The Problem is Not Only Legalized Sodomite-Marriages

There is not shortage of places or people weighing in on the legalization of same-sex marriages. Crimes against nature are no small matter, and now it is legal and celebrated.

But this is not the only matter weighing the nation in the balance of danger.

I get that unbelievers don’t want laws like believers do. They want laws, just laws that ease their conscience. But, that’s not really the problem either.

The Lord’s church has grown cold, complicit even with many other fleshly vices that are rarely addressed from the pulpit any more, and even encouraging sinful behavior by her silence or participation. No, really, many in the church have been for too long “drinking the intoxicating cup of worldly sensual pleasure.”

Watch how many who are all bothered by the legalization of sodomy (historically known as crimes against nature) will within the same moment indulge in the fleshly demands for any and/or all of the following…


The following bullet-points are excerpts and quotations from “Youth Warned” by John Angell James (1824)

  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the danger of gambling? “There is virtually no difference in who frequents the game table, slot machine, or online gaming sites. What believer today knows that gambling is to the mind what alcohol is to the body. “
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the danger of the theater? “The theater is generally frequented by all; the theater, that corrupter of public morals; that school where nothing good and everything bad is learned; that resort of the wicked and school of vice; that broad and flowery avenue to the bottomless pit! Here a young man finds no hindrances to sin, no warnings against wickedness, no mementos of judgment to come! But, on the contrary, everything to inflame his passions, to excite his immoral desires, and to gratify his appetites for vice! The language, the music, and the company, are all adapted to a sensual taste—and calculated to demoralize the mind!”
    “It is by no means the author’s intention to affirm that all who frequent the theater are wicked people. Far be it from him to prefer an accusation so extensive and unfounded as this. No doubt many amiable and moral people are among the admirers of dramatic representation. That they receive no contamination from the scenes they witness, or the language they hear, is no stronger proof that the stage is not immoral in its tendency and effects, than that there is no contagion in the plague, because some constitutions resist the infection. That people fenced in by every conceivable moral defense and restraint, should escape uninjured, is saying little; but even in their case, I will contend that the mind is not altogether uninjured. Is it possible for an imperfect moral creature (and such are the best of us,) to hear the irreverent swearing, the filthy allusions, the anti-Christian sentiments, which are uttered during the representation of even our purest plays, and hear these for amusement, without some deterioration of mental purity?”
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the danger of gossip? The house of prayer is frequently visited with hungry gossips not ready to weep over their own sins and can’t quite wait to report to other gossips of all the worldly behaviors of all being prayed for.
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of sensual pleasures? “Where [professing Christians] live in this way, it directs their reading, which is not pious or improving—but light, trifling, and polluting. Inflammatory novels, stimulating romances, lewd poetry, immoral songs, satires against pious characters, and arguments against Scripture and biblical morals—are in general the works consulted by corrupt and wicked youth, and by these they become still more wicked. Never did the press send forth streams of greater pollution than at this time. Authors are to be found, of no small abilities, who pander to every corruption of the youthful bosom. Almost every vice has its high-priest—to burn incense on its altar, and to lead its victims, decked with the garlands of poetry or fiction, to their ruin.”
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the danger of dancing? “Mirthful [dancing] where eating, drinking, and revelry, are carried on until midnight, or until morning, are another source of ruin! [Professor of Christ], such meetings unfit you not only for the serious pursuits of godliness—but even for the duties of business. Their expense impoverishes your purse, their influence impairs your health, and their guilt ruins your soul!”
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the danger of bad company? “[Professor of Christ], if you determine to live in the gratification of your passions and the indulgence of your sinful appetites, you will soon have associates suited to your taste, and that will never disturb your conscience with the language of warning or reproof. And will these be wicked fools, blaspheming scoffers, apostate people, hardened sinners, degraded sots, dissolute infidels, abandoned prostitutes! Look at the mirthful party. Can you approve it? Are there not moments, when you feel the last dying remains of moral feeling stirring within you in sickening revulsion at such society as this? But even these ‘dying, lingering signs of a conscience’ which are not quite dead, will soon vanish—and you will yield yourself without a struggle to all the corrupting, damning influence of bad company!”
    “The improvement and diffusion of modern education, have produced a bold and independent mode of thinking, which, though it be in itself a benefit, requires a proportionate degree of religious restraint to prevent it from degenerating into lawless licentiousness. It is probable also, that of late years parents have relaxed the salutary rigor of domestic discipline. Trade and commerce are now so widely extended, that our youth are more from beneath their parents’ inspection than formerly, and consequently more exposed to the contaminating influence of evil company.”
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the danger of alcohol? Where is it said that young people may innocently walk in all kinds of sensual indulgences? On what page of the book of God’s truth do you find these allowances for the excesses of youth, which you make for yourselves, and ill-judging friends make for you? “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them! They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the Lord, or see the work of his hands.” (Isaiah 5:11-12)
  • Who is warning the Lord’s people of the flirtatious behavior of immodesty? “Worldly pleasure, decked in the voluptuous attire and the gaudy ornaments of a harlot, appears to their heated imagination, with all the attractive charms of a most bewitching beauty”.
  • And many more….

Religion and boredom are not synonyms. For too long the church has been trying to make religion look cool by the world’s standards, essentially flirting with the sinful vices of the flesh and now when we speak on the matters of Scripture it sounds so prudish and full of piety that we avoid even using the word religion any more. Think about it; who doesn’t want a feel-good emotional friendship with God? Just so long as that god doesn’t hate everything we love about our self governed idolatrous life. And I’m only thinking of the majority of professing believers.

“In God’s name, I serve you with notice of the trial. Prepare to meet your God! He is coming! He is coming—and you must meet him! O think of judgment to come—in the midst of all your sinful pleasures and criminal liberties—think of it! Will you drink the drunkard’s cup; will you go to the brothel, to the gambling table, to the scene of riot and wickedness—knowing that for all these things God will bring you into judgment? With the terrible solemnities of the last day before your eyes—will you, can you, dare you—proceed in the career of vice? Conscience—O faithful monitor! O dreadful avenger! I charge you to whisper in the sinner’s ear, when going to the scene of his unholy pleasures, “But know, that for all of these things, God will bring you to judgment! For God will bring every act to judgment, including every hidden thing, whether good or evil.”

Return to your ordained duty church. The city needs you on the wall warning of an approaching enemy looking to devour all who will entertain his attractive disguise covering his hideous appearance. Who is warning of a devouring devil? Who is warning of a judgment to come? Who is pointing to the same, a saving Savior? If not the church, no one will take this duty on. No one volunteers for this kind of duty. Only called-out, redeemed sinners who know there is a devouring enemy conquered by a Redeeming Savior.

Arise, church! Arise!

 


all quotations are from Youth Warned by John Angell James.

 

The Sweetest Name I Know

New Series: From This Side of the Pulpit; A reflection of a preacher from his side of the pulpit. 

It was June, 2001 that the Lord’s people at Eastside Baptist Church invited me to become their pastor. While reflecting over the past 14 years of preaching I decided to hunt down a file of hand written sermon notes. It may come as a surprise to some, this practice of hand written sermon notes has not changed; with the exception of a few seasons of trying to do my sermon work on a computer, (not very consistent with this method.) There are about 40 sermons or so that are saved on 3.5 inch discs (yes, I was that cool).

For several years now, my sermon notes start out on a small notebook in my back pocket, they eventually get formulated into hand written notes in the margin of my wide-margin bible and eventually make way to blog posts.

For nearly the past 5 years, by the kindness of friends in Nevada, my audio sermons are archived at SermonAudio.com.

Today’s blog post was first a sermon preached at Eastside Baptist Church, circa 2001. While going over old sermon notes I noticed that I didn’t give good citation to some of the quotes or sources. This is not the work of a good writer. the main outline of this sermon came from hand written notes from a sermon by Paul Powell


The Sweetest Name I Know
Philippians 2:5-11

Shakespeare asked the question, “What’s in a name?” He said that a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet. In a sense that is true. You could call a rose a stink weed or a skunk blossom and not change the fragrance of that rose. But in another sense a name means everything. If I were to give you a check for $10,000.00, the people at the bank would laugh at you and tell you that the check was not worth it. But if you were to be given a check from a millionaire worth $10,000.00 you would be a richer man. It’s the name that makes the difference – there is something in a name.

If I announced that I was going to preach at the Roper Auditorium tonight, a few of our faithful members would be there. If I announce that Billy Graham was going to preach there tonight, there would not be enough seating.

The name of Jesus, there is a name that means something! It means something in heaven – it means something on earth – it means something in hell.

Philippians 2:5-11

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

His Name is a Powerful Name:

Think of the names in the past.

  • Alexander the great: at the age of 33 he had conquered the known world. At the age of 33 he died in drunkenness and debauchery. (citation needed)
  • Caesar: He led the Roman legions to conquer one land after another. One day a dagger in the hand of his friend, Brutus, conquered him. (citation needed)
  • Napoleon: He brought Europe to her knees before him. He died in exile on the island of St. Helena. (citation needed)
  • The Kaiser, Hitler, Mussolini, each one powerful names that went down into defeat.
  • France once boasted of the power of Louis the Great. It was said that he was the one great man of the world. But one day he was conquered by death. At his funeral the great cathedral was packed with mourners. The came to pay a final tribute to the one whom they considered great. The cathedral was dark except for one lone candle which shone over the golden casket. At the appointed hour Massilon, the court preacher, stood up to address the assembly. He slowly reached over and snuffed out the one candle which had been put there to symbolize the greatness of the king. Then from the darkness came just four words, “God only is great.” (citation is needed)
  • The energizer bunny even wants you to “feel the power.” Everyone who has ever bought a battery knows that the power will eventually die.

People of the world claim greatness and power for a while, then death cuts them off.

But not so with Jesus. He had power to create the world. He has power to change the course of history and the destiny of nations. He has power over death and disease. He has power over the grave His power never diminishes and some day all of heaven and hell and earth will know this name.

Jesus; that’s the sweetest name I know!

His name is an Exalted Name:

Richard Whitney had a good name. His ancestors came from England. His father was president of a Boston Bank. His brother was a partner in J.P. Morgan Company. Richard was a leader in prep school and college. He bought a seat on the New York Stock Exchange for $65,000.00. Five times he was elected president of the Exchange. He signed 2,000 membership certificates for the Exchange. Then one day they found that he had misappropriated funds which had been entrusted to him. He lost his good name, lost his big job, and was sent to prison for five years. Then the New York Stock Exchange called in all the certificates which he had signed, erased his name and had them signed by the new president. The name of Richard Whitney was no longer a good name for a broker to have hanging on his wall. (citation needed)

Today, this could be said of others like Jim and Tammy Faye Baker, Pete Rose, Daryl Strawberry, Arthur Anderson, and countless others whose name today carries nothing but shame.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing. (Revelation 5:12)

The name of Jesus is and will be exalted.

Jesus, the sweetest name I know!

His Name is a Saving Name:

Listen to what the Scripture says about His  name:

  • “You will call His name Jesus, for he will save His people from their sins.” (Luke 1:31)
  • “There is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
  • “Whoever calls upon the name of Jesus shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

Call upon your goodness and there is no salvation.
Call upon your good works and there is no salvation.
Call upon your charitable gifts, and there is no salvation.
Call upon your religious formalities and there is no salvation.
But call upon Jesus and you will find full salvation.

His name is a powerful name, His name is an exalted name, and His name is a saving name.

Call upon His name!

We Stand Ready to Preach This Gospel

Dear Twin Falls and the Magic Valley,

The born-again, repenters of unspeakable sins, who gather at 204 Eastland Drive North in Twin Falls, Idaho cried out to Jesus who delivered us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians  1:10) and found a solid ground to stand upon.

By the grace of God we found a solid place to stand, a firm foundation that did not disappoint.

This was not a place filled with romance that never delivered on its false promises.

We, too, were once slipping down a slippery slope to certain disaster, accumulating false teachers and creating false doctrines to justify our fleshly cravings when a faithful soul, standing on a firm foundation, gave a clear warning; We didn’t even know we were sinners at the time. That faithful follower of the Lord Jesus spoke of a righteous God who would justly judge all sinners and find us guilty and already condemned.

This righteous, loving God invited us to respond to His holiness and repent. By His grace, we were rescued, in faith, by the satisfying requirement of the necessary death of a perfect life. Jesus Christ, this redeemer of sinners took our place, and appeased the wrath of God on our behalf. What a Savior.

Like us, when you discover that helpless estate of pride, selfishness, and unbelief, cry out to God in the name of Jesus the Christ, described by the bible, repent and be saved.

May He plant your feet on a firm foundation, on Christ the Solid Rock. Where “all other ground is sinking sand, may you in Him be found, dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne.”

We stood ready to preach this gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ when it was popular; and now, when it’s not, with great patience and instruction, we ask God for strength to endure. We will not, by the grace of God, abandon our post in the city. We will steadfastly engage in the advancement of the gospel.

We strive to speak with compassion, as those before us, so as to call all sinners unto repentance.

To compromise our message is to compromise our duty. To abandon our duty is of unimaginable hatred.

We remain steadfast as ever, willing to endure hardship for payment. Come, all who deserve God’s wrath, come, come, to Jesus. He stands able and ready to redeem all repenting sinners.

Paul Thompson
Eastside Baptist Church
Twin Falls, Idaho

An Update About New Horizon Home

It is past time for an update on the ministry of Eastside Baptist Church in Port-au-Prince, Haiti at our girls home. A lot of things have been happening. Let me give a brief update with short testimony and a few pictures.

The faithful at Eastside Baptist Church continue steadfastly praying for all the needs to be met. We don’t put out pleas for help from others (we don’t oppose those who do). We take all of our request to God and trust Him to provide as He moves His people. We never turn down an opportunity to share about the work with those who ask and we don’t shy away from informing organization offering support upon requests nor from sharing with our church family how God answers our plea.

Here are some recent ways God answers those prayers:11649288_847866965301385_995787616_o

  • First of all: Meet Jean Alexander Veillard, born Tuesday morning to Alex and Johanne Veillard. Alex is the director of New Horizon Home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
  • There is not a week that goes by that God does not prompt someone to give to the ongoing ministry work of New Horizon International. Faithful giving of people every week at Eastside Baptist Church. Faithful giving of strangers we’ve never met. Faithful giving of churches from around the country. Faithful giving of children collecting pocket change. Faithful giving of widows on fixed income. Faithful giving of businessmen, labor workers, work-from-home moms, etc. The mail man has little idea of the kind of blessings from God he delivers regularly. May the Lord bless His people at the following churches… Second Baptist Church, Amarillo, TX. The Church at Quail Creek, Amarillo, TX. Bear River Valley Baptist Church, Tremonton, UT. Eastside Baptist Church, Twin Falls, ID. Berean Baptist Church, Wendell, ID. Magic Valley Baptist Association. Treasure Valley Baptist Association. The River, Twin Falls, ID.
  • In a few weeks a group of 8 college students from Boise State University will travel with me to do some bed 11638738_847357865352295_398248739_oconstruction (funds for the beds are provided by The Church at Quail Creek in Amarillo, TX), general care to the home, ministry in a local hospital, English school, and local Baptist Church. Work on our own water well has been going on since my last visit back in January. Until now we did not have our own water source. By the grace of God, we are nearing completion of our water well at New Horizon Home. Alex, our director at the home, is very careful with all money and understands that we can only buy and pay the workers with what God gives us. New Horizon Home continues to receive high inspection marks and Alex is told by officials that New Horizon Home is unlike most homes in the city; clean, efficient, happy. We count this a blessing from God.
  • We have received word that we now have about 10 acres of agriculture land to begin using. I don’t know how we received it, who gave it to us, or anything about it. On my upcoming trip I will discover all these details and bring report back to the Lord’s people at Eastside. Wow.
  • About one year ago I was asked to preach in Tremonton, UT at Bear River Valley Baptist Church on a Sunday morning. By the kindness of Eastside Baptist Church, Renee and I left early one hot July Sunday morning and drove to Tremonton to gather with the Lord’s people. We shared at the Lord’s Table together, sang and opened the word of God together. Through conversation with Nancy Nicholas after the service and later at lunch with Jim and Annette Williams I was able to share some of our gospel work God has called Eastside Baptist to in Haiti, they asked if they could begin collecting school supplies for our school.

    Yesterday, I received a phone call from Jim, an elder at Bear River Valley Baptist Church, asking if they could bring me the supplies they have for our upcoming trip. Of course I said “sure, thank you.”

    Here is a picture of Jim, his wife Annette, and a deacon Jerry today (June 25, 2015). Jim called me at about 11:30am this morning asking if we could meet them at the airport for lunch. I picked Renee up for lunch and to get the supplies. May the Lord bless His kind people at Bear River Valley Baptist Church.

    GE

    Annette, Jim, Jerry

 

Adoption of Worldly Methods are Insidious Inside the Church

The entire discussion panel at the Baptist21 meeting last week alongside of the SBC annual convention was very helpful. I recommend all ambassadors of the Lord Jesus Christ listen to the entire set of questions relating to 21st century Baptists.

The majority of the discussion was related to how a church today stays true to her duty of preaching the sufficiency of Scripture in relationship to the national discussion about marriage. Very helpful!

However, in the middle of a question about should churches offer support groups to converted homosexuals like we do divorce groups or those recovering from addiction. Where it is a good question the discussion quickly broadened to how churches should function in regards to the integration of all people with all kinds of issues of all ages. Dr. Akin, Dr. Moore, and Dr. Mohler all answered with compassion for anyone suffering in any sin of the flesh, but Dr. Mohler especially took to conversation here…

Where he doesn’t say churches should not segregate he clearly communicates the insidious marketing strategy of the world that most churches have adopted is of great danger inside the church. Where marketing strategies can show a notable progression from point A to point B or show steady numerical growth in a gradual, subtle way, many a church and church leaders, myself included, become oblivious to the harmful effects of HOW we do some things. We will convince ourselves that we should always be changing how we do things as long as we don’t change ‘the message’. I’ve done this. I’ve promoted this well meaning philosophy. I’ve been part of the strategy to rethink HOW we do some things.

Does Scripture speak at all to HOW to do some things? If so, how should the church and church leaders treat that instruction?

If you don’t have time to listen to the entire discussion panel, fast forward to about the 19 minute mark and listen in for the next several minutes, especially to Dr. Mohler’s response. The question, again, is about if churches should offer segregated support groups to converted homosexuals. Dr. Moore takes the conversation to where Dr. Mohler ends the discussion.

Let me know what you think.

B21 Panel – SBC 2015 from Baptist21 on Vimeo.

The Jurisdiction of God’s Law

I’ve been (increasingly) asked what I will do when (if) the Supreme Court’s opinion is against biblical/traditional marriage next week. (I think all of us should be prepared to give an answer.)

I’ve thought on this…

Will any Supreme Court opinion somehow alter or change my duty to God? Should I speak more or less to the matter? Will I adjust my preaching as a result of the approaching opinion? Will I go into hiding in fear of well being if a human court attempts to overrule the jurisdiction of God’s law? Will my church lose it’s privilege of not having to pay property tax or income tax if I don’t compromise to the law of the Land?

I’m not naive of the the ruthless means of the enemy of God; I have seen a face of evil wanting to intimidate, I’ve heard the threats of lawsuits from angry church attendees, I’ve been threatened with harm to my family if I don’t cease inquiring, I’ve been told that people who have left our church will come back when I stop promoting going to foreign countries to spread the Gospel (yes, I really have been told this), I’ve been verbally accosted in public places, maligned in private conversations, misrepresented by friends, accused of being a racists.  All of that, before being arrested on false charges, mocked in the media, and abandoned by fellow kinsmen in the faith for being a doer of the word.

Regardless of the legal opinion to come, my duty, and yours as ambassadors of God’s Kingdom, is to stay the course.

I’m no perfect being; I’m a perpetual repenter. I’ve been uncaring at times, rude, arrogant, selfish, foolish, fearful, but my duty is to strive to be a reflection of the great grace that has been shown to me in the good news of what Christ accomplished in His life, death, and resurrection and persevere in that grace as an ambassador of Christ reconciliation.

Saints of the Lord Jesus, we are a people; given a grace we don’t deserve, a message to preach to the nations, an invitation to persevere to the end, expected to be compassionate, instructed to be strong and courageous, called out to obey His commandments.

Obedience to the Lord Jesus is required, not for salvation, but of us under the gospel as an offering of gratitude to Christ and evidence of our love for Him. (“If you love me, keep my commandments…” John 14:15)

True love for Christ constrains us to live, not unto ourselves, but for Him who died for us and rose again. We have been bought by Him with a price that we may glorify Him in our bodies and our spirits, which are His.

So, how then shall I live on Monday (or Tuesday, depending on what day the court opinion is delivered)? I should live the same way I am expected to live today, yielding to the Spirit of God. America may not be the same after this ruling, but we are instructed by our Lord to obey Him. Where I don’t perfectly obey, I will perpetually repent.

God’s jurisdiction is supreme. I owe my allegiance to Him. I’ll ask Him to increase grace and compassion in my life as I live repenting of my sin and obeying His commands as a loving child.

I leave this word with the reader today: Remember, “by faith Abraham obeyed” (Hebrews 11:8). In your faith in God, obey, obey, obey, and keep on obeying until the return of the Lord Jesus. In this day we must remember that the matter of marriage is a battle we must not remain silent in. Marriage is important, but marriage does not redeem sin… Christ redeems sin. So, when we speak into our culture on the topic of marriage, and we must, we must not miss the gospel proclamation moment before us.

God grant His grace to us all! Amen.

The Weakness of God

“…and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:25b)

It is strange to use the term “weakness” when speaking about an all powerful God. It almost feels blasphemous. I’m not at all comfortable with saying that until I understand it in the powerful conclusion; “…the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

Just this week an Idaho citizen and fellow pastor of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ past his 1,000th day in jail in Iran. His wife, Naghmeh, has just reported that Saeed’s dad was able to have a short visit with him today and that he is encouraged. He told his dad to let us know,

“that for 1000 days he has experienced utter darkness and has died, yet for 1001, he has been resurrected with Christ.”

Oh, follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, not all of us are called to labor in such hardship but all of us are called out, to live differently, daily dying to self, humble lives.

SilasJailToday, where it appears a Christian brother is in bondage to men, behind prison bars, beaten and mocked for his faith, there is a power in God that raises that brother each day.

May you too, experience the weakness of God.

What has you in bondage today? Are your trying to defeat or endure it in your own strength? Why not stop depending on your strength and lean on a liberating power of the “weakness” of God. Your most powerful display and clever genius thought cannot even begin to compete with God at his weakest moment on the cross. Surrender today, be resurrected again.

_______

In light of this; I respect that not all are able, but the church I pastor, Eastside Baptist Church, will gather in prayer again tonight, 6:30pm. We will pray, labor, take the battle ground as prepared men and women to lean into that weakness of God. What will keep you off the battle ground tonight?

Hate Darkness, Love Light

Saturday (June 20, 2015) in the Twin Falls – Times News my monthly column was published entitled “We Are Like Dead Men”. This opportunity in the local paper is one that I don’t take lightly. For the past several years (and my hope for as long as they will let me) I’ve written in a rotation with other leaders of various denominations and faiths on spiritual matters. I’m thankful to God for the public forum opportunity. Any online interaction (liking and sharing via social media) you make on these  columns helps communicate to the local paper that this is read; and newspaper publications are driven by readership.


“We are Like Dead Men”
(Isaiah 59:10)
Today I address those who sincerely want to know truth, who are hoping to receive “light” but instead are found wanting and have tasted more bitterness at the end of your searching than at the beginning.

Are you in search of truth? I’m writing about a truth that saves the soul.

If truth exists (and I’m convinced it does in the person of Jesus the Christ as described in the Bible) then how can this truth be known?

All who are dissatisfied with darkness are evidently being drawn to light. The spiritually dead have no interest in hoping for truth. It makes no difference whether there is light or darkness.

The spiritually dead do not revere the word of God nor consider it to revive the soul. It is true that those who trust in God are a happy people. It would be a sin to not consider the blessings of God’s grace as the greatest treasure a man could have. It is a treasure of life-everlasting, being a child, adopted by grace.

Being spiritually alive, it is good that you hate darkness and treasure light.

However, do you notice in you a love for darkness? Is there in you a dislike of light and truth?

May the moment of your conversion come quickly as you see how great the Father’s love is for you.

Awakening sinners, cherish a hope of mercy today.

Hope, O lover of darkness, that you may be able to sing of pardon bought with the blood of Christ. It may appear at times that this is too good to be true. If so, you are no lover of grace because you are not looking with the aid of the law of God.

If you have not found this peace you are in search of yet, consider where you are searching. We are like dead men until we are rescued.

In your anxious desire for reconciliation with God press your case until a gracious answer is granted through the work of Jesus. It’s not enough that you hope you are saved or that you want to be saved from the wrath of God. It is most important that you understand your desire for God does not save you and gives no hope that he will; you must actually obtain eternal life. The saving work of Christ moves you from hopeful sinner to rescued saint.

Trying to do a work of a living God as a dead man is both wicked and foolish. It actually reveals a spirit of rebellion as you try to hide your wretched condition with self-righteousness.

Are you willing to stop doing what only a living God can do? I have a high hope that you may soon obtain peace with God through Jesus the Christ, our Lord.

Paul Thompson, pastor at Eastside Baptist Church, Twin Falls, Idaho
paul@esbctwinfalls.com and www.PaulThompsonBlog.com

I’ll Miss that Three Minute Conversation


Disclaimer: I realize that when speaking about someone who has died there is a tendency to 
speak with a more grandiose tone than real reality and a tendency to overlook a flaw to 
exaggerate an endearing attribute. Read this short Father's Day tribute with that filter.

My dad was never known as a man filled with lots of words, but there is one thing that never escaped my awareness of hearing him speak; it would mostly be in the response of others when he spoke. People would lean in to hear what he had to say. Not necessarily because he had a soft voice, but because you just didn’t want to miss what he had to say. It might have been because you knew what he was about to say had been taken captive in his mind before it was spoken. It may have been because of his timely manner of delivering a line filled with whit intended to cause joy. In spite of his sometimes relentless teasing, there are few people I’ve known able to speak with genuine kindness.

My dad was known by many names; Clyde, Sam, Uncle Clyde, Poppa, Grandpa, Colorado Clyde, The Circuit Rider, Preacher, Pastor… and my favorite, Dab.

I’ll miss two things this Father’s Day

  1. I’ll miss that short three minute phone call with my dad.
  2. I’ll miss my dad.

GE

 

“I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark saying from of old, things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.” Psalm 78:2-3 (ESV)

A Good Day to Be the Church

This week in Columbus, OH:

Bold resolutions proposed and accepted by messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention.  They are kind of lengthy at times but insightful and helpful. If you are looking for a church that is more interested in looking like the culture than submitting to the authority of God you may want to avoid a Southern Baptist Church. It’s a good day to be the church.

(Full text of all 9 resolutions at Baptist Press, HERE)

RESOLUTION 1: ON APPRECIATION (full text HERE)

RESOLUTION 2: ON THE NINETIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM (full text HERE)

RESOLUTION 3: ON REVIVAL AND SPIRITUAL AWAKENING

WHEREAS, God is a God of life, having given birth to all life throughout the universe in Creation, and having breathed the breath of life into the first man, Adam (Genesis 2:7); and

WHEREAS, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is referred to as the Son of God who “was in the beginning with God, [and] all things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being, [and] in Him was life, and the life was the Light of men” (John 1:2–4); and

WHEREAS, Regarding the Holy Spirit, the Apostle John quotes Jesus as saying, “It is the Spirit who gives life” (John 6:63); and the Apostle Paul affirms that “The mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace” (Romans 8:6); and that the Old Covenant ends in death, but under the New Covenant the Spirit gives life to those who are born again (2 Corinthians 3:6); and

WHEREAS, The people of God in the Old Testament from time to time experienced periods of rebellion against God and His divine will for them, prompting Him to discipline them, sometimes severely, which often led to them turning to Him in repentance, prayer, and renewed obedience, at which time His glory would once again fill the house of God and His people would be endued and infused with fresh life from heaven; and

WHEREAS, The Church itself was birthed on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) with the baptism of the Holy Spirit that filled the disciples with supernatural power, prompting their desire to share the Gospel boldly and three thousand new believers were ushered into God’s Kingdom by means of regeneration on that great day; and

WHEREAS, God has manifested Himself among His people in days gone by in seasons of refreshing, revival, and spiritual awakening, such as the days of The Evangelical Awakening in Britain (1735–1791), The First Great Awakening in America (1726–1770), The Second Great Awakening in America (1787–1843), The Layman’s Prayer Revival (1857–1859), The Global Awakening (1901–1910), and The Jesus Movement in America (late 1960s to early 1970s); and

WHEREAS, Though some parts of the body of Christ have experienced “waves” of spiritual awakening since the mid-1970s, the overall “tide of revival” in America has been “out” for four decades, while the Church and our culture have been drifting further and further into a moral and spiritual state of rebellion and corruption; and

WHEREAS, Our Southern Baptist Convention has been in a state of steady decline in baptisms for the past fifteen years (since 2000); and

WHEREAS, Our current Southern Baptist President, Ronnie Floyd, has made a comprehensive and clarion call “PLEADING WITH SOUTHERN BAPTISTS To Humbly Come Together Before God in Clear Agreement, Visible Union, and in Extraordinary Prayer for the Next Great Awakening and for the World to Be Reached for Christ”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, do commit to dedicate and consecrate ourselves afresh to seek the Lord God with our whole hearts, through repentance of our own sins, and also crying out to God regarding the sins of our nation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we engage in faithful and fervent prayer for the spiritual healing of our churches, our Convention, and our nation; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we faithfully and fervently plead with our great God to open the windows of heaven and come down among His people with a fresh filling of His Spirit that His Name will be glorified throughout our nation and the nations, and that His people will be refreshed with an outpouring of His love and holiness, resulting in renewed zeal to share the Gospel of Jesus with lost people for the purpose of winning them to faith in Christ and discipling them in such a way that they will in turn win others to Christ.

RESOLUTION 4: ON RACIAL RECONCILIATION

WHEREAS, The Scriptures teach that God has created all men and women in His image (Genesis 1:27) and has made from one man and one woman all peoples to live on the earth (Genesis 3:20; Acts 17:26); and

WHEREAS, God loves the world (John 3:16), sending Jesus to die for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), and, in Christ, is reconciling to Himself people from every tribe, tongue, and nation (Revelation 5:9); and

WHEREAS, Our justification before God is based on faith in Christ alone and not in our ethnicity (Galatians 3:27–28); and

WHEREAS, God has made believers one in Christ, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and uniquely qualified to stand together in faith (Ephesians 2:15–16); and

WHEREAS, The Lord has given His people the mission of making disciples from every nation (Matthew 28:19); and

WHEREAS, Racism is sin because it disregards the image of God in all people and denies the truth of the Gospel that believers are all one in Him; and

WHEREAS, In 1995, the Southern Baptist Convention publically repented of its own complicity in the sin of racism that has divided both the body of Christ and the broader culture; and

WHEREAS, We grieve over the continued presence of racism and the recent escalation of racial tension in our nation; and

WHEREAS, The Southern Baptist Convention has taken numerous steps to enlist qualified individuals of all races and ethnicities for leadership roles; and

WHEREAS, Southern Baptists, in both our congregations and entities, increasingly reflect the racial and ethnic diversity in our communities and nation; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, rededicate ourselves to the holy responsibility and privilege of loving and discipling people of all races and ethnicities in our communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge churches to demonstrate their heart for racial reconciliation by seeking to increase racial and ethnic diversity in church staff roles, leadership positions, and church membership; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptist entities and Convention committees to make leadership appointments that reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of the body of Christ and of the Southern Baptist Convention; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we continually prioritize and monitor our progress in adequately representing the increasing racial and ethnic diversity of our communities in our local congregations and our entities; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptists to be faithful ambassadors of reconciliation in their personal relationships and local communities as they demonstrate the power of the Gospel to reconcile all persons in Christ.

RESOLUTION 5: ON THE CALL TO PUBLIC WITNESS ON MARRIAGE

WHEREAS, God in His divine wisdom created marriage as the covenanted, conjugal union of one man and one woman (Genesis 2:18–24; Matthew 19:4–6; Hebrews 13:4); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) recognizes the biblical definition of marriage as “the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime,” stating further, “It is God’s unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church and to provide for the man and the woman in marriage the framework for intimate companionship, the channel of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation of the human race”; and

WHEREAS, God ordains government to promote and honor the public good and recognize what is praiseworthy (Romans 13:3–4); and

WHEREAS, The public good requires defining and defending marriage as the covenanted, conjugal union of one man and one woman; and

WHEREAS, Marriage is by nature a public institution that unites man and woman in the common task of bringing forth children; and

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court of the United States will rule in 2015 on whether states shall be required to grant legal recognition as “marriages” to same-sex partnerships; and

WHEREAS, The redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples will continue to weaken the institution of the natural family unit and erode the religious liberty and rights of conscience of all who remain faithful to the idea of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife; and

WHEREAS, The Bible calls us to love our neighbors, including those who disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, prayerfully call on the Supreme Court of the United States to uphold the right of the citizens to define marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists recognize that no governing institution has the authority to negate or usurp God’s definition of marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, No matter how the Supreme Court rules, the Southern Baptist Convention reaffirms its unwavering commitment to its doctrinal and public beliefs concerning marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the religious liberty of individual citizens or institutions should not be infringed as a result of believing or living according to the biblical definition of marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Southern Baptist Convention calls on Southern Baptists and all Christians to stand firm on the Bible’s witness on the purposes of marriage, among which are to unite man and woman as one flesh and to secure the basis for the flourishing of human civilization; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That Southern Baptists love our neighbors and extend respect in Christ’s name to all people, including those who may disagree with us about the definition of marriage and the public good.

RESOLUTION 6: ON THE SANCTITY OF HUMAN LIFE

WHEREAS, Biblical revelation clearly and consistently affirms that human life is formed by God in His image and is therefore worthy of honor and dignity (Genesis 1:27; 9:6); and

WHEREAS, God alone is the Author of life and He alone numbers our days, from the moment of conception until natural death (Job 14:5–7; Psalm 39:4); and

WHEREAS, The Bible commands us to honor our parents and the aged (Exodus 20:12; Leviticus 19:32; Ephesians 6:2); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) affirms that “children, from the moment of conception, are a blessing and heritage from the Lord” and calls us to “speak on behalf of the unborn and contend for the sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death”; and

WHEREAS, An estimated fifty-seven million unborn babies have been aborted since the legalization of abortion in 1973 (Roe v. Wade); and

WHEREAS, Legislation or court rulings have effectively legalized physician-assisted suicide in several states and additional states are considering similar action; and

WHEREAS, Recent federal directives seek to compel religious organizations to provide coverage for abortifacient technologies and services; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, affirm the dignity and sanctity of human life at all stages of development, from conception to natural death; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we reaffirm our repudiation of the genocide of legalized abortion in the United States and call on civil authorities to enact laws that defend the lives of the unborn; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we welcome and commend legislation that ensures that all mothers will be fully informed by medical providers of the life development of their unborn children; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on our fellow citizens of good will to collaborate with us on behalf of justice, the protection of human life, and the cause of human flourishing; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Southern Baptists to continue and to expand their local ministries that care for and protect the unborn, the vulnerable, and the aged; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptist churches and entities to show the love of Christ through appropriate means to those women most vulnerable to the victimization of the abortion industry, and to show grace and mercy to those individuals who grieve with repentance over past abortions; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on our churches and all believers to care for the elderly among us, to show them honor and dignity, and to prayerfully support and counsel those who are providing end-of-life care for the aged, the terminally ill, and the chronically infirmed; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the efforts of our denominational entities, especially The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in the defense and protection of human life at every stage; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pray and work for the repeal of unjust laws and inhumane practices that degrade human life, all the while looking toward the day when our Lord will make all things new and “Death will no longer exist; grief, crying, and pain will exist no longer, because the previous things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

RESOLUTION 7: ON PORNOGRAPHY AND SEXUAL PURITY

WHEREAS, God calls His people to holiness and Christ has specifically summoned His followers to sexual purity (Matthew 5:27–28; 1 Thessalonians 4:3–5); and

WHEREAS, Sexual sin robs us of our joy in God and is especially grievous to our souls (1 Corinthians 6:18); and

WHEREAS, Increasing numbers of men and women report their addiction and enslavement to pornography in multiple forms; and

WHEREAS, Pornography has devastated many of our families and churches, leaving countless divorces and broken homes in its wake; and

WHEREAS, The sex industry is exploitative in its very nature, often complicit in the blight of human trafficking, harming all its participants; and

WHEREAS, Increasing numbers of our children have been victimized by this insidious industry, not only through child pornography, but also by the active marketing of pornographic content to young men and women; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, express our deep grief over the widespread devastation inflicted by the pornography industry in our churches and communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit ourselves as disciples of Christ to lives of purity in thought, word, and deed; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on Southern Baptist churches to continue and to expand efforts to teach the whole counsel of God regarding sexual purity, human dignity, biblical gender roles, and the dangers of pornography; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on government authorities to enact and enforce laws that restrict all forms of pornography, particularly those that include and exploit minors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Christian families to exercise deliberate care and concern for instructing our children how to wisely use online resources for good and to show appropriate discernment in protecting our children from harmful influences; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commend the good news that Christ is fully able to deliver and restore those who have fallen in sexual sin who look to Him in faith and repentance, and call our churches to foster a culture of grace, mercy, and restoration.

RESOLUTION 8: ON THE PERSECUTED CHURCH WORLDWIDE

WHEREAS, Religious liberty is a principle rooted in Scripture and demonstrated in the Gospel (Daniel 3:16–18; Galatians 5:1); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith & Message (2000) asserts, “The state has no right to impose penalties for religious opinion of any kind,” and “A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power”; and

WHEREAS, All individuals are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and therefore deserve to be regarded with dignity and respect; and

WHEREAS, Vast numbers of Christians worldwide are experiencing religious persecution because of their confession of Christ as Lord (2 Timothy 3:12); and

WHEREAS, Multiple thousands of these believers are martyred each year, while countless others are imprisoned, tortured, or otherwise oppressed for activities including possessing a copy of the Scriptures, gathering to worship Jesus Christ, or sharing the Gospel; and

WHEREAS, Faithful followers of Christ worldwide are facing extreme and severe persecution in nations including, but not limited to, North Korea, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan, Eritrea, Nigeria, Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Central African Republic, Qatar, Kenya, Turkmenistan, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Djibouti, and Myanmar; and

WHEREAS, Governments that persecute Christians and abridge religious freedom invariably are guilty of other human rights abuses as well; and

WHEREAS, Followers of Jesus reflect the character and mission of our Lord by proclaiming liberty to captives and setting free those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18); and

WHEREAS, Baptists, owing much of our heritage first to the women and men of the Radical Reformation, have courageously stood for religious liberty and the exclusivity of salvation in Jesus Christ and were persecuted, many becoming martyrs; and

WHEREAS, Christians living in nations with religious liberty bear a responsibility not only to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters worldwide (2 Timothy 1:8) but also to employ every avenue to advocate justice on their behalf (Amos 5:24; Micah 6:8); now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, give thanks to God that He has mercifully placed us in a nation that upholds religious liberty, and resolutely oppose and denounce all religious persecution anywhere in the world; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge Southern Baptists and all Americans to refrain from international trade, even at the risk of financial loss, with or in nations that practice religious persecution; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage our governmental officials to elevate religious liberty concerns to the highest priority in foreign policy, invoking sanctions against those nations which advocate or tolerate persecution of those with differing religious beliefs; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we gratefully acknowledge and trust that what wicked people intend for evil, God is sovereignly using for good (Genesis 50:20; Romans 8:28), affirming the message of the ancient theologian Tertullian to persecutors: “The oftener we are mowed down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed”; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we call for all Southern Baptists to pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters continually in our personal prayer times and regularly in our corporate worship services and prayer gatherings, asking that God grant them endurance, deliverance, justice, and souls won to Christ through their faithful and sacrificial witness.

RESOLUTION 9: ON RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN NORTH KOREA

WHEREAS, All individuals are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and therefore deserve to have their physical, emotional, and spiritual integrity respected; and

WHEREAS, God’s people should be committed to break the chains of wickedness, untie the ropes of the yoke, set the oppressed free, tear off every yoke, and care for the prisoner and the mistreated (Isaiah 58:6; Matthew 25:36; Hebrews 13:3); and

WHEREAS, The human rights situation for millions of people in North Korea since the succession of the new leader Kim Jong Un on December 17, 2011, remains among the most severe in the world; and

WHEREAS, in 2014 the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in North Korea determined that crimes against humanity were taking place in that country, including “extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation”; and

WHEREAS, Followers of Jesus Christ and adherents to any faith other than the state-sanctioned cult of personality revolving around the Kim family face extreme persecution against themselves and their family members; and

WHEREAS, Despite the fact that an estimated 200,000 to 400,000 Christians in North Korea remain at grave risk of persecution, underground churches continue to minister to and help North Koreans escape to third country safe havens like the United States and South Korea; and

WHEREAS, The United States Congress passed the North Korean Human Rights Act of 2004, reauthorized in 2008 and 2012, to alleviate the suffering of North Koreans in and outside of the country, provide information of the outside world into North Korea, and to promote human rights, democracy, and market economy in North Korea; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Columbus, Ohio, June 16–17, 2015, appeal to Kim Jong Un and the government of North Korea to respect and ensure human rights for all individuals as obligated both by biblical teaching and the international covenants to which it is a State Party, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge President Barack Obama and both houses of the US Congress to do all they can to pressure the government of North Korea to respect the dignity and religious freedom of all its citizens; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we renew our call to Southern Baptists and all our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray that God will turn the heart of Kim Jong Un to Himself and that President Kim might grant to all the people of North Korea the respect they deserve as God’s creation (Proverbs 21:1).

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