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Power in the Name of Jesus

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed, To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.” (Luke 4:18-19)

Following Jesus’ baptism as a man, He left in the power of the Spirit to the wilderness. We know that He suffered temptations from Satan, as three are recorded in the scriptures. I also believe during the forty days of fasting, He spoke with the Father in preparation for the ministry ahead of Him. That is what fasting is to me, sacrificing physical wants and replacing them with communion with God. After His time in the wilderness, Jesus returned to Nazareth, and on the Sabbath, went to the Synagogue to worship. Jesus was given the scroll of Isaiah, and He read Isaiah’s prophecy from Isaiah 61:1-2, which is the text we are looking at today.

When Isaiah wrote these words, Israel was facing captivity by the Babylonians. Isaiah had prophesized for many years God’s people needed to repent and return to their Lord. The Israelite people did not listen, and Babylon carried them off for seventy years of captivity. These words of Isaiah were received as a promise of restoration and further encouraged a coming Messiah. This prophecy is the words Jesus read at the Synagogue and then returned to His seat. The people watched Him amazed. He read the scriptures in a first-person way and then was enraged with the following words. “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4:21)

The Hebrew people in the Synagogue knew the scriptures and their meaning. They also knew that Jesus was the son of Joseph, and now He was claiming to be the Messiah. They ran Him out of the Synagogue, and Jesus left to begin His three-year ministry of proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom of God. We know today that Jesus was the Messiah, we see the history of His time, and we know He made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. The people could not see that from the far side of the cross as we can. They could not have imagined the far-reaching and eternal effect of the words He had spoken. Jesus’ words were true in that day, and they are true this day, as His words are the words of life. “Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life.” (John 6:68)

The words of Isaiah and spoken by Jesus are a mission statement of the purpose of Jesus’ ministry here in the world. Jesus came in the likeness of man and was fully God incarnate. Jesus suffered the trials we have in the flesh and the troubles and temptation we have in the spirit. He put a body on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that men could see. Jesus suffered every trial humanity suffers and remained sinless. Jesus lived a perfectly righteous life showing there is a way, and He only spoke the truth as He is the Word of God.

Jesus came in the likeness of us to tell the good news of His home in the Kingdom of God. He told parables to give us a word picture of the beauty of the Kingdom. He has the power to speak to people in the physical things they could relate to and transcend them into the spiritual if they had ears to hear. Jesus was a Divine Spirit teaching the physical humanity to reach into the spiritual realm of His Kingdom. They had become poor in spirit, and if they listened and had faith, His Spirit could lift them out of their poverty.

 His promise to the poor in spirit is a greater reward in the Kingdom to come. “Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.” (Luke 16:22) Jesus taught us all are to have a heart for charity towards our neighbors. “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.” (Luke 12:33)

Jesus came to release the ones who are held captive. All are held captive to physical death, and we also face the second death in the fiery pit. People are confined to what others do unless their faith is fixed upon Jesus. Physical affections can capture us if we have not the hope of salvation through faith in Jesus. All of us make wrong choices and will suffer the consciences if He is not with us to make it work out for our good. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)

Jesus gives sight to the blind. He healed many to see, and He is still opening the eyes of the blind even now. Jesus was approaching Jericho when a blind man called out to Him in faith to heal him, and because of His faith, the blind man was healed. (Luke 18:35-42) Paul was a persecutor of those of the way which followed Jesus. Jesus confronted Paul, and he saw the light and repented. Jesus commissioned Paul as an Apostle to the Gentiles and sent him “to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.” (Acts 26:18)

Jesus set those who were oppressed by Satan free. We’ve all been trapped in the oppression of sin, weighed down with guilt and not knowing how to be set free. Jesus came to seek and save the lost from the oppression of sin in their lives. The ultimate purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to live righteously as the Lamb of God. He was the only worthy sacrifice for the sins of humanity acceptable to God’s law. He was sacrificed on a cross, shed His holy blood, and died. Jesus was buried and rose on the third day. He walked among us for forty days and then ascended to the Kingdom where He reigns eternally. God offers a gift of salvation through faith in who Jesus is. Those who call upon His name and believe in faith He died for their sin will receive eternal life. Peter gave this message to Cornelius, and it is true for all. “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.” (Acts 10:42)

Jesus ushered in the acceptable year of the Lord when He came to live amongst humanity. He began the Church Age, a time of grace, redemption, and deliverance from the deceit of the god of this world. It is written, “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13) By the love He has for creation, Jesus came into the world to save humanity from their sins and disobedience. Because of the mercy and grace of a loving, God none need to suffer His wrath. “It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all.” (1 timothy 1:13)

As disciples of Jesus, we have the mission to carry on His mission. On the evening of His crucifixion, Jesus spoke these words to His disciples. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.” (John 14:12) Our mission is the same, to preach the gospel to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, and set free those who are oppressed. Jesus sent His disciples out with the same command. “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:7-8)

Jesus abides within us, as we have the Holy Spirit He promised us. “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (John 14:26) The Spirit is the power of the words that we speak from Him. God’s Word never returns to Him without accomplishing its purpose. We can speak His truth boldly. “And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father and you no longer see Me; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged.” (John 16:8-11)

We have His love within us to share with our family, friends, and neighbors. They, too, need to hear the freedom of His truth. We are to “go” as commanded by His Word. “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:7-8)

There is power in the name of Jesus. His name is the power of creation; it is the power of transformation, the power of redemption, and the power of salvation. When we act through the power of His Spirit in His name, we have the authority of God the Father, and nothing can stand against Him. We are the light of His truth in a sin-darkened world that souls are hoping for, “Go.” “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, March 4, 2021

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Assurance of the Lord’s Sovereignty

“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things have been created through Him and for Him.” (Colossians 1:16)

It is impossible for me to have faith in circumstance, or likely probability, or just plain luck. Anyone who looks at the wondrous world that we live in could not with sense believe it just happened. Every living creature both plant and animal have a DNA structure that governs what that life will be. And in all living things, DNA is unique to the creature. Science has been able to see that, to understand it, and yet cannot fathom how to duplicate it. How then did a world filled with dead matter and join together to form a living thing? Molten lava became rock and the rock became dust and the dust became a living being. The only answer that I can have belief in is some being bigger than I. A power force that is able to transcend the known universes and beyond. Superior intelligence is greater than the complexities of the universes we live in. A deity not made of His creation but able to conceive in intimate detail of the creation itself. There is only one that has made Himself known to this earth He created and that is the “I AM.” The “I AM” who is Yahweh is sovereign over His creation, as He is the Creator.

What is sovereign? Simply stated it is the supreme power with absolute authority over all He has created. Unlike the beliefs of alien life who came here long ago to aid mankind in his march into the future and then left the Lord God Almighty is sovereign over His creation. He didn’t create and then abandoned His work. God loves His creation and rules over it to fulfill the purpose He created it. Dr. Norman Geisler says this about God’s sovereignty. “Sovereignty is God’s control over His creation, dealing with His governance over it: Sovereignty is God’s rule over all reality.” If the Lord God is sovereign over His creation, then we as His creatures can live without fear when acting within His will for our lives.

The Lord God is the Creator and He exists beyond His creation. We have all created things of our own making. I have too but usually, it is a mess that I have to clean up. But what we have created we are above it. That does not always mean that we are bigger but we are above it, as we were the intelligence to create it. Certainly, then God is above His creation. For us here in this world, we measure our existence by time. We have no understanding of things measured without time. We cannot fully realize eternity. But eternity is real as this is where the Lord is. He is not confined to His creation yet He can enter into it and exit out from it. If the Lord lives outside of time and is above His creation, then He can be in time with us and out of the restraint of time in the same instant.

That truth gives the Lord abilities that we cannot deny and need to have a deep reverence of. Our God the Creator is according to His Word is all powerful. This power that He has is a benefit to us His creation that His attributes of Love, Justice, and righteousness He will not violate. “The Almighty–we cannot find Him; He is exalted in power And He will not do violence to justice and abundant righteousness. “ (Job 37:23)

As mentioned before the Lord God is ever present throughout His creation. The Lord is established beyond His creation and is with His creation where He has created it. “For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.” (Isaiah 57:15)

The Lord God is all knowing of the fullness and the intimate intricacies of His creation. “O LORD, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, And are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.” (Psalm 139:1-4)

We as creatures of His creation are finite with limited abilities where God the Creator is infinite with unlimited abilities as He is the Creator of all. “Looking at them, Jesus said, “With people it is impossible, but not with God; for all things are possible with God.” (Mark 10:27) We often in our lives question the Lord when faced with unpleasant challenges. When we are going through trials and tribulations we cannot find the reason. When we are led to do something we cannot understand why. The Lord knows the end from the beginning and has everything scripted to work His plan and purpose through us. The Lord knows our weaknesses but will challenge us to show His power through us.

The purpose of that from my point of view is that when we realize how small we are when we see that the task before us is too great, then we see our smallness, we know our dependence on God, and we are humbled. Jesus taught His disciple that they could accomplish nothing apart from Him. But in His will for us, we can learn through faith like the Apostle Paul did we can do all things. “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)

The faith that is building within us as we live each day in His service will continue to grow as each challenge strengthens. It is the faith that the Lord gives us that allows us to set our fears aside and follow the footprints set before us on the narrow path. The Lord came as a man and walked through the same paths He will lead us down. Jesus does not push us He leads us and we need not fear. He has walked those same paths and has empathy for us and comforts us along the way. Three-hundred-sixty-five times the Word tells us not to fear. It’s a daily walk and each day He tells us not to fear. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The problem for mankind is that when sin entered in the world man’s relationship with God his Creator was broken. Man himself had become fractured by the sin that had come into his life. The man was created in the image of God and now that image had been fractured. Man’s heart became depraved, his desires were not of God but of his desires for earthly things, his spirit could no longer conceive that deeper truth of God’s Word, and sin became a barrier between man and his Creator. Once the man was a child of God and in harmony with all His creation and now an orphan lost in the darkness of the world.

Mankind was broken off from the only hope that there is and was in great need of a Savior. God the Creator loves His creation and had a plan for man’s salvation and restoration to his original estate. The wage of sin is death and mankind had become in bondage to that wage. The Lord God sent His Son, Jesus, to live in righteousness and pay the price of his sin. “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) The way of mankind leads to a dead end where there is no hope of finding peace in eternity. His path leads to destruction living in torment and fear with no way of escape.

If a man would accept God’s free gift of salvation and turn from his lustful desires of the world and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness he could escape the pit of horror. Jesus is the only way to the Heavenly Father and the Father is wanting you to come home. Living in the world is a lie that will be brought to light near the edge of the darkness of death. Seek the path with Jesus and He will lead you to the Father of Light in His Kingdom of Heaven. “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (John 14:6)

If the Lord God is sovereign in your life, then you will be in harmony with all of His creation once again a child of God. No longer to have the lack of confidence in this world but the Heavenly Assurance of God the Father’s love. What once was now is in His Kingdom, a place of love, peace, and joy. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” (John 14:27)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, May 7, 2019

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Eschatology 25

Eschatology 25

Abomination of Desolation

“Forces from him will arise, desecrate the sanctuary fortress, and do away with the regular sacrifice. And they will set up the abomination of desolation.” (Daniel 11:31)

When we look at the meaning of abomination of desolation that Daniel speaks of and Jesus confirmed in Matthew 24:15 it holds a lot of history as a lot of Bible Prophecy is two-fold. This is an example of one such prophecy. The Abomination of Desolation is an outrageous act of barbaric idolatry. The first Abomination of Desolation was committed by King Antiochus Epiphanes when he sacrificed a pig in the Temple of God.

Antiochus Epiphanes was a Hellenistic Greek king of the Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death in 164 BC. During his short rule, King Epiphanes sent out a proclamation to the whole of the kingdom that he ruled. His reasoning was to make all of his subjects to be one people. They were to abandon the customs of their culture and accept the customs of the new order. All of the Gentiles living in his kingdom agreed to the order and some of the Jews did as well. Instead of sacrificing to the Lord God for their sins at the Temple, they made sacrifices at the rituals for the idol of a god of the king’s choice.

We read in 1 Maccabees this record of history from that time. “The king also sent edicts by messenger to Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, directing them to adopt customs foreign to the country, banning burnt offerings, sacrifices and libations from the sanctuary, profaning Sabbaths and feasts, defiling the sanctuary and everything holy, building altars, shrines and temples for idols, … so that they should forget the Law and revoke all observance of it. Anyone not obeying the king’s command was to be put to death” (1:41, 44-50, New Jerusalem Bible)

Not all of the Jews were willing to comply and were willing to take the risk of facing Epiphanes wrath. The king’s answer to this rebellion from the Jews was to put an end to their Temple worship. He desecrated the temple and halted sacrifices in 167 B.C. Judas Maccabeus resumed the sacrifices in 164 after cleansing and rededicating the temple. The Jews to this day commemorate this event with the Feast of Hanukkah.

Against this backdrop, the antichrist will commit the same act of the Abomination of Desolation. He will come into the Temple of God and when he sets up an image on himself for the world to worship at the mid-point of the tribulation. As Jesus told his followers to watch out for. “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains.” (Matthew 24:15-16)

The antichrist will enthrone himself as a deity and declare himself as a god. The Prophet Isaiah gives us some understanding of this event. “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north.’I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14) It is an act of blasphemy and will desolate the Temple of God and therefore be an abomination.

The antichrist will demand that the world worship him and expect an idolatrous homage to him. Anyone who refuses to comply and worship the antichrist will be persecuted and probably martyred. The antichrist’s lieutenant, the false prophet will see to this.

Diabolical Ministry of the False Prophet

“He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth because of the signs which it was given him to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who *had the wound of the sword and has come to life. And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed.” (Revelation 13:13-15)

This is a description of the work of the false prophet. As we have discussed earlier Satan cannot perform miracles but he is effective in deception. All that the false prophet does is bordered on the miraculous, but Satan, the antichrist, and the false prophet cannot do anything that is not in God’s will and according to His purpose. As the sorcerers, we read of in the book of Exodus. “Then Pharaoh also called for the wise men and the sorcerers, and they also, the magicians of Egypt, did the same with their secret arts.” (Exodus 7:11) Their wonders were deceptive but allowed to be achieved according to the will of God for His purposes. The mission of the false prophet is to cause people to worship the substitute of Christ the antichrist.

One of the astounding accomplishments of the false prophet is to animate the image of the antichrist in the in the Jewish Temple. In Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, he tells us that the antichrist will sit in the Temple of God and receive the worship that properly belongs to God. “Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)

Many wonder how the false prophet will be able to animate the image of the antichrist in the Temple by giving him breath. We must remember that the Scriptures were written long before the technology of our day. The writers could only express what they had been told in the language and knowledge of their day. An example may be flaming chariots could be Abram tanks. Even that may be primitive to what God already has. Today we have the technology of holograms. A hologram is a three-dimensional image formed by the interference of light beams from a laser or other coherent light source. When the Bible was written there was no way that the world could have viewed the two witnesses as they lay dead on the streets of Jerusalem. Today that is possible and today holograms can deceive people into believing they are in the presence of a living being.

Our next discussion will be on the blasphemy of God.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, February 15, 2018

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Parable of the Seed

Parable of the Seed

“And He was saying, “The kingdom of God is like a man who casts seed upon the soil; and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows–how, he himself does not know. “The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. “But when the crop permits, he immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” (Mark 4:26-29)

In this first Parable that we are looking at in the Gospel of Mark it is one that is found in none of the other Gospels. The Parable that we are studying today is the Parable of the Seed and is found in the fourth chapter verses 26-29. It appears that Jesus told this Parable at the same time as He told the Parable of the Sower, (Mark 4:1-20) and the Parable of the Mustard Seed. (Mark 4:30-32)

This Parable as the others we have studied reveals more of what the Kingdom of God is like. The subject of the Parable is how the Word of God produces fruit in the Kingdom, which causes the Kingdom of God to grow. In this Parable itself the seed is not identified as the Word of God but as we look at the Parable of the Sower we see that the seed is the Word of God. “The sower sows the word.” (Mark 4:14) This is also confirmed in the Gospel of Luke. “Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.” (Luke 8:11)

In verses 26-28 we see that the growth produced by the Word of God is a mystery. The sower himself can see the sprout of growth come forth from the soil and grow and yet he does not know how. As the growth continues it is beyond his comprehension as it grows by itself. At the end of verse 28 we see that the growth is not an instant growth but a gradual growth. First there is the blade then the head and finally the mature grain in the head. Eventually the growth is complete and it is time for the harvest. This compares to the Kingdom of God which grows from the Word of God being planted in the hearts of men who grow into mature followers of Jesus Christ.

When we compare the Parable of the Seed with the Parable of the sower we see some differences. We see that we as the sowers bear a responsibility in that we must plant the seed. But the seed did not produce the desired result unless it fell upon the good soil. In order for the seed that the sower spreads to produce fruit it must fall upon the good soil which is a good and noble heart. “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.” (Luke 8:15)

In this Parable, the Parable of the Seed, the divine power of the Word of God is stressed. A good and noble heart cannot produce good fruit by itself. The Seed itself, the Word of God, has to have the power within itself to germinate and grow in the good soil. The emphases of the Parable is that the sower needs to have trust and hope in the power of the seed, the Word of God.

The seed, the Word of God, does have the power for spiritual life and growth when it is received in a good and noble heart. We as men cannot understand the power that is in the Word of God but we have the privilege to use it for the growth of the Kingdom of God. For us to use this powerful seed of the Word of God successfully let us consider the application of this Parable.

The Word of God is a powerful seed that can cause a wretched sinner to be born again into a new spiritual birth. “Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.” (1 Peter 1:22-25)

It is the power of God’s Word that can cause the new spiritual birth to grow and mature by our obedience to the Word. “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:1-2)

And the transforming power of the Word of God can indeed save the souls of those who receive it. “Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.” (James 1:21)

This is possible because the Word of God was before the beginning and from it all came into being. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) The Word of God is the power that created the universe and is the power that sustains all that has been created. The Spirit of God is what gave life to man, “Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7) it is the spirit of man that can find life in the truth of God’s Word, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (John 6:63) and it is the power of God’s Word that can cut away the evil desires of the flesh which hinders man’s walk with God. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

We must utilize the power of God’s Word in two ways. First we must receive it into our own lives in a way that it is at the heart of all our actions. God’s Word must be received into our lives in a proper way with a good and noble heart. “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.” (Acts 17:11) We must receive it in meekness knowing that we are spiritually impoverished, (Matthew 5:3) and long for it as if we were new born babies wanting of our mother’s milk. “Like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (1 Peter 2:2) We also must set aside the things in our life that would choke out the Word of God. “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” (1 Peter 2:1) Be patient in our walk with our Lord as the growth is gradual. “First the blade, then the head, after that the full grain in the head.”

Secondly we must sow the Word of God as far as we can. This is the commission that was given to us by our Lord. (Matthew 28:19-20) The Gospel is the Good News of the Kingdom of God and in our love for our neighbor we must share this good news. Never become discouraged as the growth comes only through divine power and not our own. It is God that causes the growth and we are simply the sowers of His Word. “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:5-7)

Again the growth comes in stages and we must be satisfied that we have fulfilled our part in the commission that the Lord has given to us. There will be days when all we seen to be doing is sowing and days when we will just be waiting. As Christian witnesses we are farmers in God’s field for the souls of men. It is a long and patient work that we are privileged to do. “Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious produce of the soil, being patient about it, until it gets the early and late rains.” (James 5:7)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant January 25, 2017

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“Led by the Spirit”

“Led by the Spirit”

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law.” (Galatians 5:16-18)

Before looking at our text today first let us look at the foremost command that Jesus gave to the scribes and Pharisees during His ministry. “Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31) I want to focus for a moment on the second commandment in these verses, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Just prior to our text in Galatians Paul said this in his letter to the Galatians. “For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14) Our Lord has called us into freedom and we are to use that freedom to serve one another in love. It only makes sense that if we are called into God’s Kingdom that we are to be loving, as God is love.

We love ourselves in that we give great attention to our own well-being. As we care for our self we are also to give that same attention to others. This is a difficult attitude for us to have, as not all the others are always likeable to us. Yet, we are to express the same love and concern for their welfare as we have for our own. This is the command that we have from our Lord. This then is the Christian life caring for others as we care for ourselves. This is a hard thing to do and even is contradictory to the worldly opinion of life. Yet, try as we should, it is hard and often seeming hopeless to live that command out.

The Apostle Paul went on in his letter to give some encouragement as to how we can accomplish fulfilling the command of Jesus and all of His commands as well by the words of our text. The secret to our Christian life is found in Paul’s statement “led by the Spirit.” As we are we often try to do things our self and that is a positive in our life but the truth is that the Christian life was not meant to be accomplished in our own power. If that were possible then the Law could justify us. Living the Christian life is accomplished by walking in the Spirit of Christ, which was given to us when we accepted Christ to rule our lives. Our Christian life is not our work but our surrender to the power of Jesus living through us and being led by His Spirit.

It may seem beyond us to wake up in the morning and start our day saying I am going to walk by the Spirit. How can we even do that when we are constantly plagued by the desires of the flesh? The flesh has a fatal attraction with this world as most of its pleasures come from this world. It is a battle and often we fail in the fight against the fleshes desires. One insight Paul gives us is in verses 18, “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under law.” Paul here is not telling us to follow the Spirit but to be led by the Spirit. It is not our work, not our effort, because we are not following but are being led by the Spirit. Therefore if the Spirit is leading us then it is the work of the Spirit and not ours. A pace horse sets the pace and the rest must follow in effort to keep up. But if you ride the horse and give him free reign, then your progress is from the work of the horse. To be led by the Spirit we hitch ourselves to the power His Spirit and go wherever that power takes us.

Let us look at verse 22 and 23. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) If the Christin life is a life of love, joy, peace, and so forth, then being led by the Spirit must mean that the Spirit will bear the fruit in us. Again this is not our work but it is the work of the Spirit. We bear the fruit of the Spirit by allowing Christ to live through us. Jesus Himself told us this in the Gospel of John. “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:4-5) Our responsibility then is to keep our self in step with our Lord and not let ourselves be cut off from the flow of His Spirit. It is an act of our will to give the Spirit free reign and it is an act of our will to keep our selves connected to the flow of the power of the Spirit.

For the Christian we can see that there is no other way for us than to submit to the lead of the Spirit to govern our actions. The first reason is that remembering that the flesh is at odds with the Spirit and desires evil things. In verse 16 we see that we can overcome these fleshly desires by being led by the Spirit. “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

The flesh is not only meat and water. The flesh by itself is not evil but is controlled by “I” or our ego. “I” left in my own stead will try to satisfy me with whatever “I” want with the exclusion of God’s mercy. To better understand let us look at two verses together. “Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24) “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20) In the first verse (24) the flesh has been crucified along with its desires. But the flesh of itself is not evil, in fact God created it and His work was very good. In verse (20) “I” have been crucified and a new “I” has been created. The new “I” does not live in the desires of the flesh but lives by faith.

The flesh and its “I” ego feels the emptiness and seeks not to satisfy its emptiness by faith or depending on the mercy of God. The flesh strives to satisfy its own desires by its own power to fill its emptiness. “Because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so.” (Romans 8:7) The flesh is unwilling to submit to the will of God’s authority or rely upon His mercy. This is the inner conflict that rages on within the inner man. “For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Verse 17) Victory over this inner conflict can be won when we are “led by the Spirit.”

Paul closes this text with “If you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law.” Freedom from being under the law does not mean that we are not to strive to fulfill the law with our obedience to the law. The Christian fulfills the law when obeys the command of Jesus, as we read in the Gospel of Mark. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As Paul wrote to the Romans, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:3-4) So we fulfill the law by our submission to being led by His Spirit.

If we were left to accomplish this in our own strength it would be like we were underneath the law and having to climb a ladder to reach the top. By allowing the Spirit to do His work in us it becomes a joyful experience. When we allow the Spirit to lead us we no longer are under the punishment or the oppression that the law requires as His Spirit produces love that we may be reflectors of the image we were created in, God. As we have fulfilled the whole law as Paul told us earlier in his letter to the Galatians. “For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:14)

To free ourselves from the battle of the flesh with our spirit we are to be led by the Spirit of God. His Spirit will foremost produce the fruit of love. The love for God and the love for our neighbor. Being led by the Spirit frees us from being under that law as the fruits of the Spirit fulfills the law that we love God and we love our neighbor. Walking in the Spirit allows the fullness of love to overflow in our lives. Love conquers the emptiness that drives the flesh and it spills out in acts of love which fulfills the law. “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant January 19, 2017

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The Two Sons

The Two Sons

“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go work today in the vineyard.’ “And he answered, ‘I will not’; but afterward he regretted it and went. “The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, ‘I will, sir’; but he did not go. “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.” (Matthew 21:28-32)

This week we will look at one of three Parables that Jesus told in reply to the religious leaders during His final week in Jerusalem. They are “The Two Sons,” “The Wicked Vinedresser,” and “The Wedding Feast.” Today we will look at the Parable “The Two Sons.”

In this Parable we see the story of a father who had two sons and he also had a vineyard that he cared for. The father tells each of his sons to go and work in the vineyard. The first son told the father that he would not but later regretted it and went to work in the vineyard. The second son told his father that he would go but he did not.

In the explanation of Jesus He began with a question “Which of the two did the will of his father?” The religious leaders thinking the answer to be obvious answered the first son did the will of the father. Jesus then gave a very direst answer to the religious leaders. Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax collectors and prostitutes did believe him”

This Parable is being applied to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day who were like the second son. They said that they would go and work in the Lord’s vineyard but did not go. In comparison to the religious leaders the tax collectors and harlots when hearing the preaching of John the Baptist repented and were like the first son who first refused and then in regret went to work in the Lord’s vineyard.

This was probably very shocking to the religious leaders that the ones they despised the most would enter the Kingdom of God before them. We gain some insight into this in the Gospel of Luke. “When all the people and the tax collectors heard this, they acknowledged God’s justice, having been baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.” Luke 7:29-30) The tax collectors and other sinners accepted the teaching of John the Baptist and became justified by God. Whereas the religious leaders would not believe what John the Baptist was teaching and rejected his message. Therefore, they had “rejected God’s purpose for themselves, not having been baptized by John.”

The main point of this Parable is that we are not just speakers of the Word of God but we must be doers of His Word. Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (John 14:15) In a commentary by William Hendriksen says it this way. “That lesson is, of course, this:  the doing of the will of God is the one thing needful.” In our prayers each day we pray “Thy will be done.” God’s will shall be done! The question for us is are we living in His will?

In other places Jesus addressed this truth that we are not just hears of His Word but that we must obey His Word. You may recall these verses from the Sermon on the Mount. “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:21; 24)

We also see the importance of this truth in the commission of the disciples just before the ascension of Jesus when He gave them the Great Commission. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20) If there is a measure of our greatness in the Kingdom of God, then it will be measured by our obedience.

Many today in the Christian faith have become listeners of the doctrine of cheap grace, and the feel good messages from the pulpit of some Churches. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is for those who are committed to repentance. Those who desire with their heart to turn from the ways of the world and walk in the ways of God. It is on that walk that many fail to act on His Word. Many profess Jesus as the Lord of their life but do not do what He says. “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) They are like the second son they say they will or are but they are not committed to the will of the Father.

Some have a misunderstanding of the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith. Others have the misguided thought that obedience to God’s commands is legalism or salvation by works. This is far from the truth. Keeping the commandments of God is essential to their working out their salvation. “So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)

Keeping the commandments of God is essential as the Apostle John writes. “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him.” (1 John 2:3-5)

Keeping God’s Word is in no way earning our salvation least we could boast. Keeping God’s commandments is an act of love for God our Savior and it is our duty, as it was for the first son. Our reward is eternal life, the protection of God’s providence. These things cannot be bought in this world and are ours throughout eternity by God’s grace. Obeying the Word of God is our effort in the Holy Spirits work of Sanctification by the renewing of our mind. It is our duty as servants of the Most High God. “So you too, when you do all the things which are commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy slaves; we have done only that which we ought to have done.” (Luke 17:10)

The Christian is an instrument in the hands of God to do the good works of His Kingdom here in this world. We must be about His business as it is our first priority in this life and the greater life to come. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, December 15, 2016

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Hidden Treasure

Hidden Treasure

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44)

Thus far in our discussion of the Parables in Matthew chapter 13 we have learned the way in which the message of the Kingdom would be received by the people. We saw in the Parable of the Sower that there are four different hearts and only one in the four would grasp the truth. We also observed in the Parable of the Wheat and Tares that Satan will do all in his power to corrupt the truth of the Kingdom. As a word of encouragement Jesus told of the Parables of the Mustard Seed and the Leven which showed that the Kingdom would have humble beginnings and experience tremendous growth throughout the world. We know look at two more Parables the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price. Here Jesus is teaching us of the precious value of the Kingdom of God. First we shall look at the Parable of the Hidden Treasure.

We see that a man has found hidden treasure in a field. The man again hides the treasure and goes off to sell all his possessions in order to buy the field that the treasure is in. In that way the treasure would be rightly his.

In Luke chapter 14 Jesus was teaching His disciple to consider the cost of discipleship with Him. (Luke 14:25-33) In whatever we wish to accomplish we must consider the cost that we are sure to be able to complete that accomplishment. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28) One commentator, D. A. Carson observes from this Parable that the worth of the Kingdom of Heaven is far greater that the cost of discipleship with Jesus. There is no price that we would bear that would be close to the value of entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. We should gladly sacrifice our all to acquire possession of the Kingdom of Heaven.

William Hendrickson notes that the value of God’s rule over our hearts and life, our present salvation and future salvation, both for the soul and the body, and the privilege of being a blessing to others for the glory of God is worth the cost of surrendering all in service to our Lord and Savior.

An interesting insight to this Parable is that the man found the treasure in the field when his was not particularly looking for it. The man was, as we all do, living in the routine of life when he found the hidden treasure. The man knew the great value of what he had found, that the salvation for our spirits is far greater than all else we could possess, as our spirits are eternal and to lose ones spirit is complete death.

The Apostle Paul is a good example of this truth. On the road to Damascus Paul was not looking for salvation through Jesus Christ. He himself was in opposition to the teachings of Jesus. Paul was going to Damascus to persecute the of the way of Christ, yet Jesus confronted Paul on the road. “Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (Acts 9:1-2) Paul was not an evil man but believed that he was doing the right thing in putting down a heresy to the Jewish religion.

The Lord called Paul on his way to Damascus and he accepted this as God’s will for his life and did not delay in obedience to God’s will at any cost. Later Paul testified of this to King Agrippa. “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision, but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance. “For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. “So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place; that the Christ was to suffer, and that by reason of His resurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.” (Acts 26:19-23)

Paul repented and realized that all he had gained in life was worthless to the value of receiving Jesus as Lord of his life. “But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11)

Paul wrote many letters to the glory of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul knew that he had found the treasure of the Kingdom of God. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

At conversion from worldly living to living for the Kingdom of God the believer in Jesus Christ is transferred from the darkness of this world into light of His Kingdom. “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13) In Jesus we find our refuge from the powers of the god of this world the Prince of the Air Satan. The Christian is no longer under the influence of Satan and trapped in a life of sinful living. If we are not on the narrow path to His Kingdom then we are on the broad road to destruction and are the children of wrath. “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.” (Ephesians 2:1-3)

Mankind must realize their humble position that we are all slaves. Either to the evil spiritual forces in the heavenly places and lost in unrighteous living and in bondage to our sin. Or we can be slaves to righteousness and live according to God’s plan for our lives and find rest in His Kingdom. “But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which you were committed, and having been freed from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)

The Word of God when received is the power to set men free from the power of the evil one and to truly free us from the bondage of sin. His Word awakens our conscience to the truth of what is right and wrong that our paths may be directed in the way that we should go. “For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

God knows what we are able to bear and will not let us to be overcome by the wiles of the devil. God will always provide to us a way of escape from the evil darts that Satan flings at us. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

In the world there is constant trial and tribulation and for those outside pf the protection of God there is not peace, there is no joy, and there is no salvation. When one trusts in the truth of God’s Word and follows Jesus in faith through the trials of this world there will be peace, there will be joy, and there is salvation. “For the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 14:17)

There will be peace because our relationship with God the Father has been restored by reconciliation through Jesus Christ. Our Father in Heaven knows our needs and will provide them for His glory that we need not be anxious for anything or be stressed by the folly of this world. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) As we find victory through the power of His name there will be joy in all the circumstances that life may place in our path. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4)

The greatest benefit is not only getting out of this world spiritually alive, not only having Jesus leading us through this wilderness of the shadow of death, and not only having a true hope for the future glory of the Kingdom of God, but that twinkling when we are there. A place of love and justice as God intended and panned. A place where we are free from the temptations of the evil one, free from the past that every day he accuses us of, and free from the curse we have lived under since the fall in the Garden of Eden. To rest in the everlasting light of God’s glory in an eternal home of peace and joy. Where there is no more pain, sorrow, and suffering. Where the greatest enemy never rest upon our hearts again, the enemy of death. For we shall be humbled in praise to our God at His throne of grace. His children who He shall care for as a loving Father throughout the never ending day. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” (Revelation 21:1-5)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, November 4, 2016

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We Have No King But Jesus

We Have No King But Jesus

“The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.” (Proverbs 21:1)

There is much anxiety, frustration, and hopelessness in the American public as a result of the current political campaign of this Presidential election cycle. I am not called to be a politician and to be honest I have no King but Jesus. That does not mean that I will forsake my duty to vote. I will vote but only as my prayers lead me to choose seeking God’s will. The sad question that travels through my mind is this the best that America can offer to the electorate? I will be satisfied when November 9 arrives so that I do not have to poison my mind each day with corrupt political chatter.

Many in the arena have made foolish predictions as to the result if this one or that one wins the Presidency. I have heard both predicting doom and gloom and I am saddened by their misplaced hope. Democracy is a wonderful form of government but its end is no different than any other in the measure of God’s will. “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.” (Daniel 2:21) All men are here but for a wisp of time but God is everlasting and is sovereign before the beginning and will rule throughout eternity. We pray each day that that His will be done and it will. God is faithful and true, proven from the past and assured for the future. The question for us is are we in His will?

History will continue to unfold according to the predestined will of God and in the measure of eternity neither candidate will change its course. We are in this world and the god of this world has blinded the hearts of the many, “In whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4) They travel a wide road and it leads to the pit of destruction. Few will find the narrow path that leads to life everlasting. (Matthew 7:13-14)

I need not worry who is President as God will control the heart to work His plan and purpose for our nation and those of us who humble ourselves, repent, and seek His face will know that in the end we will see His glory. God humbled the heart of King Nebuchadnezzar that His will be dome. God stirred the heart of Cyrus that God’s people could return to Israel after seventy years in exile. God will mold the heart to His will for our new President in January. “The kingdom is the Lord’s, and He rules over the nations” (Psalms 22:28).

When the result of the vote comes known we will have no reason to fall off into a depressive state. We have no need to be in constant complaint of the outcome. Ours is to pray that their hearts may abide in the sovereign rule of God’s will. Pray that they may seek the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Pray that God will grant them wisdom to rule our land in compassion and justice. And we are to pray that we are obedient to His Word. “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13:1)

Let us explore Church history and see how God has moved men to great deeds against ungodly rulers of the past. Men who held to their devotion and allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ as their rightful and only King. Rulers of government that have demanded the allegiance of their subjects and denied the God-given rights of personal liberty. Enforced their political philosophy and twisted religious beliefs upon them.

In the first century Church the Jewish order and the Roman political system tried to stop the Apostles of their proclamation that Jesus was the only Lord and Savior. Peter declared in his first sermon, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36) Again when Peter and John were arrested and came before the Jewish leadership Peter again testified, “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) The Romans worshiped Caesar as their god and savior and charged the Apostles as being atheist. The Romans and the Jews both tried to enforce ungodly rule upon them but Peter declared “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29 Gamaliel a respected scholar of the day warned them to let the Apostles alone and they were released.

In 1560 the national religion of Scotland was the Reform Faith. Then in 1603 James VI of Scotland became James I of England. In 1618 James I tried to conform the Scottish Churches to the beliefs of the Anglican Church and was continued by his son Charles I in 1625. The Presbyterians from Scotland rejected this use of state power over their religious beliefs and signed a covenant in 1638 declaring independence from state religion. In 1643 they signed another covenant pledging their allegiance to Jesus Christ only. This was in opposition to the Divine Rights of Kings and they declared that sovereignty belongs only to God.

These view brought strong opposition from King Charles II in 1662. He outlawed the Presbyterians and stated that their covenants were illegal. Because of their loyalty to God as the only sovereign he declared them as rebels to the state. The Scottish Presbyterian preachers were driven from their pulpits and they preached in the fields. Thousands of them were hunted down and jailed, tortured, and killed without trial. In the face of this persecution they met their attackers waving banners which read,  “FOR THE WORD OF GOD AND THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS’ and “FOR CHRIST’S CROWN AND COVENANT.” A Remnant of 200 in May of 1685 continued to proclaim their faith stating, “LET KING JESUS REIGN, AND ALL HIS ENEMIES BE SCATTERED!”

The Puritans also believed in the sovereignty of God. Their belief was that the sovereign God created the state and it was from God that the state received its power to govern. The king was a minister of God and by His grace executed the laws of God among the people. By this responsibility of the state a positive environment should be maintained for the preaching of the gospel. By his rule the people of God could live individually and corporately a life that was fully Christian.

This Christian doctrine and the Lordship of Jesus Christ as foremost in the minds of many patriots prior to the American Revolution against King George III. In Marlborough, Ma. It was proclaimed in January 1773 that “Death is more eligible than slavery. A free-born people are not required by the religion of Jesus Christ to submit to tyranny … (we) implore the Ruler above the skies, that He would make bare His arm in defense of His Church and people, and let Israel go.” (“The Light and the Glory” by Peter Marshall and David Manuel)

This call came from the pulpit and into the town halls and rose to cries for liberty. From the average colonist raised his voice for independence from King George III. The governors remained loyal to the King as they admitted to the voice of the Americans. “If you ask an American, who is his master? He will tell you he has none, nor any governor but Jesus Christ.” (“The Myth of Separation” by David Barton)  This sentiment may have been the root of the phrase “NO KING BUT KING JESUS.”

In April of 1775 Sam Adams and John Hancock were staying at the home of Pastor Jonas Clarke. Pastor Clarke was a Lexington pastor and militia leader. That very night Paul Revere arrived to warn them that the British Redcoats were approaching. In the morning British Major Pitcairn ordered the Minutemen to disperse saying, “Disperse, ye villains, lay down your arms in the name of George the Sovereign King of England.” The Response from the company of Pastor Jonas Clarke was, “We recognize no Sovereign but God and no King but Jesus.”

Our nation is now at a critical time, a time when the saints of God must give their total allegiance to the Kingship of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ. We should renew our battle cry from our history past. “WE HAVE NO KING BUT KING JESUS!” This nation was not founded on religionist but by Christians. To quote an American hero Patrick Henry, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but by Christians; not on religions, but on the gospel of Jesus Christ!”   

This then is the battel cry of the Christian Church. “And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” (Revelation 19:16)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, October 14, 2016

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Neglecting the Truth to Our Neighbor – Part 2

Neglecting the Truth to Our Neighbor – Part 2

“Deliver those who are being taken away to death, And those who are staggering to slaughter, Oh hold them back. If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:11-12)

“See, we did not know this.” This is a hard statement to understand one saying. Few in the world can say that they do not see the suffering and escape the sorrow that it causes. Few in the world cannot know of those who live in hopelessness along the sidelines of society. None in the world cannot witness the carnage that man inflicts upon fellow men. And even those who are spared of these trials, live in the comfort of castles, have an unsatisfying hunger in their spirits and find not their fill. We do know but fail to admit the responsibility we have to provide the needs of the needy. “If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?” (Proverbs 24:12)

Who can with clear conscience ignore the plight of the downtrodden in this world? Consider the Parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. The Priest and the Levi, leaders of the religious right who claim to have the love of God in their souls passed by on the far side of the road that they would not help the one who was beaten and robbed. Can we make their claims and yet not have compassion for our neighbor?

Perhaps we have become too familiar with the troubles in the world and have become desensitized to it. Yet, neglecting the truth of it does not make it go away. We might become overwhelmed and feel that we ourselves cannot make a change and many in their pride will not accept good counsel. They are always consumed by the effect and never look to the cause. Dr. Carson, when he was campaigning for President, was on the streets of Harlem one day in New York City. The people were asking him what he could do for them. What will he do to lift them out of poverty? Did he offer a new welfare benefit, did he offer a free education program, and did he offer higher wages to those who are unemployed? And they asked what he would do to alleviate the crime that is rampant on the streets? Did he offer more police, more prisons, and more gun control? No, these are the effects of the problem and Dr. Carson offered a solution to the cause of the problem, faith. “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

Faith seems to always be the last resort. I can understand that. We live in a material world and we desire and understand the things that we can see with our eyes. For many if it cannot be seen then it does not exist. Of course, we know this is not true. If we turn our back to the problems of this world, if we turn our backs to the woes of our neighbor, this does not mean that they do not exist. They are still there. Fifteen years ago on the eleventh of this month, September, the Trade Centers came down by terrorist acts. After that Church attendance across America exploded. People sought the favor of God and went into His house to worship Him. The military, who had been fully aware of the dangers that our enemies posed acted. People returned to their faith, we no longer ignored our threats to society. My question is if we have attended to these things prior to 9/11, then would have 9/11 happened?

The truth is we do know and the truth is negligence does not make the trials and tribulations go away. We once were a nation that was a nation under God and His grace was shed upon us. Solomon foresaw this negligence in Israel and wrote these words. “And My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

How long can we pretend we do not know, who long can we pretend we do not see, and how long we foolishly hide in our pretended ignorance and not suffer the effect of the cause of our lack of faith? God has commanded His people and if we love Him we are to obey. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37, 39) Then our society will have a great revival and people will come together in the bond of love and compassion for each other instead of hate and contention. Then the rivers of living water will return to our land. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38)

We see that we are as Christians are to love God and to love our neighbor as our self. Jesus died on the cross for the redemption of the world, He gave His life in an act of Love for everyone. Not just you and not just me, everyone. Everyone has that value that God loves them. Everyone is His concern. And we, as Christians, are His servants unto all people. We are to share the love He has given us with all who will receive it, with all that they may come to know it. God knows and weighs the heart of all men and more importantly to us our hearts. As Solomon tells us, “Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul?”

God sets before us either His blessing or if we reject Him and His ways a curse. “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.” (Deuteronomy 11:26) We have been given free will and we can choose to receive His blessing or His curse. No one else is accountable to that, it is our choice. We have by the grace of God been given His Word and we should therefore know His truths. We should know His commands. And as a proof of our love for God we should obey His commands as they are not for our punishment but for our good. “For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not abide by all things written in the book of the law, to perform them.” (Galatians 3:10)

The scribes and Pharisees miss-understood the intent of the law and believed that it was the law that would save them. But it is not the law that will save us but our faith in the full revelation of God, which is Jesus Christ. The Pharisees were self-righteous and self-centered and would not associate with those who had the greatest need. Jesus condemned then for their neglect. “But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God; but these are the things you should have done without neglecting the others.” (Luke 11:42)

We each by the providence of God have been given spiritual gifts, we have been given one or more talents, and we have been given these blessings to use in His service for the Kingdom. Paul tells us not to be negligent with the blessings that we have received. It is our obligation, responsibility, and our calling least they be taken away. “Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery.” (1 Timothy 4:14)

Many live as though judgment and accountability are distant things for concern. But who knows when that twinkling of life leaves this world. Solomon closes with this statement. “And will He not render to man according to his work?” I do not think that it is always at the judgement seat of Christ that we suffer for our negligence in obedience to His word. As we read through the book of Judges we see that Israel fell seven times because of their disobedience to God’s Word. When they repented they were restored and then fell again for seven cycles. Where the Pharisees missed it is that God weighs the hearts of men. He knows the intentions and He knows the motives and in the end game that is what we will be compensated for. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, September 3, 2016

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Prayer of the High Priest Part 1

Prayer of the High Priest Part 1

There are different prayers that we pray in our prayer life. There are the intimate prayers that we pray to the Father and to Him only. These are the prayers in which we find solace for our souls, strength for our spirits, and peace between us and our God and Father. Then there is corporate prayer that we pray among the congregation, or in public at events, they are prayers directed to God the Father but have content that is a blessing to those who also hear.

The High Priestly prayer of Jesus to His Father in Heaven was preceded by His comforting teaching in the Upper Room and just prior to His betrayal by Judas. It was a prayer in which Jesus prayed in the company of His eleven disciples where they could hear the words that He spoke. This prayer of Jesus’ must have been even more comfort given to them before the trials of His crucifixion. First Jesus prayed for Himself, then He prayed for His disciples, and Jesus prayed for the future believes. As God’s Word shall endure forever let us remember that this prayer was not only for the benefit of His eleven disciples but for Christians of every age. “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.” (John 17:20)

The Prayer of Jesus for Himself

“Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (John 17:1-5)

It might not be fitting that Jesus would ask for the Father to glorify Him. We see gory used several times in this passage and there are some considerations for us to look at which will shed a different light on His purpose. Jesus asked that the Father glorify Him for His hour had come. Jesus did not want glory only for Himself but glory so the Father could be praised. Jesus had to be glorified so that we could glorify the Father through Him. We see that in the second half of the verse, “glorify your Son, that the Son may glorify you.” Jesus wanted to be glorified with the Father. Satan wants glory that he might usurp the position of God. Satan wanted to be as the Most High and this was his downfall, as God is holy. “How you have fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, You who have weakened the nations! “But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, And I will sit on the mount of assembly In the recesses of the north. ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14) Satan did not want to share glory but wanted all glory. Jesus wanted glory so that He could exalt the Father.

Jesus as the second person of the Godhead left His home in Heaven and became God incarnate. Jesus set aside His deity and became as a man that He might live amongst man as a man. He was glorified in Heaven and now He was asking the Father to reestablish that glory. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:5-8)

Jesus did not forsake His deity but added His humanity to His deity. Now that His work on the cross was to be completed Jesus is asking the Father to restore the glory which He had laid aside throughout His mission.

The glory that Jesus would receive was earned by the price of the cross. In addition to His previous glory Jesus was to receive even more glory by the work of His earthly life and ministry. Jesus had glorified the Father by His submission and obedience to His Father’s will. (Verse 4) Along with the Father Jesus was glorified by His work on the cross for the salvation of sinful men. (Verses 2-3) Because of His selflessness work on behalf of sinful man the Father gave Him greater glory. “For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11)

It is a wonderful picture of the faithfulness of God the Father that Jesus prayed to receive the glory that was rightfully His. “Who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (Philippians 2:6) Because of His work on the cross (Philippians 2:7-8) He received even greater glory. (Philippians 2:9-11)

Jesus was the suffering servant (Isaiah 53) and He is the King of Glory. (Psalm 24) As Christians we must keep suffering and glory in their proper perspective. The life of the Christian is not a grim determination which causes us to face constant suffering and sorrow to find our glory later. There is plenty of suffering and plenty of sorrow in any day but the focus is that the Christian life is the abundant life. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) The life of the Christian is filled with peace with God and the joy of salvation in the midst of spiritual evil forces.

There will be trials, suffering, and sorrow in our Christian walk. There are few if any in this world who escape this truth. “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) As a follower of Jesus, a child of God, all of this will work towards our good according to God’s purpose. Our faith will be strengthened and our character will be perfected as we grow into the image of our Lord. And for us there is a crown of life that is everlasting. “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (James 1:12) If we follow Jesus we cannot fail for in our weakness though Jesus we find our sufficiency. “And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Are we as Christians today willing to live for the glory of God as we are to die for it? Jesus instructed His disciples to consider the cost of following Him. “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?” (Luke 14:28) If we are willing, then we will not have the agony of fretting over the future. The Apostle Paul considered the cost and was ready and willing to live or die for the glory of God. “According to my earnest expectation and hope, that I will not be put to shame in anything, but that with all boldness, Christ will even now, as always, be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)

Is this the commitment that we have made in following Jesus? Have we asked God to glorify Himself through us? If we have, then it could mean suffering or it may mean success. It will probably be a portion of both. This is the commitment that a disciple of Jesus must make. We are to make the unconditional surrender to God and His purpose that will bring glory to Himself and result in our own good. “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:1-2)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, August 5, 2016

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