What 30 Pieces of Silver Won’t Buy

In Matthew 26:14-15 God tells us about Judas’ conversation with the ‘chief priests’ and of how they negotiated the betrayal and the payment amount. “And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver” [Mk 14:10, Lk 22-3-6]. Thirty pieces of silver! I don’t think any of us really grasp the magnitude of that outrage. Can you imagine negotiating with the cruel priests the betrayal of the sweet Son of the living God for any price, let alone 30 pieces of silver?! Not only that, but Judas didn’t even get to keep the money! In fact, he only had it a few measly hours before he tried to rid himself of those 30 pieces of silver [Matthew 27:3-5].  At some point during the night and early hours of the following day Judas came to some realization that he’d been nothing more than a willing and convenient fool whom the devil, the priests and the elders, had used to accomplish what they wanted all along, to betray Christ. He was remorseful and overwhelmed by the mistake but by then it was too little, too late as they say. He even went back to the temple to try to undo the damage. He confronted the elders and chief priests who’d paid him to betray the Lord of Lords. Imagine him there in the doorway of the temple with his repentant tears running down his cheeks and beard saying, “I have sinned…I have betrayed the innocent blood”!  “Well” said the priests, “that’s your problem not ours, deal with it”. The Bible {ta’ biblia or the books} says Judas threw the 30 pieces of silver to the floor and then went out and hung himself.  I won’t defend or support Judas, how can I? He betrayed God’s Son. But just between you and me I’d have to admit ‘so have I’. I have many times betrayed my sweet King and Lord by my choices, my actions, my words, my choosing the world over the Lord. I’d have to say that I sometimes ask absent mindedly “Judas, what did you get for your 30 pieces of silver”? I wonder if he might not ask in turn, “what did you get for yours”?  I have wondered and I wonder even now, what might have been if I could have been there that fateful night and sat beside Judas at the table? If I could have leaned over whispered to him “are you sure you want to betray the Lamb of God”? I wonder what my life and walk and testimony might have been; what heartbreaks and shame might I have been spared if only someone had warned me “you are about to break God’s heart and betray the Precious Lord and instead of getting paid by this world for it you’re going to pay a horrible price”.  So, here is my question for you. Are you negotiating with this world for your 30 pieces of silver? Are you already on your way to see the priests and elders at the temple? Can I just warn you 1. The world never pays what it promises. 2. Even if it did, you’d regret it with all your heart. Let us put our betrayals behind us as Peter did and let’s get serious about the cross while there is yet time. Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop 903-729-5924. 

Those Who Come and Worship

You’ll find our text in Matthew 8:1-3 which I urge you to read. Verse 2 says “And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean”. Verse 3 says “And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed”.  My memory fails to replay all of those with whom I have knelt in jails, prisons, nursing homes, living rooms and hospitals who, with tears dripping from their faces, have asked “preacher, do you think that God could love me”?  How precious it is to look into teary bloodshot eyes of those who have been devoured [1st Peter 5:8], those who have been ‘sifted’ [Luke 22:31] and tell them “yes”, Jesus says “I will, be thou clean”. Nothing is more precious to me than to know beyond all possible question and doubt that our God and His Son not only ‘could love’ them, but indeed DOES LOVE THEM! Hallalujah! There are some I admit that I personally couldn’t love. I’ve interviewed some horrible criminals who committed atrocities that I will not describe them here. But one thing I have never doubted for a moment is that my Father not only could but DOES love them. This poor Leper is such a wretch. His situation is hopeless.  What a terrible struggle his life must’ve been. Shredded by a disease so awful that people recoiled in fear and turned away at his approach.  I hope you will trust that I mean no insult when I point out that God’s Bible says “And, behold, there CAME a leper…”. This week I address those of you who have fallen out and don’t come. The Bible says “…who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come… [Ex 32:26] See also [Mark 10:21, Revelation 22:17] Over and over again we see that they who really desire God’s touch and fellowship are told to ‘come’. This leper could’ve stayed home but I am glad he came! I’m glad that poor women [Luke 7:38] didn’t sit at home with her alabaster box, her tears and her shame! She came and stood weeping, she came and knelt before him and washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. Her longing for mercy drove her to Him! In Matthew 15:30 many came unto him bringing their sick, their lame, their hurting and saw him heal every one of them. He didn’t heal everyone in the land, he healed those who came! In verse 5 of our chapter we learn of the centurion whose servant was sick and dying at home; “there CAME unto him a centurion”. In verse 16 “they brought unto him”. Repeatedly they who love him and hope in him do their utmost to come to him. There has been a time, to my shame, when I refused to come. Indifference and coldness flourished in my neglect. I beseech you on Christ’s behalf to stop forsaking the assembling of yourself with your brethren. [1st John 3:14] Says those who are really saved love the brethren and desire their companionship and company. Have you not wondered why it is that you no longer desire to come and be close? If you would see them glow again put the coals back in the fire! This Sunday get up, dust off that Bible and come. Millions desire to come but cannot. God desires that you should come. Will you fail Him? Will you refuse the hand of love and mercy yet again? Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924. 

Having Loved This Present World

Last week we waded a few steps into 2 Timothy chapter 4, let me ask you to turn there again this week and let’s read verse 9 -11. Here Paul continues his final directions to his friends and brethren and especially his fellow pastors and then tells them of a great shame and failure on the part of Demas. Verse 10 “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world”! Part of me finds this sad and disappointing. Did Demas drop the news of this betrayal on Paul during visitors hours at the prison? Did he even have the guts to tell Paul why he was abandoning God and the church? I have seen professing Christians use all sorts of fabricated excuses to forsake the Lord when it was nothing more than that they “loved this present world”. During the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ {some call it the civil war} the ‘after action reports’ recorded *Killed *Taken Prisoner and *Missing and sometimes the number of *Missing was staggering – it reflected those who snuck away in the night and those traitors who defected to the opposite side. I would ask you which column you’d list Demas in? Was he taken prisoner by the devil? Was he a traitor who forsook his General and his comrades? Part of me finds Demas a source of disappointment and I am sad for him. However, part of me finds Demas a sad example for other Christians. How many were shocked to hear Demas forsook the Lord? How many young people began to question their own faith after hearing that Demas had quit on God? Did Demas have a wife and children in church? If so, how did this affect their walk with the Lord? I have heard many say, “well preacher, it is my business and it isn’t hurting anyone”. I wish that were true, but it isn’t – Romans 14:7 says ‘For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself’. Our walk and witness and life touches and impacts others. We are not told what, specifically, lured Demas away, Paul just says Demas loved “this present world”.  What it the fishing boat? Was it the deer stand? Was it soccer, band, football or baseball practice? Who knows! One thing is certain, “This present world” is still luring Christians out and pulling lost people further away from God. I’d venture a guess that you have seen and know a Demas right now. I regret to say that you are probably going to see someone else forsake the Lord and return to the world. Lastly notice that Paul didn’t say “I always knew Demas was going to turn his back on the Lord”. No in fact I think Paul felt pity for Demas. The price of returning to the world is sometimes very high. So, let me urge you who are strong in the Lord to watch for an opportunity to reach out to the Demas’s you know. Try to help them to “free themselves from the snare of the devil” [2nd Timothy 24-26].  If Demas ever got it right and came back, we’re not told. But I have seen some who fell out come limping back! As the old saying goes “it’s better to go limping into heaven than to go skipping into hell”. Praise God for second chances! If you’re out and away from God, let me remind you that God welcomes prodigals’ home with rejoicing! Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924. 

Ready to Be Offered

2 Timothy chapter 4 is one of the most poignant chapters in the “pastoral letters”, perhaps in the entire New Testament. If space and time permitted, I would insert the received text / King James translation of the chapter here because all other versions will mislead you with incorrect renderings of it. You could use another version in some other places and perhaps be ok, but not in this chapter. In verse 6 we’ll find the correct reading “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand”. Many ‘versions’ mistranslate this as ‘being offered’ or then even more ridiculous, ‘being poured out’. But the actual reading is much deeper as Paul tells us he is soon to be executed. The time of which is “at hand”. How strong he puts it when he says, “I am ready to be offered”! Ready to be presented to the Lord! Ready to be presented to our Father! Oh how strengthening and encouraging this is! He did not say it as “I am ready to die” (though physically you could add that in your mind so long as you don’t replace what he said). You see, Paul knows he isn’t going to die – his body will, but he himself certainly won’t be dying, no, no – he will be and is ready to be “offered”! Offered for acceptance! Offered as a testimony! Offered as a witness! Offered as a praise to the glorious God Almighty! The guards will behead Paul. It won’t be long, hours or days perhaps. Then Paul will be released from ‘this life’, released from ‘that weak beggarly body’ to be set before the Lamb of the Living God. Almost daily we hear or read about someone, many perhaps, who faced the ‘time of their departure’. Their executioner was leukemia, cancer, heart attack, accident, a fall, a wreck, an aneurism. Their hooded executioner came for them just as they came for Paul. It is heart-wrenching when we learn of it. I don’t want to face my executioner any more than you do but, since “there is no discharge in that war” [Eccl 8:8], I do not pray for deliverance from it. Instead, I pray that I should follow Paul’s lead and be “ready to be offered”. Death is a terror, but to be offered, now that is a comfort and a sweet consolation! So, the great question becomes “Pastor, if I am to be offered as Paul was, how can I be ready? What must I do that when I am offered, God will accept me”? If such thoughts run through your mind and fall upon your heart you should kneel this moment and thank God that you have been given a heart and mind that can comprehend the question, because many cannot. For many their conscience is seared, and their heart is defiled beyond the capacity to consider such soul-searching questions. The answers to these ultimate questions are within the book God gave us. Here at Calvary we focus our efforts on telling people who are not ready how they can be. We focus on showing people the answers God gave on the pages of that incredible amazing Book of the Lord [Isaiah 34:16] Are you ready to be offered? Do you sense you are not? Would you like to be? I invite you to bring your family and let’s all get ready for that “time of our departure”.  You’ll feel at home at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the loop! 903-729-5924. 

The Redemption of the Body

Let me take you back in time a few years. Back to the late 50’s – 70’s where many of you may remember the popular little S & H Green stamps. My mother kept hers in a little booklet and we’d all get excited about what she’d get for them. They were America’s most widely known ‘trading stamps’ from 1900 through the late 70’s. There were even television commercials in the 60’s and 70’s about ‘redeeming’ your S & H [Sperry and Hutchinson co] Green Stamps. Believe it or not you could still redeem the famous little green stamps on line in 2015 through S & H Green points. The premise was simple: you collected them at retail stores with your purchases and then you ‘redeemed’ (traded) them for merchandise through mail order catalogues or certain stores. While that notion of trading in something in exchange for something better is fresh on your mind let me point you to Romans 8 verse 21-23. Underline that little phrase there in verse 23 “…waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body”.  The REDEMPTION of the body. In other words, trading in the old body for the new one. This one you live in right now is made of dirt [Genesis 3:19] and is “flesh and blood”. Those three things cannot “inherit the kingdom of God” [1st Cor 15:50]. If you are saved – your soul, spirit and mind are saved – not your physical body. If you doubt that, look in the mirror and tell me if what you see looks powerful, honorable, glorious and incorruptible? But don’t worry, after you and I die, they’ll bury “it” [John 2:19] [Mark 6:29] and you will redeem it for the new one! That isn’t the body you’re going to be living in. You won’t be in a wheelchair or dragging an oxygen tank in heaven. No one will be wearing a hospital gown or dragging a fluid IV pole on the golden street. There isn’t an Ambulance chariot in Heaven! Because when this ‘corruptible body’ [1st Corinthians 15:35-57] breaths the last breath from God’s hand [Job 12:10 and Daniel 5:23] then you will “redeem it” [Romans 8:23] for the “incorruptible body” God has prepared for you. Whether you are standing beside the hospital bed or holding the hand of a loved one at home you are NOT awaiting their death! You are awaiting their victory over death [1st Corinthians 15:54]. If they’ve trusted Christ, you will not bury your loved one to lay sleeping in a hole in the ground. That is false teaching. The grave is for the corpse [Mark 6:29] not the soul. O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory? The victory is that their adoption has been realized.  You see Christian, the moment you were saved [Romans 10, Ephesians 2:8-9, Acts 8:27-38] you became like a child in the orphanage who has been adopted but the new family hasn’t arrived yet to pick you up. You are packed and waiting. The car pulls up. The rest of us wave an emotional goodbye. We are sad to see you go but then, we are also thrilled for you as you finally get out of this place and go to your new home [John 14:3] and your new Father [John 14:6].  Thus, the adoption is complete and body is redeemed. Come rejoice with us at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine across the loop from Pizza Hut.

I Chose Lazarus

Luke chapter 16 contains the famous Parable of Lazarus and the rich man (verse 19-31) so often quoted by so many through these two thousand years since they were written. It pains us to read of the rich man’s selfish indifference to one in such need as Lazarus. Those of us who still have the good sense to “just believe the Bible” know that they both died [verse 22]. We know they were both “released” from this body of dust [Genesis 3:19]. It is put beautifully in Ecclesiastes 12:6 where the soul is compared to a silver cord “loosed” from the body or like a golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern – once this body of dust finally caves in and the soul is set free from it the soul moves on to the “next” place. We bury the dust…not the person [Luke 16:22 the beggar died…the rich man also died, and was buried]. Next notice that verse 23 tells us that the rich man was immediately in the hell he didn’t believe in. The hell he thought was just a scary story made up by ignorant people. That’s what Napoleon Bonaparte thought before he went to it. Will you believe the word of God or the words of a man? Next we see the rich man tortured in hell and pleading for Lazarus to be sent to warn his 5 brothers [Verse 28] whom he knows will join him there soon. Lazarus however was in comfort after all these years of suffering. Dwight L. Moody told of a group of young boys who were asked in Sunday School “which of the two they’d choose to be, the rich man or Lazarus? One boy answered – “I’d like to be the rich man while I live and Lazarus when I die”. Kids are funny.  But the problem is – that cannot be. Now the rich man had five godless brothers whom he knew didn’t believe the Bible any more than he had. So, he begged for someone to be sent to warn them. In fact, he even asked if Lazarus could be sent from the dead to warn them for surely a dead man might convince them of the truth of bible and the horrors of hell.  What an answer he is given! They have the Bible; they have Moses to tell them the truth and that’s plenty good enough”. But still the rich man pleads saying “no they need something more than that”! The answer is as loud as a thunderclap! “No, if the word of God isn’t enough to convince them, nothing would convince them, even if a man rose from the dead”! You see, a man has already risen from the dead and He pleads that we should hear him yet still…not even a resurrected Jesus can convince some of the truth. God has given the world Moses, Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Solomon, David and even His own Son to testify to the truth of the words of God and still it is not enough! Why? You already know the answer. Because some people, most in fact, just won’t be convinced or converted to the truth. They love their sin. It has their heart and they will not allow anything to change it.  This Sunday could be your Sunday to choose to be Lazarus! Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine hopes to see you soon! Across from Pizza Hut on the Loop.

The Wrath of Man

There are as yet many unopened lessons God presents us in the book of Jonah and I heartily encourage you to consider a careful reading of the whole book at your earliest opportunity. For sake of time let us conclude this little Jonah series with just one final study from Jonah chapter 4. I want to call your attention to ‘The Wrath of Man”. [James 1:20] tells us “For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God”. Probably some of you Bible veterans remember that the preceding verse tells us “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath” to be “slow to speak”. God didn’t say we couldn’t get angry and in fact there are some things that ‘should’ make us angry! What we see here though is that God warned us to very careful about our anger – because anger unchecked can quickly fan itself into ‘wrath’ and the wrath of man doesn’t lead to godly behavior or godly decisions. As such we are directed “Be ye angry and sin not” [Ephesians 4:26] “Let not the sun go down upon your wrath”. Now with those wonderful counselors from the word of God lets go back into Jonah and see if they hold true. *Perhaps you may remember that last week we saw that Jonah went preaching to Nineveh that God was about ‘overthrow’ them all for their own choices and wickedness? So, the King ordered everyone, man and beast, to “turn from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands”. Which resulted in God turning away His wrath and condemnation. As we open Jonah 4:1 we find that God’s pardon and mercy ‘displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was “very angry”.  Again, God’s tender mercy and gentleness has been revealed and instead of rejoicing that these pagan gentiles have responded rightly to the preaching, Jonah is outraged? Yes, they deserve wrath! Yes, they deserve Judgment! Yes, they deserve to be destroyed! But then don’t we all?! Have we not all failed to obey? But God is gentle and gracious, merciful and slow to anger and of great kindness! Praise His Holy name when a sinner will truly repent and call out for mercy the Great God of Jonah is ready to forgive! I wish our Bible recorded a different Jonah! I wish we were reading of a Jonah who rejoiced to see God’s tender mercy and kindness extended to these fellow failures. I wish we were reading of how Jonah ran among them and embraced them and rejoiced and celebrated God’s tender mercies with them. But no. Where I would prefer to read about an obedient Jonah in chapter one, I find a rebel like myself. Where I would prefer to read about a merciful Jonah in chapter two, I find a stubborn and selfish Jonah that reminds me of me. Where I would prefer to read about a Jonah who learned his lesson about grace and forgiveness in chapter four, I read of a selfish Jonah who cares more for his own comforts than for souls. Jonah is easy to condemn, isn’t he? But then, have you obeyed God’s command to tell others who are lost and condemned the gospel? Perhaps you’d better reserve condemnation of Jonah and focus on being more obedient yourself? Pastor Harrison and those at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine hope to see you soon!

Mercy’s Lessons

Our Bible studies at Calvary Baptist Church have taken us into Jonah several times where we’ve been considering how Jonah ended up in the belly of a whale. Note that in Chapter 1 Jonah ended up in what he called the “belly of hell” [Ch 2:2] and in Matthew 12:40 Jesus referred to “Jonas in the whale’s belly” as a prefigure of himself three days and three nights in the earth. Which begs the question “was Jonah dead or alive”? Note also in [Ch 2:6] God can hear prayers from the darkest hell! In [Ch 2:9] notice where Salvation is exclusively “of the Lord” and NOT from other religions. From there let us consider [Ch 2:10] that Jonah found mercy! Amen! God is a God of Mercy! [2 Pet 3:9] “…Not willing that any should perish…but that all should come to repentance”. I wish some preachers would quit trying to redefine any and all! Anyway, Jonah found mercy! Are we all agreed on that? Yet notice that after he went and preached, the people of Nineveh did what many unstudied pastors say isn’t necessary – they begged God for mercy and turned from their wickedness! By the way that’s lost men and women begging God for mercy and turning from their wickedness. Dead in trespasses and sins has never meant too dead to beg God for mercy and turn from your wicked ways. Perhaps you’re wondering why the people of Nineveh did this when God had already said He was going to destroy them? Turn to the words of the King of Nineveh in Jonah 3:9 “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” Ahh yes! Now that’s good advice! Maybe you are in a horrible mess! Maybe you’re in the middle of a nightmare! Maybe you’ve all but begged God to deal with your rebellious attitude. I don’t know about you, but this King’s words encourage me! Change your ways! Humble yourself before God and just maybe He’ll reach down and lift you out of that pit you’re in. Maybe the great God of second chances will take pity on you! In Jonah 3:10 God saw their works which demonstrated their seriousness about seeking mercy and He didn’t destroy them. Praise God for mercy!  Jonah is a crash course on MERCY! It’s the advanced level class on digging your own pit no doubt, but it’s also a crash course on Mercy. Let’s read ch  4:1 and notice Jonah was outraged that God spared Nineveh. Wow?! Outraged that someone got mercy?! Are you kidding? How can a man go through what Jonah went through and find the sea of God’s mercy but still not have any mercy for others? We find the word mercy 261 times in the Bible. Isn’t it just like a man to be so one sided? We expect mercy for our self but chastisement for others.  God expects us to use mercy toward our fellow man. I wish it weren’t so but let me remind you that Jonah never did get his heart straightened out. His last recorded words to God concerning Nineveh were “I do well to be angry, even unto death”.  God help us to remember to be merciful even when it isn’t deserved! For that is where God extended mercy to us!! This is pastor Malcolm Harrison inviting you to come visit with us at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine on the loop across from Pizza Hut.

The Source, The Cause & The Solution

In the book of Jonah Chapter 1 vs 1-14 we read that the prophet Jonah was told to go to the great and wicked city called Nineveh and preach against their wicked ways. *This would be an outrage in our day just as it was in Jonah’s day. No one wants to be told that there is a standard of right and wrong and no one wants to be told that certain behaviors are defiled and reprobate. But let’s move on. Jonah as you know decided that these Gentiles deserved God’s judgment, so he decided to leave them to their fate [Jonah 4:1-2]. In verse 3 Jonah went instead to Joppa {modern day Jaffa} and hired a boat to take him anywhere but Nineveh. *Remember this: When a Christian or lost person masquerading as a Christian has decided to leave church, any ‘ship’ {excuse} will do. Jonah’s decision prompts God to send a storm to ‘get Jonah’s attention’. *Notice that ‘some’, not all, storms may be God’s effort to get your attention. So here is something important: The Source of the Storm {by the way storms can take many forms – economic, domestic, health, financial et al} is in this case God. Note also that since all the universe belongs to God, He can of course do as He pleases with it. NEXT Note that while God is the source of Jonah’s storm, Jonah himself is the cause of the storm. By that I mean that God sent Jonah’s storm but Jonah himself caused this storm. So, here we see the SOURCE of the storm is God, but Jonah is the CAUSE of Jonah’s storm. For those of you who have ‘a meditative and reflecting mind’ I’d wager you know someone who has refused to submit to God’s decrees and divine expectations [which decrees and divine expectations are good and right and just 1st John 5:3, Romans 12:1-2]. God’s storms are good, right and a demonstration of love rather than wrath. These efforts of God are not for our hurt but for our good. When we, as Jonah, refuse and rebel against God’s guiding hand, we become the author of our own storms and we determine their severity. So, we have the source and we have the cause. Let’s see the solution. As you read onward in Jonah chapter 1 the storm became severe and the mariners discovered 1. The Source. 2. The Cause and then they asked Jonah for the Solution. Sound familiar? Have you not many times told someone the SOURCE and the CAUSE and when they asked, ‘the SOLUTION’ only to have them reject it out of hand? The mariners refused. To them the answer sounded crazy. They “rowed hard” [vs 13] to solve it on their own. Typical isn’t it? How many have I told plainly the solution to their storm only to see them continue on in rebellion. I wish we had more space and time to explore God’s storms but let us not forget that God not only has storms, but if storms don’t work, He has whales too. Some of you readers have seen the inside of your own whale and there learned the value of repentance. So, here at Calvary Baptist Church we encourage, we beseech, we urge you to keep sharing the gospel and maybe spare a Jonah from a storm. Perhaps you’ll spare a whale the indignity of having to eat a rebellious Christian. Bring your Bible and come to Calvary. On the Loop across from Pizza Hut. 

Zeal of Thine House

David, a type of Christ, about whom God said ‘his heart was perfect’ [1st Kings 11:4 and 15:3] said “I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the House of the Lord” [Psalm 122:1].  So what can we deduce from this? A few things, namely, that a man whom God said was perfect in his heart was for leaving one’s home and going to a local physical place known as a “house of God”. The phrase “The House of the Lord” is found 213 times in the Bible! Even the word grace is not found nearly so many times. Something God put in the Bible 213 times is obviously important. Let that soak in a moment. In John’s written record of Christ Jesus we find the Son of God “in the temple” [John 2:14] in Jerusalem. While there He did something very unacceptable among the robed genteel ‘seeker sensitive’ crowd: He ran people out of the church and told them to have their yard-sale fund raiser merchandise junk elsewhere. “And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” [John 2:16]. Christ said plainly that, that the physical location in Jerusalem, that rock and stone building made with hands WAS His “Father’s house”. When the Lord went to Peter’s house [Matt 8] He didn’t turn over a single table, didn’t throw over any cages or whip anyone and He didn’t call it a temple even though there were believers gathered there. Not convinced? Well take Matthew 13:36 where Jesus is in a house with two of His disciples and some other believers – but he didn’t call it a temple and he didn’t do what He did at the temple in Jerusalem [John 2]. See a church has an ordained, trained, God called Pastor set over it by a parent church under authority. Can these ‘churches’ be ordained inside a regular house? Yes of course. But ONLY by a man sent under the authority of God, trained and approved by God called men who themselves were trained and ordained under authority. There is always a pastor, placed at its head by God. If you want to know what the qualifications are for a man to lead the church of God you can read it clear as glass in a King James Bible in 1st Timothy 3. Now back to John 2 and let’s consider verse 17. Seeing the “Son of God” toss the junk out and drive people who were there for the wrong reason out, the disciples remembered that it was written of the Lord, “…the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”. Not zeal of McDonald’s. Not zeal for the bass boat or the horse corral. I’m afraid many today have more “zeal” for their lawn or their boat or their hobby [Luke 14:19] than for the “house of the Lord”. But Pastor, what if I am bedridden and cannot go to the “house of the Lord”?  There is a clear difference between someone who wants to obey God but can’t VS someone who can but doesn’t have a zeal for things of God. Rather than hide this lack of zeal why not just ask God to give you back your zeal for what He wants in your life? This Sunday find your zeal for the things of God again and go to church! If you don’t have one, come visit with us at Calvary Baptist Church across from Pizza Hut on the Loop. 903-729-5924

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