Category: R

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.

The Resurrection

My pastor, Lev Humphries, wrote the following article which I offer to you here as a blessing: [The Resurrection of Christ was a hot topic in New Testament times. It was one of the most often preached topics of Peter and Paul. In fact, in Acts 23 when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. That sparked a division For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel: but the Pharisees confess both. Paul told Timothy in 2 Tim.2:18 that Hymenaeus and Philetus had, erred, saying that the resurrection is past already;… False doctrine concerning the resurrection is not new. 1 Cor. 15 is mostly concerned with the resurrection and tells us If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.Verse 20-22 stateBut now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. Whether you are saved or not, you will be resurrected. Jesus spoke of this in John 5:28-29. Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, And shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. Verse 24 explains that salvation is not merited by those who do good. It is received by faith. Verse 29 is a result of faith in Christ, the New Birth. If you look at Rom. 10:9-13, we have an invitation to the lost to call upon the name of Christ. If you look at verse 9 you will see the importance of believing in the resurrection of Christ: That if thou shalt confess with they mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. Remember 1 Cor.15:17, And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain…1 Peter 1:3, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotton us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.Revelation 1:18 Jesus statesI am He that liveth, and was dead; and , behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death“] This Sunday is the day we will celebrate what Christians refer to as “Resurrection Sunday”. It is the most crucial doctrinal truth of the Bible. In fact without the resurrection there would be no New Testament, no God ordained church and no eternal hope, no forgiveness of sins and no escape of damnation. Without the resurrection there would be no way for believers to be reconciled to our great merciful God! Without the resurrection there would be no hope of that glad reunion with dear loved ones who have died believing on God. We would sing no glad songs of joy, peace and hope. This Sunday we invite you to come and rejoice with us in the resurrection at Calvary Baptist Church in Palestine.

Repairing the Walls and Rebuilding the Gates

What with all the social misfits walking into churches and shooting innocent people in recent years, many churches have wisely opted to arm, train and prepare, as much as possible, in order to combat the possibility of such an event. As both a US Military veteran and a veteran police officer I openly commend and applaud anyone who takes seriously proactive precautions to defend themselves. I believe schools, day care centers, Churches and such places should, out of decency, be ‘off the table’ for targets even for a depraved madman.

Unfortunately events of late have demonstrated with stark reality that churches, schools, malls, concerts, theaters – nothing is safe. No big surprise there in light of Supreme Court rulings concerning prayer, schools, abortion and such. One societal degradation after another. One social, moral and spiritual defilement seems only to lay a foundation for the next and for most of us it seems the America we grew up in is under attack. As if some charlatan were trying to replace it with one where patriotism, decency, moral sensibility, backbone and courage are extinct. In months past I have spoken with a few who questioned churches preparing to defend those inside [which coincidentally includes infants, children, women, the elderly]. To such I say “we’ve put in smoke detectors, fire alarms and emergency exits to prepare for potential hazards. A systematic approach to preparedness, defense and training are much the same”. We’ve insured our vehicles in case of wrecks, our buildings in case of flood or storms – just in case something terrible happens. Shall we prepare for a storm outside and not for one inside?

As the minister of God, pastor of the church and one familiar with taking up arms under the flag of our country; I applaud those who arm themselves and train to respond to such as would harm a child, an elderly one…or other defenseless one, be it in a church, a school, or a grocery store. Our country has ever met tyranny with arms. In the Bible, cities had walls, gates and heavy doors, armed defenders, armed patrols…all ordained of God. King David, a type of Christ, went about with a sword which he used frequently. In fact the Lord Jesus Christ himself said in Luke 22:36 reads “Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one”. Why? Because sometimes wicked people try to do wickedness upon those who cannot stop them.
My own view is that I had rather see a church defend its defenseless ones and suffer the criticisms of men than to refuse to do so and live with the resultant horrors and inconsolable conscience thereafter. Like farmers preparing a field for planting and yet trusting God for the harvest, or fisherman lowering their nets for a catch, but trusting the catch to God – so too must we all prepare the horse for the battle but trust the outcome thereof to our Great King.

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth

One of the only places where the Christian is plainly and directly told to “study the word” is now and has always been under attack. It is a huge and vitally important direction to study the bible and it’s found in 2nd Timothy 2:15 {Consequently I am sure many of you won’t find it at all surprising that men & devils, modern ‘versions’, textual criticism and so-called scholars have done their best to omit it, delete it, pervert it, mishandle it, distort it or reword it ad nausea}

Let’s see what it actually says in ‘the real bible’ – by which I mean of course the AV 1611 – “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. WOW!! What a mountain of doctrine and guidance for the Christian life! It’s no wonder that so many have tried for hundreds of years to distort this verse; for of a certainty if more people (including preachers) would “study the word” many fake churches & ‘denominations’ would soon go out of business.
By the way ‘rightly dividing the word’ and getting your doctrine straightened out has never wrongly divided the brethren [2nd Thessalonians 3:6, 14, 15; 1st Timothy 1:3, 4:1, 2nd Timothy 4:2-4]. Next notice that the verse says by studying you can meet God’s approval – which means that by failure to study and ‘rightly divide’ or understand the word of God you can incur God’s disapproval! The obvious fact being there stated is that someone who fails to study inevitably fails to understand, comprehend, apply and live out “sound doctrine” in their lives and as such they fail to demonstrate to those around them that ‘form of doctrine which was delivered unto’ them [Romans 6:17].

Now we know that as the night draws near in these last days that fewer and fewer are actually studying and I know some of you, like me, are dumbfounded how someone can claim to be a Christian and yet seem uninterested in ‘shewing themselves approved unto God’.
Note also that the goal for the Christian is to be a ‘workman’ for the Lord. A workman in the lives they touch. A worker of the Lord in the life of their spouse, their children and their circle of friends.

Also notice that failing to study in order to ‘rightly divide the word’ leads inescapably to being ashamed before God. I don’t know about you but I already have enough things to be ashamed of and have no desire to add to this long list. Charles H Spurgeon (who was called the prince of preachers) said some great things with which I agree heartily {apart from his notorious blundering on the subject of Calvinism and the so-called ‘doctrines of grace’} in effort to encourage young preachers to study, once said ‘God already has enough biblically ignorant men and women making fools of themselves’; he doesn’t need you to join their ranks.

As for me I already have much to be ashamed of so I do not wish to add biblical ignorance and failure to rightly divide the word to the list. What a fool is that man or woman who knows more about fishing, building, farming or games and movies but almost nothing when it comes to the scriptures.