Friday, November 28, 2014

with Brother Rick

Galatians 5: 7- 9
  Ye did run well, who did hinder you that you should not obey the truth?
V- 8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
V- 9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

As we discovered in the Paul's first epistle to the church in Corinth, the Galatian church also accused Paul of not being a true apostle. They claimed that Paul's gospel was not correct. There were heretics in Galatia who claimed that faith in Christ mixed with the keeping of the Mosaic law was the way to true salvation. Paul rebukes these heretics and reiterates the message of the gospel of grace. Paul preached the message of grace through faith in Christ Jesus, plus or minus NOTHING.

In our text, we see that the root of the problem of this heresy did not come from the circumstances of the times. They did not come from the oppression of the world. Notice in the text that Paul asked the question, WHO did hinder you? It was people, not circumstances who pulled believers away from the truth. Galatians 1: 10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” In other words, Paul is telling these believers to keep their eyes off of people and keep them on the Lord. Keep your eyes off of circumstances and keep them on the Savior. Keep your eyes off of your problems and keep them on the problem Solver. Keep your eyes off of the world and keep them on the One who created the world.

As we move closer and closer to the day when Christ will come and take his church home, we must beware of those who will try to pervert the gospel of the grace of God and keep them in our cross hairs. It was people who spread the heresy that Paul is dealing with in this book. It was people who petitioned to have prayer taken out of schools. It was people who had the Ten Commandments taken off the courthouse property. It was people who took prayer out of the political arena. It was people who took Jesus out of the public eye. I have news for you friend, Jesus will not only be in the public eye, HE WILL RULE AND REIGN IN THE PUBLIC EYE FOR ALL TO SEE AND BOW AND WORSHIP. Take that to the bank!!!!!!!!

The point of the message is this: as we try to serve the Lord and live for God, we must keep in mind that we are in a spiritual battle and the devil uses people to get his work accomplished. Yes, he uses physical pain to abuse us. Look at Job, Satan covered his body with boils and sores, but Job kept on praising God. Yes, Satan uses financial destruction to steal our joy. Yes, he uses family tragedy to pull us away from the peace of God. But mostly, the devil uses people to accomplish his work. He uses family to discourage us from being faithful to church. He uses peer pressure to lead teenagers out into the world. He uses coworkers to rebel against biblical authority. If you will not obey parental authority, civil authority, and the authority appointed to us in the world, who you can see, how can you obey God, who you cannot see? Titus 3: 1 says, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities, and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.”

Paul's message to this church was simple. You cannot work your way into the favor of God. God gave up on the flesh in the garden of Eden. And we are at the mercy of Christ. We cannot approach God on our own merit. We cannot see God through our own eyes. We cannot please God in our flesh. 1 Corinthians 15: 50 says, “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.” Romans 8: 8 says, “So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Our flesh profits us NOTHING. We are free from the power of sin today, not because of anything we did in our flesh, but we are free, because we trusted in the sacrifice Jesus made when he laid down his life and died for our sins. I'm not going to heaven today because I'm a Baptist. I'm not going because I turned over a new leaf. I'm not going because I go to the nursing home and visit the sick. I'm not going because I try to keep God's commandments.

The law has been satisfied, Jesus is our propitiation, and we are on our way home. Can't wait to get there. How about you?

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

with Brother Rick

2 Corinthians 12: 9, 10
  And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
V- 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then I am strong.

In the twelfth chapter of this epistle, Paul gives the account of a man who was caught up to the third heaven, and given revelations of God. We believe that Paul is referring to himself in this account. I have heard other commentators and scholars claim that Paul is speaking of someone else, but I believe this actually happened to the apostle Paul.

Our text reveals a truth about true service that seems to be overlooked and certainly is not accepted in today's religious circles  and today's modern church. The text reveals that suffering is a part of walking with Christ, always has been and always will be. “Yea and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution”, 2 Timothy 3: 12. This is a cold hard reality, friend. This suffering that Paul writes about, is not necessarily physical suffering that comes from the world or the enemies of God, but it also includes spiritual suffering as we fight off the principalities, powers, rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places. Those who live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Hey, listen up! We are not talking about church members, choir members, deacons or even preachers, that's not what the verse says. The verse says all that will LIVE GODLY. I have known many church members who don't live godly. I have known many deacons who don't live godly. And I can name some preachers who claim the name of Jesus and live for the world. But Paul was a man who surrendered his life for the furtherance of the gospel. And when a man makes that decision, LOOK OUT!!

Paul's account solidifies the fact that suffering brings maturity. These verses in our text seem strange to the natural man, because Paul invites these trials and claims to have pleasure in persecution. But those of us who have a relationship with the Savior know first hand that it is during the hard times that Christ seems to carry the load. It's when we can't go on when Christ carries us. It's when life has beaten us down, that we find only one set of footprints in the sand. It's when the devil has had his way, that Jesus pulls us out of the mire and sets our feet on the solid Rock. Peter found that out when he stepped out on the water that night. Matthew 14: 29, 30 says, “And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, Lord, save me.” Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and found himself to be powerless over the storm. Peter didn't need the Lord while he was on top of the water, it was when he looked at the wind and began to sink that the power of God became real to him. Peter didn't need the Lord when things were good, it was the trying times when Jesus became his best friend. He didn't need the Lord when all was well, he needed Jesus when he began to sink.

As I look back on my life, I too can say that through all of the tough times and all of the turmoil, it was during those tough times that the grace of God was most evident. Even when I was suffering in sin, I can see where Christ was there to protect me. According to his foreknowledge, I was already his Son. Suffering is part of the Christian life. Jesus does his best work when we have foolishly exhausted our resources and we have no where else to turn. Jesus is always there. Let me say something here, NEVER EVER use the grace of God as a free pass to fulfill your lusts, that's not what we are talking about, and if you choose to try God in that manner, you most likely will end up disappointed. That was FREE. However,  when the devil throws obstacles in our path, Jesus is always there. When the world throws us to the wolves for loving Jesus, He is always there. When family thinks you are a crackpot, Bible thumper, Jesus is always there. When your coworkers stay clear of you for speaking the truth, Jesus is always there. And, like Paul, when we are persecuted for our faith in Christ, Jesus manifests himself in a special way.

1 Peter 4: 12, 13 says, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”
We certainly have a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. And I am glad that no matter what comes my way, Jesus will always be there to pick me up and set me on a solid Rock. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Ain't that the truth?

Have A Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

with Brother Rick

1 Corinthians 9: 22
  To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.

Since the the day that I knocked on my first door as part of organized soul winning, I found out that it takes something out of the ordinary to lead a person to someone they know nothing about. Then I realized that we, as Christians, are out of the ordinary. We are supposed to be different. We are supposed to be have something that others will desire. We are supposed to portray the marks of Jesus our Lord, who was a friend to sinners, a doctor to the sick, a healer of the blind, and encourager to the weak, and a preacher to the lost. Here in this text, Paul gives us the very reason that he is the greatest Christian that ever lived. Paul had the ability to put himself on the same level as those he witnessed to, in order to bring them to a saving knowledge of Christ.

The Bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 10: 23, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not.” Paul understood that his ability to lead others to the Lord would hinge on his willingness to put his liberties in Christ aside and live his life to edify and encourage the weaker brother, and bring the lost to saving knowledge. In other words, Paul never went around banging on doors, and pointing fingers to the lost because of their lifestyle. Lost people do what they are supposed to do. But Paul loved people, Paul encouraged people. Paul enlightened people. Paul was a friend to sinners, just as Jesus was a friend to sinners. Bible separation does not suggest that we lock ourselves away and forget about the lost world. Bible separation suggests that we are in the world, but not part of the world.

 One thing that many of us lack when trying to live for Jesus and lead others to the Savior is common knowledge about the one who saved us. Paul had a story. If you notice in the entire book of Acts, Paul told the story of his conversion over and over. Whenever he was given the opportunity, he would give his testimony. When he was lost and undone without Christ, Jesus came to him. When he was weak in spirit, Christ would come to the rescue. When he needed provision, Jesus would supply all his needs according to his riches in glory. Before Paul could be an effective preacher and witness to the Gentiles, he had to live his testimony. How can we tell someone about the love of God when we show no love toward the lost? How can we tell someone about the mercy of God, when we show no mercy toward others? How can we tell the lost that God gives peace that passes all understanding, when we have no peace in our own lives? How can we tell a dying world that God is love, and tear each other apart like animals? How can we encourage others to be faithful, when we are part- timers? The answer to all of these questions is an emphatic, “WE CAN'T”.

 We need to learn that our liberties are not for us to abuse. We are to use our gifts and abilities to edify the body of Christ, and direct the lost to the Savior. Paul says, “If a man was hurting, I hurt with him.” “If a man was hungry, I fed him”. “If a man was cold, I clothed him”. “If a man was sick, I comforted him.” “If a man was seeking knowledge, I became the teacher”. “If a man just needed a shoulder to lean on, I became that shoulder.” “If a man needed to talk, I became the listener”. “To the weak, became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all [men], that I might by all means save some.”

There is much more to being an evangelical christian that sitting on the pew and writing a check.

Make yourself available to be all things to all men. A saved soul could be the result.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Monday, November 17, 2014

with Brother Rick

1 Corinthians 1: 10, 17
  Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
V- 17 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

In Paul's first epistle to the church in Corinth, he issues them a letter of rebuke. The Corinthian church had become the most carnal of all the churches and this letter became sort of a troubleshooting guide for church doctrine. Paul would uncover a multitude of faults with this body of believers and this letter contains godly instructions to help them get back on track. Let me say this, Paul's intentions are not to point fingers and expose their faults for the purpose of making himself seem more spiritual, as the manner of some is. But Paul's rebukes are made out of love and are meant to edify to the point of godly repentance. Godly rebukes according the word of God should always be made out of love for the purpose of edification. 2 Timothy 3: 16, 17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

In the text, Paul rebukes them because they have divided the things that they have been taught. Paul urges them to speak the same thing. Verse 17 says that Paul had been called by God to preach the gospel. There is only one Gospel of the grace of God. There are not 2 mediators between God and man, there is only 1, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2: 5. 1 Corinthians 12: 13 says, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” The Corinthian church had moved away from the things which were preached to them. They had moved away from the doctrine that was given them. They had interjected their own understanding of the preaching. They knew what was better for the church than the Spirit that started it. This is VERY, VERY DANGEROUS. Those who think that the Bible is meant to interpret differently by each individual are WRONG. There are no private interpretations of the scriptures. God says what he says and that settles it.

The Corinthian church had moved away from sound doctrine and worshiped as they saw fit, not as God commands. This is the state of today's Christianity as a whole. Friends, when rock and roll replaces hymns and spiritual songs, when called men of God are replaced by women who stand in the pulpit and preach to men, which is contrary to the word of God, when modest church attire is replaced with shorts, tee shirts and cut up jeans, when abstinence is replaced with shacking up, and holy living is tossed to the side and everything is accepted, we have moved away from God's way and adopted our own way of worship. God ain't within a million miles of it. God is seeking for a few good men and women who will do it his way. God is seeking those who will forget about the world's way, forget about their own way and do it his way. John 4: 23 says, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.” This church wanted to worship in the flesh and in their own understanding. God cannot and will not be a part of that kind of worship.

Paul was called by God to preach the word of the Lord to the Gentiles, not in words of wisdom, but in power. The church had no power. God's power only comes when the church is in one accord. When they speak the same thing according to the doctrine that is given to them. At that time they did not have the received text, they did not have a completed Bible. Their church doctrine came directly from God through the apostle Paul. But you and I have a completed Bible, WE HAVE NO EXCUSE!!!

God's work on this earth in this dispensation is done through the CHURCH. You need to be part of a CHURCH. You need to be faithful to a CHURCH. And you need to find one where all speak the same doctrine, the doctrine of the BIBLE. There are not many, but they are out there. If you need one and you are looking, try Mountain View Baptist Church in Cowpens. It's a place where the Word of God is the final authority. That's how it should be.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Jehovah Jesus - The Lord Our Saviour

Isaiah 43:3 – “For I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour.”

An elderly gentleman was out walking with his young grandson. "How far are we from Home?" he asked the grandson. The boy answered, "Grandpa, I don't know." The grandfather asked, "Well, where are you?" Again the boy answered, "I don't know." Then the grandfather said good-naturedly, "Sounds to me as if you are lost." The young boy looked up at his grandfather and said, "Nope, I can't be lost. I'm with you." Ultimately, that is the answer to our lostness, too. We can't be lost if He is with us.

And just as He tells the children of Israel through His prophet Isaiah, He is with us always. Look in the previous two verses – verse 1 – “Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.” This promise, given directly to the nation Israel, also extends to the church – believers in the grace of God – saints through His redemptive power. He says so in this verse, “I have redeemed thee.” That means He has purchased us. And what the cost? The blood of His dear Son. And since He has purchased us, now we are His – He said, “Thou art mine.” Then verse 2 – “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” Isn’t it wonderful to have the presence of God with us at all times. In verse 5, He says, “Fear not: for I am with thee.”

Then in verse 11, He says, “I, even I, am the LORD [Jehovah]; and beside me there is no saviour [Joshua, Jesus].” He is our Saviour, our deliverer, our provider, our protector. He and He alone has the power to provide salvation to each and every sin-sick soul. Look at His promise to Mary in Matthew 1:21, “Thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus means Saviour. It’s the same word as Joshua in the Old Testament. His very purpose in coming to this earth was to save sinners – to provide salvation – to make a way of escape from the damnation of eternal separation from God – to “save his people from their sins.”

Salvation has a sure foundation – the finished work of Christ at Calvary. Salvation is in Jesus Christ, not in works. Titus 3:5 tells us, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done.” Man cannot work for his salvation – it comes only by faith. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Man cannot keep the law for salvation. Galatians 2:16 says, “A man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ.” The law tells us to do – do – do, whereas grace tells us, “Thank God, it’s already done.” Salvation was complete in Jesus. Look at 1 Corinthians 3:11 – “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Christ Jesus.”

Salvation has a sure reception – the faith of Jesus Christ and His shed blood. Hebrews 11:4 – “By faith Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” What was the difference? Works vs. blood sacrifice – Faith. Man can be redeemed only by faith – only by the blood of a sacrifice – “by the shedding of blood is remission.” Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” The church cannot save – or baptism – or works – or self – but our faith is centered in Jesus Christ. He is the object of our faith.

Salvation has a sure evidence – the fruit of the Spirit made manifest in our lives. When a person is genuinely born again he’ll produce evidences. Galatians 5:22-23 give us the fruit that the Spirit of God produce in the Christian’s life – “Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” These are the things that should be evident in our lives.

Quote – “The difference between religion and salvation is from the head to the heart.” – Melvin Vaughan

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jehovah Shammah - The Lord is Present

Exodus 48:35 – “The name of the city from that day shall be, the LORD is there.”

Brian La Croix used to tell of when his daughter Olivia would wake up in the middle of the night and need to use the bathroom. It was his job to get up and take her there, so he would get out of bed when she called to find her in the hall outside her room. She would take his hand as they would go to the bathroom, which was about six feet from her door. Did she need his hand to show her the way? No, she wanted to know he was near. Then any fear and apprehension she may have about the dark would go away. She probably didn’t consciously even think about it. It’s kind of the same thing with us. Sometimes we are troubled, fearful or just need some encouragement. What a comfort to know that God is there with an open hand to take ours and lift us up when we are down, encourage us when we are weak, and calm us when we are fearful.

Of all the names of God we have looked at so far – Jehovah Jireh (the Lord will provide), Jehovah Rapha (the Lord that healeth), Jehovah Nissi (the Lord our banner), Jehovah Shalom (the Lord our peace), Jehovah Raah (the Lord our shepherd), Jehovah Tsidkenu (the Lord our righteousness) – none is as precious to the child of God as this one, Jehovah Shammah (the Lord is present). No other promise is as real to the Christian as the promise of God’s presence with us. The British songwriter, Graham Kendrick, tells us, “He is here, and we have come to worship Him, in His presence opening the treasures of our hearts. He is here the centre of our longings, all our restless journeyings are ended in His peace, and God is here with us, our Saviour, Jesus; His mercy covers us. Immanuel is here, so tender, so near. We welcome you Immanuel, adore you more than words can tell, we worship you. Immanuel is here, he is here.”
The context of our passage, here in the last chapter of Ezekiel’s prophecy, puts us at the end of the age. It speaks of the millennial kingdom and tells of the holy city Jerusalem, another name of Christ’s bride, the church. The Apostle John describes the same New Jerusalem in the Revelation – He describes it as a Holy City coming down from above – and here, Ezekiel tells us the name of the city is “the Lord is there [or in the Hebrew Jehovah Shammah].” This is very definitely the name of God, Jehovah Shammah, and He has given His name to the Holy City Jerusalem.

To the child of God, perhaps the most wonderful thing about God’s presence is His promise to be with us in this present age. The children of Israel, when coming out of Egypt were blessed with God’s presence in a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. And in Exodus 33:14, God promised Moses, “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” To the church Christ promised in Matthew 28:20, “And lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Paul tells the church in Hebrews 13:5, “He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Christ promised in John 14 that the Holy Ghost would come – a Comforter – an Advocate – a Spirit of truth. In verse 18 He promised, “I will not leave you comfortless.” And in Romans 8:9 Paul says, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” – so not only do we have Christ’s presence with us in the Holy Ghost, but we also have His presence in us in the Holy Ghost.

And not only do we have God’s presence with us in this life, but we’ll live in His presence for all eternity. In 2 Corinthians 5:8, Paul tells us, “Willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” In fact, throughout the Scriptures, we are told that it is God’s presence throughout eternity that makes heaven eternal life, and to be absent from God’s presence makes it eternal death, not to mention the flames of hell and the lake of fire. But the promise of God’s presence both here and for all eternity makes this name of God, Jehovah Shammah, the most precious name of all.

Quote – “God is present in all time and at the same time.” – Dr. Harold Sightler

Friday, November 14, 2014

with Brother Rick

Romans 10: 9
  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

This text has become known to the Bible student as part of the Romans Road. As we discussed yesterday, this epistle to the Romans church contains all of the doctrinal truth needed for justification and sanctification. Justification can be defined simply as, the act of God taking you out of the world. And sanctification can simply be defined as the process of God taking the world out of you. But this text is the life changing event when man comes to the crossroad and turns his heart and mind away from self, away from the world, away from the his own will, and turns toward the Savior in repentance and makes Jesus, Lord of his life.

There are three vital doctrines in this verse that lead us down the road to reconciliation with a holy God. Let us establish one thing. The idea we have adopted in the liberal circles that says, “God is love and only love and he hears every prayer of every person”, does not line up with scriptures. Psalm 66: 18 says, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the LORD will not hear me:” Of course we know that God is omnipresent (all places at all times), omniscient (all knowing), and omnipotent (all powerful), God sees and hears all things, but we are talking about acknowledgment, God hears the prayers of sinners, but God's acknowledgment of our prayers only comes when prayer is offered with the right motive. If you choose to ignore the word of God and live in your sin, and expect the God of heaven to acknowledge your every prayer, you are deceiving yourself and the truth is not in you.

Back to the text, the first thing we must acknowledge on this Romans Road is confession. The text implies that we must confess with the mouth. This is simply an outward acknowledgment of the fact that we have transgressed God's word, his law and his will. Obviously a deaf person could not speak this with their mouth, but all can make public acknowledgment that they are wrong and God is right. Bible confession and repentance is a change of attitude toward the rule of God. Jesus bore our reproach openly and we must bear his reproach openly. 2 Timothy 2: 12 says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” This outward confession comes with action. It will bring repentance. When we confess with the right motives, we will turn away from self and turn to the Savior.

Secondly, we must acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. He is Lord. Whether you accept it, believe it, or walk according to it. JESUS IN LORD!!! Did you read the paper yesterday? The front page of the Herald-Journal shows a disgraceful display of wickedness, not only in the world, but in the religious circles. The article says, “The Rev. David Poteat of Greenville said it's long been his ambition to perform the first gay wedding ceremony in South Carolina.” He goes on to say, “Love holds not bounds, For someone to say your love in not legal goes completely against  everything I was taught growing up in the church,” (Here's the problem, he's been led astray by a false teacher). Poteat said, “God is love. Therefore, we cannot put restrictions on love. End of story.” What a crackpot!! First, it is NOT the end of the story, God's love COMES WITH BOUNDARIES. Here is a man who has not confessed that he is a sinner, If you condone and promote sin, according to the BIBLE, YOU ARE A LOST SINNER. He has not accepted the Lordship of Jesus Christ. If we accept his Lordship, we accept his word as truth. John 14: 15 says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” Yes, God is love, that's why he offered his own Son; so we would not be slaves to the sin this knucklehead is promoting. Jesus is Lord and his word is the final authority, not what you were taught as a child in some liberal church. READ YOUR BIBLE!!!

The last part of the verse gives the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus was born of a virgin, he died on a cross, he was buried in the borrowed tomb, and he rose the third day. Being the firstfruits of the resurrection, he has opened the way for us to be raised with him. Praise God, I believe the Gospel, I believe God raised him from the dead. Hebrews 12: 2, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus is sitting at the right hand of the Father this morning, making intercession for us. Thank you Jesus!!

If you confess your transgression, acknowledge Jesus as Lord, and his word as final authority, and believe the gospel, God will save your soul. Please don't be misguided into thinking that you can have your sin and God will overlook it. It is a lie from the devil. Rev. Poteat is wrong, if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the ditch.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

with Brother Rick

Romans 2: 29
  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

In Paul's epistle to the Roman church, the primary theme would be justification by faith. Paul's message removes the believer from the bondage of the law and gives them freedom to serve and worship God outside the letter of the law. Jesus fulfilled the law. That means he filled it full. Colossians 2: 13, 14 says, “And you, being dead in your sins, and uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, and took it  out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” Paul is making the point that it is not the letter of the law that takes justifies a man before God. It is not the ordinances that justify a sinful man before a holy God. It is not the name, Jew, that makes a man alive toward God. But is is the condition of the heart which justifies man before God. Paul states that neither being a child of Abraham, nor having answered the intentions of the law brings a man to justification. The children of Abraham would do the works of Abraham. Galatians 3: 6 says, “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Abraham had a heart for God. Abraham believed God. Abraham trusted God. His heart and his spirit was right with God. We no problem with God's law when our heart is right with God. Psalm 119: 165 says, “Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.”

Let's look at the term “Justification”. It means “acquittal”, “righteous ordinance or judgment”. When we are justified before a holy God, this means the charges are dropped. God has us charged with the death of his Son, and we must pay the price. So by faith is the sacrifice of Jesus, we can be set free from the charges. The supreme judge has thrown out the case against us when we throw ourselves on the mercy of the court, plead guilty, and accept the sacrifice that Jesus made at Calvary. Money won't buy your way out of this charge. Mama and daddy can't help with this case. Dick James can't pull any strings to help you. There is only one advocate who has access to the judge. His name is Jesus. 1 John 2: 1, 2 says, “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” My case was thrown out of court, it was dismissed, the very moment I trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ as my Savior. When Jesus became my advocate, I was set free. Friend, don't you dare go before the judge without a lawyer. You will not go free if you stand before the judge alone. If you represent yourself, you will not go free. A man who acts as his own attorney, has a fool for a client.

Paul's letter to the Roman church deals with the condition of the heart. It is the heart that God looks at, it is the inner man that God sees. It is the spirit of man that makes a connection with God. Our works can be manipulated. Our outward man can be altered, but the heart will always reveal the true character of a man. Romans 10: 10 says, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” It is not the letter of the law which gives man access to the God, but a true heart of faith toward Jesus, which justifies us before God. Hey friend, you will not go before God without Jesus. You will not enter heaven without Jesus. There is not justification without Jesus. He is the only way, take him or leave him.

It is the inner man that moves the heart of God. Let me say this; you know a tree by its fruit. When the heart is right, the body will do right. The body follows the heart. A man will do exactly what his heart tells him to do. You may put on a show for a while, but eventually, the heart will prevail.

Don't go before the supreme Judge without proper representation. Your justification will only come when Jesus goes before the judge on your behalf. Any other way will get you an eternal incarceration. You will pay on your sin debt forever. Jesus wants to set you free, trust him today!!

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

with Brother Rick

Acts 4 : 12, 13
  Neither is there salvation in any other:  for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
V- 13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

As we go through the book of Acts, we must keep in mind that there are things taking place during this transition period and birth of the church, that the people had never seen. The apostles were afforded the privilege of possessing supernatural gifts that would authenticate the message that they preached. We see in this text that not only were they given the ability to speak in other languages, heal the sick, raise the dead and work the works of God,  they were given the ability to understand the word of truth, and it was sealed to their hearts and well as their minds. Friend, it is one thing to know about  Jesus, It is quite another to know him and to be known of him. It is one thing to know the gospel of Christ, It is quite another to trust the gospel unto salvation. It is one thing to know the scriptures, it is quite another to live according to the scriptures. It is one thing to have a head knowledge of the new birth, It is quite another to be born again. 2 Corinthians 4: 6 says, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face Jesus Christ.”

We see in the text that Peter finishes his sermon with a message that was offensive to the religious crowd. It was offensive to most of the Jews. It was offensive to the Bible scholars of that day, and we find today that it is still offensive, even in 2014. The message that Peter preached is in verse 12. There is no salvation outside of Jesus Christ. There is no fellowship with God the Father outside of his Son Jesus. There is only one way to heaven, and it is not in the Jewish religion, it is not in the law, and it is not in the priesthood. It is in Jesus. They could not accept this. They refused to have Jesus as Savior. Luke 19: 14 says, “But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this man to reign over us.” If only the world would allow Jesus to reign.

Our text tells us that the scholars, priests and religious leaders perceived that Peter and the other apostles were unlearned and ignorant men. They were not pillars of society. They were not looked upon as Bible scholars and godly men. They were not asked to join the synagogues and teach the people. But there was something about them that made them stand out above the rest. There was something about them that could not be denied. The Bible says in Acts 4: 13, “they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus”. Despite their lack of education, they were witnesses for the Lord Jesus. Despite their knowledge of the law, they carried the torch for Christ. Despite their inability to conform to the traditions of men, it was obvious that they had been with Jesus.

What good is a degree in Bible Theology if the world around you cannot see that you have been with Jesus? What good is having your name on the church role, if the world cannot see that you have been with Jesus? What good is the ability to sing in the choir and belt out the special songs on the Lord's Day, if you show no evidence that you have been with Jesus? What good does it do to teach the classes and preach the sermons if those around you see no evidence that you have been with Jesus?

Peter and the apostles were different. Peter and the apostles were transformed into a vessel fit for God's use. There was no denying that these men had been with Jesus. Can the world say that about you? Do your coworkers know that you have been with Jesus? Does you family know that you have been with Jesus? When Christ rules and reigns in the heart, there will be a change.

Everything in this life becomes secondary when you have been with Jesus.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

with Brother Rick

John 20: 27, 28
  Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
V- 28 And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

In this text, we find a man, Thomas, who finally came to the realization that Jesus was exactly who he said he was. Even though Thomas had witnessed many miracles, heard many sermons, watched Jesus control the elements and raise people from the dead, it wasn't until he saw the resurrected Christ, that he gave in to his skepticism and surrendered completely. Jesus says in John 8: 24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” Notice the context of this verse. Jesus is speaking to the Jews about his deity. He says in John 8: 12, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” Who can light the world but God only? John 8: 18 says, “I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me.” Jesus came from the Father, Jesus came from heaven. Who could accomplish such a miracle but God? Then in John 8: 19, he makes a statement that shakes the Jews to their core. The verse says, “Then said they unto him, Where is thy Father? Jesus answered, Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also.” Jesus makes himself equal with God. In Philippians, chapter 2, we find the doctrine of “Kenosis”, which means (emptying). Christ emptied himself and took on the form and limitations of humanity. Of course we know that he never surrendered any attributes of deity. Philippians 2: 5, 6 says, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus. Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:” Jesus emptied himself, so we could be filled. Jesus suffered, so we could go free. Jesus died, so we could live. Jesus became poor, so we could be rich. Jesus gave all, so we could gain all. I say. “Praise God to the name of Jesus.”

 Thomas saw the miracles of Jesus while he was in the form of man, while he was in the flesh. But he could not wrap his mind around the fact that he was man and he was God. Many have that same problem today. The religious cults believe he was a good man, even a prophet, but they will not accept the fact that he is God. If they did, they would follow his word. The liberals who run this country believe that Jesus was a good man, and a miracle worker and a prophet, but they will not accept his deity. They will not give in to the fact that Jesus is God. BUT THEY WILL!!! By the way, I invite you to help me today to bring that crowd to their knees. Please get to the poles and vote to run that Bible denying, Jesus hating, Holy Ghost despising, sin loving, devil worshiping crowd, out of office and out of town on a rail. Please do your Christian duty.

Thomas finally came to the place where Jesus wanted him. He saw the nail scars, he felt the wound in his side. He saw the resurrected Savior. Can you see him? Can you see him as Stephen did in Acts 7? Verse 56 says, “And he said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.” Oh friend, can you see him as Thomas saw him that day? Thomas finally saw him as Lord. He gave testimony to the fact that Jesus is Lord. Whether you accept it or not, God has made Jesus, Lord of all. Acts 2: 36 says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Romans 14: 9 says, “For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” Thomas finally accepted the Lordship of Christ. Have you accepted his Lordship? Thomas also acknowledged Jesus as God. Only God's blood can wash you clean enough for heaven.

The greatest day of my life was the day that I turned away from Rick, turned to Jesus and said, “My Lord and my God”, five words that will change your life.

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Monday, November 3, 2014

with Brother Rick

John 11: 12- 14
  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
V- 13 Howbeit, Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
V- 14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.

 We see in this chapter, one of the greatest of all the miracles that Jesus performed. As we look back on the written accounts of the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ, we find many miracles. And the four gospels only share a small part of the miracles that Jesus performed during his time on this earth. John 21: 25 says, “And there are also so many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” I ask you this morning to stop here for a moment and try to remember some of the times that Jesus spared your life, provided your needs, carried you through a deep valley, shared your successes, pulled your weight when you were weak, showed mercy when you rebelled and pulled you close when you were hurting. Friend, If I had a life time to tell the stories, it would not be enough. I'm sure some of you could say the same. Don't you think he deserves our praise?

Out text gives us one of the Lord's attributes that sets him apart from most of the Old Testament Prophets, and most of the New Testament preachers, ministers, and believers. Notice the text says that Jesus tried to speak to them in a way that was easy for them. Jesus first told them that Lazarus sleepeth. Of course they could not understand the message that he gave. Jesus tried to speak to them on a spiritual level, but they could not receive it. They could not understand that Jesus revealed the absolute truth about Lazarus, he was dead. Jesus had to put it on the bottom shelf, for them to reach it. Jesus had to give it to them straight. The Bible is filled with truth and facts about sin, holy living and the Son of God. It's best if we not tamper with the truth and do as Jesus did and give it to them straight. Jesus always gives it to us straight. For instance, I know a person who actually says that the Bible does not condemn the drinking of alcohol. Well, let me give it to you straight. They are not reading their Bible. Proverbs 20: 1 says, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Do you believe the scriptures? “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”. If you say that Jesus inspired the verse in Proverbs and then drank fermented wine, Someone is lying. Who could it be? Well, let's go to the Bible. Romans 3: 3, 4 says, “For what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, and every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” I'm glad we cleared that up. Proverbs 31: 4- 6 says, “It is not for king's, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert judgment of any of the afflicted. Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.” Habakkuk 2: 15 says, “Woe unto him that giveth his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness.” Here we see that God is giving it to us straight. Will you receive it? Sad to say, SOME WILL NOT!!!!

Our text is a revelation that changes lives. If only we would take the word of God at face value and stop trying to input our own understanding. Proverbs 3: 5, 6 says, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Drinking is only one of thousands of times in the scriptures where God just gives it to us straight. I'm glad God didn't sugar coat the gospel with me. His message to me was, “It's life or death, time to grow up and get it right.” HEY FRIEND, God is trying to help you, not hurt you. Don't you trust that God knows best for your life. Paul says in Galatians 6: 14, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” We look like the world, act like the world, smell like the world and mingle with the world to such a degree, its hard to distinguish between the world and the church. Is the world crucified unto you? Are you crucified unto the world?

God wants to give it to us straight, and he wants us to accept it. Will you accept it?

Have A Blessed Day!!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Jehovah Tsidkenu - The Lord Our Righteousness

Jeremiah 23:6 – “In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is the name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.”

In a sermon on June 2, 1861, the great Charles H. Spurgeon said, “Man by the fall sustained an infinite loss in the matter of righteousness. He suffered the loss of a righteous nature, and then a two-fold loss of legal righteousness in the sight of God. Man sinned; he was therefore no longer innocent of transgression. Man did not keep the command; he therefore was guilty of the sin of omission. In that which he committed, and in that which he omitted, his original character for uprightness was completely wrecked. … Man must have a righteousness, or God cannot accept him. Man must have a perfect obedience, or else God cannot reward him. Should He give heaven to a soul that has not perfectly kept the law; that were to give the reward where the service is not done, and that before God would be an act which might impeach his justice. Where, then, is the righteousness with which the pardoned man shall be completely covered, so that God can regard him as having kept the law, and reward him for so doing? … We must believe, then,—for there is no other alternative—that the righteousness in which we must be clothed, and through which we must be accepted, and by which we are made meet to inherit eternal life, can be no other than the work of Jesus Christ.”

Yes, my friend, Christ is the only righteousness we need – Christ is the only righteousness that God the Father will accept – Christ is the only righteousness that God the Spirit will employ. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 64:6, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Man in himself has no righteousness – no goodness – no uprightness. Romans 3:10 – “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Romans 3:12 – “There is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Romans 3:19 – “And all the world may become guilty before God.” Guilty before God – that is the verdict. And the sentence? Romans 6:23 – “For the wages of sin is death.” The sentence is death!

But – there’s a but – a provision has been made. Yes, a lamb can be offered to pay the sin-debt. Hebrews 9:22 – “Without shedding of blood is no remission.” But every lamb offered to restore fellowship only atones for sin, it doesn’t wash it away. Still a provision has been made. Abraham said it atop Mt. Moriah many years ago in Genesis 22:8, “God will provide himself a lamb.” Yes, the eternal Lamb of God will come and wash away our sin. Romans 3:21-22 – “But now the righteousness of God … is manifested. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ.” He is the answer to the sin problem – Romans 3:25 continues the thought, “Whom God set forth … to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins.” Christ alone is righteousness – He is the redeemer (Rom 3:24) – He is the propitiation (Rom 3:25) – He is the justifier (Rom 3:26).

Jesus Christ, “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world (John 2:29),” is Himself our Righteousness. Look at 1 Peter 2:24, “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness,” and 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” He was the Christ of glory – He left the streets of heaven – He took on the form of man – He suffered persecution at the hands of men – He endured the humiliation of the cross – He was forsaken by all – yet, He provided, through His death, the righteousness God required to be accepted of Him. On the cross Christ declared, “It is finished.” The great work of justification was finished – the wondrous work of restoration was finished – the eternal work of salvation was finished. C.H. Spurgeon put it this way:  "Throughout his earthly life our Savior was spinning the fabric of our royal garment; and in his death he dipped that garment in his blood. In his life he was gathering the precious gold; and in his death he hammered it out to make for us a garment of wrought gold."

Quote – “God never alters the robe of righteousness to fit man; He changes the man to fit the robe.” – Unknown

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jehovah Raah - The Lord My Shepherd

Psalm 23:1 – “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

C. H. Spurgeon writes: Give me ten million dollars, and one reversal of fortune may scatter it. Give me a spiritual hold on the divine assurance that “the Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want” and I am set for life. I cannot go broke with this stock in my hand. I can never be bankrupt with this security … Do not give me ready cash; give me a checkbook and let me withdraw what I need. This is how God works with the believer. God does not immediately transfer the inheritance; He lets us draw what we need out of the riches of His fullness in Christ Jesus. “The LORD is my Shepherd; I shall not want.” What a glorious inheritance! Walk up and down it. Rest on it. It will be a soft downy pillow for you to lie on … If you disregard this truth—“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”—you know nothing about its preciousness … I often think of that great promise—I do not know where there is a larger one—that “no good thing will He withhold from those that walk uprightly”(Psalm 84:11) “No good thing!” It is a mercy that the word good is there. If it had said, “He will withhold nothing,” we might ask for many things that would be bad for us. But it says “No good thing!” Spiritual mercies are good. They are more than good. They are the best, and you may well ask for them. If no good thing will be withheld, certainly the best things will be given. Ask then, Christian, for He is your Shepherd, and you will not want. He will supply your need. He will give you whatever you require. Ask in faith, never doubting, and He will give you what you really need.

What more could I add? Everything from my feeble mind will be anticlimactic to what the great Charles Spurgeon has said, but I will offer some thoughts, mostly Scripture. Let’s look at what God’s Word says about the Shepherd. First Old Testament prophecies: Genesis 49:24 speaks of “the mighty God of Jacob; (from thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel:)” – an early prophecy that God would come down as the great shepherd. Isaiah 40:11 describes Christ’s love for His sheep, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” Ezekiel 34:23 says, “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them,” and 37:24, “And they all shall have one shepherd.” Zechariah tells of the Shepherd’s death in 13:7, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd … smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”

New Testament passages: Christ Himself in John 10:11 says, “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep,” and in verse 14, “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.” In Hebrews 13:20, Paul calls Him “that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant.” – Just to name a few.

What more could we ask of our great Shepherd? But you notice, in this passage, He is even more personal – He is MY Shepherd – this denotes a personal relationship with each one of His sheep. “I shall not want” – this denotes a providing relationship with each one of His sheep – He provides for all our needs. The rest of this psalm gives us a beautiful picture of the shepherd relationship Christ has with His sheep – He cares for us – He provides for us – He calms us – He leads us – He comforts us – He houses us.

Yet the most important fact is not in this chapter – the Shepherd becomes the Lamb for us. John the Baptist declares in John 1:29, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” And Isaiah 53:7 tells how He would go to the slaughter for his sheep, “He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and … openeth not his mouth.” Revelation 5:12 sings His praise, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

Quote – “My soul has sometimes fed upon Christ till I have felt as if I could receive no more, and then I have laid me down in the bounty of my God to take my rest, satisfied with favor, and full of the goodness of the Lord.” – C. H. Spurgeon

"He Knows My Name" - MVBC Young Ladies Trio

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