A Word from the Pastor

Colossians 3:15-17 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
That passage plays a prominent role in this week’s bulletin, and also in last Wednesday’s sermon. Why the repetition? Due to the fact that we need to be called to trust the Timeless Truths of Holy Spirit-rooted peacefulness and thankfulness during these troubling times.
The hardest aspects of 2020 have not been the SARS-CoV2 virus or the contentious and now contested election. Our response to those things is the issue. The virus and the election are important, but most importantly they are opportunities for us to demonstrate that we really believe what we believe is true. Letting the peace of God rule in our hearts and being thankful in everything does not mean our heads are buried in the sand or that we are uninvolved. It does mean we are ruled by faith rather than fear and we live that faith in an inviting rather than uninviting manner.
Knowing truth is not as difficult as living truth. Praise God we have the “Spirit of truth…who will guide [us] into all truth” (John 16:13). Follow Him. Not the news. Not your fear. Follow Christ Jesus.


In Person Services Postponed

From Wednesday, July 29 through Sunday, August, 9 the Bible Baptist Church will not hold in-person services. Our online presentations will be Sunday mornings at 11am and Wednesday evenings at 7pm during those two weeks. 
Several folks from the church have recently tested positive for COVID-19. This has prompted the schedule change. Our desire is to minimize the virus’ spread within our congregation and community. These cases have come at once instead of spread out over time. That increases my concern, and prompts this action.
For over two months we have gathered on Sunday mornings. We have slowly and systematically re-engaged our other services and ministries over that time. Suspending our in-person gatherings is taking two-steps backwards. That rarely feels right, but this decision has not been made based on a feeling. Sometimes we have to step back so that we may move forward better. That is what we are doing. 
These are unusual days. While pandemics are not new to humanity, this is the first time we have been forced to walk this path. Let’s go forward with a united voice and spirit, trusting our good, wise, and sovereign God all the way. Let’s pray and sing as King David did: “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore.” Psalm 86:11-12


The Gospel Dynamic Empowers Our Civic Duty

As believers this world is not our final home. We are just passing through. Still, we do live in this world. Specifically, I live in and pastor a church in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, one of the sovereign states that constitute the United States of America. Therefore, we as a church have a civic responsibility to our local community, state, and nation. The gospel is what powers our civic duty. We cannot separate gospel truth from our community involvement and engagement. Belief and behavior. Profession and practice. One or the other is never enough. Both are necessary. Gospel truth cannot be separated from gospel living. This is our civic duty.
Tonight at 7pm we will livestream another installment in the series Biblical Counsel for Pandemics (our anytime), and we will be focused on Titus 3:1-7:

Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Kentucky, USA is my home, and I love it. It is also the home to many other people, not a few of whom do not share my worldview or my values; in fact, they are adamantly opposed to them.


Keeping the Faith

Daniel is a marvelous book of prophecy. But do not forget that Daniel was a real man. So were Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and all the other players mentioned in this book. Daniel experienced real visions from God. The Holy Spirit inspired him to record those visions during real-life situations. As you read through the book, the difficulty of those real-life situations is immediately and consistently apparent. I believe it’s safe to suggest that, much like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, we are living during challenging times, and not just because of COVID-19. Like those four men, we are living in a faithless age. We are to be faithful. Just as they were.
The prophetic teaching of Daniel begins in earnest with chapter 7. From there through chapter 12 we learn of God’s sovereign power and rule over future events. The evidence of God’s sovereign power and rule over past and current events is what gives weight to those future claims. God’s ruling and over-ruling past and current events is what we find in Daniel 1-6. In those first six chapters we are reminded in dramatic fashion how God intervenes on behalf of His people for His glory, which is always for their good. We also see that His intervention takes shape both in the form of discipline and blessing.
This morning our text will be Daniel 1. We will be encouraged by examples of men from the past who kept their faith in the same God we serve during their own difficult days. May we do likewise. The livestream will begin at 11am.


This Church and This Crisis

The Church as an Institution

The Lord Jesus said to Peter in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter [Petros – a rock or stone], and upon this rock [petra – a massive rock; a foundation; Jesus was referring to Himself] I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The Apostle Paul wrote to his protégé Timothy, who was pastoring the church at Ephesus, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Timothy 3:15)
In chapter 3:14-21 of his letter to that Ephesian church, Paul recorded a prayer he often offered to God for them. He ended that prayer with these words, “Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

The Church as an Assembly

The writer of Hebrews said this about the weekly church gathering in 10:24-25, “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
In 1 Corinthians 11:18-31 Paul instructed the church at Corinth on the Lord’s Supper. Five times in those fifteen verses Paul references “coming together.” That makes sense, because the Greek word translated “church” in the New Testament is ekklēsia and it means “a called out assembly.” By definition, an assembly must come together.

 But BBC isn’t Assembling 

Bible Baptist Church is an assembly that hasn’t been assembling. What gives? Bible Baptist Church also observes the Lord’s Supper each year before Easter, but we won’t be “coming together” this year. What gives?
That’s what we will be discussing with our Bibles open tonight at 7pm during our livestream Bible study. You have viewing options:
All of these options are available because we want to make it easy for you to follow along. Please set aside the time to tune in at 7 pm. Have your Bibles open.


Timeless Truth for Temporary Troubles

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
Times are tough right now. COVID-19 is easily transmitted, is highly contagious, and attacks the lungs. All of these reasons make the virus particularly virulent for seniors or anyone with a compromised immune system. This disease is serious. We know that much, and that’s about all we know.
Not knowing creates discomfort and anxiety. We want our questions satisfactorily answered. There is much we don’t know about COVID-19 and will never know. But there was a lot we didn’t last year at this time, and that will be true next year at this time. We are limited.
The problem isn’t with our limitations or with our questions. There is no shame in having questions. What we do with the questions is the issue. Don’t allow difficult life situations to cause you to forget what we do know. “Never doubt in the darkness what God has taught you in the light.”
Psalm 27:13-14 says, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.”
Isaiah 45:22 says, “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.”
Our temporary troubles will be overcome by God’s timeless truths. Trust God’s Word. That will be our focus this morning during our 11am livestream. Here are your options for viewing the broadcast:



Developing a Heart of Wisdom

How do we develop a heart of wisdom? Well, it’s not by invention, innovation, or perspiration but as a result of transformation. Psalm 111:10 says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth forever.”

The fear spoken of here is not a groveling fear, where you’re waiting for something horrible to happen, and wishing that it won’t. Think of the fear of the Lord in the context of a father and son or daughter relationship, but instead of the child fearing what his father will do to him if he steps out of line, this is fearing what I will do to my Father as a result of being foolish instead of wise.

Biblically speaking, foolishness has nothing to do with education or intellectual capabilities. In scripture, unbelief is what marks a fool. “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God, they are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good” Psalm 14:1, and the characteristics of a fool are living apart from and against the truth of scripture.

Life is brief. That hasn’t changed because of the coronavirus, but that has highlighted life’s frailty and brevity. We must take advantage of our limited time, for worship and service to the eternal God. Life is an opportunity we must use wisely, and that wisdom is found first in trusting the eternal God to rescue you from your sins. Sins which pay eternal wages.

Redeeming the Time

Ephesians 5:15-17 reads as follows: “See then that ye walk circumspectly [that means with situational awareness; careful attention], not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.”

Wisdom is found in understanding and following God’s will, and it’s God’s will that people should be…

  • Saved – Mark 10:45; Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 2:3-6
  • Spirit-filled – Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” This means being led of the Spirit and will be marked by joyfulness.
  • Submissive – 1 Peter 2:13-15; Hebrews 13:17. Submission requires sacrifice and is to be joyfully rather than grudgingly offered. Colossians 3:23, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;”
  • Sanctified – 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:15-20. This means living a life set apart from this world and to the glory of Christ. That kind of existence will not be perfectly lived, but is one primarily directed towards Jesus. That life looks like this:
    • Consistent joy – 1 Thessalonians 5:16
    • Continual prayer – 1 Thessalonians 5:17
    • Comprehensive thanksgiving – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
  • Suffering – 1 Peter 2:20-21; 3:17; 5:10. This is part, a regular and sometimes big part, of God’s will for our lives, and Jesus is our ultimate example in all this.


Staying Connected

3 John 14, “But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.”
Hospitality is a joyous discipline for the purpose of godliness, because it is a purposeful means of showing and strengthening our love for one another. We live in a time of phony connectedness, where an individual may have thousands of social media connections but no real friend with whom to share a meal or meaningful conversation. New Testament churches are to be “given to hospitality,” so invite fellow church members – as well as visitors, traveling
missionaries, and those in need – over for meals and fellowship. Face to face time is the best method of encouragement.
During this pandemic, however; face to face time is difficult, even discouraged. As of right now, one of the best ways to demonstrate love for others and be hospitable is to avoid face to face time, at least in large groups, or if you are or have been feeling poorly. COVID-19 is easily transmitted and virulently contagious. Plus, it is especially dangerous to the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.
But these hard facts do not countermand 3 John 4. We aren’t able to speak “face to face” like before. Still, we must speak. Take advantage of social media. Yes! It can be used for good! Make phone calls. Visit when possible. If the conditions are right. Trust that we “shall shortly see” the corner turned with this pandemic. At that time, our face to face communication will be all the sweeter. Until then, continue to greet one another. Encourage one another with “peace be to thee.” Be calm and trust God.


The Lord’s Day

Gathering to worship and serve is fundamental to any church’s life. Buildings, pews, resources, sound systems, and the like make church services comfortable, but none of them are necessary. Gathering together is necessary. After all, the Greek word translated “church” in scripture means assembly. This means that when a church meets it is not a simple social gathering, but is an assembly of biblically baptized believers who have covenanted together for the glory of God and the purpose of the gospel. We assemble together to worship the God of the Word according to His Word. 
Tomorrow is the Lord’s Day. We will not be able to meet. Suspending our services was a difficult decision to make. Our desire is to be full of faith, confident that faith and common sense walk hand in hand. We love one another and our community. Therefore, we desire to avoid being infected or infecting others. Our prayers are for wisdom and health.

 Live-Stream at 11am

Since we will not be meeting tomorrow, we will livestream a couple of specials from two church members, and I will preach. Please do not confuse the live-stream event with a church service. We can no more “go to church” online than we can eat a meal online. Instead of meeting together, we are live-streaming, due to the unique situation of the novel coronavirus. Avoiding the church gathering to “watch church online” is never a good idea under normal conditions. If you are sick, laid up, shut in, or if a novel coronavirus pandemic breaks out, then live-streaming a couple of songs and a sermon is a good idea.
To view the live feed follow the link marked “CLICK HERE FOR SERVICE” on the homepage of biblebaptist.org. You may also visit the church’s Facebook page and click the “Watch Video” button. You do not need a Facebook account to visit the church’s Facebook page. The livestream events will begin at 11am on Sunday and 7pm on Wednesday through the rest of March.

God is good all the time!

I like nothing about this situation, but God is in control. My desire is for us to use this unique opportunity to shine the brilliant light of God’s grace in a dark and depressed world. While we are practicing our social distancing, let’s be sure to stay connected. That’s easier to do now that at any other period of human history. Stay connected and stay focused on the God who is faithful and true.


BBC and the Pandemic

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Dear Bible Baptist Church:

None of us have lived through a time like this. While such times are not unprecedented in human history, this is unprecedented in our history. Thankfully, our God is sovereign at all times and sufficient for our every need. Truly, our times are in His hands, and our trust is in Him.

As we mentioned just last week ago, information about COVID-19 is fluid, and our response to this virus must be as well. The White House recently released (Monday, March 16) the “Coronavirus Guidelines for America,” and one of those guidelines is to avoid gatherings of more than ten people for fifteen days. Given the circumstances this is a reasonable request, and one our church will follow. This means that beginning now and for the next two weeks, at least, we will suspend all church gatherings. Our Sunday 11am services will be livestreamed, and we will be sure to inform you how to view that live feed.

New information keeps coming. If the current restrictions are lengthened, we may need to get creative in how we meet, such as “drive-in” services up on the hill. We don’t know what is around the corner, but here is what we do know. We will wholeheartedly press on together.

Even though we won’t be meeting face to face for a while, we are still able to connect with one another in smaller groups, over the phone, with text messages, or even social media. Let’s be ready to help those in our church who are at high risk due to their age and/or their health. We may need to get groceries, pick up prescriptions, or just check on them.

This virus is an ugly thing, but our Lord and His truth are beautiful. These are difficult and uncommon days. I’ve heard it said that “Affliction prepares ordinary Christians for extraordinary service.” This is true. We have never had such an opportunity to proclaim the gospel, to love each other and our community like we now have. Let’s pursue this opportunity with all our might.

Grace and Peace!

Pastor Travis Gilbert