Posts tagged ‘Blog’

The Words of Jesus (6)

“Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you that I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe? You will see greater things than these.’” (John 1:50)

Jesus revealing He saw Nathanael under the fig tree impressed him. John speaks of seven miracles of Jesus in his gospel. John refers to them as signs, which Jesus uses to reveal that He is the Son of God. Nathanael knew there was something divine about Jesus and proclaimed Him the King of Israel. Jesus answered he would see greater things as he followed Jesus. The purpose of the sings Jesus gave was to be seen as messages from God. The seven in John’s gospel were specific in showing that Jesus is God in the flesh. Later Jesus will teach that people who believe only by signs are not seeking God with an honest approach. Faith in the Word of God is the way.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant

wordpress analytics

The Words of Jesus (5)

“Jesus saw Nathanael coming to Him, and said of him, ‘Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!’” (John 1:47)

This greeting Jesus gave to Nathanael may be a sarcastic joke. When hearing of Jesus, Nathanael said, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael had dismissed Jesus because He was from Nazareth. Jesus’ joke points one should not judge a person on their heritage. Let God judge the hearts, and we be as gracious as the Lord has been towards us.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant

wordpress analytics

The Words of Jesus (4)

“The next day He purposed to go into Galilee, and He found Philip. And Jesus said to him, ‘Follow Me.’” (John 1:43)

Jesus was going to Galilee and, on His way, found Phillip. Phillips’s name is not Hebrew but Greek. Seven of the disciples were fishermen. Fishermen were not highly educated men but hard-working practical. Jesus was not looking for the scholars, fighting men, or the wealthy. Jesus was looking for men who were willing to do the labor of the Kingdom. Willingness is foremost over talent or ability. Knowledge and wisdom are good but useless without a willing and submissive heart.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant

wordpress analytics

The Words of Jesus (3)

“He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).” (John 1:42)

One of Andrews’s traits is to bring people to Jesus. After John and Andrew’s time with Jesus, Andrew went to his brother Simon and told him about Jesus. He had told his brother that Jesus was the Messiah. Simon came to meet Jesus with his brother. Jesus identified Simon and gave Him a new name Cephas. Cephas is the Aramaic word for stone. Others may have thought this a strange name for an emotional person like Simon. Jesus looks at the heart of a soul, sees the potential, and names Simon for his future. Jesus knows His own in the future and gives them a new name fitting to who they have become in Him. (Revelation 2:17)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant

wordpress analytics

Chief of All Sinners

“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 1:15)

I chose this text verse to make a point about all of us in this world. To begin my thoughts is the question I ask myself and share with you, “What is the Bible to you?” Other than the bible, some call it the good book, the rule book, and one in our congregation uses an acronym. “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.” There are more I have heard, and I am sure some of you have heard too. Not that my calling is better or worse, I have a different perspective, as I call the bible when writing the Scriptures and speaking the bible. To myself, I view the Scriptures as the other side of the conversation with God.

I never have, and I am not one to say I have heard the Lord speak to me in a clear audio voice, but He does speak in my conscience. I also believe that God speaks in visions. He spoke to Joseph and the cupbearer to convey a message to Pharaoh. There are many examples of visions in Scripture, and there are those who have had visions to this day. I believe the two primary ways the Lord speaks to us are in prayer and the Scripture. As the other side of the conversation, the bible is God’s answer to our side of the conversation.

My perspective has changed in the way I receive the Scripture into my being. The Holy Spirit authors the Scripture. “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21) Even as Paul was writing to Timothy and saying he was the foremost of sinners, it was written to us individually. The Scripture is God’s prophecy to all of humanity. When I read “I am foremost of all,” that is speaking to me the foremost of all sinners.

When we read the Scriptures, God is speaking to us personally. I am the foremost of sinners, and you are too. The Scriptures tell me clearly “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Certainly, the unrighteous and the righteous are sinners. We often wonder why good things happen to the unrighteous, and bad things happen to the righteous. I often hear the unrighteous who have rejected our Lord say why a God of love causes all this evil in the world. Then I have to explain God does not cause evil to happen, as evil is the result of sin.

I believe if it were not for God’s common grace, humanity would have long ago destroyed itself. Our God of love, who is not partial to His creation, treats all justly. God pours out His blessing on all in His creation, as we are told in Psalm. “The LORD is gracious and merciful; Slow to anger and great in lovingkindness. The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works.” (Psalm 145:8-9) God shows His grace to all and desires all to know His goodness and seek Him in times of distress. God desires all of Humanity to become His children. “So that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:45)

It is by God’s grace that humanity comes to a saving knowledge of Jesus our Christ. God’s Word created all, and by God’s Word, all can live, and all will be judged. To all who will read and believe the Scripture says to each, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) My prayer is all will experience God’s saving grace. All live in His common grace, but they need the saving grace this verse speaks of.

Grace has different meanings for different people. Some bless their food with grace, name their children grace, and declare generous people as gracious. That’s okay, but it is not the saving grace Ephesians is speaking of. The saving grace is God’s divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life. God’s saving grace is unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration and sanctification. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Responding to the saving grace of God is like Ray Steven’s song “Mississippi Squirrel Revival,” “somethings got a hold on me lyric. Our vision changes from gaining all we can from the world to building our wealth in the Kingdom of God to come. Wealth is not dollars and cents but seeking the presence and approval of God by pleasing Him in our service to Him and seeking His Kingdom and bringing it to the heart of our deeds serving Him and our fellow humans. It is not being born of the flesh and its desire but of the Spirit and His desire. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:6)

What is the purpose of life if we lose it all at death? The Creator creates with purpose, and all His creation has a purpose. Humanity is to glorify God in all they do. When God’s saving grace gets a hold of your purpose, your being becomes revealed. There is a discovery of the good work you were designed to accomplish in this life here, “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) The world is a complex place to live in and holds a lot of mystery. Jesus overcame the world and its temptations, and His Spirit can counsel us through to the same victory. It is is the promise He has given to all of us. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

The yoke of the Lord is easy to carry, as He has prepared the way before us, and all we do is pick up our cross and follow Him. Our charge is simple to spread the seeds of His truth into every ear that will hear. Water the seeds planted and edify the interest of the willing. His call is to “Go.” “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) The basic command is love. Love the Lord God Almighty, and share His love with our neighbor. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27)

God’s desire is all His creation come into harmony with His Word. God does not want any to perish but to have a relationship with Him as their Father. “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)

The followers of Jesus are the lights of His truth in a sin-darkened world, a world that is searching for love, peace, purpose, and reality. Humanity looks everywhere for these values and never finds them. From the beginning of humanity’s history, these values have been there for them, but they have rejected it and been given over to their own desires. The result is a world dying in its futility. In the hope of remedy, they search on, and our prayer is they will see and listen to the truth we share. God’s saving grace gives the satisfaction we’ve helped lift someone from the pit to the pedestal of God’s Kingdom. “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)

I joined the Army and survived Boot Camp at Fort Jackson S. C. On the first day, I learned why it’s called boot camp, as that was the first thing introduced to me on the backside. After all of that, I went to South Viet Nam with a heat filled with patriot cause. When you step on the battlefield, and total confusion surrounds you, all that parrot cause is gone. The soldiers around you are not people of color, they are not people of different religions, and neither are they people of mixed heritage. The cause becomes protecting the life which is protecting yours. When we walk through the world today with the people around us, that person beside us depends on us to share the Words of Life. “In Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.” (Acts 17:28)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick Son Life Baptist, Valrico, Florida, July 12, 2021

wordpress analytics

The Words of Jesus (2)

John and Andrew had asked where Jesus was staying, thinking Him to be too busy for them now. John the Baptist had told them Jesus was the Promised One, and he was unworthy to untie His sandals. John and Andrew must have been surprised Jesus told them to come and see. Jesus is always willing to spend time with those who are seeking Him. John and Andrew were able to spend the day with Jesus in their presence. Jesus came to seek and save and is always willing to give time for one in need. You can ask Him today and then go and see.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant

wordpress analytics

The Words of Jesus (1)

“And Jesus turned and saw them following, and said to them, ‘What do you seek?’ They said to Him, ‘Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?’” (John 1:38)

Jesus noticed John and Andrew following Him after His baptism. Before they spoke to Jesus, He asked, “What do you seek?” it is important to know what someone is seeking from you to answer the question. The need of a person will affect their willingness to believe and receive. Peter and Andrew addressed Jesus as Rabbi to show their respect. They may have asked Him where He is staying in the chance to could meet with Him later. Often time’s people are too busy to attend to our needs. They will be surprised by the willingness of Jesus to share with them immediately. Jesus came to seek and save. Therefore, He is willing to be with His creation.

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant

wordpress analytics

His Grace to Us Give to Others

“I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake” (Philemon 1:6)

I would say most people want to be happy, although some take solace in their sadness. I have met people who seem to be happiest when they speak of sad occurrences. Those may be happy, but I do not believe they are. To those who want to be happy, there is plenty in this world to accommodate their desire. Happiness is fleeting and depends on the emotional reaction to circumstances. That is true of any happiness we have, but joy is everlasting because it is founded on eternal truth. Some days I am happy, and some days sad, but I find joy every day. My joy is established in the eternal promises of God, as His Word is true and endures forever. I could quote scripture, but history has proven my point.

I am always happy when I am joyful and have joy in my heart in times of sadness. I do not get caught in the rambling emotions of my life but rest on the foundation of joy in my heart. People can, or could, find happiness in the joy of God’s presence and find greater joy in His approval. There is a satisfaction in sharing the joy He has given to me with others that they may have His joy also.

I know we all have had days or evenings in the presence of someone who has a unique effect on our lives. I remember May Macbeth the first time I met her. I was pretty taken in by her and hated when the evening ended. It was at a sock hop, and I wore a hole in my sock. I hopped with her so much. On Sunday, I could not think of anything but the next time we could be together. I was happy in my heart, but when we met again, my heart was crushed. Mary had that other guy with her, and I didn’t know how to deal with that. We have all had people in our lives that we desire to be with, and it takes up our complete focus. Some work out for a lifetime, and some do not get to first base.

Some say that is life, or that’s the way it goes, and I cannot disagree. There is one known as “closer than a brother” I came to know later in life. He reached out His hand in an hour on my greatest need. It wasn’t a time of need for money or possessions of any sort. It was when I was alone with several monkeys on my back and a brick wall next to my face. There was nowhere to go, a memento the pastor calls a Red Sea moment. It was a “Where Would I God but to the Lord,” but He came to me as I cried out in frustration. It was the darkest night of my life when I saw the greatest light, my Savior and Lord, Jesus.

Two essential truths of God are His mercy and grace. Mercy towards the guilty and grace toward the undeserving. Everyone sacrifices their time, talent, and treasure, but the sacrifice the Lord desires is a broken and contrite heart. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17) To whom Jesus calls He wants to give His grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8) Jesus exhibits the grace of God and demands an answer from each He calls.

The problem for humanity is most are orphans in God’s creation. In the Garden of Eden, humanity separated itself from God and is no longer in harmony with His creation. Humanity is adrift in a sea without an accurate compass to find its way home. Jesus is that compass, as He is the way, the truth, and the life to be in the presence of God. (John 14:6) He is God and is present throughout all creation and knows the way through every trial and blessing. To abide in Jesus is the manifest wisdom of God, and without Him, we have a powerless fate. “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 15:5)

The door to God’s throne of grace is Jesus. We cannot enter into the throne as we are unrighteous (Matthew 5:48). Jesus is righteous and enters into the Holies of Holies and offers our prayers. Jesus is the only way, and no one can be in the presence of God except through Jesus. “Let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.” (Hebrews 10:22)

It is not humanity alone that makes the world a difficult place to navigate, and we are deceived by the god of this world, Satan. It is a narrow path we follow to avoid the land mines Satan has placed in our way. Satan is only a wicked angel, and our Lord is a God who knows the way and has the power to make His will for us to come true. We cannot understand these things completely as God can, but we will know the way by His Word. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) Jesus will direct and order our steps on the narrow way to His Kingdom. The follower must trust and obey to remain in His presence, as we will be on that day. “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4:8)

At most points in my life, I never sought my dad’s approval because of my selfish interest. At any given time, my dad had thirty years more wisdom than me, yet, I forsook it. Over the years, my dad tried to teach me has paid off even long after he went home to be with the Lord. I’ll thank my dad someday soon. I haven’t sought the approval of others for most of my life and paid the price of that, but it wasn’t more than I could bear. Today right or wrong, I do not care much what people think of me, but I do care for their spiritual welfare. The only approval I seek is from my Lord and Savior. “For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10)

I have shifted my focus from getting through this world or being accepted by the world to seeking the Kingdom of Heaven. My Elder brother said some years ago, “I’m working on a good finish.” As he, my focus is on the eternal rest in my Lord that awaits me. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33) It is not that I don’t try to please people. I first try to please my God. Everything I do in this world is to bring Him glory and please Him, not that it earns me anything; I love Him first, as He loved me. “Just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts.” (1 Thessalonians 2:4)

The gift of His presence and approval fills my heart with everlasting joy. Joy is an eternal feeling that only comes from a relationship with the Father. There is individual power of joy, power of the peace that awaits when the work is completed. The power that made Jesus willing to sacrifice Himself on the cross for you and me. He went to the cross with the joy of His home set before Him. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2) His joy is the motivation that makes me willing to sacrifice all to do the good work He has prepared for me.

He has given His Spirit to counsel us along the way to understand and overcome the ways of the world. Sometimes it is hard to find a Christian believer, and it should not be that way. Followers of Jesus are to be like-minded with Him and in one accord. God has given them His love and should be expressed in all they do. Christians are led by His Spirit and display the fruits of His Spirit in their daily lives. “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)

The Lord has been gracious to us, He has shown His mercy towards us, and He has provided not only for us here but for all of eternity. We have this pearl of great wealth (Matthew 13:45-46), and we should share that with every ear that will hear. I cannot judge the possibilities of what God can do with the soul of a person. Jesus gave the summation of the Law “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27). Sharing God’s Word is not a burdensome yoke to carry. It is just living the gospel message in our lives. “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)

All of creation lives in the presence of God the Creator. Acknowledging His presence in everything we do changes the outcome of our lives. It is the end game we should be most concerned about. When we live our lives in a way that pleases God and gains His approval, we find joy in our hearts stronger than any of the world’s troubles. I want everyone to have a relationship with Jesus, and I want everyone to have a home in His Kingdom. There is a joy in sharing God’s gift of salvation through faith in Jesus. It is a joy that gives personal satisfaction that you have helped lift someone up from the pit to a pedestal in God’s Kingdom. “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, July 8, 2021

wordpress analytics

God’s Love is the Answer

“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Now and then, I fall back in time to capture a memory from long ago. I found myself this am on the stoop living in the ’60s and growing into my teenage years. It was a confusing time wandering around trying to be grown up and without an idea of what I was doing. It was the era of the Beatles vs. the Monkeys on the top forty. I like many of the Monkey’s songs, especially “Sleepy Jean,” but I liked everything the Beatles did. John Lennon was not my favorite Beatle, but a song of his from 1973 was on my mind this morning and stayed there a while, “Mind Games.”

As with most songs, I do not know or remember the lyrics, but I do remember these, “Love is the answer, and you know that for sure. Love is a flower. You got to let it; you got to let it grow.” There is a profound truth in those words. We are to love the Lord with all our hearts and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. I find it very easy to love the Lord with all my heart, and it is a natural love in the reflection of the love He has towards me. When it comes to my neighbors, it is not so easy. It becomes a duty to obey the Lord’s command. But as love grows, it too becomes natural. I don’t have to know someone to love them, but I do have to know them to like them. I find myself liking a lot of people I love and disliking a lot of people I love.

A few decades back, I was a Barstool Baptist. It was in my Army days, and it seemed as the drinks began their works on my brain, my father’s words kept coming out of my mouth. Perhaps it was because I knew he would be displeased with where I was. But, I think it more because most of what my father said came from the Word of God and God’s Word has a way of coming back in times of bad behavior. So, often in those days, I found myself on the stool being a Barstool Baptist. It’s funny how at this moment, another song comes to mind from a fellow West Virginian Hank Williams Sr., “Tear in My Beer.”

I’m a watcher more than an actor, so I would muse myself watching everyone getting saturated at the bar in Fort Stewart, Georgia. Some would come in upset, and others would drink themselves to sorrow. Thus, the song “Tear in my Beer” always came to my mind. Hank recorded that song in Nashville in 1950, which is my birth year. I have listened to Tear in my Beer but know none of the lyrics. But I get the idea, as it is about lost or unfaithful love. So I would sit on my stool and listen to somebody did somebody wrong songs; either the beer or the songs would change the mood in the bar.

I will have to say I give credit to the beer, which gave me more boldness to express my compassion. I am not known as a happy person, probably because I don’t smile much, but I hate to see someone crying in their beer. So with my false courage and my insides sloshing. I venture out to console a stranger who is approaching that one too many. Even as I am speaking of many decades ago, I concluded many of the sorrowful people in the bar could not satisfy their natural hunger for love. Their true want was a faithful love. That love is the desire God placed in every soul for divine love.

At that time, I could not explain divine love, as I had not myself truly found it. I, too, was a drifter in a sea of worldly wisdom. I would listen, sympathize and try to empathize, but I could not give them a satisfying answer. I tried to by a voice up but seldom gave them a lift up. The best I could do is recite a verse my father taught me in an effort to give them hope. “Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Some blame God for all their trials in life. It does not bother me, as I have done that many times in the past. There is a god to point to for all our trials, but it is not the Lord God Almighty. The god of this world is a fallen angel cast down from God’s Kingdom because of his pride. He is the serpent of old Satan who tempted Adam and Eve to eat the forbidden fruit. They fell to his temptation and brought sin into the world, fracturing the harmony of God’s creation and the souls of humanity. His temptation destroyed the image we were created in and changed our greatest desire. Humanity no longer desires God’s Kingdom but the kingdom of the world and lusts for it. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.” (1 John 2:16)

Satan hates the Lord God Almighty, and he hates everything God has created, and I believe he even hates himself. Otherwise, Satan would have repented and asked forgiveness if he could. The most important thing to me about Satan is he hates you and me. The truth is Satan hates you and seeks to destroy you, and that is his biggest purpose to kill you and me. Satan is a powerful fallen angel, but he is not God’s opposite. Satan is a created being just as we. God defeated him on the cross, and He will crush him at the fullness of time.

God is love “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (1 John 4:8). The world has many definitions of love. Some see it as a physical word and seek physical remedy and application, and I am not saying they are incorrect. God is love, and His love is spiritual as well a physical. The short definition of agape love is unconditional, unselfish love towards all of His creation. It is the love God has for us and desires from us. All His creation gets that, and only humanity consistently falls short. Three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him and Peter answered with a lower love each time. Humanity in its present state cannot love God with agape love. Yet, the Lord God Almighty loves with agape love. So much so He paid the price for our sins. “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

Love as man sees it is not the problem. The problem is the definition of humanity’s love. It’s physical and incapable of complete love for one another, many come close, but none are perfect as God’s. Love is the answer, and until we have God’s agape love within us, we will not understand and share His love for others. Therefore, humanity must seek the Lord and find Him while He can be found. The moment will come for all when it is too late to find our God and Creator. “Seek the LORD while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near.” (Isaiah 55:6)

To enter into the Kingdom of God, one must call upon the name of the Lord, which is Jesus; only He is the way, the truth, and the life. None will see their Creator or enter His eternal Kingdom except through a personal relationship with Jesus (John 14:6). On the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33). Our priority is to seek His Kingdom in all that we do. The right way is to acknowledge Him in all that we do. All that we do is for the glory of the Lord, and He will direct our paths. His path, though narrow, will lead to the gates of Heaven. (Proverbs 3:5-6). Our second priority is we must be righteous. We must not have sin in our life to prevent us from entering into the Holy Kingdom. Humanity can’t do that, but Jesus lived a perfect life, and He will give us that if we believe in Him and follow in faith. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33)

I have heard it said and had one tell me that if they entered a church, the building would burn down. Their point is they are too wicked for God to consider them to receive salvation from the wrath of God. The truth is all are sinners, the righteous and the unrighteous. Jesus didn’t wait till everyone repented before He went to the cross to sacrifice Himself as the Lamb of God. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) See the love? Many people will not open a door for someone or say thank you for a kind deed, but Jesus went to the cross to save their souls. That was not His calling. His calling was to come and seek the lost and tell them of His Kingdom. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.” (John 3:17)

The church will not burn down, and it is the exact place to go and fellowship with like-minded believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and grow in spiritual understanding of His Kingdom. Whatever is deterring you from your happiness, causing sadness, trials in life that seem insurmountable, the answer is found in the love of God towards you. God loves you, and there is nothing you can do to make Him love you more, and there is nothing you have done to make Him love you less. That is true; it is faithful, as it is God’s Agape love for you. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 30, 2021

wordpress analytics

The Saving Knowledge of Jesus

“If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8:31-32)

To have the saving knowledge of Jesus is a treasured possession indeed. Many in this world have a far greater saving knowledge than I, and they are an inspiration to be around. I have what the Lord has given me over the years, and life experiences gained wisdom from the Lord’s knowledge. I am going to make a short controversial statement and then move on. A solid saving knowledge of Jesus in itself will not save you. Instead, I see the saving knowledge of Jesus as a blueprint of God’s plan of salvation for humanity.

God’s plan of salvation is a result of why humanity needs salvation. The short answer is all humanity has sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23) God is holy and therefore cannot allow the presence of sin in His Kingdom. God loves humanity and desires fellowship with them. God needed to redeem them to bring humanity back into unity. The wages of sin are death, and humanity is unable to save itself. Humanity can neither forgive itself on behalf of God nor pay the wage of sin. Sin requires a perfect death to pay the debt. No man is perfect; therefore, God sent Himself in the likeness of a man named Jesus to be His sacrificial lamb. Jesus sacrificed Himself for our sins. (John 3:16) All one needs to do to receive salvation is receive Jesus as their savior on faith. (John 14:6)

If humanity does not accept who Jesus is and does not live in faith His Word is true, they cannot find salvation any other place in this world. One must accept the why; they are a sinner and repent from sin towards the Kingdom of righteousness. “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Knowing the truth will not save you from God’s wrath, only make you all the guiltier. You must live through the truth in faith, turning away from the darkness of evil. Jesus is the truth, and to know Him is to have complete faith in Him. If we believe Him to be the truth, He will set us free from the bondage of sin and reward us with eternal life due to our faith.

We cannot live righteous lives, and there is no amount of work to be done nor money to be earned that can purchase God’s salvation. The cost is far higher than the efforts or wealth of God’s creation. Salvation is not for sale, and good works cannot earn it. It cannot be awarded by participation and cannot be received just by knowing its availability. It is God’s gift to humanity by His grace through faith. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Faith is the key to receiving God’s gift of salvation. “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6) Some people take faith as a wish, while others take what they call faith into worldly possibilities. True faith can come only from Jesus, who knows the full possibilities of God the Father. “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)

The faith Jesus, as the Word of God, is born from believing His word and living in its truth. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17) Hope is built on nothing less than Jesus Christ and His righteousness, as the hymn says. Our hope is the salvation God offers, and faith gives the conviction of the unseen’s reality. “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” (Hebrews 11:1) By the Word of God, we live and move through the world to our destiny, the Kingdom of Heaven. The Word is our home now, and we long to be there. “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart”–that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:8-10)

Our mission is the same as our Lord’s to share the gospel message to all who will receive it. That does not mean we are all evangelists by calling or pastors and teachers of the Word of God. We were created in Jesus for good works. “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) The good works we were created to accomplish have been prepared before the beginning, which takes the stress out of wondering what we are to do. Jesus said, take up your cross and follow me. Rather than taking the initiative, we climb out of the boat and wake where Jesus leads.

Accomplish the good work; every thought and every deed is focused on the will of the Father. Jesus’s thoughts and deeds were in the Father’s will, and He is the example we follow. We keep our focus on Him, like Peter before he sank by taking His eyes off Jesus. (Matthew 14:22-46) With Jesus at the core of every thought and deed we do, all our works will be good. “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” (Colossians 3:23-24)

Rather than just focusing on the Great Commission, I look to the Sermon on the Mount. “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) God may not call you to the foreign mission field, and He may not call you to be a traveling evangelist, as you might now be where He needs you to be. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed” (2 Corinthians 9:8)

Do not be anxious but pray for your needs in the confidence that where God guides He provides. Always remembering that faith is key, and your faith pleases Him. Faith unlocks all the possibilities God has in store for our lives. “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and our mission is to tell His story and what He has done in our lives.

We cannot save one soul from the wrath of God, as only Jesus forgives, and it is God’s gift of salvation. Ours is the work of sowing the seeds of the truth, the Word of God. It is His Word that holds the power of salvation through the wooing of the Holy Spirit. Ours is to present, and Jesus saves. “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.” (Matthew 13:23) (Matthew 13:18-23) Salvation is the good work of God. “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.” (1 Corinthians 3:7)

The burden of our hearts is we know the truth and that everyone needs to hear the saving knowledge of Jesus. Humanity has the free will to accept His truth or to reject it. We can do nothing other than our very best to get His Word into their ears and pray that God opens them to hear. The work is to have our and everyone’s names in the Book of Life. All when they leave this world will face the judgment of God. The final judgment is not of salvation, as one must receive God’s gift of salvation on this side of death. The judgment is that of works. For the believer, it is the Judgment Seat of Christ to reward our works done in the Holy Spirit’s power and burn the selfish works and receive rewards or the lack of reward. “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)

Those who have not claimed Jesus as their Lord and Savior, have not their names written in the Book of Life, will bow at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then they cannot deny the truth, it is there they will bow and confess Jesus as Lord, and it is there with fear and gnashing of teeth they will be tossed into the lake of fire. “And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:15)

For us who know the truth to beg and plead, the ears and hearts of the wicked will be opened to receive the truth. So they will stand for righteousness and be counted in the number of the saints. In the power of Jesus’ name, our prayer is they to overcome this world and join us in His Kingdom evermore. “He who overcomes will thus be clothed in white garments; and I will not erase his name from the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” (Revelation 3:5)

Thomas N Kirkpatrick

First Baptist Church of Durant, June 16, 2021

wordpress analytics
%d bloggers like this: