Category: O

One of These Days Soon…I’ll Call for You

Old Paul was quite an opponent in a debate. Having been a ‘top shelf’ Pharisee himself he was intimately familiar with the scriptures and having met Christ himself and his eyes opened there was no stopping him in a discussion. A great example of Paul’s debate and convincing abilities can be read in Acts 24. There we find a lying con-artist named Tertullus doing his best to make Paul out to be a ‘pestilent fellow’ {common thug & troublemaker}. He accuses Paul of starting riots and profaning the temple. You know the type, Tertullus is one of those guys who stirs up more strife in a week than most do in their whole life. Anyway, after Tertullus finishes stacking up his big pile of false statements again Paul, Governor Felix says “ok Paul, let’s hear your side in this big hullabaloo.

Paul takes the witness stand and proceeds to dismantle Tertullus and all the fabricated accusations limb by limb. His reasoning and discussion of the facts is so compelling that even Governor Felix had to admit he couldn’t argue with it. A few weeks later as the testimony continues Paul is again before Felix and his argument so compelling that Felix had to get away from Paul or join him! In Acts 24:25 Felix says “Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee”. 
I suppose anyone who has been in church long has heard this subject addressed, preached and taught on. I suppose any preacher worth his keep has seen someone under conviction raise a hand saying “pray for me pastor, I’m lost and I know it” and then seen them walk out of the church never to return. It’s a heartbreaker for any of us who has been witnessing to a lost loved one or friend. To see them come right up to the door and then withdraw the hand and turn away. Some perhaps will eventually open it and be gloriously saved. However, as in the case of Felix, we see that his refusal of Christ just made him harder and harder. He listened to Paul for two full years and wasn’t converted. 
When some important folks showed up Felix wanted to impress them and the Jews who hated Paul so he left Paul in chains. It certainly seems clear that not only did Felix’ refusal of Christ harden his heart, but it hardened his heart so much that, as far as we know, he never did accept Christ.

“When I have a convenient time”. I wonder how many have died before the convenient time ever came? I wonder how many have said “tomorrow I will for sure”. One of the saddest things in the book of Acts is this piece of scripture…tomorrow, maybe next week, maybe next month… Can I just encourage you to not to wait? The latter part of 2 Corinthians 6:2 says “behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” If you are saved, don’t neglect to warn your loved ones. Sooner or later for us all, there is no tomorrow.

Or Ever the Silver Cord Be Loosed

Through Solomon’s pen the Holy Spirit gave us some fantastic help in the final chapter of Ecclesiastes [12:6]. It’s a short chapter and I urge you to read it slow and carefully. Let me give you Solomon’s description for the death of the body {and notice I said the “death of the body” and not ‘your death’} in verse 6 “Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern” Notice that the “silver cord” is “loosed” from something. Notice that something is broken and what is therein is released. Verse 7 tells us all what happens next in the ordained order: then shall the dust return to the earth as it was [Genesis 3:19] and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it”.
Solomon is hitting the nail right on the head when he says “the silver cord be loosed” for the representation is that when this ‘pitcher’ [used for carrying something] is broken then that which it carried is freed from it. The clay pitcher is tossed to the ground now useless. In Exodus 13:19 we are told that Joseph had charged the children of Israel that when they left Egypt, he wanted them to take his bones with them. Watch how it is written “…and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you”. Notice that Joseph didn’t say “dig ME up and carry ME with you”. See, his bones were part of the pitcher that time had broken, but those bones were NOT part of the silver cord that was loosed from within. In other words, Joseph knew quite well that while his bones were an important part of the clay body in which he’d lived for so long, those bones were not part of the real Joseph that lived within that body of dust. Let me ask you to turn to Matthew 14 and look with me at John the Baptist. You may remember he was beheaded for preaching against Herod’s adultery {because Herod was shacked up with his own brother’s wife} [so much for all this don’t judge me garbage – sin is sin]. So, Herod, being a proper liberal and I suspect a democrat, had John thrown in prison and later had him killed by beheading. In verse 12 we read something important! After John’s “silver cord was loosed” from the “golden bowl” [Ecclesiastes 12:6] his body is thereafter referred to as a corpse [Mark 6:29] and we are told that his head was an “it” and his body was an “it” – none of which are thereafter called John. Why is that? Because the body is just that…a bowl, a box, a pitcher…it isn’t important. What is important is what is carried within it. So, in Job we are told that the “body” [Job 19:26] will be destroyed by the process of decay and over time it will return to the dust from which is was made [Genesis 3:19] and that the real us which has lived within that pitcher will return to God. As such when we go to the funeral home to “make the arrangements”, those arrangements are for the body, NOT our loved one. What is important is that you do all you can to prepare for the day when that golden bowl will be broken! 

Out of Thine Own Mouth

We’ll need two great truths for our study this week: For sake of space I can’t quote all the texts so grab a Bible and go to Luke 19:12-22. Consider vs. 22 carefully and then put it on the back burner of your mind. Now go read Esther 5:11-14 {if you have time read the whole book}. In Esther Ch 2 we are introduced to a man named Haman. Reading the whole book reveals that this Haman fellow is {as they say in south Alabama} “not worth knockin’ in the head”. In other words he’s a sorry ‘no account’ excuse for a man. In our text [Esther 5:9-14] Haman gets outraged by a good and Godly man named Mordecai because Mordecai knows Haman is a wretch and he won’t bow or show reverence to Haman. As a result Haman sets about plotting how to kill Mordecai and all the other Jews as well. In Esther 5:14 Haman thinks he’s finally going to get to kill Mordecai so he asked his wife and friends how best to put Mordecai to death. Now get this…here is where it gets real interesting: His wife suggested he have a gallows built in their house and his friends all agreed with her. Can you believe she even said such a thing? Proverbs 14:3 says in part “in the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride…” and Proverbs 18:6 says “a fool’s lips enter into contention and his mouth calleth for strokes”. Now let’s move that scripture from Luke 19:22 to the front burner. “Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee…” Haman’s wickedness is about to be reckoned upon his own head. See Psalm 7:11-17! Zeresh’s words are about to become some of the bitterest words any woman ever spoke. In Esther chapter 7 Queen Esther reveals the plotting scheming murderous plans of Haman and the King is outraged! Haman is seized and blindfolded and hanged upon the very gallows he ordered built for Mordecai. What of Zeresh? Out of her own mouth she pronounced the sentence. They arrested her ten sons and just as she had watched in horror as Haman was forced up the ladder and hanged, so too they took all 10 of her sons and hanged them on the gallows she suggested one after another. What a price words have. What terrible self-condemning words have rolled off your tongue and mine? What foolishness have we said which was recorded by God himself? Moreover what mischief have we concocted in our hearts that God saw? I don’t know about you friend, but many years ago I knelt before God at an old wooden altar and begged His mercy and forgiveness for all the foolish, cruel, hateful, vengeful, spiteful and proud thoughts of my heart and all the words my mouth has uttered which He found displeasing. I am sure that many of you reading this are aware that words may mean little among men, but God records each and every one. Thanks be to God for His forgiveness. Like many of you I’ve said some awful things. I’ve done some terrible things. My heart has conceived some wicked things, but I got a “new heart and a new start” from God’s hand of compassion. You can get one too! Come get your ‘slate wiped clean’ at Calvary Baptist Church. 

One Day

I hate to go to the doctor.  No matter what my ailment is, they always seem to associate it with my weight. I swear it seems the doctors would say even a hangnail is because I’m overweight.  I don’t hate doctors, just their advice.  They’re right of course and even if I disagree or ignore the warnings, excess weight has been proven to cause a myriad of other health problems.  The doctor tells me if you don’t lose weight, there are going to be consequences, but I feel ok.  So I take the approach that one day I’ll get serious about this weight issue and I leave the office and promptly get in line at my favorite fast food restaurant for a burger and fries. With a diet coke of course.  One day becomes a distant goal and I never find myself reaching that day.

Likewise, the Bible has been warning man for years of the consequences of sin.  Romans tells us that we are all sinners, no one is righteous, and all have come short of the glory of God.  It also tells us that the penalty of sin is death.  But, you say, we all die.  Yes, but the death this refers to is spiritual, eternal.  Some don’t like the warning about the decision we have all made.  Again, you say, I haven’t made any decision, what do you mean?  If you are reading this and you have not been born again, if you have not called out in repentance of your sin and confessed faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, you have made a decision.  You have rejected the gift of salvation, received by faith in Jesus and his death on the cross as payment for your sin. God gave each of us the ability to choose.  Will you believe the words of the living God and the testimony about his Son Jesus Christ?  Will you look at yourself and see a sinner in need of a Saviour?  Or will you ignore the warnings like you ignore the doctor’s advice.  Perhaps you have sensed your need, but like the doctor’s advice you have put it off, considering all the changes that will come with a decision for Christ.  Sadly, I have had people tell me, I want to be saved but I don’t want to have to give up this or that. Whatever the thing, it keeps them from trusting Christ because rather than see what they will gain, they can only see what they will give up.    Many times I have seen someone in a church service come under conviction upon hearing the word of God. (Romans  10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.) When the invitation to come and accept Christ was offered, they put it off.  The devil whispers to them “not now, later”. Unfortunately later never comes for many. Just like weight loss is put off, the decision for Christ is put off, and the consequences are eternal.  Be sure that God is just and the penalty for sin is hell and eternal judgment.  Why not make today the “one day” and become a child of God?