Author Archive

Glory Hallelujah for God’s Help!

By Franklin L. Kirksey, Pastor, First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice.

These expositions by Dr. Kirksey are offered to suggest sermon or Bible study ideas for pastors and other church leaders, both from the exposition and from the illustrative material, or simply for personal devotion.

Psalm 146:1-10


Introduction

Glory hallelujah for God’s help! This is a summary of Psalm 146, where the psalmist, filled with gratitude for the greatness of God’s grace, writes, “Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!  While I live I will praise the Lord; / I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.  Do not put your trust in princes, / Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.  His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; / In that very day his plans perish.  Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, / Whose hope is in the Lord his God, / Who made heaven and earth, / The sea, and all that is in them; / Who keeps truth forever, / Who executes justice for the oppressed, / Who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; / The Lord raises those who are bowed down; / The Lord loves the righteous.  The Lord watches over the strangers; / He relieves the fatherless and widow; / But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.  The Lord shall reign forever—Your God, O Zion, to all generations.  Praise the Lord!”

Allow me to point out three things from the psalmist in our passage.

 

I. First, there is the praise to God he engages (Psalm 146:1-2,10b).

From Psalm 146:1-2 and 10b we read, “Praise the Lord!  Praise the Lord, O my soul!  While I live I will praise the Lord; / I will sing praises to my God while I have my being. . .  Praise the Lord!”

Dr. Herbert Lockyer, Sr. (1886-1984) shares, “George Carpenter, the Bavarian martyr, being asked by some of his godly brethren when he was burning to death at the stake, to give some sign of his constancy, answered—

‘Let this be a sign unto you of my faith and perseverance in the truth, that so long as I am able to open my mouth or to whisper, I will never cease to praise God, and to profess his truth’—which he did.”[1] Now, that’s a real Christian!

We read in 1 Chronicles 16:25-26, “For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised; / He is also to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are idols, / But the Lord made the heavens.”

The last three stanzas of Joseph Addison’s (1672-1719) hymn titled “When All Thy Mercies, Oh My God” provide a great opportunity to express our heart’s desire.  May we declare with Addison, “Through every period of my life / Thy goodness I’ll pursue / And after death, in distant worlds, / The glorious theme renew.  When nature fails, and day and night / Divide Thy works no more, / My ever grateful heart, O Lord, / Thy mercy shall adore.  Through all eternity to Thee / A joyful song I’ll raise; / For, oh, eternity’s too short / To utter all Thy praise!”[2]

Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe states, “A life of praise is free from constant anxiety and discouragement as we focus on the Lord, who is mentioned eleven times in this psalm.”[3]

The psalmist understands it is Jehovah the Lord God, who alone is worthy of our worship.  In the words of Psalm 115:1, we must say, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory, / Because of Your mercy, / Because of Your truth.”

II. Second, there is the trust in God he encourages (Psalm 146:3-9).

From Psalm 146:3-9 we read, “Do not put your trust in princes, /Nor in a son of man, in whom there is no help.  His spirit departs, he returns to his earth; / In that very day his plans perish.  Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help, / Whose hope is in the Lord his God, / Who made heaven and earth, / The sea, and all that is in them; / Who keeps truth forever, / Who executes justice for the oppressed, / Who gives food to the hungry.  The Lord gives freedom to the prisoners.  The Lord opens the eyes of the blind; / The Lord raises those who are bowed down; / The Lord loves the righteous.  The Lord watches over the strangers; / He relieves the fatherless and widow; / But the way of the wicked He turns upside down.”

On the warning recorded in verse 3 about not “put[ting] your trust in princes”, Dr. Adam Clarke (1762-1832) comments, “This may refer, as has been stated above, to Cyrus, who had revoked his edict for the rebuilding of Jerusalem.  Perhaps they had begun to suppose that they were about to owe their deliverance to the Persian king.  God permitted this change in the disposition of the king, to teach them the vanity of confidence in men, and the necessity of trusting in himself.”[4]

On our money we find the phrase, “In God We Trust”.  Over the years we have seen a transfer of trust.  Former President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) quipped, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”  While those who serve in the government are to be trustworthy we are to trust in the Lord our God.  In Isaiah 31:1-3 we read, “Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, / And rely on horses, / Who trust in chariots because they are many, / And in horsemen because they are very strong, / But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, / Nor seek the Lord!  Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster, / And will not call back His words, / But will arise against the house of evildoers, / And against the help of those who work iniquity.  Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; / And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.  When the Lord stretches out His hand, / Both he who helps will fall, / And he who is helped will fall down; / They all will perish together.”  We read in Jeremiah 17:5-10, “Thus says the Lord:  ‘Cursed is the man who trusts in man / And makes flesh his strength, / Whose heart departs from the Lord.  For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, / And shall not see when good comes, / But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, / In a salt land which is not inhabited.  ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, / And whose hope is the Lord.  For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, / Which spreads out its roots by the river, / And will not fear when heat comes; / But its leaf will be green, / And will not be anxious in the year of drought, / Nor will cease from yielding fruit.  ‘The heart is deceitful above all things, / And desperately wicked; / Who can know it?  I, the Lord, search the heart, / I test the mind, / Even to give every man according to his ways, / According to the fruit of his doings.”

The psalmist declares in Psalm 121:1-3, “I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?  My help comes from the Lord, / Who made heaven and earth.  He will not allow your foot to be moved; / He who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, He who keeps Israel / Shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

David testifies in Psalm 34:4-7, “I sought the Lord, and He heard me, / And delivered me from all my fears.  They looked to Him [for help] and were radiant, / And their faces were not ashamed.  This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, / And saved him out of all his troubles.  The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, / And delivers them.”  We read in Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, / And lean not on your own understanding; / In all your ways acknowledge Him, / And He shall direct your paths.”

While we are not to put our trust in “a son of man”, we are to put our complete trust in “the Son of Man”, Jesus Christ the Lord!  May we be able to honestly confess with Louisa M. R. Stead (1850-1917), “Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!  How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er; / Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!  Oh, for grace to trust Him more!”[5]

 

III. Third, there is the life under God he envisages (Psalm 146:10a).

To envisage is “to look in the face of; to apprehend, to regard.”  From Psalm 146:10a we read, “The Lord shall reign forever—Your God, O Zion, to all generations.”  Moses writes in Exodus 15:18, “The Lord shall reign forever and ever.”  David writes in Psalm 10:16, “The Lord is King forever and ever; / The nations have perished out of His land.”  John writes in Revelation 11:15, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”  With this verse in mind, George Frederic Handel (1685-1759) concludes the “Hallelujah Chorus” as follows, “King of kings and lord of lords / King of kings and lord of lords / And he shall reign forever and ever / Forever and ever and ever and ever / (King of kings and lord of lords)/ Hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah hallelujah Hallelujah.”[6]

Paul the Apostle writes in 2 Timothy 2:8-13, “Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David, was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained.  Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  This is a faithful saying:  For if we died with Him, / We shall also live with Him.  If we endure, / We shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, / He also will deny us.  If we are faithless, / He remains faithful;
He cannot deny Himself.”

Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) comments, “Let suffering saints remember, and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of their faith, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is now set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  We must not think it strange if the best men meet with the worst treatment; but this is cheering, that the word of God is not bound.  Here we see the real and true cause of the apostle’s suffering trouble in, or for, the sake of the gospel.  If we are dead to this world, its pleasures, profits, and honours, we shall be for ever with Christ in a better world.  He is faithful to his threatenings, and faithful to his promises.  This truth makes sure the unbeliever’s condemnation, and the believer’s salvation.”[7] From the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, we read, “Reigning is something more than mere salvation.”[8] In Romans 5:17 we read, “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)”  Jesus promises in Revelation 3:21, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  John writes in Revelation 5:8-10, “Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.  And they sang a new song, saying:  ‘You are worthy to take the scroll, / And to open its seals; / For You were slain, / And have redeemed us to God by Your blood / Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, / And have made us kings and priests to our God; / And we shall reign on the earth.”

Conclusion

“Says ex-humanist D. R. Davies, ‘So long as a man nurses the belief that he can save himself, salvation will escape him.’”  After sharing this statement, Dr. Paul S. Rees (1900-1991) comments, “And it might be added, when he reaches the place where, beaten and humbled, he admits that he can’t save himself, there will not be half a dozen saviors standing around, waiting to save him.  There will be just one, and His name will be Jesus—Jesus Christ our Lord!”[9]

In the words of the last stanza Dr. Isaac Watts’ (1674-1748) hymn, “Our God, our help in ages past, / Our hope for years to come, / Be Thou our God while life shall last, / And our eternal home.”[10]

Paul the Apostle writes in Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”  Glory hallelujah for God’s help!


[1]Herbert Lockyer, Sr., A Devotional Commentary: Psalms (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1974, 1993), p. 765

 

[2]Joseph Addison, “When All Thy Mercies, Oh My God”, (1712)

 

[3]Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary: Old Testament: Wisdom and Poetry, (Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2004), p. 377, Database © 2007 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[4]Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary on the Old Testament, Database © 2004 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[5]Louisa M. R. Stead, “Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus”, (1882)

 

[6]George Frederic Handel, The Messiah, “Hallelujah Chorus”, (1741)

 

[7]Matthew Henry, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible, (1706), Database WORDsearch Corp.

 

[8]Rev. Robert Jamieson, D.D.., Rev. A.R. Fausset, A.M, & Rev. David Brown, D.D., Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary: Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Edinburgh: Collins & Company, 1871), Database © 2005 WORDsearch Corp.

 

[9]Paul S. Rees, Stand Up In Praise To God, (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1960), p. 48

 

[10]Isaac Watts, “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”, (1719)

 

By Dr. Franklin L. Kirksey, pastor First Baptist Church of Spanish Fort 30775 Jay Drive Spanish Fort, Alabama 36527

Author of Sound Biblical Preaching: Giving the Bible a Voice Available on Amazon.com and WORDsearchbible.com

http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Biblical-Preaching-Giving-Bible/dp/1594577684

http://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/Sound_Biblical_Preaching_1476.html

fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210 / © November 25, 2012 All Rights Reserved

 

Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning
Book Review

Walking on Water When You Feel Like You’re Drowning (Tyndale, 2012) by Tommy Nelson & Steve Leavitt

A book review by Michael Staton, pastor, First Baptist Church, Mustang, Okla. (http://fbcmustang.org)


In my 19 years of serving on a pastoral team, I have spent countless hours ministering to people as they shared their problems, concerns and burdens. I have heard stories of grief, anger, confusion, sadness, loss and depression. For many years I felt the pressure to “fix” them. After all, they called me. They trusted me. They thought I could do or say something that would make them better. If they left my office and were not “fixed,” would they think less of me? Would they think they wasted their time, or even worse, question if there really was any hope for them?

Read more ...

Late Shift Evangelism and Outreach

By Johnathan Pritchett

We often hear two things about the economy. These days, the first thing you are likely to hear is that the economy is bad. This may be a temporary condition that could get better. The other thing, which is more often heard about the economy in general during any climate is that we now live in a global economy. This is often discussed in the news and talk radio, and even pastors bring up this issue in our churches. What is often neglected when it comes to getting any attention is that we also, as has always been the case, live in a 24-hour economy.

The number of people working second and third shift has greatly increased in the last couple of decades, and in many cases during this sort of economic climate, these shifts fill up fast because people will work any hours they can get. Whether the economy is good or bad, those people who work the late shifts often get little interaction with those who live and do business during the daylight hours. Men and women with families are hardly getting the kind of quality time with their loved ones compared to those who work during regular business hours. Imagine being a parent, married or single, and you are sleeping when your children are at school, and you are either headed to work before they come home or just waking up for work when it is their bedtime. Imagine being single with no kids. What is there for you to ever do to meet people or fellowship? For people working these shifts, their free time is usually when everyone else is at work or sleeping. 

Read more ...

Now is the day for us to speak the claims of Christ and respond to the needs of a
hungry, lonely, needy, waiting world.

1981 SBC PRESIDENT’S ADDRESS

THE WORTH OF THE WORK

BAILEY E. SMITH

 

Bailey Smith was born January 30, 1939, to Frances and Ezell Smith. He grew up in Dallas where his father was a Baptist pastor. Bailey graduated from Ouachita Baptist University and Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.

At 34, Bailey Smith became pastor of the second largest church in the denomination. He is also the youngest man ever to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention and of the Oklahoma Baptist Convention simultaneously. When he was president of the Pastor’s Conference of the Southern Baptist Convention, he had the largest attendance in history at that point in time. Smith is the only man in Convention history to baptize 2,000 people in a local church in one year. He is the representative for the Southern Baptist Convention to the Baptist World Alliance. Smith is the author of the best seller Real Evangelism and has several books to his credit such as Taking Back the Gospel, Real Christianity, Real Christian Excellence, and The Grace Escape.

===========================


Peter and John were having a bold mission thrust, “Now when they saw the BOLDNESS of Peter and John . . .”  In other words, their boldness was obvious and that boldness came from the fact that they believed the work of Christ was worth whatever the price.  They said, “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

I also notice that their bold mission was empowered by the Holy Spirit which resulted in a new togetherness (v. 31-32) “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the Word of God with BOLDNESS.  And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and one soul.”

Our theme for this Convention, keeping in mind our Bold Mission Thrust emphasis, is Our Bold Response . . . Now!  I sincerely believe that in this day of compromise and vascillation that is an appropriate theme –– “Our Bold Response Now!  Now is the day for us to speak the claims of Christ and respond to the needs of a hungry, lonely, needy, waiting world.

These past months as your president, I’ve gone across this great land and abroad seeing Christians in many and varied types of work.  I’ve heard many of them tell of the challenges of this work, yet never with regret or complaint.  I asked almost everywhere I was one consistent question.  I would look square in the face of that dear servant of Jesus and I would ask, “Well, do you think it’s worth it?”

In one of our Pioneer Areas, I asked a precious pastor’s wife who was just relating how long it had been since she had a new dress, that very question.  She answered, “I’ve never doubted that a moment.”  I was kneeling in prayer with one of our vocational evangelists who preaches about forty-three weeks a year.  He misses many events in the life of his family.  He said, “It’s God’s will.  Sure it’s worth it.”  A denominational official in Nashville with a heavy load answered the same way –– so did a Seminary Professor.

Ed Horton, on of our African missionaries, and I were walking back out of the deep Kenya bush, after seeing nine people invite Jesus into their hearts at a little settlement.  I looked up at this strong Southern Baptist missionary perspiring in that hot East African sun, “You know, Ed, this makes it all worth while.”  He said, “Worthwhile –– worthwhile, I wouldn’t do anything else.”

Now, I want my bold response and your bold response to be that the work and opportunity God has given us is a worthy work.  I want us to see five worthy parts of our work.  First of all, we respond boldly to a waiting world because we have:

1.  A SAVIOUR WORTH SERVING:

Oh how the Word is a testimony to His uniqueness and greatness.  “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made.”  (John 1:3).  “By Him were all things created that ere in Heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions, or principalities, or powers –– all things were created by Him and for Him.”  (Col. 1:16).  Paul said in Philippians “Who being in the form of God, though it not robbery to be equal with God and took upon himself the form of a servant, made himself of no reputation and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  “At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow and every tongues shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”  “In Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”  (Col. 2:9)

Jesus Christ is not one of the prophets who came to earth to show a “part of the personality of deity” as I read one to say.  He, in the flesh, was God incarnate.  All man, as if no God.  All God, as if no man.  Someone observed, “When He was born, He was older than his mother and the same age as his father.  He was the heavenly son of an earthly mother and an earthly son of a heavenly Father.”   No one has ever been, even similar to Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God.  The song writer said it beautifully, “Jesus the very though of Thee with sweetness fills my breast, but sweeter far thy face to see and in Thy presence rest.”

As Christians we are not proclaimers of some theoretical religious or philosophical meanderings from the dusty libraries of antiquity –– we are ambassadors of one in whom only is salvation, the Lord Jesus Christ.  The world’s greatest need is not a teacher, because the problem is not ignorance –– it is not a patriot because the problem is not nationalism, not a philanthropist because the problem is not poverty, but the world does need a Saviour, because the problem is sin.

One of my dearest friends is the former State Music Director for Oklahoma, Gene Bartlett.  His father wrote many songs that you and I love to sing.  One of them he wrote is my favorite song, “Victory in Jesus.”  After his father wrote “Victory in Jesus,” he passed away.

Sometime after that, his mother lay in a comatose state in a Fort Smith, Arkansas, hospital and had not spoken or moved a muscle for days upon days. One day, Gene came into her room, put his hand under the oxygen tent on the aged arm of the dear lady whose husband had written so many of the old Gospel songs.  Gene said, “Mother, it’s Gene.  Will you talk with me?”  That sweet lady raised her hands to indicate she wanted the oxygen tent raise.  Gene pulled it back over her head and she opened her eyes to full measure.  She raised herself upon her elbows as she pulled that silver head from the pillow and began to sin, “I’ve heard an old, old story, how my Saviour came from glory.”  She got to the chorus, “O Victory in Jesus, my Saviour forever.  He sought me and bought me with His redeeming Blood.”  She then fell back on the pillow and went on to claim the Victory.

I said, “Gene, isn’t it a shame your mother didn’t get to finish the song.”  He said, “Oh, Bailey, but she did.  She and Daddy made it a duet in Glory.”

We have a Saviour worth serving.  There is, indeed, Victory in Jesus!

When Dr. Adrian Rogers introduced Shadrach Meshach Lockridge last year at the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis as a fraternal messenger from the National Baptist Convention, he challenged us in his eloquent and powerful way to preach Jesus the:  “Mast of the Mighty; Christ of the Conquerors; Head of the Heroes:  Leader of the Legislators; Overseer of the Overcomers; Governor of the Governors; Prince of the Princes, King of Kings and Lord of Lord.”

Bless His Holy Name.  We have a Saviour worth serving.  I want to say that ––

2.  WE HAVE A CHURCH WORTH REVIVING:

It really doesn’t matter whether a church has a carpeted aisle or vinyl tile.  It is not essential to know whether a man has a Th.D. or never had the opportunity for training.  Whether a church meets in a concrete block or chiseled stones or whether it sings a Bach Anthem or Gaither Gospel or whether it has a pipe organ or a Hammond miniature, are not the ultimate issues.

What does matter is that within those walls the Holy Spirit of God does its work, it’s might work where “sinners are converted and God’s Name is Glorified.”  A revived church is a caring and sharing church.

We don’t want to be a cloistered crowd creating cultural calisthenics but, a lighthouse where men in the darkness can be saved; a rock for those sinking in life’s despair; a hope for those who face a dead-end street.  A wife out there needs a new husband; a little girl needs a new Daddy; a young boy needs a loving Mother and a Church ablaze with Great Commission compassion can bring that bout through the power of Christ.

Years ago in England, lived a fine preacher name John Holden.  One late afternoon in the village where he lived, everyone began to run to the seashore to man rowboats to go out into the sea where a vessel had capsized.  Little boat after little boat would go out and bring to shore those who had been throw into the icy waters.

When the last rowboat was coming in, John Holden standing on shore called out to the rowboat, “Did you get the last one?”  Came the reply from the little boat, “I think there’s one more, but I can’t fine him.”

John Holden began immediately to prepare to gout in his own little boat.  His mother grabbed him and said, “Oh son, it’s so dark and foggy –– don’t go out there.  You may never come back.”  John Holden said, “Mother, I love you, but I be got to go out there.”

After what seemed to be an interminable time,  John Holden’s little rowboat could be seen through the nigh and fog.  Someone on shore shouted out, “Did you get him?  Was there one more out there?  Did you get him?”  “ Yes, I got him and tell my mother, it’s my brother.”

Oh God, let the revived church go out on life’s sea and bring men and women and boys and girls to the shore.  Only a revived church can do the job.  Our greatest song still is, “We have heard the joyful sound, Jesus Saves –– Jesus Saves.  Shout salvation full and free. Jesus Saves –– Jesus Saves.”

3.  WE HAVE A DENOMINATION WORTH SUPPORTING:

A few months back, I spoke to the Home Mission Board in Atlanta and said these very words, “The Southern Baptist Convention is the greatest force every put together for winning this world to Christ.  Frankly, I don’t want anything to bother that.  I want God to keep blessing it and enriching it and strengthening it and binding it together in love and harmony.”  I believe that even more today than I did then.

Someone shared with me that the annual income of the eight leading electronic evangelists are spread over a range of from $60 million down to $11 million, for a grand total of $293 million.  With no thought of disparaging the work of these good men of God, it has been pointed out that their budgets supported two churches, five schools, one hospital, T. V. ministries and some special and periodic mission work.

Dr. George H. Harris, the writer of the article “contrasted the work of the Southern Baptist Convention in a recent year in which the mission income totaled $316 million.  But these mission funds supported 6,000 full-time missionaries in more than 90 countries, six seminaries (10,000 students), 67 colleges, schools and Bible Institutes,  1,100 Baptist Student Directors, 32 Radio and T. V. programs each week, and leadership and materials for 35, 255 Southern Baptist congregations which have averaged 1,000 baptisms per day for the past 25 years.

This is why I believe the Bold Mission Thrust emphasis is right on target because Southern Baptists have the capacity to bring Jesus to a lost and dying world.  We can confront our world with the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ by the year 2000.  I want to say ––

4.  WE HAVE A BIBLE WORTH BELIEVING:

You say, Bailey Smith, do you believe the Bible is totally the Word of God?  Do you believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God?  DO you believe what Southern Baptist adopted as our Statement of Faith in the 1963 Southern Baptist Convention that quote, “The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to man.  It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction.  It has God for its author, salvation for its end and truth without any mixture of error, for its matter.”  YES, YES, YES –– I believe all of the above!

If the Bible is the Word of God at all, it is the perfect Word of God, because God will not give a word of flaws and mistakes.  Dr. Daniel Vestal, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Midland, Texas, is exactly right when he says, “If the Bible is truthful, it must be truthful in all parts.  Because truth and error are mutually exclusive.  And if it’s not true in all parts, who is to determine which part is truth and which part is error.”

I know we must never get bogged down in anything that keeps us from missions and evangelism, but I also know that no soldier wants to go into Battle with a defective weapon.  We can have confidence in the Word of God.  We do have a Bible worth believing –– 66 Books, 1189 chapters and 31,175 verses, all true inspired Word of God without any mixture of error.  Praise God for His wonderful, infallible Word.  Last of all, let me say ––

5.  THAT WE HAVE A FUTURE WORTH LIVING:

Our denomination has a great and joyful future fulfilling the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Your church has a future worth living because the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.  You have a great future because if you put your faith in Jesus Christ, you can rest assured that what He said is true, “In my Father’s house are many mansions, if it were not so I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you that where I am there you may be also.”

He is coming again, too.  Sometime ago, I stood at the graves of my young parents.  My Mother was in the hospital for routine surgery, but died there at 41 years of age.  My preacher father examining the foundation of his new auditorium had a piece of reinforcement wire to strike him in the eye and he fell dead at fifty-five years of age.  They are buried side by side.

As I stood there I remembered when Mom and Dad use to drive down the road –– (I would be leaning over the front seat peering from the back) and Dad would put his right hand down on the seat. Mother would take her left hand and put it on his and down the road we would go.  She would always do that –– put her hand on his.

I thought of that coming day when Jesus shall appear.  The graves will open and I believe Dad will come out of one and Mom out of the other and Dad will reach out his hand and Mom will take his and, together, hand in hand even though having been with Him, they shall rise and forever be with the Lord.  Oh, the great, grand, and glorious future we have in Jesus Christ.

Southern Baptists, God is on His throne and challenges us to love one another because there is a world out there in need to which we must minister, remembering that we have a Saviour Worth Serving; a Church Worth Reviving; a Bible Worth Believing and a Future Worth Living.

I believe that I’ve tried to say can best be expressed in a poem that enriches me and challenges me every time I recall it.  I hope it can be our motto for the days ahead.  The author is unknown, but it says:

The world’s great heart is aching,

Aching fiercely in the night

And God alone can hear it ––

And God alone give light.

 

The men to bear the message

And speak the living Word

Are you and I, my brother,

And the millions who have heard.

 

We grovel among trifles

And our spirits fret and toss

While above us burns the vision
Of Christ upon The Cross.

 

And the Blood of Christ is streaming

From His pierced hands and side.

And the lips of Christ are saying

Tell the lost that I have died.

 

No power of man shall thwart us

No strongholds shall dismay

When God commands obedience

And love has led the way.

 

 

Quoting Statistics May Undermine Truth, part II

by Ronnie Rogers

Ronnie Rogers is senior pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Norman, Okla., a university city cited by the North American Mission Board in 2006 as the most unchurched in the state. Pastor Rogers’ expositional sermons draw large collegiate crowds during the school year as he preaches and teaches (and writes) from a biblical perspective that boldly challenges popular culture.


cont’d from yesterday’s article

Nothing in this article is to be construed as anti-science. I have a deep appreciation for science, and a number of scientists are members of the church I serve. Rather, my concern is to guard Christians from undue reliance upon science, mistaking scientism for science, or minimizing the need to know Scripture more deeply because of such reliance. In twenty-first century western culture, there is a great need for Christians to think biblically so that they can understand the benefits as well as the limitations of science, and when it is stealthily transformed into scientism. Following are some inherent liabilities of the tools previously mentioned:

  1. There are always conflicting conclusions between different studies and polls; thus, cherry picking is common.
  2. Statistics can be used to demonstrate almost anything by inclusion or omission of certain variables related to the study or poll.
  3. One rarely understands how the study or poll was actually done, which can dramatically transform both the study’s certainty and conclusions being presented.
  4. Often a conclusion drawn is presented as THE conclusion while it may in fact be only one of the derivable conclusions, or may actually be misleading when other variables are considered.
  5. Often these tools are used to demonstrate proof when, even at their best, they can actually only demonstrate varying degrees of probability.
  6. The wording of the questions, order of the questions, tone of the questioner, time of the questioning, and the pool of the questioned greatly influences the statistical data and conclusions.
  7. Double blind studies are rarely used.
  8. Fraud, personal agendas, shoddy work, biases, and misrepresentation of the data are found repeatedly, and without being privy to the entire process, etc., one cannot detect this.
  9. Decisions about what to do and not to do with regard to people, morals, etc., with these tools revamp the way modern man thinks, which is consistent with sole reliance upon science or scientism, but is actually contrary to linear, logical, or biblical thinking because all one needs to know is what does the most recent study—experiment—say.
  10. Although used to determine what ought to be and what ought not to be, these tools can only tell one what is or is not and can never tell one what should be.

For example, statistics may be used to show how many people are without health insurance, and the truth is that is all the statistics tell us. Therefore, when people start drawing conclusions from such statistics, they may very well be misreading the data or, perish the thought, misrepresenting the truth for their own agenda.

Say that thirty percent do not have insurance. This, in and of itself, does not tell us: how many have chosen not to have insurance, how many have chosen to spend their insurance money on other things, how many are covered through the generosity of hospitals, how many of those would rather be without governmental intrusion than to have insurance, how many are in transition between insurances, how many have strategically chosen to invest that money elsewhere for the potential future payoff and do not want to be forced to pay higher taxes for health care, how many have made personal decisions—even religious ones—which led them to be without insurance and do not think others should have to pay, how many have the intention but have not made the choice to spend their money on insurance or are waiting on someone else, how many have made a conscious decision to eliminate their insurance for what they deem to be a worthwhile alternative, ad infinitum!

It is the truth that makes one free, but the present undue reliance of preachers on these fragmentary tools in order to bolster their preaching conclusions may bear short-term fruit, but in the long run may undermine the very truth they passionately desire to communicate because it trains a whole generation to rely upon polls, statistics, and studies with credulous trust. Moreover, undue reliance upon science (not to mention scientism) affords very little incentive to develop a godly mind through devoted study and digging deeply into the Word of God.