Category: Guest Author

The Price of Becoming a Baptist in Early America

by Ron Hale

He has served as Pastor, Church Planter, Strategist (NAMB), Director of Missions, and Associate Executive Director of Evangelism and Church Planting for a State Convention, and now in the 4th quarter of ministry as Minister of Missions.

 


Henry Dunster (Harvard President, 1640): The Price of Becoming a Baptist in Early America

 

The first and founding president of Harvard University resigned his prestigious post to become a Baptist.  This caused much chattering and nattering in the circles of academia and religion.

Henry Dunster resigned under pressure after rejecting the practice of paedobaptism (infant baptism).  His new biblical paradigm of Baptist beliefs caused a storm of controversy and ill will among the Puritan faithful of the Boston area.

Today, Harvard is the oldest institution of higher learning in America and the wealthiest of schools.  Yet, the fledgling school struggled for life in the first few years of existence.

Harvard opened its doors in 1637 under the direction of a Head Master.  He was later ousted under charges of failing to properly feed the students and tyrannical ways.  The school closed.

Henry Dunster became president in 1640 and resurrected the founding dream from the ash heap.  The school flourished under his new vision and leadership.

He gave the school one hundred acres of his own land and built a home for the president.  Through his family, he acquired the first printing press in New England and produced the Bay Psalm Book.

The new president was a scholar in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and Asian languages. Dunster set standards for scholarship and godliness. Harvard was thriving and becoming the important school that it is today.

After years of faithful service, a dark cloud appeared over the administration of President Dunster.  Dunster refused to have his fourth baby baptized.  Why?  Dunster had new unshakeable biblical convictions!

The public whipping of Obadiah Holmes for his Baptist convictions had shaken Dunster to the core of his being. It caused him to seriously study the bible.

Very soon, Dunster publicly contended for believer’s baptism of adults based on the NT example, and against paedobaptism. Richard Mather and John Norton publicly debated Dunster on these matters, but he remained steadfast in the face of mounting hostility.  Cotton Mather said of Dunster, “he had fallen into the briars of antipedobaptism.”

The theological change of heart in Henry Dunster, the first president of Harvard, was shocking and scandalous to the Puritans of New England.  It was the talk of the town and every colony. It knocked the living daylights out of most Puritan ministers and laymen.  Recant or resign seemed to be the sentiment of most.

Because the Baptist movement in early America was birthed in adversity, every individual Baptist paid a price for their identity. Dunster lost his land, house, printing press, and livelihood; for the Overseers of Harvard gave him back none of the things that he had given so freely to the school.

Henry Dunster was a boon and blessing to the early Baptists of America.  A man of great scholarship and integrity had joined their ranks.   The importance of religious liberty would continue to be underscored.

History’s mysteries divulge the good, the bad and the ugly!

 

© Ron F. Hale, Nov. 7, 2012 — This article was first published in The Christian Post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Social Media for Grandparents

By Walker Moore

Walker Moore founded AweStar Ministries, a missions organization that has put thousands of teens on fields ‘white unto harvest’ around the world.

 

 


Today I want to share with my beloved older generation of readers the latest news on the cultural shift. I wish I could explain to you why today’s teenagers walk around with spiked hair in all the colors you might find on the Las Vegas Strip. But I can’t. I wish I could explain to you why some of these same teenagers walk around exposing half their underwear, the waistline of their pants resting somewhere around their knees. But I can’t do that, either.

Like many of you, I’ve been caught between two worlds. I was born in the age of outhouses and I’ll die in a bathroom with a motion-sensing toilet flusher. It won’t be long before our grandchildren won’t believe toilets once came with handles.

Read more ...

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

 

Your God Is Too Small

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 145:1-21

 


Introduction

Your God Is Too Small written by “[Dr.] J. B. [John Bertram] Phillips [1906-1982] explains that the trouble facing many of us today is that we have not found a God big enough for our [post] modern needs.”  Please note, I added the prefix “post” because Phillips wrote it in the modern era (1952).  This book has relevance in our day.  Also from the book description we read, “In a world where our experience of life has grown in myriad directions, and our mental horizons have been expanded to the point of bewilderment by world events and scientific discoveries, our ideas of God have remained largely static.  It is nearly impossible, Phillips argues, for an adult to worship the conception of God that exists in the mind of a child of Sunday-school age, the ‘God-in-a-box’ notion, limiting God to such inadequate conceptions as ‘Resident Policeman,’ ‘Grand Old Man,’ ‘Meek-and-Mild,’ and ‘Managing Director.’  As a result of these insufficient ideas of God, many people live with an inner dissatisfaction, without any faith at all.”[1]

God asks, “‘To whom then will you liken Me, / Or to whom shall I be equal?’ says the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).  Dr. J. I. Packer comments, “This question rebukes wrong thoughts about God.  ‘Your thoughts of God are too human,’ said Luther to Erasmus.  Dr. Packer adds, “This is where most of us go astray.  Our thoughts of God are not great enough; we fail to reckon with the reality of His limitless wisdom and power.  Because we are limited and weak, we imagine that at some points God is too.  We think of God as too much like what we are.  Put this mistake right, says God; learn to acknowledge the full majesty of your incomparable God and Savior.”[2]

Recently, I read, “Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse writes:

I learned the idea of a great God and a little god from my old professor, Robert Dick Wilson, at Princeton Theological Seminary.  After I had been away from the seminary for about twelve years, I was invited back to preach to the students.

Old Dr. Wilson came into Miller Chapel and stood near the front.  At the close of the meeting, he came up to me, cocked his head on one side in his characteristic way, extended his hand, and said: “If you come back again, I will not come to hear you preach.  I only come once.  I am glad that you are a big-godder.  When my boys come back, I come to see if they are big-godders or little-godders, and then I know what their ministry will be.’

I asked him to explain, and he replied:

‘Well, some men have a little god and they are always in trouble with him.  He can’t do any miracles.  He can’t take care of the inspiration and transmission of the Scripture to us.  He doesn’t intervene on behalf of his people.

‘Then there are those who have a great God.  He speaks and it is done.  He commands and it stands fast.  He knows how to show Himself strong on behalf of them that fear Him.’

He paused a moment, smiled, said, ‘God bless you,’ and walked out.

Are we ‘Big-Godders’ when it comes to asking and receiving from God?”[3]

Psalm 145 had the designation of “The Crown Jewel of Praise”, here we read, “I will extol You, my God, O King; And I will bless Your name forever and ever.  Every day I will bless You, / And I will praise Your name forever and ever.  Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; And His greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise Your works to another, / And shall declare Your mighty acts.  I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty, / And on Your wondrous works.  Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, / And I will declare Your greatness.  They shall utter the memory of Your great goodness, / And shall sing of Your righteousness.  The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, / Slow to anger and great in mercy.  The Lord is good to all, / And His tender mercies are over all His works.  All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, / And Your saints shall bless You.  They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, / And talk of Your power, / To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, / And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, / And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.  The Lord upholds all who fall, / And raises up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look expectantly to You, / And You give them their food in due season.  You open Your hand / And satisfy the desire of every living thing.  The Lord is righteous in all His ways, / Gracious in all His works.  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, / To all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.  The Lord preserves all who love Him, / But all the wicked He will destroy.  My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, / And all flesh shall bless His holy name / Forever and ever.”

Allow me to share three things about God from our passage.

 

I. We see God’s dominion over man through His majestic administration of Lordship.

From Psalm 145:1, 5a, and 11-13 we read, “I will extol You, my God, O King;
And I will bless Your name forever and ever. . . .  I will meditate on the glorious splendor of Your majesty . . . .  They shall speak of the glory of Your kingdom, / And talk of Your power, / To make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, / And the glorious majesty of His kingdom.  Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, / And Your dominion endures throughout all generations.”

Dr. J. I. Packer explains, “Our word ‘majesty’ comes from the Latin; it means greatness.  ’Majesty’ is a word which the Bible uses to express the thought of the greatness of God, our Maker and our Lord.  ’The Lord reigneth, he is clothed with majesty. . .  Thy throne is established of old’ (Ps. 93:1 f.).  ‘I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works’ (Ps. 145:5). . .  Today, vast stress is laid on the thought that God is personal, but this truth is so stated as to leave the impression that God is a person of the same sort as we are weak, inadequate, ineffective, a little pathetic.

But this is not the God of the Bible!  In all its constant stress on the reality of God’s personal concern for His people, and on the gentleness, tenderness, sympathy, patience, and yearning compassion that He shows toward them, the Bible never lets us lose sight of His majesty and His unlimited dominion over all His creatures.”[4]

As he preached in Cornelius’ house, we read in Acts 10:34-36, “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality.  But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.  The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all.’”  From Revelation 19:16b we read that Jesus Christ is “KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.”

May we sing, “Holy, holy, holy!  Lord God Almighty!”[5]

II. We see God’s disposition toward man through His mighty acts of love.

From Psalm 145:4 and 6 we read, “One generation shall praise Your works to another, / And shall declare Your mighty acts. . . .  Men shall speak of the might of Your awesome acts, / And I will declare Your greatness.”

Jesus explains God’s disposition to man as recorded in John 3:16-18, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  ‘He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.’”

In the last stanza of his great hymn Reginald Heber shares this grateful declaration:  “Holy, holy, holy!  Lord God Almighty!  All Thy works shall praise Thy Name, in earth, and sky, and sea; Holy, holy, holy; merciful and mighty!  God in three Persons, blessèd Trinity!”[6]

 

III. We see God’s deliverance of man through His merciful agenda of lowliness.

From Psalm 145:8-9, 14-21 we read, “The Lord is gracious and full of compassion, / Slow to anger and great in mercy.  The Lord is good to all, / And His tender mercies are over all His works. . . .  The Lord upholds all who fall, / And raises up all who are bowed down.  The eyes of all look expectantly to You, / And You give them their food in due season.  You open Your hand / And satisfy the desire of every living thing.  The Lord is righteous in all His ways, / Gracious in all His works.  The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, / To all who call upon Him in truth.  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him;
He also will hear their cry and save them.  The Lord preserves all who love Him, / But all the wicked He will destroy.  My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, / And all flesh shall bless His holy name / Forever and ever.”

We read about the ultimate expression of our God’s merciful agenda of lowliness in Philippians 2:5-8.  Here we read, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”

God, do you love Him or hate Him?  If you hate God, you have a problem with Him.  However, please remember that just because you say you love God does not mean that you do.  In John 14:15, 19-24 Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments. . . .  A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me.  Because I live, you will live also.  At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.  He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me.  And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.’  Judas (not Iscariot) said to Him, ‘Lord, how is it that You will manifest Yourself to us, and not to the world?’  Jesus answered and said to him, ‘If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.  He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.’”

No wonder Jude writes, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life” (Jude 20-21).  Here Jude exhorts believers to maintain their life with God in terms of fellowship.  They already have an eternal relationship with God.  The Book of Jude concludes with the following, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, / And to present you faultless / Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, /  To God our Savior, / Who alone is wise, / Be glory and majesty, / Dominion and power, / Both now and forever.  Amen” (Jude 24-25).

Every time God delivers man, He condescends.  It humbles the pride of man to receive God’s deliverance.  This is precisely the reason man often refuses to take God’s deliverance.

Dr. John R. W. Stott (1921-2011) explains, “The Gospel is good news of mercy to the undeserving.  The symbol of the religion of Jesus is the cross, not the scales.”[7]

God and man have a relational rift.  Some people are like the man who heard for the first time there is a problem between God and man.  He said, “I don’t have a problem with God.”  Millions of people feel this way.  God has a problem with mankind.  There is a deep chasm between God and man caused by sin.  Our purpose is to focus on God and His desire to have a personal relationship with each one of us.  Please note that David’s relationship with God was more than a friendship.

Regardless of what men might think or feel, only through Jesus Christ can there be a proper relationship between God and man.

 

Conclusion

Beware lest your God is too small.


[2]J. I. Packer, “The Majesty of God”, Sermon Notes , Psalm 145:5

 

[3]Dr. Paul Lee Tan, Encyclopedia of 15,000 Illustrations: Signs of  the Times, # 4283, “Big-Godders Or Little-Godder”, (Dallas, TX: Bible Communications, Inc,1998), Database © 2004 WORDsearch

 

[4]J. I. Packer, “The Majesty of God”, Sermon Notes , Psalm 145:5

 

[5]Reginald Heber, “Holy, Holy, Holy” (1826)

 

[6]Reginald Heber, “Holy, Holy, Holy” (1826)

 

[7]John Stott, Christian Mission in the Modern World (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1975, 2008), p. 78

 

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

http://www.webspawner.com/users/franklinlkirksey / fkirksey@bellsouth.net / (251) 626-6210

© November 18, 2012 All Rights Reserved

 

 

Generic Man

By Walker Moore

Walker Moore founded AweStar Ministries, a missions organization that has put thousands of teens on fields ‘white unto harvest’ around the world.


At the end of my yearly fifteen minutes of reflecting, I have come to the conclusion that I, Walker Dean Moore, have a blessed life. In fact, when people ask me, “How are you doing?” I answer back, “I’m suffering from satisfaction!”

You see, I’m married to an absolutely gorgeous, smart and multi-talented wife. I’ve seen her cook a gourmet meal for a hundred missionaries using just a two-burner hotplate. She has the skills to take several yards of fabric and turn them into a beautiful handmade quilt. I am blessed with two sons and two daughters-in-love who are the joy of my life. I am blessed to have a wonderful job and a tremendous staff. And I am grateful to God that I have always been able to go generic.

Read more ...