You’ll often hear me talk about how many things have to be going right at any given moment for any one of us to live physically. God is taking care of all of those things outside of our conscious credit to Him. He’s doing it anyway, despite not receiving the non-stop thanks and praise that He deserves. However, it is not going to last. We live temporal lives, but the earth itself is also disposable. We won’t be here very long, but the earth is on the clock too. God’s Word tells us what this time we have is all about. We know why we’re here. Sure, we’re supposed to be good stewards of what we have and do the best we can with what God has given to us, but the things of this life – the house, what we eat, what we wear, etc. – none of these things are going to last. God wants us to invest our lives in spiritual things, prioritize spiritual things. The church is all about that, about following the Lord in what He wants us to do. The little time that we spend here is all about the kingdom of God, which moves on into eternity. Almost everyone reading this in our church probably says that he knows that. Are you living like it? Is the truth of God what is vitally important for and to you? It is what is most important, but do you treat it as such? This is living by faith, trusting God and what He said. The ones who do that are believers and they move on into eternity with the Lord.
Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA
The terminology “law enforcement” brings many different thoughts this week; however, law enforcement assumes “law.” “Law” assumes authority and the comprehension of ordinary language. It isn’t a law if there is not controlling authority, which implies some type of consequence for violation. Laws are based upon ordinary language, yet we live in an age of linguistic relativity. Relativity starts with the denial of supernatural—naturalism—also called modernism, which didn’t fulfill its adherents, so it spun into postmodernism, where everyone can have his own truth, truth as a matter only of personal taste. This has paralleled with progressivism, which says that through naturalistic means mankind keeps progressing with the goal of reaching a utopian state. A strict construction of law takes a certain view of language where words must mean what they mean. God gave us language and His will is revealed to us in words. Naturalism by nature rebels against literal meaning with hope for a utopian society, which is to believe a lie. Only God’s Word is truth. The attack on truth requires an attack on meaning, so that laws become meaningless. Law begins with God because He is the highest authority. The attack on meaning is an attack on Him, on His power and goodness, by people who won’t submit to Him, because they don’t trust Him.
In many ways, one church service here at Bethel, the meeting of the church, is a microcosm of your entire life. What is your whole life about? It is about worshiping God, which is acknowledging God and giving Him what He wants. We are created for His pleasure and in this age, that is through the church. However, everything that occurs in the assembling of ourselves together here, although actually occurring and important in itself, is a model for what you are to do outside of the church. The meeting of our church is regulated by scripture. We pray, we read the Bible, we sing praise, we fellowship, we give, we preach, we listen to preaching, and we respond with submission to the Word of God. During the week, you take that model and live it out in your home, your work, and everywhere else. As that relates to hearing preaching and then passing along the Word of God that has passed through the church, we preach the gospel to every creature. That occurs in a systematic way. I believe every man should be involved in systematic evangelism, but also the spontaneous evangelism, where we live out the gospel with our life and lips. The latter very often doesn’t occur, because of the missing of the former. It’s not a more difficult commitment to go out with the men of our church to preach the gospel. What you do everywhere corresponds to that.
Perhaps you ask yourself the same question we read in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Of course, He will find faith on the earth, but so relatively little that it merits the question. Why can we say faith will be on the earth? It will be there, because God promised there would be (Matt 16:18). Some will depart from the faith (1 Tim 4:1), not all. God can make the promise that faith will exist on the earth, because God is working in a fashion that there can be. There would be none if He were not working. His “grace hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11). That faith will be on the earth reminds me of 1 Corinthians 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” And, same chapter, 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am.” God is glorified for any faith on the earth, because He is the One Who ensures that it will be here. In the meantime, why would faith disappear? Next chapter, 16:13, “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.” We are commanded to stand fast in the faith. Whatever God is doing we should be cooperating with, which means standing fast in the faith. Each of you count for that. Everyone matters in this stand, like Philippians 1:27 says, “that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”
I want to combine a couple of thoughts from two different verses from Paul’s epistles, and then consider some belief and practice from those thoughts from those verses. In Philippians 4:19, the Apostle Paul writes, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Paul is writing to the church at Philippi, which was in Macedonia, which had sent him a very sacrificial gift. He wanted them to know, that despite the loss that ensued because of that collection, they would be fine. God would supply all their need. Then in 1 Timothy 6:8, he writes to Timothy, both to him and to pass on to the church at Ephesus, “having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” God will supply all your need and then you need to be content with that. This promise goes to characteristically obedient children of God in His churches. How will God supply all one needs? He will do that by means of His providence. Providence is the work of God. The work of God by very definition is supernatural. However, God doesn’t do miracles to get that done. God uses the ordinary means to accomplish that task. We should be content with God using ordinary means to meet our need. He has promised He will do that to and for His obedient children. That doesn’t require a miracle and if we expect one anyway, we are discontent or covetous.
Jesus cares about your every day life, all the little things of your life. Overall, Jesus cares for you. However, how you interpret His care is important. His caring for you doesn’t mean that you will get everything that you want just like you want. It doesn’t mean that you won’t face difficult times, or if you do face them, you can count on Jesus ridding you of them if He really cares. He cares. Your interpretation of His care must be one of faith, where you trust that He cares, first, because the Bible says He cares. You know He cares because the Bible says so. Peter writes in his first epistle (5:7), “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” It really does behoove you to believe that. It isn’t a feeling, but believing it will produce one, one of calm or peace, and not so much stress. When you know He cares, you won’t complain as much. Complaining isn’t a good Christian testimony. The word for complaining in the King James Version is “murmuring,” but Paul writes in Philippians 2:14, “Do all things without murmurings.” It is disobeying the command, “rejoice evermore.” Second, you trust He cares by considering the goodness of God’s providence. You should actively notice what God is doing and recognize it. You can find enough good things that God has done and is doing to make you a thankful person, especially as a believer. God cares for you.
We are in the midst of a presidential race that seems to percolate in the background of all the activity of the nation. Many people make a living through comment and analysis on what the president does every day or on a regular basis. People try to explain why people like or support a certain candidate. You might hear that women want to break through “the glass ceiling.” Someone might say that the people’s incomes are diminishing and the middle class is disappearing. Very often the country is reduced to various special interests, each of which has a few issues important to the group and with votes for the candidate that says to or promises it. In so many cases, the issues revolve around what people want. Almost everything relates to one’s own personal well being. On the other hand, some say they want a president who will defend the Constitution of the United States, someone who will not function according to special interest, but according to the law. Whatever it is that people may say they want in a president, the process opens us up to the condition of the people of the nation and what they think is important. It reminds us that the kingdoms of this world fall, but the kingdom of our Lord will never end. We will always be fine if we submit to God and live for eternity. For believers, our God will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory.
God invented motherhood. Let’s explore it for a moment from His perspective. There’s mothering and then there’s mothering. The former is having babies. The latter is having them and raising them according to God’s Word. God designed mothering and mothering. God created the woman with the ability and role to bear children. He also created the woman with the ability and role to raise them. I’m not advocating in other words, Mr. Mom — only Mrs. Mom. There is no, really, Mr. Mom. That’s a perversion of what God created. God created women, equipped them, with the unique nurturing ability to the point where mothering is uniquely female. If men are doing it, they are acting like a woman, because it takes a woman to do it. You can say, based on God’s Word, that there is nothing more important than mothering. Speaking of “the woman,” that is, every woman generically or institutionally, 1 Timothy 2:15 says “she shall be saved in childbearing.” Even though she was deceived, Eve sinned in the garden, and by doing so plunged mankind into destruction. However, the woman has as much to do with bringing mankind back as anyone. Her role is equal to that of the man’s, if she will fulfill it. The woman does her part in bringing mankind back to its original purpose through childbearing. There are a lot of great examples in God’s Word.
What you know is important. Scripture again and again speaks of the importance of knowledge. More than one thing to know, the knowledge of God is the most important. Jesus prayed in His intercessory prayer in John 17, John recording in verse 3, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” You have to know this in order to have eternal life. Without this knowledge is the exact opposite, eternal death. Someone might question whether that could be known and Paul answers this in Romans 1:18-19 (but you should read the whole rest of the chapter), “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.” Men are without excuse as it relates to the knowledge that could save them, because God has revealed the necessary knowledge to them. You just have to believe that. I believe that. You can’t prove it wrong. My experience tells me that it is true. I’ve talked to a lot of people who didn’t know enough, and they are required to care, and they don’t care. They are not open to listen or get what they need to hear, and they need to. In v. 18 above, it says it is a rebellion problem. They “hold the truth in unrighteousness.”
God alone saves. God saves alone. Not only does God do the saving alone, but He does it His way. He doesn’t save our way. He saves in a way that brings Him glory. God deserves glory. He above all things deserves the highest value, especially from His creation, and even more so from His children. God saves in a way that He will receive the glory. God must receive the glory for the salvation of a lost soul. Those working for God should desire for Him to receive the glory. It’s not just that God saved apart from our works, because we could receive the glory if salvation were by works, but also that He saves in a way that no one but God could receive the credit. If we could get the credit from it, then we are doing something wrong, contradictory to the Word of God. We know from Romans 1 that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. We know from 1 Corinthians chapters one through three that God does the salvation work by means of preaching. God saves through the preaching of the gospel. We can’t add anything to that particular methodology and that is the threshold through which God works to the saving of men’s souls. It’s foolishness to men, but it is the plan of God. It’s how God wants it done. We should do it that way. Are you participating? Is preaching the gospel a priority in your life? Do you see it as the worship of God it should be?