Tag Archives: Jesus

THE CHURCH GOING GENERATION


Parson to Person

William Andrew Dillard

From early days, the United States of America has been generally know by the world as a Christian nation. To be sure there were many times and episodes in its history that would bring that idea into question. Still, following the great revivals of the early 19th century, that label largely stuck, more predominately in the Southern Bible belt than in the other regions. This will draw some flack, but here me out.
A few years ago, the then president of the United States stood before a gathering of leaders from many nations and forthrightly declared that America was NOT a Christian nation. A fire storm of repudiation ensued from folks at home.
I shall refrain from the many temptations of digression that present themselves in order to advance the greater purpose in mind. Could he have been correct? I think it all depends upon what one considers a Christian to be.
To perhaps 90% of what is called the “Christian World” the definition of a Christian is one who confesses that Jesus is the Son of God. Repentance from sin and faith in Him brings eternal salvation to the spirit of the individual. But Faith in God has wrought individual salvation since Eden, and none of the Old Testament saints are biblically known as Christians. What are we to make of it all? Please think with me!
The disciples of Jesus were first called Christians at Antioch (Acts 11). They did not name themselves that, but the general populace dubbed them with that title. They were a Greek speaking people and knew exactly what they were saying and meaning. It is dedicated discipleship (followership) by which those saved people were recognized and entitled.
The disciples at Antioch were 1) saved by grace through faith; 2) baptized by the first church by immersion in water; 3) honored the Word of God by teaching the biblical landmarks that guided their life, these included the above plus eternal security of the believer, and the authority of the church to spread the gospel, and administer the ordinances Jesus put into His church . As one is dedicated to these things and grows in the Word, he will be a New Testament Christian. Did this just decimate the popular idea of Christianity? Doubtless!
When folks align themselves with a religious organization without thought or research of the Biblical model, they become a Christian in colloquial name only, and are devoid of any meaningful honesty with their Creator as it is revealed in His eternal Word. Evangelism is reduced to an invitation to “our church” and its programs rather than to the all important, individual, relationship with God both in salvation and in dedicated, acceptable service.
Maybe, just maybe that Muslim pleasing president was unwittingly right. Simply put, a nation of churchgoers does not a Christian make!

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WILL DIVINE RECIPROCATION MAKE YOU HAPPY?


 

William A. Dillard
Parson to Person


Some questions are so important that one must know the answers. One question to which I refer is resounded in Holy Writ, but it is also penned quite pointedly in the lyrics of a classic hymn. “What will you do with Jesus, neutral you cannot be. One day your heart will be asking, ‘what will He do with me.’” Could there be a more relevant and pressing question on a greater number of people than this? Jesus plainly declared that those who deny Him, He will deny before the Father. Matt. 10:33. 


Jesus needs to be in the forefront of life.  Think about this incident. “And there were certain Greeks among them that came up to worship at the feast: “The same came therefore to Philip, which was of Bethsaida of Galilee, and desired him, saying, Sir, we would see Jesus.” John 12:20-21. It occurs to this writer that the wholesale rejection of organized religion by the majority of our nation’s population is partly due to the obscurity of Jesus. Please consider: 


  * Great edifices with stained glass windows and air conditioned environment are pointed to with pride, but where is Jesus? 

* Social programs designed to busy one abound, but where is Jesus?  

* The determination to present a non-offensive religion a lost society may keep the pews warm and the coffers full, but where is Jesus? 

* Pulpits may be ablaze with educated homilies, but where is Jesus?


    Strong witnessing and preaching about Jesus is needed! Men must know they are lost without Him, and that His sweet grace is freely offered to them for the trusting. 


Consider the contrast of long ago with today’s society. Zacchaeus was so excited about the possibility of seeing Jesus that he climbed a tree to do it. Believers were so excited over the prospect of bringing a palsied man to Jesus that they cut a large hole in the roof of the house where He was. Multitudes followed Jesus to hear Him, and to witness His works without regard for food or lodging. 

Today, people are so complacent about Jesus they are more likely to go fishing or to visit relatives than to meet with Him for worship. They will avoid any discussion of the need of salvation among their fellows for fear of being considered a radical. Often church meetings are esteemed so unimportant that members will look for excuses to be absent. Is the power of God diminished, or have we faked people into the church who are incapable of spiritual appreciation and excitement? 

These things may be easily dismissed by nominal, worldly-minded “Christians,” but judgment flies toward earth on swift wings.  Dear friends, “What will you do with Jesus? Neutral you cannot be! One day your heart will be asking: ‘What will He do with me?’”  Will you be happy with reciprocation?

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TWO PREACHERS-ONE SERMON


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
TWO PREACHERS-ONE SERMON

In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matt. 3:1-2.
Reading further in Matt. 4:17, it is written, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” So, Jesus and John delivered the same initial message to the Jewish nation, and it was not a new plan of salvation of the spirit, but something new, and at hand: the kingdom of heaven.
Dr. Fred G. Stevenson, instructor of Old Testament Hebrew for many years in Missionary Baptist Seminary, stated often that the kingdom of heaven and the kingdom of God as it is variously called are one and the same, and what constitutes it is the righteous ways of God being carried out by righteous men.
Truly, the concept of such a kingdom was in play as early as Eden, but took on the necessary processes applicable to sinful men after the fall to bring them to a state of spiritual maturity. Those processes are the Bible story, the full fruition of which, men still struggling with sinful flesh, is realized in this age of grace through the New Testament church. The complete fullness of it will be realized in the millennium and subsequent heaven ages.
The Lord’s church, a mystery hidden in ages past, is the heavenly designed climax of four thousand years of experience designed to bring men to the position of mature sons by virtue of spiritual growth aided by the anointing of the Holy Spirit which came to permanently reside in the church on Pentecost, Acts 2. The church is the bride of Christ, the branches of the vine, and kingdom representative and executive in the present age.
Make no mistake about it. The kingdom of heaven did not exist prior to the ministry of Christ Jesus even though it was in preparation. Both Jesus and John declared it was at hand. Some may object because Jesus said to the rejecting Jewish nation that the kingdom would be taken from them and given to another bringing forth the fruits thereof. That simply means what was intended for Israel would not be received by them, but by another.
Thus was the kingdom of heaven entrusted to a prepared people to receive it. This was the mission of John the Baptist, and the message of both John and Jesus. What a treasure beyond words God’s obedient people have today, but individual decisions are still necessary to be positioned in it.
Opening the mind to ultimate truth is God’s Work: exposing the mind to the Word is ours! How sad it will be for some to go out into eternity having had copies of the Bible in their possession, but not knowing what it was all about. Hear then the message of two heaven sent preachers. Learn its meaning!

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April 22 – The Prayer to God Greater than Physical Power


April 22 – The Prayer to God Greater than Physical Power

What a prayer of faith and trust in God. The Army of Asa was 580 thousand. He faced an army of a thousand thousand. The Ethiopian army stood at one million men. The Ethiopian army was about twice as large. For the average man, there is no sense in fighting this battle. The odds were too large. It was sure destruction.

Have you ever considered a missionary that went into a new field not knowing anyone but simply has a calling from God to be in this place and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to anyone that would listen? The missionaries are outnumbered. They are one feeble light in a great mass of Darkness. The Lord’s Church is outnumbered by the ones that are preaching untruths and causing many at death to descend into the pits of hell. Look at those Church members engaging in telling others about Christ. The work of the true Church has many enemies that are fighting against the truth. Salvation does not come through good works, baptism or Church membership. It comes through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. That work He completed on the cross. Paul told the Ephesian brethren that salvation is a free gift.

Listen, when God is with us, who can be against us? Just as Asa triumphed through pray and the might and strength of God, we must rely on God to defeat the enemy. We must pray for the help of God because He has the power. He can defeat the enemy. He can overcome every obstacle Satan puts in our way.

We have the victory through Christ our Lord and God the Father.

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REMEMBERING SMYNRA


REMEMBERING SMYNRA

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

A fairly short distance north of the ancient city of Ephesus lies the ruins of the city of Smyrna. There, a great church of the Lord Jesus Christ was established under the ministry of Paul and his companions. The church at Smyrna is one of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation chapters two and three. The message of the Lord to this great church, and to those who would follow after in the same environment was one of great encouragement. They, in their trials, were to take the longer look at what was really important; to discern the beginning from the end. Accordingly, Jesus presented Himself to them as the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive. They were assured their trouble was not unnoticed by the Lord. Then, they were admonished to not fear the suffering that was coming. In their poverty, they were accounted as being rich. Moreover, they were promised a crown of life for their faithfulness. What a wonderful message to the church folks in their trials and suffering for the Lord.
It was my privilege to visit this ancient site some years ago. Being on a “Journeys of Paul” tour, Turkey was approached by ship from Greece. As the ship came within a few miles of land, an outline of the modern city of Izmir came into view. The alabaster buildings gleamed in sunlight piercing, scattering clouds that had bathed them in fresh, cool rain. In the foreground was the beautiful deep blue water of the Aegean Sea, and above the city in the few remaining clouds, a rainbow graced a scene that begged to be on canvas.
Izmir, the surviving, thriving city of ancient Smyrna hosts a population of perhaps two million. When I arrived there, the city had installed the first traffic lights, and most did not know what they meant. So the operating law of traffic was who had the loudest horn, and who was bold enough to push forward first. I observed that any desirable dwelling had armed guards patrolling the property however small. Inquiry revealed the country observed squatter’s rights. Any four walls and roof was home and occupants could not be moved, so the constant vigil to keep people away.
The ruins of Smyrna are not as prominent or large as some others, but enough remains to testify of a thriving city in which dedicated saints of the Lord paid a heavy price to advance the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our group paused and gave thanks for what the Lord’s church did here among so many enemies of the gospel, even the synagogue of Satan.
Being there was a grim reminder that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Modern churches conquered by the world, and its synagogues of Satan soon turn to belittle and marginalize true churches who love the Word and seek to advance its cause. Because that cramps their style, their wrath is often incurred. It is just in such a time that the faithfulness of Smyrna should be remembered, and their example followed.

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MARCH 20 – Self Destruction


MARCH 20 – Self Destruction

Pro 13:13  Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed: but he that feareth the commandment shall be rewarded. 

There is a great value in the Word of God that orders life in a profitable way. There are many today that despise the Word of God. They boldly attack it and try to destroy the Word of God. There are those that are not so bold and simply attack the Word in a subtle way. They attempt to quietly destroy the authority of the Word. Some do that by being correctors to the Word. The way they use to do that is to say, “well this passage really means this.” This implies that the common man cannot understand the Word of God. Others despise the Word by misapplying passages of scripture. Leaving the idea that if you are a true follower, God wants you to be rich. If you are a true follower, you will never be sick.

John 1:1 gives us what the Word is. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. This speaks of Jesus Christ. Now when we despise the Word, we are despising Christ and in essence trying our best to destroy Him. We distort Jesus Christ. We give pictures of Christ that are not true. Notice that those that despise the Word will be destroyed. But those that fear the commandment shall be rewarded.

We should fear God and his call to trust in His Son. We should be obedient to the Word after repentance and believing so that the world will know we do not despise the Word. Those that claim to have been saved and still are living in their sins are despisers of the Word, of Jesus Christ.

May we ever love the Word and love our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Beware of Scheming Friends


MARCH 18 – Beware of Scheming Friends

2Sa 13:3  But Amnon had a friend, whose name was Jonadab, the son of Shimeah David’s brother: and Jonadab was a very subtil man. 

The best of friends can lead to terrible things. How many have seen the motto, when I am in jail, my best friend is there with me.” This is not my choice as a best friend. Our friendships should elevate and warn us about trouble to come. Amnon had an evil desire and his friend laid out a plan that could make this desire come true. The friend was not implicated to share in results of this completed plan. The fulfillment of this plan brought death to Amnon and Jonadab was free from any consequences.

One thing we need is friends that elevate us. Friends that love us enough that they will encourage us to do the right thing. Decisions can make us or break us in this life. Not only do we need friends that lead us in the right direction, we need mentors. Those that have lived and served a long time. Those that have met the problems and overcome them. Would a middleincome person looking for financial advice turn to a middleincome person whose finances are in a shambles and ask them advice? I would go to the man that had accumulated a retirement nest egg that was very comfortable. I would seek out the one upon buying a car said, “I will not buy another pair of shoes until this car is paid off. He put cardboard in the shoes to cover the holes until that car was paid off. He accumulated a very comfortable retirement.

Whatever your goal in life, good friends are important. Friends that stick with you through thick and thin. Friends that have good advice when troubles and trials come. Friends that maybe we don’t see for a few years, yet communicate things that we would reveal to others. I have a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. I need daily communication with Him. We communicate through prayer and the Word He has given us.

When I can do no more, I have a friend that I can turn everything over to Him and He takes care of it. Jesus Christ, my Savior, my Guide, my Comfort, my Advisor, my Friend.

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Church 5


Church 5

Acts chapter 2 can give us great insights on the work of the Holy Spirit. What took place in the upper room has an explosion of thoughts about what took place. One area of mistaken thoughts is that this was when the Holy Spirit indwelt each individual believer and sealed then unto the day of redemption. Very simply a mistaken thought about the work of the Holy Spirit will throw everything else out of kilter. John 14:15-21 is the promise of the Comforter, not the indwelling seal unto redemption. He is called the Spirit of Truth. He is sent in the name of Jesus. We are given a list of things that the Holy Spirit will do in leading the Church. He will teach the Church. He will teach the Church all things and bring the ability to remember things. If your memory is working, you will remember reading that there were times after this that the apostles remembered things that they were told by Jesus would happen.

John 16:7 emphasizes the need of the Comforter. Why? Jesus is not personally with the Church to lead and teach. Let us carry on with the work of the Holy Spirit. Our polished speech, charisma, or exotic intelligence is not what draws people to Jesus. It is the Holy Spirit that reprove the world of sin and of righteousness’ and of judgment.

Acts 2:4 – “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. I count about 15 different languages spoken on this day. This is not the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at the point of salvation. This is the empowering of the Church and the Church members. This is totally different from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

Notice the question that was asked the apostles and Peter, what shall we do? The question was not what shall we do to be saved? Notice the answer, Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the Holy Ghost. Notice this statement, he was sent to jail for stealing a car. Was he sent to jail so that he could steal that car? Or rather because he stole a car. Repent and be baptized for (because of ) remission of sins. After baptism and Church membership the gift of the Holy Spirit is given.

Oh yes, verse 41 says that about three thousand souls were added to them and this took place after baptism.

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THE DAY AFTER


The day after the celebration of the birth of Jesus. For some, this day is a let down after the flurry of gift giving and family and fun. For me, this is a day of reflection on how a babe in a manager became my substitute. I am reminded of how unworthy I am and how I was so loved that the one to be my substitute, lay so innocently in a manger to grow and take my place on the cross. This a time for me to reflect on the cost or price of my salvation. How humbling to see one that sees my own innermost thoughts still wanted to give me a free gift of eternal life even though He could see my inward filthiness and degradation. It is now time to praise the LORD for His great and enduring love.

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Church 2


Jesus has called the first members of His Church. He went about all Galilee teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. Now you can find that in Matthew 4:23.

Jesus ministry began immediately proving who He was. He had yet much that needed to be done and quickly launched into a teaching ministry for the small band that was following Him. Matthew chapter 5-7 comprises the first lessons that He gave the Church.

His healing proved who He was, not only to the lost , but also to this little church that was following Him. Jesus asked these men: whom say ye that I am. Peter gave the proper recognition to his Savior – “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Then we receive that great and wonderful statement that is mis-understood by many. “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  This was Jesus statement that He, personally would build this Church upon the firm foundation of Himself. This is found in Matthew 16:16-18.

Let us examine the position of Jesus in relation to this Church He has called off the shores of Galilee. He called them out. He taught them. He led them. He sent them. He gave them power to do the work He wanted them to do. He was all things to this small Church gathered around Him.

Everything done was done by the Leader, the head, the power of the LORD. When He sent them two by two with nothing to care for them, in Mark chapter 6, He proved to them He had power and authority to care for His Church. The feeding of the five thousand was not only for the benefit of feeding the five thousand, no, it revealed the provision He would provide to the Church. This was leading to the majestic statement found in Matthew 28:18, “all power is given to me in heaven and in earth.”

The Church now sees the Christ, in His true position as the head of all things and especially to the Church. The Church could do nothing without the Power, the Position, and the Program of Jesus. Therefore the Lord, our Savior, gave that small band, the Church, the reason for them being called out. “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: an, lo, Ia am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

More to come.

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