Now, That’s a Good Question!

This question was put to Jesus by a man who was eager, humble, respectful, sincere, and, oh yeah, rich, young, and a ruler. He rushed up to Jesus, kneeled, and inquired: “Good master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
 
Some might squabble with his question. But there is nothing wrong with it. Salvation cannot be earned, nor is it deserved. Equally true is this. You must do something to be saved. Repent and believe. Repentance and faith are necessary for one to gain eternal life. Jesus said this from the beginning of His public ministry (Mark 1:14-15). Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. To be rescued from your sins, you must receive God’s grace through repentance from sin and faith in Christ alone.
 
So, this fellow asked a good question, and he asked the right Person. Too many people chase the right things down the wrong paths. There are so many counterfeit religions and so many devout followers of the same. This is because all of humanity, as beings made in God’s image, are hard-wired with an innate longing for that which is beyond us; that which is transcendent. A vast variety of methods (religious, moral, professional, carnal, even criminal) are employed in an attempt to satisfy that intrinsic longing apart from God’s way.
 
In spite of his status, wealth, and youth this man was unfulfilled. His was an anxious, restless heart. He knew that something was missing, and he understood that something was eternal life. 

Service at 11am (Livestream also)

Join us this morning at 11am up on the hill as we see how Jesus answered this sincere man’s eternally important question. This will help you to answer the question for yourself, and help you provide an answer to any who ask.

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The Gospel Saves and Sustains

Acts 14:21-22, “And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”
 
We must be gospel-focused and eternity-minded. Disciples of Christ are made as local churches consistently, charitably, and courageously proclaim and live the gospel in their communities. Likewise, believers are strengthened in the things of Christ and encouraged to continue in the faith, by the power and truth of scripture. Living the Christian life is not easy. Before we enjoy glory we will experience trials and persecution, for the gospel’s sake. Paul did. Just before this passage he had been stoned in the street and left for dead. Believe God and His gospel, both to save and to sustain you. It is the power of God unto salvation, to everyone who believes.

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Frustrated. Angry. Tired. But Hopeful!

My wife and I read through the Bible together each year. Our reading plan had us in Hosea this morning. Two verses from Hosea 4 made me think of the United States in general and American Christianity in specific. 
  • Hosea 4:1 caused me to think of this land that I love: “Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.”
  • Hosea 4:6 brought American Christianity (and I mean that in the loosest sense) to mind: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
I am not making an exegetical argument. Just relating what ran through my mind as I read those verses this morning, June 1, 2020.

Frustrated. Angry. Tired.

There is no doubt that the reason my mind ran the way it did is because I’m frustrated, angry, and tired of the hate and the hysteria. Frustrated, angry, and tired of the injustice that is all too common and not at all one-sided. Frustrated, angry, and tired of leaders who are hirelings instead of shepherds, who seem only concerned with their own agenda and popularity, often at the expense of what is best for their community and this country.
 
I’m frustrated, angry, and tired of people who claim to care for others. People who claim they want justice. Who say they want to right wrongs, but who only perpetuate more hate, increased violence, and further suffering.
 
I’m frustrated, angry, and tired of the self-righteous. Pharisees are not a thing of the past, nor are they restricted to fundamentalism as many professing believers like to trumpet. Modern Pharisees do not all look alike or operate under the same banner. But self-righteous, judgmental, hypocrites who create their own standard, one they can’t hope to keep but with it condemn all others, still exist. They post on social media frequently.

BUT HOPEFUL!

I am frustrated, angry, and tired, but I’m also confident in the Lord Jesus Christ! God reigns. Heaven rules. There is no reason to be hopeless. There is every reason to be hopeful. So, I will not give in to my feelings of frustration, anger, and fatigue. Instead, I will trust my Lord and His Word. “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)
 
That means instead of singing this world’s chorus, I will endeavor to see others as Christ does. I will seek to model grace and truth with my life, and graciously speak the truth with my mouth. God’s Word is truth. I will trust my Lord to renew my strength, and seek, by His grace and power, to not sin in my anger, frustration, and fatigue. I will seek to honor Christ.

The Love of God

Let’s end where we began. The theme to Hosea’s prophecy is that nothing can eclipse God’s love for His covenant people. As discouraging as the two verses from Hosea 4 quoted at the start are, Hosea 11:4 is twice as encouraging: “I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.” Those marvelous words remind me of the 19th century hymn written by James Small: “I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, And thus He bound me to Him. And round my heart still closely twine Those ties which naught can sever, For I am His, and He is mine, Forever and forever.”
 
God is love. God’s people often fail to demonstrate a whole-hearted love for Him. But God is always ready to receive and restore those who confess and forsake their sin
 
If you are a believer who has succumbed to going with your feelings instead of trusting God’s promises, repent and be restored.
 
If you are an unbeliever, confused by all the hatred and injustice that you see, turn to and trust in the God who is love and only just. He will receive you and make you new. His grace is amazing. He is love.

 


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Grace is Greater

God’s grace is greater than your sin. That’s what the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.”
 
All those who have experienced this great news are eager to share it with as many people possible. This is true whether you’re an ordinary person or royalty. Nebuchadnezzar ruled an empire renowned for its military, cultural, and artistic superiority. What could possibly be greater than building and ruling such a kingdom?
 
Nebuchadnezzar discovered that answer. When he did, he enthusiastically shared the news with the entire empire. This evening at 7pm we will read and learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony. We also learn, once again, from Daniel’s example. You see, the truth about God’s amazing grace will only be truly appreciated by the one who recognizes his utter sinfulness. In other words, the Good News is so good because the bad news is so bad. Daniel did not shrink back from communicating the TIMELESS TRUTH of God’s grace to his king. That required him to also be willing to describe why his king – like all of us – required grace.
 
Our text tonight will be Daniel 4. The Bible study will be live-streamed. While we have not officially relaunched the Wednesday night service, you are free to join us and welcomed.

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Nebuchadnezzar Testifies

A humble heart pleases God. The Lord has said this through His prophet Isaiah, “To this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word” (66:2b)  We read in the Psalms:
  • 34:18, “The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
  • 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” 
Christ Jesus began the Sermon on the Mount with the Beatitudes, the first four having to do with humility.
 
There is no doubt. Humility pleases God. The humble person may enjoy fellowship with their Creator. Sadly, humanity has always viewed humility as our current culture views smoking, something that is hazardous to your health and should be restricted.  We live in a world preoccupied with brains, bodies, and bank accounts. The by-product of all that is a perpetual and persistent self-love fest.

 I Want it My Way!

“Love yourself” is a popular mantra. Not a new one, just one that has become mainstream. Our schoolchildren are encouraged to write essays on “Why I am important” or “Why I love myself.”  Advertising campaigns encourage us to spend our extra money, or even money we don’t have, on ourselves because, “You’re worth it.”  We drive around with bumper stickers that boast about our elementary student who has made the honor roll. The only humor in this is that it all transpires during an age of participation awards! Society has taken “Ol’ Blue Eyes” at his word, and everyone sings to himself, and anyone who will listen, “I did it my way!” Or if they haven’t done anything, “I want it my way!”
 
But in a list of seven things which Almighty God hates (Yes, such a list exists. Just follow the link.), pride is listed first. We also read from the wisdom of Proverbs 16:5a, “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord…” and “A high look, and a proud heart…is sin” (21:4). To drive home the point we have the example of King Uzziah, who the Chronicler says was “marvelously helped, till he was strong. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction,” (2 Chronicles 26:16).

God’s Way is Best

Daniel 4 is the text for this evening’s Bible study. Here we have King Nebuchadnezzar enjoying the golden years of his life and rule. The world was conquered, the borders were secure, and all the economic indicators were strong. He had palaces, power, and prosperity. Despite all that, he had a problem. He was troubled, once again, by an awful dream.
 
Daniel was the Lord’s instrument. He interpreted the King’s dream and identified Nebuchadnezzar’s principal problem as pride. Up to this point he had failed to acknowledge that it is ultimately God who rules. The king’s world was bound up in himself. Nebuchadnezzar’s problem was not low self-esteem. He esteemed himself too highly, and did not esteem God at all.  That had to change.  What was the remedy?  Verse 25 provides it. Nebuchadnezzar needed to acknowledge “that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men.” Nebuchadnezzar must look away from himself, and look to Almighty God. This is the proper therapy for all who suffer from a proud heart.
 
Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony is powerful. Not because he was a powerful man but because he finally acknowledged that heaven rules! 

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Preach to Yourself

Psalm 42:5, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.”

The follower of Christ is not exempt from heartache, turmoil, or depression, but this does not mean we must surrender to these emotions. Like the psalmist, we should fight back. This means we must preach the truth to ourselves. The only ground for our hope is Jesus Christ crucified for our sins and triumphant over death. Therefore, we must learn to talk rather than listen to ourselves: “Listen, self: If God is for you, who can be against you? He spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for you, how shall He not with Him also freely give you all things? Who shall separate you from the love of Christ?” Trust the Gospel, and preach it to yourself. 


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One Thing

Happy Mother’s Day!
 
Motherhood is one of the highest callings in the world, and one of the most challenging! At Bible Baptist Church we are thankful for godly mothers who have and who continue to model Christlikeness to their families and in their communities. How are Christian mothers meant to fulfill their role as they raise children, tackle to-do lists, nurture their marriages, and love the Lord, all within the setting of a culture that is terribly confused about gender, let alone motherhood? One thing is needful. One thing that will point mothers to the God who gives the grace and strength that is necessary.
 
But it’s not just mothers who are in need of this one thing. We all are. On Sunday morning, May 10 at 11am, our text will be Luke 10:38-42. That passage is a window into the lives of two women. Martha and Mary were sisters. This meant that they shared similar background, upbringing, and even genetics. More importantly, they both loved the Lord. He loved them. John 11 makes this clearly evident. For all they shared in common, our text reveals three significant differences between these two very similar women. Those differences, and what we should learn from them, will be our focus tomorrow. We hope you join us.
 
Our 11am service on Mother’s Day will be of the drive-in variety. It will also be live-streamed.

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Would You Bow Down?

Everybody lives by faith in something or someone. The difference between a true believe and an unbeliever is not the presence of faith but the object of their faith. Daniel 3 is the text for today’s study and this evening’s sermon. There we find that leaders and influencers from across the great Babylonian Empire were assembled to worship the 90′ high and 9′ wide golden image that King Nebuchadnezzar had erected. He wanted to unify his diverse empire by means of religion and fear. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Faith Tried by Fire

Trials are used by God to develop our faith. The same trials are used by the enemy to destroy us. During such times we will either be drawn closer to the Lord or further away from him. 
 
The Babylonian authorities showed up because of the King’s commands. They all stood up for the image’s dedication. When the music played they all bowed down. All except for three. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to break God’s Law. They had already proven a willingness to cooperate with their new pagan leaders, but they would not compromise the clear commands of scripture. Instead, they were willing to pay the price that comes with trusting God.
 
I wonder if the Apostle Peter had these three men in mind when he wrote 1 Peter 1:7; 4:12:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
Shadrach, Mechach, and Abednego were confident in the Lord’s control of  their situation. They stood tall when everyone else bowed low.
 
Would you bow down?
 
That is a question to ask and answer as we work through Daniel 3 tonight at 7pm. 

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Ultimate Issues

God is in control. That has always been true. That is true now. That truth will always be. 
 
Last Sunday we walked through Daniel 1. That chapter is a full-on display of God’s sovereign power in and through His servants and world events. God gave Jehoiakim the king of Judah to Nebuchadnezzar. The same goes for the Temple vessels. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were Babylonian captives because God allowed their captivity. Just as He did the destruction of Judah. God brought Daniel into favor with his Babylonian overseers (1:9), and God gave these four men knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom (1:17-20). God was in control. The sovereign Lord was working out His purposes through these nations and individuals. He ruled and over-ruled in all these situations, and that truth becomes all the more evident as the sensational events of Daniel two unfold.

Chapter Two Outlined

Daniel two is a long chapter, with forty-nine verses. A good outline for them goes like this:

  • The King becomes troubled.
  • Daniel gets involved.
  • The dream is deduced.
  • The King gets religion.
  • The wise men are delivered.
  • Daniel and the boys get promoted.
That’s an outlined summary of Daniel two’s forty-nine verses. Now don’t lose heart this morning and think you’re in for a long sermon. My plan is to stick with what we should learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s troubled disposition. Lord willing, we will handle the others in the future. This morning, Daniel 2:1-13 will be our text, and from those thirteen verses we will seek to understand why the king was so troubled. I believe we’ll learn that we are not so unlike Nebuchadnezzar.

Ultimate Issues

Sure, there are differences. He lived 2700 years ago, was a warrior-king, and a Babylonian. We share none of those characteristics, but we are human. The ultimate issues and questions about our lives today in Kentucky are the same he faced then in Babylon. The Answer is also the same. We hope you will join us this morning.
 
The service begins at 11am, and today we will have a drive-in service. You will sit in your car and listen over the radio as we transmit the message. We also will do our best to livestream the service. 

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When Broken is Better

Psalm 34:17-18, “The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
 
Today’s devotional passage calls to mind Mark 2:17 where Jesus taught that those who are well have no need of a physician, only those who are sick. He was not teaching that there are some who are independently righteous and have no need of Him. He taught that only those who recognize their condition will seek the cure. Jesus promises that when a humble heart cries out to God, He will hear and deliver. Which is why I love to sing Rock of Ages:
 
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless, look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.”
 
Broken before Jesus is better, because only He can – and will – make you whole.

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