Category Archives: Commentary

LIVING TO EXIST


Many folks

are plowing water and shoveling smoke.

They’re

living to exist and existing to live,

but they

do not have a purpose for life.

Adrian Rogers

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DEFINITELY DIRT ROAD — AND DETERMINED TO STAY THAT WAY!


By Jim Harris

Several years ago I read a sermon by a Missionary Baptist preacher, entitled, “A Dirt Road Church In An Interstate Society.” It was delivered at a pastors’ and laymens’ meeting and reprinted in “The Baptist Monitor”, the newspaper published by the Texas

Baptist Institute in Henderson. The article was not what I expected, based on the title. (Of course, I realize that I think differently than most folks.) I expected the article to extol the virtues of being a “dirt road” church in a society that is taking the fast road away from God. Instead, it was critical of the “dirt road” mentality, even suggesting that because

the “mind-set” of our society has changed, we must change our thinking and methods in order to reach people in the twenty-first century.

Well, I am not ready to change! I believe there is a great deal of value in being a “dirt road” church in today’s four lane, superhighway society. In Matthew 7:13 Jesus said, “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 that go in thereat.” As I understand this verse, Jesus was not speaking of salvation, but service. (After all, the Sermon on the Mount was delivered to Christ’s disciples, saved ones.) According the article, a “dirt road” church is one that says things like, “Well, listen, we’ve got the truth, and we’re gonna offer it to ’em. If

they want it, they can come get it,” “We’ll stand on the Bible plan,” and “Well, we don’t want to use the world’s method for growing a church.” (He then suggests that the world is not interested in growing a church. Yes and no. The world is not interested in growing a true, Biblically sound New Testament church, but I believe Satan and the world want

something, some form of “religion” that will ease the mind of mankind concerning his spiritual condition.) The article suggests that because the world is saying, “We like a little variety,” or “That’s the time that I’d rather be leaving out of town to see my grandmother,” that the Lord’s churches must change their method of doing things in order to accomodate its whims.

If I understand the Bible, the worship service is primarily for church members, who have a Scriptural obligation before God to be present — Matt. 16:19; Heb. 10:22-29. The early churches often met secretly and were wary of “strangers” in their midst because of persecution. However, they did not fail to witness. Because we have the freedom to meet publicly and announce the times and place of our meeting, we seem to have relegated most, if

not all, of our witnessing to the worship service. God has a plan for that witnessing., and Jesus gave it in Matthew 28:19 when He said, “Go” (or, “in your going”), and He expects every one of us to witness at every opportunity, bringing those that are saved into a true, New Testament church where they can be taught the “dirt road” doctrines of the Bible.

If our worship service is nothing more than a performance to please the world and worldly, we will fail God. It is not big buildings, gymnasiums, orchestras, and sophisticated

programs that will bring people to salvation, but the sharing of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Neither will the things named above cause our witness to be more acceptable. Only the pure

and godly lives which reveal our hope of coming glory can do that (I Peter 3:15). Call me old

fashioned, but while the rest of religion is on the interstate heading away from God, I’ll be content to be “dirt road” in relation to the Master, the message, the mission, the method, the mind-set, and the ministry!

Landmark Forum — 7/4/11

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Hate As A Loving Thing.


A morning Blog:

Carl Bromley

Hate As A Loving Thing.

We talk of the importance of ‘love’ and often perceive ‘hate’ as the opposite to ‘love’. However we need to be less ‘polarized’ in our assumptions. Hate, can be a ‘loving thing’; and is an important part in truly loving the Lord.

“You who love the Lord; Hate Evil” – Psalms 97:10

Here in the Psalms is a directive to ‘hate” that is inseparably linked to ‘loving’ the Lord.

The command to all who ‘love the Lord’ is to ‘hate’ evil.

We learn then that ‘Hate’ in it self is not always a catagorically ‘bad thing’. Hate can be, and is a ‘good’ and ‘right’ thing in the correct context.

Here is such a context where ‘hate’ is a good, right and indeed a ‘loving’ thing.

Those who Love the Lord are to ‘Hate’ evil.

Hate comes from the Hebrew word transliterated: ‘Sane’.

When taken in context with the idea of ‘hating evil’ – ie. hating that which is wrong, injurious, bad, wicked; ones mind readily jumps to the English sense what being ‘Sane’ means and can easily appreciate the connection between the ‘insanity of a world’ that loves Evil, promotes what is sinful, injurious, wrong as defined by the authority of an all knowing, loving God. At least as those who love the Lord.

The world is growing more insane everyday in its rebellion against the morals and values ordained by God.

Sanity is restored as we learn to ‘hate’ evil and do ‘right’ as God defines it.

If we love the Lord, we will hate evil as he does.

To not hate evil is glaring evidence that one does not really love the Lord; at least as he or she ought.

Hating evil is part of a maturing process for a believer in coming to love the Lord as he calls us too.

As part of his love for the Lord David writes:

‘I hate every false way’ – Ps.119:28, &104

‘I hate and abhor lying: ‭but‭ thy law do I love.‭’ – Ps.119:163

‘I hate vain thoughts’ – Ps.119:113

Others Scriptures contribute:

‘The froward mouth i do hate’ – Proverbs 8:13

‘I hate the work of them who turn aside’ – Psalm 101:3

Proverbs 6:16 speaks of seven things the Lord hates.

God hates all these evil things and more. If we Love the Lord; we will truly hate them too.

Love has many facets, and hating what God hates is a ‘Loving thing’.

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LISTS


On our list of activities in life:

There are some things we need

to eliminate,

some things we need to delegate,

and the rest we need

to dedicate.

Adrian Rogers

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Have I Done My Best for Jesus?


The following is adapted from Alfred Smith’s Treasury of Hymn Stories and other sourcesThe account by Smith said Ed Spencer was an Olympic gold medal winner, but this was not possible since the modern Olympic games did not begin until 1896.

__________


Edward Spencer was a student at Garrett Biblical Institute in Evanston, Illinois, on Lake Michigan.

On the morning of September 8, 1860, Ed heard the news that the Lady Elgin, an overloaded steamship, had collided with the lumber-hauling schooner Augusta, and had sunk. People were drowning, and nothing could be done because of the heavy waves and strong currents. 

Ed ran to the shores of the lake and saw that the situation was indeed serious. People were floating on pieces of wreckage in the waters, close enough to shore for their cries of help to be heard, but unable to swim to safety. 

Without hesitation, Ed stripped himself of excess clothing and dove into the rolling waves. He was able to reach the first person, a woman who had clung to a piece of wreckage for hours and was totally exhausted, and bring her to shore. He later said, “Then the struggle began, the huge breakers forcing us towards the shore, keeping us buried much of the time, and the strong undertow tending to carry us back out into the lake. It was a struggle indeed, and I was gaining but little when two tall, stout biblical students, to whom I had signaled, came to our relief” (cited from Josiah Currey, Chicago: Its History and Its Builders).

He repeated this heroic act several more times before onlookers and friends began to say, “Ed, you’ve got to stop. You’ve done all you can. You’ll kill yourself if you keep going!” Ed did not hesitate. He replied, “I’ve got to do my best,” and plunged again into the water. On one trip he was hit in the head and injured by a piece of wreckage.

Ed rescued 17 people in 16 trips in that pitching, rolling storm. After the 16th trip he collapsed unconscious on the shore, unable to go on. He lay there repeating, “Have I done my best fellows? Have I done my best?” All night he battled for his life in the infirmary, continually repeating, “Have I done my best fellows? Have I done my best?”

Ed Spencer had done his best, but it cost him his health. He lived the rest of his life as a semi-invalid due to injuries sustained during the rescue. It was in Phoenix, Arizona, in a humble cottage, that Ensign Edwin Young found him. Mr. Young, Dean of the School of Music at Hardin-Simmons University, had heard his story and heard that he could be found in Arizona. He found a man no longer a robust athlete, but a shadow of the strong man he once was.

During the course of their visit, Mr. Young commended him for his heroic action and asked how he had been recognized during his life by the people who’s lives he had saved that day. With tears streaming down the invalid’s cheeks, he replied, “Not one ever came back to even say thank you.”
It was the retelling of this story that led Ensign Edwin Young to write, “Have I Done My Best for Jesus?”

I wonder have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calvary!
I know my Lord expects the best from me.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

The hours that I have wasted are so many
The hours I’ve spent for Christ so few;
Because of all my lack of love for Jesus,
I wonder if His heart is breaking too.

I wonder have I cared enough for others,
Or have I let them die alone?
I might have helped a wand’rer to the Saviour,
The seed of precious Life I might have sown.

No longer will I stay within the valley
I’ll climb to mountain heights above;
The world is dying now for want of someone
To tell them of the Saviour’s matchless love.

How many are the lost that I have lifted?
How many are the chained I’ve helped to free?
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
When He has done so much for me?

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IN THE BEGINNING


Professor John Lennox

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BAPTISM OR BAPTISMS


William Andrew Dillard

In expressing the unity of the faith, Paul told the Ephesians, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism…” Eph. 4:5. But. one reads in the scriptures about the baptism of the Spirit, water baptism of believers in Jesus, and the suffering of Jesus is referred to as a baptism. So just what does it mean to say “one baptism?” 
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which mean to dip or plunge. It is consistently referred to as a total inundation so much so that it is also portrayed as a burial. There is a sense that anything one may immerse himself in could be called a baptism. This is how it is used with reference to the suffering of Jesus. He would be immersed in pain and suffering.
However, the mainstream, biblical context of the word references water baptism of a professed believer by the authority of a New Testament Church. The other main reference using that word is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that came upon the church on the day called Pentecost. So, how then is it to be referenced as one?
Some would have you believe that only Spirit baptism is important and that occurs in the minute of one’s spiritual salvation. Not so! That line is pure universal church heresy.
Still others would have you believe that Holy Spirit baptism can only occur AFTER water baptism, and that upon the select few who diligently implore the Holy Spirit to so accommodate them. Not so! That is pure holy roller heresy!
The truth of the matter is settled in long ago typology in the Old Testament. When the Hebrews were freed from Egyptian slavery, they came out after applying the blood of the Passover Lamb. Then they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Did you catch that? IN THE CLOUD AND IN THE SEA. It was a simultaneous thing. Baptism is an immersion in water. A cloud is water even though it was a manifestation of the Spirit of God. The Hebrews were completely immersed with walls of water about them and the cloud of water even the Spirit of God over and about them.
Today when a professed believer is scripturally baptized, it is in water, but he is baptized to fellowship in the New Covenant, the practical expression of which is the New Testament Church where the baptism of the Holy Spirit still abides since Pentecost in special office work. By this the obedient believer is enabled to be led to spiritual maturity. So, it all occurs at once, as the scriptures plainly state: “….one lord, one faith, one baptism.” Scriptural baptism last forever, it can never be repeated.

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Important


It is more important to influence people than to impress them.Adrian Rogers.

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Worship


Worship is an attitude of the heart where we become so full it overflows us and splashes on others.

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WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?


William Andrew Dillard

This classic question penned in Luke 10:30 was asked of Jesus by a certain lawyer. It is a question that continues to be pondered as men seek to justify themselves and/or their actions in life. Of course, it continues to be asked because men are not willing to let the simple and forthright teachings of Jesus on the subject be the final answer. However, Jesus’ answer is the final truth whether it is accepted or not.
The context of the question centers around the terms of fulfilling the Law of Moses. First, one is to love God with all his heart then he is to love his neighbor as himself. So, who is my neighbor? To what degree am I allowed to discriminate and still do what I should do? Think with me about what is being said and taught here.
Does this mean that one should run right out and find someone in need and give him all his earthly possessions? No! Should this happen on a wide scale, all commerce would stop and the whole world become immediately impoverished. Jesus did not intend that. In fact, the Bible teaches us that the lazy who will not work should neither eat. II Thess. 3:10. Does this mean that poverty should be eliminated in one’s local vicinity? No! Jesus said, “The poor you have with you always.”
O.K. So now I’m thinking. Just what does this mean anyway? It means that a true Christian should not pass up opportunities to be genuinely helpful to others who genuinely have need, whoever they may be. In the “Good Samaritan story” it was the priest and Levite who miserably failed the test. They had opportunity and means to be helpful, but choose to not become involved. Then it was the generally despised Samaritan who actually performed the helpful deed. It was he who realized the unknown victim was in desperate need of a helping hand and he gladly gave it. The Samaritan realized the victim was his neighbor even though he may have never seen him before, and he was also not of his race.
Jesus’ teaching here is very plain and unmistakable. Who was neighbor to the unknown victim of crime? Was it the priest? Was it the Levite? No, it was the Samaritan. Jesus made the obvious application. “Go and do thou likewise.”
It really is true. What we keep, we lose. What we invest in others, we keep and it multiplies. Let us all be keenly aware of the plight of others. Those who need help the most are most likely those who will not ask for it. When opportunity knocks, let’s be ready to be a good neighbor.

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