Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Guyana 2007

December 13 through 20 of this year I traveled to Guyana under the auspices of Grace Missionary Baptist Church in Dothan, Alabama. A member of our church, Ted Sheldon, and a fellow laborer, Dale Wallace of Damascus Baptist and Bible Baptist in North Carolina made the trip as well. We went to visit with Brother Randolph Nagaur and participate in their Annual Fellowship at two of the three churches he oversees.

No building projects or medical work was carried out. That was not why we were invited to come. Our brother saw the need to have his people encouraged by brethren of like faith coming and preaching the gospel. If they were encouraged thank the Lord. I certainly was helped.

This work shows strong evidence in my opinion of the good hand of the Lord being upon it for over 40 years. Generations have now sat under the ministry of this faithful servant and the effects are being demonstrated across Guyana and to many other places in the world. In a time when most of Christendom are sure that it is impossible to minister without adopting the world's methods this work is a bright and shining example of how the Lord honors the steadfast, faithful preaching and teaching of His Word.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

How the First Church Conducted Business

This article by G.H. Lang presents a thought provoking analysis of how the first church at Jerusalem addressed a matter upon which the local body was initially divided. Lang's proposal is, I think, Biblical that churches should achieve unanimity before action rather than acting and hope for it.

Enjoy the article!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Online Sermons Now on Web Site

Sermons preached at GMBC Dothan are now available on-line at the church's web site.

Let us know what you think.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Preacher of Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes is an inspired confession of failure and pessimism, when God is excluded, when man lives under the sun, and forgets the larger part, which is always over the sun, the eternal and abiding things. If you want to know what a man of great privilege, and of great learning and great wisdom can come to, read this record of a man who has put God out of count in his actual life. - G. Campbell Morgan

Friday, August 17, 2007

B.H. Carroll: A Great Baptist

I am a Baptist. I do not esteem being a Baptist above being saved by God's grace. But, I do not shy away from being known as a Baptist. I am a Baptist not because I grew up in a Baptist home nor because I was saved under a Baptist pastor. I am a Baptist because what the Baptists believe that I identify with is as close to what the Scripture teaches as any other group I know.

A giant of a Baptist was a man named B.H. Carroll. I don't know that I have ever read an account of a man's conversion that had more of an effect upon me than B.H. Carroll's. I encourage you to go to this link. There you can read of his life and the effect it and his death had upon great Baptists of his day.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Is It Right?

When we are faced with decisions and we see no clear cut Bible verse to tell us what is right or wrong then here are a few observations and questions that may help us do what is pleasing in the Lord's sight:

  1. We should trust him to lead us (Proverbs 3:5-6)
  2. He will guide the meek in judgment (Psalm 25:9) Note: AT Pierson defined 'meekness' as 'a real preference for God's will'.
  3. Are we willing to do what is right once we know God's will? (John 7:17)
  4. Does it agree with all the Scripture has to say on the subject? (2 Peter 1:20)
  5. Have we prayed about it? (Philippians 4:6)
  6. Do we have the leading of the Holy Spirit? (Romans 8:14)
  7. Does it please God? (1 John 3:22)
  8. Can we do it in the name of the Lord Jesus? (Colossians 3:17)
  9. Can we give God thanks for it? (Colossians 3:17)
  10. Does it bring glory to God? (1 Corinthians 10:31)
  11. Does it offend other Christians? (1 Corinthians 8:13)
  12. Am I fully persuaded that it is right? (Romans 14:5)
  13. Have I sought the counsel of fellow believers? (Proverbs 24:6)

The Peril of Serving Other Gods

After the fire fell on Mount Carmel and the people of Israel confessed their allegiance to the Lord God there were consequences for the prophets of Baal. In complete agreement with Scripture (Deuteronomy 13: 6-9) Elijah and the people lay hands on them and Elijah slays them (I Kings 18:40) .

Christ has introduced another dispensation under the New Testament; and the summary punishments of the Old Testament have been exchanged for long-suffering. Hence the righteous and the wicked grow on together until the harvest; but were the same mode of procedure adopted now as in the days of Moses and Elijah, there would be no end of the slaughter...But the woe pronounced against them "will surely come, it will not tarry" beyond the "appointed time".

Go on, ye hirelings and grievous wolves, in your thousand places of concourse, and persuade your poor flocks to sacrifice unto other gods than Him whom Abraham called his Lord, and whose goings were heard on the mountains of Israel. Go on, ye corrupters of youth, ye blind leaders of the blind, and, amidst the plaudits of the ignorant and ungodly, despise the sovereignty of the Ancient of days, that ye imagine on his throne a being of your own defining, that ye may dream the Almighty to be such a one as yourselves. Go on, ye people of rank and fashion, and proudly sneer at the true incarnate Jehovah of the Bible, and pay worship to the wisdom of the day! Alas! the angel is already flying in the dist of heaven and crying, "Wo! wo! wo! to the inhabitants of the earth!". The sword is already drawn to slay you, the pile of Tophet ordained of old is already erected, on which, forsaken by your imaginary gods, you will become flaming monuments for ever of the Divine justice, and of all holy vengeance."

From Elijah the Tishbite by F.W. Krummacher

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Statesville Bible Camp 2007

Edwin Dale, Jackson and I participated in the second week of the annual Statesville Bible Camp in Boone, North Carolina. We arrived on Wednesday mid-morning and left Friday after lunch. This camp is what its name claims: a Bible camp. The Word of God is taught to children and young people morning and evening. There are many evidences of the Lord God of heaven blessing this effort over its many years of existence. This week was no exception. The Unseen Hand moved powerfully but quietly to keep those in attendance safe from harm and its attendees free from strife that could have disrupted the proceedings.

Truth was proclaimed. Young and older alike heard eternal verities expounded with freshly provided vigor from God's servants. At the close of one of the sessions, Brother Dale Wallace, brought to the attention of the young listeners that the close-by Appalachian State University could provide their very best faculty to deliver what they would think to be the most important things for these young people to hear and none would be able to provide anything anywhere close to what they had heard in the past forty minutes. In that preceding forty minutes a week full of lessons on the transforming work of God in the lives of people was culminated in a study of this work in the life of Saul of Tarsus. Truths that transcend all realms of human thinking were presented in clarity rarely heard in our day.

The power of the Lord was present there. In the times of the preaching of the Word there were no outward signs nor wonders, there were no unintelligible tongues and there was no chaos. There was a stillness and quietness and God's voice was heard. One young boy after the preaching one night took his pastor aside and said, crying, something to the effect: "That man, I don't know what his name is, he was talking to me". He heard that night with ears spiritual of his lost condition and his need of a Saviour. The messenger was irrelevant, the message was vital. The Lord had been at work and the evidence was a quickened sinner.

Oh! for more of these seasons where there is no question that the Lord has visited and done His great work among people. I desire it in the little sphere where the Lord has placed me.

Friday, June 29, 2007

One Pearl of Great Price

Recently we performed a study on a parable of our Lord concerning the kingdom of heaven which is found in Matthew 13: 45-46:

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
The interpretation I presented was that the Righteousness of Christ is the One Pearl of Great Price, the believing Jew is the merchant man and that perceived deeds of righteousness are the goodly pearls.

A perplexing component of the parable's interpretation is the last phrase 'and bought it'. There is no Scripture to justify a belief that sinners can bring anything to the Lord in exchange for their salvation. In the words of the old and dear hymn, 'Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to Thy Cross I cling'. Any attempted explanation of that phrase must keep that in mind.

The perplexity was shared by others and I tried to clarify the meaning of the phrase in a recent e-mail some of the contents which I share below:

The parable is clearly in commercial terms. However, I am not sure that we can relate (I certainly can't) all the details of a commercial transaction to the truth our Lord is teaching when he is using a parabolic form of teaching. I think, for example, this is true in at least one other great Bible truth that is commercial in nature, the kinsman redeemer. I can clearly see that Christ is our great Kinsman Redeemer from the civil law in the OT but I can't relate all the particulars of that law to the work of Christ for sinners. For example, whom does our Lord pay with his purchase price of His shed blood? Who fits the role of our next of kin?

Now to the parable...The righteousness of God is such that one cannot retain their own and have His. So, if one has perceived deeds of righteousness he must be willing to part with them in order to have God's righteousness. In commercial terms the perceived deeds of righteousness must be 'sold' in order to have the means to 'purchase' God's righteousness. In that sense an exchange is made by the sinner. This the unrighteous Jew would not do. They wanted to retain their own deeds of righteousness (see Romans 9:31-32) thus they could never have the Righteousness of God.

The merchantman buys in faith. They believe there is such worth in the article that they purchase that one day it would enrich them greatly. So, the Righteousness of that One Pearl of Great Price is obtained by faith. There is certainly faith in the finished work of Christ that is exercised at conversion. There is also faith the saint exercises in the promises of God concerning blessings of an unexperienced future that will greatly enrich them then. That is why we read of the 'hope of righteousness by faith' in Galatians 5:5.

Once the merchantman buys the one pearl of great price he ceases from seeking out other pearls. He is satisfied and looks no more. So, the believer (and certainly the believing Jew) ceases from their own works (Hebrews 4:10), boasts of the Lord's Righteousness (Romans 3:27) and no longer looks to the law for righteousness (Romans 10:4).
While the interpretation and the explanation of the phrase you may not see the same as me isn't it wonderful to know the Righteousness of God (Christ Himself) by faith and to have His Righteousness put to my account! This grand truth puts the saved sinner in good standing when they meet (as they must) Him who is ready to judge the quick and the dead at His appearing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Solitude or Society?

Recently a friend was conflicted over the apparent need for the saints to spend time alone with the Lord and the clear instructions for the Lord's people to care and minister to one another. I responded to my friend as follows and I wanted to share it with whomever might read this entry:

[Friend], our Lord is our example (not to try to follow in order to be saved but to follow in His steps after we are saved). First, He knew the value and set the pattern for being alone with His Father. We see Him rising a great while before day to pray. We see Him with His disciples yet He goes apart from them to pray at times. He knew the value of spending time alone with His Heavenly Father. Second, He is said to be 'holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners' in Hebrews 7:26. Yet, we see him often moving among needy sinners and meeting their physical and spiritual needs. What we don't see him doing is embracing the world and becoming one of them. He did not know the life of a hermit. He constantly went about doing good.

Our call is to be separate from the world. Separation begins in the heart. Being set apart for Him and His use will manifest itself in outward separation from some things, systems and people. Separation takes different forms. For example, there are certain places that we don't visit because it would bring reproach to our Lord. Another example, is there are certain religious systems that we can't be a part of because of their denial of fundamental truths of the Scripture. Does that mean we will not befriend any who are participants in these things? No. But, it does mean we won't condone the practices and where opportunity presents itself we can let them know why. I think our separation is what is meant in Hebrews where we are told 'Let us therefore go unto Him outside the camp'.

I hope this helps.

As to visits to the elderly and those in distress I think private judgment is the rule. We can certainly be an encouragement to one another and a wisely timed and Spirit led visit can be of great help to a suffering saint. Pray about each matter and leave it to the Lord to direct our steps.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

2007 Bible Conference Thoughts

This year the theme of the Grace Missionary Baptist Church Bible Conference was 'The Gospel of the Son of God'. The conference was another blessing. Attendance was off a little with some of our regulars unable to attend. However, the harmony among the saints that came contributed to its good results we hope. Certainly the theme was glorious. Our times are rife with gospel diluters and deniers. It was most helpful to hear the old, old story told in its clarity and purity. The preachers all did great work.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Absent from the Body A Present from the Lord

Raising our boys has been a wonderful experience for us. Occasionally their misunderstanding or lack of comprehension of truths we have presented them have resulted in their expressing them or reacting to them in ways that really have embellished the truth rather than diminished it.

We are members (and I am pastor) of a small church and among our small number we face the hard reality of death from time to time. The boys are brought close to this and hear their momma and daddy talk about death in Bible terms for those who know the Lord. They attend funerals and hear comforting verses presented from the pulpit. One of those is II Corinthians 5:8 which reads in part:

'...absent from the body...present with the Lord'.

Our oldest son Edwin Dale heard this truth and knew that it was good thing. He also knew that receiving a gift was good thing. His little mind put things together in a way that resulted in this 'translation' of the original:

'...absent from the body...a present from the Lord'.

What a gift it is and will be when death comes the believer's way. 'Present with the Lord' is exactly what He bequeaths to His own. He greatly desires that and said so in His High Priestly prayer of John 17. Let us rejoice in His unspeakable gift (Christ Jesus himself) and His outpouring of gifts to His own even in death.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Sunday Evening

Tonight we come to an end of a good Lord's day. We gathered in obedience to our Lord's command today and enjoyed being where He has chosen to place His Name. We swam in the ocean of Divine truth. His dealings with His servant Elijah occupied our thoughts. What a wonderful God who can and does control all things by the word of His power. He created and holds together the vast universe(s) whose boundaries we have not been able to determine and yet controls the very timing of the steps of His prophet and a poor needy widow woman so that they meet at precisely the right moment. He will meet the woman's deepest needs and use her to sustain the man He has chosen for the needs of the hour for His wayward people. And to know that He is as interested in the needs and development of His children today as He ever has been.

We will end the day listening to a message centered on His meeting the deep needs of another woman: the woman at the well. Our Saviour must go through Samaria. He will save this woman from her sins! I am so thankful that every conversion is a Divine appointment and that each one who is saved is shown their need of a Saviour and is shown the Lord Jesus as the only sufficient one to save His people from their sins.

May His blessings pour upon us daily until we see Him face to face! I need thee every hour!

Monday, May 14, 2007

First Entry

I am spending a few minutes of my afternoon sitting beside Jackson watching cartoons. It has been a long night working to support the Lahore operation that we just installed in Lahore over the past three weeks. I am so glad to be home!