Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA

Leap of Faith?

by admin ~ March 11th, 2017

I was listening to a question and answer with prominent conservative pundit, Ben Shapiro. He is an orthodox Jew. He was asked a question about religious freedom. In talking about the attack on religion in America today, he said the following, word for word, in his answer to a question: “When they say that you are a fool for believing in God, the truth is that belief in God is belief. Right? You have to take a leap of faith. It can’t be proved. It’s not something you can make a scientific hypothesis and then fulfill that hypothesis. But atheism can’t be proved either. There’s no way to prove these sorts of intangibles.” I’m writing this short essay, because he is so wrong. Faith is not the absence of proof. Faith is scientific. Hebrews 11:1 says that “faith is the evidence of things not seen.” The Bible does not describe faith as a leap. Scripture is certain, having itself been proven to be true. Our faith comes from scripture. We believe it, because it is true, so we are certain. It isn’t a leap.

The English Word “Worship”

by admin ~ March 4th, 2017

The English word, “worship,” in its various forms occurs over 198 times in the King James Version. It’s obviously a theme of scripture, something important. Everyone worships something. If you are not worshiping the true God, it doesn’t mean that you are worshiping nothing. You are still worshiping. Exodus 34:14 is the first time the English word appears, and it says, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” God is jealous if something or someone is worshiped beside Himself. Romans 1:25 says that you worship and serve the creature, if not the Creator. In the same context of Romans 1 and then in the epistle of 2 Peter, we see people want what they want. They don’t want a boss. They don’t want anyone telling them what to do. In the word “worship” is the word, “worth.” God is not being valued. He is not being feared. He is not being recognized for the goodness He supplies. All of that relates to not giving God what He wants and deserves.

Minimum Objectives

by admin ~ February 25th, 2017

The unbelieving religious leaders of Jesus’ day asked Him what was the greatest commandment in the law, and He said, love the Lord thy God, first, and, second, love thy neighbor as thyself. Jesus wasn’t saying that no other commands or teachings mattered. There were prohibitions punishable by death in God’s law. Those were serious. When Nadab and Abhi offered strange fire unto the Lord, they were both killed. You can’t get all of the commandments, words, and sayings obeyed, if you won’t start with at least minimum objectives. I hesitate anymore to talk about minimum objectives, because someone might think it is permissible to do only the minimum. I’m saying the minimum is a benchmark. My wife and I know that we have certain benchmarks in our marriage. If I didn’t do those things, I would assess myself as failing at loving my wife. For awhile, I’ve listed minimum objectives as Bible study, prayer, evangelism, and faithful church attendance. Do those every week.

Men Hate the Light

by admin ~ February 19th, 2017

Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:19-20, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.” If you are breathing, you have noticed an extreme uptick in the United States in severe, radical, crude, loud, threatening, violent, and dangerous behavior as protest and opposition. Why? These are discontent people, who can’t be happy, without a standard or means of civility. If they don’t get their way, they feel justified to throw a fit like they are. You see this portrayed in 2 Peter 2, a lot of the description there a perfect explanation of what we see in our culture. They must have their way and without condemnation or opposition. They don’t want opposition even spoken, warning of punishment for that. This is the trend we see today, growing like it hasn’t in decades. “Be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled,” 1 Peter 3:14.

Expect Great Things

by admin ~ February 11th, 2017

Is God doing great things today? Should we expect more from God than what Christians expect from Him? I’m not sure what was the context of his quote, but the famous British Baptist missionary to India, William Carey, said, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” I don’t know what Carey meant by “great things,” but people often quote Carey in this instance like his quote was some type of equivalent to scripture. The idea or thought here seems to be, if you aren’t expecting “great things” and you aren’t attempting “great things” then you are disobedient to God. If great things are just obedience to scripture, then those applications of the Word of God are great enough. God is doing great enough things. He never stops doing them. People very often so much want to report that they saw something of a supernatural nature that they start seeking these types of events. God wants you to enjoy and thank Him for the great things that He already does on an every day basis.

It’s Not Worth My Time

by admin ~ February 3rd, 2017

Perhaps you’ve said the words, “It’s not worth my time,” demeaning whatever toward which someone points those words. Maybe we can turn the question around and ask then, “What is worth your time?” The question speaks to what is valuable. We look to God for those priorities, because God tells us what is the most value. On the top of that list is God Himself, because God Himself is most valuable. If you don’t put your time into God, then your values are out of whack. If you don’t value what is most valuable, you can’t look at anything in the right way. You won’t use your time properly because you will be spending it on something of lesser value. Your time becomes of less value. By its nature, what is most valuable is most worth your time. Having God of the greatest value to you and your life doesn’t mean that you won’t do any other kind of work. You’ll think about your work, however, as it relates to God. You do it for God. God is pleased by this.

Hope of the Glory of God

by admin ~ January 28th, 2017

Romans 5:2b-5a say, “[We] rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed.” Life has tribulations in it, which proceed from the sin curse on the world. Those having peace with God and a standing in God’s grace through justification by faith also have a hope of glory that takes them through tribulations. With hope of the glory of God, tribulations take on a purpose. They strengthen us in the sanctification process that brings patience or endurance. The more believers endure through tribulations with the hope of glory, they gain experience, and all of this brings more hope. More hope brings greater strength in tribulations to endure and then even greater experience, which results in even greater hope. It is a cycle that guarantees that we will conform to the image of Jesus Christ by the power of His grace, fulfilling God’s promise.

Evangelism in the Plan of God

by admin ~ January 20th, 2017

Whatever goal we might see for the earth, it will be limited by certain realities. In the beginning, God said to subdue His creation and have dominion over it, expanded upon by his instruction to Adam, to dress it and keep it. We’re still doing those things, but with the new reality of sin, that curses this earth. We can’t succeed at God’s mandate without the gospel, first for ourselves and then for others. We can’t do what God directed without others and others can’t fulfill their part without the gospel either. Hence, we must evangelize. Evangelism then becomes part of the work. Man can’t obey God as a lifestyle without conversion. The other reality is that this planet isn’t going to survive as it is. Every man who will complete God’s plan will do it in the kingdom of Jesus Christ. No one enters that kingdom without salvation. Except a man be born again, He cannot see the kingdom of God. It’s our goal then to build the kingdom to accomplish God’s plan.

The Portrayal of Baptism

by admin ~ January 14th, 2017

In Romans 6:3, Paul wrote, “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” He was writing about sanctification. When someone has been justified by faith, God saves Him from the power of sin. Verse 1 says he is “dead indeed unto sin.” He cannot live any longer therein. His lifestyle changes. In 2 Corinthians Paul said he is a “new creature,” “old things passed away, all things become new” (5:17). This death to sin is pictured in baptism. When someone is baptized, he is baptized “into” Jesus’ death. “Into,” the Greek preposition eis, shows identification. Later in Colossians 2:12, Paul writes, “Buried with him in baptism.” Water baptism pictures the old man, the former person being buried, so that all can see. When we receive Jesus Christ, we receive His sacrifice for our sins. By receiving Him, we die to ourselves. It is not longer our righteousness, but His. Like He raised from the dead, we are too raised unto new life.

Starting the Year in God’s House

by admin ~ January 7th, 2017

After Jesus was born, His parents brought Him to God’s house. It is obvious when you read the text of scripture that they kept bringing Him to God’s house every year as prescribed by the Old Testament. Before Jesus was born, He dwelt in the heavenly house of God with His Father. The house on earth was a shadow of the reality of the heavenly house. When Jesus was twelve years of age, on another occasion of His parents bringing Him to the house of His Father in Jerusalem, they left Him behind there. When they came back to find Him there, He said He was going about to do His Father’s business, which was in His Father’s house. When Jesus began His ministry, He cleansed His Father’s house, indignant that it had been made into a den of thieves. In 1 Timothy 3:15, the Apostle Paul calls the church, the house of the living God. We begin 2017 in the house of God, where Jesus still abides (Mt 18:18, Rev 1:19-2:1). When Jesus returns, He will welcome His own into His own house, where they will be with Him forever.