There is a God!!!”

Lord as we begin this season of remembering your most precious gift to us, the birth of Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ, May we look deep into our own hearts and minds and see if there is anything that You would not want to be a part of our lives, then grant us the strength, the wisdom, and the resolve to genuinely repent and turn our backs on those sins and weaknesses that cause harm in our lives and harm in the lives of those around us!!! Help us to truly live to LOVE, to serve, and to share Your LOVING kindnesses with those You put in our path. Let us this year and every year after SO LIVE OUR LIVES that Your LOVE is seen in us EVERY MOMENT OF OUR LIVES. Be most gracious to us today as we ponder Your word, and FOREVER assist us in growing in your LOVE, grace, mercy, and eternal wisdom, in Jesus name, Amen and Eternally Amen…….

Before we begin this morning’s sermon, I’d like to read Ben Stein’s response to those who wish to eliminate Jesus Christ from the joyous celebration of “Christmas”:

Remarks from CBS on a Sunday Morning - Ben Stein 

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday
Morning  Commentary.

My confession: 

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees, Christmas trees.  I don't feel threatened.  I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are, Christmas trees. 

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, 'Merry Christmas' to me.  I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.  In fact, I kind of like it.  It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. 

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians.  I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country.  I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to. 

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different:  This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking. 

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her 'How could God let something like this happen?' (regarding Hurricane Katrina).  Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.  She said, 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out  How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?' 

In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.  Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself.  And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide).  We said an expert should know what he's talking about.  And we said okay.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out.  I think it has a great deal to do with 'WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.' 

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace. 

Are you laughing yet? 

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us. 

My Best Regards, Honestly and respectfully, 

Ben Stein

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As we prepare our hearts and minds for this Christmas season I am reminded of Christmases past. Though I was not yet born, and probably most of us were not. I remember the world famous letter to the editor of the New York Sun Newspaper back in 1897; the headline read: 'Yes Virginia, There is a Santa Claus!'.

I wonder what would have been said, if the headline had read:

"Yes Virginia, There is a God!!!"

Dear Editor—
I am 8 years old. So many of the little friends I know and most of their parents too say there is no real God. That people only made him up because of their fears of death and the over powering dread of life alone. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a real God?

Virginia…

Virginia, your little friends are wrong and most certainly their doubting parents are as well. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men’s or children’s, are little. In this great universe of ours, man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge.

Yes, Virginia, there is a God. And He can most certainly be seen in His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He exists as certainly as LOVE and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.
 
Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no God! It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry,  no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The external light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in God Almighty! You might as well not believe in Truth, Honesty, Justice, Purity, Loveliness, Grace, Mercy or Peace.

You might get your Papa to start reading the Holy Bible and taking you not only to Church, but Sunday School as well. Seek God out while He may be found, be watchful for Him in the daily experiences and tasks of life. See Him in the eyes of your friends and the people around you, not because they believe, but rather because God believes in them, He believes in you. Because He is the creator of all that we see and all that we cannot see and so often we take HIM for granted.

Know that this is why there is a Christmas Eve to celebrate, with songs of joy, presents of anticipation, and wonderful times with family and friends; the night of our dear, dear Savior’s birth.

But even if we cannot enjoy as so many do, because of our own loneliness or loss, or perhaps we do not seem to see God because of the evil of our age, our enemies and the sorrows that surround us…

What does that mean?

What if nobody believed in God, would that, could that change the truth of His existence?

The most real things in the world and the universe around us are those things which neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see the wind dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but would that prove once and for all that there is no wind?

Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in this world or in the one to come.

You tear apart the baby’s rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived could tear apart.

Only faith, poetry, LOVE, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernatural beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding.

No God! Ridiculous!!! Of course there is a God!!! Thank God for His existence! He lives as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lives, and LOVES us just as the Holy Bible says He does.

He lives and lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10,000 years and eternally beyond,

He will continue to reach out to you and me and all who are truly willing to accept His Son Jesus Christ in faith that believe with hearts of LOVE for Him.

Yes Virginia, most certainly as I speak, that you or I exist, that the beauties of His majestic creation surrounds us, THERE IS A GOD, and He most indisputably: LOVES us ALL!!!

Virginia, I leave you with this final thought; Today, this very moment of your and my life, of everyone’s life, is a great and awesome gift from God and never forget that is why we call now, this exact moment the PRESENT!!!!!!!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a most blessed life…….

Romans 5 v 8

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

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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December 1, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Thirteen”

1 Peter 4:9-19 (RSV)
9 Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. 10 As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 12 Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or a wrongdoer, or a mischief-maker; 16 yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 And "If the righteous man is scarcely saved, where will the impious and sinner appear?" 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will do right and entrust their souls to a faithful Creator.

Precious heavenly Father, we thank Thee for saving us and making available Your beautiful salvation to all mankind, if only they accept Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ, as their only Lord, their only God, and only Savior. Help us use the gifts You give us to Your glory, for the betterment of Your kingdom, and to assist in absolutely any way we can for the salvation of all Your creation.

Lord there are many who are sick among us, Cheryl, Pat, Michael, G, Carol, Kiiba, Jenessa, and everyone else needing Your healing touch. Father heal them, free them from pain, from sorrow, give them peace and bless them. Comfort them and their family, friends, and LOVED ones.

Help us O Lord to repent of our sins, keep us strong through Your chastisements of us individually, us as a Church, us as a nation, a world, as Your creation. When we are persecuted for Your name sake, help us stay faithful, true, and diligent to Your will. Thank Your Lord for Your great LOVE, mercy, grace, and eternal salvation, for everything in our lives.

We pray all these things and many unspoken requests, and our unknown needs in Jesus’ name, Amen and eternally Amen………………………………………………

Peter's mind is dominated in this section by the conviction that the end of all things is near. It is of the greatest interest and significance to note that he does not use that conviction to urge Christians to withdraw from the world and to enter on a kind of private campaign to save their own souls; he uses it to urge them to go into the world and serve their fellow-men and women.  As Peter sees it, a Christian will be happy if the end finds us, not living as a hermit, but out in the world serving humanity…Especially our brothers and sisters in Christ!!!

(i) First, Peter urges upon his people the duty of hospitality. Without hospitality the early church could not have existed. The travelling missionaries who spread the good news of the gospel had to find somewhere to stay and there was no place for them to stay except in the homes of Christians. Such inns as there were, were impossibly filthy and notoriously immoral. Thus we find Peter lodging with one Simon a tanner:

Acts 10:6 (RSV)
6 he is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the seaside."

Paul and his company were to lodge with one Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple:

Acts 21:16 (RSV)
16 And some of the disciples from Caesare'a went with us, bringing us to the house of Mnason of Cyprus, an early disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Many a nameless one in the early church made Christian missionary work possible by opening the doors of his/her house and home.

Not only did the missionaries need hospitality; the local churches also needed it. For two hundred years there was no such thing as a church building. The church was compelled to meet in the houses of those who had bigger rooms and were prepared to lend them for the services of the congregation. Thus we read of the church which was in the house of Aquila and Priscilla,

Romans 16:5 (RSV)
5 greet also the church in their house. Greet my beloved Epae'netus, who was the first convert in Asia for Christ.

1 Corinthians 16:19 (RSV)
19 The churches of Asia send greetings. Aq'uila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.

The church which was in the house of Philemon,

Philemon 1:1C-2 (RSV)
...To Phile'mon our beloved fellow worker 2 and Ap'phia our sister and Archip'pus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

Without those who were prepared to open their homes, the early church could not have met for worship at all.

It is little wonder that again and again in the New Testament the duty of hospitality is pressed upon the Christians. The Christian is to be given to hospitality,

Romans 12:13 (RSV)
13 Contribute to the needs of the saints, practice hospitality.

A bishop is to be given to hospitality ,

1 Timothy 3:2 (RSV)
2 Now a bishop must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, dignified, hospitable, an apt teacher,

The widows of the Church must have lodged strangers,

1 Timothy 5:9-10 (RSV)
9 Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband; 10 and she must be well attested for her good deeds, as one who has brought up children, shown hospitality, washed the feet of the saints, relieved the afflicted, and devoted herself to doing good in every way.

The Christian must not forget to entertain strangers and must remember that some who have done so have entertained angels unawares.

Hebrews 13:2 (RSV)
2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

The bishop must practice hospitality,

Titus 1:8 (RSV)
8 but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled;

And it is ever to be remembered that it was said to those on the right hand:

Matthew 25:35 (RSV)
35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

In the early days the Church depended on the hospitality of its members; and to this day no greater gift can be offered than the welcome of a Christian home to the stranger in a strange place.

((( Whether a Christian stranger or not!!! )))

(ii) Such gifts as a person has, THEY, WE MUST PLACE UNGRUDGINGLY AT THE SERVICE OF OUR GOD and  THE COMMUNITY… This again is a favorite New Testament idea which is expanded by Paul in,

Romans 12:3-8 (RSV)
3 For by the grace given to me I bid every one among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith which God has assigned him. 4 For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; 7 if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, in liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.

((((((( This can only be accomplished with a re-born heart, transformed by the precious SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST !!! )))))))

See also 1 Corinthians 12………………………………

The Church needs every gift that a person has. It may be a gift of speaking, of music, of the ability to visit people. It may be a craft or skill which can be used in the practical service of the Church. It may be a house which a person possesses or money which a person has inherited. There is no gift which cannot be placed at the service of Christ.

The Christian has to regard himself or herself as a steward of God. In the ancient world the steward was very important. He might be a slave but his master's goods were in his hands. There were two main kinds of stewards, the dispensator, the dispenser, who was responsible for all the domestic arrangements of the household and laid in and divided out the household supplies; and the vilicus, the bailiff, who was in charge of his master's estates and acted as landlord to his master's tenants. The steward knew well that none of the things over which he had control belonged to him; they all belonged to his master. In everything he did he was answerable to his master and always it was his interests he must serve.

***We as Christians must always be under the conviction that nothing we possess of material goods or personal qualities are our own; it all belongs to God and we must ever use what we have in the interests of God to whom we are always answerable.

Peter is thinking of the two great activities of the Christian Church, preaching and practical service. The word he uses for sayings is (logia). That is a word with a kind of divine background. The heathen used it for the oracles which came to them from their gods; the Christians used it for the words of scripture and the words of Christ. So Peter is saying, "If a man has the duty of preaching, let him preach not as one offering his own opinions or propagating his own prejudices, but as one with a message from God." It was said of one great preacher:

"First he listened to God, and then he spoke to men."

It was said of another that ever and again he paused,

"as if listening for a voice."

There lies the secret of preaching power.

Peter goes on to say that if a Christian is engaged in practical service, we must render that service in the strength which God supplies. It is as if he said, "When you are engaged in Christian service, you must not do it as if you were conferring a personal favor or distributing bounty from your own store, but in the consciousness that what you give you first received from God." ***Such an attitude preserves the giver from pride and the gift from humiliation.

The aim of everything is that God should be glorified. Preaching is not done to display the preacher but to bring men, women, and children face to face with God. Service is rendered not to bring prestige to the giver but to turn people's thoughts to God. E. G. Selwyn reminds us that the motto of the great Benedictine Order of monks is four letters—I-O-G-D—which stand for the Latin words (ut) in omnibus glorificetur Deus (in order that in all things God may be glorified).

*******A new grace and glory would enter the Church, if all church people ceased doing things for themselves and did them for God.*******

((( It begins with me, you, us!!!!!!! )))

In the nature of things persecution must have been a much more daunting experience for Gentiles than it was for Jews. The average Gentile had little experience of it; but the Jews have always been the most persecuted people upon earth. Peter was writing to Christians who were Gentiles and he had to try to help them by showing them persecution in its true terms. It is never easy to be a Christian. The Christian life brings its own loneliness, its own unpopularity, its own problems, its own sacrifices and its own persecutions. It is, therefore, well to have certain great principles in our minds.

(i) It is Peter's view that persecution is inevitable. It is fallen human nature to dislike and to regard with suspicion anyone who is different; the Christian is necessarily different from the person of the world. The particular impact of the Christian difference makes the matter more acute. To the world the Christian brings the standards of Jesus Christ. That is another way of saying that we inevitably are a kind of conscience to any society in which we reside; and many a person would gladly eliminate the troublesome twinges of conscience. The very goodness of Christianity can be an offence to a world in which goodness is regarded as a disability.

(ii) It is Peter's view that persecution is a test. It is a test in a double sense. A person's devotion to a principle can be measured by their willingness to suffer for it; therefore, any kind of persecution is a test of a person's faith.

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,

((( That really is BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!! )))

But it is equally true that it is only the real Christian, not simply a professing Christian who will be persecuted for their faith. The professing Christian who compromises with the world will not be persecuted for their faith perhaps for another reason, but not for Jesus Christ. In a double sense persecution is the test of the reality of a person's faith.

(iii) Now we come to the uplifting things. Persecution is a sharing in the sufferings of Jesus Christ. When a person has to suffer for their Christianity they are walking the way their, our, Master walked and sharing the Cross our, their, Master carried. This is a favorite New Testament thought. If we suffer with Him, we will be glorified with Him:

Romans 8:17 (RSV)
17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.

It is Paul's desire to enter into the fellowship of the sufferings of Christ,

Philippians 3:10 (RSV)
10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,

If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him,

2 Timothy 2:12 (RSV)
12 if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will deny us;

LET US REMEMBER: anything we suffer for the sake of Jesus Christ IS a PRIVILIGE and not a penalty.

(iv) ***Persecution is the way to glory. ***The Cross is the way to the crown. Jesus Christ is no man's debtor and His joy and crown await the person who, through thick and thin, remains true to Him, our most beLOVED Savior…………………………….

Here Peter says the greatest thing of all. If a person, you or I, or those around us, suffers for Christ, the presence of the glory rests upon them, us. This is a very strange phrase. We think it can mean only one thing. The Jews had the conception of the Shekinah, the luminous glow of the very presence of God. This conception constantly recurs in the Old Testament.

Exodus 16:7 (RSV)
7 and in the morning you shall see the glory of the LORD, because he has heard your murmurings against the LORD. For what are we, that you murmur against us?"

Exodus 24:16 (RSV)
16 The glory of the LORD settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days; and on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

Exodus 29:43 (RSV)
43 There I will meet with the people of Israel, and it shall be sanctified by my glory;

Exodus 40:34 (RSV)
34 Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

1 Kings 8:10-11 (RSV)
10 And when the priests came out of the holy place, a cloud filled the house of the LORD, 11 so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.

 (((Repeatedly this idea of the Shekinah, the luminous glory of God, occurs in the Old Testament.)))

It is Peter's conviction that something of that glow of glory rests on the person who suffers for  Jesus Christ. When Stephen was on trial for his life and it was certain that he would be condemned to death, to those who looked on him his face was as the face of an angel,

Acts 6:15 (RSV)
15 And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel.

Peter goes on to point out that it is as a Christian that a person must suffer and not as an evil-doer. The evils which he singles out are all clear enough until we come to the last. A Christian, Peter says, is not to suffer as an (allotriepiskopos). The trouble is that there is no other instance of this word in Greek and Peter may well have invented it. It can have three possible meanings, all of which would be relevant. It comes from two words, (allotrios), belonging to another and (episkopos), looking upon or looking into. Therefore, it literally means looking upon, or into, that which belongs to another.

(i) To look on that which is someone else's might well be to cast covetous eyes upon it. That is how both the Latin Bible and Calvin take this word—to mean that the Christian must not be covetous.

(ii) To look upon that which belongs to another might well mean to be too interested in other people's affairs and to be a meddling busybody. That is by far the most probable meaning. There are Christians who do an infinite deal of harm with misguided interference and criticism. This would mean that the Christian must never be an interfering busybody. That gives good sense and, we believe, the best sense.

(iii) There is a third possibility. (Allotrios) means that which belongs to someone else; that is to say, that which is foreign to oneself. Along that line (allotriepiskopos) will mean looking upon that which is foreign to oneself. That would mean, of a Christian, entering upon undertakings which do not befit the Christian life. This would mean that a Christian must never interest ourselves in things which are alien to the life that a Christian should lead.

While all three meanings are possible, I think that the third is the right one.

It is Peter's injunction that, if a Christian has to suffer for Christ, we must do so in such a way that our suffering brings glory to God and to the name we bear… Our life and conduct must be the best argument that we do not deserve the suffering which has come upon us and our attitude to it must commend the name we bear, THE CHILDREN OF THE LIVING GOD!!!!!!!

As Peter saw it, it was all the more necessary for the Christian to do right because judgment was about to begin.

It was to begin with the household of God. Ezekiel hears the voice of God proclaiming judgment upon his people,

Ezekiel 9:6 (RSV)
6 slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were before the house.

Where the privilege has been greatest, there the judgment will be sternest.

If judgment is to fall upon the Church of God, what will be the fate of those who have been utterly disobedient to the invitation and command of God? Peter confirms his appeal with a quotation from,

Proverbs 11:31 (RSV)
31 If the righteous is requited on earth, how much more the wicked and the sinner!

Finally, Peter exhorts his people to continue to do good and, whatever happens to them to entrust their lives to God, the Creator on whom they can rely. The word he uses for to entrust is (paratithesthai), which is the technical word for depositing money with a trusted friend. In the ancient days there were no banks and few really safe places in which to deposit money. So, before a man went on a journey, he often left his money in the safe-keeping of a friend. Such a trust was regarded as one of the most sacred things in life. The friend was absolutely bound by all honor and all religion to return the money intact.

Herodotus (6: 86) has a story about such a trust. A certain Milesian came to Sparta, for he had heard of the strict honor of the Spartans, and entrusted his money to a certain Glaucus. He said that in due time his sons would reclaim the money and would bring tokens which would establish their identity beyond doubt. The time passed and the sons came. Glaucus treacherously said that he had no recollection of any money being entrusted to him and said that he wished four months to think about it. The Milesians departed sad and sorry. Glaucus consulted the gods as to what he ought to do, and they warned him that he must return the money. He did so, but before long he died and all his family followed him, and in the time of Herodotus there was not a single member of his family left alive because the gods were angry that he had even contemplated breaking the trust reposed in him. Even to think of evading such a trust was a mortal sin.

If we entrust ourselves to God, God will not fail us.

2 Timothy 2:13 (RSV)
13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful -- for he cannot deny himself.

If such a trust is sacred to humanity, how much more is it sacred to God? This is the very word used by Jesus, when he says:

Luke 23:46 (RSV)
46 Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, "Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!" And having said this he breathed his last.

Jesus unhesitatingly entrusted His life to God, certain that He would not fail Him—and so may we. The old advice is still good advice—trust in God and do the right…………((((((( Amen and thoroughly Amen!!!!!!! )))))))

As Dr. Charles Stanley puts it,

“Trust in God, and leave all the consequences to Him.”

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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November 24, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Twelve”

1 Peter 4:1-8 (RSV)
1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same thought, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer by human passions but by the will of God. 3 Let the time that is past suffice for doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you do not now join them in the same wild profligacy, and they abuse you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God. 7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. 8 Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Behold us, O Lord God, at Your feet we kneel! We do not deserve Your LOVE, mercy, or grace, but precious Redeemer, Thy BLOOD which You have shed for us encourages, strengthens us and assists us in believing in You and the boundless salvation You offered us. How often we have offended You, repented, and yet have we again fallen into the same sin and other new sins.


O Lord our God, we wish to change and in order to be faithful to You, we will place all our confidence in You. We will, whenever we are tempted, instantly have recourse to You. Often we have trusted in our own promises and resolutions and have neglected to recommend ourselves to You in our hour of temptations. This has been the cause of our repeated failures. From this day forward, be You, O Lord, our strength, and this shall we be able to do all things, for “We can do all things in Him who strengthens us.” In Jesus wonderful name we pray Amen and eternally Amen

The Christian must be committed to abandoning the ways of heathenism, of the ways of this our EVIL world and to live as God would have us to.

Peter says, "He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin." What exactly does he mean? There are three distinct possibilities.

(i) There is a strong line in Jewish thought that suffering is in itself a great purifier. In the Apocalypse of Baruch the writer, speaking of the experiences of the people of Israel, says, "Then, therefore, were they chastened that they might be sanctified" (13: 10). In regard to the purification of the spirits of men Enoch says, "And in proportion as the burning of their body becomes severe, a corresponding change will take place in their spirit for ever and ever; for before the Lord of spirits there will be none to utter a lying word" (67: 9). The terrible sufferings of the time are described in 2 Maccabees, and the writer says, "I beseech those that read this book that they be not discouraged, terrified or shaken for these calamities, but that they judge these punishments not to be for destruction but for chastening of our nation. For it is a token of his great goodness, when evil-doers are not suffered to go on in their ways any long time, but forthwith punished. For not as with other nations, whom the Lord patiently forbeareth to punish, till the day of judgment arrive, and they be come to the fullness of their sins, so dealeth he with us, lest that, being come to the height of sin, afterwards he should take vengeance on us. And though he punish sinners with adversity, yet doth he never forsake his people" (2 Macc 6:12-16). ***The idea is that suffering sanctifies and that not to be punished is the greatest punishment which God can lay upon a person.

Psalm 94:12 (RSV)
12 Blessed is the man whom thou dost chasten, O LORD, and whom thou dost teach out of thy law

Job 5:17 (RSV)
17 "Behold, happy is the man whom God reproves; therefore despise not the chastening of the Almighty.

Hebrews 12:6 (RSV)
6 For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives."

If this is the idea, it means that those who have been disciplined by suffering have been cured of sin. That is a great thought. It enables us, as Browning said,

"to welcome each rebuff that turns earth's smoothness rough."

It enables us to thank God for the experiences which hurt but save the soul. But great as this thought is, it is not strictly relevant here.

(ii) Bigg thinks that Peter is speaking in terms of the experience which his people had of suffering for the Christian faith. He puts it this way:

 "He who has suffered in meekness and in fear, he who has endured all that persecution can do to him rather than join in wicked ways can be trusted to do right; temptation has manifestly no power over him."

The idea is that if a person has come through persecution and not denied the name of Christ, they come out on the other side with a character so tested and a faith so strengthened, that temptation cannot touch them any more.

Again there is a great thought here, the thought that every trial and every temptation are meant to make us stronger and better. Every temptation resisted makes the next easier to resist; and every temptation conquered makes us better able to overcome the next attack. But again it is doubtful if this thought comes in very relevantly here.

(iii) The third explanation is most probably the right one. Peter has just been talking about baptism. Now the great New Testament picture of baptism is in Romans 6. In that chapter Paul says that the experience of baptism is like being buried with Christ in death and raised with him to newness of life. I think that this is what Peter is thinking of here. He has spoken of baptism; and now he says,

Romans 6:14 (RSV)
14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

We, who in baptism have shared the sufferings and the death of Christ, are then risen to such newness of life with Him that sin has no more dominion over us…….

***Again we must remember that this is the baptism of the person who is voluntarily coming over from paganism, sinfulness, into Christianity. In that act of baptism we are identified with Christ; we share His sufferings and even His death; and we share in His risen life and power, and are, therefore, victors over sin.

When that has happened, a person has said good-bye to their former way of life. The rule of pleasure, pride and passion is gone, and the rule of God has begun. This was by no means easy. A person's former associates would laugh at the new puritanism which had entered their life. But the Christian knows very well that the judgment of God will come, when the judgments of earth will be reversed and the pleasures that are eternal will compensate a thousand-fold for the transitory pleasures which had to be abandoned in this life.

This very difficult passage ends with a very difficult verse. Once again we have the idea of the gospel being preached to the dead. At least three different meanings have been attached to dead. (i) It has been taken to mean those who are dead in sin, not those who are physically dead. (ii) It has been taken to mean those who died before the Second Coming of Christ; but who heard the gospel before they died and so will not miss the glory. (iii) It has been taken to mean quite simply all the dead. There can be little doubt that this third meaning is correct; Peter has just been talking about the descent of Christ to the place of the dead, and here he comes back to the idea of Christ preaching to the dead.

No fully satisfactory meaning has ever been found for this verse; but I think that the best explanation is as follows. For mortal man, death is the penalty of sin. As Paul wrote:

Romans 5:12 (RSV)
12 Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned --

This is very important, HAD THERE BEEN NO “SIN”, THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN “NO” DEATH; and, therefore, death in itself is a judgment. So Peter says, all men have already been judged when they die; in spite of that Christ descended to the world of the dead and preached the gospel there, giving them another chance to live in the Spirit of God.

In some ways this is one of the most wonderful verses in the Bible, for, if my explanation is anywhere near the truth, it gives a breath-taking glimpse of a gospel of a second chance.

Here is a note which is struck consistently all through the New Testament. It is the summons of Paul that it is time to wake out of sleep, for the night is far spent and the day is at hand:

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;

Paul writes:

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

James states:

James 5:8 (RSV)
8 You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.

John declares:

1 John 2:18 (RSV)
18 Children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come; therefore we know that it is the last hour.

John goes on to say:

Revelation 1:3 (RSV)
3 Blessed is he who reads aloud the words of the prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written therein; for the time is near.

Revelation 22:20 (RSV)
20 He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!

There are many for whom all such passages are problems, for, if they are taken literally, the New Testament writers were mistaken; 2000 plus years have passed and the end is not yet come. There are four ways of looking at them.

(i) We may hold that the New Testament writers were in fact mistaken. They looked for the return of Christ and the end of the world in their own day and generation; and these events did not take place. The curious thing is that the Christian Church allowed these words to stand although it would not have been difficult quietly to excise them from the New Testament documents. It was not until late in the second century that the New Testament began to be fixed in the form in which we have it today; and yet statements such as these became unquestioned parts of it. The clear conclusion is that the people of the early church still believed these words to be true.

(ii) There is a strong line of New Testament thought which, in effect, holds that the end has come. The consummation of history was the coming of Jesus Christ:

*In Him time was invaded by eternity.

*In Him God entered into the human situation.

*In Him the prophecies were all fulfilled.

*In him the end has come.

Paul speaks of himself and his people as those on whom the ends of the ages have come:

1 Corinthians 10:11 (RSV)
11 Now these things happened to them as a warning, but they were written down for our instruction, upon whom the end of the ages has come.

Peter in his first sermon speaks of Joel's prophecy of the outpouring of the Spirit and of all that should happen in the last days, and then says that at that very time men were actually living in those last days:

Acts 2:16-21 (RSV)
16 but this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 `And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth beneath, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and manifest day. 21 And it shall be that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'

If we accept that, it means that in Jesus Christ the end of history has come. The battle has been won; there remain only skirmishes with the last remnants of opposition. It means that at this very moment we are living in the "end time," in what someone has called:

"the epilogue to history."

That is a very common point of view; but the trouble is that it flies in the face of facts. Evil is as rampant as ever, if not more so; the world is still far from having accepted Jesus Christ as King. It may be the "end time," but the dawn seems as far distant as ever it was.

(iii) It may be that we have to interpret near in the light of history's being a process of almost unimaginable length. It has been put this way. Suppose all time to be represented by a column the height of Cleopatra's Needle with a single postage stamp on top, then the length of recorded history is represented by the thickness of the postage stamp and the unrecorded history which went before it by the height of the column. When we think of time in terms like that near becomes an entirely relative word. The Psalmist was literally right when he said:

Psalm 90:4 (RSV)
4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.

In that case near can cover centuries and still be correctly used. But it is quite certain that the Biblical writers did not take near in that sense, for they had no conception of history in terms like that.

(iv) The simple fact is that behind this there is one inescapable and most personal truth. For everyone of us the time is near. The one thing which can be said of every person is that we will die. For every one of us the Lord is at hand. We cannot tell the day and the hour when we shall go to meet Him; and, therefore, all life is lived in the shadow of eternity.

"The end of all things is near," said Peter. The early thinkers may have been wrong if they thought that the end of the world was round the corner, but they have left us with the warning that for every one of us personally the end is near; and that warning is as valid today as ever it was.

When a person realizes the nearness of Jesus Christ, we are bound to commit ourselves to a certain kind of life. In view of that nearness Peter makes four demands.

(i) He says that we must be steady in mind. We might render it: "Preserve your sanity." The verb Peter uses is (sophronein); connected with that verb is the noun (sophrosune), which the Greeks derived from the verb (sozein), to keep safe, and the noun (phronesis), the mind. (Sophrosune) is the wisdom which characterizes a person who is preeminently sane; and (sophronein) means to preserve one's sanity. The great characteristic of sanity is that it sees things in their proper proportions; it sees what things are important and what are not; it is not swept away by sudden and transitory enthusiasms; it is prone neither to unbalanced fanaticism nor to unrealizing indifference. It is only when we see the affairs of earth in the light of eternity that we see them in their proper proportions; it is when God is given His proper place that everything else takes its proper place.

(ii) He says that we must be sober in mind. We might render it: "Preserve your sobriety." The verb Peter uses is (nephein)  which originally meant to be sober in contradistinction to being drunk and then came to mean to act soberly and sensibly. This does not mean that the Christian is to be lost in a gloomy joylessness; but it does mean that our approach to life must not be frivolous and irresponsible. To take things seriously is to be aware of their real importance and to be ever mindful of their consequences in time and in eternity. It is to approach life, not as a jest, but as a serious matter for which we are answerable.

(iii) Peter says that we must do this in order to pray as we ought. We might render it: "Preserve your prayer life." When a person's mind is unbalanced and our approach to life is frivolous and irresponsible, we cannot pray as we ought. ***We learn to pray only when we take life so wisely and so seriously that we begin to say in all things: "Thy will be done." The first necessity of prayer is the earnest desire to discover the will of God for ourselves.

(iv) Peter says that we must cherish for each other a LOVE that is constant and intense. We might render it: "Preserve your LOVE." The word Peter uses to describe this LOVE is (ektenes) which has two meanings, both of which we have included in the translation. It means outstretching in the sense of consistent; our LOVE must be the LOVE that never fails. It also means stretching out as a runner stretches out. As C. E. B. Cranfield reminds us it describes a horse at full gallop and denotes:

"the taut muscle of strenuous and sustained effort, as of an athlete."

Our LOVE must be energetic. Here is a fundamental Christian truth. Christian LOVE is not an easy, sentimental reaction. It demands everything a person has of mental and spiritual energy. It means LOVING the unLOVELY and the unLOVABLE (( in human terms )); it means LOVING in spite of insult and injury; it means LOVING when LOVE is not returned. Bengel translates (ektenes) by the Latin vehemens, vehement. Christian LOVE is the LOVE which never fails and into which every atom of a person’s strength is directed.

The Christian, in the light of eternity, must

preserve OUR sanity,

preserve OUR sobriety,

preserve OUR prayers and

preserve OUR LOVE…….

"LOVE," says Peter, "hides a multitude of sins." There are three things which this saying may mean; and it is not necessary that we should choose between them, for they are all there.

(i) It may mean that our LOVE can overlook many sins.

Proverbs 10:12B (RSV)
12b …but love covers all offenses.

If we LOVE a person, it is easy to forgive. It is not that LOVE is blind, but that it LOVES a person just as they are. LOVE makes patience easy. It is much easier to be patient with our own children than with the children of strangers. If we really LOVE our fellow-men and women, we can accept their faults, and bear with their foolishness, and even endure their unkindness. LOVE indeed can cover a multitude of sins.

(ii) It may mean that, if we LOVE others, God will overlook a multitude of sins in us. In life we meet two kinds of people. We meet those who have no faults at which the finger may be pointed; they are moral, orthodox, and supremely respectable; but they are hard and grim and unable to understand why others make mistakes and fall into sin. We also meet those who have all kinds of faults; but they are kind and sympathetic and they seldom or never condemn. It is the second kind of person to whom the heart more readily warms; and in all reverence we may say that it is so with God. He will forgive much to the person who LOVES his/her fellow-men and women.

(iii) It may mean that God's LOVE covers the multitude of our sins. That is blessedly and profoundly true. It is the wonder of grace that, sinners as we are, God LOVES us; that is why He sent His Son Jesus Christ…….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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November 17, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Eleven”

1 Peter 3:13-22 (RSV)
13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right? 14 But even if you do suffer for righteousness' sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence; 16 and keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are abused, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing right, if that should be God's will, than for doing wrong. 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; 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God's patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

Heavenly Father, we come to You with what would be a momentous and unobtainable task for us the children of Eve, but is possible through Your eternal power and grace. We pray You make us holy as You are holy, not that we would ever acquire Your perfect holiness, but that we would genuinely reflect as much LOVE and grace to You and our fellow humanity as You see fit for us.

Oh Lord, we yearn for the future when there is no more weariness or struggle with temptation or sin. When we arise in complete LOVE for You, and for all of Your creation, as You would have us. When the Light never hides itself, but shines brightly for ever !!!

Thank You Father, for hearing our prayers, Thy will be done, in Jesus’ name we pray Amen and eternally Amen and Amen.

And Lord bless Cheryl in Jesus name Amen…


This is not only one of the most difficult passages in Peter's letter, it is one of the most difficult in the whole New Testament; and it is also the basis of one of the most difficult articles in the creed, "He descended into Hell." It is, therefore, better first of all to read it as a whole and then to study it in its various sections.

Although this passage is one of the most difficult in the New Testament, it begins with something which anyone can understand. The point that Peter is making is that, even if the Christian is compelled to suffer unjustly for their faith, they, we, are only walking the way that OUR Lord and Savior has already walked. The suffering Christian must always remember that we have a suffering Lord. In the narrow compass of these two verses Peter has the greatest and the deepest things to say about the work of Jesus Christ.

(i) He lays it down that the work of Christ was unique and never need be repeated. Christ died once and for all for sins. The New Testament says this same thing often. When Christ died, He died once and for all:

Romans 6:10 (RSV)
10 The death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.

The priestly sacrifices in the Temple have to be repeated daily but Christ made the perfect sacrifice once and for all when he offered Himself up:

Hebrews 7:27 (RSV)
27 He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; he did this once for all when he offered up himself.

Christ was once and for all offered to bear the sin of many:

Hebrews 9:28 (RSV)
28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once and for all:

Hebrews 10:1 (RSV)
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near.

The New Testament is ABSOLUTELY VIVIDLY CERTAIN that on the Cross something happened which never needs to happen again and that in that happening SIN IS FINALLY DEFEATED!!! On the Cross God dealt with man's sin in a way which is adequate for all sin, for all humanity, for all time.

(ii) Peter lays it down that that sacrifice was for sin, OUR SIN. Christ died once and for all for sins, OUR SINS. This again is frequently said in the New Testament. Christ died for OUR SINS according to the scriptures:

1 Corinthians 15:3 (RSV)
3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,

Christ gave Himself for OUR SINS:

Galatians 1:4 (RSV)
4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father;

The function of the High Priest, and Jesus Christ is the perfect High Priest, is to offer sacrifice for sins:

Hebrews 5:1 (RSV)
1 For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins.

Hebrews 5:3 (RSV)
3 Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people.

He is the expiation (COMPENSATION) for OUR SINS:

1 John 2:2 (RSV)
2 and he is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

The Greek for sins is either (huper) or (peri) (hamartion). It so happens that in the Greek version of the Old Testament the regular phrase for a sin-offering is (peri) (hamartias). (Hamartias), is the singular of (hamartion), as, for instance, in:

Leviticus 5:7 (RSV)
7 "But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring, as his guilt offering to the LORD for the sin which he has committed, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.

Leviticus 6:30 (RSV)
30 But no sin offering shall be eaten from which any blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the holy place; it shall be burned with fire.

That is to say, Peter is laying it down that the death of Jesus Christ and Him alone is the only-sacrifice which atones for the sin of mankind.

((((((( Nothing we can ever do can save us or preserve our salvation!!!!!!! )))))))

We may put it this way. Sin is that which interrupts the relationship which should exist between God and humanity. The object of sacrifice is to restore that lost relationship. The bloody-death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross, however we explain it, restores the lost relationship between God and mankind of those who choose to accept and LOVE Jesus Christ. As Charles Wesley put it in verse:

“No condemnation now I dread:

Jesus, and all in him, is mine!

Alive in him, my living Head,

And clothed in righteousness divine,

Bold I approach the eternal throne,

And claim the crown, through Christ my own.”

It may be that we will never agree in our theories of what exactly happened on the Cross, for, indeed, as Charles Wesley said in that same hymn: "'Tis mystery all!" But on one thing we can agree—through what happened there we may enter into a new relationship with God.

(iii) Peter lays it down that that sacrifice was vicarious (mediated). Christ died once and for all for sins, the just for the unjust. That the just should suffer for the unjust is an extraordinary thing. At first sight it looks like injustice. As Edwin H. Robertson put it:

"Only forgiveness without reason can match sin without excuse."

The suffering of Christ was for us; and the mystery is that He who deserved no suffering bore that suffering for us who deserved to suffer. Jesus and Jesus only, sacrificed Himself to restore our lost relationship with God.

(iv) Peter lays it down that the work of Christ was to bring us to God. Christ died once and for all for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. The word for "to bring" is (prosagein). It has two vivid backgrounds.

(a) It has a Jewish background. It is used in the Old Testament of bringing to God those who are to be priests. It is God's instruction:

Exodus 29:4 (RSV)
4 You shall bring Aaron and his sons to the door of the tent of meeting, and wash them with water.

The point is this—as the Jews saw it, only the priests had the right of close access to God. In the Temple the layman might come so far; he could pass through the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Women, the Court of the Israelites—but there he must stop. Into the Court of the Priests, into the nearer presence of God, he could not go; and of the priests, only the High Priest could enter into the Holy of Holies. But Jesus Christ brings us to God; He opens the way for all humanity to His nearer presence, into the Holy of Holies.

(b) It has a Greek background. In the New Testament the corresponding noun (prosagoge) is three times used. (Prosagein) means to bring in; (prosagoge) means the right of access, the result of the bringing in. Through Jesus Christ we have access to grace:

Romans 5:2 (RSV)
2 Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God.

Through Jesus we have access to God the Father:

Ephesians 2:18 (RSV)
18 for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father.

Through Jesus we have boldness and access and confidence to come to God:

Ephesians 3:12 (RSV)
12 in whom we have boldness and confidence of access through our faith in him.

In Greek this had a specialized meaning. At the court of kings there was an official called the prosagogeus, the introducer, the giver of access, and it was his function to decide who should be admitted to the king's presence and who should be kept out. He, as it were, held the keys of access. It is Jesus Christ, through what He did on that blood-soaked cross, who gives us access to God.

(v) When we go beyond these two verses, further into the passage, we can add two more great truths to Peter's view of the work of Christ.

1 Peter 3:19 (RSV)
19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,

Jesus preached to the spirits in prison; and in:

1 Peter 4:6 (RSV)
6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.

Peter says that the gospel was preached to them that are dead. As we shall go on to see, this most probably means that in the time between Jesus’ death and His resurrection Jesus actually preached the gospel in the abode of the dead; that is to say, to those who in their lifetime had never had the opportunity to hear it.

John 14:6 (RSV)
6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.

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."

Here is a tremendous thought. It means that the work of Christ is infinite in its range. It means that no human who ever lived is outside the grace of God. ***Everyone will have an opportunity to hear the Gospel, and an opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their ONLY LORD, their ONLY GOD, and their ONLY SAVIOR!!!!!!!

(vi) Peter sees the work of Christ in terms of complete triumph. Peter says that after His resurrection Jesus went into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him:

1 Peter 3:22 (RSV)
22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

The meaning is that there is nothing in earth and heaven outside the empire, domain, of Jesus Christ. To all humanity He brought the new relationship between mankind and God; in His death Jesus even brought the good news to the dead; in His resurrection He conquered death; even the angelic and the demonic powers are subject to Jesus; and Jesus has the very power and throne of God.

For JESUS IS GOD!!!  

John 10:30 (RSV)
30 I and the Father are one."

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

Jesus Christ the sufferer has become Jesus Christ the victor; Jesus Christ the crucified has become Jesus Christ the crowned; Jesus Christ the Savior is forever more: the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the Creator God…….The ONLY GOD ((( Father, Son, and Holy Spirit )))

We have already said that we are here face to face with one of the most difficult passages, not only in Peter's letter, but in the whole New Testament; and, if we are to grasp what it means, we must follow Peter's own advice and gird up the loins of our mind to study it.

This passage has lodged in the creed in the phrase: "He descended into hell." We must first note that this phrase is very misleading. The idea of the New Testament is not that Jesus descended into hell but that He descended into Hades.

Acts 2:27 (RSV)
27 For thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades, nor let thy Holy One see corruption.

As all the newer translations correctly show, should be translated not: "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell," but, "Thou wilt not abandon my soul to Hades." The difference is this. Hell is the place of the punishment of the wicked; Hades was the place where all the dead went before Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The Jews had a very shadowy conception of life beyond the grave. They did not think in terms of heaven and of hell but of a shadowy world, where the spirits of people moved like grey ghosts in an everlasting twilight and where there was neither strength nor joy. Such was Hades, into which the spirits of all people went after death. Isaiah writes:

Isaiah 38:18 (RSV)
18 For Sheol cannot thank thee, death cannot praise thee; those who go down to the pit cannot hope for thy faithfulness.

The Psalmist wrote:

Psalm 6:5 (RSV)
5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee; in Sheol who can give thee praise?

Psalm 30:9 (RSV)
9 "What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise thee? Will it tell of thy faithfulness?

Psalm 88:10-12 (RSV)
10 Dost thou work wonders for the dead? Do the shades rise up to praise thee? [Selah] 11 Is thy steadfast love declared in the grave, or thy faithfulness in Abaddon? 12 Are thy wonders known in the darkness, or thy saving help in the land of forgetfulness?

Psalm 115:17 (RSV)
17 The dead do not praise the LORD, nor do any that go down into silence.

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.

The Jewish conception of the world after death was of this grey world of shadows and forgetfulness, in which people were separated from life and light and God.

As time went on, there emerged the idea of stages and divisions in this shadowy-land. For some it was to last forever; but for others it was a kind of prison-house in which they were held until the final judgment of God's wrath should blast them:

Isaiah 24:21-22 (RSV)
21 On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22 They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished.

2 Peter 2:4 (RSV)
4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;

Revelation 20:1-7 (RSV)
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain. 2 And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, 3 and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years were ended. After that he must be loosed for a little while. 4 Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom judgment was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony to Jesus and for the word of God, and who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life, and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and they shall reign with him a thousand years. 7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be loosed from his prison

So, then, it must first of all be remembered that this whole matter is to be thought of, not in terms of hell, as we understand the word, but in terms of Christ's going to the dead in their shadowy world. Where people wait for their final judgment……………………

Since Christ’s death and resurrection, those who die saved, IMMEDIATELY go to be with Him with the Father…

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

2 Corinthians 5:8 (RSV)
8 We are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Philippians 1:23 (RSV)
23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better.

This doctrine of the descent into Hades, as we must now call it, is based on two phrases in our present passage. It says that Jesus went and preached to the spirits who are in prison”

1 Peter 3:19 (RSV)
19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison,

1 Peter 4:6 (RSV)
6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to the dead, that though judged in the flesh like men, they might live in the spirit like God.

***In regard to this doctrine there have always been differing attitudes amongst thinkers.

(i) There are those who wish to eliminate it altogether. There is the attitude of elimination. Some wish to eliminate it altogether and attempt to do so along two lines.

(a) Peter says that in the Spirit Christ preached to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient in the time when the patience of God waited in the days of Noah, when the ark was being built. It is argued that what this means is that it was in the time of Noah himself that Christ did this preaching; that in the Spirit long ages before this he made his appeal to the wicked men of Noah's day. This would completely do away with the idea of the descent into Hades. Many great scholars have accepted that view; but I do not think it is the view which comes naturally from Peter's words.

(b) If we look at Moffatt's translation, we find something quite different. He translates:

"In the flesh he (Christ) was put to death, but he came to life in the Spirit. It was in the Spirit that Enoch also went and preached to the imprisoned spirits who had disobeyed at the time when God's patience held out during the construction of the ark in the days of Noah."

How does Moffatt arrive at this translation?

The name of Enoch does not appear in any Greek manuscript. But in the consideration of the text of any Greek author, scholars sometimes use a process called emendation. They think that there is something wrong with the text as it stands, that some scribe has perhaps copied it wrongly; and they, therefore, suggest that some word should be changed or added.

What reason is there for bringing Enoch  into this passage at all? He has always been a fascinating and mysterious person.

Genesis 5:24 (RSV)
24 Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

In between the Old and New Testaments many legends sprang up about Enoch and famous and important books were written under his name. One of the legends was that Enoch, though a man, acted as "God's envoy" to the angels who sinned by coming to earth and lustfully seducing mortal women:

Genesis 6:2 (RSV)
2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose.

In the Book of Enoch it is said that he was sent down from heaven to announce to these angels their final doom (Enoch 12: 1) and that he proclaimed that for them, because of their sin, there was neither peace nor forgiveness ever (Enoch 12 and 13).

So then, according to Jewish legend, Enoch did go to Hades and preach doom to the fallen angels. Moffatt thus suggested Enoch should be added to our text and did so in his translation. That is an extremely interesting and ingenious suggestion but without doubt it must be rejected. ***There is no evidence for it at all; and it is not natural to bring in Enoch, for the whole picture is of the work of Jesus Christ.

We have seen that the attempt at the elimination of this passage fails.

(ii) The second attitude is limitation. This attitude—and it is that of some very great New Testament interpreters—believes that Peter is indeed saying that Jesus went to Hades and preached, but that He by no means preached to all the inhabitants of Hades. Different interpreters limit that preaching in different ways.

(a) It is argued that Jesus preached in Hades only to the spirits of the men who were disobedient in the days of Noah. Those who hold this view often go on to argue that, since these sinners were desperately disobedient, so much so that God sent the flood and destroyed them:

Genesis 6:12-13 (RSV)
12 And God saw the earth, and behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted their way upon the earth. 13 And God said to Noah, "I have determined to make an end of all flesh; for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

I KNOW that no person is outside the mercy and grace of God. They were the worst of all sinners and yet they were given another chance of repentance because they had not had the opportunity to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior; therefore, the worst of mankind, I being the worst as Paul also thought of himself,

1 Timothy 1:15 (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;

ALL mankind has an opportunity to be saved by the precious, glorious, awesome, ALL POWERFUL SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, those never hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who are desperately evil that genuinely fall in LOVE with Jesus Christ……..

((( THE ONE TRUE JESUS CHRIST WILL BE PROCLAIMED TO THEM!!! )))

(b) It is argued that Jesus preached to the fallen angels, and preached, not salvation, but final and awful doom. We have already mentioned these angels. Their story is told in:

Genesis 6:1-8 (RSV)
1 When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. 3 Then the LORD said, "My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." 4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. 5 The LORD 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. 6 And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7 So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the ground, man and beast and creeping things and birds of the air, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.

They were tempted by the beauty of mortal women; they came to earth, seduced them and begat children; and because of their action, it is inferred, the wickedness of man was great and his thoughts were always evil.

2 Peter 2:4 (RSV)
4 For if God did not spare the angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of nether gloom to be kept until the judgment;

It was to them that Enoch did, in fact, preach; and there are those who think that what this passage means is not that Christ preached mercy and another chance; but that, in token of His complete triumph, he preached terrible doom to those angels who had sinned.

(c) It is argued that Christ preached only to those who had been righteous and that He led them out of Hades into the paradise of God. We have seen how the Jews believed that all the dead went to Hades, the shadowy land of forgetfulness. The argument is that before Christ that was indeed so but he opened the gates of heaven to mankind; and, when He did so, He went to Hades and told the glad news to all the righteous people of all past generations and led them out to God. That is a magnificent picture. Those who hold this view often go on to say that, because of Christ, there is now no time spent in the shadows of Hades and the way to paradise is open as soon as this world closes on us. ((( Which I teach )))

(iii) There is the attitude that what Peter is saying is that Jesus Christ, between His death and resurrection, went to the world of the dead and preached the gospel there. Peter says that Jesus Christ was put to death in the flesh but raised to life in the Spirit, and that it was in the Spirit that He so preached. The meaning is that Jesus lived in a human body and was under all the limitations of time and space in the days of His flesh; and died with that body broken and bleeding upon the Cross. But when He rose again, He rose with a spiritual body, in which He was rid of the necessary weaknesses of humanity and liberated from the necessary limitations of time and space. It was in this spiritual condition of perfect freedom that the preaching to the dead took place.

As it stands this doctrine is stated in categories which are outworn. It speaks of the descent into Hades and the very word descent suggests a three-storey universe in which heaven is localized above the sky and Hades beneath the earth. But, laying aside the physical categories of this doctrine, we can find in it truths which are eternally valid and precious, three in particular.

(a) If Christ descended into Hades, then His death was no sham. It is not to be explained in terms of a swoon on the Cross, or anything like that. He really experienced death, and rose again. At its simplest, the doctrine of the descent into Hades lays down the complete identity of Christ with our human condition, even to the experience of death.

(b) If Christ descended into Hades, it means that His triumph is universal. This, in fact, is a truth which is ingrained into the New Testament. It is Paul's dream that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth and things under the earth:

Philippians 2:10 (RSV)
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

In the Revelation the song of praise comes from every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth and under the earth:

Revelation 5:13 (RSV)
13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all therein, saying, "To him who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might for ever and ever!"

He who ascended into Heaven is He who first descended into the lower parts of the earth:

Ephesians 4:9-10 (RSV)
9 (In saying, "He ascended," what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

The total submission of the universe and ALL OF CREATION to Jesus Christ is woven into the thought of the New Testament.

(c) If Christ descended into Hades and preached there, there is no corner of the universe or existence into which the message of grace has not come. There is in this passage the solution of one of the most haunting questions raised by the Christian faith—what is to happen to those who lived before Jesus Christ and to those to whom the gospel never came? There can be no salvation without repentance but how can repentance come to those who have never been confronted with the LOVE and holiness of God? If there is no other name by which any human being may be saved, what is to happen to those who never heard it? This is the point that Justin Martyr fastened on long ago:

"The Lord, the Holy God of Israel, remembered His dead, those sleeping in the earth, and came down to them to tell them the good news of salvation."

The doctrine of the descent into Hades conserves the precious truth that no human being who ever lived is left without a sight of Jesus Christ and without the offer of the salvation of God.

Many in repeating the creed have found the phrase "He descended into hell" either meaningless or bewildering, and have tacitly agreed to set it on one side and forget it. It may well be that we ought to think of this as a picture painted in terms of poetry rather than a doctrine stated in terms of theology. But it contains these three great truths—that Jesus Christ not only tasted death but drained the cup of death, that the triumph of Christ is universal, eternal and that there is no corner of the universe or existence into which the grace of God has not reached.

Peter has been speaking about the wicked people who were disobedient and corrupt in the days of Noah; they were ultimately destroyed. But in the destruction by the flood eight people—Noah and his wife, his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth, and their wives—were brought to safety in the ark. Immediately the idea of being brought to safety through the water turns Peter's thoughts to Christian baptism, which is also a bringing to safety through the water. What Peter literally says is that baptism is an antitype of Noah and his people in the ark.

This word introduces us to a special way of looking at the Old Testament. There are two closely connected words. There is (tupos), type, which means a seal, and there is (antitupos), antitype, which means the impression of the seal. Clearly, between the seal and its impression there is the closest possible correspondence. So there are people and events and customs in the Old Testament which are types, and which find their antitypes in the New Testament. The Old Testament event or person is like the seal; the New Testament event or person is like the impression; the two answer to each other. We might put it that the Old Testament event symbolically represents and foreshadows the New Testament event. The science of finding types and antitypes in the Old and the New Testaments is very highly developed. But to take very simple and obvious examples, the Passover Lamb and the scapegoat, who bore the sins of the people, are types of Jesus; and the work of the High Priest in making sacrifice for the sins of the people is a type of His saving work. Here Peter sees the bringing safely through the waters of Noah and his family as a type of baptism.

In this passage Peter has three great things to say about baptism. It must be remembered that at this stage of the Church's history we are still dealing with adult baptism, the baptism of people who had come straight from heathenism into Christianity and who were taking upon themselves a new way of life.

(i) Baptism is not merely a physical cleansing; it is a spiritual cleansing of the whole heart and soul and life. Its effect must be on a person’s very soul and on OUR whole life.

(ii) Peter calls baptism the pledge of a good conscience to God:

1 Peter 3:21 (RSV)
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

The word Peter uses for pledge is (eperotema). In every business contract there was a definite question and answer which made the contract binding. The question was: "Do you accept the terms of this contract, and bind yourself to observe them?" And the answer, before witnesses was: "Yes." Without that question and answer the contract was not valid. The technical word for that question and answer clause is (eperotema) in Greek, stipulatio in Latin.

Peter is, in effect, saying that in baptism God said to the person coming direct from heathenism: "Do you accept the terms of my service? Do you accept its privileges and promises, and do you undertake its responsibilities and its demands?" And in the act of being baptized the person answered: "Yes."

To us today baptism is first, a symbol of our acknowledgment of an inward cleansing from ALL OUR SINS, secondly it is an outward obedience to whom we now belong………………………….

((((((( WE BELONG TO JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!! )))))))

Next time we begin chapter 4, of The First Epistle of Peter…

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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November 10, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Ten”

1 Peter 3:8-12 (RSV)
8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love of the brethren, a tender heart and a humble mind. 9 Do not return evil for evil or reviling for reviling; but on the contrary bless, for to this you have been called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For "He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; 11 let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those that do evil."

Lord, bless those who are in need, We pray You will intervene in the lives of the Lost, that they would have an opportunity to be saved! We pray that You would heal the sick and care for their families; provide for those who are in physical need. Protect those who are in danger from any source. Deliver those who are in emotional, psychological, and especially spiritual turmoil, save, guide, and be with them. Protect those who are in financial need; and above ALL, not our wills but THY WILL BE DONE……………In Jesus’ precious name Amen and eternally Amen!!!!!!! “

Peter, as it were, gathers together the great qualities of the Christian life.

(i) Right in the forefront he sets Christian unity. It is worth while to collect together the great New Testament passages about unity, in order to see how great a place it occupies in New Testament thought. The basis of the whole matter is in the words of Jesus who prayed for His people that they might all be one, as He and His Father were one:

John 17:21-23 (RSV)
21 that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

In the thrilling early days of the Church this prayer was fulfilled, for they were all of one heart and of soul:

Acts 4:32 (RSV)
32 Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things which he possessed was his own, but they had everything in common.

Over and over again Paul exhorts people to this unity and prays for it. He reminds the Christians of Rome that, though they are many, they are one body, and he pleads with them to be of one mind:

Romans 12:4 (RSV)
4 For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function,

Romans 12:16 (RSV)
16 Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; never be conceited.

This is something that much of the present Church HAS GREAT PROBLEMS WITH…….

In writing to the Christians of Corinth, Paul uses the same picture of the Christians as members of one body in spite of all their differing qualities and gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:12-31 (RSV)
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body -- Jews or Greeks, slaves or free -- and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the organs in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single organ, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you." 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. 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. 29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Paul pleads with the quarrelling Corinthians that there should be no divisions among them and that they should be perfectly joined together in the same mind:

1 Corinthians 1:10 (RSV)
10 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

Paul tells them that strife and divisions are fleshly things, marks that they are living on purely human standards, without the mind of Christ:

1 Corinthians 3:3 (RSV)
3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men?

Oh, how God’s Word so vividly sheds light on how we really are……

Because they, we have partaken of the one bread, WE should be, WE must be one body:

1 Corinthians 10:17 (RSV)
17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

Paul tells them that they must be of one mind and must live in peace:

2 Corinthians 13:11 (RSV)
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Mend your ways, heed my appeal, agree with one another, live in peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

In Christ Jesus the dividing walls are down, and Jew and Greek are united into one:

Ephesians 2:13-14 (RSV)
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility,

If Jew and Greek are one through the power of the Holy Spirit, we who are black or white, green or yellow or red, or whatever race or color this evil world decrees us to be; WE MUST BE ONE…………………….

NO COLOR, NO RACE, just ALL CHILDREN OF THE ONE TRUE GOD!!!!!!!

Christians must maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, remembering that there is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all:

Ephesians 4:3-6 (RSV)
3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6 one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.

ONE FATHER OF US ALL………………………………………….

We do not simply ignore race or color, but we NO-LONGER SEE OR CONSCIOUSLY OR UNCONSCIOUSLY THINK RACE OR COLOR!!!!!!!

My Mother was married 3 times, I was the only child of my father; so all my sisters legally are half-sisters. I once in my youth told this in innocence to my sister Shirley, WHO EXPLODED!!! “You are not my half-brother”, she emphatically professed, “YOU ARE MY BROTHER”………

***If we are genuine Christians that MUST BE HOW WE SEE, THINK, and inwardly believe of all mankind, they are our brothers and sisters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

((( I am most grateful TO MY SISTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )))

Paul continues in this theme and states the Philippians must stand fast in one spirit, striving together with one mind for the faith of the gospel; in so doing they will make Paul's happiness complete, if they have the same LOVE and have one accord and one mind; the quarrelling Euodias and Syntyche are urged to be of one mind in the Lord:

Philippians 1:27 (RSV)
27 Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

Philippians 2:2 (RSV)
2 complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.

Philippians 4:2 (RSV)
2 I entreat Eu-o'dia and I entreat Syn'tyche to agree in the Lord.

All through the New Testament rings this plea for Christian unity. It is more than a plea; it is an announcement that NO PERSON can live the Christian life unless in their personal relationships they are at unity with their fellow-men and women; and that the Church cannot be truly Christian if there are divisions within it.

As in the Church, so should WE LIVE OUR DAILY, MOMENT BY MOMENT LIVES OUTSIDE the CHURCH………………….If we are Christian???

It is tragic to realize how far WE are from realizing this unity in our personal lives and how far the Church is from realizing it within herself. C. E. B. Cranfield writes so finely of this that we cannot do other than quote his whole comment in full, lengthy though it is:

"The New Testament never treats this agreeing in Christ as an unnecessary though highly desirable spiritual luxury, but as something essential to the true being of the Church. Divisions, whether disagreements between individual members or the existence of factions and parties and—how much more!—our present-day denominations, constitute a calling in question of the Gospel itself and a sign that those who are involved are carnal. The more seriously we take the New Testament, the more urgent and painful becomes our sense of the sinfulness of the divisions, and the more earnest our prayers and strivings after the peace and unity of the Church on earth. That does not mean that the like-mindedness we are to strive for is to be a drab uniformity of the sort beloved of bureaucrats. Rather is it to be a unity in which powerful tensions are held together by an over-mastering loyalty, and strong antipathies of race and colour, temperament and taste, social position and economic interest, are overcome in common worship and common obedience. Such unity will only come when Christians are humble and bold enough to lay hold on the unity already given in Christ and to take it more seriously than their own self-importance and sin, and to make of these deep differences of doctrine, which originate in our imperfect understanding of the Gospel and which we dare not belittle, not an excuse for letting go of one another or staying apart, but rather an incentive for a more earnest seeking in fellowship together to hear and obey the voice of Christ."

There speaks the prophetic voice to our modern condition, in and outside the Church.

(ii) Second, Peter sets sympathy. Here again the whole New Testament urges this duty upon us. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep:

Romans 12:15 (RSV)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

When one member of the body suffers all the other members suffer with them; and when one member is honored, all the members rejoice with for them:

1 Corinthians 12:26 (RSV)
26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

It must be so with Christians, who are the body of Christ. One thing is clear, sympathy and selfishness cannot coexist.*** So long as the self is the most important thing in the world, there can be no such thing as sympathy; sympathy depends on the willingness to forget self and to identify oneself with the pains and sorrows of others. Sympathy comes to the heart when Jesus Christ reigns there.

(iii) Third, Peter sets brotherly LOVE. Again the matter goes back to the words of Jesus.

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."

Here the New Testament speaks with unmistakable definiteness and with almost frightening directness.

1 John 3:14-15 (RSV)
14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. 15 Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

1 John 4:20 (RSV)
20 If any one says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

The simple fact is that LOVE of God and to LOVE ALL HUMAN BEINGS go hand in hand; the one cannot exist without the other. The simplest test of the reality of the Christianity of a person or a Church is whether or not it makes them LOVE their fellow-men and women, inside and outside the Church.  ((( ALL PEOPLE )))

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."

(iv) Fourth, Peter sets compassion. There is a sense in which pity is in danger of becoming a lost virtue. The conditions of our own age tend to blunt the edge of the mind to sensitiveness in pity. As C. E. B. Cranfield puts it:

"We got used to hearing on the radio of a thousand-bomber raid as we ate our breakfast. We have got used to the idea of millions of people becoming refugees."

We can read of the thousands of casualties on the roads with no reaction within our hearts, forgetting that each means a broken body or a broken heart for someone. WE CAN DENY THE MURDER OF 30 MILLION ABORTED BABIES……. It is easy to lose the sense of pity and still easier to be satisfied with a sentimentalism which feels a moment's comfortable sorrow and does nothing. Pity is of the very essence of God and compassion of the very being of Jesus Christ; a pity so great that God sent His only Son to die for man-kind, a compassion so intense that it took Christ to the Cross. There can be no Christianity without compassion.

(v) Fifth, Peter sets humility. Christian humility comes from two things. It comes, first, from the sense of creatureliness. The Christian is humble because we should be ETERNALLY aware of our utter dependence on God and that of ourselves WE CAN DO NOTHING!!! It comes, second, from the fact that the Christian has a new standard of comparison. It may well be that when we compare ourselves with other people, we have nothing to fear from the comparison. But the Christian's standard of comparison is Jesus Christ, and, compared with His sinless perfection, WE ARE EVER IN DEFAULT……. *******NOT EVEN ABLE TO SAVE OR MAINTAIN OUR SALVATION BY ANY WORK OR OBEDIENCE WE MIGHT DO!!!******* When we as Christians remember our ABSOLUTE and COMPLETE dependence on God and keep before us the standard of Jesus Christ, We must remain humble.

(vi) Lastly, and as a culmination, Peter sets forgiveness. It is to receive forgiveness from God and to give forgiveness to others that the Christian is called. The one SHOULD NOT exist without the other; it is only when we forgive others their sins against us that we have a right and glorious relationship with God!!!

Matthew 6:12 (RSV)
12 And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors;

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.

***The mark of the Christian is that we forgive others as God has forgiven them………………….

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

As was natural for him, Peter sums the matter up by quoting:

Psalm 34:1-22 (RSV)
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. 2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad. 3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together! 4 I sought the LORD, and he answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. 5 Look to him, and be radiant; so your faces shall never be ashamed. 6 This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. 7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and delivers them. 8 O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him! 9 O fear the LORD, you his saints, for those who fear him have no want! 10 The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing. 11 Come, O sons, listen to me, I will teach you the fear of the LORD. 12 What man is there who desires life, and covets many days, that he may enjoy good? 13 Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. 14 Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. 15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry. 16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. 17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. 18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous; but the LORD delivers him out of them all. 20 He keeps all his bones; not one of them is broken. 21 Evil shall slay the wicked; and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. 22 The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

***Psalm 34 with its picture of the person whom God receives and the person whom God rejects.***

Next week we will Lord willing, finish chapter 3 and begin chapter 4.

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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November 3, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Nine”

1 Peter 3:1-7 (RSV)
1 Likewise you wives, be submissive to your husbands, so that some, though they do not obey the word, may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, 2 when they see your reverent and chaste behavior. 3 Let not yours be the outward adorning with braiding of hair, decoration of gold, and wearing of fine clothing, 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. 5 So once the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves and were submissive to their husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are now her children if you do right and let nothing terrify you. 7 Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.

Abba Father,


We as husbands and wives come before You and open our lives, our hearts and our union to Your LOVE. Come and move in our minds, bringing hope and vision for our lives together. Move within our emotions to smooth away the tensions and disappointments we feel.

Lord, please renew our strength, restore our energy with peaceful rest tonight, gentle dreams and with the intimacy of our friendship and LOVE.

Show us how to be better husbands and wives. Sometimes we feel that we have lost the LOVE of each other. We are so often stressed and tired by daily life. We struggle to find the energy to care for each other. Help us to find the excitement and chemistry of our LOVE again. Help us to connect afresh and communicate better. Inspire our hearts to be the first to initiate. Inspire our thoughts to surprise each other with attention. We give You the hurt we often feel inside sometimes. We ask for forgiveness for the times our words or actions hurt our spouses. With You we can always find new beginnings. With You we can remember the good times and renew our LOVE together. You know us as individuals and as couples. You are journeying with us in our marriages. Guide us through the seasons of difficulty into the warmth of summer. Guide our lives to find new adventures to share together. Remind us of our first LOVE for each other. Remind us to be the first to forgive, The first to LOVE and the first to act. That we may again fall in LOVE with our spouses.

Help us to mutually submit one to another, and help us base our relationships with our spouses in our LOVE for You Father, Help us be what You want us to be, for our spouses, our children, our families, for all Your children the Church, and for all the people You put in put our paths. In Jesus name we pray Amen and eternally Amen………………………….



Peter turns to the domestic problems which Christianity inevitably produced. It was inevitable that one marriage partner might be won for Christ, while the other remained untouched by the appeal of the gospel; and such a situation inevitably had difficulties.

It may seem strange that Peter's advice to wives is six times as long as that to husbands. This is because the wife's position was far more difficult than that of the husband. If a husband became a Christian, he would automatically bring his wife with him into the Church and there would be no problem. But if a wife became a Christian while her husband did not, she was taking a step which was unprecedented and which produced the acutest problems.

In every sphere of ancient civilization, women had no rights at all. Under Jewish law a woman was a thing; she was owned by her husband in exactly the same way as he owned his sheep and his goats: on no account could she leave him, although he could dismiss her at any moment. For a wife to change her religion while her husband did not was unthinkable.

In Greek civilization the duty of the woman was "to remain indoors and to be obedient to her husband." It was the sign of a good woman that she must see as little, hear as little and ask as little as possible. She had no kind of independent existence and no kind of mind of her own, and her husband could divorce her almost at a whim, so long as he returned her dowry.

Under Roman law a woman had no rights. In law she remained forever a child. When she was under her father she was under the patria potestas, the father's power, which gave the father the right even of life and death over her; and when she married she passed equally into the power of her husband. She was entirely subject to her husband and completely at his mercy. Cato the Censor, the typical ancient Roman, wrote:

 "If you were to catch your wife in an act of infidelity, you can kill her with impunity without a trial."

Roman matrons were prohibited from drinking wine, and Egnatius beat his wife to death when he found her doing so. Sulpicius Gallus dismissed his wife because she had once appeared in the streets without a veil. Antistius Vetus divorced his wife because he saw her secretly speaking to a freed woman in public. Publius Sempronius Sophus divorced his wife because once she went to the public games. The whole attitude of ancient civilization was that no woman could dare make any decision for herself.

What, then, must have been the problems of the wife who became a Christian while her husband remained faithful to the ancestral gods? It is almost impossible for us to realize what life must have been for the wife who was brave enough to become a Christian.

What, then, is Peter's advice in such a case? We must first note what he does not advise.

He does not advise the wife to leave her husband. In this he takes exactly the same attitude as Paul takes:

1 Corinthians 7:13-16 (RSV)
13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is consecrated through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is consecrated through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is they are holy. 15 But if the unbelieving partner desires to separate, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. For God has called us to peace. 16 Wife, how do you know whether you will save your husband? Husband, how do you know whether you will save your wife?

Both Paul and Peter are quite sure that the Christian wife must remain with the heathen husband so long as he does not send her away. Peter does not tell the wife to preach or to argue. He does not tell her to insist that there is no difference between slave and freeman, Gentile and Jew, male and female, but that all are the same in the presence of the Christ whom she has come to know.

He tells her something very simple—nothing else than to be a good wife. It is by the silent preaching of the LOVEliness of her life that she must break down the barriers of prejudice and hostility, and win her husband for her new Master.

She must be submissive. It is not a spineless submission that is meant but, as someone has finely put it, a "voluntary selflessness."  It is the submission which is based on the death of pride and the desire to serve. It is the submission not of fear but of perfect LOVE.

She must be pure. There must be in her life a beautiful chastity and fidelity founded on LOVE.

She must be reverent. She must live in the conviction that the whole world is the Temple of God and that all life is lived in the presence of Christ.

Bengel speaks of "the labor bestowed on dress which consumes much time." Such labor is no modern thing. We have already seen that in the ancient world women had no part in public life whatsoever; they had nothing to pass their time; for that reason it was sometimes argued that they must be allowed an interest in dress and adornment. Cato the Censor insisted on simplicity; Lucius Valerius answered:

"Why should men grudge women their ornaments and their dress? Women cannot hold public offices, or priesthoods, or gain triumphs; they have no public occupations. What, then, can they do but devote their time to adornment and to dress?"

Undue interest in self-adornment was then, as it still is, a sign that the person who indulged in it had no greater things to occupy her mind.

The ancient moralists condemned undue luxury as much as the Christian teachers did. Quintilian, the Roman master of oratory, wrote:

"A tasteful and magnificent dress, as the Greek poet tells us, lends added dignity to the wearer: but effeminate and luxurious apparel fails to adorn the body, and only reveals the sordidness of the mind."

Epictetus, the philosopher, thinking of the narrow life to which women were condemned in the ancient world, said,

"Immediately after they are fourteen, women are called 'ladies' by men. And so, when they see that they have nothing else than to be bedfellows of men, they begin to beautify themselves and put all their hopes on that. It is, therefore, worthwhile for us to take pains to make them understand that they are honored for nothing else but only for appearing modest and self-respecting."

Epictetus and Peter agree.

There is at least one passage in the Old Testament which lists the various items of female adornment and threatens the day of judgment in which they will be destroyed. The passage is:

Isaiah 3:18-24 (RSV)
18 In that day the Lord will take away the finery of the anklets, the headbands, and the crescents; 19 the pendants, the bracelets, and the scarfs; 20 the headdresses, the armlets, the sashes, the perfume boxes, and the amulets; 21 the signet rings and nose rings; 22 the festal robes, the mantles, the cloaks, and the handbags; 23 the garments of gauze, the linen garments, the turbans, and the veils. 24 Instead of perfume there will be rottenness; and instead of a girdle, a rope; and instead of well-set hair, baldness; and instead of a rich robe, a girding of sackcloth; instead of beauty, shame.

In the world of the Greeks and the Romans it is interesting to collect the references to personal adornments. There were as many ways of dressing the hair as there were bees in Hybca. Hair was waved and dyed, sometimes black, more often auburn. Wigs were worn, especially blonde wigs, which are found even in the Christian catacombs; and hair to manufacture them was imported from Germany, and even from as far away as India. Hairbands, pins and combs were made of ivory, and boxwood, and tortoiseshell; and sometimes of gold, studded with gems.

Purple was the favorite color for clothes. One pound weight of the best Tyrian purple wool, strained twice through, cost 1,000 denarii, approximately $120.00. A tyrian cloak of the best purple cost well over $275.00. In one year silks, pearls, scents and jewelry were imported from India to the value of $2,750,000.00. Similar imports of luxury came from Arabia. Just think what these costs would be now???

Diamonds, emeralds, topazes, opals and the sardonyx were favorite stones. Struma Nonius had a ring valued at $59,221.00.  Pearls were loved most of all. Julius Caesar bought for Servilia a pearl which cost him $171,187.50. Earrings were made of pearls and Seneca spoke of women with two or three fortunes in their ears. Slippers were encrusted with them; Nero even had a room whose walls were covered with them. Pliny saw Lollia Paulina, wife of Caligula, wearing a dress so covered with pearls and emeralds that it had cost $1,271,500.00.

Christianity came into a world of luxury and decadence combined.

In face of all this Peter pleads for the graces which adorn the heart, which are precious in the sight of God. These were the jewels which adorned the holy women of old. Isaiah had called Sara the mother of God's faithful people:

Isaiah 51:2 (RSV)
2 Look to Abraham your father and to Sarah who bore you; for when he was but one I called him, and I blessed him and made him many.

*If Christian wives are adorned with the same graces of modesty, humility and chastity, they too will be her daughters and will be within the family of the faithful people of God.

A Christian wife of those times lived in a society where she would be tempted to senseless extravagance and where she might well go in fear of the impulses of her heathen husband; but she must live in selfless service, in goodness and in serene trust. That would be the best sermon she could preach to win her husband for Christ. There are few passages where the value of a LOVELY Christian life is so vividly stressed as these…………………………..

1 Peter 3:7 (RSV)
7 Likewise you husbands, live considerately with your wives, bestowing honor on the woman as the weaker sex, since you are joint heirs of the grace of life, in order that your prayers may not be hindered.

Short as this passage is, it has in it much of the very essence of the Christian ethic. That ethic is what may be called a reciprocal ethic. It never places all the responsibility on one side. If it speaks of the duties of slaves, it speaks also of the obligations of masters. If it speaks of the duty of children, it speaks also of the obligations of parents;  Consider:

Ephesians 6:1-9 (RSV)
1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2 "Honor your father and mother" (this is the first commandment with a promise), 3 "that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth." 4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. 5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your earthly masters, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as to Christ; 6 not in the way of eye-service, as men-pleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 rendering service with a good will as to the Lord and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good any one does, he will receive the same again from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 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 3:20-25 (RSV)
20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. 22 Slaves, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing the Lord. 23 Whatever your task, work heartily, as serving the Lord and not men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward; you are serving the Lord Christ. 25 For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality.

Colossians 4:1 (RSV)
1 Masters, treat your slaves justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven.

Peter has just laid down the duty of wives; now he lays down the duty of husbands. A marriage must be based on reciprocal obligation. A marriage in which all the privileges are on one side and all the obligations on the other is bound to be imperfect with every chance of failure. This was a new conception in the ancient world. We have already noted the woman's total lack of rights then and quoted Cato's statement of the rights of the husband. But we did not finish that quotation and we do so now:

"If you were to catch your wife in an act of infidelity, you can kill her with impunity without a trial; but, if she were to catch you, she would not venture to touch you with her finger and, indeed, she has no right."

In the Roman moral code all the obligation was on the wife and all the privilege with the husband. The Christian ethic never grants a privilege without a corresponding obligation.

What are the obligations of the husband?

(i) He must be understanding. He must be considerate and sensitive to the feelings of his wife. Somerset Maugham's mother was a very beautiful woman with the world at her feet but his father was unhandsome. Someone once asked her: "Why do you remain faithful to that ugly little man you married?" Her answer was: "Because he never hurts me." Understanding and considerateness had forged an unbreakable bond. The cruelty which is hardest to bear is often not deliberate but the product of sheer thoughtlessness.

(ii) He must be chivalrous. He must remember that women are the weaker sex and treat them with courtesy. In the ancient world chivalry to women was well-nigh unknown. It was, and still is, no uncommon sight in the East to see the man riding on a donkey while the woman trudged by his side. It was Christianity which introduced chivalry into the relationship between men and women.

(iii) He must remember that the woman has equal spiritual rights. She is a fellow-heir of the grace of life. Women did not share in the worship of the Greeks and the Romans. Even in the Jewish synagogue they had no share in the service, and in the orthodox synagogue still have none. When they were admitted to the synagogue at all, they were segregated from the men and hidden behind a screen. Here in Christianity emerged the revolutionary principle that women had equal spiritual rights and with that the relationship between the sexes was changed.

(iv) Unless a man fulfills these obligations, there is a barrier between his prayers and God. As Bigg puts it:

"The sighs of the injured wife come between the husband's prayers and God's hearing."

Here is a great truth. Our relationships with God can never be right, if our relationships with our fellow-men are wrong. It is when we are at one with each other that we are at one with Him.

How can we LOVE God who we do not see, if we cannot LOVE those who we can see???????????????????????????????

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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October 27, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Eight”

1 Peter 2:16-25 (RSV)
16 Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God. 17 Honor all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor. 18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to the kind and gentle but also to the overbearing. 19 For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God's approval. 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. 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. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Eternal Father, You created us in Your own image and likeness, but sin has warped the minds of men and throughout the world there is much injustice and much carelessness of the rights of other people and personal responsibility.

Lord when You are excluded from the hearts and consciences of men, the inevitable result is that people suffer and Lord, there is much injustice and corruption taking place in our world today, not only in the lives of individuals but also in the corridors of power and the council rooms of many nations, include our own the USA.
We pray Lord that You will right all the wrongs that are taking place in our world and vindicate those that are being treated unjustly. Keep us Father from trying to take matters into our own hands for vengeance is Your and You will repay – but Lord in Your grace and mercy we pray that you would give justice and peace to all those that have been cruelly and unfairly treated by their fellow man and may the injustice and carelessness that they have had to endure be the means to draw them into Your saving arms of grace

LOVING Lord, thank You for the wonderful example of Your life, which was lived in spirit and truth – a life that demonstrated LOVE as well as justice – a life that cared for all humanity, especially those that are weak or hurting or marginalized - or those that are sinking into a pit of despair or poverty. Be close to all who are feeling the bitter winds of depression and scarcity in their lives and uphold them with the warming breath of Your LOVE and grace. Keep us we pray from making wrong judgements about those that are suffering affliction or who have been overtaken by the challenges of poverty. Give us a wider perspective on life and a heart of compassion and kindness, especially on those that feel alone, unloved or uncared for. May we become Your eyes and ears and may Your heart of LOVE and grace flow through us to those that are in need. Look down in pity on all who are suffering loss, poverty or unjust discrimination at this time - and we pray that in Your best time Your justice will prevail in each of their lives.

Keep us Lord from trying to address the ills of this world from a human perspective, for we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities and power - against the spiritual rulers of this dark world – but thanks be to God Who has won the victory over them all through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Lord we know that You are coming back soon to right all wrongs and to wipe away all tears from our eyes - and so we place all the injustice on today’s world before You asking that in Your time and in Your way You would right all the wrongs. In Jesus name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen…….

Any great Christian doctrine can be perverted into an excuse for evil. The doctrine of grace can be perverted into an excuse for sinning to one's heart's content. ( The Way International for one )The doctrine of the LOVE of God can be sentimentalized into an excuse for breaking His law. The doctrine of the life to come can be perverted into an excuse for neglecting life in this world. And there is no doctrine so easy to pervert as that of Christian freedom.

There are hints in the New Testament that it was frequently so perverted. Paul tells the Galatians that they have been called to liberty but they must not use that liberty as an occasion for the flesh to do as it wills:

Galatians 5:13 (RSV)
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.

((( Be servants of one another )))

In Second Peter we read of those who promise others liberty and are themselves the slaves of corruption:

2 Peter 2:19 (RSV)
19 They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption; for whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved.

Even the great pagan thinkers saw quite clearly that perfect freedom is, in fact, the product of perfect obedience. Seneca said,

"No one is free who is the slave of his body," and, "Liberty consists in obeying God."

Cicero said,

"We are the servants of the laws that we may be able to be free."

Plutarch insisted that every bad man is a slave; and Epictetus declared that no bad man can ever be free.

We may put it this way. Christian freedom is always conditioned by Christian responsibility. Christian responsibility is always conditioned by Christian LOVE. Christian LOVE is the reflection of God's LOVE. And, therefore, Christian liberty can rightly be summed up in

Augustine's memorable phrase:

 "Love God, and do what you like."

The Christian is free because we are the slaves of God. Christian freedom does not mean being free to do WHATEVER WE WANT; it means being free to do as God wants us to…….As we want to in light of OUR LOVE FOR GOD!!!!!!! ***OUR DESIRE TO PLEASE HIM…

In this matter we have to return to the great central truth which we have already seen. Christianity is community. The Christian is not an isolated unit; we are a member of a community and within that community our freedom operates. Christian freedom therefore is the freedom to serve. Only in Christ is a person so freed from self and sin that we can become as good as we ought to be. Freedom comes when a person receives Christ as king of their heart and Lord of their life. When we are genuinely: twice born, “Born Again”…….

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

Here is what we might call a four-point summary of Christian LOVE.

(i) Honor all men. To us this may seem hardly needing to be said; but when Peter wrote this letter it was something quite new. There were 60,000,000 slaves in the Roman Empire, everyone of whom was considered in law to be, not a person, but a thing, with no rights whatever. In effect, Peter is saying, "Remember the rights of human personality and the dignity of every person." It is still possible to treat people as things. An employer may treat his/her employees as so many human machines for producing so much work. Even in a welfare state, where the aim is to do so much for their physical welfare, there is a very real danger that people may be regarded as numbers on a form or as cards in a filing system.

John Lawrence in his book, Hard Facts, A Christian Looks at the World, says that one of the greatest needs in the welfare state is "to see through the files and forms in triplicate to God's creatures who are at the other end of the chain of organization." The danger is that we fail to see men and women or children as persons. This matter comes nearer home. When we regard anyone as existing solely to minister to our comfort or to further our plans, we are in effect regarding them, not as persons, but as things. One of the most tragic dangers of all is that we may come to regard those who are nearest and dearest to us as existing for our convenience—and that is to treat them as things.

(ii) LOVE the brotherhood. Within the Christian community this respect for every person turns to something warmer and closer; it turns to LOVE. ***The dominant atmosphere of the Church must always be LOVE.*** One of the truest definitions of the Church is that it is "the extension of the family." The Church is the larger family of God and its bond must be genuine LOVE. As the Psalmist had it:

Psalm 133:1 (RSV)
1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

(iii) Fear God. The writer of the proverbs has it:

Proverbs 1:7 (RSV)
7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

It may well be that the translation should be, not that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge but that the fear of the Lord is the principal part, the very foundation of knowledge. Fear here does not mean terror; it means awe and reverence. It is the simple fact of life that we will never reverence our fellow man until we reverence God. It is only when God is given His proper place in the center of our hearts and lives that all other things take their proper place.

(iv) Honor the king. Of the four injunctions of this verse this is the most amazing, for, if it was Peter who wrote this letter, the king in question is none other than Nero. It is the teaching of the New Testament that the ruler is sent by God to preserve order among people and that he must be respected, even when he is a Nero.

((( Even when he is Obama or Bush or Trump, Republican or Democrat, etc……………….)))

1 Peter 2:18-25 (RSV)
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to the kind and gentle but also to the overbearing. 19 For one is approved if, mindful of God, he endures pain while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it, if when you do wrong and are beaten for it you take it patiently? But if when you do right and suffer for it you take it patiently, you have God's approval. 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. 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. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Here is the passage which would be relevant to by far the greatest number of the readers of this letter, for Peter writes to servants and slaves, and they formed by far the greatest part of the early church. The word Peter uses for servants is not (douloi), which is the commonest word for slaves, but (oiketai), the word for the household and domestic slaves.

To understand the real meaning of what Peter is saying we must understand something of the nature of slavery in the time of the early church. In the Roman Empire there were as many as 60,000,000 slaves, Slavery began with Roman conquests, slaves being originally mainly prisoners taken in war, and in very early times Rome had few slaves but by New Testament times slaves were counted by the millions.

It was by no means only menial tasks which were performed by slaves. Doctors, teachers, musicians, actors, secretaries, stewards were slaves. In fact, all the work of Rome was done by slaves. Roman attitude was that there was no point in being master of the world and doing one's own work. Let the slaves do that and let the citizens live in pampered idleness. The supply of slaves would never run out.

Slaves were not allowed to marry; but they cohabited; and the children born of such a partnership were the property of the master, not of the parents, just as the lambs born to the sheep belonged to the owner of the flock, and not to the sheep.

It would be wrong to think that the life of slaves was always wretched and unhappy, and that they were always treated with cruelty. Many slaves were LOVED and trusted members of the family; but one great inescapable fact dominated the whole situation. In Roman law a slave was not a person but a thing; and they had absolutely no legal rights whatsoever. For that reason there could be no such thing as justice where a slave was concerned. Aristotle writes,

"There can be no friendship nor justice towards inanimate things; indeed, not even towards a horse or an ox, nor yet towards a slave as a slave. For master and slave have nothing in common; a slave is a living tool, just as a tool is an inanimate slave."

Varro divides the instruments of agriculture into three classes—the articulate, the inarticulate and the mute, "the articulate comprising the slaves, the inarticulate comprising the cattle, and the mute comprising the vehicles." The only difference between a slave and a beast or a farmyard cart was that a slave happened to be able to speak. Peter Chrysologus sums the matter up:

"Whatever a master does to a slave, undeservedly, in anger, willingly, unwillingly, in forgetfulness, after careful thought, knowingly, unknowingly, is judgment, justice and law."

In regard to a slave, his master's will, and even his master's whim, was the only law.

The dominant fact in the life of a slave was that, even if they were well treated, they remained a thing. They did not possess even the elementary rights of a person and for them justice did not even exist.

Into this situation came Christianity with its message that every man, woman, and child was precious in the sight of God. The result was that within the Church the social barriers were broken down. Callistus, one of the earliest bishops of Rome, was a slave; and Perpetua, the aristocrat, and Felicitas, the slave-girl, met martyrdom hand in hand. The great majority of the early Christians were humble folk and many of them were slaves. It was quite possible in the early days that the slave should be the president of the congregation and the master a member of it. This was a new and revolutionary situation. It had its glory and it had its dangers. In this passage Peter is urging the slave to be a good slave and a faithful workman; for Peter sees two dangers.

(i) Suppose both master and servant became Christians; there arose the danger that the slave might presume upon the new relationship and make an excuse for shirking their work, assuming that since he/she and their master were both Christians, they could get away with anything. That situation is by no means at an end. There are still people who trade on the goodwill of a Christian master and think that the fact that both they and their employers are Christians gives them a right to dispense with discipline and punishment. But Peter is quite clear. The relationship between Christian and Christian does not abolish the relationship between man and man, between person and person. The Christian must, indeed, be a better workman than anyone else. Our Christianity is not a reason for claiming exemption from discipline; it should bring us under self-discipline and make us even more conscientious than anyone else.

(ii) There was the danger that the new dignity which Christianity brought a person would make the slave rebel and seek to abolish slavery altogether. Some students are puzzled that no New Testament writer ever pleads for the abolition of slavery or even says in so many words that it is wrong. The reason was simple. To have encouraged the slaves to rise against their masters would have been the way to speedy disaster. There had been such revolts before and they had always been quickly and savagely crushed. In any event, such teaching would merely have gained for Christianity the reputation of being a subversionary religion. There are some things which cannot happen quickly; there are some situations in which the leaven has to work and in which haste is the surest way to delay the desired end. The leaven of Christianity had to work in the world for many generations before the abolition of slavery became a practical possibility. Peter was concerned that Christian slaves should demonstrate to the world that their Christianity did not make them disgruntled rebels but rather workmen who had found a new inspiration towards doing an honest day's work. It will still often happen that, when some situation cannot at the time be changed, the Christian duty is to be Christian within that situation and to accept what cannot be changed until the leaven has worked.

But Christianity did not leave the matter in that merely negative form. It introduced three great new principles into a person’s attitude as a servant and a workman.

(i) Christianity introduced a new relationship between master and slave. When Paul sent the runaway slave Onesimus back to Philemon, he did not for a moment suggest that Philemon should set Onesimus free. He did not suggest that Philemon should cease to be the master and that Onesimus should cease to be the slave. What he did say was that Philemon must receive Onesimus not now as a servant, but as a brother beLOVED:

Philemon 1:16 (RSV)
16 no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord.

Christianity did not abolish social differences; but it introduced a new relationship of brotherhood in which these other differences were overpassed and transformed. Where there is real brotherhood, it does not matter if you call one man master and the other servant. There is between them a bond which transforms the necessary differences which the circumstances of life make necessary. The solution of the world's problems lies in the new relationship between person and person and that is LOVE, agape LOVE…

(ii) Christianity introduced a new attitude to work. It is the conviction of the New Testament that all work must be done for Jesus Christ. Paul writes:

Colossians 3:17 (RSV)
17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 (RSV)
31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

In the Christian ideal work is not done for an earthly master or for personal prestige or to make so much money; it is done for God. It is, of course, true that we must work in order to earn a wage and we must work to satisfy a master; but beyond that there is for the Christian the conviction that our work, the most meager of tasks, to in human terms the greatest of duties must be done well enough to be able to show it to God without shame.

(iii) But when these great ideals were set against the situation in the early church—and the situation does not entirely change—one great question arose. Suppose a person has the Christian attitude toward others and to work and is treated with injustice, insult and injury—what then? Peter's great answer is that this is exactly what happened to Jesus. He was none other than the Suffering Servant.

1 Peter 2:21-25 (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. 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. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

Isaiah 53:3-5 (RSV)
3 He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed.

This is the supreme picture of the Suffering Servant of God, the true and ONLY Messiah, the ONLY Son of God, and God in the flesh……………….Jesus Christ!!!!!!!

He was without sin and yet he was insulted and he suffered; but he accepted the insults and the suffering with serene LOVE and bore them for the sins of mankind. FOR YOU and ME, OUR NEIGHBORS and EVEN OUR PERCEIVED ENEMIES………………………………………..

***In so doing he left us an example that we should follow in His steps.

The word Peter uses for example is very vivid. It is (hupogrammos), a word which comes from the way in which children were taught to write in the ancient world. (Hupogrammos) can mean two things—an outline sketch which the learner had to fill in or in handwriting in a writing exercise book which the child had to copy out on the lines below. Jesus gave us the pattern which we have to follow. If we have to suffer insult and injustice and injury, we have only to go through what He has already gone through.

Philippians 1:29 (NIV)
29 For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him,

It may be that at the back of Peter's mind there was a glimpse of a tremendous truth. That the suffering of Jesus was for the sake of humanity’s sins; Jesus suffered in order to bring humanity , you and I, all of us, back to God. And it may be that, when the Christian suffers insult and injury with uncomplaining steadfastness and unfailing LOVE, we show such a life to others as will lead them to God……..

((((((( We can only pray our lives are so… )))))))

(1) The Shepherd of the Souls of Men

In the last verse of this chapter we come upon two of the great names for God—the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls—as the King James Version has it.

(i) God is the Shepherd of the souls of men. The Greek is (poimen) and shepherd is one of the oldest descriptions of God. The Psalmist has it in the best-LOVED of all the Psalms:

Psalm 23:1 (RSV)
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want;

Isaiah has it:

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.

The great king whom God was going to send to Israel would be the shepherd of his people. Ezekiel hears the promise of God:

Ezekiel 34:23 (RSV)
23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

Ezekiel 37:24 (RSV)
24 "My servant David shall be king over them; and they shall all have one shepherd. They shall follow my ordinances and be careful to observe my statutes.

This was the title which Jesus accepted from God the Father when He called Himself the Good Shepherd and when He said that the Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep:

John 10:1-18 (RSV)
1 "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber;
2 but he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. 3 To him the gatekeeper opens; the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4 When he has brought out all his own, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. 5 A stranger they will not follow, but they will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers." 6 This figure Jesus used with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. 7 So Jesus again said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who came before me are thieves and robbers; but the sheep did not heed them. 9 I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hireling and not a shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. 13 He flees because he is a hireling and cares nothing for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, 15 as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep, that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father."

To Jesus the men and women who did not know God and who were waiting for what He could give them were like sheep without a shepherd:

Mark 6:34 (RSV)
34 As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

***The great privilege given to the servant and the minister of Christ is to shepherd the flock of God:

John 21:16 (RSV)
16 A second time he said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."

1 Peter 5:2 (RSV)
2 Tend the flock of God that is your charge, not by constraint but willingly, not for shameful gain but eagerly,

It may be difficult for those of us who live in an industrial civilization to grasp the greatness of this picture; but in the East the picture would be very vivid, particularly in Judaea, where there was a narrow central plateau which held danger on either side. It was on this narrow tableland that the sheep grazed. Grass was sparse; there were no protecting walls; and the sheep wandered. The shepherd, therefore, had to be ceaselessly and sleeplessly on the watch lest harm should come to his flock.

In The Historical Geography of the Holy Land Sir George Adam Smith describes the shepherd of Judaea.

"With us, sheep are often left to themselves; but I do not remember ever to have seen in the East a flock of sheep without a shepherd. In such a landscape as Judaea, where a day's pasture is thinly scattered over an unfenced track of country, covered with delusive paths, still frequented by wild beasts, and rolling off into the desert, the man and his character are indispensable. On some high moor, across which at night the hyenas howl, when you meet him, sleepless, far-sighted, weather-beaten, armed, leaning upon his staff, and looking out over his scattered sheep, everyone of them on his heart, you understand why the shepherd of Judaea sprang to the front in his people's history; why they gave his name to their king, and made him the symbol of providence; why Christ took him as the type of self-sacrifice."

This word shepherd tells us most intensely of the ceaseless vigilance and the self-sacrificing LOVE of God for us who are his flock.

Psalm 100:3 (RSV)
3 Know that the LORD is God! It is he that made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

(2) The Guardian of Our Souls

(ii) The King James Version speaks of God as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls; but nowadays Bishop is an inadequate and misleading translation of the Greek (episkopos).

(Episkopos) is a word with a great history. In Homer's Iliad, Hector, the great champion of the Trojans, is called the (episkopos) who, during his lifetime, guarded the city of Troy and kept safe its noble wives and infants. (Episkopos) is used of the gods who are the guardians of the treaties which men make and of the agreements to which men come, and who are the protectors of house and home. Justice, for instance, is the (episkopos), who sees to it that a man shall pay the price for the wrong that he has done.

In Plato's Laws the Guardians of the state are those whose duty it is to oversee the games, the feeding and the education of the children that "they may be sound of hand and foot, and may in no wise, if possible, get their natures warped by their habits." The people whom Plato calls market-stewards are the (episkopoi) who "supervise personal conduct, keeping an eye on temperate and outrageous behavior, so as to punish him or her who needs punishment."

In Athenian law and administration the (episkopoi) were governors and administrators and inspectors sent out to subject states to see that law and order and loyalty were observed. In Rhodes the main magistrates were five (episkopoi) who presided over the good government and the law and order of the state.

(Episkopos) is, therefore, a many-sided but always a noble word. It means the protector of public safety; the guardian of honor and honesty; the overseer of right education and of public morals; the administrator of public law and order.

So, then, to call God the (episkopos) of our souls is to call Him our Guardian, our Protector, our Guide, and our Director.

*******God is the Shepherd and the Guardian of our souls. In His LOVE He cares for us; in His power He protects us; and in His wisdom He guides us in the perfect way.*******

Next week we will begin chapter three of the First Epistle of Peter…………….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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October 20, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Seven”

1 Peter 2:11-15 (RSV)
11 Beloved, I beseech you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh that wage war against your soul. 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. 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. 15 For it is God's will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Lord, we thank Thee for the beauty of Your creation, the sun, the moon, the stars, the heavenly planets, the plethora of universes and galaxies even yet to be discovered. Oh praise You Lord for the splendor of Your earth, the oceans, the seas, the mountains, the very ground that we stand upon, all the living things unseen and seen. Oh thank You Lord for all the precious things You have brought into being, to life.

You astound us with Your great LOVE, compassion, kindness, mercy, grace, and perfect justice. Oh how magnificent is Your holiness, Your glory, Your personal LOVE relationship with each and every one of us.   Oh Lord, hallelujah !!!

Give us this day and every day You give us, to live, LOVE, and care for You and all Your creation, the seen, unseen, and our eternity to come with You. Help us be all You want us to be, help us help each other, help us help the sick, the needy, the lost in their sins, everyone You put in our paths.

God, friend, Savior, Father, We are so blessed that You eternally exist, that YOU ARE !!! We pray all these things in Jesus’ name, Amen and eternally Amen…….


The basic commandment in this passage is that the Christian should abstain from fleshly or carnal  desires. It is of the greatest importance that we should see what Peter means by this. The phrases sins of the flesh and, fleshly, desires have become much narrowed in meaning in modern usage. For us they usually mean sexual sin; but in the New Testament they are much wider than that. Paul's lists the sins of the flesh in:

Galatians 5:19-21 (RSV)
19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Which include:  "immorality ( fornication ), impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like." ***There are far more than bodily sins here.

In the New Testament, flesh stands for far more than the physical nature of man. It stands for human nature apart from God; it means unredeemed human nature; it means life lived without the standards, the help, the grace and the influence of Christ. Fleshly desires and sins of the flesh, therefore, include not only the sexual sins but all that is characteristic of fallen human nature. From these sins and desires the Christian must abstain. As Peter sees it, there are two reasons for this abstinence.

(i) The Christian must abstain from these sins because he is a stranger and a pilgrim. The words are (paroikos) and (parepidemos). They are quite common Greek words and they describe someone who is only temporarily resident in a place and whose home is somewhere else. They are used to describe the patriarchs in their wanderings, and especially Abraham who went out not knowing where he was to go and whose search was for the city whose maker and builder is God…

Hebrews 11:9; 13 (RSV)
9 By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise…13 These all died in faith, not having received what was promised, but having seen it and greeted it from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

They are used to describe the children of Israel when they were slaves and strangers in the land of Egypt before they entered into the Promised Land:

Acts 7:6 (RSV)
6 And God spoke to this effect, that his posterity would be aliens in a land belonging to others, who would enslave them and ill-treat them four hundred years.

These words give us two great truths about the Christian.

(a) There is a real sense in which we are strangers in this world; and because of that we cannot accept the world's laws and ways and standards. Others may accept them; but the Christian is a citizen of the Kingdom of God and it is by the laws of that Kingdom that we must direct our lives. We must take our full share of responsibility for living upon earth,

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;

Ephesians 2:10 (RSV)
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

For our citizenship is in heaven and the laws of heaven are paramount for us.

(b) The Christian is not a permanent resident upon earth; we are on our way to the country which is beyond, to eternity. We must therefore, do nothing which would hinder us from reaching God’s ultimate goal for us, to be like His precious Son: Jesus Christ. We must never become so entangled in this world that we cannot escape from its grip; we must never so soil ourselves as to be unfit to enter the presence of THE holy God to whom we eternally belong...

Why, because WE LOVE HIM SO…………………………………………….

***Let us not forget:

1 John 4:19 (RSV)
19 We love, because he first loved us.

 (ii) But there was for Peter another reason that Christians must abstain from fleshly desires. The early church, as is true for us now, was under fire. Slanderous charges were continually being made against the Christians; and the only effective way to refute them was to live lives so LOVELY that they would be seen to be obviously untrue. We must as best as possible maintain good conduct, otherwise our witness may be in danger of being valueless…………………..Thus perhaps laboring in vain…

In Greek there are two words for good there is (agathos), which simply means good in quality; and there is (kalos), which means not only good but also LOVELY, fine, attractive, beautiful. ***So, what Peter is saying is that we as genuine Christians must make our whole way of life so LOVELY and so good to look upon that the slanders of the Lost may be demonstrated to be false.

Here is a timeless truth. Whether we like it or not, every Christian is an advertisement for Christianity for Jesus Christ Himself; by our life we either encourage faith in Jesus Christ to others or make the Lost think less of our beLOVED Savior... The strongest missionary force in the world is the faithful Christian life.

In the early church this demonstration of the LOVLINESS of the Christian life was supremely necessary, because of the slanders the heathen deliberately cast on the Christian Church. Let us see what some of these slanders were.

(i) In the beginning Christianity was closely connected with the Jews. By race Jesus was a Jew; Paul was a Jew; Christianity was cradled in Judaism; and inevitably many of its early converts were Jews. For a time Christianity was regarded merely as a sect of Judaism. Antisemitism is no new thing. Friedlander gives a selection of the slanders which were repeated against the Jews in his Roman Life and Manners under the Early Empire:

"According to Tacitus they (the Jews) taught their proselytes above all to despise the gods, to renounce their fatherland, to disregard parents, children, brothers and sisters. According to Juvenal, Moses taught the Jews not to show anyone the way, nor to guide the thirsty traveller to the spring, except he were a Jew. Apion declares that, in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Jews every year fattened a Greek, and having solemnly offered him up as a sacrifice on a fixed day in a certain forest, ate his entrails and swore eternal hostility to the Greeks."

These were the things which the heathen had persuaded themselves were true about the Jews, and inevitably the Christians shared in this revulsion.

(ii) Apart from these slanders attached to the Jews, there were slanders directed particularly against the Christians themselves. They were accused of cannibalism. This accusation took its rise from a perversion of the words of the Last Supper, "This is my body. This cup is the new covenant in my blood." The Christians were accused of killing and eating a child at their feasts.

They were also accused of immorality and even of incest. This accusation took its rise from the fact that they called their meeting the (Agape), the LOVE Feast. The heathen perverted that name to mean that the Christian feasts were sensual orgies at which shameless deeds were done.

The Christians were accused of damaging trade. Such was the charge of the silversmiths of Ephesus:

Acts 19:21-41 (RSV)
21 Now after these events Paul resolved in the Spirit to pass through Macedo'nia and Acha'ia and go to Jerusalem, saying, "After I have been there, I must also see Rome." 22 And having sent into Macedo'nia two of his helpers, Timothy and Eras'tus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. 23 About that time there arose no little stir concerning the Way. 24 For a man named Deme'trius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Ar'temis, brought no little business to the craftsmen. 25 These he gathered together, with the workmen of like occupation, and said, "Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. 26 And you see and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost throughout all Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable company of people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. 27 And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Ar'temis may count for nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship." 28 When they heard this they were enraged, and cried out, "Great is Ar'temis of the Ephesians!" 29 So the city was filled with the confusion; and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Ga'ius and Aristar'chus, Macedo'nians who were Paul's companions in travel. 30 Paul wished to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not let him; 31 some of the A'si-archs also, who were friends of his, sent to him and begged him not to venture into the theater. 32 Now some cried one thing, some another; for the assembly was in confusion, and most of them did not know why they had come together. 33 Some of the crowd prompted Alexander, whom the Jews had put forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, wishing to make a defense to the people. 34 But when they recognized that he was a Jew, for about two hours they all with one voice cried out, "Great is Ar'temis of the Ephesians!" 35 And when the town clerk had quieted the crowd, he said, "Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is temple keeper of the great Ar'temis, and of the sacred stone that fell from the sky? 36 Seeing then that these things cannot be contradicted, you ought to be quiet and do nothing rash. 37 For you have brought these men here who are neither sacrilegious nor blasphemers of our goddess. 38 If therefore Deme'trius and the craftsmen with him have a complaint against any one, the courts are open, and there are proconsuls; let them bring charges against one another. 39 But if you seek anything further, it shall be settled in the regular assembly. 40 For we are in danger of being charged with rioting today, there being no cause that we can give to justify this commotion." 41 And when he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.

*They were accused of "tampering with family relationships" because often homes were, in fact, broken up when some members of the family became Christians and others did not.

*They were accused of turning slaves against their masters, and Christianity indeed did give to every man, woman or child a new sense of worth and dignity.

*They were accused of "hatred of mankind" and indeed the Christian did speak as if the world and the Church were entirely opposed to each other.

*Above all they were accused of disloyalty to Caesar, for no Christian would worship the Emperor's godhead and burn their pinch of incense and declare that Caesar was Lord, for to them Jesus Christ and no other was Lord.

Such were the charges which were directed against the Christians. To Peter there was only one way to refute them and that was so to live that their Christian life demonstrated that they were unfounded. When Plato was told that a certain man had been making certain slanderous charges against him, his answer was: "I will live in such a way that no one will believe what he says." That was Peter's solution.

Jesus Himself had said—and doubtless the saying was in Peter's mind:

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.

This was a line of thought which the Jews knew well. In one of the books written between the Old and the New Testaments it says:

"If ye work that which is good, my children, both men and angels shall bless you; and God shall be glorified among the Gentiles through you, and the devil shall flee from you" (The Testament of Naphtali 8: 4).

The striking fact of history is that by their lives the Christians actually did defeat the slanders of the heathen. In the early part of the third century Celsus made the most famous and the most systematic attack of all upon the Christians in which he accused them of ignorance and foolishness and superstition and all kinds of things—but never of immorality. In the first half of the fourth century, Eusebius, the great Church historian, could write:

"But the splendour of the catholic and only true Church, which is always the same, grew in magnitude and power, and reflected its piety and simplicity and freedom, and the modesty and purity of its inspired life and philosophy to every nation both of Greeks and barbarians. At the same time the slanderous accusations which had been brought against the whole Church also vanished, and there remained our teaching alone, which has prevailed over all, and which is acknowledged to be superior to all in dignity and temperance, and in divine and philosophical doctrines. So that none of them now ventures to affix a base calumny upon our faith, or any such slander as our ancient enemies formerly delighted to utter" (Eusebius: The Ecclesiastical History, 4.7.15).

((((((( Is that true today of our modern Churches??? )))))))

It is true that the terrors of persecution were not even then ended, for the Christians would never admit that Caesar was Lord; but the excellence of their lives had silenced the calumnies (misrepresentations) against the Church.

Here is our challenge and our inspiration. It is by the LOVELINESS of our daily life and conduct that we must share Jesus Christ to those who do not believe…

1 Peter 2:13-15 (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. 15 For it is God's will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

Peter looks at the duty of the Christian within the different spheres of our lives; and Peter begins with our duty as a citizen of the country in which we happen to live.

Nothing is further from the thought of the New Testament than any kind of anarchy. Jesus had said,

Matthew 22:21 (RSV)
21 They said, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

Paul was certain that those who governed the nation were sent by God and held their responsibility from Him, and were, therefore, no terror to the person who lived an honorable life:

Romans 13:1-3 (RSV)
1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,

In the Pastoral Epistles the Christian is instructed to pray for kings and all in authority:

1 Timothy 2:1-2 (RSV)
1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way.

The instruction of the New Testament is that the Christian must be a good and useful citizen of the country in which we live our lives...

It has been said that fear built the cities and that men huddled behind a wall in order to be safe. Men join themselves together and agree to live under certain laws, so that the good man may have peace to do his work and go about his business and the evil man may be restrained and kept from his evil-doing. According to the New Testament life is meant by God to be an ordered business and the state is divinely appointed to provide and to maintain that order.

The New Testament view is perfectly logical and just. It holds that a person cannot accept the privileges which the state provides without also accepting the responsibilities and the duties which it demands. We cannot in honor and graciousness  take everything and give nothing.

How are we to translate this into modern terms? C. E. B. Cranfield has well pointed out that there is a fundamental difference between the state in New Testament times and the state as we in the U.S. know it. In New Testament times the state was authoritarian. The ruler was an absolute ruler; and the sole duty of the citizen was to render absolute obedience and to pay taxes:

Romans 13:6-7 (RSV)
6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.

Under these conditions the keynote was bound to be subjection to the state. But we live in a democracy; and in a democracy something far more than unquestioning subjection becomes necessary. Government is not only government of the people; it is also for the people and by the people. The demand of the New Testament is that the Christian should fulfill OUR responsibility to the state. In the authoritarian state that consisted solely in submission.

***But what is that obligation in the very different circumstances of a democracy?

In any state there must be a certain subjection. As C. E. B. Cranfield puts it, there must be:

 "a voluntary subordination of oneself to others, putting the interest and welfare of others above one's own, preferring to give rather than to get, to serve rather than to be served."

John F. Kennedy put it this way:

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what YOU can do for your country.”

In a democratic state the keynote must be not subjection but cooperation, for the duty of the citizen is not only to submit to be ruled but to take a necessary share in ruling. Hence, if the Christian is to fulfill his/her duty to the state we must take OUR part in its government. We must also take OUR part in local government and in the life of the trade union or association connected with OUR trade, craft, or profession , attending our children's school meetings, etc. It is tragic that so few Christians really fulfill their obligation to the state and the society in which they live.

That being said, It remains to say that the Christian has a higher obligation of LOVE than even our obligation to the state. While we must render to Caesar the things which are Caesar's, we must also render to God the things which are God's. We must on occasion make it quite clear that we must listen to God rather than to men:

Acts 4:19 (RSV)
19 But Peter and John answered them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge;

Acts 5:29 (RSV)
29 But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men.

*******There may be times, therefore, when the Christian will fulfill OUR highest duty to the state by refusing to obey it and by insisting on obeying God.*******

By so doing, at the very least we will witness to the absolute truth, and at best we may lead the state to take the Christian way and the individual to be saved by the shed BLOOD of Jesus Christ, the EVER-ONLY SAVIOR AND REDEEMER……..

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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October 13, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part 6”

1 Peter 2:4-10 (NIV2011)
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,” 8 and, “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for. 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Heavenly Father, thank You that You know all about us and that You even knew that one day when each of us would accept the Lord Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Father we do not comprehend this but we do believe it because Your holy inerrant infallible Word says that it is true – and that before the world began, You knew all about us and Your foreknowledge knew we one day would be Your child in Christ.

Father the incredible privileges and tremendous blessings that are ours, simply because we have trusted in Christ Jesus are amazing, and we praise and thank You for all Your goodness and LOVING-kindness to us.

We pray with humble hearts that we will live godly lives that are pleasing to You and that all we say and do will honor Your name, for it is such a privilege to be Your children and we want to serve You with our whole being. We ask that You would use us to tell forth the glorious gospel of grace to all whom You put into our individual and collective paths.

Father so many are lost and weary, sad and sorrowing, discouraged and depressed, but we pray that many will come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and be adopted into Your family, and we will sing of Your praises throughout eternity for the amazing grace that You have shown to so many.

We praise You, we glorify You, and we very humbly thank You, yet, we boldly pray all these things in Jesus outstanding name Amen and eternally Amen…….

Today we continue in the book of First Peter, and I pray that ALL our hearts, and minds are open to the teaching of the Holy Spirit through God’s ONLY inerrant, infallible word the “Bible”………………………

Peter sets before us the nature and the function of the Church. There is so much in the passage that we will divide it into four sections.

(1) The Stone Which the Builders Rejected

Much is made of the idea of the stone. Three Old Testament passages are symbolically used; let us look at them one by one.

(i) The beginning of the whole matter goes back to the words of Jesus Himself. One of the most illuminating parables He ever told was the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen. In it He told how the wicked husbandmen killed servant after servant and in the end even murdered the son. He was showing how the nation of Israel had again and again refused to listen to the prophets and had persecuted them, and how this refusal was to reach its climax with His own death. But beyond the death He saw the triumph and He told of that triumph in words taken from the Psalms:

Matthew 21:42 (NIV2011)
42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?

Mark 12:10 (NIV2011)
10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

Luke 20:17 (NIV2011)
17 Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “ ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone’?

That is a quotation from:

Psalm 118:22 (NIV2011)
22 The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone;

In the original it is a reference to the nation of Israel. A. K. Kirkpatrick writes of it:

Jesus Christ is 'that head corner-stone.' The powers of the world and it’s so called wisdom and reason have flung Him aside as useless, but God destined Jesus Christ for the most honorable and important place in the building of His kingdom in the world. The words express the Messiah’s consciousness of His mission and destiny in the purpose of God."

***Jesus spoke these words and declared them to be about Himself. It looked as if He was utterly rejected by men; but in the purpose of God He was the corner-stone of the structure of the Kingdom, honored above all.

(ii) In the Old Testament there are other references to this symbolic stone, and the early Christian writers applied them to Jesus Christ by the leading of the Holy Spirit. The first is in:

Isaiah 28:16 (NIV2011)
16 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic.

Again the reference is to the Jesus Christ, the Messiah. The sure and precious stone is God's unfailing relationship to His people, a relationship which was to culminate in the coming of the Messiah. Once again the early Christian writers by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit saw this passage and applied it to Jesus Christ the ONLY begotten Son of God who is the precious and immovable foundation stone of God…

(iii) The second of these other passages is also from Isaiah:

Isaiah 8:13-14 (NIV2011)
13 The LORD Almighty is the one you are to regard as holy, he is the one you are to fear, he is the one you are to dread. 14 He will be a holy place; for both Israel and Judah he will be a stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare.

Its meaning is that God is offering His lordship to the people of Israel; that to those who accept Him, He will become a sanctuary and eternal salvation, but to those who reject Him, He (Jesus Christ) will become a terror and a destruction. Again the early Christian writers by the teaching of the Holy Spirit understood this passage and applied it to Jesus who is the Messiah of the ONE TRUE GOD: YHWH...To those who accept Him, Jesus is the Eternal Savior and Friend; to those who reject Him, He is judgment and condemnation.

(iv) For the understanding of this passage, we have to take in a New Testament reference to these Old Testament ones. It is hardly possible that Peter could speak of Jesus as the corner-stone and of Christians as being built into a spiritual house, united in Him, without thinking of Jesus' own words to himself. When Peter made his great confession of faith at Caesarea Philippi, Jesus said to him:

Matthew 16:18 (NIV2011)
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

***It is on the faith of God’s Children that Jesus Christ is this foundation, and that the true Church is built and rests.***

These are the origins of the pictures in this passage.

(2) The Nature of the Church

From this passage we learn three things about the very nature of the Church.

(i) The Christian is likened to a living stone and the Church to a living structure into which we are built,

1 Peter 2:5 (NIV2011)
5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Clearly that means that Christianity is community; the individual Christian finds his/her true place only when we are built into that structure. "Unsociable religion" is ruled out as an impossibility. C. E. B. Cranfield writes:

"The free-lance Christian, who would be a Christian but is too superior to belong to the visible Church upon earth in one of its forms, is simply a contradiction in terms."

There is a famous story from Sparta. A Spartan king boasted to a visiting monarch about the walls of Sparta. The visiting monarch looked around and could see no walls. He said to the Spartan king, "Where are these walls about which you boast so much?" His host pointed at his bodyguard of magnificent troops. "These," he said, "are the walls of Sparta, every man a brick."

The point is clear. So long as a brick lies by itself it is useless; it becomes of use only when it is incorporated into a building. So it is with the individual Christian. To realize our destiny we must not remain alone, but must be built into the fabric of the Church.

Hebrews 10:25 (NIV2011)
25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Suppose that in time of war a man says, "I wish to serve my country and to defend her from her enemies." If he tries to carry out that resolution alone, he can accomplish nothing. He can be effective in that purpose only by standing shoulder to shoulder with others of like mind. It is so with the Church. Individualistic Christianity is an absurdity; Christianity is community within the fellowship of the Church. That does not mean simply coming to Church, it means to participate in the life and work of the Church as God has given you talents, according to His will………………..

1 Peter 4:10 (KJV)
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

(ii) Christians are a holy priesthood,

There are two great characteristics of the priest.

(a) He is the man who himself has access to God and whose task it is to bring others to Him. In the ancient world this access to God was the privilege of the professional priests, and in particular of the High Priest who alone could enter into the Holy of Holies. Through Jesus Christ, the new and living way, access to God becomes the privilege of every Christian, however simple we may be. Further, the Latin word for priest is pontifex, which means bridge-builder; the priest is the person who builds a bridge for others to come to God; and the Christian has the duty and the privilege of bringing others to that Savior whom we ourselves have found and LOVE……………………………..*The key is YOU LOVE Him, if not, how can YOU share His LOVE and salvation with others???

(b) The priest is the man who brings an offering to God. The Christian also must continuously bring his offerings to God. Under the old dispensation the offerings brought were animal sacrifices; but the sacrifices of the Christian are spiritual sacrifices. We make our work and our moment by moment lives as an offering to God. Everything is done for God; and so even the humblest of tasks is clad with glory. As  Christians our very worship is an offering to God; and so the worship of God's house becomes, not a burden, something we are forced to do by guilt or by others’ attitudes but a delightful joy. *If not, do we really LOVE Him??? The Christian makes himself/herself an offering to God.

Romans 12:1 (NIV2011)
1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.

What God desires most of all is the LOVE of our hearts and the service of our lives. That is the perfect sacrifice which every genuine Christian has the pleasure to make.

(iii) The function of the Church is to tell forth the excellences the qualities of God. That is to say, it is to witness to ALL people concerning the mighty acts of God. By OUR daily lives, even more than by our simple words, the Christian is to be a witness of what God through Jesus Christ has done for us…………………………

(3) The Glory of the Church

In:

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV2011)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

We read of the things to which the Christian is a witness.

(i) God has called the Christian out of darkness into His glorious light. The Christian is called out of darkness into light.

*When a person comes to know Jesus Christ, we come to know God. No longer do we need to guess and to flounder.

John 14:9 (NIV2011)
9 Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?

In Jesus is the light of the knowledge of God.

*When a person comes to know Jesus, we come to know goodness. In Jesus Christ we have a standard by which all actions and motives may be tested.

*When a person comes to know Jesus Christ, we come to know the way. Life is no longer an endless barren trackless road without a star to guide. In Christ the way becomes clear.

*When a person comes to know Jesus Christ, we come to know power. It would be little use to know God without the power to serve Him. It would be little use to know goodness and yet be helpless to attain to it. It would be little use to see the right way and be quite unable to take it. In Jesus Christ there is both the vision and the power to be God’s Children.

1 Peter 2:10 (NIV2011)
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

(ii) God has made those who were not a people into the people of God. Here Peter is quoting from:

Hosea 1:6 (NIV2011)
6 Gomer conceived again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the LORD said to Hosea, “Call her Lo-Ruhamah (which means “not loved”), for I will no longer show love to Israel, that I should at all forgive them.

Hosea 1:9-10 (NIV2011)
9 Then the LORD said, “Call him Lo-Ammi (which means “not my people”), for you are not my people, and I am not your God. 10 “Yet the Israelites will be like the sand on the seashore, which cannot be measured or counted. In the place where it was said to them, ‘You are not my people,’ they will be called ‘children of the living God.’

Hosea 2:1 (NIV2011)
1 “Say of your brothers, ‘My people,’ and of your sisters, ‘My loved one.’

Hosea 2:23 (NIV2011)
23 I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called ‘Not my loved one.’ I will say to those called ‘Not my people,’ ‘You are my people’; and they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”

This means that the Christian is called out of insignificance into significance. It continually happens in this world that a person’s greatness lies not in ourselves and what we want to do but in what God gives us to do. The Christian's greatness lies in the fact that God has chosen us to be His Children and to do His work in the world. No Christian can be ordinary, for we are the PEOPLE OF THE ONE TRUE AND ONLY AND EVER-LIVING GOD!!!!!!!

(iii) The Christian is called out of no mercy, into mercy. The great characteristic of non-Christian religion is the fear of God. The Christian has discovered the LOVE of God and knows that we need no longer fear Him if we belong to Him through eternal salvation in Jesus Christ, because it is well with our souls……………………………..

(4) The Function of the Church

1 Peter 2:9 (NIV2011)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

Peter uses a whole series of phrases which are a summary of the functions of the Church. He calls the Christians "a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a people dedicated to God, a nation for Him specially to possess." Peter is steeped in the Old Testament and these phrases are all great description of the people of Israel. They come from two main sources. In:

Isaiah 43:21 (NIV2011)
21 the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

But even more in:

Exodus 19:5-6 (NIV2011)
5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, 6 you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.”

The great promises which God made to His people Israel are being fulfilled to the Church, the new Israel. Every one of these titles is full of meaning.

(i) Christians are a chosen people. Here we are back to the covenant idea. In this passage in Exodus God has entered into His covenant with Israel. In the covenant He offered a special relationship with Himself to Israel; but it depended on the people of Israel accepting the conditions of the covenant and keeping the law. That relationship would hold only "if you will obey my voice, and keep my covenant".

From this we learn that the Christian is chosen for three things.

(a) We are chosen for privilege. In Jesus Christ there is offered to us a new and intimate fellowship with God. God has become our friend and we have become God's friend.

((((((( Amen and Amen )))))))

(b) We are chosen for obedience ( an obligation of LOVE ). Privilege brings with it responsibility. The Christian is chosen in order that we may become the obedient Children of God. We are chosen not to do as we like but to do as God likes.

2 Timothy 1:9 (NIV2011)
9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

(c) We are chosen for service. Our honor is that we are the beLOVED servants of God. Our privilege is that we will be used for the purposes of God. *But we can be so used only when we bring to God the obedience, the LOVE He desires. Chosen for privilege, chosen for obedience, chosen for service—these three great facts go hand in hand.

(ii) Christians are a royal priesthood. We have already seen that this means that every Christian ( MEANING YOU TOO ) has the right of access to God; and that we ( YOU TOO ) must offer OUR work, OUR worship and OURSELVES to God without reservation or condition.

(iii) Christians are what the Revised Standard Version calls a holy nation. We have already seen that the basic meaning of (hagios)___ (holy) is different. The Christian has been chosen that we may be different from other people. That difference lies in the fact that we are dedicated to God's will and to God's service. Other people may follow the standards of the world but for US the only standard is God's. A person need not even start on the Christian way unless we realize that it will compel US to be different from other people.

(iv) Christians are a people for God specially to possess. It frequently happens that the value of a thing lies in the fact that someone has possessed it. A very ordinary thing acquires a new value, if it has been possessed by some famous person. In any museum we find quite ordinary things—clothes, a walking-stick, a pen, books, pieces of furniture—which are of value only because they were once possessed by some great person. It is so with the Christian. The Christian may be a very ordinary person but we acquire a new value because we belong to the ever living God.

Next week we will continue in First Peter, till then:

Numbers 6:24-26 (NIV) 
24 "' "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace."'

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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October 6, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part: Five”

1 Peter 2:1-3 (KJV)
1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Father of all that is, we glorify Your holy name, we thank You for Your LOVE, mercy, grace, and immense compassion. Thank You for putting up with so much of our foolish garbage that we do, that I do. Wow, how much You LOVE us.

Help us O Lord, to give up our old ways, our old life styles, our old and sinful bad habits. Give us not only the desire to overcome, the power to overcome, but the actual victory in overcoming, in-spite of ourselves.

Give us the blessed milk from above, the cool nutritious milk from Your holy word the Bible found on every page and in every jot and tittle of Your holy writ. Open our bodies, minds, and souls to that which You want to teach us, and that which You want us to share and teach those around us.

Help us live for You, Lord save our family, friends, all those we LOVE, including as many of the Lost in Your creation as possible. Thy will be done in absolutely everything. In Jesus sweet name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen…….


No Christian can stay the way they are; and Peter urges his people to be done with evil things and to set their hearts on that which alone can nourish life.

There are things which must be stripped off. (Apothesthai ) is the verb for stripping off one's clothes. There are things of which the Christian must dissociate  ourselves of,  as we would strip off a soiled garment.

We must strip off all the evil (malice) of this terribly developing heathen world. The word for evil (malice) is (kakia); it is the most general word for wickedness and includes all the wicked ways of the Christ-less world. The other words are illustrations and manifestations of this (kakia); and it is to be noted that they are all faults of character which hurt the great Christian virtue of brotherly LOVE. There can be no brotherly LOVE so long as these evil things exist.

There is deceitfulness (guile) (dolos). Dolos is the trickery of the person who is out to deceive others to attain his or her own ends, the vice of the person whose motives are never pure.

There is hypocrisy (hupokrisis). Hupokrites) (hypocrite) is a word with a curious history. It is the noun from the verb (hupokrinesthai ) which means to answer; a (hupokrites) begins by being an answerer. Then it comes to mean an actor, the man who takes part in the question and answer of the stage. Next it comes to mean a hypocrite, a person who all the time is acting a part and concealing their real motives. The hypocrite is the person whose alleged Christian profession is for their own profit and prestige and not for the service and glory of Christ. *Sounds like a lot of politicians, others as well, even unfortunately some preachers…

There is envy (phthonos). It may well be said that envy is the last sin to die. It reared its ugly head even in the apostolic band. The other ten were envious of James and John, when they seemed to steal a march upon them in the matter of preference in the coming Kingdom.

Mark 10:41 (NIV2011)
41 When the ten heard about this, they became indignant with James and John.

Even at the last supper the disciples were disputing about who should occupy the seats of greatest honor.

Luke 22:24 (NIV2011)
24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.

So long as self remains active within a person’s heart there will be envy in their life. E. G. Selwyn calls envy:

 "the constant plague of all voluntary organizations, not least religious organizations."

C. E. B. Cranfield says that:

"we do not have to be engaged in what is called 'church work' very long to discover what a perennial source of trouble envy is."

There is gossiping ridicule (katalalia). Katalalia is a word with a definite flavor. It means evil-speaking; it is almost always the fruit of envy in the heart; and it usually takes place when its victim is not there to defend themselves. Few things are so attractive as hearing or repeating spicy gossip. Reproachful gossip is something which everyone admits to be wrong and which at the same time almost everyone enjoys; and yet there is nothing more prolific of heartbreak and nothing is so destructive of brotherly LOVE and Christian unity.

These, then, are the things which the “born again”, twice born person must strip off, for if we continue to allow them to have a grip upon us individually or collectively in our lives, the unity of the brethren WILL BE INJURED, and our WITNESS TO THE LOST WILL BE DESTROYED!!!

But there is something on which the Christian must set our heart. *We must yearn for the unmodified, pure milk of the word of God the Bible.

Matthew 4:4 (NIV2011)
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

This is a phrase about whose meaning there is some difficulty. The difficulty is with the word (logikos) which with the King James Version we have translated of the word. The English Revised Version translates it spiritual, and in the margin gives the alternative translation reasonable. Moffatt has spiritual, as has the Revised Standard Version.

(Logikos) is the adjective from the noun (logos) and the difficulty is that it has three perfectly possible translations.

(a) Logos is the great Stoic word for the reason which guides the universe; (logikos) is a favorite Stoic word which describes what has to do with this divine reason which is the governor of all things. If this is the word's connection, clearly spiritual is the meaning.

(b) Logos  is the normal Greek word for mind or reason; therefore, (logikos) often means reasonable or intelligent. It is in that way that the King James Version translates it in:

Romans 12:1 (KJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Where the text speaks of our reasonable service.

(c) Logos ) is the Greek for word, and (logikos) means belonging to the Lord. This is the sense in which the King James Version takes it. Peter has just been talking about the word of God which abides forever:

1 Peter 1:23-25 (KJV)
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. 24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

It is the word of God which should be in our minds as genuine Christians; and what Peter means here is that the true Christian must desire with our WHOLE HEART, OUR WHOLE BEING the nourishment which comes from the word of God the Bible and the living Word Jesus Christ who indwells us through the presence of the Holy Spirit, for by that nourishment we can grow until we reach entire sanctification in salvation itself. In face of all the evil of this sinful, sinful, heathen world, as Christians we must strengthen our souls with the pure food of the word of God, the only testament, the Bible.

This food of the word is unadulterated (adolos). That is to say, there is not the slightest speck of anything evil in it. (Adolos) is an almost technical word to describe corn that is entirely free from chaff or dust or useless or harmful matter. In all human wisdom there is some  speck of what is either useless or harmful; the word of God alone is altogether good.

The Christian is to yearn for this milk of the word; yearn is (epipothein) which is a strong word. It is the word which is used for the hart longing for the waterbrooks:

Psalm 42:1 (KJV)
1 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

And for the Psalmist longing for the salvation of the Lord:

Psalm 119:174 (KJV)
174 I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.

The metaphor of the Christian as a baby and the word of God as the milk whereby we are nourished is common in the New Testament. Paul thinks of himself as the nurse who cares for the infant Christians of Thessalonica:

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

Paul thinks of himself as feeding the Corinthians with milk for they are not yet at the stage of meat:

1 Corinthians 3:2 (KJV)
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

And the writer of the Letter to the Hebrews blames his people for being still at the stage of milk when they should have gone on to maturity:

Hebrews 5:12 (KJV)
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

Hebrews 6: 2 (KJV)
2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

To symbolize the rebirth of baptism in the early church, the newly baptized Christians were clothed in white robes, and sometimes they were fed with milk as if they were little children. It is this nourishment with the milk of the word which makes a Christian grow up and grow on until we reach salvation, our perfection in eternity.

Peter finishes this introduction with an allusion to:

Psalm 34:8 (KJV)
8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

"You are bound to do this," he writes, "if you have tasted the kindness of God."

***Here is something of the greatest significance:  The fact that God is gracious is not an excuse for us to do as we like, depending on Him to overlook it, complete us:

Philippians 1:6 (KJV)
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:

It blesses us with an obligation of LOVE to toil towards being the Children of God, that God, wants us to be…….

Ephesians 4:1 (ASV)
1 I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beseech you to walk worthily of the calling wherewith ye were called,

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (KJV)
11 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.

((( The kindness, the grace, and the LOVE of God toward us is not a justification for laziness in the Christian’s life; it is the greatest of all incentives to strive to make our beLOVED Savior and God pleased by our efforts of LOVE. )))


Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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September 29, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“First Epistle of Peter: Part Four”

1 Peter 1:13 (ASV)
13 Wherefore girding up the loins of your mind, be sober and set your hope perfectly on the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

Almighty Father, Creator of the universe, we approach Your Heavenly Gates with grateful hearts. We bless Your Holy Name and submit the honor and praise that is due unto You.

Beautiful Lord, we were created in Your image, fearfully and wonderfully made to be the lights in this dark world.

Father please guide us in a plain path of righteousness according to Your will and glory. You are the Omnipotent Potter and we are the clay. Shape us, mold us, use us and fill us each and everyday to become more like Jesus, Your beLOVED Son and our beLOVED Lord and Savior.

Help us with Your grace to live LOVING, compassionate lives, reflecting Your LOVE and Your mercy and grace to all those around us. Help us live holy lives, caring and sharing lives as we know and see in You through Your holy, inerrant, infallible word the Bible.

Direct us in all LOVE to share Your good news of salvation to the lost and needy of this world or of any world. Give us wisdom, courage, and strength to live our calling in this life and the life to come in eternity.


Praise Your holy name, in Jesus magnificent name we pray all these things Amen and eternally Amen…….
 

Let us consider verse 13………………….

 Peter has been talking about the greatness and the glory to which the Christian may look forward; but the Christian can never be lost in dreams of the future; we must always have our main focus on the battle of the present. So Peter sends out three challenges to his people.

(i) He tells them to gird up the loins of their mind, this is a deliberately vivid phrase. In the east men wore long flowing robes which hindered fast progress or strenuous action. Round the waist they wore a broad belt or girdle; and when strenuous action was necessary they shortened the long robe by pulling it up within the belt in order to give them freedom of movement. The English equivalent of the phrase would be to roll up one's sleeves or to take off one's jacket. Peter is telling his people that they must be ready for the most strenuous mental endeavor, as MUST we, the Christians of the present. They must never be content with a flabby and unexamined faith; they, we, must set to and think things out and think them through. It may be that they will have to discard some things. It may be that they will make mistakes. But what they, we, are left with will be such that nothing and nobody can ever take it away from us…….

(ii) Peter tells them to be sober. The Greek word, like the English, can have two meanings. It can mean that they must refrain from drunkenness in the literal sense of the term; and it can also mean that they, we, must be steady in our minds. They, we, must become intoxicated neither with intoxicating liquor nor with intoxicating thoughts; we must preserve a balanced judgment. It is easy for the Christian to be carried away with this, that, or the next sudden enthusiasm and to become readily intoxicated with the latest fashion and the newest craze. Peter is appealing to us to maintain the essential steadiness of the man or woman who knows what we believe.

(iii) Peter tells us to set our hope on the grace which is going to be given to us when Jesus Christ comes. It is the great characteristic of the Christian that we live in hope; and because we live in hope we can endure the trials of the present, the daily grind of this life. Any man, woman, and even children can endure struggle and effort and toil, if we are certain that it is all leading somewhere, that it has some genuine purpose. That is why the athlete accepts his/her training and the student their study. For the Christian the best is always still to come. We can live with gratitude for all the mercies of the past, with resolution to meet the challenge of the present and with the certain hope that in Jesus Christ the best is yet to be...

1 Peter 1:14-25 (ASV)
14 as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance: 15 but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living; 16 because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy. 17 And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear: 18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ: 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God. 22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren, love one another from the heart fervently: 23 having been begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through the word of God, which liveth and abideth.
24 For, All flesh is as grass, And all the glory thereof as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower falleth: 25 But the word of the Lord abideth for ever. And this is the word of good tidings which was preached unto you.

Dr. Adrian Rogers wrote:

“We need to stop treating the Bible like a math book and start reading it like a LOVE story.”

Again he wrote:

“The Bible is God’s LOVE letter to His people.”

There are three great lines of approach in this passage and we look at them one by one.

(1) Jesus Christ Redeemer and Lord

It has great things to say about Jesus Christ as Redeemer and Lord.

(i) Jesus Christ is the emancipator, through whom humanity is delivered from the bondage of sin and death; He is the lamb without blemish and without spot,

1 Peter 1:19 (ASV)
19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:

When Peter spoke like that of Jesus, his mind was going back to two Old Testament pictures—to

Isaiah 53:1-12 (ASV)
1 Who hath believed our message? and to whom hath the arm of Jehovah been revealed? 2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He was despised, and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and as one from whom men hide their face he was despised; and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovah hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, yet when he was afflicted he opened not his mouth; as a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep that before its shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. 8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who among them considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living for the transgression of my people to whom the stroke was due? 9 And they made his grave with the wicked, and with a rich man in his death; although he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by the knowledge of himself shall my righteous servant justify many; and he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors: yet he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

With its picture of the Suffering Servant, through whose suffering the people were saved and healed and above all to the picture of the Passover Lamb:

Exodus 12:5 (ASV)
5 Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old: ye shall take it from the sheep, or from the goats:

On that memorable night when they left the slavery of Egypt, the children of Israel were bidden to take a lamb and slay it and mark their doorposts with its blood; and, when the angel of death went through the land slaying the first-born sons of the Egyptians, he passed over every house so marked. In that picture of the Passover Lamb there are the twin thoughts of emancipation from slavery and deliverance from death. No matter how we interpret it, it cost the life and death of Jesus Christ to liberate us from our bondage to sin and to death.

(ii) Jesus Christ is the eternal purpose of God. It was before the creation of the world that He was predestined for the work which was given Him to do:

1 Peter 1:20 (ASV)
20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake,

Here is a great thought. Sometimes we tend to think of God as first Creator and then Redeemer, as having created the world and then, when things went wrong, finding a way to rescue it through Jesus Christ. ***But here we have the vision of God who was Redeemer before He was Creator. His redeeming purpose was not an emergency measure to which He was compelled when things went wrong. It goes back before creation.

(iii) Peter has a connection of thought which is universal in the New Testament. Jesus Christ is not only the lamb who was slain; He is the resurrected and triumphant One to whom God gave glory. The New Testament thinkers seldom separate the Cross and the Resurrection; they seldom think of the sacrifice of Christ without thinking of His triumph. Edward Rogers, in “That they might have Life”, tells us that on one occasion he went carefully through the whole story of the Passion and the Resurrection in order to find a way to represent it dramatically, and goes on,

"I began to feel that there was something subtly and tragically wrong in any emphasis on the agony of the Cross which dimmed the brightness of the Resurrection, any suggestion that it was endured pain rather than overcoming LOVE which secured man's salvation."

He asks where the eyes of the Christian turn at the beginning of Lent. What do we dominantly see?

"Is it the darkness that covered the earth at noon, swirling round the pain and anguish of the Cross? Or is it the dazzling, mysterious early-morning brightness that shone from an empty tomb?"

He continues,

"There are forms of most earnest and devoted evangelical preaching and theological writing which convey the impression that somehow the Crucifixion has overshadowed the Resurrection and that the whole purpose of God in Christ was completed on Calvary. The truth, which is obscured only at grave spiritual peril, is that the Crucifixion cannot be interpreted and understood save in the light of the Resurrection."

Through His death Jesus emancipated man-kind from our bondage to slavery and death; but through His Resurrection He gives us a life which is as glorious and indestructible as His own. Through this triumphant Resurrection we have faith and hope in God:

1 Peter 1:21 (ASV)
21 who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

In this passage we see Jesus the great emancipator at the cost of Calvary;  We see Jesus the eternal redeeming purpose of God; We see Jesus the triumphant victor over death and the glorious Lord of life, the giver of life which death cannot touch and the bringer of hope which nothing can take away.

(2) The Christless Life

Peter picks out three characteristics of the Christ-less life.

(i) It is the life of ignorance:

1 Peter 1:14 (ASV)
14 as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance:

The pagan world was always haunted by the unknowability of God; at best men could but grope after His mystery. "It is hard," said Plato, "to investigate and to find the framer and the father of the universe; and, if one did find Him, it would be impossible to express Him in terms which all could understand." Even for the philosopher, to find God is difficult; and for the ordinary man, to understand Him is impossible. Aristotle spoke of God as the supreme cause, by all men dreamed of and by no man known. The ancient world did not doubt that there was a God or gods but it believed that such gods as there were were quite unknowable and totally uninterested in humanity and the universe. In a world without the person and reality of Jesus Christ God was mystery and power but never LOVE; there was no one to whom humanity could raise their hands for help or their eyes for hope.

(ii) It is the life dominated by desire.

As we read the records of that world into which Christianity came we cannot but be appalled at the sheer fleshliness of life within it. There was desperate poverty at the lower end of the social scale; but at the top we read of banquets which cost thousands of dollars, where peacocks' brains and nightingales' tongues were served and where the Emperor Vitellius set on the table at one banquet two thousand fish and seven thousand birds. Chastity was forgotten. Martial speaks of a woman who had reached her tenth husband; Juvenal of a woman who had eight husbands in five years; and Jerome tells us that in Rome there was one woman who was married to her twenty-third husband, she herself being his twenty-first wife. Both in Greece and in Rome homosexual practices were so common that they had come to be looked on as natural. It was a world mastered by desire, whose aim was to find newer and wilder ways of gratifying its lusts.

((( Sound familiar??? )))

(iii) It was a life characterized by futility.

Its basic trouble was that it was not going anywhere. Catullus writes to his Lesbia pleading for the delights of love. He pleads with her to seize the moment with its fleeting joys. "Suns can rise and set again; but once our brief light is dead, there is nothing left but one long night from which we never shall awake." If a man was to die like a dog, why should he not live like a dog? Life was a futile business with a few brief years in the light of the sun and then an eternal nothingness. There was nothing for which to live and nothing for which to die. ***Life will always be futile when there is nothing on the other side of death.

(3) The Christ-Filled Life

Peter finds three characteristics of the Christ-filled life and for each he finds compelling reasons.

(i) The Christ-filled life is the life of obedience and of holiness:

1 Peter 1:14-16 (ASV)
14 as children of obedience, not fashioning yourselves according to your former lusts in the time of your ignorance: 15 but like as he who called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living;
16 because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.

To be chosen by God is to enter, not only into great privilege, but also into great responsibility.  

That is why Jesus made it very clear, we MUST count the cost of being His disciples:

Luke 14:25-33 (ASV)
25 Now there went with him great multitudes: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man cometh unto me, and hateth not his own father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 Whosoever doth not bear his own cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.
28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, doth not first sit down and count the cost, whether he have wherewith to complete it?
29 Lest haply, when he hath laid a foundation, and is not able to finish, all that behold begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, as he goeth to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and take counsel whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and asketh conditions of peace. 33 So therefore whosoever he be of you that renounceth not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

((( Salvation is a great privilege, but indeed it carries a great obligation of LOVE……. )))

Peter remembers the ancient command at the very heart of all Hebrew religion. It was God's insistence to His people that they must be holy because He was holy:

Leviticus 11:44 (ASV)
44 For I am Jehovah your God: sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that moveth upon the earth.

Leviticus 19:2 (ASV)
2 Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy; for I Jehovah your God am holy.

Leviticus 20:7 (ASV)
7 Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy; for I am Jehovah your God.

Leviticus 20:26 (ASV)
26 And ye shall be holy unto me: for I, Jehovah, am holy, and have set you apart from the peoples, that ye should be mine.

1 Thessalonians 4:7-8 (NIV2011)
7 For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.
8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

The word for holy is (hagios) whose root meaning is different. The Temple is (hagios) because it is different from other buildings; the Sabbath is (hagios) because it is different from other days; the Christian is (hagios) because he is different from other people. The Christian is God's person by God's choice. We are chosen for a task in the world and for a destiny in eternity. We are chosen to live for God in time and with Him in eternity. In the world We must obey His law of LOVE and reproduce His life. There is laid on the Christian the task of being different. As Jesus was hated for being different in His age, if we are genuinely living for Him, we too, will be hated and mis-understood by the majority of society and even by the majority of professing christians… Who are christian in name only!!!

(ii) The Christ-filled life is the life of reverence:

1 Peter 1:17-21 (NIV2011)
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.

Reverence is the attitude of mind of the person who is always aware that they are in the presence of God. In these five verses Peter picks out three reasons for this Christian reverence.

(a) The Christian is a sojourner in this world. Life for us is lived in the shadow of eternity; we think all the time, not only of where we are but also of where we are going.

(b) We are going to God; true, We can call God Father, but that very God whom we call Father is also He who judges every person with strict impartiality. The Christian is a person for whom there is a day of reckoning, a day of determining our rewards. We are people with a destiny to win or to lose those rewards. Life in this world becomes of tremendous importance because it is leading to the life beyond.

(c) The Christian must live life in reverence, because it cost so much, nothing less than the life and death of Jesus Christ. Since, then, life is of such surpassing value, it cannot be wasted or thrown away. No  genuine Christian squanders what is of infinite human worth.

(iii) The Christ-filled life is the life of brotherly LOVE. It must issue in a LOVE for the brethren which is sincere and hearty and steadfast. The Christian is a person who is reborn, not of mortal, but of immortal seed. That may mean either of two things. It may mean that the remaking of the Christian is due to no human agency but to the agency of God, another way of saying what John said when he spoke of those "who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of man, but of God"

John 1:13 (NIV2011)
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

More probably it means that the Christian is remade by the entry into us of the seed of the word; and the picture is that of the Parable of the Sower:

Matthew 13:1-9 (NIV2011)
1 That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake.
2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed.4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

The quotation which Peter makes is from:

Isaiah 40:6-8 (NIV2011)
6 A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field.
7 The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”

The second interpretation fits that better. However we take it, the meaning is that the Christian is remade. Because we are “born again”, the life of God is in us. The great characteristic of the life of God is LOVE, and so the Christian must show that divine LOVE to ALL of God’s creation, especially ALL of humanity, even those we perceive as our enemies…

Matthew 5:43-48 (NIV2011)
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

There was a pastor I had once, who denied this ABSOLUTE TRUTH, that as true Christians, as Christ did, we too, MUST LOVE ALL MANKIND!!!!!!!

We are to LOVE our fellow humans,  yet hate the sin. ***Only through God’s help can we even hope to do this!!!

The Christian is the person who lives the Christ-filled life, the life that is different, never forgets the infinity of its obligations of LOVE, and is made beautiful by the LOVE of the God who gave it birth. ***SO SHARE YOUR FAITH, AND LIVE FOR JESUS CHRIST…….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc




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September 22, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“The First Epistle of Peter: Part Three”

1 Peter 1:6-12 (KJV)
6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Most precious Heavenly Father, To You always, the praise, the honor, and the glory, now and for all eternity. Not because You demand this of us, but because You deserve it, and our genuine and sincere LOVE for You inwardly compels us to. Hollowed be Thy name !!!!!!!

Gracious Father, our mental, physical, and spiritual bodies are so fragile and weak, so susceptible to sin, decay, and ultimate death. Lord we pray that You would heal those of us who are physically ill, release and deliver those who are in mental anguish, and above all save those who are spiritually blind, provide spiritual LOVE, grace, and mercy and bring them to a saving knowledge and LOVE relationship with Your one and ONLY SON JESUS THE CHRIST…

Help us do our part in reflecting Your great, great, great LOVE to all Your holy saints, and to all those You have created, and help us be good stewards towards all You have created out of nothingness. Help us be the Men, women, and children of God You desire us to be, not only in Heaven, but here and now on this side of eternity as well.

Help us proclaim Your glorious gospel to others, as You have lead people to share it to us. Give us the LOVE, grace, mercy, wisdom, and strength to declare Your good news to others. Help us be Your good children…

In all things not our wills be done but Thy will be done. We pray all these things in Yeshua, Jesus, the Messiah our Savior’s name Amen and eternally Amen……………………………………………. 


Peter comes to the actual situation in life in which his readers found themselves. Their Christianity had always made them unpopular, but now they were facing almost certain persecution. Soon the storm was going to break and life was going to be an agonizing thing. In face of that threatening situation Peter in effect reminds them of three reasons why they can stand anything that may come upon them.

(i) They can stand anything because of what they are able to look forward to. At the end there is for them the magnificent inheritance, life with God. In fact this is how Westcott understands the phrase, "in the last time" (en) (kairo) (eschato). We have taken it to mean in the time when the world as we know it will come to an end; but the Greek can mean when the worst comes to the worst. It is then, says Westcott, when things have reached their limit, that the saving power of Christ will be displayed.

In any event, the ultimate meaning is the same. For the Christian persecution and trouble are not the end; beyond lies the glory; and in the hope of that glory he, we can endure anything that life brings to us. It sometimes happens that a person has to undergo a painful operation or course of treatment; but they gladly accept the pain and the discomfort because of the renewed health and strength which lie beyond. It is one of the basic facts of life that a person can endure almost anything so long as they have something to look forward to—and the Christian can look forward to the ultimate joy.

(ii) We can stand anything that comes if we remember that every trial is, in fact, a test. Before gold is pure it has to be tested in the fire. The trials which come to a person test their faith and out of them that faith can emerge stronger than ever it was before. The rigors which the athlete has to undergo are not meant to make him collapse but to make him able to develop more strength and staying-power. In this world trials are not meant to take the strength out of us, but to put the strength into us.

In this connection there is something most suggestive in the language Peter uses. He says that the Christian for the moment may well have to undergo various trials. The Greek is (poikilos), which literally means many-colored. Peter uses that word only one other time and it is to describe the grace of God:

1 Peter 4:10 (KJV)
10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Our troubles may be many-colored, but so is the grace of God; there is no color in the human situation which that grace cannot match and exceed!!! There is a grace to match every trial and there is no trial without its grace.

(iii) We can stand anything, because at the end of it, when Jesus Christ appears, We will receive from Him praise and glory and honor.

Matthew 25:21 (NIV)
21 "His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

((( Oh to hear those words from God: “'Well done, good and faithful servant!” )))

Again and again in this life we make our biggest efforts and do our best work, not for pay or profit, but in order to see the light in someone's eyes and to hear His word of praise. These things mean more than anything else in the world. The Christian knows that, if we endure, we will in the end hear the Master's "Well done!"

Here is the recipe for endurance when life is hard and faith is difficult. We can stand up to things because of the greatness to which we can look forward, because every trial is another test to strengthen and to purify our faith, and because at the end of it Jesus Christ is waiting to say, "Well done!" to all his faithful servants.

1 Peter 1:8-9 (KJV)
8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

Peter is drawing an implicit contrast between himself and his readers. It was his great privilege to have known Jesus in the days of His flesh. His readers had not had that joy; but, although they never knew Jesus in the flesh, they LOVE Him; and although they do not see Him with the bodily eye, they believe. And that belief brings to them, to us, a joy beyond speech and clad with glory, for even here and now it makes us certain of the ultimate welfare of our eternal souls.

E. G. Selwyn in his commentary distinguishes four stages in man's apprehension of Christ.

(i) The first is the stage of hope and desire, the stage of those who throughout the ages dreamed of the coming of the King. As Jesus himself said to his disciples,

Luke 10:23-24 (KJV)
23 And he turned him unto his disciples, and said privately, Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see: 24 For I tell you, that many prophets and kings have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

There were the days of longings and expectations which were never fully realized.

(ii) The second stage came to those who knew Christ in the flesh. That is what Peter is thinking about here. That is what he was thinking about when he said to Cornelius,

Acts 10:39 (KJV)
39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

There were those who walked with Jesus and on whose witness our knowledge of His life and the words depends.

(iii) There are those in every nation and time who see Jesus with the eye of faith. Jesus said to Thomas,

John 20:29 (KJV)
29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

**This way of seeing Jesus is possible only because He is not someone who merely lived and died and exists now only as a figure in a book but someone who lived and died and is alive for evermore. It has been said that "no apostle ever remembered Jesus." That is to say, Jesus is not only a memory; He is a person whom we can meet.

(iv) There is the radiant vision. It was John's confidence that we shall see Him as He is,

1 John 3:2 (KJV)
2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

"Now," said Paul,

1 Corinthians 13:12 (KJV)
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

If the eye of faith endures, the day will come when it will be the eye of sight, and we shall see face to face and know even as we are known.

Jesus, these eyes have never seen

That radiant form of thine;

The veil of sense hangs dark between

Thy blessed face and mine.

I see thee not, I hear thee not,

Yet art thou oft with me;

And earth hath ne'er so dear a spot

As where I meet with thee.

Yet, though I have not seen, and still

Must rest in faith alone,

I love thee, dearest Lord, and will,

Unseen but not unknown.

When death these mortal eyes shall seal,

And still this throbbing heart,

The rending veil shall thee reveal

All glorious as thou art.


1 Peter 1:10-12 (KJV)
10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Here again we have a rich passage. The wonder of the salvation which was to come to men in Christ was such that the prophets searched and enquired about it; and even the angels were eager to catch a glimpse of it. Few passages have more to tell us about how the prophets wrote and about how they were inspired.

(i) We are told two things about the prophets. First, they searched and enquired about the salvation which was to come. Second, the Spirit of Christ told them about Christ. Here we have the great truth that inspiration depends on two things—the searching mind of man and the revealing Spirit of God. It used sometimes to be said that the men who wrote Scripture were pens in the hands of God or flutes into which His Spirit breathed or lyres across which His Spirit moved. That is to say, they were held to be nothing more than almost unconscious instruments in God's hands. But this passage tells us that God's truth comes only to the man or woman who searches for it. In inspiration there is an element which is human and an element which is divine; it is the product at one and the same time of the search of a person's mind and the revelation of God's Spirit. (Both are by God’s grace)

Further, this passage tells us that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, was always operative in this world. Wherever people have glimpsed beauty, wherever they have laid hold on truth, wherever they have had longings for God, the Spirit of Christ was there. Never has there been any time in any nation when the Spirit of Christ was not moving people to seek God and guiding them to find Him. Sometimes we have been blind and deaf, sometimes we have misinterpreted that guidance, sometimes we have grasped but fragments of it, but always that revealing Spirit has been there to guide the searching mind.

(ii) This passage tells us that the prophets spoke of the sufferings and the glory of Christ. Such passages as,

Isaiah 52:13-15 (KJV)
13 Behold, my servant shall deal prudently, he shall be exalted and extolled, and be very high. 14 As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men: 15 So shall he sprinkle many nations; the kings shall shut their mouths at him: for that which had not been told them shall they see; and that which they had not heard shall they consider.

Or Psalms 22, again in Isaiah 53 verses 1-12; found their consummation and fulfillment in the sufferings of Christ. Such passages as Psalms 2, Psalms 110,

Psalm 16:8-11 (KJV)
8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Found their fulfillment in the glory and the triumph of Jesus Christ.

(iii) This passage tells us for whom the prophets spoke. It was the message of the glorious deliverance of God that they brought to men. That was a deliverance which they themselves never experienced. Sometimes God gives a man a vision, but says to the man himself, "Not yet!" He took Moses to Pisgah and showed him the Promised Land and said to him,

Deuteronomy 34:4 (KJV)
4 And the LORD said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

Someone tells of watching one night at dusk a blind lamplighter lighting the lamps. He tapped his way from lamp-post to lamp-post bringing to others a light which he himself would never see. As the prophets knew, it is a great gift to receive the vision, even if the consummation of the vision is for others still to come.

This passage tells us not only of the visions of the prophets but also of the message of the preacher. It was the preachers who brought the message of salvation to the readers of Peter's letter.

(i) It tells us that preaching is the announcement of salvation. Preaching may at different times have many notes and many aspects, but fundamentally it is the proclamation of the gospel, the good news. The preacher may at times have to warn, threaten and condemn; he may have to remind men of the judgment and the wrath of God; but basically, beyond all else, his message is the announcement of salvation.

(ii) It tells us that preaching is through the Holy Spirit sent down from heaven. The preacher's message is not his own; it is given to him. He brings, not his own opinions and even prejudices; he brings the truth as given him by the Holy Spirit. Like the prophet he will have to search and enquire; he will have to study and to learn; but he must then wait for the guidance of the Spirit to come to him.

(iii) It tells us that the preacher's message is of things of which the angels long to catch a glimpse. There is no excuse for triviality in preaching. There is no excuse for an earthbound and unlovely message without interest or thrill. The salvation of God is a tremendous thing.

***It is with the message of salvation and the inspiration of the Spirit of Christ that the preacher must ever appear before men.***

And we as Christians MUST SHARE OUR FAITH IN LOVE!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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September 15, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfield, Utah

“An Incorruptible Inheritance”

1 Peter 1:3-5 (KJV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Lord, we are no longer our own, but thine.

Put us to what thou wilt, rank us with whom thou wilt.

Put us to doing, put us to suffering.

Let us be employed for thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let us be full, let us be empty.

Let us have all things, let us have nothing.

We freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, thou art ours, and we are thine.

So be it.

And the covenant which we have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven. In Jesus name we pray Amen and eternally Amen.


As we see the stage of world-wide political corruption occur before our very eyes, it is very comforting to know, God, His grace, His word, and His promises WILL NEVER BE CORRUPTED!!!!!!!

It will take us a long time to appropriate the riches of this passage, for there are few passages in the New Testament where more of the great fundamental Christian ideas come together.

It begins with a doxology to God—but a doxology with a difference. For a Jew the commonest of all beginnings to prayer was, "Blessed art thou, O God." The Christian takes over that prayer—but with a difference. His prayer begins, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." He is not praying to a distant, unknown God; he, we are praying to the God who is like Jesus and to whom, through Jesus Christ, we may come with childlike confidence.

This passage begins with the idea of rebirth; the Christian is a person who has been reborn; begotten again by God to a new kind of life. Whatever else this means, it means that, when a person becomes a Christian, there comes into his/her life a change so radical that the only thing that can be said is that life has begun all over again for them, us. This idea of rebirth runs all through the New Testament. Let us try to collect what it says about it.

(i) The Christian rebirth happens by the will and by the act of God:

John 1:13 (NIV)
13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

It is not something which any person can achieve on their own any more than we can achieve our own physical birth.

(ii) Another way to put that is to say that this rebirth is the work of the Holy Spirit:

John 3:1-15 (KJV)
1 There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: 2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. 3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? 13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

It happens to a person, not by his/her own effort, but when they yield themselves to be indwelt and re-created, born again, transformed by the Holy Spirit...

(iii) It happens by the Word of Truth:

James 1:18 (KJV)
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV)
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

In the beginning it was the word of God which created heaven and earth and all that is in them. God spoke and the chaos became a world, and the world was equipped with and for life. It is the creative word of God in Jesus Christ which brings about this rebirth in a person’s life.

(iv) The result of this rebirth is that the man who is reborn becomes the first fruits of a new creation:

James 1:18 (KJV)
18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

It lifts us out of this world of space and time, of change and decay, of sin and defeat, and brings us here and now in touch with eternity and eternal life.

(v) When a man is reborn, it is to a living hope:

1 Peter 1:3 (KJV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Paul describes the heathen world as being without hope:

Ephesians 2:12 (KJV)
12 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

Sophocles wrote:

"Not to be born at all—that is by far the best fortune; the second best is as soon as one is born with all speed to return thither whence one has come."

To the heathen the world was a place where all things faded and decayed; it might be pleasant enough in itself but it was leading out into nothing but an endless dark. To the ancient world the Christian characteristic was hope. That hope came from two things. (a) The Christian felt that he had been born, not of corruptible, but of incorruptible seed:

1 Peter 1:23 (KJV)
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

As Christians we have something of the very seed of God in ourselves and, therefore, have within our lives that which neither time nor eternity can ever destroy. (b) It came from the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

1 Peter 1:3 (KJV)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

We as Christians have forever, eternity, beside us—even more, we are one with—this Jesus Christ who has conquered even death and, therefore, there is nothing of which we need be afraid.

(vi) The rebirth of the Christian is a rebirth to righteousness:

1 John 2:29 (KJV)
29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

1 John 3:9 (KJV)
9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

1 John 5:18 (KJV)
18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

In this rebirth WE ARE CLEASNSED FROM OURSELVES, the sins which shackle us and the habits which bind us; and we are given a power which enables us to walk in righteousness. That is not to say that the we who are reborn will never sin; but it is to say that every time we fall we will be given the power and the grace to rise again. Amen!!!

(vii) The rebirth of the Christian is a rebirth to LOVE:

1 John 4:7 (KJV)
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

Because the life of God is in us, we are cleansed from the essential unforgiving bitterness of the self-centred life and there is in us who are genuinely twice-born, born again, reborn, something of the forgiving and sacrificial LOVE of God.

(viii) Finally, the rebirth of the Christian is rebirth to victory:

1 John 5:4 (KJV)
4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

Life ceases to be defeat and begins to be victory, over self and sin and circumstances. Because the life of God is in us, the Christian has learned the secret of victorious living…(( But do we submit to the Holy Spirit, that is a daily question we must ask ourselves??? ))

Further, the Christian has entered into a great inheritance (kleronomia). Here is a word with a great history; for it is the word which is regularly used in the Greek Old Testament for the inheritance of Canaan, the Promised Land. Again and again the Old Testament speaks of the land which God had given his people for an inheritance to possess:

Deuteronomy 15:4 (KJV)
4 Save when there shall be no poor among you; for the LORD shall greatly bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance to possess it:

Deuteronomy 19:10 (KJV)
10 That innocent blood be not shed in thy land, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance, and so blood be upon thee.

To us inheritance tends to mean something which in the future we shall possess; as the Bible uses the word, it rather means a secure possession. To the Jew the great settled possession was the Promised Land.

But the Christian inheritance is even greater. Peter uses three words with three great pictures behind them to describe it. It is imperishable (aphthartos,). The word does mean imperishable but it can also mean unravaged by any invading army. Many and many a time Palestine had been ravaged by the armies of the aliens; it had been fought over and blasted and destroyed. But the Christian possesses a peace and a joy, which no invading army can ravage and destroy.

It is undefilable. The word is (amianto), and the verb (miainein), from which this adjective comes, means to pollute with impious impurity. Many and many a time Palestine had been rendered impure by false worship of false gods:

Jeremiah 2:7 (KJV)
7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.

Jeremiah 2:23 (KJV)
23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;

Jeremiah 3:2 (KJV)
2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.

Ezekiel 20:43 (KJV)
43 And there shall ye remember your ways, and all your doings, wherein ye have been defiled; and ye shall lothe yourselves in your own sight for all your evils that ye have committed.

The defiling things had often left their touch even on the Promised Land; but the Christian has a purity which the sin of the world cannot infect. It is unfading (amarantos). In the Promised Land, as in any land, even the loveliest flower fades and the loveliest blossom dies. But the Christian is lifted into a world where there is no change and decay and where OUR peace and joy are untouched by the chances and the changes of life, we are blessed!!!

What, then, is this wonderful inheritance which the reborn, born again Christian possesses?

There may be many secondary answers to that question but there is only one primary answer—the inheritance of the Christian is God himself. The Psalmist said,

Psalm 16:5 (KJV)
5 The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

God is his portion forever:

Psalm 73:23-26 (KJV)
23 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. 24 Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. 25 Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. 26 My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

"The Lord," said the prophet,

Lamentations 3:24 (KJV)
24 The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.

It is because the Christian possesses God and is possessed, indwelt, by God that we have the inheritance which is imperishable, undefilable and which can never fade away.

The inheritance of the Christian, the full joy of God, is waiting for us in heaven; and of that Peter has two great things to say.

(i) On our journey through this world to eternity we are protected by the power of God through faith. The word which Peter uses for protect (phrourein) is a military word. It means that our life is garrisoned by God and that He stands sentinel over us all our days. The person who has faith never needs to doubt, even when we cannot see Him, God is standing within the shadows keeping watch upon His own.

Matthew 28:20B (KJV)
20 B… lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

It is not that God saves us from the troubles and the sorrows and the problems of life; but he enables us to conquer them and march on.

(ii) The final salvation (what our eternal lives will be like) will be revealed at the last time. Here we have two conceptions which are at the very basis of New Testament thought.

The New Testament frequently speaks of the last day or days, or the last time. At the back of this is the way the Jews divided all time into two ages—the present age, which is wholly under the domination of evil and the age to come, which will be the golden age of God. In between came the day of the Lord during which the world would be destroyed and remade and judgment would come. It is this in between time which is the last days or the last time, that time when the world as we know it will come to an end.

It is not given to us to know when that time will come nor what will happen then. But we can gather together what the New Testament says about these last days.

(i) The Christians believed that they were already living in the last days.

1 John 2:18 (KJV)
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

 "It is the last hour," says John to his people. The writer to the Hebrews speaks of the fullness of the revelation which has come to men in Christ in these last days:

Hebrews 1:2 (KJV)
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

As the first Christians saw it, God had already invaded time and the end was hastening on.

(ii) The last times were to be times of the pouring out of God's Spirit upon men:

Acts 2:17 (KJV)
17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

The early Christians saw that being fulfilled in Pentecost and in the Spirit-filled Church.

(iii) It was the regular conviction of the early Christians that before the end the powers of evil would make a final assault and that all kinds of false teachers would arise:

2 Timothy 3:1 (KJV)
1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

1 John 2:18 (KJV)
18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

Jude 1:18 (KJV)
18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

2 Peter 2:1 (KJV)
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

(iv) The dead would be resurrected. It is Jesus' promise that at the last time he will raise up his own:

John 6:39-40 (KJV)
39 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.

John 6:44 (KJV)
44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 11:24 (KJV)
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.

(v) Inevitably it would be a time of judgment when God's justice would be exercised and his enemies find their just condemnation and punishment:

John 12:48 (KJV)
48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

James 5:3 (KJV)
3 Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.

Such are the ideas which are in the minds of the New Testament writers when they use this phrase the last times or the last days.

Clearly for many a man such a time will be a time of terror; but for the Christian there is, not terror, but deliverance. The word (sozein) means to save in far more than a theological sense. It is the regular word for to rescue from danger and to heal in sickness. Charles Bigg in his commentary points out that in the New Testament (sozein), to save, and (soteria), salvation, have four different, but closely related, spheres of meaning.

(a) They describe deliverance from danger:

Matthew 8:25 (KJV)
25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.

(b) They describe deliverance from disease:

Matthew 9:21 (KJV)
21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.

(c) They describe deliverance from the condemnation of God:

Matthew 10:22 (KJV)
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 24:13 (KJV)
13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

(d) They describe deliverance from the disease and power of sin:

Matthew 1:21 (KJV)
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

***Salvation is a many-sided thing. In it there is deliverance from danger, deliverance from disease, deliverance from condemnation and deliverance from sin. And it is that, and nothing less than that, to which the Christian can look forward at the end.***

Truly the inheritance that we receive from God as genuine “reborn”, “born again”, “twice born”, saved people, is unquestionably INCORUPTIBLE!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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September 8, 2019


“a” Church

Clearfieid, Utah

 “Our Great Inheritance”

1 Peter 1:1-2 (NIV)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Over the next several months we will be studying the first epistle of Peter…I have been a preacher for over 41 years and this is only my second attempt in teaching the letters of Peter from cover to cover. Today we will discuss the opening verses.

First let us pray:

Gracious Lord, our heavenly Father, sometimes we reach out for You, wishing we could touch You, see You, or in some other way find some physical evidence that You are near and that you are concerned.

Forgive us our doubting and lift us, please, to higher levels of faith and understanding.

We do not ask that You change in any way whatsoever. We humbly pray that You will change us until our spirits shall be more like Thine. We are unworthy of the least of Thy favors. We freely acknowledge our need for understanding. We pray for Thy favor to rest upon our lives, bless us with Thy Presence.

Help us, O God; guide us; strengthen us; open our understanding of Thy mind, will, and way. We promise to make every effort to serve Thee more faithfully and effectively.

Father, thank You for sending the Lord Jesus to be our Saviour and for dying for us on that BLOOD soaked, BLOOD stained cross and paying the ultimate price for our sins. Thank You for giving us the Word of God, hallelujah, praise You Lord for Your holy, inerrant, infallible Writ that so beautifully opens up Your plan of redemption for mankind and thank You for sending the Holy Spirit to live in all genuine believers and to lead and guide us into all truth and righteousness.

We pray Lord that You would give us a deeper understanding of Your Word - Your plan for Israel, Your church, and the redemption of the lost and the reclaimation of the rest of Your creation. We pray that as we read and study the scriptures that our hearts would be flooded with light so that we may understand all that You would teach us, that we would live in a way that is honoring to You and that we would draw closer to You with every passing breath.

Father we pray that You would open the eyes of our hearts as we read, study and meditate on Your Word – so that we may see You more clearly and LOVE You more dearly. In Jesus name we pray all these things, Amen and eternally Amen…….

It happens again and again in the New Testament that the true greatness of a passage lies not only on the surface and in what is actually said, but in the ideas and the convictions which lie behind it. That is particularly so here.

It is clear that this letter was written to people who were Gentiles. They have been released from the futile way of life which they had learned from their fathers.

1 Peter 1:18 (NIV)
18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers,

Those who were once not a people had become nothing less than the people of God.

1 Peter 2:10 (NIV)
10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

 In previous times they had walked after the will and the lusts of the Gentiles.

1 Peter 4:3 (NIV)
3 For you have spent enough time in the past doing what pagans choose to do--living in debauchery, lust, drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.

But the outstanding thing about this passage is that it takes words and conceptions which had originally applied only to the Jews, the Chosen Nation, and applies them to the Gentiles, who had once been believed to be outside the mercy of God. *Once it had been said that "God created the Gentiles to be fuel for the fires of Hell." *Once it had been said that, just as the best of the snakes must be crushed, so even the best of the Gentiles must be destroyed. *Once it had been said that God LOVED only Israel of all nations upon the earth. But now the mercy, the privileges, and the grace of God have gone out to all the earth and to all humanity, even to those who could never have expected them.

Peter calls the people to whom he writes the elect, God's Chosen People, once that had been a title which belonged exclusively to Israel:

Deuteronomy 7:6 (NIV)
6 For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession.

Deuteronomy 14:2 (NIV)
2 for you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession.

The prophet speaks of "Israel, my chosen":

Isaiah 45:4 (NIV)
4 For the sake of Jacob my servant, of Israel my chosen, I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me.

The Psalmist speaks of "the sons of Jacob, his chosen ones":

Psalm 105:6 (NIV)
6 O descendants of Abraham his servant, O sons of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Psalm 105:43 (NIV)
43 He brought out his people with rejoicing, his chosen ones with shouts of joy;

But the nation of Israel failed in the purposes of God, for, when He sent His Son into the world, they rejected and crucified Him. When Jesus spoke the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, He said that the inheritance of Israel was to be taken from them and given to others:

Matthew 21:41 (NIV)
41 "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end," they replied, "and he will rent the vineyard to other tenants, who will give him his share of the crop at harvest time."

Mark 12:9 (NIV)
9 "What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others.

Luke 20:16 (NIV)
16 He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others." When the people heard this, they said, "May this never be!"

***That is the basis of the great New Testament conception of the Christian Church as the true Israel, the new Israel, the Israel of God:

Galatians 6:15-16 (NIV)
15 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16 Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

So salvation is now offered to both Jew and Gentile alike; anyone who genuinely LOVES Jesus Christ!!!

All the privileges which had once belonged to Israel now belong to the Christian Church, the Christian faithul. The mercy of God has gone out to the ends of the earth, and all nations have seen the glory and experienced the grace of God.

There is another word here which once belonged exclusively to Israel. The address literally reads: "To the elect strangers of the Diaspora throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia." Diaspora, literally the dispersion, was the technical name for the Jews scattered in exile in all the countries outside the bounds of Palestine. Sometimes in their troubled history the Jews had been forcibly deported from their native land; sometimes they had gone of their own free will to work, and often to prosper, in other lands. Those exiled Jews were called the Diaspora. But now the real Diaspora is not the Jewish nation; it is the Christian Church, the Christian faithful scattered abroad throughout the provinces of the Roman Empire and the nations of the world. ***Once the people who had been different from others were the Jews; now the people who are different are the Christians. They are the people whose King is God, whose home is eternity, and who are exiles in the world. To be different literally means to be ‘Holy’…

What Peter is saying means that the two great titles of which we have been thinking belong to us who are genuine Christians. Not because of whom we are, but because of who we belong to, Jesus the true Christ, Messiah and only Savior for those who were lost; but have found eternal redemption through the shed blood of Jesus and Him alone!!!!!!!

1 Corinthians 3:11 (NIV)
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

 We are the Chosen People of God. There is awesome encouragement here. Surely there can be no greater compliment and privilege in all the world than to be chosen by God. The word eklektos can describe anything that is specially chosen; it can describe specially chosen fruit, articles specially chosen because they are so outstandingly well made, picked troops specially chosen for some great exploit. We have the honor of being specially chosen by God.

But there is also challenge and responsibility here. God always chooses for service. The honor which God gives a person is that of being used for His purposes. It was precisely there that the Jews failed, and we have to see to it that the tragedy of a like failure does not mark our lives.

We are called, chosen to serve; to reach out to our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ and to share the only way to eternal salvation for all who are lost…….

Matthew 28:18-19 (NIV)
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Jesus said:

John 14:6 (NIV)
6 Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

If we are silent we are not living up to our great calling, the calling that all true Christians have, TO SHARE THE HUMILTY OF JESUS CHRIST, THE TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST ( The Bible ), AND THE GLORIOUSLY AWESOME LOVE OF JESUS CHRIST WITH THOSE HE PUTS IN OUR PATH…….

We are the exiles of eternity. This is never to say that we must withdraw from the world, but that in the realest sense we must be at the same time both in the world and not of it. It has been wisely said that the Christian must be apart from the world but never aloof from it. Wherever the exiled Jew settled, his eyes were towards Jerusalem. In foreign countries his synagogues were so built that, when the worshipper entered, he was facing towards Jerusalem. However useful a citizen of his adopted country the Jew was, his greatest loyalty was to Jerusalem.

The Greek word for such a sojourner in a strange land is paroikos. A paroikos was a person who was in a strange land and whose thoughts ever turned home. Such a sojourning was called a paroikia; and paroikia is the direct derivation of the English word parish. The Christians in any place are a group of people whose eyes are turned to God and whose loyalty is beyond. "Here," said the writer to the Hebrews,

Hebrews 13:14 (NIV)
14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

We must repeat that this does not mean withdrawal from the world; but it does mean that the Christian sees all things in the light of eternity and life as a journey towards God. It is this which decides the importance which we attach to anything; it is this which dictates our conduct and morality. ***It is the touchstone and the dynamic of the Christians life.***

There is a famous unwritten saying of Jesus: "The world is a bridge. The wise man will pass over it, but he will not build his house upon it." This is the thought which is behind the famous passage in The Epistle to Diognetus, one of the best-known works of the post-apostolic age: "Christians are not marked out from the rest of mankind by their country or their speech or their customs.... They dwell in cities both Greek and barbarian, each as his lot is cast, following the customs of the region in clothing and in food and in the outward things of life generally; yet they manifest the wonderful and openly paradoxical character of their own state. They inhabit the lands of their birth, but as temporary residents thereof; they take their share of all responsibilities as citizens, and endure all disabilities as aliens. Every foreign land is their native land, and every native land a foreign land.... They pass their days upon earth, but their citizenship is in heaven."

It would be wrong to think that this makes the Christian a bad citizen of the land in which he lives. It is because we see all things in the light of eternity that we should be the best of all citizens, for it is only in the light of eternity that the true values of things can be seen.

***We, as Christians, are the Chosen People of God; we are the exiles of eternity. Therein lie both our priceless privilege and our inescapable responsibility to LOVE and serve God and ALL of His precious creation.***

As we turn to 1 Peter 1 v 2 we are confronted with the three great facts of the Christian life.

One, The Christian is chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. C. E. B. Cranfield has a fine comment on this phrase:

 "If all our attention is concentrated on the hostility or indifference of the world or the exiguousness of our own progress in the Christian life, we may well be discouraged. At such times we need to be reminded that our election is according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. The Church is not just a human organization—though, of course, it is that. ***Its origin lies, not in the will of the flesh, in the idealism of men, in human aspirations and plans, but in the eternal purpose of God."***

When we are discouraged we may well remind ourselves that the Christian Church came into being according to the purpose and plan of God and, if it is true to Him, it can never ultimately fail.

Second, The Christian is chosen to be consecrated by the Spirit. Martin Luther said:

"I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him."

For the Christian the Holy Spirit is essential to every part of the Christian life and every step in it. It is the Holy Spirit who awakens within us the first faint longings for God and goodness. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sin and leads us to the Cross where that sin is forgiven forever. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to be freed from the sins which have us in their grip and to gain the virtues which are the fruit of the Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who gives us the assurance that our sins are forgiven and that Jesus Christ is Lord. ***The beginning, the middle and the end of the Christian’s life is the work of the Holy Spirit.***

Three, The Christian is chosen for obedience and for sprinkling by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament there are three occasions when sprinkling with blood is mentioned. It may well be that all three were present in Peter's mind and that all three have something to contribute to the thought behind these words.

When a leper had been healed, he was sprinkled with the blood of a bird. Leviticus 14:1-7 (NIV)
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "These are the regulations for the diseased person at the time of his ceremonial cleansing, when he is brought to the priest: 3 The priest is to go outside the camp and examine him. If the person has been healed of his infectious skin disease, 4 the priest shall order that two live clean birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop be brought for the one to be cleansed. 5 Then the priest shall order that one of the birds be killed over fresh water in a clay pot. 6 He is then to take the live bird and dip it, together with the cedar wood, the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, into the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. 7 Seven times he shall sprinkle the one to be cleansed of the infectious disease and pronounce him clean. Then he is to release the live bird in the open fields.

*Sprinkling with blood is, therefore, the symbol of cleansing. By the sacrifice of Christ, the Christian is cleansed from sin.

(b) Sprinkling with blood was part of the ritual of the setting apart of Aaron and the priests,

Exodus 29:20-21 (NIV)
20 Slaughter it, take some of its blood and put it on the lobes of the right ears of Aaron and his sons, on the thumbs of their right hands, and on the big toes of their right feet. Then sprinkle blood against the altar on all sides. 21 And take some of the blood on the altar and some of the anointing oil and sprinkle it on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. Then he and his sons and their garments will be consecrated.

Leviticus 8:30 (NIV)
30 Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood from the altar and sprinkled them on Aaron and his garments and on his sons and their garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments and his sons and their garments.

*It was the sign of setting apart for the service of God. The Christian is specially set apart for the service of God, not only within the Temple, but also within the world and all of creation.

(c) The great picture of the sprinkling comes from the covenant relationship between Israel and God. In the covenant, God, of His own gracious will, approached Israel that they might be His people and that He might be their God. But that relationship depended on the Israelites accepting the conditions of the covenant and obeying the law. Obedience was a necessary condition of the covenant, and failure in obedience meant failure of the covenant relationship between God and Israel. So the book of the covenant was read to Israel and the people pledged themselves:

Exodus 24:1-8 (NIV)
1 Then he said to Moses, "Come up to the LORD, you and Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel. You are to worship at a distance, 2 but Moses alone is to approach the LORD; the others must not come near. And the people may not come up with him." 3 When Moses went and told the people all the LORD's words and laws, they responded with one voice, "Everything the LORD has said we will do." 4 Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain and set up twelve stone pillars representing the twelve tribes of Israel. 5 Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD. 6 Moses took half of the blood and put it in bowls, and the other half he sprinkled on the altar. 7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, "We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey." 8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words."

*Sprinkling was for obedience.

Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Christian is called into a new relationship with God, in which ALL our sins are forgiven and we are pledged to the obedience of LOVE now and in the time to come. That obedience is to:

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."

It is in the purpose of God that the Christian is called. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that his life is hallowed towards God. It is by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ that we are cleansed from ALL sin and dedicated to future obedience to God. The obedience of LOVE…….

2 Corinthians 5:17-20 (NIV)
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.

Submitted by: Dr. H. Chris Smith, sbc


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September 1, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"It Is Time!!!"

Hosea 10 v 12

"Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you."

O Lord, according to Your Word, we enter Your courts with Thanksgiving and Praise.

Most High God, Master and Creator of the Universe, we humbly bow before You and worship You with all of our heart, soul and mind. Like Jesus instructed us, we start this prayer out with Thanksgiving—deeply grateful and thankful that You DO, indeed, hear the prayers of Your children.

We acknowledge the incredible right and privilege You have given us to walk directly into the Presence of the most Powerful and Effective force in the Universe and BOLDLY ask for assistance.

The devils tremble at this privilege that You have afforded us through the Blood of Jesus Christ. Help us to fully take hold of the extent of this opportunity. Forgive us for the times when we have not utilized this right effectively through lack of Faith.

Lord Most High, we are in dire need of Your assistance. There are forces afoot that would attempt to destroy Your Creation–Forces that seek to steal, kill and destroy Your Church. You said that we would have Life and have it more abundantly. You said the gates of Hell would not prevail against Your Church. For Your sake, O God, and based on the unfailing promises of Your Holy Word, do not let the forces of Evil and Darkness prevail. We ask that Righteousness, Peace and Joy would abound so Your name would be honored and glorified. We believe that both Israel and other “bridal nations” were founded expressly on Your Power in their Law and Constitutions. These types of countries were formed for Your Glory—

Providentially placed under Your Covenantal Contract to be shining cities upon a hill whose Beacon Light was to guide freedom-LOVING people and other nations globally.

We acknowledge our failure in the Body of Christ to live up to our side of the Covenant. We have NOT lived as we should. We have NOT obeyed all of Your commands. We have NOT placed You first in our lives. We confess that our nations are currently on a dangerous pathway towards the idolatry of Human Secularism which seeks to remove You from every aspect of our daily public lives. In doing so, we have not only failed to follow in Christ’s footsteps to help “set the captives free”, but have become captives ourselves to a un-Godly philosophy that will ultimately destroy the very foundations of our nations.

O God, we sincerely repent of our personal and national sins. We repent of the sins of omission as well as commission. These sins include idolatry, murder, anger, stubbornness, dishonesty, corruption, greed, sloth, lust, envy, compromise, fear, gossip, hypocrisy, impurity, ingratitude, profanity, stealing, unforgiveness, untruthfulness, wordliness, worry and the ultimate sin of Pride. We take no solace in the fact that some of us may not have personally embraced sins such as abortion or marriage redefinition BUT by apathy or indifference have allowed evil to flourish. We have not followed Your Biblical mandate to submit to You, obey Your Holy Commandments and resist the Devil. Nor have we had a zeal to repent which invites You to commune with us, enabling us to become overcomers who will sit with You on Your throne.

Instead of embracing righteousness we–individually, in our families and in our nations–have performed evil acts. We have fallen short of Your Glory, for which You have cursed our nations with drought and pestilence and have opened our borders to the plunder of foreign armies. Even with obvious signs in the stars, moon, sky and weather, we have not repented and returned our nations to You Lord in corporate repentance. Instead, our leaders have vowed to rebuild out of their own strength thus raising a fist is defiance to Your judgments.

Master, please have mercy on us. We beg for Your grace and mercy. We are undeserving of your mercy but Your Holy Word says you are patient, kind, LOVING, merciful and longsuffering. Please, because of who YOU are and not because of what WE are—hear our prayer and grant our petition this day. We know You will hear from Heaven and will forgive our sins and heal our lands if we humble ourselves, pray, seek Your Face and turn from our wicked ways.

Then may all the kingdoms of the world truly know that YOU are our God and that we have no other gods but You.

May You get all the glory, honor and praise. May Your Kingdom come quickly and may Your will be done here on Earth as it is in Heaven.

We pray this prayer with great expectancy, looking upwards for our ultimate Salvation when You will return to set things right forever and ever.

WE PRAY THIS PRAYER IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST/YESHUA, THE NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES, THE KING OF KINGS, AND THE LORD OF LORDS. Amen and eternally Amen and Amen………………...

Things are not going well in our country!!! The secular world’s and unfortunately much of the religious world’s focus is on the tremendous financial upheaval not only in our nation but in the nations around the worldwide. ***But this rollercoaster ride of financial demise and the military actions of the mid-East are only rouses to divert humanity’s focus and attention away from WHAT WE SHOULD REALLY BE FOCUSED ON!

The book of Hosea that our main text is from was written and completed sometime around 686 B.C.; considering that the Prophet Hosea’s ministry was roughly between 767 B.C. and 686 B.C. gleaned from the prophet’s own words in chapter one.

Hosea 1 v 1

“The word of the Lord that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.“

Hosea was called to proclaim to his people (Israel) the word of the Lord to bear witness against their apostasy (leaving their faith) and their corruption as a nation, and in preaching the judgment of God. The ungodliness and wickedness had become so great in God’s chosen people that the destruction of the kingdom was inevitable; and the degenerate (sinful) nation was obliged to be given up into the power of the Assyrians, the existing representatives of the heathen power of the world at that time.

But God the Lord has no pleasure in the death of the sinner, but that we should turn and live, He would not exterminate the rebellious tribes of the people of His possession from the earth,

Ezekiel 18 v 32

"For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,'' says the Lord God. Therefore turn and live!'' NKJ

So God in His mercy put them away from His face and would humble them deeply by severe and long continual chastisement, in order that He might bring them to a self-awareness of their great guilt and lead them to repentance, so that He might at length show grace and mercy upon them once more, and save them from everlasting destruction.

Consequently, the promises of YHWH go side by side with His ominous pronouncements of chastisement. God does not merely declare His LOVE but calls His nation to repentance and to acknowledge their sinfulness; so that He may forgive even faithlessness, for He seeks out those which have gone astray.

Hosea begins with the reality that YHWH must chastise His children, His nation, His people; but when Israel is corrected by chastisement, and returns in sorrow and repentance to the Lord its God Hosea reveals that Israel WILL HONOR GOD ONCE AGAIN WITH REVERETIAL FEAR and WILL ETERNALLY EXPERIENCE GOD’S GOODNESS IN THE LATTER DAYS!!!

Hosea 3 v 5

“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.”

This prophetic pronouncement  is founded upon the unchallengeable character of the divine covenant of grace, and rising up to the thought that the Lord will also redeem ALL HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE from hell and save us all who LOVE Jesus Christ from death, and will destroy both death and sins power over His saintsl one day for-ever-more!!!!!!!

Hosea 13 v 14

“I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”

That is a brief synopsis of the book of Hosea, but what do God’s words through Hosea have to do with us today, to our nation and to our citizens?

Hosea 10 v 1

“Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.”

The Hebrew word we translate empty does not mean empty but rather worthless. Israel was bringing forth much fruit, but it was worthless because it WAS NOT THE RIGHT KIND OF FRUIT. As God prospered Israel, as Israel multiplied, and grew economically and in world power Israel became self-reliant and so it forgot its God (YHWH), and fell more and more into idolatry.

Hosea 2 v 10A

“And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers…”

Hosea 8 v 4, 11

“They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.,…11.  Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin.”

According to the abundance of its fruit, Israel made many altars; and in proportion to its prosperity, it made pillars to Baal.

1 Kings 14 v 22-23

“And Judah did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done. 23. For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.”

Israel claimed to be obedient to their God, but the truth was THEY CHOSE TO WORSHIP IDOLS and WEALTH and POWER!!!

2 Kings 17 v 9-12

“And the children of Israel did secretly those things that were not right against the Lord their God, and they built them high places in all their cities, from the tower of the watchmen to the fenced city.  10. And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree: 11. And there they burnt incense in all the high places, as did the heathen whom the Lord carried away before them; and wrought wicked things to provoke the Lord to anger: 12. For they served idols, whereof the Lord had said unto them, Ye shall not do this thing.”

Israel claimed to serve God, to serve righteousness, to be a moral people, but all their acts of religious ceremony and morality ONLY SERVED THEMSELVES and THEIR OWN SELF-DESIRES and LUSTS…

They had abandoned the “true” God, the “ONLY” God, and served graven images and wealth and greed, power and all manner of materialism.

Hosea 10 v 4-7

“They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5.  The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. 6. It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. 7. As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.”

The people of Israel individually and collectively betrayed YHWH, by turning their focus on themselves and the lusts and desires of their own flesh. Most who were religious ONLY GAVE LIP SERVICE TO GOD, and really were not devoted to YHWH or living as HE HAD CALLED THEM TO LIVE.

They made covenants and peace agreements with nations that denied the “truth” and “reality” of YHWH only to have them broken by the ungodly nations or by themselves if it seemed to serve their purposes…

They rejected the LOVE of YHWH to follow false idols and to commit idolatrous adultery with others instead of LOVING YHWH!!!

Thus God was to chastise His people, to CALL THEM BACK TO TRUE REPENTANCE.

The sin of idolatry spread throughout the nation and kingdom of Israel like weeds through the furrows or channels of a field designed for great agricultural increase. Therefore the judgment will not be delayed, and is already approaching in so threatening a manner, that the inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the golden calves.

The people mourn not in humble repentance for their sins, but rather for the loss of their self-centered desires and adulterous and idolatrous lusts…

But their false gods and their wealth WILL NOT and CANNOT SAVE THEM, THEY TOO WILL BE PLUNDERED and CARRIED OFF TO SERVE ASSYRIA…

The people of Israel will be ashamed for their evil counsels and their kings will die…

Hosea 10 v 8-11

“The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.  9. O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. 10. It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows. 11. And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.”

God WILL CHASTISE THEM, He will destroy their idols and the temples of those worthless gods. The people will cry-out in utter agony pleading with their golden gods of materialism and humanism to end the chastisement even if they must die! ***But their idols can do nothing for there is but ONE GOD and YHWH IS HIS NAME!!!

Deuteronomy 4 v 35

“Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the Lord he is God; there is none else beside him.”

Deuteronomy 4 v 39

“Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.”

Here in Deuteronomy the word Lord is literally YHWH…….

Daniel 3 v 29

"Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”

Isaiah 44 v 6

“Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

Nothing absolutely nothing can save Israel but the ONE and ONLY GOD, and YHWH IS HIS NAME!!! ***YHWH in three persons, God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit; three yet one being…

Jesus said:

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.”

If that’s not clear enough for you, Jesus said:

John 10 v 30-31

“I and my Father are one. 31. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.”

The Jews went to stone Jesus because they unmistakably understood Jesus TO SAY HE WAS GOD!!!!!!!

*******THE ONLY GOD!!!*******

Finally as we are approaching our main text, God says as Ephraim (symbolic for the Northern Kingdom) will thoroughly be chastised so too will Judah (standing for the Southern Kingdom) be chastised for their idolatrous adultery; for Israel, the Jews as a whole have turned away from YHWH……To serve other things……

Hosea 10 v 12

“Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

God through Hosea calls the individual and the nation of Israel as a whole to repentance. Though faithless, immoral, and consumed in the lusts of their own adultery, God cries out to them in His LOVE, GRACE and MERCY pleading with them to repent of their evil ways and to turn to righteousness in mind, body, and spirit. God says seek me, your hearts are like fallow (uncultivated) ground smothered in overgrown weeds, repent, till the soil of your hardened hearts with my word the Bible, seek me in prayer, fellowship with genuine believers, SEEK ME OUT, and YOU WILL RECEIVE MERCY, and I WILL CARE FOR YOU UNTIL I RAIN THE PRECIOUS CLEANSING WATERS ON YOU!!!

***When my Son Jesus Christ returns in the latter days of human history…

If all this sounds familiar it is because our nation HAS FALLEN INTO DEEP, DEEP SIN; WE AS A PEOPLE AS A NATION ARE ADULTERERS. We have turned our back on the God of our forefathers and have turned almost every one of us to idols of gold and sex and pantheism and humanistic theology and natural evolutionism!!! We have worshipped human wisdom and human science and the various philosophies’ of man and intellectualism; and have laughed in the face of God. We have said in our hearts THERE IS NO GOD, or GOD IS DEAD FOR-EVER-MORE……

Amen and Amen, WE ARE FREE TO DO AS WE IMAGINE IN OUR OWN HEARTS (as lustful and sinful as they are)!!!!!!

God is not in us, WE ARE GODS……

Sound familiar???

Isaiah 14 v 12-15

“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13.  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 15. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

God tells us now, NOW IS THE TIME TO SEEK HIM!!!

Not tomorrow, not in just a few minutes, not next week or next month or next year, not after we’ve sown our wild oats; BUT RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!

Even the vast majority of professing Christians, just like the nation of Israel in the time of Hosea, even Israel now, HAS FALLEN INTO IDOLATRY; TRUSTING OTHER THINGS RATHER THAN YHWH, JESUS CHRIST!!!

“How dare you”, you say, the nation of Israel said the same to Hosea and to ALL the prophets of YHWH of old.

But it is not me speaking, it is God, it is Jesus Christ Himself proclaiming:

Luke 6 v 46

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

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.”

Yet YOU pick and chose what YOU want to believe the Bible teaches, and even then YOU chose what YOU want to obey.

Seventy-three percent of American evangelicals believe THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO GET TO HEAVEN BESIDES FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST and HIM ONLY!!!

Yet, Jesus declares ABSOLUTELY:

John 14 v 6-9

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 7. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him. 8. Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. 9. Jesus saith unto him, have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?”

In the book of Acts the apostles say this:

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.”

Yet the vast majority of professing Christians ignore or deny God’s inerrant infallible word and in effect CALL JESUS CHRIST A LIAR!!!

To this Jesus says two things:

First,

Matthew 7 v 13-14

“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: 14. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.”

The gate is strait; the way is narrow to ETERNAL JOY and HAPPINESS because LOVING JESUS CHRIST BY ACCEPTING HIM AS “YOUR” ONLY LORD, “YOUR” ONLY SAVIOR, and “YOUR” ONLY GOD IS THE ONLY WAY TO HEAVEN!!!

Secondly Jesus declares:

Matthew 7 v 21-23

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22. 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.”

Just because YOU say YOU are His, just because YOU repeat a few words or pray the prayer of salvation, DOES NOT PROVE YOU ARE SAVED.

 *******ACTUALLY LOVING JESUS CHRIST SAVES YOU, not simply saying YOU do…*******

James 1 v 22

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

How many professing Christians KNOW JESUS CHRIST IS NOT MERELY THE SON OF GOD, BUT HE IS GOD INCARNET, LITTERALLY YHWH IN THE FLESH???

John 20 v 28-29

“And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  29. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.”

In verse 28 Jesus declares ALL those that have the same faith and LOVE as Thomas exhibits WILL BE BLESSED!!!!!!!

How many professing Christians share their alleged LOVE and faith in Jesus Christ???  Jesus asks ALL genuine Christians as an OBLIGATION OF LOVE, to LOVE THE LOST OF THE WORLD by sharing the true gospel of Jesus Christ…

Matthew 28 v 19-20

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

What hypocrites we are if we do teach them, but DON’T BELIEVE OR OBEY THEM OURSELVES???

How then DO I GET SAVED, HOW DO I KNOW I AM GENUINELY BORN AGAIN, HOW DO I KNOW I AM TRULY A CHILD OF GOD???

Do YOU LOVE Him, do YOU SEEK HIM MOMENT BY MOMENT AS OFTEN AS YOU CAN? *******THEN YOU ARE ETERNALLY SAVED!!!!!!!*******

If not, now IS THE TIME, THIS VERY MOMENT, chose to CALL OUT TO HIM IN GENUINE REPENTANCE AND YOU WELL BE SAVED!!!!!!!

Genuinely chose to accept Jesus Christ as YOUR only Lord, YOUR only God, and YOUR only Savior, AND YOU WELL BE SAVED!!!!!!!

*******He will help YOU, just ask…*******

But seek Him now, for with His promises also come warnings!

Our God YHWH is long-suffering and abounding in LOVE, GRACE and MERCY, but there is a line WHICH MUST NOT BE CROSSED. ***It is extremely dangerous to presume that YHWH, that Jesus Christ will always continue to forgive; He can become a consuming fire.

Hebrews 12 v 29

“For our God is a consuming fire.”

At this moment Jesus is our advocate, WHEN HE RETURNS HE WILL BE OUR JUDGE!!!

The Bible contains many similar warnings:

Genesis 6 v 3A

“And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man…”

Matthew 7 v 6

“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”

Matthew 15 v 14

“Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”

Isaiah 55 v 6-7

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: 7. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”

So seek Him now, while YOU still can. Jesus says:

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.”

This very moment He is ready, willing, and able to come into YOUR heart, YOU must chose TO LET HIM IN…

Revelation 22 v 17

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

Its free, IT’S UP TO YOU!!!

God is LOVINGLY and tenderly pleading with YOU, but ONLY YOU CAN CHOSE TO LOVE HIM, that is up to each and every sinner; ALL OF US!!!!!!!

One last plea by God offering His salvation:

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.)”

YHWH is pleading, begging YOU, today can be the Day of YOUR Salvation; ITS UP TO YOU…

Will YOU get another opportunity, I DO NOT KNOW…….

1 Peter 4 v 17-19

“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? 19. Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.”

Our focus and attention SHOULD ALWAYS BE ON LOVING, CARING FOR, AND ENJOYING FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS CREATION!!!

“It is Time!!!”

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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August 25, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Are YOU a Stork???"

 Jeremiah 8 v 7

"Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the Lord."

Father, make us an instrument of Your peace,
Where there is hatred, let us sow LOVE;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be LOVED as to LOVE.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

In Jesus name we pray all these things Amen and eternally Amen…….


Your spouse or your children might think you are a “dork”, even your friends or acquaintances may have that same impression, I’m quite sure there are many holding that opinion of me, however , my question is not whether YOU or I are “dorks”, but rather to you:

“Are YOU a Stork???”

At times I sit and am quite amazed at the wisdom of God’s prophets of old, even to the point I must admit I envy their wisdom and understanding of God and His natural forces in this world…

God is the creator of all things and in His economy of design He has made all things with a purpose and we can learn much from His created universe.

As the early people of God studied the heavens and the fowl of the air they watched with eyes of wonder, with eyes of expectation and with hearts yearning to understand…

As they observed the migratory behavior of birds they discovered something fascinating. If it had only occurred once, we would call it a most magnificent miracle of God. Yet twice a year, they of long ago and we to this very day, see massive bird migrations each and every year.

Geographically, Israel sits center-stage among the great expanse of European continents, Asia and Africa. A great many birds migrate from European and Asian winters to Africa, with migrations reversed in summer. Yet in this glorious example of God’s wondrous design of nature, which bird became famous by being observed by God’s chosen people TO ALWAYS RETURN HOME THE EARLIEST? The Stork!!! ***So faithful is the stork in it’s early returns, that the early Hebrews named this bird “chasidah” literally meaning: “Faithful One!”

As Jeremiah the weeping prophet bitterly lamented over the ignorance and unfaithfulness of the vast majority of God’s people Israel, by God’s command he called Israel TO BE FAITHFUL! But as is unfortunately so true only a small remnant were faithful and true to God. Sadly, most of Israel as most of the people in our world today refuse to repent and be faithful to God and His word the Bible, Jeremiah’s prophesies of God’s judgment on fallen, sinful, disobedient, unfaithful mankind WILL BE FULFILLED!!!!!!!

For LOVE sake God chastised, disciplined Israel over and over again desiring faithless ignorant Israel to repent and RETURN HOME to God! Jeremiah in our text is contrasting Israel’s deliberate refusal to return home to God to the faithful one, to the natural God given wisdom of the stork WHO ALWAYS RETURN HOME EARLY!!!

God graphically warns of the terrible judgment on those who reject Him, His son Jesus Christ, and His TRUTH!!!

Jeremiah 15 v 2-7

“And it shall come to pass, if they say unto thee, Whither shall we go forth? then thou shalt tell them, Thus saith the Lord; Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are for the famine, to the famine; and such as are for the captivity, to the captivity. 3. And I will appoint over them four kinds, saith the Lord: the sword to slay, and the dogs to tear, and the fowls of the heaven, and the beasts of the earth, to devour and destroy.4.  And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem. 5. For who shall have pity upon thee, O Jerusalem? or who shall bemoan thee? or who shall go aside to ask how thou doest? 6. Thou hast forsaken me, saith the Lord, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting. 7. And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people since they return not from their ways.”

God cries out to the LOST people of this world, to repent and turn to God as their home, their eternal refuge before judgment comes!!!

Jeremiah 15 v 14

“Therefore thus saith the Lord, If thou return, then will I bring thee again, and thou shalt stand before me: and if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as my mouth: let them return unto thee; but return not thou unto them.”

If those who reject God, will repent of their sins, accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord, God, and Savior, God will not only forgive them of all their past, present, and future sins but will so thoroughly forgive them THAT GOD WILL TRUST THEM, US, WITH THE GLORIOUS OBLIGATION OF LOVE IN SHARING THE GOSPEL WITH OTHERS!!!!!!! ***We will be honored by being asked to share God’s LOVE and forgiveness with others…

Jeremiah 18 v 8

“If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.”

God will indeed thoroughly and eternally forgive every nation and every individual who will genuinely and completely repent of their sins and become faithful to our Lord Jesus Christ by God’s power, grace and mercy…

Ezekiel 14 v 6

“Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations.”

The key to becoming faithful IS TO RETURN HOME TO GOD, accept Jesus Christ as our eternal Lord, our eternal God, our eternal Savior, NOT JUST FOR A MOMENT IN TIME, BUT FOREVER MORE!!!!!!!

No turning back, no turning back!

Ezekiel 18 v 30-32

“Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. 31. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? 32. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”

Though judgment WILL ABSOLUTELY COME for those that will not LOVE God, to those who’s hearts will melt for His sacrifice on the cross for their, our sins, GOD WILL SAVE THEM ALL!!!!!!!

God WILL SAVE ALL REPENTENT SINNERS, EVERY ONE…….

The question is: “Are YOU a Faithful One”???

Are YOU willing to be a “Faithful One”???

To those of you who once claimed salvation in Jesus Christ but you have allowed the “things” of this world to distract you, the philosophies and man made arguments of doubt against God, the material riches and even needs of this world to change your focus from God to anything and everything but God and His will for your life, LEARN THE LESSON OF THE STORK, RETURN HOME, RETURN TO YOUR REFUGE, YOUR SANCTUARY, YOUR HOME, RETURN TO GOD…….

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.”

There are many who were raised in Christian homes, they have heard the truth, they have learned the truth, THEY KNOW THE TRUTH, but the weaknesses and inconsistencies of their parents or others professing to be Christian have allowed them to question their faith, to question the truths they have learned, as God calls the stork home, God IS CALLING YOU HOME; if only you will listen…

This world, this life will do everything in it’s power to stop YOU from returning home, from returning to God; but GOD IS FAITHFUL AND TRUE. And will do everything in His power to bring YOU home safely…

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.”

God’s word in your heart WILL BRING YOU HOME…….

What about those of us that are genuine God LOVING Christians yet at times we see our lives are NOT WHAT THEY SHOULD BE. We hold certain resentments, have certain prejudices, desire certain things that may not be good for us, we sin and refuse to confess our sins and fallen humanly scared infirmities; God is calling us home, learn from the stork, do not simply come home, COME HOME EARLY!!! *******COME HOME QUICKLY!!!!!!!*******

1 John 2 v 1

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:”

Jesus Christ the righteous IS ALWAYS WANTING TO BRING US HOME, TO SEE US SAFE AND SOUND IN HIS LOVING ARMS…

To the LOST, to the FOUND, to the Child of God:

“Are YOU a Stork???”

Are YOU, are YOU willing to be a “FAITHFUL ONE???”

Ephesians 2 v 8

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

Faith comes from God…….

Romans 10 v 17

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

By belief, by God given faith, WE CAN BECOME A “FAITHFUL ONE”

Romans 10 v 9-10

“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.”

“Are YOU a Stork???”

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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August 18, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Do You Hear???"

Revelation 2 v 29

"He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches..."

Dear Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, we ask You to stir up within us the fullness of Your Holy Spirit. Help us to grow in our relationship with the Third Person of Your Holy Trinity and to live in His power and use His gifts.

Lord Jesus, You promised, “The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” Help us to remember that we don’t know everything, and that this is okay, because the Holy Spirit understands it all. Fill us with the Holy Spirit and His understanding of everything that is happening in our lives.

O Holy Spirit, Help us to recognize Your voice in the scriptures. Open our minds to understand Your truths, and open our hearts to accept Your truths in faith even before we gain right understanding.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “The one who receives the seed that falls on good soil hears the word and understands it. He produces an abundant crop.” Be the gardener of our lives. Nourish the seeds of heaven that You have already placed within us and make it grow so that Your LOVE, Your ways, and Your kingdom will always grow within us and produce much good fruit for others.

O Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “Do not worry about how you will defend yourselves or what you will say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you what you should say” Help us to trust in You always. Help us to remember that with You, nothing is impossible, and that You work everything according to what is good and right and timely, even if it doesn’t seem so to us.

O Father, we pray for Ray Greene and all those who are ill in or out of the hospital. Lord heal him, heal them, bring comfort, peace and health to Ray and to all who need Your healing and tender touch.

Lord, God, Jehovah, we pray all these things in Jesus name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen……………..

ur main text today is the fourth of seven exhortations in the book of Revelation for "US" to hear what the Holy Spirit says to the seven Church regions of the known world at-the-time. The detail that this phrase is stated “7” times in this book declares the reality of it’s importance to EVERY PROFESSING CHRISTIAN and of every person sincerely seeking “TRUTH”!

First, the number “7” means completeness in the Bible, thus The Holy Spirit is speaking to ALL OF GOD’S CHURCH, past, present, and all future churches. Second, God the Holy Spirit is not simply speaking to some professing Christians, a chosen few who are seeking God’s divine truth, but the Holy Spirit IS SPEAKING TO ALL WHO ARE OR NEED TO BE SEEKING “GOD’S TRUTH FOR HUMANITY, FOR ALL OF HIS CREATION.”

Adam Clarke a genuine biblical scholar says this about this passage:

“Let every Christian pay the strictest regard to these predictions of Christ; and let them have a suitable influence on his heart and life.”

Every true Christian NEEDS TO LISTEN TO GOD’S WORD THE BIBLE! To listen and ALLOW WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD TO APPROPRIATELY INFLUENCE YOUR INNER HEART AND YOUR OUTWARD MOMENT BY MOMENT ACTIONS…

Matthew 13 v 20-21

“But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21. Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.”

There are those individuals that hear God’s word, but they immediately reject it as worthless, foolish, or archaic nonsense; THEY “HEAR”, BUT THAT’S ALL, HEARING IS IMPORTANT, BUT ITS NOT ENOUGH!!! There are still others that “hear” God’s word with real interest, yet, they are not committed to taking the time or energy to understand it or apply to their lives in any active devoted way. Their faith is always weak and when trials or tribulations occur their willing to denounce what they have heard. Their faith is never the most important thing in their lives.

Matthew 6 v 33

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

Hearing is all they do, they never really intend to apply all of God’s truths to their lives…So they ultimately lose interest and their faith if they had any dies.

Matthew 13 v 22

“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”

There are even others that “hear” God’s word and intend to live by it, but the desires and temptations in this world are far more crucial to them than God’s words, so they block out what they’ve heard and show their unfaithfulness to God…… 

 ***Clearly the profound emphasis is not merely on physical hearing (though physical hearing or genuine inquiring IS ESENTIAL), but also hearing with a willingly obedient heart.

James 1 v 22

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

1 John 3 v 18

“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.”

Romans 2 v 13

“(For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.”

Hearing IS INDISPENSABLE, BUT HEARING IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH, hearing God’s word includes WILLINGLY DOING WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS!!!

This “hearing” IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL FOR “SAVING FAITH”.

Romans 10 v 17

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

True, genuine, and eternally lasting “faith” comes from hearing and willingly and wholeheartedly wanting to LIVE WHAT GOD SPEAKS THROUGH HIS INERRANT, INFALLIBLE WORD THE BIBLE!!!

Jesus said:

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.”

Here we have the double words verily, verily, Jesus again pointing out the weighty magnitude of what He is saying to us. He that hears His words and “believes” (Greek word implies obedience to what you hear and believe), HAS EVERLASTING LIFE!!! ***Not maybe will have, not temporarily will have, but HAS EVERLASTING LIFE!!!

***Has, present tense; by very definition EVERLASTING MEANS EVERLASTING!!!

We who “hear” and believe have forever passed away from eternal death(damnation) and are now passed on to ETERNAL LIFE, FOREVERMORE!!!!!!! ***NO TURNING BACK!!!***

In our present age however there are a great plethora of voices demanding our attention. Hundreds perhaps thousands of demonic and manmade religions, the New Age Movements, Humanism, Atheism (secularism), etc, all crying out for hearers……

Many of these voices for our hearing ears are very articulate and often quite appealing, attractive, engaging, and endearing……

Yet they are as the scripture calls them “false Christs”.

In fact Jesus Himself warns,

Matthew 24 v 24

“For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

Most of humanity will be deceived by these false Christs, these false voices; some of these voices will be so believable, so charming, so humanly logical and rational, so full of the teachings of love and tolerance, that even genuine Christians might be deceived by some of their doctrines or teachings……

But God tells us in the book of Isaiah,

Isaiah 8 v 20

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

Unless these voices, these teachings, these religions or institutions, that plead for our hearing, unless they adhere to the perfect word of God the Bible, THE TRUTH IS NOT IN THEM!!!

*** THE TRUTH IS NOT IN THEM!!!***

Not just teaching portions of the scriptures, but EVERY WORD OF 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.”

Thus it is not only essential to hear God’s word, it is also essential to do all that we can with the guidance and assistance of the Holy Spirit to obey God’s word, which IS HIS WILL!!! And not just some of His word, but ALL OF HIS WORD!!! Further it is not only essential to be able to discern God’s voice from the false voices, but it is essential to know, and to take God’s word IN THE RIGHT WAY!!! In it’s perfect context, which is EVERY WORD OF IT !!!!!!!

Luke 8 v 18

“Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.”

Hearing God’s word is crucial, genuinely and willingly wanting to obey the true word of God is an outgrowth of true faith, but there is still more. ***We must know how to understand God’s word and properly apply it to our moment by moment lives. ***Even if we hear the pure Word of God, it will accomplish nothing of value in our lives unless we hear with due reverence.

Isaiah 66 v 2

“For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.”

We must take all of God’s word with due reverence!!! God’s word, God’s voice, must not be treated like any of the other voices clamoring for us to hear. ***But as we seek to “hear” God’s word by sober and daily studying of the Bible, by attending Church as often as we can, by having Christian fellowship and sharing of God’s word in our midst, by sincere and devoted prayer, WE MUST LISTEN, HEAR, WITH EARS OF FAITH AND REVERENCE. Having deep respect and veneration ( worship), with a ting of awe for God’s living word the Bible…

Then and only then, like it or not, consider it fair or not, ONLY THEN WILL YOU TRULY AND WITHOUT DOUBT KNOW THE TRUTH AND WILL OF GOD…….

Hebrews 4 v 2

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

The gospel of Christ is preached to all, but all are not willing to Hear and Obey…

*******He that hath an ear, therefore, let him hear with reverent faith the true Word of God.*******

1 Samuel  3 v 9-10

“Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.”

God spoke and Samuel heard, the question is:

“Do You Hear???”

John 5 v 25

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.”

Finally, it can be a frightening question, are you truly and absolutely His???

John 10 v 27

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:”

“Do You Hear???”

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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August 11, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"What Will You Wear???"

One of the most heard of complaints from men is how long it takes their girlfriends or wives to get dressed. I have personally seen my wife put on dress after dress, trying to find that “one” perfect outfit that is just right for that specific night and occasion. Dress after dress, matching belt after belt, shoes after shoes, all looking good to me; but not quite right according to my wife. I holler, “its getting late”, but my wife will continue undaunted in her task of finding that perfect outfit.

Then once she’s found it, she stops, thinks a moment, and says, “no I think this other skirt would be better for tonight”, and her pursuit for   what now appears to be an allusive perfect outfit starts all over again.

Yet in the end what ever she picks, does look quite perfect, and I am humbled at her beauty. So are all men with those women they truly LOVE.

Men, women, after today’s message we may see how important it is to wear that perfect and proper clothing.

Matthew 22 v 11-14

"And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12. And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13. Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14. For many are called, but few are chosen."

Mighty heavenly Father, Wash away all our iniquity and cleanse us from all our sins. Clothe us with pure white garments, purified by the sweet innocent shed BLOOD of our wonderful friend and Savior Jesus Christ.

Father we realize that we will never be perfect until that glorious day that You change us in a twinkling of an eye, when Your Son returns to reign. Yet Father we crave to be like Your Son, innocent and free from spot or blemish, pure in heart, mind, and spirit, free from temptation and failure.

Clothe us Oh Father, as You would have us be, that we might not be ashamed to enter the wedding feast of the Lamb as His precious and beautiful bride. Clothe us with Your LOVE, grace, mercy, and compassion so that we might reach out to the Lost and needy around us, to assist them in finding who You want them to be. We praise You and glorify Your name, and we pray all these things in Jesus Christ’s perfect name, Amen and eternally Amen……………………….
.

I have been a “born again” believer for 44 years, and for 44 years I have been confused by today’s text.

For us to properly consider this text, we must consider what came before.

The King’s son was to be wed, and so this happy and joyous King sent invitations to all that were of noble blood to come and rejoice and take part in the royal wedding festivities. (Depending on the wealth of the King, these most glorious and elaborate, yet fun filled events would sometimes last for weeks.)

But the King to his dismay, found, that most of those that He had invited for some personal reason, did not want to participate. This really bothered the King, for to be invited to such a spectacular and truly joyous event was considered an honor and a privilege not bestowed to many. So the King for LOVE of his son, wanting to make this wedding feast the best of all time ordered his servants to go out and invite EVERYONE to come. The servants went out and invited people of every nationality and of every socio-economic background, and the wedding feast was filled to the brim with excited guests.

The King looked out over all those who had come and was exceedingly happy and blessed! So the King came down and began to visit with his guests. This now brings to our text for today…

This also brings us to the source of my confusion. The King had first invited only those who his culture and customs of his country had allowed him to invite. When the vast majority of them CHOSE NOT TO COME, the King out of LOVE for his son invited everyone to come. The King it seems got exactly what he wanted a very large turnout for his son’s wedding. Yet as he began to mingle through the crowd, the king found at least one guest WHO WAS NOT PROPERLY ATTIRED. This angered the King and the guest was taken out of the wedding feast and locked out forever from the wedding festivities.

Not only at first glance, but even after 44 years of study for a poor soul such as I, THIS SEEMS QUITE UNFAIR!! It was the King’s decision to invite everyone, yet he sees this one not properly dressed for a wedding and KICKS HIM OUT FOR ALL ETERNITY. ***Wow that seems unfair and UNLOVING TO ME!

First we must remember this is a parable, and not every detail is meant to perfectly fit what Jesus is trying to teach us. Secondly, and in this case most importantly, we must consider what this story would have revealed to those who originally heard it by Jesus. In other words, how did Jesus Christ’s audience understand it in the light of their culture and thinking?

Today, I have an invisible light bulb over my head; I finally get it, I finally understand, my eyes now see, my ears now hear, God has revealed an astounding TRUTH TO ME!!!!!!!

This King was not unfair in any way, this King gave all and did all for the LOVE of his precious son, and for his LOVE of everyone he invited; WHICH WAS EVERYONE!!!!!!!*******Even the guest the King kicked out forever!!!

In the life time of Jesus Christ there were two well known rabbinic parables, each very similar to the one Jesus told, each with it’s own meaning which can help shed light on my confusion and help reveal Christ’s meaning to us.

The first told of a king who invited his guests to a feast, without telling them the exact date and time; but he did tell them that they must wash, and anoint, and clothe themselves that they might be ready when the summons came. The wise prepared themselves at once, and took their places waiting at the palace door, for they believed that in a palace a feast could be prepared so quickly that there would be no long warning. The foolish believed that it would take a long time to make the necessary preparations and that they would have plenty of time. So they went, the mason to his lime, the potter to his clay, the smith to his furnace, the fuller to his bleaching-ground, and went on with their work. Then, suddenly, the summons to the feast came without any warning.

The wise were ready to sit down, and the king rejoiced over them, and they ate and drank. But those who had not arrayed themselves in their wedding garments had to stand outside, sad and hungry, and look on at the joy that they had lost. That rabbinic parable tells of the duty of preparedness for the summons of God, and the garments stand for the preparation that must be made.

Simply, God provides through nature and all it reveals and His only inerrant infallible word the Bible and all it teaches, HOW TO BE PREPARED MIND, BODY, and SPIRIT FOR THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST and GOD’S ETERNAL JUDGMENT ON ALL THOSE HE HAS CALLED TO HIMSELF, OR MORE SPECIFICALLY TO ALL THOSE HE AS INVITED TO THE WEDDING FEAST OF THE LAMB…….

Revelation 19 v 7-9

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

The second rabbinic parable told how a king entrusted to his servants royal robes. Those who were wise took the robes, and carefully stored them away, and kept them in all their pristine loveliness. Those who were foolish wore the robes to their work, and soiled and stained them. The day came when the king demanded the robes back. The wise handed them back fresh and clean; so the king laid up the robes in his treasury and bade them go in peace. The foolish handed them back stained and soiled. The king commanded that the robes should be given to the fuller to cleanse, and that the foolish servants should be cast into prison. This parable teaches that a person must hand back his or her soul to God in all its original purity; but that the person who has nothing but a stained soul to render back stands condemned.

Again simply, God gives each of us what we need to be ready for eternity, if we deny it, ignore it, or simply choose not to take part in it, WE WILL BE JUDGED ACCORDINGLY!!!

Certainly Jesus and those listening to Him considered these as they pondered what Jesus was telling them.

Yet there is even more to consider. Among the Orientals, long white robes were worn at public festivals; and those who appeared on such occasions with any other garments were esteemed, not only highly culpable, but worthy of punishment.

Further, it was the King’s responsibility to provide guests clothing suitable to a marriage feast, and it was a well known custom among the ancient Greeks. Homer relates that Telemachus, and the son of Nestor, arriving at Lacedaemon when Menelaus was making a marriage feast for his son and daughter, were accommodated with garments suited to the occasion, after having been bathed and anointed.

“They entered each a bath, and by the hands

Of maidens laved, and oiled, and clothed again

With shaggy mantles and resplendent vests,

Sat both enthroned at Menelaus’ side.”

Odyssey

Among the Asiatics, garments called caftans, great numbers of which each nobleman has ordinarily ready in his wardrobe, are given to persons whom he wishes to honor: to refuse to accept or wear such a dress would be deemed the highest insult.

Thus the invisible light bulb is lit over my head!

The King in our text today had invited everyone to his son’s wedding feast. As was normal custom and practice this King provided to ALL HIS GUESTS THE PROPER AND PERFECT CLOTHING TO WEAR. ***No one including the guest the King confronted had an excuse not to be wearing the proper attire, for the King in his LOVING and generous way HAD PROVIDED BATHS FOR CLEANSING, SERVANTS FOR ASSISTANCE and JUST THE PERFECT CLOTHING FOR EACH BELOVED GUEST!!!

As the King walked through the gathering of guests he noticed the guest of our text, dirty and clearly not wearing the provided clothing. The King stood still and asked the guest why,

“Why do you dishonor me and my son by not taking the assistance of my servants and by refusing to wear the beautiful and perfect clothing I graciously offered you?”

The guest knew he had NO EXCUSE, so he was stunned into absolute silence.”

So this good, noble, and just King, seeing this guest who has rejected his kindness and generosity, this guest who chooses to dishonor and not accept the King’s free gift IS TREATED AS JUSTICE DEMANDS!!! The invited guest IS REJECTED BY THE KING, and THUS IS EXPELLED FROM THE WEDDING FEAST FOREVER!!!

Now I understand what Jesus was saying in this parable! I understand what Jesus is saying to us.

YHWH, God, has called ALL HUMANITY TO JOIN HIM IN A PERSONAL, INTIMATE, ETERNAL, LOVE RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS PRECIOUS SON JESUS CHRIST!!! He has invited us ALL to the marriage feast of the Lamb. We come not as deserving guests worthy of His invitation, but as unworthy guests invited by God’s grace, mercy and tremendous LOVE for His only Son Jesus Christ and His unconditional LOVE for us ALL!!! ***In order to be accepted as the bride of Jesus Christ, WE MUST BE CLOTHED IN THE PROPER CLOTHING!!!

The proper clothing is THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD HIMSELF!!! WE ARE CALLED TO BE HOLY!!!***We must be dressed, arrayed, clothed in the holiness of God!!!

Zephaniah 1 v 7-8

“Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. 8. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel.”

The vast majority of humanity desires to go to the wedding feast of the lamb. The problem is MOST refuse to accept or ware the proper wedding apparel THAT GOD and ONLY GOD CAN PROVIDE.

Some of us demand to save ourselves, believing somehow our good works are equal to the good works of the Lord. We wear only what we design.

Genesis 3 v 7

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

Adam and Eve tried to cover their own sin, by providing their own clothing. But what they did was not acceptable to the holy righteous God, and God Himself had to provide their proper clothing. An innocent animal sacrifice by God was the only thing that could temporarily atone, cover their sins…

Genesis 3 v 21

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.”  

Others simply choose not to go, they don’t believe, they don’t want to believe, and they simply ignore the call of God.

Psalms 14 v 1A

“The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God….”

Some believe in the idea of a god, but they choose to believe it does not matter what God you believe in. To them any moral rational religion as long as it treats others with respect is a legitimate way to heaven, to the hereafter.

This is the point of our main text today. The King, had provided the guest WITH THE PROPER PERFECT CLOTHING TO WEAR TO THE WEDDING, however though the guest wanted the benefits of attending the wedding festivities, the guest DID NOT WANT ANY OF THE RESPONSIBILITY OF BEING AT THE WEDDING, the person CHOSE TO REJECT THE KING’S LOVING OFFER…The guest chose to dishonor the King, the groom, the Bride, and the rest of the guests…

God tells us “HE HAS PREPARED THE SACRIFICE”. That sacrifice, that atoning (covering), that wedding clothing IS THE SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, and HE ALONE CAN PROVIDE IT FOR OUR REDEMPTION…

***If we refuse the proper perfect and only covering for our sins, if we choose to ignore what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross, if we choose to do it our way, by our own works, if we choose some other clothing some other covering to wear, GOD SEES THIS AS REJECTION AND DISHONOR OF HIS SON’S PRECIOUS BLOOD SACRIFICE AND THOUGH HE HAS CERTAINLY INVITED US INTO HIS ETERNAL KINGDOM, INTO THE WEDDING FEAST; GOD WILL REJECT THOSE WHO REJECT HIS ONLY SON AND THE ONLY COVERING THAT DOES HAVE THE POWER TO SAVE!!!!!!!

God has provided Jesus Christ and only Jesus Christ as the atoning blood sacrifice TO COVER OUR SINS.

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.”

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.”

God invites every human being to be with Him in a personally intimate LOVE relationship, but we must be willing to wear the only covering, the only clothing He provides for us that can and will cover our sins eternally…….

Titus 3:5 (ASV)
5  not by works done in righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit,

Our righteous works can never ever cover our past, present, or future sins, only being clothed in the perfectly provided garments covered by the beautiful innocent shed BLOOD of His LOVED, and LOVING Son Jesus Christ can be worn at the wedding feast of the Lamb and His beLOVED bride, the BORN AGAIN IN JESUS CHRIST !!!

Ephesians 2:8-9 (ASV)
8  for by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9  not of works, that no man should glory.

By ONLY BEING CLOTHED BY HIS GRACE THROUGH FAITH THAT ONLY GOD PROVIDES, can anyone enter the wedding feast of God !!! Nothing we ever do throughout our lives can EVER, EVER, EVER SAVE us !!!!!!! The BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY, ONLY, ONLY GARMET WE MUST WEAR AS THE BRIDE OF THE LAMB !!!!!!!

God provides everything, but its up to us TO PUT IT ON, ***ITS UP TO US TO SAY YES TO JESUS CHRIST; IT CANNOT BE OUR WAY, IT MUST BE GOD’S WAY!!!!!!!

You might live the most moral of lives, be the noblest person in your or any generation, your faith or belief may be the most altruistic of humanity; yet if you refuse to wear the ONLY COVERING GOD GIVES YOU, YOU WILL BE LOST FOR ALL ETERNITY…

You are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb, but it is up to you,

“What Will You Wear???”

Revelation 22 v 17

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

The King provides everything, God provides everything, ARE YOU WILLING TO SUBMIT TO HIS WILL???

WHAT WILL YOU WEAR ???????

Submitted by: Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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August 4, 2019


“a” Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“Water Baptism: The Final Word”
or
“Biblical Baptism”

Matthew 3:13-17 (NKJV)

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14 And John tried to prevent Him, saying, "I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?" 15 But Jesus answered and said to him, "Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness." Then he allowed Him. 16 When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. 17 And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

Heavenly Father, thank You Lord for Your great LOVE and compassion on all of us, even and especially when we don’t deserve it. Hallowed be Thy name!!! We thank You for Your LOVING, and merciful salvation. We praise You for always being with Your children, even when we sin against You. Hallowed be Thy name.

You sent Your only begotten Son, Jesus the righteous one, to die for us, because of our sins, while we yet hated You, and despised You, You LOVED us that much !!! Hallowed be Thy name. You sent the beLOVED Holy Spirit to live always within us, guiding us, directing us, teaching us all truth. Hallowed be Thy name.

Jesus Your Son became our Lord, God, and Savior. But the supreme gift of all Jesus became our very, very, very precious friend!!! A friend in joy, a friend in sorrow, a friend even when we turn our backs to You and sin. A friend when we are confused and so desperately needing Your help. Hallowed be Thy name.

True God, “THE GOD”, we praise You for hearing our prayers, the good ones, and the bad ones. Listening caringly, and most tenderly responding. Hallowed be Thy name. We thank Thee for touching our families, friends, and our acquaintances, speaking to them affectionately, knocking at the door of their hearts, begging them to come to Christ in LOVE. Hallowed be Thy name. Praise You for using us to share Your perfect gospel with others, allowing us to share in the glory of their salvation. Thank You heavenly Father, thank You !!! Hallowed be Thy name.

Finally Lord, we pray for all those in need, whatever their needs may be. Perform great miracles in their lives. Give us LOVE, wisdom, mercy, tenderness, and heavenly compassion, to do what we can do to help them through their needs. Hallowed be Thy name !!!

Hallowed be Thy name, Hallowed be Thy name, Hallowed be Thy name. We humbly pray all these things in Jesus our beLOVED friend’s name, Amen and eternally Amen…….  

I have been preaching since 1979, that is over 40 years, and “right” now I cannot remember a single sermon I preached specifically or principally about “Water” Baptism. If my recollection is correct, I have been sorely lacking in my duty as a Pastor!!! I know I have mentioned it numerous times, perhaps in some detail, however, in this week’s sermon we will thoroughly discuss “Water” Baptism as the chief topic of our message, including: Should Every Christian be Baptized???

This may be what many may call “just one viewpoint” on “Water” Baptism, but with the Lords help, IT WILL BE GOD’S VIEW POINT and the BIBLE’s VIEWPOINT…

As we begin let us consider:

1 Peter 2:21 (NIV)

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”

We are called to suffer for our faith if necessary, because Jesus Christ suffered, and HE IS OUR MOST PERFECT EXAMPLE..

The key, Jesus Christ the Jewish Moshiac, or Messiah, our Christ and Savior is the Only perfect example of how EVERY genuine Christian should live our lives!!!

We should be like Him, we should FOLLOW IN HIS STEPS…….

Justin Martyr wrote:

"Christ was circumcised, and observed all the other ordinances of the law of Moses, not with a view to his own justification; but to fulfill the dispensation committed to him by the Lord, the God and Creator of all things."

In other words, Jesus being born a Jew followed and obeyed every ordinance that God gave to the Jewish people through the Law of Moses.

But was this “Water” Baptism an ordinance? Clearly, it was the initiatory or basic and essential ordinance of John the Baptist's dispensation or his ministry to the beginning Church. Now, as Christ had submitted to circumcision, which was the initiatory ordinance of the Mosaic dispensation, it was necessary that he should submit to this, which was instituted by no less an authority, and was the introduction to His own dispensation of eternal mercy and truth. ***It was of dual necessity for Jesus on another account: Our Lord represented the high priest, and was to be the high priest over the house of God: now, as the high priest was initiated into his office by washing and anointing, so must Christ: and consequently He was baptized, washed, and anointed by the Holy Ghost. Thus He fulfilled the righteous ordinance of His initiation into the office of high priest, and thus was prepared to make an atonement for the sins of all mankind.

So Jesus the only begotten son of the ONE TRUE GOD, willingly wanting to be an example to be followed by ALL mankind, came to John the Baptist to be baptized. But John initially refuses and Jesus responds:

“Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness."

So John baptized Jesus…….

Jesus was baptized that day for several reasons.

First: to fulfill ALL RIGHTEOUSNESS. In other words TO OBEY A DIVINE ORDINANCE OF HIS FATHER, which all genuine followers of YHWH are to follow. ***ALL not just some, but, ALL!!!***

Secondly: to identify His personal humanity with that of the rest of humanity. He acknowledged HE WAS FULLY HUMAN. As such He was an perfect example for ALL humanity.

Third: Baptism is a symbol of His death for all of mankind’s’ sins, and of His resurrection to everlasting life.

His baptism was approved and sanctioned by His Father:

“When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.”

Immediately after Jesus was baptized the scripture declares that God the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus.

Then,

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."

In response to Jesus’ obedience to being baptized, His Father in heaven declared, and acknowledged that Jesus was HIS ONE and ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, and that Jesus pleased Him because of Jesus’ willingness and action of being baptized by water…….

Thus God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit approved and sanctioned “Water” Baptism as a permanent ordinance for ALL TRUE CHRISTIANS…….

In this case an ordinance means an authoritative rule or a statute enacted by God.

Before we go further however, it must be made abundantly understandable with no shadow of a doubt; Baptism is an act or work of Righteousness and IN NO WAY DOES IT SAVE YOU!!!  

*******”WATER” BAPTISM CAN NOT and NEVER CAN SAVE ANYONE!!!*******

*******”WATER” BAPTISM IS NOT AND NEVER WILL BE A REQUIREMENT FOR BEING SAVED or BORN AGAIN!!!!!!!*******

Titus 3:5 (NIV)

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 (NIV)

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

“Water” Baptism is NOT a requirement of Salvation!!!!!!!

Romans 10:9-10 (NIV)

“That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Salvation is a change of the heart, a change of the mind, a change of how we think of God, others, and ourselves…

Salvation is an inner cleansing not an outward washing…….

Also we must understand “Water” Baptism follows salvation; Baptism is not for the sinner, the non-repentant or for the person who is too young to understand what they believe. A “Water Baptized” sinner is simply a WET SINNER…

Acts 8:35-38 (NKJV)

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him. 36 Now as they went down the road, they came to some water. And the eunuch said, "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?" 37 Then Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." 38 So he commanded the chariot to stand still. And both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water, and he baptized him.”

The apostle Philip unmistakably teaches that the ordinance of “Water” Baptism is to follow salvation NOT precede it, nor is it a prerequisite of being Born Again, being SAVED, or is it a mandatory instantaneous act…

Salvation IS ABSOLUTELY A SEPARATE ACT FROM BEING “WATER” BAPTISED!!!

***Salvation is the FREE GIFT OF GOD!!!***

***”Water” Baptism is a work of righteousness, a good work in response to willing obedience to the Spirit and Bible of God!!!***

You must already be saved for “Water” Baptism to have any spiritual value.

There maybe those among us that were baptized as children, long before they actually accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and have never been baptized since; YOU NEED TO BE OBEDIENT TO GOD and GET YOURSELF “WATER” BAPTIZED…

Infant “Water” Baptism when the child is too young to make a genuine commitment to God IS NOT BIBLICAL!!!

True Christian “Water” Baptism IS FOR BORN AGAIN BELIEVERS ONLY…

As a commitment to the infant to raise him or her with Christian principles, baptism as a symbol of that is certainly permissible but not an ordinance.

Matthew 28:19-20 (NKJV)

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.”

 God in fact calls us as genuine Christians to baptize all new believers. To teach them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Not just to teach it but TO OBEY IT!!!

How long, EVEN TO THE END OF HUMAN HISTORY!!!

To the End of the Age…….

What is “Water” Baptism? Some sprinkle, some dip, some immerse; is it all the same, does it really matter?

The Greek word “"rantizo" means "to sprinkle"; the Greek word "baptizo" means "to dip", "to submerge", "to immerse".

The scriptural word used for “Baptism” is “baptizo”, and literally means to immerse; it is the word in Greek literature that is used to describe a ship sinking to the depths of the sea.

In other words, IMMERSION.

Therefore biblical “Water” Baptism is for believers only and is complete immersion, That’s the BIBLICAL TRUTH.

*******Salvation is grace…….*******

***”Water” Baptism is a willing good work, a product of salvation.*******

A Christian’s “Water” Baptism is an act that symbolizes our death to sin, death to our old way of life. A symbol of our bodily resurrection and newness in life in Christ Jesus. We are new creatures, literally NEW CREATIONS IN JESUS CHRIST…

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

That is what “Water” Baptism symbolizes for the genuine Christian…

Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

That also is what “Water” Baptism means for the true believer…

Jesus commands all genuine believers TO BE “WATER” BAPTIZED when possible.

Do you lose your salvation if you are not biblically baptized?

Absolutely not!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

GRACE NOT Works!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Partial obedience IS STILL DISOBEDIENCE!!!

Disobedience IS SIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Rebellion against the command of God is SIN!!!

James 4:17 (NKJV)

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

IT IS SIN!!!

1 John 2:3 (NKJV)

“Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.”

Jesus is our example, and obeying His will, His commands, is our joyous obligation of LOVE…

So in conclusion there are at least “6” reasons why ALL CHRISTIANS, even YOU and me, SHOULD BE “Water” Baptized if we haven’t been…

It is the command of God!!!


It is a public confession of our faith!!!


It is a symbol of our death and resurrection to eternal salvation!!!


It identifies us with the unseen universal Church of God, and our being one of the brides’ of Jesus Christ!!!


It is a permanent reminder of OUR HEARTS’ DECLARATION OF OUR ABSOLUTE LOVE and FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST!!!


It affirms our unwavering faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His promise of a bodily resurrection!!!

So remember if you are a true and genuine Christian today and have never been biblically “Water” Baptized YOU NEED TO DO SO TO BE COMPLETELY OBEDIENT TO GOD.

You cannot lose your salvation, however:

James 4:17 (NKJV)

“Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”

Romans 14:23B (NIV)

“…everything that does not come from faith is sin.”

Sin can separate us from the perfect will of God for our lives. He will not turn His back on YOU, but with sin in YOUR life, YOU might turn your back on Him. You may stray from His perfect life for you…

TRUST and OBEY

 When we walk with the Lord
      in the light of his word,
      what a glory he sheds on our way!
      While we do his good will,
      he abides with us still,
      and with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there's no other way
      to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
 
2.    Not a burden we bear,
      not a sorrow we share,
      but our toil he doth richly repay;
      not a grief or a loss,
      not a frown or a cross,
      but is blest if we trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
3.    But we never can prove
      the delights of his love
      until all on the altar we lay;
      for the favor he shows,
      for the joy he bestows,
      are for them who will trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
4.    Then in fellowship sweet
      we will sit at his feet,
      or we'll walk by his side in the way;
      what he says we will do,
      where he sends we will go;
      never fear, only trust and obey.

 
***Ultimately “Water” baptism is not a requirement of Salvation; rather, “Water” Baptism is a requirement of perfect obedience……..***
 
So let us:
 
Matthew 28:19-20 (NIV)
 
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
 
Submitted by Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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July 28, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Victory in Jesus"

Isaiah 53 v 1-12

"Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. 4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. 9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. 11 He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." KJV

JEHOVAH our God, we thank Thee for leaving on record the story of Thine ancient people. It is full of instruction to ourselves. Help us to take its warning to avoid the faults into which they fell! Thou art a covenant God and Thou keepest Thy promises and Thy Word never faileth. We have proved this so hitherto—

"Thus far we find that promise good,
Which Jesus ratified with blood."

But as for ourselves, we are like Israel of old, a fickle people and we confess it with great shame, there are days when we take the timbrel and we sing with Miriam, "Unto the Lord who triumphed gloriously," and yet we grieve to say it, not many hours after, we are thirsty and we cry for water and we murmur in our tents. The brackish Marah turns our heart and we are grieved with our God. Sometimes we bow before Thee with reverence and awe when we behold Thy Sinai altogether on a smoke, but there have been times when we have set up the golden calf and we have said of some earthly things, "These be Thy gods, O Israel." We believe with intensity of faith and then doubt with a horribleness of doubt.

Lord, Thou hast been very patient with us. Many have been our provocations, many have been Thy chastisements, but—

"Thy strokes are fewer than our crimes,
And lighter than our guilt."

"Thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities." Blessed be Thy name!

And now fulfil that part of the covenant wherein Thou hast said, "A new heart also will I give thee and a right spirit will I put within thee. I will put My fear in their hearts and they shall not depart from Me." Hold us fast and then we shall hold fast to Thee. Turn us and we shall be turned. Keep us and we shall keep Thy statutes.

We cry to Thee that we may no more provoke Thee. We beg Thee rather to send the serpents among us than to let sin come among us. Oh! that we might have our eye always on the brazen serpent that healeth all the bites of evil, but may we not look to sin nor love it. Let not the devices of Balaam and of Balak prevail against us, to lead Thy people away from their purity. Let us not be defiled with false doctrine or with unholy living, but may we walk as the separated people of God and keep ourselves unspotted from the world. Lord, we would not grieve Thy Spirit. Oh! may we never vex Thee so as to lead Thee in Thy wrath to say, "They shall not enter into my rest." Bear with us still for His dear sake whose blood is upon us. Bear with us still and send not the destroying angel as Thou didst to Egypt, but again fulfil that promise of Thine, "When I see the blood I will pass over you."

Just now may we be consciously passed over by the Spirit of condemnation. May we know in our hearts that, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus." May we feel the peace giving power of the divine absolution. May we come into Thy holy presence with our feet washed in the brazen laver, hearing our great High Priest say to us, "Ye are clean every whit." Thus made clean, may we draw near to God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Further, our heavenly Father, we come before Thee now washed in the blood, wearing the snow white robe of Christ's righteousness, and we ask Thee to remember Thy people. Some are sore burdened—lighten the burden or strengthen the shoulder. Some are bowed down with fear, peradventure they mistrust—forgive the mistrust and give a great increase of faith that they may trust Thee where they cannot trace Thee. Lord remember any who bear the burden of others. Some cry to Thee day and night about the sins of the times, about the wanderings of Thy Church. Lord, hear our prayers! We would bear this yoke for Thee, but help us to bear it without fearing so as to distrust Thee. May we know that Thou wilt take care of Thine own case and preserve Thine own truth and may we therefore be restful about it all.

Some are crying to Thee for the conversion of relatives and friends. This burden they have taken up to follow after Jesus in the cross bearing. Grant them to see the desire of their heart fulfilled. God, save our children and children's children, and if we have unconverted relatives of any kind, Lord have mercy upon them for Christ's sake. Give us joy in them—as much joy in them as Christians, as we have had sorrow about them as unbelievers.

Further, be pleased to visit Thy Church with the Holy Spirit. Renew the day of Pentecost in our midst, and in the midst of all gatherings of Thy people may there come the downfall of the holy fire, the uprising of the heavenly wind. May matters that are now slow and dead become quick and full of life and may the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted in the midst of His Church which is His fulness, "the fulness of Him that filleth all in all." May multitudes be converted. May they come flocking to Christ with holy eagerness to find in Him a refuge as the doves fly to their dovecotes.

Oh! for salvation work throughout this land and across the sea and in every part of the world, specially in heathen lands. Bring many to Christ's feet, we pray Thee, everywhere where men are ready to lay down their lives that they may impart the heavenly life of Christ. Work, Lord, work mightily! Thy Church cries to Thee. Oh, leave us not! We can do nothing without Thee! Our strength is wholly Thine! Come to us with great power and let Thy Word have free course and be glorified.

Remember every one that calls Thee Father. May a Father's LOVE look on all the children. May the special need of each one be supplied, the special sorrow of each one be assuaged. May we be growing Christians, may we be working Christians, may we be perfected Christians, may we come to the fulness of the stature of men in Christ Jesus.

Lord Jesus, Thou art a great pillar. In Thee doth all fulness dwell. Thou didst begin Thy life with filling the water pots to the full. Thou didst fill Simon Peter's boat until it began to sink. Thou didst fill the house where Thy people were met together with the presence of the Holy Ghost. Thou dost fill heaven. Thou wilt surely fill all things. Fill us, oh! fill us today with all the fulness of God and make Thy people thus joyful and strong, and gracious and heavenly!

But we cannot leave off our prayer when we have prayed for Thy people, though we have asked large things. We want Thee to look among the thousands and millions round about us who know Thee not. Lord, look on the masses who go nowhere to worship. Have pity upon them. Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Give a desire to hear Thy Word. Send upon the people some desire after their God. O Lord, take sinners in hand thyself. Oh! Come and reach obstinate, stubborn minds. Let the careless and the frivolous begin to think upon eternal things. May there be an uneasiness of heart, a sticking of the arrows of God in their loins, and may they seek to the great physician and find healing this very day. Ah! Lord, thou sayest, "Today, if ye will hear His voice," and we take up the echo. Save men today, even today. Bring them Thy Spirit in power that they may be willing to rest in Christ. Lord, hear, forgive, accept, and bless, for Jesu's sake. Amen and eternally Amen and Amen.

This week we look at God’s greatest triumph: “Victory in Jesus”…….

God created all that is created for one purpose, to SING PRAISES OF WORSHIP BY GLORIFYING THE ONE TRUE GOD YHWH, TO MAGNIFY HIS NAME IN FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT!!!

To exalt, worship, and venerate Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of lords, the ONE and ONLY SAVIOR OF MANKIND!!!

The whole Bible both Old and New Testaments’ expressed purpose is to teach us about God’s ONLY begotten son Jesus of Nazareth, JESUS CHRIST…….

Several weeks ago we discovered how in the individual and collective meanings of the names that God divinely input into the genealogy of Adam to Noah as found in Genesis chapter five vividly declared the “plan of Salvation” to all who would see with their eyes and honestly hear with their ears…

Adam, Seth, Enos, Kenan, Mahalaleel, Jared,

Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah…

MAN APPOINTED MORTAL SORROW (but) BLESSED GOD SHALL COME DOWN TEACHING (that) HIS DEATH SHALL BRING (the) DESPAIRING COMFORT!

Mankind is appointed to die (mortal sorrow because of sin) but Jesus Christ (the blessed God) shall come to earth and die for us sinners and through His atoning shed blood sacrifice WILL GIVE MANY THE OPPORTUNITY TO BE ETERNALLY SAVED!!!!!!!

Here in our text today in the book of Isaiah written somewhere between 701 and 681 BC, well over 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Isaiah depicts with divine precision the biography of God’s chosen Messiah, the life of the King of all kings…

Isaiah 53 v 1-2

“Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? 2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”

Virgin birth

As a “tender plant”, the Messiah would come from a virgin birth.

Isaiah 7 v 14

“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”

A virgin will give birth and the child’s name shall be “Immanuel”, literally meaning: “GOD WITH US”.

God incarnate, God in the flesh…

Isaiah 9 v 6

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”

John 1 v 14

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

***Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, both Son of Man and ABSOLUTE DEITY!!!

Isaiah 53 v 2-3

“For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. 3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

Virtuous life

The Messiah, Jesus would grow up like any person. No physical characteristics that would differentiate Him from any other person. He seemed an average babe, He seemed a normal child, He seemed a typical teen, and He looked no different than the average male Jew; yet inwardly Jesus Christ, the Messiah, WAS WITHOUT SIN!!!

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.”

A man of sorrows, well acquainted with the temptations, trials, and daily problems and grief that this world has to offer…

Isaiah 53 v 4-8

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.”

Vicarious death

Jesus the true Messiah came to this earth to become a man, to live an absolutely pure and sinless life SO THAT HIS DEATH COULD BE A CLEAN and PERFECT BLOOD SACRIFICE FOR ALL THE SINS OF MANKIND…

***JESUS WOULD TAKE THE PUNISHMENT and PAY THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS, THE PENALTY and CONSEQUENCES THAT WE COULD NOT PAY BECAUSE OF OUR OWN HENIOUS DEPRAVITY!!!

***JESUS TOOK ON OUR SIN AND BORE THE CHASTISEMENT WE DESERVED UPON HIMSELF AS OUR ETERNAL SUBSTITUTE…

***He the Messiah, He the King of all kings, He the innocent one, He the eternally sinless one, HE JESUS CHRIST EXPERIENCED THE SECOND DEATH (ETERNAL SEPERATION FROM GOD), DAMNATION IN THAT “ETERNAL MOMENT” UPON THAT BLOOD SOAKED, MAN MADE CROSS, FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF YOUR’S and MY SIN ON OUR BEHALF…….

***THAT “ETERNAL MOMENT”***

When eternal God from eternal God was ripped apart and Jesus Christ in that “ETERNAL MOMENT” was separated from God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, as all the sins of all the world were placed upon Him, and HIM ALONE!!!

Jesus TOOK OUR SIN:

2 Corinthians 5 v 21

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Jesus TOOK OUR SHAME

Jesus TOOK OUR PUNISHMENT

Jesus TOOK OUR SEPERATION

***SO ALONE and SO FORGOTTEN!!!***

Jesus could not contain the enormous agony and torture of that “ETERNAL MOMENT”, He could not control Himself under the enormous weight of separation from God that He had to cry out:

Psalms 22 v 1

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”

Mark 15 v 34

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

But Jesus act of unselfish LOVE did not end upon that monstrously dreadful wooden cross…

Isaiah 53 v 9-10

“And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. 10. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.”

Victorious Resurrection!!!

Jesus died as a common criminal so the world declares; having no grave of His own He was buried in a rich man’s tomb.

Matthew 27 v 12

“And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.”

Matthew 27 v 57-60

“When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple: 8 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. 59 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.”

But the gospel of Jesus Christ DOES NOT END THERE!!!

Though Mohammed died and he was no more, though Buddha died never to be seen again, though thousands have come and gone claiming to be some special prophet from God, WHEN THEY DIED THEY WERE NEVER SEEN AGAIN!!!!!!!

All have died and THEY ARE STILL DEAD!!!

***But Jesus Christ died, and BROUGHT HIMSELF BACK FROM THE DEAD, TO BE ETERNALLY ALIVE FOREVERMORE!!!!!!!

John 2 v 19

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

***Jesus was seen alive again and by a great many eye witnesses!!!!!!!

1 Corinthians 15 v 4-8

“And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 5 And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: 6 After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. 7 After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. 8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

And Jesus eternal spirit is in every person born of God…….

He lives…….

He has risen…….

He is alive for evermore…….

Revelation 1 v 18

“I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.”

*******Jesus is shown to be THE ONE TRUE, ONLY BEGOTTEN SON OF GOD BY HIS RESURRECTION.*******

***He and He alone has the power to save!!!!!!!***

*******To save humanity from OUR sin!!!!!!!*******

*******HE LIVES*******

Isaiah 53 v 11-12

“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

Visible return

And what does one do when final Victory is yours; you divide the spoil with your people…….

As Jesus ascended into Heaven, one day He will MOST CERTAINLY RETURN. VISIBLY AND IN TOTAL AND ABSOLUTE VICTORY!!!!!!!

Acts 1 v 6-11

“When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 9 And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 11 Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Presently Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, the Messiah, IS AT THE RIGHT HAND OF YHWH GOD; THE FATHER, SON, and HOLY SPIRIT, “3” YET ETERNALLY ONE, ETERNALLY ONE GOD!!!!!!!

Mark 16 v 19

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.”

1 Peter 3 v 22

“Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

And one day Jesus with His Holy angels and His Saint WILL RETURN!!!!!!!

Revelation 19 v 11-16

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war 12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

*******Jesus will Visibly, return and He will judge the living and the dead and reward those WHO LOVE HIM…….*******

The Victory is His;

Oh Victory in Jesus!!!!!!!

I HEARD AN OLD,
OLD STORY
HOW A SAVIOUR CAME
FROM GLORY
HOW HE GAVE HIS LIFE
ON CALVARY
TO SAVE SOMEONE LIKE ME

I HEARD ABOUT
HIS GROANING,
OF HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD'S
ATONING
THEN I REPENTED
OF MY SIN
AND WON THE VICTORY

OH, VICTORY IN JESUS,
MY SAVIOUR FOREVER
HE SOUGHT ME
AND HE BOUGHT ME
WITH HIS REDEEMING BLOOD

HE LOVED ME
ERE I KNEW HIM
AND ALL MY LOVE
IS DUE HIM
HE PLUNGED ME TO VICTORY
BENEATH THE
CLEANSING FLOOD

I HEARD ABOUT HIS
HEALING,
OF HIS CLEANSING POW'R
REVEALING
HOW HE MADE THE LAME
TO WALK AGAIN
AND CAUSED THE
BLIND TO SEE

AND THEN I CRIED
"DEAR JESUS,
COME AND HEAL
MY BROKEN SPIRIT"
AND SOMEHOW JESUS
CAME AND BROUGHT
TO ME THE VICTORY

OH, VICTORY IN JESUS,
MY SAVIOUR FOREVER

So as seen through the eyes and heart of Isaiah we see the:

“Victory in Jesus”

We see the:

Virgin birth

We see Jesus’:

Virtuous life

We see Jesus’:

Vicarious death

Jesus’:

Victorious Resurrection

And one day we will behold Jesus’:

Visible return!!!!!!!

To God be the glory, all honor and praise IS HIS!!!!!!!

Jesus is the world’s ONLY HOPE…….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris smith, sbc


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July 21, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Our Calling of Servanthood"

Philippians 2 v 5-11

"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7. But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8. And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 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."


If we truly want Homeland Security, it can only be assured by HAVING ABSOLUTE FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST and HIS WORD THE BIBLE!!! As our nation grows more and more secular, as our Judeo-Christian roots become lost to our present society our national security and our individual rights are being destroyed…….

We live in an age when being a servant is looked down upon, and even in the age when Jesus Christ physically walked and ministered on this earth, servants were considered less valuable than those they served.

That attitude still exists today. Yet Jesus Christ being the eternal God was more than willing to become a man, a human being, He was willing to become a servant. A servant who’s service to God the Father, and to save mankind was TO DIE FOR OUR SINS; that we might repent and be saved!!!

Jesus was a servant, God served us; God LOVES us. ***God expects no less from His people, His, Children, His Church, GENUINE CHRISTIANS…

WE MUST BE SERVANTS AS WELL. SERVANTS FOR GOD’S SAKE, SERVANTS FOR HIS KINGDOM, FOR THOSE HE LOVES…….

This week’s passage in many ways is the greatest and most moving passage Paul ever wrote about Jesus. It states a favorite thought of his. The heart of it is in the simple statement Paul made to the Corinthians that, although Jesus was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor,

2 Corinthians 8 v 9

“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.”

Here in our main text that simple idea is stated with a completeness which is without parallel. Paul is pleading with the Philippians to live in harmony, to lay aside their discords, to shed their personal ambitions and their pride and their desire for prominence and prestige, and to have in their hearts that humble, selfless desire to serve, which was the essence of the life of Christ.

Paul’s final and unanswerable appeal for us to be Christ-like is to point to the example of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2 v 21

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

As Jesus was a servant, the genuine Christian MUST BE A SERVANT…

Matthew 20 v 26-28

“But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27. And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28. Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

The world’s view is to be served, to be ministered to, to be honored; God’s will is to serve, to minister to, to honor and care for others…….

Galatians 2 v 20

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

As Christians we are not to live for our own desires but to live to serve God and His creation. For our old nature is dead and our new nature in Jesus Christ IS TO BE A SERVANT AS HE WAS A SERVANT…

It is not I who lives, but Jesus who lives in the “born again” believer.

Jesus served by teaching, giving, healing. LOVING, listening, etc, etc, etc…

*Gratefulness for our eternal salvation leads naturally to an attitude of servanthood.

Revelation 22 v 3

“And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:”

If we do not like the idea of being servants here and now, how will we handle being SERVANTS OF GOD THROUGHOUT ETERNITY???

Hebrews 9 v 14

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Servanthood IS A REAL ATTITUDE!!!

Sharing our faith, declaring publicly the Gospel, PROCLAIMS OUR SERVANTHOOD…….

John 14 v 11-14

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works' sake. 12. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 13. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. 14. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.”

Jesus proclaimed His divinity by His works of servanthood; and declared the genuine Christian will perform even more works of servanthood to God and our fellow man…….

*******To grow spiritually, to grow in the process of sanctification, WE MUST BE SINCERE SERVANTS OF “THE GOD”!!!*******

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.”

We were ordained before the beginning of time to perform LOVING and genuine works of servanthood…

***Being a servant:

James 1 v 22

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

To be a servant, IS TO DO THE WILL OF GOD AS THE BIBLE TEACHES US TO DO.

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.”

A servant of God is a person who LOVING and willingly TEACHES AND SHARES THE WORD OF GOD THE BIBLE TO OTHERS, ESPECIALLY SHARING THE PLAN OF SALVATION!!! Reaching out to the lost and saved alike seeking God’s LOVE and will for their lives…

To be a servant, IS TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER INCLUDING OUR ENEMIES…….

Matthew 5 v 43-45

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. 44. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45. That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”

*Being Christ-like, IS BEING A GENUINE SERVANT…

*Being a servant, IS GIVING YOURSELF AWAY…

***Being a servant is a STATE OF MIND; IT IS ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE…….

God honors those who willing serve…….

Hebrews 6 v 10

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.”

God WILL REWARD YOU FOR YOUR GENUINE SERVANTHOOD…….

Romans 12 v 6

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;”

The gifts of the Holy Spirit are for our use in serving God and His creation…….

1 Corinthians 12 v 7

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.”

Being a servant IS A MANIFESTATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, and IS PROFITABLE FOR ALL…….

1 Peter 4 v 10

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

God’s gifts and abilities, He alone has given us IS MEANT TO BE USED TO SERVE AND MINISTER TO OTHERS…….

WE NEED TO SERVE ONE ANOTHER, WE TRULY NEED ONE ANOTHER…….

Being a genuine servant of God WILL LEAD TO CONFLICTS IN OUR LIVES…….

As people hated and despised Jesus Christ, THEY WILL MOST CERTAINLY HATE AND DESPISE US…….

Matthew 5 v 11-12

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Matthew 10 v 22

“And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”

Matthew 24 v 9

“Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and An act ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.”

Luke 6 v 21-22

“Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.”

Why will your servanthood cause many you serve to hate you???

John 15 v 18-21

“If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 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. 21. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me.”

As God’s chosen servants WE WILL EXPERIENCE CONFLICTS…….

How might we define Servanthood?

An act or acts of LOVING service performed in the power of the Holy Spirit to meet the temporal and spiritual needs of those around us…

***Serving God is allowing Him to use us for His purposes.***

***Serving others is serving Jesus Christ.***

Matthew 25 v 40

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

Finally we cannot serve God and our own desires at the same time.

Matthew 6 v 24

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

We will either serve God, or our own selfish nature; we will either die to self or despise God…

God either lives in us or we live for self; THAT IS THE TRUTH…

Colossians 2 v 6-7

“As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him: 7. Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

Servanthood is living moment by moment for Jesus Christ, choosing to serve Him and His creation by the power of the Holy Spirit…….

Servanthood, is ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE, ATTITUDE!!!

Attitude of Servanthood: a manner, disposition, feeling, position, etc., with regard to a person or thing; tendency or orientation, esp. of the mind…….

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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July 14, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

 "The Power of Prayer to Save"

 Luke 18 v 1-8

 "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint; 2 Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"

 
Father, we most humbly yet boldly come to Your throne of grace. We thank You so very much for saving us, for LOVING us, caring so very much for us. We praise You for being our dearest friend!!! You have taught us what genuine LOVE and compassion are. You by example have shown us what true forgiveness is. You have given us wisdom and understanding of who You really are, who we are, and how we should relate to our fellow mankind and to all of Your creation, which is everything that was ever created anywhere, anytime. You are the only God, the only Creator, the only Savior, for anyone,  anywhere!!!!!!!

PRAISE YOUR HOLY NAME!!!!!!!

Today we come to You not about ourselves, about our needs, our desires; but rather we come to You for all who are lost everywhere. Lord, God Jehovah, we pray for those who are in our inner circle of family, friends, and LOVED ones, who are lost in their sins. Lord, save them, do whatever it takes to bring them to the saving knowledge of Your only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Then Lord, we humbly pray, THAT THEY WOULD SAY YES TO YOUR CALL ON THEIR ETERNAL SOULS, AND BE SAVED BY THE BLOOD SACRIFICE OF JESUS.  Oh yes Lord, please let it be so…

We pray for all the Lost You put in our paths that are outside of our intimate circle of LOVED ones. Lord help us pray boldly for their salvation, for their redemption, for their eternal souls. Use us in whatever way You see fit, to be part of the planting, watering, pruning, and harvesting of the Lost around us. Let us be true, living reflections of You LOVE, grace, and mercy; in everything we think, say, and actively do.

We prayer those who are lost who we will never meet on this side of eternity, Lord hear our prayers: Save them, save them, save them. Let there be great revival throughout creation. Lord we realize a great many will never accept You as Lord, God, and Savior; but we still ask for their repentance, redemption, and eternal salvation…We pray Your Holy Spirit would be relentless in His efforts to bring all to a saving knowledge of Your Son Jesus Christ.

Let absolutely as many as possible come to a LOVE relationship to You!!!

Lord we ask not for our sakes, based upon our merit, or relationship to You, but for sake of ALL those needing to repent and be saved. Unassumingly, humbly we ask all these things in Jesus the Messiah’s name, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen…….


As a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ and as lay ministers which all Christians are, we are suppose to be:

1 Peter 2 v 5

“Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

We must do all in our power to uphold the integrity and truth of God’s Holy Scriptures the Bible. This means we must be very careful to declare what God does say through His word, and not merely what we think it says. Or what we want Him to say. ***We can only do this by sober, diligent, and thorough study of God’s word!!!

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.”

Matthew 4:4 (ASV)
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.

Acts 17:11 (ASV)
11  Now these were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.

2 Timothy 2 v 15

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

We are to conscientiously study God’s word and remember as much of it as we can so that we can faithfully “live” God’s truth in our daily moment by moment lives, to assist others to do the same and to share the need of salvation to those who are still lost in their sins…….

That being said, and having studied the scriptures, WE MUST NOT BE TOO QUICK TO DECLARE SOMETHING UNBIBLICAL OR TO SAY SIMPLY “THAT’S NOT IN THE BIBLE”!

We interpret the Bible and what it says not by one verse but by it’s entirety and in proper context. The old saying is true, you cannot build a belief or doctrine by just one isolated verse but must consider the whole of the Bible and what it says to determine the biblical truth!!!

I said all that because last week a local minister was speaking with my wife on prayer and my wife made a statement that: “if a Christian is praying for a sinner, it will be very hard for them to end up in Hell”.

The minister gave a quick and clearly un-thought-out response:

“There is no place in the Bible that says that.”

It is true no where in the Bible is the term “Trinity” specifically used, yet from context of the entire Bible clearly God is one, yet in three persons, the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ) and the Holy Spirit. ***This is a foundational dogma of the genuine Christian faith…

It is also true the phrase “age of accountability” is never discussed in the Bible, yet most Christian denominations accept the “Age of Accountability” (when a child is mature enough to be accountable to God for their sins) to be a legitimate dogma taught by the Holy scriptures as a whole…

***It really is unbelievable to me that a minister could argue against what not only what my wife had said but many wise and devoted Theologians and evangelists have preached throughout the history of Christianity.

“Satan can’t keep God from answering our prayers, but he will keep us from asking.”    Adrian Rogers

The pastor who spoke to my wife seems to be responding as Satan would want him to, causing doubt rather than real hope in the power of prayer!!!

“When there is no hope on the horizontal level, there’s ALWAYS HOPE ON THE VERTICAL LEVEL.”  Adrian Rogers

When we look and focus on what we see with the Lost, “they’ll never accept Christ”, we must look up and pray for their deliverance in spite

of themselves!!!

“Prayer will make man cease from sin. Sin will make man cease from prayer.”  John Bunyan

The only way a person will ever stop sinning IS THROUGH PRAYER!!!

“More things are wrought with prayer than this world dreams of.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Maybe Alfred Lord Tennyson was not a minister, but he understood the power of genuine prayer…

“Prayers are heard in heaven in proportion to our faith. Little faith gets very great mercies, but great faith still greater.” Charles Spurgeon

I’d rather pray believing that prayer can literally move mountains of sin and defiance by a sinner, than to think “free will” means prayer has little affect on those needing salvation…

“We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.”  Oswald Chambers

Our focus and faith should always be on God not what we see in the world.

“Prayer is a triumph, in whatever form.” Mirakel Reves

A genuine prayer IS ALWAYS VICTORIOUS, though it may take many years for us to see the triumph of its outcome…

“God does nothing but by prayer, and everything with it."
John Wesley

Prayer can break the power of sin on a sinner, open their eyes to see the truth, occasionally even against their desires…

Jude v 23

“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

"No one is a firmer believer in the power of prayer than the devil; not that he practices it, but he suffers from it."   Guy H. King

The powers of darkness are bruised significantly by the power of prayer!!!

"Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure."
   D. L. Moody

"To pray in Jesus' name means to pray in his spirit, in his compassion, in his love, in his outrage, in his concern. In other words, it means to pray a prayer that Jesus himself might pray."
     Kenneth L. Wilson

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do…"  Jesus Christ

"Prayer strikes the winning blow; service is simply picking up the pieces."  S.D. Gordon

Without prayer there can be no spiritual victory, with it, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE!!!

"The greatest thing anyone can do for God or man is pray."  SD. Gordon

 "God shapes the world by prayer. The more prayer there is in the world the better the world will be, the mightier the forces of against evil …” E.M. Bounds

If God shapes the world by prayer, then the prayer for salvation of the lost will bring exceeding hope to the intercessor…

 "Talking to men for God is a great thing, but talking to God for men is greater still." E.M. Bounds

Prayer for a sinner greatly increases their chances for salvation…

 "The prayer power has never been tried to its full capacity. If we want to see mighty wonders of divine power and grace wrought in the place of weakness, failure and disappointment, let us answer God's standing challenge, "Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not!'" (J. Hudson Taylor)

Prayer will always help, it will never hinder…

“One day George Mueller began praying for five of his friends. After many months, one of them came to the Lord. Ten years later, two others were converted. It took 25 years before the fourth man was saved. Mueller persevered in prayer until his death for the fifth friend, and throughout those 52 years he never gave up hoping that he would accept Christ! His faith was rewarded, for soon after Mueller’s funeral the last one was saved.”

***Most certainly prayer has the power to bring defiant, self-centered, sinners to a saving, LOVING, knowledge of Jesus Christ…….

“Prayer is the root, the fountain, the mother of a thousand blessings."  Chrysostom

Absolutely…

"Four things let us ever keep in mind: God hears prayer, God heeds prayer, God answers prayer, and God delivers by prayer."  

E. M. Bounds

God is at work in the prayer of a genuine Christian.

"We can do nothing without prayer. All things can be done by persistent prayer. That is the teaching of Jesus Christ".  

E. M. Bounds

How can a genuine “born again” believer doubt that???

“…the man on his knees has a leverage underneath the mountain which can cast it into the sea, if necessary, and can force all earth and heaven to recognize the power there is in 'His name.'”  M.E. Andross

With prayer many wondrous and miraculous actions can be wrought…

"We must begin to believe that God, in the mystery of prayer, has entrusted us with a force that can move the Heavenly world, and can bring its power down to earth." Andrew Murray

It takes believing in God and trusting Him to hear and answer prayer.

"...[the] power of prayer can never be overrated. They who cannot serve God by preaching need not regret. If a man can but pray he can do anything. He who knows how to overcome with God in prayer has Heaven and earth at his disposal."  Charles H. Spurgeon

The power of prayer CAN NEVER BE OVERRATED BY A GENUINE CHRISTIAN…….

"Prayer is a spiritual law which cooperates with the mind of God. It has more in it than merely petition. It clothes itself in reality and power, with the force of God Himself. It is an attitude of spirit and mind. Language is secondary in true prayer." Gossner

Prayer unleashes the very force of God Himself!!!

"There is no power like that of prevailing prayer, of Abraham pleading for Sodom, Jacob wrestling in the stillness of the night, Moses standing in the breach, Hannah intoxicated with sorrow, David heartbroken with remorse and grief, Jesus in sweat of blood.  Add to this list from the records of the church your personal observation and experience, and always there is the cost of passion unto blood.  Such prayer prevails.  It turns ordinary mortals into men of power.  It brings power.  It brings fire.  It brings rain.  It brings life.  It brings God."  Samuel Chadwick

Prayer for Sodom did not save Sodom, but it gave Sodom EVERY POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO BE SAVED!!!

"Intercession is truly universal work for the Christian. No place is closed to intercessory prayer. No continent - no nation - no organization - no city - no office. There is no power on earth that can keep intercession out."  Richard Halverson

Even the defiant individual will be affected by the persistent prayer of a LOVING Christian…….

But these are only opinions on the power of prayer by God LOVING believers and ministers who have studied the Bible for decades, God still is our final word; His book is our inerrant, infallible source for truth.

So, does the Bible truly say anything about the power of prayer to affect most significantly the rejecting, defiant sinner?

ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!

***It is when you pray that the power of God will cut off every limiting fetter to your or others breakthroughs, successes, family life, marriages, prosperity, healing and deliverance. God will continually seek the salvation for those we pray for. There are many ways to LOVE one’s neighbor, but intercessory prayer—praying on behalf of other people—has got to be one of the most powerful. Prayer is the most potent force known to humanity.

Why, because we have been made partakers in Jesus’ victory over sin and death:

1 John 4 V 4

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

We have the authority as sons and daughters of God to pray for others, pushing back the darkness of sin and oppression. ***In prayer we have a weapon that has “divine power to destroy strongholds.

2 Corinthians 10 v 4

"(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)"

That kind of weaponry—the power of prayer— is something God invites us to use as we seek not only personal transformation but the transformation of the world as well. An intercessor is one who takes up a “burden” that goes far beyond his or her own needs and intentions. And those who take up the call to intercession come to learn in a deeper way that the sufferings of the present time cannot compare to the joy that will come as God’s purposes unfold. They learn to trust in the Lord, because they have experienced in prayer how infinitely compassionate God is. Intercessors participate in God’s magnificent plan to raise humanity to share in divine life. This insight moves them to engage in a spiritual battle against the forces that seek to destroy God’s plans.

James 5 v 16

"Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

The sincere and God inspired fervent and persistent prayer of a true Christian will LET LOOSE ALL THE POWERS AT GOD’S DISPOSAL TO ENCOURAGE A PERSON TO BE SAVED and ACCEPT JESUS CHRIST, AS THEIR LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR!!!

Jesus promised: “If two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven”,

Matthew 18 v 19-20

"Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

***One of the most powerful ways we can pray as intercessors is together with others.

Luke 22 v 31-32

"And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: 32 But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren."

 When you look at that scripture and you hit the pause button for a moment, you recognize that here is an individual's name, a person, a man's name (it could be a woman's name) that Jesus Christ literally petitioned our Father to give Peter what he needed.

***I read that and I look at that and I marvel to think that that is what Jesus Christ did, setting us an example at times to go before our Father and to pray for individuals, maybe, when they can no longer pray on their own or perhaps they have never believed in God at all.

Here is Peter, certainly at a very trying time in his life, maybe a weak time in his life. Jesus Christ even knew that maybe in the very near future he was going to stumble, he was going to turn away from Him; but He said, "Peter, when you return..." He knew the future and brought the future to Peter--not only the future but the reality of His LOVE and a concern that He brought before God in prayer, a need.

Isaiah 55 v 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 CANNOT RETURN VOID!!! ***IT WILL ACCOMPLISH THAT WHICH PLEASES GOD…

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."

It being God's desire that ALL SHOULD BE SAVED, by the power of intercessory prayer we unleash all the powers of God to aide and seek the salvation of the lost person we are praying for!!!

***For God stops and listens very, very carefully to the prayers of the genuinely saved!!!

Revelation 8 v 1-4

"And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour. 2 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. 3 And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. 4 And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

God stopped, sat still, heaven was silent, for God was listening to the prayers of His chosen people!!!

Psalms 17 v 1

"Hear the right, O LORD, attend unto my cry, give ear unto my prayer, that goeth not out of feigned lips."

Psalms 17 v 6-7

"I have called upon thee, for thou wilt hear me, O God: incline thine ear unto me, and hear my speech. 7 Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them."

These are only a few of the tremendous verses on the power of prayer to affect the sinner in their flight from God. To open the eyes of the blind, to make the deaf hear, even if they are trying to deny the Holy Spirit of God calling them home, they may finally refuse, but THEY WILL BE GIVEN EVER POSSIBLE OPPORTUNITY TO SAY “YES”…….

Finally let us look at our main text today.

Luke 18 v 1

"And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;"

Jesus tells us a parable, but first He gives us two principles; one, ALWAYS PRAY, two, DO NOT GET discouraged. Jesus knows we expect the turn-a-round time to be immediate, faster if possible, BUT GOD'S TIMING IS USUALLY NOT ACCORDING TO OUR TIME TABLES!!!

Luke 18 v 2-8

"Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: 3 And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. 4 And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; 5 Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. 6 And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. 7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? "

If we are genuinely "born again" believers, TRUE LOVERS OF JESUS CHRIST, then we will LOVE who He LOVES and SEEK THE SALVATION OF THOSE HE WANTS TO SET FREE FROM ETERNAL DAMNATION. ***Jesus is indeed our example of intercessory prayer, as He was dying upon the cross, HE PLEAD FOR THE FORGIVENESS OF THE LOST:

Luke 23 v 34

"Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots."

God has certainly given humanity a "free will", to say "yes" or "no" to the calling of the Holy Spirit, but that does not stop the Power of intercessory prayer upon their life. For God will hound those who are prayed for until the very end, for our sakes and for His LOVE of the lost.

Satan and all his supernatural seductions and deceptions CANNOT STAND UP TO THE POWER OF THE EVER ETERNAL YHWH.......

1 John 4 v 4

"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."

You've been instructed by God. You've had a name and a life placed upon your heart to pray for their salvation...

***Now it is really up to you and God's Holy Spirit prompting and working with you, what will you do???

Prayer is the greatest power God has given His Saints, PRAYER IS COMMUNION WITH THE ALMIGHTY, ALL POWERFUL GOD; dead, malignant, totally corrupted bodies can be transformed into holy, incorruptible seed by the grace, mercy, and the power of God!!!

Matthew 16 v 18

"And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

Yes a person can still say "no", BUT WHAT A BATTLE IT WILL BE, IF TRUE CHRISTIANS ARE PRAYING FOR THEIR ETERNAL SOULS.......

"The main lesson about prayer is just this: Do it! Do it! Do it! You want to be taught to pray. My answer is pray and never faint, and then you shall never fail…"     John Laidlaw

And perhaps, even very likely, those whom you pray for will also one day succeed at LOVING Jesus Christ as their personal LORD, GOD, and SAVIOR…….

Philippians 2 v 16

“Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.”

God calls out to all the Saints to pray for the Lost, does God call us to a useless task? Do our prayers fail, are our words in prayer of no power, no strength, ineffective, simply futile???

***God says our life for Him is not in vain, and get this: OUR LABORS ARE NOT IN VAIN!!!!!!! ***THAT MEANS OUR PRAYERS HAVE THE VERY FORCE and POWER OF GOD BEHIND THEM and OUR PRAYERS ARE NOT IN VAIN!!!!!!!…….***   

So, let us pray!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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July 7, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"The Need For Faith"

1 Thessalonians 5 v 24

"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."

O merciful God, whatever You may deny us, do not deny us Your LOVE.

Being created by You, let us live for You; being created for You, let us ever act for You and Your glory; being redeemed by You, let us render to You what is Yours and let our spirit ever cleave to You alone, as Savior and God.

We are no longer our own, but thine. Put us to what thou wilt, rank us with whom thou wilt.

Put us to doing, put us to suffering.

Let us be employed by thee or laid aside for thee, exalted for thee or brought low for thee.

Let us be full, let us be empty.

Let us have all things, let us have nothing. We freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.

And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, thou art ours, and we are thine. So be it.

And the covenant which we have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven forever more.

In Jesus our precious Savior's name we pray, Amen and eternally Amen………………


Faithful is HE who calls you to HIS kingdom, faithful is the ONE true Lord, God, and Savior WHO WANTS ALL TO BE SAVED!!!

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.”

If this it true,

Romans 3 v 4

“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”

And certainly God is “true”, God is “faithful”, God is faith itself. Then why is it that the majority of people will live eternity in Hell???

A long time ago when I attended Oakland Community College an extension of Michigan State University on the Orchard Ridge campus, I was in a speech or debate class. We each had to give an oral unprepared speech about something we held very important to us. I felt compelled by the Holy Spirit to share my faith. I say compelled for I was still a very young Christian, I was always shy, always fearful of speaking in public, and certainly never wanting to say anything that might offend others. So I had NO EXPERIENCE IN SHARING MY FAITH, except to my family and friends. Even with them I was frightened OUT OF MY MIND! I really knew this was an opportunity THAT GOD GAVE me to begin sharing my faith to others…

Compelled in that, IT WAS ABSOLUTELY APPARENT GOD WAS GIVING ME THIS GRACIOUS OPPORTUNITY, and I knew I was going to do it, and I wanted to do it…

Sure enough, just as I had imagined, someone became very, very angry and of all people a sweet little old lady. Perhaps younger than me now (63), but old to me a young and naïve 20 or something at the time…

My point was, that it was God’s desire that none should perish, and that only those who chose to reject Jesus Christ WOULD SPEND ETERNITY IN HELL…

The woman screamed: “Who would choose to go to Hell?”

The vast majority of the class agreeing with her and in a fevered pitch began murmuring against me and my quiet toned speech…

My response was thought out, I was slow to speak and my mouth opened and I closed with this:

“Those who reject God’s LOVE, choose Hell because they do not want to LOVE or accept God’s offer of salvation.”

My blood pressure I have no doubt was very high, I was “psyched” as we now say, adrenalin flowing in my veins to the max. I was elated, upset and relieved all at the same time. Ecstatic, that I knew I had pleased my Lord, upset, saddened in that I caused such a response in my classmates and relieved that class was over for the night…

As we left for the night one person came up to me and apologized for what the class had said about me. I responded, “they had every right to say how they felt, that is their CHOICE.”

I was glad however that someone had sympathized with me…

A side note, at the end of the class year we each were to give a formal prepared speech that would be worth 40% of our individual grades. In this too I was very unnerved about; I still feared speaking in class or in public, or anywhere. But for some curious reason I was never called upon to give my final speech.

My teacher simply winked at me and said I didn’t need to and I never saw him again. My grade an “A”…….

God does work in mysterious ways…

If I had been more mature or less frightened, I probably would have said, that GENUINE SALVATION IS A MATTER OF BELIEF, A MATTER OF FAITH, SOMETHING A PERSON BY GOD’S GRACE CHOOSES TO HAVE FAITH IN…….

We by the mercy, power, grace and LOVE of God have the ability to say: “YES” or “NO” to God; IT IS OUR DECISION, OUR CHOICE, by God’s grace…….

Many centuries ago a man, a husband, a father of a young demon possessed boy brought his precious and dying son to the very presence of Jesus Christ for healing. He had lost all hope; he realized as much as he LOVED his tender child, there was nothing he could do to save his son. This man, this humbled father, had sought out the apostles of Jesus and even they could do nothing. The father’s manly powers, his religious up bringing, cries to family, friends and doctors, his pleading to the apostles left him drained and with no faith or belief in anything. So he struggled, and with the last of his energy he found to his way to Jesus Christ of Nazareth. The physically and spiritually tormented child in terrible and agonizing pain fell before Jesus.

Mark 9 v 20

“And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.”

Jesus with LOVE and perhaps tears in His eyes looked at the precious little one and then turned to the father and said:

Mark 9 v 21

“And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.”

Jesus asked this to calm the father down and to give the terrified and anxious father time to gather his composure. The man answered:

Mark 9 v 22

“And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.”

Then our LOVING and compassionate Savior with gentleness and warmth in His voice shared what God wants from each of us:

Mark 9 v 23

“Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”

We each must choose to have faith and believe in Jesus Christ…

The Bible says Jesus could do little in His home town of Nazareth because they had little faith in Him.

Mark 6 v 4-6

“But Jesus, said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5. And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6. And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.”

It was not that Jesus could not heal them without their faith, it was that, THEY HAD THE CHOICE TO BELIEVE OR NOT, and MOST OF THEM CHOSE NOT TO BELIEVE, THEY CHOSE NOT TO HAVE FAITH…

The Bible says,

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.”

It is our responsibility to accept or reject Jesus Christ, God responds to our choices!!!

***It is our responsibility, He provides everything, gives us all the information we need to make the right choices; but it is up to us to believe, it is up to us to have faith; IT IS UP TO US TO ACCEPT HIS FREE GRACE OF ETERNAL SALVATION…

So Jesus says to this frantic and excruciatingly hurting and agonizing father, “Do you choose to believe, do you choose to have faith?”

This unfortunate father, so broken, so helpless, so lacking in faith, so disillusioned with life, so disgusted with fake and phony and worthless man made religions, so confused and lost, his mind swirling10,000 miles a second; looks up at Jesus, knowing he has no faith to give, knowing that he cannot lie, HE JUST DOESN’T BELIEVE!

Trembling, on wobbling knees he looks to Jesus a man; he gathers all his strength that is left, and with the last microscopic minuscule fragment of expectation, he believes Jesus is more than just a man. The father with an honest but vacillating voice says:

Mark 9 v 24

“And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.”

Even in his unbelief he asked Jesus Christ for belief, he asked Jesus to give him the faith he did not possess and Jesus responded in LOVE!!!!!!!

Mark 9 v 25-27

“When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 26. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.”

Though we lack faith, though the path be narrow, and the gate is not wide, our lives may not be easy, our backgrounds and experiences, and our human wisdom deny the ONE TRUE GOD; ask, seek, knock and YOU WILL FIND…

***Ask God to save you, to delivery you, in spite of your lack of faith, and GOD WILL SAVE YOU!!!!!!!

A sincere and genuine plea to God and HE WILL SAVE YOU!!!!!!!

What you do not think you are sincere, that you are genuine, you want to, but you just can’t?

Ask, seek, knock, GOD WILL SAVE YOU. “Lord help my unbelief, help my lack of sincerity; strip me, cleanse me, make me yours”; and GOD WILL SAVE YOU!!!!!!!

Matthew 7 v 7-8

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Though many hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and when their hearts are ready they GLADLY accept Jesus Christ as their only Lord, their only God, and their only Savior; others, perhaps you, must be pulled from the fire…

Jude 23

“And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”

Yes some, will even be pulled from the fires of Hell as they are about to enter eternity, by grace through faith in Jesus Christ!!!!!!!

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.”

Even if you will not knock, Jesus stands at the door of your hearts, and will ask you, He seeks you, He knocks on your door for YOU!!!

It takes you to say “YES” to Him, it takes “YOU” TO HAVE FAITH IN HIM!!!

As we close this message on the “Need For Faith”, first we can obtain faith by genuinely and diligently searching the Holy Writ, the holy scriptures, the only infallible, inerrant word the Bible!!!

Romans 10 v 17

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

We must be sincere, we must be diligent in searching the scriptures, regularly and as often as possible, daily if necessary, TO OBTAIN FAITH…

If for you this seems impossible, then the second way we can ABSOLUTELY OBTAIN SAVING FAITH, IS BY ASKING FOR IT IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST!!!!!!!

Hebrews 10 v 23

“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”

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.”

Let us pray:

Oh Lord, God, creator of Heaven and earth and of all that was ever created, we cannot know the end of a thing. We do not have certainty about the plans of our days. Forgive us when we try without consulting You. Forgive our blundering efforts to make something happen. We want to LOVE You, and we want to please You, but our lives are so caught up in the things of this world. Help us, Lord. Help us to know how much we need You. Help us to see the real values of eternal things. Give us a greater awareness of God the Holy Spirit. Give us a holy awe of Your Word. Drive us to our knees more often, Lord. Keep us close. We beg You!!!!!!!

Oh, our Father, purge us from the ungodly. Separate us from the sins that hinder and blind us. Meet us in the halls of our heart, and sanctify us there. And then, Lord Jesus, embolden us for the work ahead. Provide our daily bread. Cleanse us of our sins and enrich our fellowship with the saints. Clothe us in the armor of God and place us where we must stand. Enable us to resist the enemy in the faith, especially save us from our lack of faith, save us from our own insincerity, MAKE US YOURS, DO WHAT EVER IT TAKES, SAVE US, SAVE ME FROM MYSELF!!!!!!! Allow us to see the strongholds of Satan and of this faithless world crumble and grant us the LOVE and desire to reach out to the lost THAT WE MAY ASSIST THEM IN FINDING SAVING FAITH IN YOU!!!!!!! In Jesus Christ’s name Amen and Amen!!!!!!!

Luke 17 v 6

“And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamore tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”

We need faith…….

Ask…….

I ____________________________ ask you God to forgive me of all

          You’re   Name

my sins, all my past, all my present, and all my future sins. Where I lack faith, or where I lack sincerity, I give you absolute authority over all of my being to do whatever it takes to eternally save me. Save me from myself, make me yours FOREVER…I ACCEPT Jesus Christ as my only Lord, my only God (In Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and my only and my eternal Savior.  In Jesus Christ’s name AMEN…….

_______________

        Date

To honestly pray this prayer, and to genuinely sign this as acceptance of Jesus Christ as your Lord, God, and Savior, SAVES YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ETERNALLY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



Print and sign...


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June 30, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

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

“B”

Matthew 5 v 14-16

"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be  hid. 15. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven."

Lord, Father, You have given us so much. Your creation, Your cosmos, galaxies, the stars, the planets, the material creation. You have given us life, the life of all Your creatures. Food to fill our bellies, water to provide our hydration, seasons to provide growing seasons, our fellow man for companionship and LOVE. You have given Your great LOVE to us, Your image in our lives, Your mercy, Your grace, Your friendship, Your tremendous compassion. You gave us Your Son Jesus Christ, to live and die, and live again, for Your unmerited forgiveness and eternal salvation. You have given us the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and direct us, to give us knowledge and the wisdom to use all Your gifts properly, You Oh Lord, have given us so much !!!

Help us Father, to share all Your LOVE to those around us, help us Bestow upon others the good news of Your boundless Gospel. Help us speak with boldness, LOVE, mercy, and compassion, and with Your Holy Spirit within us, help many, many people come to the saving knowledge of Your Only Begotten Son and His tender BLOOD sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Lord be with us, and be with those around us, and be with all Your creation. Thy Will Be Done. We pray all these things in Jesus magnificent name, Amen and eternally Amen………………………….


This week we turn our attention to the final letter in our acronym B.O.B.

The first B stands for Believe, and it’s simplest meaning is to have ABSOLUTE faith and trust in Jesus Christ and His ONLY inerrant infallible word the Bible. Jesus Himself has called us to Believe!!!

Mark 1 v 15

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

Jesus also calls ALL true Christians to Believe every word that has been spoken by God and has been recorded faithfully by inspiration of God the Holy Spirit in the Bible and only IN THE BIBLE!!!

Matthew 4 v 4

“But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

To Believe in Jesus Christ and His word the Bible ABSOLUTELY, and to have ABSOLUTE faith and trust in EVERYTHING THAT THE BIBLE DECLARES ABOUT HIM. ***Jesus calls ALL CHRISTIANS ALL PEOPLE TO TRUST HIM and HIM ONLY WITH THEIR ETERNAL DESTINY!!!!!!!

This leads to the second letter O, which stands for the word Obey. As true Christians we are called to Obey that which we believe in.

James 1 v 22

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

There are millions and perhaps billions who profess to be Christians, yet how many of us ACTUALLY DO WHAT JESUS CHRIST CALLS US TO DO???

Luke 6 v 46

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

How many of us call Jesus Lord, Lord, yet we pick and choose for ourselves what we want to believe, we do only the “things” we feel comfortable in obeying…***Jesus Christ calls us to Obey and do EVERYTHING HE ASKS US TO, we are to test ALL teachings in light of what the Bible actually says; THEN OBEY THAT WHICH IS TRUE!!!

We are to Believe EVERYTHING THAT JESUS CHRIST BELIEVES AND TEACHES, WE ARE TO OBEY EVERYTHING HE TELLS US TO DO IN LIGHT OF WHAT THE BIBLE ACTUALLY DECLARES!!!

We Believe because We LOVE Him, we Obey because we want to please Him…….

We Believe utterly in Jesus Christ, we Obey fully everything Jesus teaches us to do, all, with the help of the Holy Spirit!!!

In thought and action not always perfectly, but in heart and soul always…….

Now we look at the third letter in our acronym B.O.B. the final B.

Bestow

As true Children of God, as genuine “born again” believers, we are to Believe in, and Obey the gospel of Jesus Christ and to Bestow that same gospel which we have received with whosoever God puts in our paths, in our lives!!!

In our text today, Jesus calls the true disciple of Himself, “the light of the world”. That light which we are is the inner glow of the true light living in the genuine Christian. The true light is of course Jesus Christ.

John 9 v 5

“As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

While He was physically in this world, Jesus Christ was the light of true salvation. Now He lives in each genuine Christian, and our light is the reflection of His salvation in our very souls.

The radiance which shines from the Christian comes from the presence of Christ within the Christian's heart. We often speak about a radiant bride, but the radiance which shines from her comes from the LOVE which has been born within her heart. The light of the Christian is the glow of Jesus Christ’s LOVE within us.

It may well be said that this is the greatest compliment that was ever paid to the individual Christian, for in it Jesus commands the Christian to be what He Himself claimed to be. When Jesus commanded His followers to be the lights of the world, He expected nothing less than that they, we, SHOULD BE LIKE HIMSELF.

When Jesus said that the Christian must be the light of the world, what did he mean?

A light is first and foremost something which is meant to be seen. The houses in Palestine were very dark with only one little circular window perhaps not more than eighteen inches across. The lamp was like a sauce-boat tiled with oil with the wick floating in it. It was not so easy to rekindle a lamp in the days before matches existed. Normally the lamp stood on the lampstand which would be no more than a roughly shaped branch of wood; but when people went out, for safety's sake, they took the lamp from its stand, and put it under an earthen bushel measure, so that it might burn without risk until they came back. The primary duty of the light of the lamp was to be seen.

So then, our salvation, our faith, our personal Belief, our daily moment by moment Obedience is something WHICH IS MEANT BY GOD TO BE SEEN!!! As someone has well said,

"There can be no such thing as secret discipleship, for either the secrecy destroys the discipleship, or the discipleship destroys the secrecy."

A genuine Christian WILL BE VISIBLE TO ALL…

Not because we deliberately force ourselves to do something, for light is seen by it’s very nature. Our faith is seen because THAT IS WHO WE ARE. A natural quality of light is to be seen, if we are Christian, even in our silence our new nature in Jesus Christ WILL BE SEEN!

Further, our faith, our salvation should not be visible only within the Church. A Christian whose effects stop at the church door is not much use to anyone.

***We should be even more visible in the ordinary activities of the world. Our Christianity should be visible in the way we treat a sales clerk across the counter, in the way we order a meal in a restaurant, in the way we treat our employees or serve our employer, in the way we play a game or drive or park a car, in the daily language we use, in the daily literature we read. A Christian should be just as much a Christian in the factory, the workshop, the shipyard, the mine, the schoolroom, the surgery, the kitchen, the golf course. the playing field as we are in church. Jesus did not say, "You are the light of the Church"; He said, "You are the light of the world," and in a person’s life in the world our Christianity should be evident to all.

That quality of light, that quality of the true Christian IS SEEN SIMPLY BECAUSE WE ARE TRUE CHRISTIANS…

Light is seen in darkness…

But light has another quality, a light is a guide. On the runways of most airports, we may see the line of lights which marks the runway for the planes to land and takeoff safely. We know how difficult even the city streets were when there were no lights. A light is something to make clear the way.

So then a Christian must make the way clear to others. That is to say, a Christian must of necessity be an example. One of the things which this world needs more than anything else is people who are prepared to be vessels of goodness. Suppose there is a group of people, and suppose it is suggested that some questionable thing should be done. Unless someone makes their protest the thing will be done. But if someone rises up and says, "I will not be a party to that," another and another and another will rise to say, "Neither will l." But, had they not been given the lead, they would have remained silent.

There are many people in this world who have not the moral strength and courage to take a stand by themselves, but if someone gives them a lead, they will follow; if they have someone strong enough to lean on, they will do the right thing. It is the Christian's duty, our obligation of LOVE to take the stand which the weaker brother will support, to give the lead which those with less courage will follow. The world needs its guiding lights; there are people waiting and longing for a lead to take the stand and to do the thing which they do not dare by themselves.

Another quality of light can often be a warning light. A light is often the warning which tells us to halt when there is danger ahead.

For true Christians it is our obligation of LOVE to Bestow, to share with others the warnings of sin throughout the Old and New Testaments. To make very clear what God defines as sin, His ultimate punishments for those sins, and to supply the world with the ONLY, ONLY, ONLY SOURCE FOR FORGIVENESS AND REAL SALVATION; FOR ANY, ANY, ANY PERSON; Jew or any nationality anywhere in ALL OF CREATION!!! ***That is often difficult, and it is often hard to do it in a way which will not appear to do more momentary harm than eventual good; ***but one of the most poignant tragedies in life is for someone, especially a young person, to come and say to us, "I would never have been in the situation in which I now find myself, if you had only spoken in time."

There is a story of 2 friends, both ladies. It is judgement day, and one friend is in one line going to heaven, the other, in the only other line, going to Hell. The Woman in the line going to Hell and eternal turmoil, dread and despair sees her very dear, dear friend in the line going to heaven and eternal joy and blessedness. She breaks free and runs to her friend, falling on her knees with oceans of tears and blood in her eyes she says:

“Why, why, why did you not tell………………..”

And before she has time to finish, an Angel grabs her, lifts her up, and sweeps her away to eternal damnation and suffering…


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 SHARE WITH ALL WHOM GOD HAS GIVEN THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO SO…….

It was said of Florence Alishorn, the famous teacher and principal, that if she ever had occasion to rebuke her students, she did it "with her arm round about them." If our warnings are, given, not in anger, not in irritation, not in criticism, not in condemnation, not in a desire to hurt, but in LOVE, they will be effective.

As Christians it is our greatest obligation of LOVE to Bestow what we Believe and Obey out of our eternal LOVE for Jesus Christ and for our LOVE of all of God’s creation…….

What about B.O.B.???

Without Believing, having ABSOLUTE faith and trust in Jesus Christ and Him only, THERE CAN BE NO FORGIVENESS OR REDEMPTION.

Hebrews 11 v 6

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Without Obeying, a person can never experience the most intimate of relationships with God or God’s people…

2 Thessalonians 3 v 14-15

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. 15. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”

God does not turn His back on the disobedient disciple, that disciple by their disobedience turns their back on God and they themselves walk away from God…

We are saved by grace and grace alone, NOT ANY ACT OF FAITH OR OBEDIENCE ON OUR PARTS WILL EVER SAVE US!!!***But once saved God expects us to Obey…….

Ephesians 2 v 10

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Without Bestowing our faith, our faith is dead!!!

James 2 v 18-26

“Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? 21. Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? 22. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? 23. And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. 24. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. 25. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? 26. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

You Believe as Jesus Christ calls you to, you Obey as God and His only inerrant infallible words the Bible teaches you to, yet you do not share His gospel, His truth, His plan for salvation, again James:

James 2 v 26

“For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

What about B.O.B.???

When it is all said and done, most certainly every true Christian everywhere, MUST BE VERY FAMILIAR WITH B.O.B, MUST PRACTICE B.O.B. IN THOUGHT WORD AND DEED EVERY DAY…

Whether we remember the acronym B.O.B. or not, if we are truly  God’s Children, B.O.B. whether we know it or not, will always be seen in the lives of “TRUE” CHRISTIANS…….

So what about B.O.B. in your life???

Do you Believe, Obey, and Bestow the true gospel of Jesus Christ with others???????

What Would Jesus Do???

WWJD???????

B.O.B.???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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June 23, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

 "What About B.O.B.? Part Two"

"O"

Hebrews 5 v 9

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

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 You 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:

Obey.

As genuine Christians we must not only Believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we MUST Obey it as well!!!!!!!

We are not saved by our obedience, but rather we are obedient because we ARE SAVED by Him…

In-other-words because WE LOVE GOD, WE WANT TO OBEY HIM!!!!!!!

Obey

So then, what does it mean to Obey???

The word Obey means to submit or conform in action to (some guiding principle, impulse, one's conscience, etc.). In our text, to submit to and conform our behavior to God’s holy, inerrant, infallible word the Bible. As a branch of Christian ethics, obedience is to be viewed not only with respect to the relationships existing between God and man and between man and society but also with respect to the example of Christ and man’s personal relationship with Him.

To Obey the commandments of God must be the object of our constant (moment by moment) endeavors. ***Nothing less than complete self-surrender to God and reverent trust in Jesus Christ can make this possible in the life of the true believer. The obedience Jesus calls us to as genuine Christians has at it’s origin IN HAVING ABSOLUTE TRUST IN WHAT WE BELIEVE. Therefore we Believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ cover to cover (both: Old and New Testaments), and we “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 OBEY GOD and HIS WORD THE BIBLE WITH EVERY FIBER OF OUR BEING!!!!!!!

*******WE ARE TO BE HOLY!!!!!!!*******

1 Thessalonians 4 v 7-8

“For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 8.  He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

God has called us to Obey Him, to Obey Him ABSOLUTELY!!!!!!!

Ecclesiastes 12 v 13

“Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.”

We live in an age however where the average person considers their own morals and values as the standard and they do everything to deny God AS THE UNCHANGABLE and ETERNAL STANDARD!!!

As Christians WE OF ALL PEOPLE MUST SEE JESUS CHRIST and HIM ONLY AS OUR ONLY EXAMPLE, AS OUR ONLY STANDARD OF TRUE OBEDIENCE!!!

As Jesus Christ Obeys, WE MUST Obey…….

We Obey not because we are commanded to, not because we are told to, not because God’s word demands it, WE OBEY BECAUSE AS CHILDREN OF ALMIGHTY GOD WE LOVE JESUS CHRIST COMPLETELY. *******We genuinely want to please Him ETERNALLY…….

FOREVER!!!!!!!

MOMENT BY MOMENT, PRIVATELY and PUBLICALLY!!!!!!!

Acts 5 v 29

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

As Peter declares “let us Obey God rather than man”…

Romans 6 v 16

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

Let us Obey God rather than our own sinful nature or that of this desperately fallen world…

Let us heed Paul’s warning to the Galatians,

Galatians 3 v 1

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?”

The world says, “Believe if you must, but you must not be so foolish to Believe everything the Bible says. Obey if you want, but do not be so naïve, so backwards to Obey everything the Bible claims to be the Word of God.

As Satan deceived Eve,

Genesis 3 v 1

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

Let not the world deceive YOU!!!

Let not false teachers deceive YOU!!!

Let not false doctrine deceive YOU!!!

KNOW THE BIBLE FOR YOUR SOUL and THE SOULS OF OTHERS DEPENDS ON IT!!!!!!!

Joshua 24 v 21-24

“And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord.  22. And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. 24. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.”

Jesus calls us to Obey His words, His gospel, His Father who is in heaven, God the Holy Spirit who indwells ALL BELIEVERS…….

1 Samuel 12 v 14

“If ye will fear the Lord, and serve him, and obey his voice, and not rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall both ye and also the king that reigneth over you continue following the Lord your God:”

Jeremiah 7 v 23

“But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.”

We as His Children are called to Obey Him…….

That is if we are truly and genuinely His Children??? 

Are we worried about this nation of ours, it’s existence depends on whether WE OBEY GOD AS HIS FOLLOWERS:

Jeremiah 12 v 17

“But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, saith the Lord.”

Again we are warned if we DO NOT OBEY:

2 Thessalonians 3 v 14

“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”

Salvation certainly is by grace through faith which is our God given Belief in Jesus Christ, yet full INTIMATE fellowship with God is DEPENDENT ON WHETHER WE CHOOSE TO OBEY HIM!!!

The difference between a victorious Christian and a moody, discontented Christian is in HOW THEY OBEY GOD DAILY, IN THEIR MOMENT by MOMENT LIVES!!!

We may not always see victory in the battles of our daily lives, but if we truly Believe and wholeheartedly Obey God and His Words, WE WILL ALWAYS SEE FINAL VICTORY IN THE WARS OF OUR LIVES!!!!!!!

1 Peter 4 v 17-18

“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18. And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

If we as true Christians DO NOT Obey God, our lives will declare our disobedience, and we WILL NOT REACH OUR FULL POTENTIAL OF INTIMACY WITH GOD ON THIS SIDE OF ETERNITY…

As the beautiful hymn goes:

 When we walk with the Lord
      in the light of his word,
      what a glory he sheds on our way!
      While we do his good will,
      he abides with us still,
      and with all who will trust and obey.
Refrain:
      Trust and obey, for there's no other way
      to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
 
2.    Not a burden we bear,
      not a sorrow we share,
      but our toil he doth richly repay;
      not a grief or a loss,
      not a frown or a cross,
      but is blest if we trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
3.    But we never can prove
      the delights of his love
      until all on the altar we lay;
      for the favor he shows,
      for the joy he bestows,
      are for them who will trust and obey.
      (Refrain)
 
4.    Then in fellowship sweet
      we will sit at his feet,
      or we'll walk by his side in the way;
      what he says we will do,
      where he sends we will go;
      never fear, only trust and obey.
      (Refrain)

 
Jesus Christ calls us to Obey, for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus but to Trust and Obey…….
 
Hebrews 5 v 9

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

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.

Believe

Obey

B???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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June 16, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

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

"B"

Mark 1 v 15

“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”

Matthew 4 v 17

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

Luke 13 v 3

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Luke 13 v 5

“I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”

Let us pray:

Lord, today we recall Your faithfulness.
Thank You that You walk with us everyday, that You are with us in each moment.
Thank You that Your promises are true and Your goodness never fails us.

In this moment we come to You and we lay our lives before You.
May we worship and adore You with every fibre of our being.

May everything within us cry "Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come".
And so today we join with all those who worship and confess You as Lord, from generations past and present, and with all the angels that sing in heaven of Your greatness and beauty.

Lord we adore You.
Lord we LOVE You.
Lord You are so precious to us.

We gladly surrender our lives to You in worship and praise. As we gather we remember those who are not with us today -For those who are sick we ask for healing, and for those away from us we ask for Your blessing to be on them. We invite Your beautiful Holy Spirit to move freely amongst us. Come dwell in each of our hearts. Equip us, challenge us, comfort us, teach us. Inspire us as we learn more about Your majestic ways. Father, as we meet now may we behold Your beauty and encounter Your grace. Open our hearts, and minds, and use our thoughts, words, and deeds to reach out to all who are in need. Give us Your compassion, and help us live the gospel for You, for others, and for ourselves.

We ask all this in the wonderful name of Jesus, Amen and eternally Amen.


Many years ago when I worked for Disabled Resource Services of Ft. Collins, Colorado I had a conversation with the then office secretary. She argued, because her Youth Pastor told her so “Jesus only wanted belief in Him. Repentance was not necessary because no where in the Bible did Jesus every say we needed to repent.”

Her Youth Pastor who she was quick to point out had often taught on television, WAS IN GREAT ERROR!!!

We should never assume anyone, including those in authority over us, no matter how respected or admired they are by others, nor how educated they appear, or eloquent they speak, or how professional they seem, nor how attractive they appear to the eye; NO ONE IS PERFECT, AND ANYONE MAY BE A FALSE TEACHER!!!

Matthew 7 v 22-23

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Everything should be proved, affirmed in light of what the inerrant infallible word of God the Bible says!!!

1 Thessalonians 5 v 21

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

Which means, YOU, ME, EVERY GENUINE CHRISTIAN MUST DILIGENTLY SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES “FOR THEMSELVES”!!!

Today I introduce a new catch phrase for our faith. It is “What about B.O.B.???” Do you believe in B.O.B.? Who is B.O.B, what is B.O.B.? Do you need to put into practice B.O.B.???

B.O.B. of course is an acronym, this week we will discuss the first “B”:

Believe

Jesus Himself has told us in our main text today that we must “repent”, meaning, not only must we acknowledge our sins, admit we are sinners, lost, deserving absolutely Hell-fire, but we must with the help of the Holy Spirit renounce, denounce, literally turn our backs on our own sins.

This is only possible by anyone as a direct result of God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ!!!

God is the initiator, the power to accomplish, and the sustainer of our ability to repent. He is as the Bible says the author and finisher of our faith…….

Hebrews 12 v 2

“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

To be a genuine Christian “you” must Believe. First, what does it mean to believe?

To believe in the framework of our text means: to soberly take Jesus Christ at His word. Trust what He says, trust EVERYTHING He says in His holy word the Bible…

The Greek word here is “pisteuo” it is interchangeable with our English word faith. So according to Jesus a genuine, born again believer is a person who remains steadfast in his or her faith in Jesus Christ. To Believe is to be FULLY PERSADED IN THE GOD OF THE OLD and NEW TESTAMENTS, TO COMPLETELY TRUST WHAT THE WORD OF GOD THE BIBLE SAYS and PROMISES.

Believe = Faith, Trust, absolute Confidence in; TO TRUST OR HAVE FAITH IN GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON (JESUS CHRIST), and GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT…

To Believe as Christ calls us has three general features:

1) Believe that the world, including “you” can be SAVED BY, and SAVED ONLY BY THE REDEMPTIVE WORKS OF Jesus Christ!!!

(Saving Faith)

John 3 v 16-17

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

John 5 v 24

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Ephesians 2 v 8-9

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9. Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Romans 10 v 9-11

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

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

Believe that only through Jesus Christ and His works CAN ANYONE BE SAVED!!!!!!!

John 14 v 6

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

Acts 4 v 12

“Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

To Believe such, to have that kind of faith gives “you” an unchangeable and PRAISE GOD ALMIGHTY, an unforfeitable eternal relationship with Jesus Christ as clearly described in innumerable passages throughout the Holy Writ:

Here are only a few:

Romans 11 v 29

“For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

Philippians 1 v 6

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

John 6 v 39-40

“And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Hebrews 10 v 14

“For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

1 John 5 v 13

“These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.”

1 Peter 1 v 23, 25

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever...25. But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”

2 Corinthians 1 v 22

“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”

Etc, etc, etc…….

2) Believe in our personal relationship with God and other believers. To be set apart as exclusively His children…

(Sanctifying Faith)

We as “true” Christians, “true” followers of Jesus Christ, we are set apart from the world, we are a holy people, we are not to live as the world lives. ***We live not to sin, nor to live for ourselves or our own desires but rather WE LIVE TO BE LIKE JESUS… 

Romans 6 v 11, 13-14

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord…13. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”

1 Corinthians 1 v 2

“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

Ephesians 4 v 1-3

“I Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2. With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 3.  Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

God gives the genuine God filled, LOVER of Jesus Christ the grace, LOVE, and mercy TO WALK and LIVE AS JESUS CHRIST DID. Though Christ was perfect and without sin, and we are not perfect, and most likely will sin occasionally after we are His (though we can live a sin free life), AS “TRUE” CHRISTIANS OUR SOLE GOAL IN LIFE IS TO LOVE GOD and TO LOVE ALL THAT HE LOVES, and TO PLEASE HIM CONTINUALLY…….

To Believe this, to trust God this much, to have such faith is to enable one to live a life WORTHY OF SONS and DAUGHTERS OF GOD…….

3) Believe in the spiritual gifts that each saved individual can receive TO SERVE GOD and ALL OF HIS CREATION…….

(Serving Faith)

Romans 12 v 6-9

“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8. Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness. 9. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.”

Hebrews 2 v 4

“God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?”

To Believe this allows the genuine Christian TO PRACTICE WHAT HE OR SHE ACTUALLY BELIEVES…….

Jesus calls us specifically TO BELIEVE THE GOSPEL, THE GOOD NEWS OF JESUS CHRIST… What is the Gospel, this Good News WE ARE CALLED TO BELIEVE?

It was preeminently good news that Jesus Christ came to bring to humanity. If we follow the word “euaggelion”, good news, gospel through the New Testament we can see at least something of its content.

A) It is the good news of truth:

Galatians 2 v 5

“To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

Colossians 1 v 5

“For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;”

Until Jesus came, humanity could only guess and grope after God.

Job 23 v 3

“Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!”

Marcus Aurelius said that the soul can see but dimly, and the word he uses is the Greek word for seeing things through water. But with the coming of Jesus we can see clearly what God is like. No longer do we need to guess and grope; WE CAN KNOW…

B) It is the good news of hope:

Colossians 1 v 23

“If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

The ancient world was a pessimistic world. Seneca talked of "our helplessness in necessary things." In their struggle for goodness men were defeated. The coming of Jesus brings hope to the hopeless heart.

C) It is the good news of peace:

Ephesians 6 v 15

“And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;”

The penalty of being a fallen human is to have a split personality. In human nature the beast and the angel are strangely intermingled. It is told that once Schopenhauer, the gloomy philosopher, was found wandering. He was asked, "Who are you?" "I wish you could tell me," he answered. Robert Burns said of himself, "My life reminded me of a ruined temple. What strength, what proportion in some parts! What unsightly gaps, what prostrate ruins in others!"

Man's trouble has always been that we are haunted both by sin and by goodness. The coming of Jesus Christ unifies that disintegrated personality into one. We find victory over our warring self by being conquered by Jesus Christ. By submitting to His Lordship in our lives

D) It is the good news of God's promise

Ephesians 3 v 6

“That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:”

It is true to say that we have always thought rather of a God of threats than a God of promises. ***All non-Christian religions think of a demanding God; only Christianity tells of a God who is more ready to give than we are to ask.

E) It is the good news of immortality:

2 Timothy 1 v 10

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

To the pagan, to the atheist world, life is the road to death; humanity is characteristically a dying species; but Jesus Christ came with the good news that we are on the way to life rather than death.

 F) It is the good news of salvation:

Ephesians 1 v 13

“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”

Salvation is not merely a negative thing; it is also positive. It is not simply liberation from penalty and escape from past sin; it is the power to live life victoriously and to conquer sin.

The message of Jesus Christ is good news indeed.

Salvation is not for a select few, a predestined minority, but for as many that are WILLING TO BELIEVE AS JESUS CHRIST CALLS US TO BELIEVE…….

2 Peter 3 v 9

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

***Now is the most important question of “your” eternity: DO “YOU” BELIEVE???????

What about B.O.B.??? Next week, we will continue our study of the acronym B.O.B., do you believe in B.O.B., SHOULD YOU???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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June 9, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Man’s Search for Longevity”

Lord, God, Jehovah, we come to You as eternally-needy-beings; on this side of eternity, we have sincere and serious concerns about our own health, the health of our family, friends, and LOVED ones, and their family, friends, and LOVED ones, and even just our acquaintances. Our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, with trillions upon trillions of miraculous, minute, molecules, all too incredibly amazing for even our Doctors to truly understand. Throughout this life, we worry about illness, old age, and death, of ourselves and others. Lord help us to look to You in all the possible physical problems we may have and by faith trust You for the  very best outcome.

There are financial needs that exist in this life, here and now, and we ask again that You help us; help us to be prudent, wise, and willing to submit to Your will, of what we can and should not have in this life. Let us count on You for all our financial needs, and again, help us do what we can, with what You have given us, to live financially sound lives.

The worries of this age, and the failings of our fallen humanity, cause often deeply heinous emotional and psychological problems in humanity. Lord, intervene, use supernatural resources, resources that You have put in nature, human resources, the skills, the wisdom, the knowledge You bestow on mankind, use them all we pray to help us with our physical, financial and emotional trials on this side of eternity.

Finally Lord, and most importantly, use every power, strength, wisdom, grace, hope, LOVE, mercy, human being, circumstance, and the beautiful SHED BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST, to get as many people saved, of every nation, creed, and religion; by us, by them, accepting Jesus the Christ, Your only begotten Son, as our only Lord, our only God, and our only Savior. We pray all these things in Jesus’ magnificent name, Amen and eternally Amen……………………………..  

Lord, my sister Pat is in the hospital right now, please bless, and help her in every way, and, all others who are in need as well, in Jesus’ name Amen……………….

The age old quest of eternal youth and vitality is this week’s topic.

In the 2nd century A.D., the Roman Empire was noted for its Stoic philosophy. The average life span was 25 years. Almost half of all babies died before their first birthday. Understandably, the Stoics "developed a philosophy that not only rejected the extension of life but embraced death."

The fabled fountain of youth itself was supposedly "discovered" in Florida by Spanish legend hunter Juan Ponce de Leon in the 1500s. It's now a national park and tourist attraction.

Taoists in Ancient China, in the 3rd-century B.C., developed the notion of "quietism," or "effortless action," in a disciplined life with an emphasis on breath control that could they believed, prolong longevity.

"The Taoists provided the first systematic effort to identify specific foods, medicines and chemicals associated with aging and disease.

Today in our modern society, people often turn to the East – to yoga, meditation and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) – to aid in reducing stress, stimulating the brain in hopes of prolonging life.

To see and understand modern mans’ obsession with Longevity all one need to do is take a quick glance at what is advertised on television and magazines and we see innumerable “anti-wrinkle” creams, skin rejuvenating cleansers and conditioners, surgical procedures, special diets, medications, ALL used in an attempt to keep ourselves youthful and fruitful throughout our lives…

Maintaining our physical and intellectual abilities to the very end of our lives has become to many the only goal in life.

But what does God in His inerrant infallible word the Bible tell us about living youthful and fruitful lives even in our senior years?

Today we will attempt to answer “how to stay youthful and fruitful ALL THE DAYS OF OUR LIVES…

Psalms 92 v 12-15

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. 13. Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God. 14. They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing; 15. To show that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him."

First we must notice this scripture describes specifically the life of the “Righteous”; those who are genuinely “born again” believers.

“The righteous shall flourish…”

The foundation for truly being able to live a youthful and vital life all your days, is first, by genuinely surrendering YOUR WHOLE MIND, BODY, and SOUL TO THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST!!!

Romans 10 v 9-10

“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.”

Not simply confessing, but genuinely acknowledging your sinfulness, truthfully repenting of ALL YOUR SINS, and ABSOLUTELY GIVING YOUR WHOLE BEING TO GOD!!!!!!!

Galatians 2 v 20

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

Simply, authentically LOVING God MORE THAN SELF!!!

That is the foundation, the main building block, which will allow you the opportunity for a long, youthful and fruitful life…

Building upon your LOVE relationship with God, the following 10 activities will literally work “wonders” in keeping you youthful and fruitful throughout your entire life here on earth.

These “10” activities are based in your LOVE for God and can be remembered with “10” “L” words.

Learning

1)
Keep Learning:

It is very important to keep our minds active. We should never stop learning. Our whole lives we should seek wisdom and knowledge. Even Paul, as he awaited execution in a Roman prison asked to be given the Holy Scriptures SO HE COULD CONTINUE TO LEARN TO THE VERY END OF HIS LIFE!

2 Timothy 4 v 18

“The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.”

Professor LaFerla (UCI Professor of Neurobiology and Behavior) who has co-authored studies on Learning and it’s delaying the onset of Alzheimers writes:

 "These remarkable findings suggest stimulating the mind with activities such as reading books or completing crossword puzzles may help delay and/or prevent Alzheimer's disease in senior citizens."

How much more will our minds stay alert and vital WHEN WE CONTINUE TO LEARN AND STUDY GOD’S HOLY WORD THE BIBLE!!!

How much more will our LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ grow and mature as we continue throughout our lives to daily Learn by studying about Him in God’s inerrant infallible divinely inspired word the Bible???

John 5 v 39

“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”

Acts 17 v 11

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

If you want to keep young and keep your mind and spirit healthy NEVER STOP LEARNING, and always remain teachable and creative in your thinking processes, but test every new idea and concept by the written word of God!!!

1 Thessalonians 5 v 19-21

“Quench not the Spirit.  20. Despise not prophesyings. 21. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”

***Keep LEARNING***

LOVING

2)
Keep LOVING:

John 15 v 13

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Luke 23 v 33-34

“And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. 34. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.”

Perry Como sang:

“'Cause love makes the world go 'round and around.
Love makes the world go 'round!
Your pulse will beat and your heart will pound,
'Cause love makes the world go 'round!”

Deon Jackson sang:

“You know love makes the world go round
And love, baby makes the seesaws go up and down
And it makes trees grow tall…

Without love flowers wouldn't grow in the spring
And without spring, yeah the birdies just couldn't sing…”

If we want to stay young and vibrant in life, there is no better way than truly LOVING OUR FELLOW MAN!!! LOVING God and serving Him by expressing our LOVE for each other in ways that glorify and honor God. Helping those in need, taking the time and effort to sincerely reach out to one another in the LOVE of God. Doing what we can, and seeking the salvation and forgiving those who may even desire to kill us.

LOVE and forgiveness go hand in hand. A heart that is free from hatred and is focused on LOVE, WILL DO MUCH TO KEEP ONE YOUNG AND FRUITFUL!!!

LOVE is joy unspeakable, it is effervescent, it is the spark that keeps the fire going, it is LOVE that makes life worth living!!!!!!!

***Keep LOVING***

Laughing

3)
Keep Laughing:

It has been said by many philosophers that laughing is healing for the soul, and a laugh or sincere smile on your face WILL KEEP MANY A WRINKLE AWAY.

Throughout the gospels we see how children are drawn to Jesus, children are not drawn to those who grumble or frown but TO THOSE WHO ARE FULL OF LIFE and VITALITY, and have a joyful personality…

In this modern world that we live in, full of medicinal remedies and medical breakthroughs, who would ever dream that something as simple as laughter could induce such amazing benefits to our health that could even rival highly scientific compounds found in drugs of today? Life can sometimes be serious and tiring but a good and hearty laugh is not only welcome by the people around you but also by your mind, body and soul. Laughter knows no cultural boundaries. You don’t have to speak the same language to laugh together.

Scientific evidence on the effectiveness of humor as a therapy is overwhelming. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze. An enthusiastic laugh can help to reduce stress, maintain the right blood pressure, elevate mood, boost immune system, improve brain functioning, protects the heart, fosters instant relaxation, and the list is inexhaustible. Which gives credence For some people laughter is a serious business because they literally to the old adage”laughter is the best medicine.”

A good laugh can do much to change a cloudy day into a day of hope and joy. Regular laughter in a person’s life can turn years of potential gloom and loss to decades of happiness and prosperity…

***Keep Laughing***

Leave

4)
Leave behind:

Leave behind your past mistakes, your forgiven sins, NO ONE CAN LIVE IN THE PAST!!! Leave behind your past failures, leave behind your “what ifs”, and your “only if I had done this or that”; dissatisfaction of the past, continued sorrow of what God has saved you from ONLY CLOUDS THE FUTURE and leads to aging and decay…

If you are truly God’s child, ALL YOUR PAST, PRESENT, and FUTURE SINS HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN: FOREVER!!!!!!!

So too, past errors in judgment, mistakes, ALL HAVE BEEN WIPED AWAY…….

Psalms 103 v 10-12

“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. 11. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him. 12. As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Leave behind the past, let go of yesterday, SO YOU CAN LIVE FOR TODAY and FOR AN ETERNITY OF TOMORROWS…….

Matthew 11 v 29-30

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

If we let go of the past, Leave behind what God has COMPLETELY forgiven, much of the stress and anxiety that makes life hard and saps our youthful vigor and energy WILL BE GREATLY REDUCED…

***Leave behind***

Longing

5)
Keep Longing:

Never stop dreaming, of believing of a better tomorrow, always hope, always trust, always keep your focus, your desires, your Longing on and for things of God…

Philippians 4 v 8

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

Set goals, never give up on your dreams, seek to LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST, and you will gain much…….

Matthew 6 v 33

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

Matthew 7 v 7-8

“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: 8. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

***Keep Longing***

Looking

6)
Keep Looking:

Never stop looking towards God, seeing God’s gracious, beautiful, merciful, and awesome handiwork in ALL THAT EXISTS…

Keep God as the apple of your eye.

Psalms 17 v 8

“Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings,”

Proverbs 7 v 2-4

“Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. 3. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. 4. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman:”

Stay intimately close to your God and Savior, keeping Looking to Him for ALL YOUR NEEDS and YOUR VERY PROTECTION. God WILL DELIVER YOU!!!

Look to the heavens and behold YOUR GOD!!!

Psalms 18 v 2-3

“The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. 3. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.”

Keep Looking toward God, and He will save you from ALL YOUR ENEMIES, and one day, if YOU KEEP LOOKING, Jesus WILL RETURN AS KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS and WILL DELIVER ALL OF CREATION FROM THE CORRUPTION OF SIN…….

Revelation 19 v 11-16

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. 15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”

Looking to God can help keep a person healthy, wealthy, and wise.

***Keep Looking***

Laboring

7)
Keep Laboring:

Exodus 20 v 9

“Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:”

We live in a society that constantly tries to reduce our work week. First to 5 days a week and now for many 4 days a week, where will it end? Financial planners try to devise methods that we can retire early from our working days.

But it is a well established fact that the greatest period of non-military related death occurs during the first to years of retirement generally between 65 and 67 years of age.

Why, because suddenly people who have been active, very busy, and have had vital roles to play in society, now find themselves often unneeded and unwanted by that same society.

But there is no such thing as retiring in God’s labor force, God calls the true Christian to always serve, to always Labor for the kingdom of God.

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.”

God calls us to the very day we leave this plain of existence TO DO WHAT WE CAN BY THOUGHT, WORD, OR DEED TO BRING OTHERS TO JESUS AS BEST WE CAN…

***It is OUR OBLIGATION OF LOVE, THE DESIRE OF OUR NEW NATURE, AS “BORN AGAIN” CHILDREN OF GOD, IT IS THE DESIRE and LABOR OF OUR HEARTS UNTIL WE GO HOME…

Having something good to do, keeps many a person young, useful, and vital ALL THE YEARS OF THEIR LIVES!!!

 Mary Koffer turned 100 the other day and it's a good 100, at that.  

Mary still has a marvelous twinkle in her blue eyes and a laugh that's never far away from the next thought, or story. Mrs. Koffer is happy, engaging, informative and, basically, a bundle of energy.

What's Mary's secret for longevity?

But the key to a healthy, long life, as far as she's concerned, is in the head more than anyplace else.

"Keep busy," she says. "But don't get stressed out."

If we want a youthful and fruitful life, THERE IS NOTHING BETTER THAN LABORING FOR THE LORD and DAILY SERVING HIM and HIS CREATION THE BEST WE CAN, HOWEVER WE CAN…….

1 Corinthians 15 v 58

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Let us Labor for the Lord while we may as long as we may…….

***Keep Laboring***

Leaning

8)
Keep Leaning:

We must keep Leaning on the Lord Jesus Christ, in thought, word, and deed, WE MUST TRUST HIM, LEAN ON HIM…

If we trust Him, if we give our needs and wants to Him, if we place our faith, salvation, and our lives in His Almighty hands, if we Lean on His strength, His power, His wisdom; WE SHALL LIVE FOR EVER!!!!!!!

Proverbs 3 v 5-8

“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. 8. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones.”

We must release our worries, our concerns, our sorrows, our desires, our dreams, WE MUST RELEASE EVERYTHING and GIVE EVERYTHING TO JESUS, and LEAN BACK INTO HIS GLORIOUS ARMS and SURRENDER EVERY IMPULSE OF OURS TO CONTROL OUR OWN LIVES, and LEAN and TAKE REST IN HIS HANDS!!!!!!!

Leaning on Jesus Christ can easily reduce much of the stress and worry that is directly linked to wrinkles, graying hair, and many of the illnesses that are associated with aging…

***Keep Leaning***

Language

9)
Keep our Language positive:

If we keep our Language positive and we choose not to grumble, and always give praise and thanks to God, IT WILL DO EXCEEDINGLY IN KEEPING OURSELVES YOUTHFUL and FRUITFUL THROUGHOUT OUR EARTHLY LIVES…

1 Thessalonians 5 v 18-19

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19. Quench not the Spirit.”

Dr. Bill Mackey Executive Director of the Kentucky Baptist Convention wrote this:

“I have observed that there are wonderful benefits for persons who can live with a positive attitude.

One of those is physical health and peace of mind, which reduce stress and worry. A person with a positive attitude is able to rest at night without waking up with the weight of the world pressing in upon them.

Stress and worry rob many people of happiness and productivity. If you are preoccupied with problems, you cannot focus on present reality and produce the desired results.

Jesus spoke the truth when He said that worry would not add one cubit to your height. But it can rob you of joy and shorten your life! Recently, I managed to worry about a concern all weekend only to discover that when I got to the big chasm on Monday God had provided a wonderful bridge.”

So both youthfulness and fruitfulness are produced by positive thinking, by positive Language…….

***Keep Language positive***

Listening

10)
Keep Listening:

Never stop listening to God and His written word the Bible. Trust and obey for there is no other way to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey…

Psalms 119 v 105

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.”

Isaiah 55 v 9-13

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. 10. 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. 12. For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands. 13. Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.”

Listening to God and His word is like hearing fresh running waters it can bring joy, laughter, happiness, and peace to those who Listen and obey it…

Jeremiah 15 v 16

"Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O Lord God of hosts.”

Listening and making God’s word an intimate part of your daily, moment by moment life WILL BRING REJOICING TO YOUR HEART, which brings renewed life and vigor to a person’s soul…

***Keep Listening***

Do you really want a youthful and fruitful existence ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR EARTHLY LIFE???

The choice is yours, the decision is up to you, YOU MUST CHOOSE, your attitude is everything, TO STAY YOUNG and FRUITFUL ALL THE DAYS OF YOUR LIFE YOU MUST:

LOVE God, and then by accomplishing these 10 activities:

*Learning

**Loving

***Laughing

****Leaving

*****Longing

******Looking

*******Laboring

********Leaning

*********Language

**********Listening!!!!!!!

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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June 2, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

“The Church Should Keep Silent in Politics!”

“Not!!!”

Mark 11 v 15-17

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

Father, in the name of Jesus, and according to Your Word, we pray for those in authority in our nation. We lift up President Donald Trump, his family, his staff and cabinet members. Let Your Word cling to them and let them not depart from Your plan. Strengthen them with mighty power by Your Spirit to stand against wickedness, lies and deception. Guide President Trump’s decisions; let Your light shine upon his path and show him the path of reversal for every evil way. Continually surround him with godly men and women who impart wise counsel to him. Cause the way of the wicked to be set to confusion and come to nothing. Deliver them from the traps and snares the enemy has laid for them, and let the wicked be caught in their own devices and be brought to shame.

We bind the powers of satan in Jesus name, to stop the BLOODY murder of all the innocents, the unborn and newly born babes, Lord protect them, and destroy, take out all those who would heinously and uncaringly extinguish our precious little ones...

We take authority over the plots and plans of the enemy against the United States of America. Let prideful and lying lips be silenced in Jesus’ name. We pray that all slanderers will not be established. We pray for our Congress, our Supreme Court, our Military leaders and our Intelligence agencies, let the wisdom that is from above reign in this nation and be constantly speaking to our leaders. We exercise the authority You have given us to tread down all the power of the enemy and we cast down and demolish imaginations and arguments that exalt themselves against the knowledge of God, and we bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of Jesus Christ. We bind all spirits of strife and division, civil wars and tumults, spirits of hostility, lawlessness and blasphemy and render them powerless, harmless, and ineffective against us.

We speak grace and peace over the United States of America. We pray and believe for the voice of truth, salvation, revival, a spiritual awakening and restoration to be proclaimed and heard across our land. We ask that You would grant unto Your servants everywhere that with all boldness, LOVE and compassion we may speak Your Word Lord, while You stretch out Your hands with signs & wonders in Jesus’ name. We pray Your mighty work to be done in America and that it becomes a beacon of hope for all people everywhere. We pray the voice of rejoicing to be heard in our nation for all Your goodness, mercy and prosperity, in Jesus’ name we pray all these things, Amen and eternally Amen and Amen…….


We have been taught now for many, many years that the Constitution or the Pre-Amble, or the Bill of Rights, or some other official document of the United States of America decrees: “Separation from Church and State”. It has been argued and bloviated in the media and print for years. Is it true, the Church must be silent about Politics???

U.S. courts rule about two times each week on cases involving whether prayers can be included in a high school graduation ceremony, an image of Jesus Christ can be displayed in a public school or a Ten Commandments monument can remain in a government building or public park. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says such prayers and displays violate the principle of separation of church and state.

Many, if not most professing Christians today have the idea that Christian life, in affect Christian morals have no right being applied outside the Church and specifically not in the Political Activist setting.

Like many non-believers, many believe our Christian faith begins at the church door and ends when one walks out the church door to live life in the real world. We can be Christians outside the church but we must never try in any way, shape, or form to apply our faith to others in the outside world.

Many Americans wrongly assume the words "separation of church and state" are included in the U.S. Constitution. ***In fact, the phrase "wall of separation between church and state" was first used by Thomas Jefferson in a letter he wrote to the Danbury Baptist Association in Danbury, Conn., on Jan. 1, 1802, 10 months after his presidential inauguration.

An analysis of that letter -- now housed at the Library of Congress -- as well as other documents from this nation's earliest years and nearly 150 years of legal decisions strongly suggest that Jefferson and his contemporaries would be at odds with the courts today regarding church-state issues.***Jefferson coined the phrase that some judges are calling overused to "reassure" the Connecticut Baptists that they had "no need to fear oppression from the federal government or its intrusion into the free exercise of religion because the Constitution had erected a 'wall of separation between church and state.' "

*******In other words, Jefferson's wall was designed to protect the church from the state, not the other way around, and it "was never intended to insulate the state from the influence of the church.”*******

Yet many perhaps sincere professing Christians will quote scriptures like,

Romans 13 v 1-2

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.” (NIV)

Hebrews 13 v 17

“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

1 Peter 2 v 13-15

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:”

And they will maintain as Christians we are to absolutely submit to the political or civil authorities over us as unto God. We in essence are to fully submit in silence and not to verbally or otherwise get into political activism…Shut up and obey, this is not our home anyway, eternity in heaven is……

In America many use this as an excuse NOT TO VOTE, but what does the inerrant, infallible word of God the Bible actually teach about “Political Activism”???

Are we just meant to be a moral, spiritual example and not really participate in every day normal life???

Let us consider two examples in the Bible.

Moses was a man called of God to stand up against the power and glory of one of the greatest in human terms, nations ever to be made by man.

Exodus 3 v 7-10

“And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their taskmasters; for I know their sorrows; 8 And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 9 Now therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me: and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. 10 Come now therefore, and I will send thee unto Pharaoh, that thou mayest bring forth my people the children of Israel out of Egypt.”

God called Moses to deliver His people out of human bondage. God expected Moses to help His people with the social issues of his day. Moses was told to stand up to Pharaoh and to demand that the people of Israel be “let go” out of Egypt. In the end by the power of the One True God, YHWH, Moses spoke up and stood up to Pharaoh a person of authority, a king who had been put in his position ultimately by the Hand of God. Thus Pharaoh’s subordinates, those placed in authority over the people, like, taskmasters, priests, etc, were in their places of authority by the Hand of God.

Yet by the very will of God, Moses and those in agreement with him were given the responsibility of not only reshaping Pharaoh’s politics but creating a new nation Israel and shaping and structuring their society and polity.  Also consider all the nations Israel conquered, God had called them to subdue other nations and their governments.

So, though those in authority over us are their by the will of God, like Nero in the time of Paul, or Pharaoh, or all the Kings named in the Bible, we as co-citizens of this world and in the world to come are placed here on earth to do what we can as Christians to do what we legally and morally can to affect this world, our country, our locality, to BE THE BEST THEY CAN BE!!!

We are not to remain idle and not declare the immorality of our society, or the hypocrisy of our leaders and the laws they choose to enact. For example a judge declaring that the “National Day of Prayer” is unconstitutional, or prayer in school, or a nativity scene put up by a government entity is somehow a breach of the Separation between Church and state, a teacher or child sharing their faith in school is illegal, etc…….

Sure the world will call these things wrong and illegal, demand that Jesus by name should not be mentioned, THE WORLD HATES GOD and EVERYTHING THAT COULD POSSIBLY REMIND SOCIETY OR THE INDIVIDUALS THAT SOCIETY IS COMPOSED OF, OF GOD!!! ***Fallen humanity DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT GOD OR ANYTHING THAT POINTS TO THE TRUE GOD.*** The Bible for example is ridiculed and condemned by the world as an old, but not even old enough, antiquated, archaic, book of very poorly written myths authored by homophobics, racists and puritanical rightwing idiots!

Frankly many professing Christians have bought into this mindset. They are not sure how much or if any of the Bible should be believed, Jesus’ LOVE for others yes, but judgment of sin and damnation, and what really is sin anyway, open for question. Even that it is exclusively through the sacrificial shed blood of Jesus Christ for salvation is open to discussion. In a recent survey of self-professed Evangelical Christians (the loudest, and doers), 72% believe there are other ways to God than Jesus Christ. What did Jesus say,

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.”

Oops, I guess Jesus the good teacher was exaggerating. No, His apostles wrote it up wrong, they were confused. Oops, Jesus the Christ picked the wrong people to be His people…

Oops the Bible got it wrong, God needed a new book to get it right…

There will always be excuses not to grow in faith, and there will always be excuses not to be an active “doer” of God’s word…

Faith is a private thing, its wrong to push your belief on others(pushing your faith: simply mentioning it in any way).

Its too hard, I’m not Jesus, I’ll lose my job, I’ll lose my friends, I’ll lose my family; I’ll be laughed at, ridiculed, the government has rules against me sharing the true faith!!!!!! On and on and on……

James 1 v 22-25

“But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.”

You can’t be a Christian and be silent about it!!!

Somehow, someway, a Christian IS A DOER OF THE WORD, THE BIBLE!!!

Jesus is our greatest example of being a spiritual and in a sense a political activist. Return to our main text:

“And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves; 16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.”

The Temple was under the authority of the High Priest, under him were other priests and Levites, under them were people who were authorized by the authorities to sell animals they claimed were without blemish for the sacrifices in the Temple. Some had no animal or grain sacrifices so they game alms, money. But even the money was tainted by daily use, so those in authority would exchange Temple coins in exchange for the common money, at a significant added charge. Jesus came into the Temple of God found that those in authority, had abused their positions for personal gain. With His actions He made perfectly clear what He thought of those in spiritual and political authority within the Temple. He showed His outrage at the abuse and this is key, the Bible says: “…And he taught, saying unto them …” Jesus explained the abuse to His flowerers, what do you think He was teaching them???

This is not our home, heaven is, so let the world go to HELL???

Or

Stand up for what is right and do what you can morally and legally; and God’s truth ALWAYS TRUMPS MAN’S LAW!!!!!!!

We live in a country that acknowledges our God given rights to vote and stand up for what we believe is morally and legally right. We have a God given right and responsibility of LOVE to share that and our faith in Jesus Christ with others. Usually when they don’t want to hear it!!!

We have a responsibility to know our candidates, their morality, what their faith is, THEN TO VOTE and BE POLITICAL ACTIVISTS AS BEST WE CAN…

We may not be of this world but God calls us both to be the “salt” of the earth and the “light” of the world.

Matthew 5 v 13-16

“Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. 14 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.”

Salt is meant to be tasted, it is meant to slow down the decaying process in food. Our lives, our political activities as true Christians is meant to slow down the decay of this world. But if we don’t do what we are able to do, if we have lost our saltiness, if we sit still and do nothing, Jesus says, “we are good for nothing, we should just be tossed away.

Light is meant to be seen, once again, if we are not active in our churches or in our society the best we can be, WHAT WORTH IS THE LIGHT WE SHINE???***Is there any light that is coming from us???

The Church Should Keep Silent in Politics! That is indeed what the world wants, it is certainly what Satan wants, but God, NOT SO MUCH!!!!!!!

To be silent IS TO CONDEMN THIS WORLD TO DAMNATION, TO HELL; Moses, Jesus, were men willing to stand up for what was morally right in daily life and in political practice of that life, AS CHRISTIANS CAN WE DO ANY LESS???

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc



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May 26, 2019


"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.”

Memorial Day Reflections

Memorial Day is a good time to reflect on the sacrifices and services of the American soldiers and veterans and the U.S. military men and women. The American military is, has always been and will always recruit the best and finest of the crop of young men and women of the country and we will continue to shower them with appreciation, support and prayers, as we have always done. Memorial Day is just an opportunity for us to express the special places they have in the hearts of American citizens and more by honoring the people who work in the various branches of the military and their families. 

The words 'United We Stand' and 'God Bless America' still hold the power to stir out hearts on this very special day. Let the feelings of true patriotism and LOVE for all those who have risked their lives for the sake of America show by putting up American flags in front of our houses, have parties with patriotic themes to honor military and ex-military men and women in our neighborhoods and communities. God bless those men and women and their dear families who have or will give their lives or the lives of their LOVED ones for the freedom we will long enjoy…….

In time of War, they heeded the call

They took up arms “Freedom For All"

They went to serve in a far away land

In battles they fought, they took a stand

In honor of Country, their duty they performed

For those who died, our Country sadly mourned

There were many who fell and gave their lives

Leaving behind children, mothers, fathers and wives

They fought the fight to "Let Freedom Ring"

In honor of that, their praises we sing

To those who died, we salute you all

And give our thanks for heeding the call…

This is Memorial Day weekend when we as Americans should without reservation give Thanks to the men and women who have served and died in every branch of the US military to keep our country safe and our liberties and freedoms firmly secured! *God Bless “you” all…….

As we honor those who gave their lives for our country and our freedoms, let us always remember the One who gave His life THAT ALL MIGHT BE ETERNALLY SAVED!!! Jesus the Christ…….The Savior…


Dear Heavenly Father,

On this day of remembrance for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy every day, we think of how they have followed in the footsteps of Your son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Please hold our servicemen and women in Your strong arms. Cover them with Your sheltering grace and Your presence as they stand in the gap for our protection.

We also remember the families of our troops. We ask for Your unique blessings to fill their homes, and we pray Your peace, provision, hope and strength will fill their lives.

May the members of our armed forces be supplied with courage to face each day and may they trust in the Lord's mighty power to accomplish each task. Let our military brothers and sisters feel our LOVE and support.

And may we Your warriors for Christ show the same resolve, the same courage, and the same ability for advancement of Your saving gospel as they fought for humanity’s earthly freedom, Let us fight for men, women, and children’s ETERNAL FREEDOM !!!!!!!

In the name of Jesus Christ the warrior for our souls, we pray, Amen and eternally Amen……………………...


 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.”

 et 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;”

How exceedingly vital it is for all Christians individually and collectively TO “REMEMBER” GOD’S MARVELLOUS WORKS, HIS AWESOME MIRACULOUS WONDERS and HIS RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENTS THAT PROCEED FORTH FROM 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…….

Let us “remember” always what Jesus has done for us, let us ALWAYS “REMEMBER” HOW MUCH GOD HAS FORGIVEN US, HOW MUCH GOD LOVES US. HOW MUCH GOD LOVES ALL HIS CREATION!!! AND HOW WE SHOULD LOVE AS HE LOVES!!!!!!!

“Remember”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

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,”

Let us forever “remember” THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD, YHWH, and HE ETERNALLY EXISTS IN THREE PERSONS and IN THREE PERSONS ALONE, IN GOD THE FATHER, GOD THE SON JESUS CHRIST, and IN GOD THE HOLY SPIRIT!!! ***THREE PERSONS, YET ABSOLUTELY and WITHOUT QUESTION ONE and ONLY ONE GOD!!!

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

***YET LET US “REMEMBER” TWO THINGS, GOD LOVES THEM, and AS HIS SON JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR US, JESUS DIED FOR THEM AS WELL!!! ***EVEN THOSE WE IN HUMAN TERMS MIGHT CALL MOST WRETCHED and SINFUL!!!

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…

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…….

REMEMBER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

“REMEMBERED” NO MORE……………………

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!!!

“Remember”:

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!!!!!!!

“REMEMBER”…….

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.”

“REMEMBER”

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

As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let US “remember” God and all He has done for us…

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!!!!!!!

“REMEMBER”

Submitted by: Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc


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May 19, 2019


"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.”

Let us pray in agreement:

We believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord, Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.


 We believe in the Holy Spirit, God’s holy Church, the communion of all God’s true saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Help us live and never forget this creed for Your honor and glory Father, in Jesus’ name Amen and eternally Amen.

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."

As we consider our lives and the good days and the bad days, we as Christians should give thanks for the 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.

As we consider our lives, let us always remember our blessings throughout the years, so that we may give appropriate thanks and praise to our Creator and eternal Savior for our many blessings, 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, 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 forgot 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…….

God will “remember”, and HE WILL ETERNALLY FORGIVE US, FOGIVE THOSE WHO ARE REPENTED SINNERS…….

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…

Remember:

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.

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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!

Refrain

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.

Refrain

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!

Refrain

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!!!!!!!

Let us ALWAYS “REMEMBER”!

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, 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. Instead 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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I “REMEMBER”…….

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 is Memorial Day week-end, and our sermon will reflect that day, however,  we will continue our look at 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


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May 12, 2019


"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 !!!

Wow!!!

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.”

A Mother’s LOVE IS A BEAUTIFUL and ETERNAL GIFT FROM GOD!!!


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!!!

Wow!!!

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. . 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 is exclusively the biblical 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!!!!!!!

Amen!!!

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…….



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May 5, 2019


"a" Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Judas Iscariot"

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."

Today we will consider an individual who had a part to play in the death of Jesus Christ, Judas Iscariot.

Lord, God, Jehovah: It is so easy for us who are genuinely “born again” to think some how we are better than those who presently reject You. But we realize that could not be farther from the truth !!! For NO ONE IS GOOD, but You Father, no one is perfect but You God. WE, EVERYONE OF US, HERE READING THIS, HERE LISTENING TO THIS MESSAGE, WE ALL HAVE SINNED, WE ALL FALL SHORT OF YOUR GLORY, OF YOUR HOLINESS !!! We all took part in the MURDER OF YOUR SON JESUS CHRIST, by our sinful lives without You.

Let us not be prideful, let us not be arrogant, let us not be self-righteous. Help us Oh Lord, to reach out to each other who are called by Your name, to reach out to the unsaved, to all those You put in our paths, with the very same LOVE, compassion, tenderness, grace, and patience that You so wonderfully and bountifully bestow upon us…

Help us ever be mindful that it is by Your HOLY GRACE, Jesus’ tremendous BLOOD SACRIFICE UPON THE CROSS that we made, that we can be called by Your name, that we are honored, and blessed to be called Your children, that we will live for eternity with You in LOVE, and everlasting joy…

Help us to be grateful for absolutely everything that You allow to be in our lives, the good, the bad, our families, our friends, our acquaintances, and even our self-perceived enemies. Help us see everything through Your boundless plans for our lives. Help us look forward to each and every day of our lives, help us to live each moment for You, to be Your servant, to be the servant of those You put around us. Help us be LOVING Mothers, Fathers, Sons, Daughters, family, friends, bosses, employees, anything and all things You allow us to be. Let us always exhibit Your LOVE, Your humility, Your grace, Your empathy and sensitivity to ALL OF YOUR CREATION.

Help us be one with You !!!!!!!

Lord show Your healing touch to all those who are in ill health, especially to Dr. Riley’s daughter who is in a comma. Lord be with those who have emotional trials and needs, financial concerns, anything that this fallen world may through our way. Help us to remain faithful to You through all things.

Lord bless this message, and Lord, not our wills, but Thy will be done. We pray all these things in the sweet, sweet, sweet name of Jesus, Amen and eternally Amen……………………………….

Judas is the Greek word for Judah and Iscariot means an inhabitant of Kerioth. Kerioth was a city in southern Judah and probably included within Simeon. Its been identified with Khirbet el-Karyathein, about 41/2 miles south of Tell Ma’in.

Joshua 15 v 25

“And Hazor, Hadattah, and Kerioth, and Hezron, which is Hazor,”

Judas apparently was the son of a man named Simon.

John 6 v 71A

“He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon:…”

Other than that we no nothing of Judas until he is mentioned as one of the twelve apostles.

Matthew 10 v 2-4

“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3. Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4. Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.”

Mark 3 v 14-19

“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, 15. And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils: 16. And Simon he surnamed Peter; 17. And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder: 18. And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, 19. And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”

Luke 6 v 13-16

“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles; 14. Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15. Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16. And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”

We can only assume or speculate that Judas Iscariot had been following Jesus as one of His disciples perhaps from the beginning of Jesus three year ministry. All that is clear is THAT JESUS CHOSE JUDAS TO BE AN APOSTLE, TO BE ONE OF HIS INTIMATE FRIENDS…

Once the apostles were picked and Jesus group became more organized, the group began receiving money to use in their ministry and to distribute to the poor. It became necessary that someone should act as steward of the funds and Judas became the group’s Treasurer.

John 12 v 4-6

“Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, 5. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6. This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein.”

John 13 v 29

“For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor.”

Whether this was a permanent position or one that was rotated among the apostles we really do not know, what we do know, at least on several occasions Judas had control of the group’s money bags.

Why did Jesus take Judas to be an apostle? Didn’t Jesus know Judas’ character? Didn’t Jesus being fully man and full God, KNOW THAT JUDAS WAS BOTH DEPRAVED AND COVETESS???

The answer, of course Jesus knew both Judas’ character and what Judas would do, but just like the rest of humanity, Jesus LOVED JUDAS AS HE LOVES ALL OF US!!!

Just as Jesus gives each of us the grace to see our own sins and gives us each by His mercy the opportunity to repent of our sins and is willing and able to give us the power to turn from our sins, Jesus gave Judas the very same opportunities to be saved and forgiven!!!

Judas was chosen as we are chosen by God; as God calls us all to repentance.

Matthew 22 v 14A

“For many are called,…”

1 Timothy 2 v 3-4

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4. Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

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.”

Jesus called Judas Iscariot and accepted him as a close intimate friend, and offered Judas trust by giving Judas an opportunity to serve Him and the group as at least an occasional Treasurer.

Judas as we are, as Gomer was by the prophet Hosea, JUDAS WAS OFFERED UNCONDITIONAL LOVE BY GOD!!!

Hosea 1 v 2

“The beginning of the word of the Lord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.”

Jesus knowing from the beginning WHO and WHAT JUDAS WAS…

As God, as Jesus knew from the beginning who Judas would be, who you and I would be; LOVING US STILL, WHILE WE WERE, WHILE JUDAS WAS, AS HUMANITY WAS YET SINNERS…

Romans 5 v 8

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

Jesus befriended Judas Iscariot, and it was up to Judas what he would do with the LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY OF THE SAVIOR OF THE WORLD…

Judas finding himself in possession of larger and larger sums of money became tempted. *Its very important to understand Judas was never tempted beyond the power God gave him to be honest.

1 Corinthians 10 v 13

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”

Yet, Judas chose to covet, covetousness lead to unfaithfulness, and unfaithfulness lead to embezzlement…

Many of Jesus self-proclaimed disciples became disappointed in Jesus when their earthly expectations of Jesus were not realized…

John 6 v 66

“From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

As Judas’ sins ate away at him, ultimately his soul became very dark and black, and greed turned to betrayal. Betrayal of a BELOVED friend!!!

Jesus knew that many would reject Him because His ways, God’s ways, WERE NOT THEIR WAYS; SIN IS WHEN OUR DREAMS, OUR DESIRES, OUR GOALS, OUR TIME TABLES BECOME MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE WILL OF GOD!!!

Jesus is always inwardly hurt by such rejection, He responded to His close intimate friends, His apostles with this question:

John 6 v 67

“Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?”

Perhaps that is the night that Judas Iscariot began thoughts that lead to betrayal and murder of his friend Jesus Christ.

After Peter gave Jesus assurance that at least the twelve would remain faithful Jesus declared:

John 6 v 70

“Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?”

Jesus LOVED Judas, as He LOVES each and everyone of us, YET IF WE CHOOSE TO REJECT HIS GRACE, HIS MERCY, HIS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, HIS ATTONING BLOOD SACRIFICE UPON THE CROSS, THEN NOTHING REMAINS THAT CAN FORGIVE US OF OUR FALLEN, DEPRAVED NATURE…

***If we choose to reject the only offer that can save us, THEN INDEED WE ARE LOST FOR ALL ETERNITY BY OUR OWN WILL…….

We can see Judas openly being irritated with what Jesus allows in Bethany.

Matthew 26 v 8

“But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste?”

Even many of the other disciples did not understand.

Mark 14 v 4

“And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?”

John 12 v 4-7

“Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, 5. Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? 6. This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. 7. Then said Jesus, Let her alone: against the day of my burying hath she kept this.”

In the gospel of John we see clearly that it was Judas Iscariot who was behind the group’s attitude towards the use of the ointment on Jesus’ feet…

Soon after this Judas went to the chief priests to see if they would pay him to betray Jesus his friend…

Matthew 26 v 14-16

“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15. And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

Mark 14 v 10-11

“And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.”

Even though Jesus knew all this would happen, in His LOVE Jesus hoped against hope THAT Judas might repent.

Matthew 26 v 20-25

“Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve. 21.  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. 22. And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? 23. And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. 24. The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. 25. Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.

There are times in these last scenes of the gospel story when Jesus and Judas seem to be in a world where there is none other present except themselves. One thing is certain, Judas must have gone about his grim business with complete secrecy. He must have kept his comings and goings completely hidden, for, if the rest of the disciples had known what Judas was doing, he would never have escaped with his life.

He had concealed his plans from his fellow disciples, but he could not conceal them from Jesus. It is always the same; a man can hide his sins from his fellow men, but he can never hide them from the eyes of Christ who sees the secrets of the heart. Jesus knew, although no other knew, what Judas was about.

And now we can see Jesus' methods with the sinner. He could have used His power to blast Judas, to paralyze him, to render him helpless, even to kill him. But the only weapon that Jesus will ever use is the weapon of LOVE’S appeal. One of the great mysteries of life is the respect that God has for the free will of man. God does not coerce; God only appeals.

When Jesus seeks to stop a person from sinning, He does two things.

First, Jesus confronts a person with their sin. He tries to make us stop and think what are we doing? He, as it were, says to the sinner, "Look at what you are contemplating doing, can you really do a thing like that?" It has been said that our greatest security against sin lies in our being shocked by it. And again and again Jesus bids a person pause and look and realize so that we may be shocked into sanity.

Second, Jesus confronts us with Himself. He bids a person look at Him, as if to say, "Can you look at me, can you meet my eyes, and go out to do the thing you purpose doing?" Jesus seeks to make a person become aware of the horror of the thing they are about to do, and of the LOVE which yearns to stop the sinner from doing it.

It is just here that we see the real awfulness of sin in its terrible deliberation. In spite of LOVE’S last appeal Judas went on. Even when he was confronted with his sin and confronted with the face of Jesus Christ, he would not turn back. There is sin and sin. There is the sin of the passionate heart, of the person who, on the impulse of the moment, is swept into wrong doing. ***Let no person belittle such sin; its consequences can be very terrible. But far worse is the calculated, callous sin of deliberation, which in cold blood knows what it is doing, which is confronted with the bleak awfulness of the deed and with the LOVE in the eyes of Jesus, and still takes its own way. Our hearts revolt against the son or daughter who cold-bloodedly breaks a parent's heart, which is what Judas did to Jesus and the tragedy is that this is what we ourselves so often do.

Judas was given every opportunity to choose not to betray Jesus. Judas CHOSE TO SIN, CHOSE TO BETRAY HIS INTIMATE FRIEND, CHOSE TO IGNORE THE TRUTH OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST.

When we choose to reject certain portions of scripture, or say Jesus is for me BUT NOT NECESSARILY FOR EVERYBODY, we are rejecting Jesus Christ, WE ARE ESSENTIALLY “BETRAYING” HIM!!!

When we decide for ourselves what sin is and say the Bible definitions of sin are outdated and full of cultural biases, WE BETRAY JESUS CHRIST!!!

When we say Jesus was a great moral teacher yet deny His deity, WE BETRAY JESUS CHRIST!!!

We look at Judas Iscariot with outrage or contempt; we must realize EXCEPT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD THERE GOES WE…

Judas faith in Jesus and his one time close friendship with Jesus TURNED STONE COLD!!! As sin and probably shadows of doubt haunted and tortured Judas, his love for Jesus turned to devilish anger and hatred. When Judas ultimately betrayed Jesus the Greek wording shows JUDAS DOES IT WITH A LOVER’S KISS!!!

Matthew 26 v 49

“And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.”

Mark 14 v 45

“And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him.”

Luke 22 v 47

“And while he yet spake, behold a multitude, and he that was called Judas, one of the twelve, went before them, and drew near unto Jesus to kiss him.”

Judas betrayed Jesus WITH AN INTENSE lover’s KISS, A lover’s KISS!!!

How else would a friend do such a monstrous deed???

Perhaps even then Jesus gives Judas one last chance to repent and turn from the sin of eternity…

Luke 22 v 48

“But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”

History shows us, Judas Iscariot given the choice, JUDAS CHOOSE TO SIN!!!

JUDAS CHOSE TO BETRAY HIS ONE TIME DEAR FRIEND, HIS POTENTIAL SAVIOR…….

Again Judas like so many of us once we sin, a type of remorse sets in. Usually not a remorse of “I shouldn’t have done it”, but a remorse of “what is this going to cost me?” “What will people think of me?” “Will I really get what I want out of this?” ”Etc…”

The gospel of Matthew makes it clear, Judas still doing things his own way, TAKES HIS OWN LIFE, contrary to the will of God…

Matthew 27 v 4-5

"Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. 5. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.”

God is to pronounce sentence not man…

The strongest factor in the character of Judas was doubtless materialism, and there is no vice at once so absorbing, so unreasonable, and so degrading as the vice of materialism. The disappointment of every expectation that had first drawn him to Jesus, the intolerable rebuke of that sinless life, and, lastly, the sight of Mary’s lavish sacrifice, which brought no gain to himself, increased his alienation, so that Judas became capable of the deed that has given his name an everlasting stain.

So many would like to say mankind is simply the pawn of God, Judas was a man predestined to betray Jesus, as our lives are already determined by the “powers to be”. Yet we can see it was not God that chose Judas to betray Him, but THAT WAS THE CHOICE THAT JUDAS MADE FOR HIMSELF!!!

*******Just as our decisions in light of all God has mercifully done for us decides our eternal destiny!!!

Judas Iscariot was a man with a fallen nature just like you and I. As he had a choice to accept Jesus Christ as his only Lord, his only God and His only Savior; we TOO HAVE THAT CHOICE TOO!!!

WHAT WILL YOU DO ??? ???????

Submitted by Dr. Harold Chris Smith, sbc 


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April 28, 2019


"a"Church

Evanston, Wyoming

"Philemon"

Philemon 1 v 1

"Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,"

This week we will turn to the one chapter book Philemon in the New Testament, and discuss the significance God would have us see, understand, and put into practice in our daily lives as His Children...

Let’s Pray:

Lord, thank You for this time You’ve given us to open Your Word and discover who You are. Thank You that You don’t leave us in the dark about who You are and what You are doing in the world, but that You have revealed Yourself and Your will through the Bible, Your sacred words to us. Lord, we need wisdom as we hear and read Your Word. You promise us in James 1:5 that we only have to ask for wisdom to receive it. Lord, please give us Your wisdom now as we approach Your Holy Writ, the Bible. Help us discern the truth of this text. Help us not rely on our own understanding. Thank You Father for the clarity, encouragement and hope Your Word brings. Open our hearts and minds to LOVING and courageous obedience to all You reveal to us this day and every day. Give us the desire and ability to reach out to the Lost and needy in LOVING, compassionate, boldness; blessing them with Your truth, Your LOVE, Your humility; and doing what we can to assist them to the very best of the ability that You have given us.

In Jesus’ incredible name we pray all these things, Amen and eternally Amen…………….


Philemon was an inhabitant of Colosse, a person of some notoriety and wealth in his time; he was a convert to the Christian faith under the ministry of the apostle Paul. Onesimus who this epistle (letter) is really about was the slave of Philemon and had chosen to run away from his master, so he had fled to Rome. There he too was converted to the Christian faith, by the witness of Paul.

Philemon 1 v 10

“I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:”

Paul mentored him until Onesimus’s conduct proved the truth and sincerity of his conversion.

Once Onesimus was genuinely “born again” he felt an obligation to return to his master and repair the injury he believed he had done. But fearing the punishment his offense legally deserved under the law of the day, he asked the apostle to write to Philemon on his behalf. Paul agreed and in this short letter Paul speaks more beautifully, more eloquently and pleads more forcibly on Onesimus’s account than perhaps he had ever done before!

Further what makes this short letter to Philemon unique is that it is the only private letter of Paul which we possess. Undoubtedly Paul must have written many private letters but of them all only Philemon has survived.

Apart altogether from the grace and the charm which pervade it, this fact gives it a special significance.

In the time that he had been with Paul, Onesimus had made himself very nearly indispensable to Paul; and Paul would have liked to keep him beside him.

Philemon 1 v 13

“Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:”

Slavery is not condoned here by Paul, instead it is simply recognized as an integral part of the ancient world; the whole of society was built on it. Aristotle held that it was in the nature of things that certain men should be slaves, hewers of wood and drawers of water, to serve the higher classes of men. Paul did not denounce slavery probably because the institution of slavery seemed almost impossible to imagine society without it. Further, if Christianity had, in fact, given the slaves any encouragement to revolt or to leave their masters, nothing but tragedy could have followed. Any such revolt would have been savagely crushed; any slave who took his freedom would have been mercilessly punished; and Christianity would itself have been branded as revolutionary and subversive. ***Understanding the Christian faith, emancipation was bound to come, but the time was not ripe; and to have encouraged slaves to hope for it, and to seize it, would have done infinitely more harm than good.

There are some things which cannot be suddenly achieved, and for which the world must wait, until the leaven works.

No one knew better than Paul how great a risk Onesimus would be taking to return to Philemon. A slave was not a person; they were living tools. A master had absolute power over their slaves.

A master could box their ears or condemn them to hard labor, making them, for instance, work in chains upon his lands in the country, or in a sort of prison-factory. Or the master may punish them with blows of the rod, the lash or the knot; he can brand them upon the forehead, if they are thieves or runaways, or, in the end, if they prove irreclaimable, he can crucify them."  

Pliny tells how Vedius Pollio treated a slave:

“The slave was carrying a tray of crystal goblets into the courtyard; he dropped and broke one; on the instant Pollio ordered him to be thrown into the fishpond in the middle of the court, where the savage lampreys (freshwater eels) tore him to pieces.”

Juvenal draws the picture of the mistress who will beat her maidservant at her whim and the master who "delights in the sound of a cruel flogging, deeming it sweeter than any siren's song," who is never happy "until he has summoned a torturer and he can brand someone with a hot iron for stealing a couple of towels," "who revels in clanking chains."

The slave was continually at the mercy of the impulse of a master or a mistress.

What made it worse was that the slaves were deliberately held down. There were in the Roman Empire 60,000,000 of them and the danger of revolt was constantly to be guarded against. A rebellious slave was promptly terminated. And, if a slave ran away, at best they would be branded with a red-hot iron on the forehead, with the letter “F” standing for fugitivus, meaning “runaway”. The worst they would be crucified to death. Paul well knew all this and that slavery was so ingrained into the ancient world that even to send Onesimus back to the Christian Philemon was indubitably a considerable risk.

So Paul considering the very real consequences that may face Onesimus upon his return to Philemon in Colosse writes this stirring letter…

Philemon 1 v 1-7

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, 2. And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: 3. Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4. I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, 5. Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; 6. That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7. For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.”

Faith and LOVE in Jesus Christ

Faith in Christ, and LOVE to Him, should unite saints more closely than any outward relation can unite the people of this world without Christ.

Paul in his private prayers was exacting in remembering his friends.

***We must remember Christian friends much and often, as their situations may need, upholding them in our thoughts, and upon our hearts, before our God.

James 5 v 16

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Different attitudes and practices in what is not essential to the faith must not make a difference in our caring affection…

Paul inquired concerning his friends, as to the truth, growth, and fruitfulness of their graces, their faith in Jesus Christ, and LOVE toward him, and to all the saints. The good which Philemon did, was a matter of joy and comfort to him and others, who therefore desired that he would continue and abound in good fruits, more and more, to God's glory and honor!!!

***As Christians there is some carnal (selfish) about being jealous of another’s successes…

We as Paul, should be refreshed and our faith and hope renewed when other Christians live whole heartedly for the Lord!!!

 hilemon 1 v 8-14

“Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, 9. Yet for love's sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. 10. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: 11. Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: 12. Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: 13.  Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: 14. But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.”

LOVE vs DEMAND

Though Paul might demand that Philemon graciously take back his slave by the authority of his apostleship or by the command of God, Paul instead calls upon the LOVE of God that is in Philemon to LOVINGLY and mercifully receive back Onesimus.

It never lowers a person’s stature to humble themselves, and sometimes plead for LOVE’S sake, where, in strictness of right, we might command or demand: Paul the apostle gives us Jesus Christ’s very example! Paul argues not from authority of God or by God’s holy perfect morality, but rather from THE “LOVE” of God!!!!!!!

As His Children, as Christians it is by His LOVE and by the gloriously beautiful LOVE God put in each of His “born again” Children (by His LOVE, GRACE, and MERCY) WE ARE TO REACH OUT TO OUR FELLOW BROTHERS and SISTERS IN CHRIST AS WELL AS THOSE STILL OF THIS WORLD (THE LOST) in LOVE, MERCY, and MUTUAL RESPECT!!!!!!!

We are to serve God and others not as a response to a demand or by a commandment but by LOVE!!! ***The LOVE that God puts in the reborn, redeemed believer WHO IS FOREVER A NEW CREATURE!!!

Profitable vs Unprofitable

2 Corinthians 5 v 17

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

We were once under the law, WE ARE NOW UNDER THE GRACE OF LOVE!!!!!!!

Paul speaks in an obvious pun, using Onesimus’ name which in Greek means “profitable”, Paul relates how as a child of the world Onesimus was useless, deceitful, and probably had stolen from Philemon when he ran away; now as a Child of the King as a genuine convert to the One True Faith, now as a mutual LOVER of Jesus Christ, Onesimus the run-away slave was indeed transformed, reborn, truly a new creature, ABSOLUTELY “PROFITABLE” and with all other genuine Christians joint heirs with Jesus Christ!!!

Romans 8 v 17

“And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

But what blessed changes conversion makes, of evil, good; of unprofitable, useful. ***True Christians are treasures in a family, to their masters, bosses, co-workers, and their fellow man.

Such will make conscience of their time and trusts, and manage all they can for the best. ***One great evidence of true repentance consists in returning to practice the duties which have been neglected.

In his unredeemed state, Onesimus had run off, to his master's injury; but now he had seen his sin and repented, he was willing and desirous to return to his duty.

Little does humanity understand for what purposes the Lord leaves some to change their situations, or engage in undertakings, perhaps from evil motives. Had not the Lord overruled some of our ungodly plans, we may reflect upon cases, in which our destruction must have been sure.

New vs Old Relationships

Philemon 1 v 15-22

“For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever; 16. Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? 17. If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. 18. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account; 19. I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. 20. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. 21. Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. 22. But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.”

What Christianity did was to introduce a new relationship between man and man, in which all external differences were abolished. Christians are one body whether Jews or Gentiles, slaves or free men:

1 Corinthians 12 v 13

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

In Jesus Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free man, male nor female:

Galatians 3 v 28

“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

In Jesus Christ there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free man:

Colossians 3 v 11

“Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

It was as a slave that Onesimus ran away and it was as a slave that he was coming back, but now he was not only a slave, he was a beloved brother in the Lord. When a relationship like that enters into life, social classes or castes or color or race differences cease to matter.

The very names, master and slave, black, white, Hispanic, male, female etc: BECOME IRRELEVANT!!! If the master treats the slave as Jesus Christ would have treated him, and if the slave serves the master as he would serve Jesus Christ, if each race or sex would see each other as Jesus Christ DOES WITH “NO” DISTINCTION then it would not matter if you call the one master and the other slave, one by one race or another or one as male or female; their relationship does not depend on any human classification, for they are all in JESUS CHRIST!!!

 Christianity in the early days did not attack slavery; to have done so as previously stated would have been disastrous. But it introduced a new relationship in which the human classes of society ceased to matter. It is to be noted that this new relationship never gave the slave the right to take advantage of it; it made him rather a better slave and a more efficient servant, for now he must do things in such a way that he could offer them to Jesus Christ. Nor did it mean that the master must be soft and easy-going, willing to accept bad workmanship and inferior service; but it did mean that he no longer treated any servant as a thing, but as a person and a brother in Christ.

There are two passages in which Paul sets out the duties of slaves and masters:

Ephesians 6 v 5-9

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 6. Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 7. With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 8. Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. 9. And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

Colossians 3 v 22-25

“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: 23. And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24. Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. 25. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

Continued:

Colossians 4 v 1

“Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

Both were written when Paul was in prison in Rome, and most likely when Onesimus was with him; and it is difficult not to think that they owe much to long talks that Paul had with the runaway slave who had become a Christian.

As Christians we are not to deny the obvious differences of each other, we are not to ignore the sensibilities of the different sexes, or the cultural differences of each other, or the authority one might have over another; instead we are to treat each other as Jesus Christ does as fellow human beings each worthy of MUTURAL LOVE and MUTURAL RESPECT!!!!!!!

MUTUAL LOVE AND MUTUAL REPECT

We are to follow the golden rule:

Matthew 7 v 12

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.”

Luke 6 v 31

“And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.”

The complete way of life:

Luke 10 v 27-28

“And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”

LOVE EACH OTHER AS JESUS CHRIST LOVES US!!!!!!!

EVEN AT THE COST OF OUR OWN LIVES!!!!!!!

Grace for all…

Philemon 1 v 23-25

“There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus; 24.  Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers. 25.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

Paul ends this epistle (letter) as he began it WITH THE GRACE OF GOD…

Grace is the best wish for ourselves and others. All grace is from Jesus Christ; He purchased it for us with His OWN SHED BLOOD upon that man-made cross, and He WILLINGLY GIVES IT TO US FREELY.

Revelation 22 v 17

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”

What need we more to make us happy and blessed, than to have the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ with our spirit?

***Let us do that now, which we should do at the last breath. Then men are ready to renounce the world, and to prefer the least portion of grace and faith before a kingdom.

So then what does God want us to see, understand, and practice daily moment by moment in our lives as genuine “born again” believers???

First, FAITH AND LOVE IN JESUS CHRIST!

As both Philemon and Onesimus experienced the saving LOVE relationship with Jesus Christ SO MUST WE!!! In so doing as Christians it SHOULD UNIFY US IN ONE FAITH, ONE TRUTH, ONE SAVIOR, ONE GOD, and ONE WAY OF LIFE; LIVING ETERNALLY FOR HIM!!!!!!!

Second, we follow and obey God and His holy word the Bible not because we feel guilty, or are commanded to, nor out of a sense of responsibility, or by some denomination’s demandement, BUT ABSOLUTELY SOLEY OUT OF LOVE!!

As we most surely assume Philemon accepted his slave back in mercy and grace not because Paul expected it, as Onesimus returned to his master not because the law demanded it, WE DO THINGS AS AN OBLIGATION OF OUR LOVE THAT GOD HAS AMAZINGLY, and  MOST GLORIOUSLY GIVEN ALL HIS GENUINE CHILDREN!!!!!!!

Third, we are transformed from unprofitable selfish people to “born again” selfless profitable people living to serve God and all of His creation wholeheartedly and with unimaginable blessed eternal joy!!!

We live life no longer to serve ourselves but to selflessly and most willingly to serve God and His creation!!!!!!!