Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA

The Knowledge of God Obscured

by admin ~ July 20th, 2019

In John 4:22, the Lord Jesus said to a Samaritan woman at a well, speaking of the Samaritans, “Ye worship ye know not what.” They did not know who God was, so they did not know whom they were worshiping. If we do not know who God is, then we will not know how to worship Him either. As Jesus spoke to that woman, His intention was that she would know God, so as to worship Him in spirit and in truth. God wants us to know Him, which is why He communicated Himself to us through general and special revelation. As seen in these Samaritans, the threat of wrong thinking about God exists. The general revelation of God, which is general in it audience, that is, everybody gets it, includes the law of God written in men’s hearts (cf. Rom 2:15). Man is made in the image of God (Gen 1:26), so every person in part starts with a default true understanding of the one and only God. It is not a sufficient enough comprehension of God to save a man, but it is adequate to render him without excuse for not being saved (Rom 1:18-20). Because of the curse of sin, that knowledge of God will become obscured and distorted without sustenance from the Word of God, His special revelation.

The Future of Our Country

by admin ~ July 12th, 2019

We celebrated July 4th, Independence Day, this last week. Following along with that theme this Sunday after it, I want to draw your attention to another tension that exists related to the future of our country. On one hand, we see a steep decline in the way of fast arriving destruction. Maybe it will or it won’t occur, but it doesn’t look good. According to biblical prophecy, when the world is close to the end, it will have become worse and worse. We can bewail the ending of the country because of evil control over academia, the media, Hollywood, newspapers, and also the push toward socialism, abortion, loss of freedom, same sex marriage, and the popularity of all this. We would be right. On the other hand, a second pole if you will, we think of deliverance, the preaching of the gospel, transformation, and positive change. I’m writing here to say that we cannot have the former be our theme, but rather the latter. We might be pessimistic about the future of the country, but we don’t have to act that way in our own life. The nation will for sure not make it, if the people who have the solution just give up. We can’t and shouldn’t do that. It’s not right. It’s not what Jesus did. People can be rescued and that’s our life, bringing people with us, for God’s glory.

Christian Founding of the Nation

by admin ~ July 6th, 2019

This week is Independence Day on Thursday and this last week, Monday, my wife and I went to Plymouth, Massachusetts to visit “Plimouth Plantation,” the second successful English colony in America. Most of the founders of this colony today we know as the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims strongly believed that the Church of England, and the Catholic Church, had strayed beyond Christ’s teachings, and established religious rituals, and church hierarchies, that went against the teachings of the Bible. Many of the Pilgrims were members of a Puritan sect known as the Separatists. They believed that membership in the Church of England violated the biblical precepts for true Christians, and they had to break away and form independent congregations that adhered more strictly to divine requirements. The first American history book was written by the governor of the Plymouth colony, William Bradford, covering the years 1620 to 1657. In his history, Bradford drew deep parallels between everyday life and the events of the Bible. The Pilgrims were not Baptists. They practiced infant sprinkling. However, America had religious foundings that centered upon the Bible. I remind you of this as we look forward to July 4th.

Son Of

by admin ~ June 29th, 2019

“Son of” is found in scripture 1,602 times, and it is followed by the name of the father. In the Hebrew, it is the word, ben, like the original president of Israel in 1948, David Ben Gurion. The “ben” means “son of.” “Gurion” would be the father. The name of the father is listed because it is important. God thinks and says it is important. Fathers are important. They are either important because of what the fathers did right or wrong. Jesus Himself is called the Son of God, because of the importance of His Father. What do you think is the most important aspect of a Father? When I consider Jesus in John 17, it seems that it was the Father telling Him the truth, and that’s what He did, what the Father told Him to do. Are you hearing the truth from the Father? Hopefully then the father, your human father, is speaking and practicing the truth. That provides a basis for your own belief and practice. You hear the right things and do the right things, and that makes up your life. I understand that the Father is given responsibility as the so-called “bread winner.” He provides. God the Father provides for needs. If needs are provided and the Father is both telling you and obeying the truth, shouldn’t you be thankful for that? Do you express thanks for that?

Church Talks

by admin ~ June 14th, 2019

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conferences is a media organization that posts talks online for free distribution under the slogan “ideas worth spreading.” TED was conceived by Richard Saul Wurman in February 1984 as a conference and has been held annually since 1990. TED’s early emphasis was on technology and design, consistent with its Silicon Valley origins. It has since broadened its perspective to include talks on many scientific, cultural, political, and academic topics. Many now have heard of TED talks, which is what they’re now known as. 2,600 of these are now posted on youtube. The most popular has been viewed 17,239,371 times, “Do Schools Kill Creativity?” by Sir Ken Robinson. Four times a week Bethel Baptist Church has a “talk.” Scripture calls it teaching or preaching. What is crucial at the church is that the talk is the truth and most specifically, the Word of God, which is the truth (John 17:17). As a result, the talk is eternal, not just temporal, approved by God, and of benefit for all eternity. Do they work? If they are believed and practiced. I heard someone say years ago that the Bible is “God’s mind about everything.” If there is anything to hear, it is God’s mind on whatever subject.

The Goodness of God Motivates

by admin ~ June 8th, 2019

The Psalmist writes in Psalm 27:13, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.” Then in Psalm 33:5, “the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD.” The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 2:4, “Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” God is good. The earth is full of His goodness. I can’t underestimate the importance of noticing, acknowledging, and responding then to the goodness of God. For an unsaved person, the goodness of God leads him to repentance. For a saved person, the goodness of God keeps him strong and away from the distractions or allurements of the world. In the hierarchy of God’s authority, it’s also good for children to see the goodness of their parents. It’s a kind of corollary to the goodness of the Lord, because God uses Christian parents in the lives of their children. When children want to do what they want, I’ve noticed they must diminish the goodness of their parents. Either with God or with parents, it is unthankful, and thankfulness fuels obedience. People should want the will of God because it is true and it is right. It’s also good.

Remedy for Apostasy

by admin ~ June 1st, 2019

As you consider how hard it is to remain consistent and strong in your faith in Christ, you should remember the state of the faith at certain points in history. Everyone in the world, except for eight souls, rejected the truth in the day of Noah. A vast majority of Israel turned away at various points of the history of Israel: in the wilderness after the exodus from Egypt, during the ministry of Elijah and Elisha, and then during the time of the preaching of Jeremiah. Just because most people aren’t believing doesn’t mean that either the faith isn’t credible or that you have reached a unique time of faithlessness. The apostasy itself begets more apostasy as people reject the idea that something believed by so few could be true or that God wouldn’t expect faithfulness during such times of great unbelief. The faith should not be stressed by such experiences but instead send you to the Word of God, which strengthens your faith. Turn toward more obedience to the Lord as a means of building you up and then edifying others. Let’s not think about some kind of stalemate, but instead about an advance or taking of new ground. In 2 Peter as a remedy for apostasy, Peter commands both ‘add to your faith’ and ‘bring yourself into remembrance.’

What Rather than Why

by admin ~ May 25th, 2019

As a parent, sometimes I found myself asking, “Why?” I’ve taught that “why” is not the most important question. Ask, “What?” “Why” is important to God. He wants us to serve Him with gladness, but scripture puts a priority on the what and let me give you two arguments for that. Philippians 1:15-18, “Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.” In these verses, Paul was thankful the gospel was preached, even though it was with the wrong motive. Something related to that is in Galatians 1:6-9, which I’m not going to quote, but Paul said someone who preached another gospel was accursed. It didn’t matter why the person was preaching a false gospel – he was preaching it. Let him be accursed. We start by asking if something is right or wrong, good or evil, the will of God or not the will of God. For each of personally, the motive matters and can motivate to do the right thing, but doing it is most important.

Scriptural or Non-Scriptural

by admin ~ May 18th, 2019

The list of possible non-scriptural issues is much, much bigger than the list of scriptural ones. In other words, we’ve got a lot of liberty. A lot. I could make up a list past the moon of non-scriptural actions. What kind of furniture polish do you use? Do you hang landscape art instead of portrait? What fruit variety do you add to your oatmeal? What is the thread count of your sheets? What type of allergy medication do you use? Where do you take a walk? What variety of pet do you own? What brand of car do you drive? Is your yard grass or turf? Do you like Target or Walmart more? You get what I’m talking about. However, when we either on purpose or incidentally veer into a scriptural issue, it must be what and how God says. We don’t have options there. We’ve got to do it. What has happened today is that scriptural issues have been shoved over into the non-scriptural category to give liberty to do what people want in scriptural issues. This is actually sinning. People are sinning, but they aren’t calling it sinning because they have shifted scriptural issues into non-scriptural ones. Sometimes people are ignorant. Other times they are rebellious. Some are vexed. They know it’s wrong, but they don’t want to change. Know and obey scripture.

Continuing

by admin ~ May 11th, 2019

John 8:31 says, “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.” Believers will continue. However, believers must continue. You know you’ll continue, but you also must continue, so let’s continue. Let’s do what it takes to continue. 1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Timothy 4:16, “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed.” God uses the means that believers are commanded to depend on. We pray. We look for encouragement from fellow believers. We add to our faith. We endure hardness as a good soldier. We live by every Word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. God, of course, is the One Who brings us through, but we do the continuing. Like Paul said, I can do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me. We can help each other. Bear one another’s burden’s and so fulfill the law of Christ.