Faith Bible Baptist Church of Yuma
Faith Bible Baptist Church of Yuma

From the desk of Pastor Ed ... 2018 Archives

The 12 Greatest Christmas Gifts for Your Soul                    December 31, 2018

 

(1)       The Gift of “no condemnation” is offered by the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who died on the cross to “free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-3).  How can you receive this gift? (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

 

(2)       The Gift of the Holy Spirit to come and dwell on your soul.  “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 8:9-11).  Without the Holy Spirit dwelling in your soul, you are not a true believer.  How can you receive this free gift?  (Acts of the Apostles 2:38).

 

(3)       The Gift of belonging to the family of God “For as many as were led by the Spirit of God, these are        the sons {daughters}of God.” (Romans 8:14-16).  Led by the Holy Spirit, you become a son {daughter} of God by a spiritual adoption so that we can honestly pray, “Abba, Father.” 

 

(4)       The Gift of becoming an “heir of God and joint-heir with Christ” (Romans 8:17; Revelation    21:7).  This grants you a place in heaven when you receive Jesus Christ as your Savior. (Ephesians 1:18).

 

(5)       The Gift of the “redemption of your body” means when you enter heaven your body will receive a body fit for heaven like the one Jesus had when he arose from the tomb and appeared to the disciples.  (Romans 8:23; 1st John 3:1-2; Luke 24:36-43; Philippians 3:20-21).

 

(6)       The Gift of the “Holy Spirit Himself makes intercession for” you in praying according to the will of God (Romans 8:26-27; Luke 11:1-4).

 

(7)       The Gift of God to direct “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who    are the called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28; Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

(8)       The Gift of salvation of your soul:  Jesus Christ will justify your soul now and will glorify your soul heaven (Romans 8:29-30; 3:23-25; Galatians 2:16).

 

(9)       The Gift of salvation was paid fully when Jesus died on the cross and arose from the power of death       and hell.  (Romans 8:31-32; 1st Peter 1:18-19). 

 

10)      The Gift of the intercession on your behalf by Jesus Christ Himself “who is even at the right hand of God” (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:24-28).

 

11) The Gift of God’s promise to guard and keep you against any person or thing that would separate you from Him and Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-39; Jude 1:24-25).

 

12)  The Gift of God to make you “more than conquerors through Him” (Jesus Christ) who will love you forever and never let you go. (Romans 8:37; 1st John 5:4-5). 

 

Are these 12 Christmas gifts from God really wonderful?  Would you like to have these gifts as yours?    How? 

 

Do what Jesus Christ wants you to do.  (Romans 10:9-10, 13).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Gentle Mary and the Baby Child                      December 17, 2018

 

Joseph S. Cook blessed the world with a wonderful Christmas carol entitled “Gentle Mary Laid Her Child.”  Mary was born and grew up in the small village of Nazareth.  She was like a “lily of the valley” in a field of thorns not far from the Sea of Galilee. 

 

One of the twelve apostles was well aware of its poor reputation.  After Philip met Jesus, he rushed to find his good friend Nathanael.  Excitedly, Philip exclaimed, “We have found Him of whom Moses, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph!”  Nazareth?!  His friend almost choked, blurting out, “Can there be any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:45-46). 

 

The name Mary was derived from the lovely book of Ruth.  After Naomi’s husband and two sons died in the land of Moab, she heard the good news that the famine in Israel was over.  Her two daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, loved Naomi and began the journey.  While taking a rest, Naomi felt the two Moabite young widows ought to go back.  Orpah chose to return to Moab and its idols.  Ruth chose the one true God of Abraham and would not leave her.  Naomi’s neighbors in Bethlehem called her by name.  The widow had tasted mourning and bitterness.  How could she be called Naomi (“pleasant”).  She asked to be called Mara (“one who had experienced bitterness”).  As the centuries rolled by, the name “Mara” (or Mary) was mellowed by those who cherished the last chapter of the book of Ruth.  In fact, the New Testament lists 6 women by that name—Mary.

 

At the LORD’s chosen time for the Messiah to come, the angel Gabriel descended from heaven with an incredible message for that God-fearing woman in Nazareth—gentle Mary.   “Fear not Mary, for thou hast found favor with God. ….  Hail, thou art highly favored, the Lord is with thee.” (Luke 1:30 & 28).  God saw in Mary what He saw in an elderly couple, Zechariah and Elisabeth: “righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.” (1:6).  Mary’s song displayed that she was very familiar with the Scriptures. Like many women in the family tree of King David, Mary might have yearned to be the mother of the Messiah.  After all, she was betrothed to marry a God-fearing man in that lineage. (Luke 1:27).

 

The virgin may have prayed that the Messiah, her Savior, would come in her lifetime. The divine message was: “behold, thou shall conceive in thy womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His Name JESUS.  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest (God), and the LORD God shall give to Him the throne of His father David.” (1:31-32).

 

Well educated in prophecies of the Messiah, she wondered how this could be.  Was her fiancé Joseph to be the father of the Messiah?  No.  Gabriel explained a miracle that never happened nor ever came to mind:  the incredible incarnation and birth of the holy One.  As the apostle described it, “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: GOD WAS MANIFEST IN THE FLESH … seen of angels … believed on in the world….” (1st Timothy 3:16).

 

“Gentle Mary laid her Child lowly in a manger; there He lay, the undefiled, to the world a stranger.  Such a Babe in such a place, can He be the Savior?  Ask the saved of every race who have found His favor.”  Mary found His favor.   Have you asked Jesus to be your Savior?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Incredible Incarnation                     December 3, 2018

 

THE INCREDIBLE INCARNATION  “….is by far the most amazing miracle of the entire Bible—far more amazing than the resurrection and more amazing than the creation of the universe.  The fact that the infinite, omnipotent, eternal Son of God could become man and join Him to human nature forever, so that the infinite God became one Person with finite man, will remain for eternity the most profound miracle and the most profound mystery in all the universe.”                                                     Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology, page 563.   

                                                                       

Why?  First, Creation:  God spoke, with incredible power, and created matter out of nothing. All the elements, trillions of stars, billions of earthly zoo creatures were created by His command.  Then God formed a lifeless body out of dirt.  The instant He commanded the form to be made into the image and likeness of Almighty God humanity was given reason and conscience unmatched by animals. But the incarnation of the Son of God is much greater!

Why?  Second, the Resurrection of Jesus and of all mankind.  Resurrection brings life back to the dead.  A change from one stage of life [earthly] was resurrected into everlasting life.  The             body of the Man—Jesus—was thoroughly human.  His body was crucified, buried, and raised from the cold grip of death into a fabulous body of flesh and bones.  The apostles were witnesses.  But the incarnation of the Son of God was more incredible!

 

Why? Third, God is Spirit, most holy, far superior than anyone or anything else in power, wisdom, and glory.  God the Son, became the Man when, by the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit upon Mary, He became the Son of God incarnate.  The incarnation of the Son of God was incredible!

 

Just exactly what is “incarnation”?  The most amazing miracle ever performed was the supernatural transformation from spirit to flesh and bones.  God the Father is spirit (John 4:24).  Jesus became the Son of man, a human.  Son of God possessed a divine, sinless, holy spirit.  The Baby in Bethlehem’s manger was the Son of God.  The Baby was fully God and fully human in one Person.  He was a helpless infant depending on His mother Mary and stepfather Joseph.

God the Son was transformed into a human body.  That body was subject to hunger, thirst, weariness, pain, and more.

 

Maybe this comparison draws a scene, a mental picture, in our minds.  Imagine Abraham, a godly and real human being.  Then God transformed Abraham into a honey bee amidst a nest of cockroaches (a bee makes sweet honey; but, the world of humanity is like a nest of cockroaches).

 

The Son of God became the one and only God-Man!  The Gospels describe the Lord Jesus Christ as holy, sinless, worker of miracles.  Jesus preached the kingdom of God was for all who repent and put their faith in Him as their personal Savior.

 

The incarnate Son of God could, as the Man, qualify to represent all mortals and suffer the penalty for our sins.  The “wages of sin is death.”  The gift of God is salvation bought and paid for by the Son of God.  The incredible incarnation of Jesus made salvation possible.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Why Did Jesus Have to Die?                  November 26, 2018

 

From His glorious throne in the heavenlies, the Son of God could see a world of broken families, senseless murders, raunchy morals, grievous thefts, constant lies, and greed.  It grieved His heart to the core.  Something had to be done to prevent the total self-destruction of civilization.  God had created the human race innocent of all wrong.  But when tempted, they had turned their backs on God.  Justice had to be served. They deserved to die. But why did Jesus have to die?

 

Peter was one of the first disciples chosen by Jesus.  On one occasion Jesus “began to teach that the Son of man (Jesus) must suffer many things, … and be killed….” (Mark’s Gospel 8:31).  Peter was stunned.  He loved this good Teacher of the kingdom of God.  Multitudes had been miraculously cured by the Healer.  Moments before Peter had exclaimed to Jesus, “You are the Christ!”  Peter believed that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah who would reign as king over the land of Israel.  But how could the king be killed and reign over the kingdom, too?  That troubled him.

 

Let’s turn back to the first book of the Bible for an answer.  God created Adam and Eve and saw His creations were very good.  Love, peace, and joy filled the Garden of Eden.  Innocence ruled.

But Satan disguised himself as a beautiful serpent and deceived the first couple.  Eve plucked the forbidden fruit, took a bite, and shared it with Adam.  They had been warned not to eat it. This blatant act was offensive to God.  This terrible act brought sin into the world.

 

The Apostle Paul wrote the consequences: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men because all sinned. ….  For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners….” (Romans 5:12 & 19).  Sinners?  What is that?  Jesus made a list of sins: “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness.  All these evil things come from within and defile a man.”  (Mark’s Gospel 7:21-23).  The Bible says, “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).  Whose death?  the guilty person, the sinner.  Why did Jesus say that He must die?

 

God is holy, sinless, and our Judge.  God cannot let sin go unpunished.  The Lord planned the redemption of sinners.  The Son of God came down into this world on a rescue mission of extraordinary love.  He became a Man yet was as holy and sinless as God Himself. As a Man He could represent the whole human race and suffer its ultimate consequence:  death forever.

 

On that rugged cross Jesus “was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities (bad sins), … and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. …. Because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”  (Isaiah 53:5, 6, 12).

 

This is why Jesus declared He must die.  My sins, your sins were charged against Him judicially.  He paid the penalty of our sins.  Death.  But, miraculously, Jesus came to life again and left the tomb.  He conquered death. When you receive Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, He will forgive your sins.  I hope that you have done that.  You can begin a new life following Him.  

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Our American Heritage of Thanksgiving                    November 21, 2018

 

There is a great book on the amazing life and convictions of George Washington.  “Sacred Fire”

by Dr. Peter A. Lillback contains 725 pages based upon personal research on America’s first president.  His original sources and helpful notes (some 400 more pages) confirm the spiritual side of this man was strong and compassionate.  Dr. Lillback’s burden for America was expressed on the last page: “Washington’s ‘sacred fire’ can and must burn brightly again.”  Amen! To that.

 

Why?  Here is a little history lesson: on November 8th, 1988, George Bush (#41) won the presidency by the electoral college and popular votes.  His opponent, Governor Dukakis, phoned President-elect Bush to congratulate and wish him well.  There were no riots, no hateful language, and no threats of impeachment. Since the last presidential election two years ago, a violent turmoil has been swirling around our country.  It is shameful.  What might President Washington have to say about what is going on now?  Let’s hear from him.

 

Washington’s Proclamation: 

“WHEREAS, it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly implore His protection and favor;

WHEREAS, both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

 

Now, therefore I do recommend next, to be devoted by the people of the states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be, that we may then all unite in rendering to Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country.”

 

It is my prayer that Washington’s “sacred fire” in his soul might become our “sacred fire.”  So many call for peace.  So many vainly hope we can have peace and good will toward men by education, by politics, or by laws.  Never works.  Never has worked. 

 

Genuine, lasting peace comes from the Prince of Peace.  Yet, 2,000 years ago, when Jesus walked around to all of the cities and villages of Israel preaching the peace the Gospel brings, the religious and political establishments crucified Him.  There is no lasting peace without the Almighty God of whom Washington spoke. 

 

Here is the path to genuine peace and thanksgiving:  Romans 5:1 “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Every American needs to be reconciled to God.  The reality is that sinful behavior erupts from our fallen nature.  5:10 “For if we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.”

 

Salvation of souls can transform America.  Let’s raise our voices in thanksgiving to the Savior.

Let us all seek peace from the Lord by the new birth of our souls (John 3:1-18).   

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Striving to Serve the Lord                       November 13, 2018

 

Have you ever read a verse in your Bible and replaced one word for another?  How about reading Romans 15:13 and try it?   Here is how it goes: “Now may the God of hope fill {Edwin} with all joy and peace in believing that {Edwin} may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  May that happen to all Christians.  Let’s dedicate our lives to strive to serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

The “you” in that verse were new Christians living in the capital city called Rome in Italy.  In all likelihood these new believers were Jewish converts who made pilgrimage to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost (Acts of the Apostles 2:10).  The Spirit of God was upon Peter when he preached that Jesus died and rose again.  He pleaded with his listeners and 3,000 responded by believing in Jesus as Messiah and Savior.  Many returned home and evangelized Rome.

 

What great things they did for the Lord.  Follow me in Romans 15:14. Like the converts in the city of Berea, these Roman citizens were transformed and now “full of goodness.”  Before they believed in Jesus Christ as Savior, they were “not good.”  The emperor was not good.  In fact, he hated that new religious movement called Christians.  Their politics were not good.  They were heathen, sometimes barbaric, all the time corrupt.  God’s Word declares that every person who enters this world is “not good, no not one.” (Romans 3:12).  When God saves a person, the Holy Spirit enters their souls.  Just like a well-watered and fertilized flower, by faith alone they obey the Lord and blossom wonderfully.   Salvation is a miraculous change in a soul.  Joy and peace overflow in their hearts.  This make them “full of goodness.”

 

Second, the new believers were “filled with all knowledge.” (15:14).  When someone is saved from the judgment to come, he/she will have a spiritual hunger and thirst to “taste” more and more of the Holy Bible, truly the Bread of life.  King David testified, “How sweet are [God’s] words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.  Through Your precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way.” (Psalm 119:103-104).

 

Third, the new believers were “able to admonish one another.” (15:14).  To admonish another person is to point them in the right direction using the Word of God.  Young Timothy was a classic example of this.  The apostle Paul wrote to him, “you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  (2nd Timothy 4:14-17).

 

Such a Christian as I have described today will find real joy, peace of heart and mind, and can face tomorrow with the spiritual hope for every day and for all eternity!  Let’s strive to pray for the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our churches.   Romans (15:30)

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

God Spared Not His Son              November 5, 2018

 

Not long before Jesus was crucified, He told the eleven apostles, “Greater love has no one but this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”  (John’s Gospel 15:13).  That prophesied the incredible love Jesus had for every soul in this suffering world.  God did not spare His Son from a most hideous death—the slow agonizing death on a rough wooden cross.  Jesus’ death was the death every mortal soul deserves because, as the Bible says, “the wages of sin is death.”

 

Why, oh, tell me why the Son of God, realizing this judicial payment, laid down His life.  The reason was simply this: “for God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

 

The love of God is greater far than tongue or pen can ever tell,

It goes beyond the highest star and reaches to the lowest hell;

The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win:

His erring child He reconciled and pardoned from his sin.

 

When years of time shall pass away and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,

When men, who here refuse to pray, on rocks and hills and mountains call,

God’s love so sure shall still endure, all measureless and strong:

Redeeming grace to Adam’s race-- the saints’ and angels’ song.

 

Could we with ink the ocean fill and were the skies of parchment made,

Were every stalk on earth a quill and every man a scribe by trade,

To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry,

Nor could the scroll contain the whole though stretched from sky to sky.

 

O love of God, how rich and pure!  How measureless and strong! 

It shall for evermore endure—the saints’ and angels’ song.

                                                                        Verse and music by Frederick M. Lehman

 

“What shall we say to these things?  If God be for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things.”  Romans 8:31-32.

 

The greatest gift a mortal can receive is salvation by God’s grace through faith in the risen Christ alone.  Criminals and sinners deserve justice.  Not one of us is perfect—rather we are far, far from it. Then Jesus came, was condemned by wicked hands, and died our death.  The condemnation of the Supreme Judge—the LORD God Himself—upon sinners must be carried out.  Our guilt was poured out upon His pure soul so that His Holy Spirit would dwell in ours.

 

Jesus is “the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:3).  This joy in the soul of Jesus is when a person puts their faith in the Savior and becomes a genuine Christian.  Have you put your faith in Him?  He can transform your life today.  Why not do it now?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Get Ready for the End Times                 October 29, 2018

 

Two momentous events both alert and alarm our land to get ready for the end times.  The heart-wrenching event is the explosion such rage, such violence, and such hatred sweeping the country. The hope-bringing event will be the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ.  A spiritual battle for the soul of America is on the line.  We need to get ready for the End Times.

 

No one but God Himself knows the day nor the hour of the return of the Lord.  Jesus told His disciples, “but of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” (Matthew 24:36). 

 

Biblical prophecies reveal His return will be “quickly.”  That means His coming will be as lightning--suddenly and without warning.   The apostle Paul gave us a glimpse of what it will be like for the wicked in every nation of the world.  2nd Thessalonians 1:6-9 “Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.  These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of our Lord and from the glory of His power.” 

 

The crescendo of judgment will destroy all wickedness in that great severe year Tribulation Period (Revelation 17-18).  A second crescendo will erupt with joy as “a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!’” (Revelation 19:1).

 

What is causing such rage, violence, and hatred?  What is it that brutally guns down innocent people?  It is the shooter, the terrorist, the bloodthirsty criminal.  A weapon does not exhibit emotion—it is piece of metal.  In Iceland, I understand, guns abound for good hunting.  Their gun crimes are rare.  Let politicians and do-gooders blame the metal.  The Word of God pinpoints the real problem:  behind murder is evil mindedness, vile envy, and hatred of all that is sacred (read Romans 1:29-32 on the problem of violence).

 

In talking with a local gentleman last weekend, I asked if he thought the tearing down the Ten Commandments from schools, public property, and from buildings had anything to do with crime in America.  He asserted that it has had a detrimental impact on all ages and all parts of society.  Our founding fathers posted the Ten Commandments for a reason.  The Supreme Court building has the figure of Moses at its peak and 2 images of the Ten Commandments on its doors. 

 

The Presidents Washington, Madison, Lincoln, Reagan, and more stood up for the Christian faith and morality.  Others chose to neglect.  Americans need to believe the wording on our coins and bills: “In God we trust.”

 

To get ready for the End Times, America needs to seek the Lord and put their faith in the Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace.  “Now the LORD was with Jehoshaphat … (and) sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments….”   Then God blessed (2nd Chronicles 17:3-4)

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Every Christian is Accountable             October 23, 2018

 

Jesus Christ is the Chief Justice of heaven’s Supreme Court.  There are no other justices or lower courts.  The 14th chapter of the book of Romans lays out the case in a marvelous way. 

 

The Lord is our Judge.  The apostle Paul was led of God to make this clear: “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die unto the Lord.  Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and rose and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and the living.”  (14:8 & 9) Every Christian is accountable to Jesus Christ for what we say and do. 

 

Would you believe that Paul had plenty of critics?  A few of those critics were members of the church in Corinth, Greece.  Some liked this preacher.  Others liked a different preacher.  Some criticized him for “moon-lighting” (working a side job making tents to put food on his table). 

Oh, that’s so embarrassing.  Some refused to eat meat offered to idols.  Some did buy it.

 

But Paul was not afraid of work.  He overcame his proud attitude as a Pharisee and was content to be humble and serve His Lord.  His response to his high-brow critics was this: “Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.  But with me, it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court.  In fact, I do not even judge myself.  For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but HE WHO JUDGES ME IS THE LORD.”  (1st Corinthians 4:1-4).

 

A fuss was going on at churches in Rome.  Some taught that Christians had to be vegetarians—

no hamburgers or chicken (Romans 14:2).  I recall reading that a “self-styled Christian” stated that Jesus was a vegetarian.  How ignorant.  Wasn’t there lamb (meat) in the Jewish Passover? Yes.  Jesus ate beef at the temple feasts and fish on the shore of Galilee.  He clarified that all foods are acceptable (Mark 7:17-20).  If one eats only fruit and veggies, it’s acceptable, too.

 

Paul warned them: “Let him who eats despise him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats; for God has received him.  Who are you to judge another’s servant?” (14:3-4a).  God is more interested in one’s attitude than one’s diet.  A Christian must not become judgmental, that is, an annoying critic who shows contempt to fellow Christians.

 

Some believed that the Sabbath day and holy feasts of Old Testament were mandatory.  The old was replaced with the New Covenant in Christ.   Paul’s answer was “He who observes the day, observes it to the Lord; and he who does not observe the day, to the Lord he does not observe it.  He who eats, eats to the Lord, for he gives God thanks; and he who does not eat, to the Lord he does not eat, and gives God thanks.” (14:6; compare Colossians 2:16).

 

The apostle Paul scolded critics for their attitudes.  “But why do you judge your brother (in Christ)?  Or why do you show contempt for your brother?  For we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ. … So then each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (14:10).

 

Every Christian is accountable to God for what he believes and teaches.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Citizens Must Obey God and Government               October 16, 2018

 

Another way to express a title to this message is to declare: “How to Be a Godly Rebel.”  [Pastor C. Swindoll].  This “must obey God and government” is a dilemma.  What if these commands conflict with each other?  God’s answer is in Romans 13:1-7 and 1st Peter 2:11-17.  Peter and the apostles made it clear in 1st century Jerusalem: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).  God blesses those who obey Him and His commandments.

 

Because God is the King of kings and Lord of lords, the world ought to bow to His authority.  All Americans have a choice to make.  Bad choices are the extremes:  on the one hand, many disregard or refuse to get involved.  Pretending that cultural clashes are nothing to be concerned about.  On the other hand, anarchists disregard law and order, engage in violence and threats,

and grieve the peacemakers.  God commands Christians make good choices in peaceful ways.

 

Our country’s forefathers laid a Christian foundation of equality under law, freedom of speech, a moral code.  Our citizens should not deviate from these core principles.  Listen now to Washington and Madison.  Washington stated definitely that this country was founded on morality and religion (i.e., Christianity).  James Madison declared: “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government—far from it.  We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”  Amen to that!

 

We deprive ourselves of peace, security, and prosperity if we reject what President Madison

said.  The Bible says: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed of God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment upon themselves.” (Romans 13:1-2).  In the political arena, there is no right to send death threats. There is no right to allege moral guilt against one who should be considered “innocent until proven guilty.”  There should be no breaking of the Almighty God’s commandments.

 

Can you imagine apostles Paul and Peter voluntarily subjecting themselves to the law of the land in the 1st Century?  For example, Emperor Nero, that ungodly and evil man ruled then.  In due time, God took him out by the hands of his fourth wife—she poisoned him.  He overstepped the laws of God.  God says that “vengeance is Mine.”   And, at the right time serve out justice.

 

Recent figures like Gandhi in India and Martin Luther King in America suffered and endured a lot of resistance.  But they succeeded by using peaceful protests.  The twelve apostles and their converts evangelized many nations—from India to Rome, from Babylon to Egypt.  Receiving Jesus as their personal Savior, those thousands upon thousands followed the Bible.  They “staked their future” upon the capacity …  to “govern themselves” based upon the Ten Commandments of God.”  How could this impact America?  “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” (1st Peter 2:15, 16). Then God will bless us.

 

What should we do?  “Honor all people.  Love the brotherhood. Fear God.  Honor the king.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Living Peaceably Is Possible                   October 7, 2018

 

The American landscape has been devastated by the terrible burning of thousands of acres of field and forest from Colorado, to California, and to western Canada.  Thick smoke and blackened ashes were blown across the Rocky Mountains as far as eastern Colorado and beyond.  The white paint on our car looked like soot.  Even a downpour could not wash off the soot—it took warm, soapy water and a hand brush and hose to restore its color.  The political landscape in the last few weeks was the same:  a battle of allegations and accusations.   Is living peaceably possible?

 

Tempers were flaring hot, polluting the airwaves.  The side alleged this.  The other side denied that.  Scant effort was put forth to settle the right from the left.  Could this be the America our founding fathers envisioned?  Certainly not.  And the fall-out from this episode does not seem to be possible.  Will the political fall-out match the smoke and soot blown from coast to coast?

 

How can Americans bring peace?  We cannot do it alone.  The awesome God that created us is the only one who can treat the emotional wounds, stop the blood-letting, and bring healing.  Listen to the wisdom of the forefathers of the America dream:  

President George Washington— This country can only become a reality on the solid foundation of morality and religion.  By religion he meant Christianity, as proven in the scholarly book Sacred Fire, by Dr. Peter Lillback (the #1 national best seller). 

His wisdom was shared by President James Madison: “We have staked the whole future of American civilization not upon the power of government, far from it.  We have staked the future of all our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”

 

Can we imagine how great a nation we could be if “each and all of us govern ourselves” by that code:  Fear and respect God our Creator.  Worship the Lord of lords.   Restore our work ethic.  Honor our parents and elders.  Do not hate or murder.  Do not commit adultery, and save our marriage commitments.  Do not steal, but be honest.  Do not lie to others and yourself.  Do not covet—be filled with greed and jealousy.  God’s way can fundamentally change our lives, our leaders, our communities with peace and love for one another.

 

The Bible reveals the way, the truth, and the life.  Romans 12:17-21

#1 – Never payback evil for evil—instead be ready to forgive and display kindness.

#2 – Become a good and kind person—how?  Get right with God.

#3 – Govern ourselves according to God’s Ten Commandments—how?  Repent and follow Jesus.

#4 – Make a commitment not to avenge yourselves—how?  Let God be the Judge.  His judicial decisions are always right.  God knows if any allegations are true or false.

#5 – Determine to be kind to your enemies—they will be surprised!  Jesus was kind to the soldiers who nailed Him on the old rugged cross.  The Roman centurion saw Jesus die with compassion for those foreign soldiers, for the thief who repented, and for His mother.

 

How can we live peaceably?  If you are a Christian, God’s will is to not let you be overcome with evil and anger.  With His help, you can “overcome evil with good”.   If you are not a Christian, why not pray asking for God’s forgiveness and put your trust in Jesus Christ to save your soul.  This is the ultimate pathway to peace of mind and peace with one another.  Amen

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Living Peaceably With That Person                 October 2, 2018

 

One of the hardest things to do is to live peaceably with “THAT PERSON.”  That person may be the one who gripes about this, and that, and even more about you where you both work.  That person might be a relative who “gets into it” all the time with you or a loved one.  That person may be the person you married and now regrets it by blabbing about around town.  Just how can we live peaceably with that person?

 

Is the answer that you ignore him or her?

Is the answer to “really get back at them”?

Is the answer an effort to reason logically that person?

Is that moving away from them?

 

Let’s dig out of history where real persons did achieve living peaceably with “that person”:

 

A man named Isaac was confronted by outsiders who envied his great success in the harvest fields and raising great cattle in the open range.  The ones who lived near this well-to-do farmer got upset.  His well-water supply was working very good and dependable.  Those jealous Philistines messed up their own water supply by breakdowns and poor farming.  Isaac and farm hands needed to expand their ranch.  A man named Abimelech stomped over to Isaac’s house and demanded that he move out of that range.

 

Sensing that there was no chance to reason with him, Isaac moved to the Valley of Gerar.  Isaac had another good well dug out and again the good Lord blessed his farming.  It was peaceful for a while.

 

Within a few months the herdsmen of Gerar got upset and claimed this open range belonged to them.  They quarreled with the herdsmen of Isaac.  So, to keep the peace, Isaac moved his workers and cattle further away from these hot-heads.  But did it last?  No.  Again Isaac moved his operation and dug a third

well.  Putting distance between them was a way to get along with jealous neighbors like that.  (this true story is found in the Bible – Genesis 26:12-22).  Result:  God blessed Isaac for not lowering himself to be as mean-spirited as they were.

 

Isaac did not ignore them.  He did not repay evil for evil.  He knew better than to argue with an unreasonable person.   God was pleased with his calm response.

 

How can we deal with that “someone”??  God’s answer is in Romans 12:17-21. 

*  First, God commands the Christian not to “repay evil for evil.” (verse 17).  Jesus did not revile those who reviled Him (1st Peter 3:9). 

*  Second, determine to please the Lord by living an honorable life that earns respect (verse 18b).

*  Third, pray for patience to deal with “that person.” (verse 18). 

*  Fourth, pray to the Lord for “that person” come to his or her senses.  This may or may not come soon.  Just keep praying and leave it in God’s hand (verses 19-20). 

*  Fifth, guard your own soul, your feelings, lest you become a “that person” to get back at him.  Let God deal with “that person” because as God said, “Vengeance is Mine” not yours (verse 19).  “Do not be overcome by evil” (verse 21a). 

*  Sixth, with God’s help, “overcome evil with good” (verse 21).  Jesus did it all the time.

 

Treating “that person” without retaliation, living with kindness, enduring with patience, let God handle the problem (God does have a “woodshed”), and treat “that person” well despite it all.  It can work.  I have been there, did this, and received an apology by another factory worker.  Let’s “if it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”  (Romans 12:18).   Amen.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Overcome by Coals of Fire                     September 25, 2018

 

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him.  If he is thirsty, give him a drink, for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (Romans 12:20).  Just imagine this scenario:  a soldier captures an enemy combatant and ties his hands behind his back. Next, he fills his helmet with hot coals and fastens it on his head.  Then he lets his enemy run for his life and loses. This is terrible!  The Bible never tolerates such torture.  The real picture in this verse is spiritual, not physical.  Showing kindness will heap spiritual coals of fire on the conscience of an angry and harsh person.

 

The Bible records an episode of kindness which restrained “repaying evil for evil.” (12:17).  In 1st Samuel 25 are three major characters:  Nabal, very rich man, but was foolish and harsh.  Abigail, his wife, was a woman of good understanding and beautiful appearance.  Young David was a man of God, but at this time he was a fugitive from the extremely jealous and violent King Saul.

 

While hiding in the foothills and valleys from Saul, David and his fugitive small army of 600 befriended the young men who were Nabal’s shepherds caring for his 3000 sheep and 1,000 goats. David’s men were good to them keeping lions and bears away.  Their presence was like a wall keeping sheep rustlers away. As a young man David had guarded and fed his father’s flocks. H understood the culture of that era mandated that one reward another for good deeds done. 

 

So David asked a favor from Nabal.  His men and their families were short of food. David sent 10 young men who politely asked for some donations.  Sheep-shearing was a banquet time—a huge feast.   Nabal was mean and scolded these messengers.  He denigrated David’s character.  No doubt he had heard from his shepherds what David had done.  He never expressed appreciation.

When the young men returned, they told David what happened.  He became angry.  Up to this time, David never lost his temper excusing himself, “He has repaid me evil for good” (1st Samuel 25:21f).  This time they grabbed their swords planned to kill Nabal and all male servants.

 

One of Nabal’s servants hurried to tell his wife Abigail of their danger.  Instantly, Abigail and her servants grabbed a lot of food from the feast.  Nabal was very drunk—never noticed.  The “food train” intercepted David before he got close to their house.  She dismounted, humbly bowed before David, crying out, “On me, my lord, let this iniquity be. … Please let not my lord regard this scoundrel Nabal.  For as his name is, so is he:  Nabal (fool) is his name.”  Her apology for her husband was honest and genuine.

 

Listen to her kind and wise words: “…the LORD has held you back from coming to bloodshed and from avenging yourself. … when the LORD has done for my lord according to all the good that he has spoken concerning you, and has appointed your ruler over Israel, that this will be no grief to you, nor of offense of heart to my lord, either that you have shed blood without cause, or that my lord has avenged himself.”  Her plea touched his conscience like a “heap of coals of fire”.

Abigail overcame evil with good (Romans 12:19-21).  David decided to let God judge Nabal. 

 

David praised Abigail: “Blessed is the LORD God of Israel, who sent you this day to meet me!  And blessed is your advice…because you have kept me this day from coming to bloodshed and from avenging myself with my own hand.”  (25:32ff).  Christians, “do not avenge yourselves” but rather obey God.  God says: “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay.”  Let’s overcome evil with good.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Why Not Just Be Christians (continued)?                  Sept. 17, 2018

 

Why not just be a Christian like the apostle Paul?

 

He pleaded with the congregation in Corinth, Greece, to “imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ” (1st Corinthians 11:1).  Some were “baby Christians”.  Some were worldly.  Some even went so far as to deny the resurrection.  This goes on now in evangelical churches.

 

Paul encouraged believers in Ephesus, Asia Minor, to “be imitators of God as dear children, and walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.  (Ephesians 5:1-2).  Some were losing their first love for Jesus.  Some compromised their moral bearings by tolerating the darkness of immorality.  This is happening now.

 

Paul urged the Christians in Philippi to “join in following my example, and note those who walk, as you have us for a pattern.” (Philippians 3:17).  Some backslid into preaching Christ with envy and strife bordering on legalism.  Some were murmuring and disputing.  This not “just being a Christian” as the evangelical revivalist Vance Havner insisted.

 

He kept preaching.  “The early church faced a pagan civilization with many problems not unlike our own.  Those Christians did not sit around discussing current issues in the Roman Empire.  They simply dared to be Christians, and they upset the world!  The New Testament is not filled with discussions of problems of problems outside the church.  Paul and Peter and James and John were occupied with maintaining the purity and power of the church.  As long as it had purity and power it took care of itself under God, and empires gave way before it.”

 

Paul took a strong stand as he did all he could to be like Jesus (Philippians 3:10-14).  In the face of the Roman Empire he made a personal resolution: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes….” (Romans 1:16).

 

The Gospel of Jesus Christ needs to upset the apple cart of 21st century America.

 

Why not just be Christians with all our heart, soul, and mind, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

Will we commit ourselves imitate Jesus Christ as the one and only Savior?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Why Not Just Be Christians?                 September 11, 2018

 

“If the church would only be the Church—if Christians would only be Christians—nothing would halt our onward march.  We are like early Christians behind closed doors for fear, in John 20:19.  We are smitten with an inferior complex.”  (Vance Havner – a revival evangelist who preached from coast to coast in America.)  To live as a genuine Christian is God’s challenge.

 

This title can be taken in two vastly different ways: it can be said negatively.  Mr. Havner described such professing Christians: “The greatest scandal of Christianity is the low grade of Christian living.  There are more professing Christians than ever, but the quality does not keep up with the quantity….  The average church member shows no evidence of being born again.  He is not remotely interested in the deeper Christian life.  He is not concerned about forsaking the world, crucifying the flesh, and resisting the devil.”  My experience of over 40 years of preaching and witnessing, I confess that I have to agree with him. He hit the nail on the head.

 

This title can be viewed positively:  To “just be Christians” is to walk in the steps of our Lord and Savior Jesus.  “…  the need of the hour is a fresh crop of New Testament Christians who believe the Bible, trust Christ as Savior and obey Him as Lord, are filled (controlled) with the (Holy) Spirit, and … to make the Gospel known.” (Havner).

 

Let’s see what a genuine Christian pastor is to be like.  The Holy Spirit had the apostle Paul lift up a spiritual portrait and show it to young Timothy: “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life to which you were called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.  … and that you keep this commandment without spot, blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ’s appearing….”  (1st Timothy 6:11-12, 14).

 

The Holy Spirit inspired Peter to write this: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the suffering of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed.  Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock.” (1st Peter 5:1-3).  Jesus called him to be an apostle among other apostles.  He was not made a CEO.  He was to be a preacher of the Gospel of salvation, who along with his wife, would be an example of the love of God, the grace of Christ, and the purity of the Holy Spirit.

 

Regarding ministers across America, Mr. Havner described man-appointed ministers, saying, “Too many animated question marks are standing in pulpits again, and there are too few living exclamation points.  A new theological breeze has begun to blow and a new virus is in the air … it is not fashionable to take a stand against anything.  It is a day of diplomats instead of prophets.”

 

Why not just be Christians like Paul?  He believed the Bible cover to cover.  Served Christ, not religious tradition.  Not ashamed of the Gospel of salvation exclusively through Christ.  Preached everywhere that lost souls are justified by faith alone, by Christ alone, and by grace alone.

                   AMEN!                                                                     [to be continued]

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Called to Active Duty:  Romans 12:1-8                       September 2, 2018                                                        

In the summer of 1966 my older brother Dale was recruited by the Army.  He survived basic training in hot and humid August in South Carolina (water proof watch ruined by sweat).  After intensive training as a truck driver at Fort Hood in Texas, Dale was called to active duty in Vietnam. Just as our military forces have many duties to fulfill, so also the Christian will have a call to active duty.  What is your duty in the service of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world?  God has a place for you.

 

Jesus is the Captain of our salvation.  He gladly accepted His assignment duty from God: “For even the Son of man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark’s Gospel 10:45).  His obedience pleased God in all seasons and duties.  Jesus reported to God: “I have glorified you on the earth.  I have finished the work which you have given Me to do.”  (John 17:4).

 

To serve Jesus as we should, we are commanded to “present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God which is our reasonable service” to God (Romans 12:1).  Jesus did just that. Our service is based upon our allegiance and dedication to Jesus.  Ephesians 6:10-17 describes the defensive weapons.

The military belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, our feet shod and carrying the Gospel to non-Christians, a shield to protect our vital body against the darts of the evil one, the helmet of salvation, and the sword which is the Word of God.  The Lord protects us in our duty to tell others about the free gift of salvation.  When was the last time you shared your Christian testimony with a non-believer?

 

To serve Jesus we need His help in the duty which He gave us to do.  Salvation grace is God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense = G.R.A.C.E. (compare Ephesians 2:8-9). There is second grace.  It is Grace Received to Accomplish Christian Endeavor = G.R.A.C.E.  Read Romans 12:3 – “For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you … to think soberly as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.”  This grace is God’s favor and strength to carry out our active duty for our Captain.

 

Annie Johnson Flint put this second grace of God to music: “He giveth more grace when the burdens grow greater; He sendeth more strength when the labors increase.  To added affliction, He addeth His mercy; to multiplied trials, His multiplied peace. (and chorus) His love has no limit; His grace has no measure; His power has not boundary known unto men.  For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth, and giveth and giveth again!”  God gave this grace to Moses, to Jeremiah, to Mary, mother of Jesus, and to Paul; and God can give it to me, to you.  It always strengthened followers of Jesus to answer the “call to active duty.”

 

Paul was inspired to list seven ways the Christian can answer the “call to active duty”  in Romans 12:5-8:

  • Prophecy -- preaching the Word of God and sharing the Gospel.  
  • Ministry -- serving, like the first deacons in Acts 6:1ff (serving food and clothing; now in many ways). 
  • Teaching -- a very, very important need in churches, Sunday Schools, Christian camps, and especially, at home explaining and living God’s Word.
  • Exhorting one another -- comforting and encouraging others in their struggles.  Giving -- tithing what God has given you to further the ministry of churches and missionaries. 
  • Leading -- lead with diligence and eagerness whether pastor, deacon, trustee, janitor, teacher, and especially parents. 
  • Mercy -- with cheerfulness helping others who are in tough times.  All seven are gifts come from God and are for the common good of the local church.  Have you found your “call to active duty” to do something to the glory of God and needs of others?  God has a place for you to be a blessing to others.

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

How to Dedicate Body and Soul to God                     August 27, 2018

 

God’s will is that every Christian dedicate their body and soul to Him.  There is a right way to discover God’s will and a wrong way to find out God’s will. 

 

Here’s how not to do it:  A lady had a lifelong ambition of going to Israel, the Holy Land.  She sent for a brochure and read every word. While she had the time and money to go, she was not certain that it was God’s will.  Reading it again, she noticed that the plane was a 747 jumbo jet.  That night she got in bed and wrestled back and forth all night long wondering what God’s will might be:  go to Israel, do not make the trip.  The next morning, she glanced at her digital clock.  It read 7:47. Yes, 747.  It convinced her that it was God’s will for her to make the trip! 

 

Here’s how to do God’s will.  The Bible says: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  And, be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.”  (Romans 12:1-2)

 

There are two ways to do God’s will.  The first is the dedicate your body to the Lord.  Why the body?  Because it is God’s property.  What does that mean?  God’s answer: “What?  Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have of God, and you are not your own?”  How is that so?  “For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit which are God’s.” (1st Corinthians 6:19-20). 

 

With all your heart, keep your bodies “holy and acceptable to God.” à a tongue that is kind, honest, and will not speak evil of someone;  eyes that see opportunities to serve God and reject watching evil;  feet carrying you to share the Gospel and not go into worldly places; ears to hear the good and refuse to listen to gossip; hands à spread the Gospel and help the needy and weak;  mouth à to share the Gospel each week rather than be glued to the TV, monitor, or I-phone.

                                   

Keep your bodies acceptable to God. “Make “a definite commitment” of your body to be a living sacrifice to the LORD.  “To please God is our highest award.” (Albert Barnes).  Keep it healthy: give it sufficient nourishment but not overdoing it; get good sleep and exercise.

 

The second way to do God’s will is to seek the mind of Christ (1st Corinthians 2:16). Being “transformed by the renewing of your mind” is learning to think and behave as Jesus did.

 

 “A speaker said preachers do not average over 5 minutes a day in prayer, and a deacon not over 3 minutes. A deacon could not believe that.  The preacher replied, ‘Well now, you time yourself tonight when you pray.  Put your watch nearby and time yourself.’  Two or three days later they met and the preacher said, ‘Well, did you time yourself when you prayed?’   ‘Yes,’ replied the deacon.  ‘I put my watch on the chair, noticed the time I began to pray, and when I got through and looked at the watch, (oh, my!) I thought the thing had stopped!’

 

Try this:  prayer.  Talk to God at least 15 minutes each day, (pray!)  Let God talk to you at least 15 minutes each day through His Word (read the Bible carefully).  You will discover God’s will.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Is the Bible the Word of God?               August 20, 2018

 

In the Old Testament alone there are over 2,500 claims that the Christian Bible is indeed the Word of God.  That is unequaled by any book that has ever been written. 

 

So, how do we know that these claims are valid?   The testimony of two or three witnesses to that claim demand respect.  How about this list of witnesses in the Old Testament?  Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Micah are just a starter.  Going to the New Testament, there is Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, and, Jesus Christ.  Good men do not lie, do they? 

 

There are internal proofs that the Bible is the Word of God.  Let’s start with prophecy.  God promised the Covenant with Abraham would out last the earth (Genesis 12:1-3).  Remarkably, from Genesis (1450 B.C.) to the 21st century, Abraham’s descendants have survived and are back in the Promised Land.  Noah’s worldwide flood:  marine fossils on Mt. Everest had to get there somehow.  Man’s theory is that uniformitarianism did this.  But that could never account for the catastrophic breaking up the mountains tells us (Genesis 7:11).  Jacob’s promises to his 12 sons have been proven by history (Genesis 49).  God’s prophet foretold the time (300 years) a baby would be a boy, be a descendant of King David, be named Josiah, become a king of Judah, and would order the crushing destruction of idolatrous images and altar and then be burned by fire (1st Kings 13:1-3 and 2nd Kings 23:15-18).  To top it all, the Old Testament contains over 300 specific prophecies of the coming Messiah.  Jesus fulfilled every one!

 

Is the Bible the Word of God?  Let’s ask Jesus:  John 8:28 “Then Jesus said to them, ‘When you lift up the Son of man (Jesus), then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things.’”  Jesus preached all that God the Father wanted Him to preach.  And, Jesus made supernatural claims:  that He was sent down from heaven, that He is the Son of God, that He was older than Abraham (2,000 B.C.), that He would die on the cross for our sins, be buried in a tomb, and after 3 days raise Himself from the grip of death (Matthew 17:22-23 & John 10:18).  Was Jesus a liar?  No.  Was Jesus a lunatic?  No.  Or is He the LORD?  Yes!

 

 In addition to this, Jesus verified the Old Testament:  God created everything.  God formed Adam and Eve and the institution of marriage—one man and one woman.  God caused the Flood of Noah.  God caused a great sea creature (whale) to swallow Jonah and save his life.  That Isaiah described the coming of the Messiah, that He would die on the cross, and become the King of kings in time to come.

 

Yes, the Bible is the Word of God.  It bears the message, called the Gospel (good news from God) that can miraculously transform a sinner into a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Please read this word of faith closely: “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”  (Romans 10:9-10). Saved from what?  Judgment for our sins.  Saved to receive the gift of God—eternal life.

 

May I urge you now, as I did, repent and put your trust in Jesus Christ.  God bless you.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

God Is Love—All the Time                        August 13, 2018

 

Dwight L. Moody was known as the evangelist of love.  He traveled over a million miles in the era just before airplanes and radio preaching the Gospel, the good news from God.  It is estimated that his worldwide audience amounted to 100 million people.  One of his favorite Bible verses was 2nd Corinthians 13:11 – “…Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the
GOD OF LOVE and peace will be with you.”

 

There is a difference between the love of God and the love of mortals.  Human love and divine love are very different.  D. L. Moody remarked, “That is the very trouble with us.  We are all the time measuring God’s love by ours.  We know that we love a man (or woman) as long as he is worthy, and then we cast him off.  But that is not divine love.  There would be no hope for any of us if the Lord did that.”

 

He made this point: “I have the idea that our mothers are to blame for a good deal of that, because of their teaching during their children’s youth.  They tell them that the Lord loves them when they are good children.  When they are bad children the Lord does not love them.  That is false teaching.  … Suppose a mother should come in here with a little child, and after she has been here a while, the child begins to cry.  She says, ‘Keep still,’ but the child keeps on crying.  So, she turns him over to the police.  She tells them, ‘Take this child; I don’t want him.’  What would you say of such a mother as that??” 

 

Such parenting imbeds the image of a “Santa Claus—God” in a young child’s mind: better be good!  God won’t like you when you are bad.  The Bible says: “…Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would dare to die.  But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:6-8).   Now that is love!  Dying to make reconciliation with God possible.

 

How should God’s love impact our lives?  The disciples of Jesus were not perfect.  Peter argued with Jesus (Matthew 16:21-23) and just before Jesus was crucified, he denied knowing Jesus out of fear.  James and John were mad at a village of Samaritans for prohibiting Jesus and the disciple

purchase food there.  Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus, yet, at the moment of arrest, Jesus called him a friend.  Several of them argued with each other in their ambition to be the leader.  Jesus’ love for them never changed.  John narrated that Jesus “… having loved His own … He loved them to the end (Nth degree)” (13:1).  Our love for others should never dim.

 

What else do we need to do?  Pray for the Lord to enable you to be ready to forgive being wronged and hold a grudge.  God is always ready to forgive (Psalm 130:3-4).  If we are not always ready to forgive, God will punish us (Matthew 18:35).

 

This is practical love: “Repay no man evil for evil. … If it is possible, as much as depends on you, love peaceably with all men.  Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath (let God handle it) ….”  Romans 12:17-19). 

 

There are blessings for being loving and forgiving.  A man of love and peace lives longer.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Secure Future of the Believer                     August 6, 2018

Americans spend billions of dollars to secure homes, automobiles, and health each year.  Yet, do those billions of dollars guarantee policyholders for 100% coverage of losses?  We know the answers:  Deductibles.  Cancellation of policy.  Limitation of coverage.  Read the small print.  Today I offer you 100% security coverage that is simply out of this world.  

Terms:  my Agent has already paid the entire policy.  There are no deductibles; He guarantees first dollar -- 100% coverage.  He will never drop my coverage.

Guarantee:  Resources to infinite enough to cover any and all claims.

My Agent:  Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Benefits:  policy name “Romans 8” -  an eternal life insurance

  •   No condemnation to those who believe in Jesus Christ (8:1).
  •   Freedom from the law of sin and death (8:2)
  •   The Spirit of God dwells in every believer—policyholder (8:9-11)
  •   Made qualified to become a son of God and adopted in the family of God (8:14-16)
  •   Gifted to become an heir of God and joint-heir with God the Son (8:17, 32)
  •   Eternal protection of my new resurrection body (8:23)
  •   My Agent’s Partner (the Holy Spirit) helps me with every claim (8:26-27)
  •   My Agent will work all things together for my good and His purpose (8:28)
  •   My Agent called me, justified my account in Court, and will glorify my mansion (8:29-31).
  •   My Agent protects my account against all charges, all calamities, and all powers (8:33-36)
  •   My Agent will conquer all life and death, all evil powers, and all things to come (8:37-38)
  •   My Agent and His eternal life policy guarantee that nothing can separate me from the love of God bestowed upon me.   

Signed by:  Christ Jesus our Lord (8:39)

This eternal life policy is freely offered to you.  Do you think it is a great policy?

This eternal life policy can be yours.  Would you want it today?

How to sign on to this policy: “what does (my Agent) say?” (Romans 10:8)

The Book says: “that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”   Romans 10:9-10

How to sign on with my Agent, Jesus Christ:

   * “For whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)

Jesus Christ the Lord has been my Agent since that day in August many years ago.  He pardoned my sinfulness and adopted me spiritually into the family of God.  The Lord has taken good care of me on earth, and one day, He will receive me into heaven.  His policy pays great dividends!

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Compassion for One Another               July 30, 2018

 

Our family was on vacation enjoying splashing in the shallow waters of the Merritt Reservoir not far from Valentine, Nebraska.  After lunch on the beach, we packed the van.  Our oldest daughter asked permission to move it out near the highway.  She had a student permit and wanted to get some practice.  She climbed in, started the motor, and put the gear in reverse.  Clunk!  Down went a standing picnic grill.  As we left the beach, we were going to report what happened.  “Dad,” she pleaded, “please don’t tell them that I did that.”  So, I reported that we backed into the grill and apologized.  The gentleman was kind and said that it often happens.  Out on the highway again our daughter thanked her Dad for compassion.

 

Compassion.  That word means “with passion/sympathy.”  No person who ever displayed such compassion as Jesus did.  He had great compassion upon a deranged, demon-possessed man and cast out the evil spirits that ravished him (Mark 5:19).  Sometime later a great multitude gathered to hear Jesus preach on the kingdom of God (8:1-2).  They were entranced by His sermons.  Jesus turned to his disciples, saying, “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have been with Me three days, and have nothing to eat.  And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way; for some of them came from far.”  Many know the parable Jesus told about a good Samaritan (Luke 10:33f).  Compassion transformed the deranged man, fed the thousands lest they fall exhausted, and saved the life of a stranger.

 

The apostle Peter got his compassion from observing the tender compassion of Jesus. He wrote to new Christians in provinces of the nation now called Turkey:  “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another, love as brothers, be tender-hearted, be courteous.” (1st Peter 3:8).

 

Compassion was a trademark of Jesus.  It was compassion motivating Him to come down to earth, become a man, and sacrifice His life to save sinners.  He had great compassion on Mary who found favor with God and sacrificed any personal dreams of motherhood to become the maidservant of her Lord and Savior (Luke 1:38 & 47).  As a boy He respected His earthly parents. At the Jewish wedding celebration at Cana, He took time to meet the need for drinks.  And, in His dying moments Jesus instructed John to take good care of her.

 

How can we become like Jesus?  Make a commitment to the Lord to love fellow believers.  Be tenderhearted with response from our feet to go and help someone, with response from our hands to help to the needy with something, and with money to help the needy. (1st Peter 3:8).

 

Make a commitment to the Lord not to be upset at someone who hurt you by bad accusations. Commit yourself to respond with blessings, and not over react with hurt and ill feelings.  Jesus prayed asking God for forgive those rough Roman soldiers who nailed Him to the cross.  He refused to return evil for evil and reviling for reviling (2:23 & 3:9).  I heard a Christian man say that when wronged, he never got mad.  He just got even.  There is no compassion in that.

 

Let’s commit ourselves that by word and deed we will follow Jesus in the path of compassion.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

God’s Unfailing Promise to Believers             July 23, 2018

 

Benjamin Franklin used to say in his Daily Gazette paper that there is nothing sure but death and taxes.  The apostle Paul was convinced that God’s promises are sure.  Here is what he told the new Christians in ancient Rome: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

 

Let’s dig deeper into God’s promise.  When Paul said “we know” he meant absolutely without a doubt that God will work all things together for good.  How can that be when a man is born blind?   A common first century Jewish notion was that when someone does bad things, bad things happen to them.  Listen to the disciples of Jesus: “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John’s Gospel 9:1-2).

 

Now, listen to Jesus: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him,” (9:3).  What “worked together” for his good?   Jesus gave 20/20 eyesight to this man instantly on that Sabbath afternoon.  Jesus taught the strict Pharisees that He, Jesus, was the Lord of the Sabbath and, as Lord, possessed great power (Mark’s Gospel 2:28).   They had criticized Him severely for working a miracle on the Sabbath day.  Jesus cornered them with this question: “I will ask you one thing:  Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy?”  Stumped, they strutted away in rage.

 

God’s unfailing promise to do good to those who loved Him came true again.  This man became a believer and spread the good news that Jesus was the Messiah, the one who was prophesied to heal the blind when He came into this fallen world.

 

The apostle Paul talked from firsthand experience: “And we know that all things work together to those who love God….”  Paul and Silas entered the city of Philippi in the province of Macedonia.  Soon a demon-possessed slave girl harassed these missionaries by mocking God and their message of salvation.  Her “masters” used this fortune teller to make a lot of money.  Paul commanded the evil spirit to come out of her.  That caused an uproar! 

 

The “masters” dragged Paul and Silas to the city court.  The judge ordered them thrown in jail.  Doing good got them in big trouble!  While hurting from the harsh scourging, sitting in chains and the stocks, the missionaries began singing hymns of praise to God.  The other prisoners must have thought they were crazy.  Boom! An earthquake rattled the jail, all locked doors opened, and all chains fell off.  The foundations of the prison were shaken. The jailer jolted out of bed. 

 

Terrified that if any prisoner escaped, he would be killed, he pulled out his sword.  Paul shouted, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here!”  He grasped a light, ran to Paul & Silas, and kneeled, pleading, “What must I do to be saved?”  Paul answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.”  God intervened doing good to His missionaries and bringing a pagan man and his entire family to faith in Christ. God worked all things together for good.  (Acts of the Apostles, 16:16-34).  He kept His promise.  God did it again! 

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

How to Pray with Faith in the Lord                  July 16, 2018

 

Noticing how often Jesus prayed, one of the 12 disciples asked for his advice, saying, “Lord, teach us to pray as John the Baptist also taught His disciples.”  The best way to learn to pray with faith is to follow an example.  The best example is Jesus Himself. 

 

In the four Gospel records there are 15 examples of His prayers: some notable ones were a special place (Luke 11:1); His baptism in the Jordan River (3:21); in the wilderness (5:16); before He chose the 12, He stayed up all night praying (6:12); when He was alone (9:18); His transfiguration (9:28-29); in the Mount of Olives (22:39f); and on the cross as He died (23:46).

Have you committed yourself to pray as Jesus prayed?

 

What did Jesus pray for?  Great moments in His life—baptism, transformation, raising Lazarus from the dead, and for God’s will to be done at the cross.  He prayed for children (Matthew 19:13), persons by name (a promise to pray for Peter; Luke 22:32); and for Himself just hours before His crucifixion (Luke 22:42).  His prayers were specific.  His prayers received specific answers.  Do you have prayer list for both believers and unbelievers?

 

Jesus offered the disciples a sample prayer now called the “Lord’s Prayer.”  It consists of 7

specific subjects for the disciples.  Did you notice that Jesus could not pray this prayer?  Jesus had no sin for which to repent.  They did.  We do.  Did you notice that this prayer praised God first and ended praising God?  “Hallowed be Your Name.”  Then, “…Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.”  Rather than a “gimmee this and gimmee that” kind of prayer, this prayer honored God.  Have you matured from self-centered to God-honoring praying?

 

The worst cause of unanswered prayer is found in Psalm 66:18 – “If I regard iniquity (sin) in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.”  The remedy for that is: “But God has certainly heard me; He has attended to the voice of my prayer.” (66:19) and was “ready to forgive” me (86:5-7).

 

Jesus illustrated prayer by a short story.  God is more willing to give to His “children” than the man in this short parable (Luke 11:5-8).  He does not give us excuses.  He does not allow us to badger Him into answering prayer by some shameful behavior.  God welcomes His children to pray asking and seeking and knocking (11:9).  “Asking” is a moderate request.  “Seeking” is a

focused request.  “Knocking” is a serious request.  The Lord will answer according to His will and our good.  Do you pray that God’s will be done?

 

Jesus presented a second short story.  God, our Father in heaven, never gives us bad things.

“If a son asks for bread … will he give him a stone” on which to break a tooth?  No!  “Or if he asks for fish (a common food in Israel), will He give him a (poisonous) serpent?”  No!  “Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a (stinging) scorpion?”  No!  Do we trust in God to give us only “good and perfect gifts” for our good?  But we worry, we fret, we blame God if things go wrong.

Someone described a fearful Christian: “Anxiety is fear that God will get it wrong; depression is fearing God did get it wrong.”  How do you respond if God’s answer does not come right away?  That it is not want you really wanted?  Let’s trust God to respond in the right time and with something inherently good for us.  Recall the times God has answered prayer. He can do it again.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Religious Liberty and Freedom of Conscience                     July 9, 2018

 

Jesus, Founder of the Church, was denied religious liberty!  What brought that on?  Jesus declared, “I and My Father are one.”  (John 10:30).  What was the accusation?  “…. you, being a man, make yourself God” (10:33).  The Jews reacted with anger and got ready to stone Him to death.  They denied His freedom of conscience to believe that.

 

The apostle Paul was denied religious liberty.  His defense: “…I am a Pharisee … concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged.” (Acts of the Apostles 23:6).  He was being denied the freedom of conscience to believe that (23:1; 24:14-16).

 

Bible-believing Baptists take a stand for religious liberty and freedom of one’s conscience.  These are gifts of God.  The Bible invites individuals to put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  God does not force conversions, and Baptists do not coerce anyone either.  Man-made religions coerce converts.  Tragically, factions of Christianity are guilty.  Only 3 of the original 13 American colonies granted religious liberty.  From 1749, the British religious establishment planned “to force an American Episcopate on all the American colonies … which excited deepest alarm” on all other churches and “did much to fan the revolutionary flame”.  (A History of the Baptists, Thomas Armitage, copyright 1886, page 801).

 

Colonial Baptist preachers delivered a petition to the Virginia Colonial Convention on June 20, 1776.  It began: “That they be allowed to worship God in their own way, without interruption; that they be permitted to maintain (financially) their own ministers and none others; that they may be married, buried and the like without paying the clergy of other denominations ….”  for those services.  (page 798).  Many Baptist pastors were punished and jailed for preaching without a license from the state-church of the Commonwealth.  On their side were none other than Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison.  This is how Virginia passed an amendment for religious liberty and how the American Constitution added the same First Amendment.

 

It is a Baptist distinctive to grant the individual the freedom of conscience.  Each person is individually accountable to God for what he believes and what he does (Romans 14:12 – “every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”)

 

For example, a careful study of the New Testament reveals that there were no infant baptisms.  During the Dark Ages and into the 19th century, practicing believer’s baptism aroused animosity and persecution from other factions of Christianity. Those so-called Re-baptizers were in danger of being whipped, jailed, and even tied up and drowned in Lake Geneva, Switzerland.   John Bunyan (Baptist author of Pilgrim’s Progress) was thrown in prison for not having the approval of the Church of England to preach.  Thomas Helwys questioned the authority of King James I and the state-church.  The king imprisoned him for that, and this Baptist pastor was left there to die.

 

Baptists believe the Word of God that when a person sins against God, he cannot be forgiven by a mortal.  Jesus forgave a man.  Even the Jews got it right, “…who can forgive sins but God alone?”  Yes, Jesus could because He is God. (Mark 2:7 and see 1st John 1:9; Psalm 51:1-4).

 

Let’s praise God for religious liberty in America.  Let’s pray we do not lose it.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Ordinances of Jesus Christ for Believers                       July 6, 2018

 

The Lord knows our weaknesses.  Throughout the Bible—Old and New Testaments—God gave the Jews and Christians ordinances.  Why?  He knows that mortals have a problem with their memory system.  God’s purpose was “do this in remembrance of Me” – Who God is.  What great things God did for them.  So, walk with God by faith.

 

All of the Jewish feasts (holidays) were occasions to fix in their memories the Passover (deliverance from Egyptian slavery), Pentecost (God-given harvests), Day of Atonement (the lamb offering), Tabernacles (living in tents heading to the Promised Land), and more.  Did these feasts keep the descendants of Abraham strong in faith and pleasing to the God who freed them?  Sadly, no.  The book of Malachi ends with a warning for forgetting the LORD.  Such apostasy uncovered their lip service to God.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ gave only two events:  baptism of believers and celebration of the Lord’s Supper.  These simple ordinances portrayed the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Have these ordinances kept Christians on the straight and narrow path of Jesus?  1st Corinthians 11 records the sad slide into irreverent behavior and even drunkenness at the Lord’s Table.

 

Church historians lament that instead of the “do this in remembrance of Me” spiritual events of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, church groups divided into battles between professing Christians. 

Such conflicts, often bloody, uncovered Christians-in-name-only. This began the “Dark Ages.”

 

Jesus instituted these ordinances to be pictures of His death and resurrection.  Baptism symbolizes the “spiritual” death to the old lifestyle of sin.  When a person dies, the body is buried in a cemetery.  When a person repents and forsakes his past life, his body is to be buried in a “watery grave.”  Upon being immersed, the new Christian is raised from the “watery grave” – what a simple and yet profound picture of new life in Christ.  Read Romans 6:3-10 explains the spiritual meaning of Christian baptism.

 

Just hours before Jesus was crucified on that old rugged cross, He instituted the Lord’s Supper.

This symbolizes the identification of the believer with Christ in the atonement.  His body was “broken” and His blood was shed on the cross.  The Lamb of God (John 1:29) died for sinners.

What a simple and yet profound picture of the Son of God dying on the cross.  Twice Jesus told the Eleven “this do in remembrance of Me.”  1st Corinthians 11:23-26 is brief and plain.

 

Can the physical wash away the spiritual?   No.  Soap and water are for the body.  Spiritually speaking, the blood of Jesus cleanses one from all sins (1st John 1:7 – written by the apostle John; 1st Peter 1:18-19 – written by the apostle Peter). 

 

The Philippians jailer pled with Paul, “What must I do to be saved?” The answer was simple but profoundly accurate: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.”

(Acts of the Apostles 16:30-31).  What did Paul and Silas do after this man put his faith in Christ?

He was baptized.  Simple:  the jailer’s family believed in Christ, too. Then what?  Baptized.

 

May all Christians observe baptism and the Lord’s Supper as the apostles—simply and sincerely.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Democracy in Baptist Churches             June 25, 2018

 

Who is in charge of a Baptist church?  Not a denominational authority, not a religious hierarchy, not a state church.  Simply, the One who built and is the sole Head of Baptist churches is Jesus Christ.  Jesus told the apostles, “…I will build My Church, and the gates of hades shall not prevail against it.”  (Matthew 16:18).

 

The apostle Paul made it very clear to the local church in Colosse that “He (Jesus) is the Head of the body, the Church, Who is the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence.”  (Colossians 1:18).

 

Baptist churches have “been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, JESUS CHRIST Himself being the Chief Cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in Whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”  (Ephesians 2:20-22).

 

A local Baptist congregation owns its property and building, forms its own constitution from the pages of the New Testament, calls their own pastor, and elects their own deacons.  The apostle Peter described himself as a fellow elder, a shepherd, an overseer.  He exhorted pastors not to exercise lordship over churches but be a Christ-like example to the flock (1st Peter 5:1-3) and not a Chief Shepherd (5:4).  Jesus is the one and only Chief Shepherd.

 

A few years before the American Constitution and the First Amendment were approved, a man named Thomas visited a local Baptist church to observe its business meeting.  He came away impressed that he had seen “true democracy” in action.  A congregational vote decided the outcomes:  yea or nay.  No denomination, no bishop, and no external authority settled the business at hand.  The state-churches of Europe, as well as 9 of the 13 American colonies, were not governed as democracies.  This Baptist distinction intrigued the observer who later composed the first draft of the Declaration of Independence, came to support the First Amendment, and was later elected President of the United States—Thomas Jefferson.

 

Another distinctive of Baptists is the separation of church and state.  In the 16th century, John Smyth, a British  pastor, defined this Baptist belief:  “The magistrate is not by virtue of his office to meddle with religion, or matters of conscience, to force and compel men to this or that form of religion or doctrine, but to leave the Christian religion to free every man’s conscience, and to handle only civil transgressions (Romans 13:1-3), injuries and wrongs of a man against man, in murder, adultery, theft, etc., for Christ is the only King and Law-giver of the Church and conscience” (James 4:12).

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts passed a state-church law in 1644 that all who opposed infant baptism (which Baptists do) were to be severely punished by public beatings, arrest, and banishment.  In the 18th century the Commonwealth of Virginia banned any pastor who did not purchase from the Church of England a permit to preach.  Baptist preachers refused, and if caught, were fined, jailed, and beaten.  Their appeals to Jefferson, James Madison, and sympathizers eventually prevailed, the ban was withdrawn, and the First Amendment granted freedom of religion to a new country, the United States of America.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Baptists—Who are They?                       June 18, 2018

 

Six months before Jesus was born in the village of Bethlehem, a miracle baby was born in a small village not far from Jerusalem.  A Jewish priest named Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth had prayed earnest tears for a baby year after year at the Temple wall.  She wept over her inability to conceive.  Was God listening?  Were they not blameless in conduct? 

 

When it became time for Zacharias’ turn to offer incense, he walked into the temple as he had before.  Suddenly, he sensed he was not alone. A figure stood near the table of incense.  Could it be … an angel??  Gabriel spoke softly, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall call his name John.”  (Luke 1:13).  We know him as John the Baptist.

 

Was he the first Baptist?  Well, no, for Jesus had not been crucified and raised from the dead.  John was born to be a prophet would proclaim the coming of the Messiah of the Jews.  Crowds flocked to hear the exciting message.  He pled his listeners to repent of their sinfulness, put their faith in the LORD, and then be baptized.  Several 1,000s of them were baptized in the river Jordan and in Aenon (the springs) near Salim where there was much water.  The Jews called him the “baptizer” ---not the Baptist.

 

Well, when and where did the name Baptist come from?  Centuries passed by when groups of Christians studied the life of Jesus and His apostles.  What they read was not the way of the religious establishments changed baptizing.  John refused to baptize anyone until after they repented and put their faith in Christ as the Savior of the world (Matthew 3:1-2, 5-8).  What about Peter?  Same way (Acts 2:38; 10:43 & 47, 48).  What about Philip?  Same way (Acts 8:34-39).  What about Saul of Tarsus? (Acts 9:17-18).  What about Paul and the Philippian jailer?  Same way.  (Acts 16:31-34).  And, not one verse exists that approves of baptizing babies. 

 

So these groups began to follow the apostolic method and baptized only those who repented and believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.  They were given the name Anabaptists (re-baptizers).  It was meant to be a derogatory name.  The religious establishment demanded that all babies be baptized to wash away sin.  That is not true.  By the thousands, they left the apostate establishment.  Its temper began to flare.  Anyone who dared to be re-baptized were martyred—killed, drowned, burned at the stake, put on the rack. Historians cannot pin-point how many died in this way. Some say 3 million.  Some say 30 million were killed for their faith.

 

In the 16th and 17th centuries, these “re-baptizers” spread all over Europe, into the British Isles, and across the Atlantic Ocean to the colonies in America.  Why?  Seeking to settle in places where religious liberty was honored.  Over time the “re-“ was dropped, and they were called simply Baptists.  Baptists preach the Apostles’ Doctrines—the same as did Peter, Philip, and Paul.  Other like-minded groups remained faithful to this same Gospel which dates back to the

1st century in Jerusalem, Samaria, Judea, and around the world. 

 

Only 3 American colonies had religious freedom in the 18th century.  One of the great privileges the Baptists have strived for in America is the religious liberty inscribed in the First Amendment in the American Constitution.  Praise the Lord!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Baptists—a People of the Book            June 11, 2018

 

God sent His Son down to the earth on an extremely important mission.  When Jesus began His ministry, His plan was to choose 12 men to become His disciples.  He taught them Who He was and what his important spiritual mission was.  Jesus said, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”  (Mark’s Gospel 10:45).

 

Among the first Jesus called to become “fishers of men” were Andrew, John, Simon (Peter), and Philip.  Others followed.  Jesus taught them, discipled them, and prepared them to serve God.  His taught them Who He was, the Son of God.  His discipling was to equip them to be role models of their Teacher—not to be served, but serve God with humility, and He prepared them to proclaim the Gospel throughout all the cities and villages of Israel.

 

The 12 disciples dreamed, as the “just and devout” souls among the Jews did, that Jesus was the long-expected Messiah.  They and the vast multitudes thirsted for His teaching and were overwhelmed by His supernatural powers.  It was not long before the apostles showed that they had feet of clay, not of angels.  More than once, they debated among themselves who would be selected to be the most important officers of the Messiah King.  That arrogant spirit was crushed when Jesus prophesied the destruction of the massive, golden temple in Jerusalem.  His kingdom was not about to be set up in the 1st century.

 

He revealed to the apostles that there was a cross and a tomb in the offing.  Simon Peter loved Jesus.  He would never let that happen.  Speaking with passion, he told Jesus, ‘Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to you!”   Jesus rebuked him, “…you are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:22-23). 

 

Jesus revealed to Peter and the Eleven the blueprint of God: “…you are Peter and on this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).

 

A church? What is a “church”?  It is a gathering of people, but not just “people.”  All those who “received Him (believed in Jesus by faith alone), to them He gave the right to become the sons of God, even to those who believe in His Name.” (John’s Gospel 1:12).  A “church” is not a temple, a building, nor a denomination.  Here’s how Peter described the church: “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, through the Word of God which lives and abides forever.”  (1st Peter 1:22-23).

 

Four features of the Church are these: 

#1 the apostles’ doctrine (the doctrines of Jesus Christ, i.e.

the inspired and inerrant Holy Bible);

#2 a fellowship of redeemed souls;

#3 observing the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Jesus Christ;

#4 believers gathered for prayer.

 

The Bible is the Church’s final authority.  Jesus Christ, the only Head of the Church.  The membership is composed of born again believers.  Rule by the local congregation.  Believer’s baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Salvation by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone.

 

This describes what a Baptist church ought to be.  It goes by the Book, God’s Word.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Remembering Our Fallen Veterans                   May 28, 2018

 

There is something very special to remember on this hallowed day in American history. With heartfelt gratitude we need to remember our fallen veterans who gave their lives to keep America, “this nation, under God” with peace and “liberty and justice for all.”

 

Abraham Lincoln himself suffered anguish and tears that this nation not split into warring factions.  He often prayed earnestly, with tearful eyes, that God would bring peace and unity.

 

Lincoln was slain before the fighting factions sat down at the peace table.  True then, and true now, “It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here has thus far so nobly advanced.”  May God grant that this present generation, “under God, … have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the earth.”

 

            ABRAHAM LINCOLN, “GETTYSBURG ADDRESS” 19 NOVEMBER 1863

[1] Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

[2] Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

[3] But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate - we can not consecrate - we can not hallow - this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

[4] It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain-that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom-and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth.

To paraphrase the LORD’s instruction to ancient Israel and apply it to our God-blessed nation, we the living, ought to “consecrate the {2,018th} year, and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 25:10).

 

And now, seven score and fifteen years after President Lincoln gave that remarkable tribute to our fallen soldiers at Gettysburg, America is again enduring hostilities inflamed by those who have forgotten our forbearers motto: “In God We Trust.”  In the beloved national hymn, “America the Beautiful,” there is a prayer, “God mend our every flaw … May God thy gold refine, … (may) God shed His grace on thee.”  May we too bow on our knees to plead with God to answer this prayer.

What can we do to bring God’s favor back to America?  Two things:  Love the LORD with all your heart, soul, and mind, and, love your neighbors as yourself.  If applied, our hostilities will fade away and healing begin as we walk in the steps of the Prince of Peace—the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Waiting Expectantly for the Messiah                May 21, 2018

 

Have you anticipated the time you could get that first driver’s license?  Have you felt excited that your last mortgage payment was within reach?   Have you ever waited expectantly to see your first baby granddaughter?  There was a man named Simeon who trembled with great anticipation for the coming of the Messiah—the Baby Jesus.

 

There can be no doubt that Simeon was a diligent student of the Jewish prophecies concerning the birth of the Savior of Israel.  In the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2 and verses 25 to 35, the Holy Spirit of God revealed the very time and place to this man.

 

What had his study discovered? 

    *  The Messiah would come from the lineage of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the patriarchs of the             nation of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3), of the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10), and in the genealogy of            King David (2nd Samuel 7:11-12).

    *  The Messiah would be baby born miraculously by a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).

    *  The Messiah would be born in the village of Bethlehem not far from Jerusalem (Micah 5:2).

    *  The Messiah would come in “sixty-two weeks,” a mysterious number consisting of 62 “weeks” of   prophetic years, from the restoration of Jerusalem to the birth of Christ (Daniel 9:24-25).

    *  The Messiah would come a short time after His forerunner would arise and preach “repent for the Kingdom was at hand” (Isaiah 40:3-5 and Malachi 3:1; 4:5-6)

 

What were godly men and women of that day talking about?   An unusual prophet by the name of John the Baptizer proclaimed that the coming of the longed for Messiah was at hand (Matthew 3:1-3).  Soon the citizens of Jerusalem and surrounding cities flocked to the Jordan River to hear this prophet.

 

Simeon was not a king, a prophet, and not well known.  God chose him to give Mary and Joseph a prophecy.  Why this unknown man?  For good reason:  He was a righteous and godly man.  The Holy Spirit was upon him.  He was “waiting for the Consolation of Israel.”   God had promised that, before he died, he would be blessed to see the Person who was God’s “salvation” (Luke 2:29-30).

 

I can imagine this elderly man’s great anticipation and his nervous expectancy.  He no doubt was trembling the moment the Spirit revealed to him that this was the day.  He hurried to the temple complex in Jerusalem to the room where parents offered sacrifices, babies were circumcised, and names were given.  They met in God’s perfect timing.  Simeon took up Baby Jesus in his arms and blessed God!  Looking into the sky, he prayed: “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation….”

 

Speaking to Joseph, Mary, and perhaps some on-lookers, Simeon foretold that the Gospel of Jesus Christ would spread around the world to every tribe, people, and nation.  And, with choking voice, he revealed that the Messiah, this Baby, would die on the cross.  His mother watched her Son die on the cross.  Her soul felt as if pierced by a sword.  The Christ had laid down His life to die as a sacrifice for sinners.

 

Those who repented to God and placed their faith in Christ would “rise” in Israel and from nations all around the world.  I would encourage you, right now, to pray and be saved from the judgment to come.

 

Finally, on the day known to God alone, Jesus Christ is coming again.  Let’s wait with anticipation.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Peter Slipped at Dinner, Paul Helped Him Up                      May 17, 2018

 

There are times when one Christian slips up on some relationship and another notices it.  Even Simon Peter, one of the greatest leaders of Christianity, stepped on such a “banana peel” at the dinner table.  Worse than that, he was a poor influence on other good men.  With grace and sincerity, Paul helped him up.

 

Here was the issue.  One of the provisions that God commanded dealt with a kosher diet.   Certain foods, like pork specifically, were forbidden.  Even beef was forbidden if the blood was not drained out of the meat the kosher way.  So Jews and Gentiles did not get along well.  Peter had made a trip from Jerusalem to the north to meet with the new Gentile Christians living in Antioch.  After a warm welcome, they sat down to a good dinner—Jew and Gentile enjoying the dinner together.  A couple of days later, a second delegation from Jerusalem arrived at the instruction of James. 

 

Here’s the “banana peel.”  Galatians 2:12-13 records what happened.  “… when they came, he (Peter) withdrew and separated himself, fearing those who were of the circumcision, and the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy.”  Now we have the Jewish table and the Gentile table—the party was split.

 

Here’s something worse:  Peter knew better.  Through a vision from God, Peter was told to become a companion of the Gentiles.  God wanted to save their souls, too.  Check this out in Acts 10-11.  Peter

obeyed the Lord and ate at the same tables with Gentile Christians in Caesarea.  He had never done this before.

 

Here’s something wonderful:  Paul stood up at the Gentile table, faced the Jewish table where Peter was seated, and rebuked him, Barnabas, and the Jews in love.  Without a retort, the kosher eaters apologized to Paul and their Gentile hosts.  They knew Paul was right.  He humbled himself and was sorry.

 

Galatians 3:26-29 says: “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many as you were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all in one in Christ Jesus.  And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

 

Peter knew that Paul loved him as a brother in Christ.  He knew Paul spoke out for his own good.  Some years later Peter highly commended Paul in his second letter writing, “our beloved brother Paul….”  (2nd Peter 3:15).  I can just imagine Peter walking over to the Gentile table and giving Paul a hug.  Maybe some tears were shed, too. 

 

If you, or I, slip on an old, gooey “banana peel,” and hurt one’s feelings, or, are offended by a loving rebuke, let’s get on our knees and make it right with Jesus and with the brother or sister in Christ.   If we are truly walking with Jesus, we will always be ready to forgive.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Grateful Tributes by Sons to Their Mothers               May 13, 2018

 

Abraham Lincoln, 16th president of the United States of America, deeply loved his mother.  Nancy Hanks Lincoln impressed upon him the values of personal character, respect for one’s elders, and belief in God.  Young Lincoln was born and raised in a small log cabin.  She died when he was only 9 years old.  He left this tribute to his mother: “No man is poor who has had a godly mother.”

 

Young Abe did not have the opportunity of grade and high school.  Mother was his school teacher until she died.  After that he had to teach himself to read better.  His mother lit in him a fervent desire to love reading classical books like Aesop’s Fables, Shaw’s “History of the United States,” Weem’s “Life of Washington,” “Pilgrim’s Progress”, and repeatedly her favorite—the Bible.  Often in his later years he affectionately credited her saying, “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”

 

The British pastor Matthew Henry (d. 1714) also gave a sweet tribute to his mother in his commentary on the creation of the first woman, saying, “The man was dust refined, but the woman was dust double-refined, one remove further from the earth.”

 

Here is one of his comments on the perfect marriage of husband and wife:  “That the woman was made of a rib out of the side of Adam; not made out of his head to rule over him, nor out of his feet to be trampled upon by him, but out of his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved.”

 

King Solomon penned a wonderful tribute to wives and mothers as well.  Proverbs 31:10-12, 28, 30 --“Who can find a virtuous wife?  For her worth is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband safely trusts her so that he will not have no lack.  She does him good and not evil all the days of her life…Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her…Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.”

 

My mother comes to my mind when I read that last chapter of Proverbs.  She raised 7 children and cherished 25 grandchildren.  She lived to meet her first great-grandchild, and, at a family reunion, no matter who had been holding our month old daughter, Mom soon was cuddling her in loving arms again.

 

Happy Mother’s Day to all!!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Day Philip Saw God               April 30, 2018

 

No person has seen God face to face in His shekinah glory and majesty (John’s Gospel 1:18).

 

No person has seen God face to face and lived to tell about it (Exodus 33:20, 23).

 

No person has seen God face to face because He is spirit (John 4:24).

 

If God is invisible, and He is, how can anybody lay their eyes on Him??   1st Timothy 1:17 – “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and forever.

Amen.”

 

In the 14th chapter of the Gospel of John there is an amazing conversation between Jesus and one of His disciples by the name of Philip.  Jesus and 11 of His 12 apostles were in the Upper Room in a nice home in Jerusalem.  The Jewish Passover meal was finished.  That night as they sat around the table, Jesus told them that “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father except through Me.”  How could Jesus, a man, make such an astounding claim?!  Philip just had to know.

 

Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” (14:8).

 

His answer came with a mild and compassionate rebuke of His disciple, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip … so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’”  What Jesus explained next was in elementary school vocabulary: “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.  Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me?” (14:9 & 10).

 

Philip’s mind was spinning— “I am in the Father, the Father in Me” and again “Jesus is in God, and God is in Jesus??”  This was just too much for an after-dinner conversation.

 

Gently, Jesus appealed to Philip’s understanding with a reminder of the incredible-but-true miracles performed by Him: “the blind see and the lame walk; lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.” (Matthew 11:5 and John 10:38).  Only God could perform such miracles and even raise the dead from the tomb.

 

The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write on a scroll: “Behold the virgin shall be with Child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.”  (Isaiah 7:14 and

Matthew 1:23).  At the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River, God the Father announced with a great voice: “This is My Beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).  Son of God?  Yes, Son of God. 

 

The Bible is clear:  there is but one God; and, it is clear that this one God is triune (that is, 3 Persons in 1 Person).  God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  Matthew 28:20 declared that the baptism of believers was to be performed in the Name (singular—one God) of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (3 divine Persons), and is what is called the Trinity.

 

Philip learned that God the Father dwells in the Son of God.  Jesus told the apostles to “believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me….”  (14:11).  Philip was staring into the face of the incarnate God: God in the flesh laid in a manger, died on the cross, was resurrected, and has ascended to sit in heaven on the right hand of God on a throne.   Only God the Son could do this.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Hospitality Servants of Christ                 April 23, 2018

 

While there are only 8 verses in the Bible that mention this couple, Aquila and his wife Priscilla made a great impact upon the ministry of the apostle Paul.  Never heard of them?  They would not be hurt if you did not know them.  Their lives were dedicated to be hospitality servants of their Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

 

Aquila and Priscilla did some traveling.  For us, hop in the car or board an airplane, we can really get around.  Travel in the first century was much slower.  By my estimation, the trip from Pontus (north central Asia Minor, or now, the country of Turkey), to Rome, Italy, to Corinth, Greece, to Ephesus, Asia Minor south, and back to Rome, Italy is at the least some 3,500 miles. It might have been 4,000 miles by sail boats, donkeys, and by foot, a hefty jaunt!  They also moved 5 times.  Imagine doing this yourself with their modes of transportation.

 

Every time their names are mentioned, they are together.  The Lord brought them together in their marriage.  The Lord kept that marriage intact.  The 2 essentials for a strong and lasting marriage are love and respect. 

 

Aquila vowed to love his wife “just as Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for her” (Ephesians 5:25).  Such love is practical—cared for his wife as a man cared for his own body’s well-being.  He provided for her and cherished her (5:28-29).  Such love esteems the one loved more than himself.  Such love removes her fears.  Such love makes her feel secure.  He praised her often.  Try it, it works.

 

Priscilla vowed to respect her husband (Ephesians 5:33).  Respect has the idea of reverence.  She responded to his love for her by praising him often.  One of the worst things a wife can do is to tear him down in the house and in the company of others.  Deep in a man’s heart is a yearning to be respected.  A man needs respect.  Try it, it works.

 

They served their Lord as a team.  As Jesus described a Christian marriage, “the two shall be one flesh.  So then, they are no longer two, but one flesh.  Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:5b-6). 

 

The Lord used them to labor for the cause of the Gospel behind the scenes. Their house was used for a church building at Corinth and Ephesus.  In the 6 times their names are together, 3 times his name is first.  3 times her name is first.   What does that imply?  Men and women are both made in “the image and likeness of God” (Genesis 1:26f).  God gave men and women an equality of soul and distinctive roles as husband and wife not seen in many cultures around the world.

 

Take special note of this. Aquila and Priscilla invited Paul to live in their house at Corinth and Ephesus. For 18 months plus Paul shared the great truths of the Apostles’ doctrine.  What an education from the best “seminary professor.”  When Apollos came to preach in the synagogue, both discerned a serious deficiency.  He knew only the baptism of John the Baptist--the Messiah had not come yet.  They invited him for dinner.  Together, Aquila and Priscilla shared with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus the Messiah—the cross, the empty tomb, the ascension.  Jesus is the Messiah!

 

With their instruction, the sermons of Apollos “vigorously refuted the Jews publicly showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ”—the long-expected Messiah (Acts of the Apostles 18:26-28). 

Many put their faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  This team, Aquila and Priscilla, praised God.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Man Behind His Big Brother                        April 16, 2018

 

Most people have heard of the apostle Peter.  Strong fisherman working for his father Jonas, leader of the apostles, the only apostle to walk on the rough waters of the Sea of Galilee, and preacher at the Jewish feast of Pentecost.  Ever heard of his younger brother?  Well, his younger brother was not a man seeking the limelight. Andrew was the quiet “go to” man when something important had to be done.

 

In the 15th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar and Pontus Pilate was the governor of Judea, a bold and rugged man was sent by God to proclaim the Messiah was coming.  John the Baptist hit the nation of Israel like a comet.  He identified himself as “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way of the LORD!’ as the prophets had said. Great crowds were drawn to hear the message from heaven’s throne in the region around the Jordan River Valley.  His message was: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2).

 

His fame spread like wildfire across Israel. The Roman rulers ignored him.  The temple establishment became alarmed and sent their spies out.  100’s, more likely 1,000’s, who believed John repented and then were baptized in the waters of the Jordan.  One of them was Andrew.  On a certain day, John recognized Jesus coming down toward him to be baptized.  To the crowd he shouted as loud as he could: “Behold!  The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”  (John 1:29).

 

After John baptized Him, both walked up out of the river and stood on the bank.  Suddenly the heavens were opened, and a mighty voice from heaven said, “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  The Spirit of God descended like a dove and sat upon Jesus (Matthew 3:13-17).

 

Two days later Andrew and John (son of Zebedee) were standing on the riverbank with John the Baptist.  Looking at Jesus, John shouted to the crowd, “Behold the Lamb of God!”  His two disciples learned the true identity of Jesus: “Lamb of God” prophesied to come (Isaiah 53); Jesus was greater than the prophet John the Baptist; “this is the Son of God” (John 1:34).  Andrew and John hurried to catch up with Jesus as He walked away.  Noticing them, Jesus turned around asking, “What do you seek?”  The three spent the rest of the day together and the men became the first disciples of Jesus.

 

As soon as he could, Andrew rushed to find his brother Simon (Peter), and almost out of breath, told him, “We have found the Messiah!”  And, Andrew brought his brother to meet Jesus.  He put his faith in Jesus and became the third disciple.

 

What had brought Andrew to Jesus?  Andrew’s soul was restless.  He aspired to a deeper, intimate knowledge of God.  When God’s voice sounded from the sky and the Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove and lighted upon Jesus, Andrew trusted the Messiah as his Savior and Lord. 

 

Later, ten others joined Andrew and friend John to become the apostles.  It was Andrew who saw Jesus receive a boy’s lunch and with it feed 5,000 men and their wives and children.  It was Andrew who stared at the ornate Temple in Jerusalem and heard it would be destroyed because it was, as Jesus said, a den of thieves.  It was Andrew who, with another disciple, guided a small group of Greek proselytes to meet Jesus.  Others.  Andrew was always considerate of others.  His greatest pleasure was to lead souls to Jesus Christ by saying “Come and see” for yourself just as he did.

 

Let’s follow the example of Andrew and encourage our friends and neighbors to “Come and see.”

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

The Dark Side of Mary Magdalene -- Luke 8:1-3                   April 9, 2018

                                                                                   

Mary, born and raised in the tiny fishing village of Magdala, was in dire demonic peril.  Historians believe that this region was a “hotbed of demonic activity” from that village to Capernaum.  When Jesus demonstrated His divine power by casting 7 demons out of her (Luke 8:1-2), she was transformed!

 

There is no record of this Mary’s sins.  Family and neighbors knew her dark side, but we will never know it.  This is a tremendous testimony to the miraculous power of Jesus to bring spiritual cleansing of a soul.   In Isaiah 1:18, God invited sinners to come to Him: “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the LORD.  ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’” 

 

King David, who knew by his heart-breaking experience, the power of God’s forgiveness, wrote: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them who fear (reverence) Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”  (Psalm 103:11-12).

           

Centuries later, an over-zealous, vicious Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus voted “death” to the first martyr of the Church.  With a smog religious grimace, he watched the stoning of Stephen.  But he did not stop there.  Luke, the author of the book of the Acts of the Apostles, inscribed Saul’s hatred of this new movement called Christianity, writing: “Then Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked letters from him to the synagogues of Damascus, so that if he found any who were of the ‘Way,’ whether men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (9:1-2).  Jesus personally confronted Saul on the road charging him with harsh persecution of Christians (9:3-19).  Saul repented and became a convert of Jesus Christ!  We know him by his new name—Paul.

 

Here is his testimony.  “… although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.”  (1st Timothy 1:13-15).

 

Like Mary of Magdala, David of Jerusalem, Paul of Tarsus, and a sinner in our generation can be given this spiritual cleansing from Jesus Christ.  Our dark sins can be totally blotted out of God’s ledger.  The apostle Paul could say he had a clear conscience before God (2nd Timothy 1:3).

 

A medical doctor once said that if his patients could have a clear conscience, 2/3 of them would not have to make an appointment with him.  But how could one attain a clear conscience?

 

Jesus sacrificed His life on the cross to make atonement for our sins.  Go to the Lord in prayer, repenting and confessing your sins, and put your faith in Jesus Christ alone.  God offers you to be absolutely forgiven.  God’s Word says, “that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God has raised Him (Jesus) from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart on believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  … For whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

(Romans 10:9-10, 13).  Then dedicate yourself to follow the steps of Jesus Christ, the Savior of your soul.

 

The Lord will forgive you after such a sincere prayer.  As it says in Micah 7:19, God will “cast all your sins into the depths of the sea” – gone, irretrievable, pardoned.  Then, begin reading the Gospel of John and follow Jesus Christ for the rest of your life.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Great Differences Between Man and Angel             April 2, 2018

 

Children sometimes ask the questions that parents never think of.  One little girl seemed to be a budding theologian.  She said, “Daddy, do angels sleep?”  He replied yes.  Thoughtfully, she asked another question, “If they sleep, then how do they put on their pajamas over their wings??”   Well, I have little to say about that because angels are spirits.  Just what do spirits wear?  Angels have some great differences from Adam and Eve and all of their descendants.

 

Angels and mankind have some similar qualities.  Both possess a sense of moral issues.   They know what is right and what is wrong.  It was Lucifer, probably the highest of all angels, who began to crave the authority and position of God Himself.  His mind became envious and jealous.  God had to cast him out from the heavenly places.  Both possess high intelligence though it is limited.  Good angels were interested in the birth, the life, and the purpose of the incarnation of the Son of God.  Angels sought intensely to discover why Jesus had to suffer before He could be glorified as the Redeemer (1st Peter 1:10-12 “which angels desire to look into”).  They seemed be as confused as many believers were.

 

There is an extremely important difference between angels and people.  Genesis 1:26-27 clearly say that Adam and Eve were made in the image and likeness of God.  This indicates that people are more like God than angels are.  Angels are ministering spirits for God and for mankind. 

 

Angels can do some things that mortals cannot do—fly (even without wings), challenge fallen angels in spiritual battles (Daniel 10:20-21), enter a prison to rescue Peter without opening the gates and make the doors open for Peter automatically (Acts of the Apostles 12:7), or single-handedly slay 185,000 enemy Assyrian soldiers at once (Isaiah 37:36).

 

Mortals are male and female, marry, and enjoy raising their children.  Their number grows and grows.  Angels never marry or have such families (Matthew 22:30; Luke 20:34-36). It is doubtful that the number of angels increases.  On the other hand, mortals increase in numbers.  Angels do not die.  Mortals do die.  In this dispensation men are “for a little while lower than the angels” in power and in longevity (Hebrews 2:7).

 

What about the fallen angels who rebelled against God?  Some have already been imprisoned in “chains of darkness” in hell (literally means “Tartarus” 2nd Peter 2:4 and Jude 6).  With Satan, they will be cast into hell, the lake of fire which lasts forever (Revelation 20:10).

 

In God’s kingdom in the new heavens and new earth, there is a tremendous change-over:  the redeemed will rule and judge angels (1st Corinthians 6:3 “judge” cannot mean judging the lawbreaker because this era is beyond this world; Hebrews 2:5).   The apostles will rule as kings (Matthew 19:28).  The redeemed will govern in the kingdom of God and rule over the multitude of angels who serve them.

 

What a glorious kingdom that will be with the risen Christ as the King of kings and Lord of lords on the throne with God.  The redeemed of the Lord and the angels will sing the praises of God for all eternity with joy.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Angels of Easter                    March 26, 2018

 

God created angels to be ministering spirits.  When the Baby Jesus was born, they were there to celebrate.  Angels in heaven were intensely in the suffering Jesus would endure.  Why does suffering come before glory?  (1st Peter 1:11-12). God sent angels to serve Jesus during the Passion Week in two entirely opposite ways to carry out His will.

 

First, God sent an angel to the Garden of Gethsemane to comfort Jesus.  Jesus prayed knowing the suffering He would have to endure.  This is recorded in the Gospel of Luke, 22:39-46.  Just before His arrest by the mob, Jesus and eleven disciples sought refuge in the Garden of Gethsemane, a place of serenity among the ancient olive trees.

 

He told Peter, James, and John to watch and not allow Him to be disturbed as He prayed.  Falling down on His knees, the Son of man, engaged in fervent prayer.  He began, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not My will, but yours, be done.”

 

Jesus knew exactly what terrible pain and suffering he had to endure the next day.  God’s will was clear—the virgin birth Son of Mary.  “And she will bring forth a Son and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21).

 

 Jesus made it clear to His disciples, warning them, “Behold we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death, and deliver Him to the Gentiles to mock and to scourge and to crucify.  And, the third day He will rise again.” (20:18-19).

 

Alone with God, the thought of the bitter “cup” caused Jesus to be in severe agony.  He prayed more fervently.  The guards of the high priest would have Him scourged that same night.  The next morning the Roman governor caved in to the murderous crowd which was screaming, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!”  Roman soldiers would beat Him, spit on him, curse Him.  The cutting whiplashes would draw blood and could expose bones in His back.  On His face before God, His sweat “became like drops of blood” falling to the ground. 

Then an angel appeared at His side strengthening Him.  God’s plan was to send from heaven the Savior the world.  Jesus declared, “Not My will but Yours.”  His spirit overcame the sufferings to come.  Jesus would become sacrifice, the Lamb of God.

 

How did Jesus face His suffering?  Hebrews 12:2 has the answer.  “Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down on the right hand of the throne of God.” That “joy” was to bring many unbelievers to faith in the crucified and risen Christ.

 

Second, God sent more than one angel to the tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea.  It was his gift to the Messiah.  A squadron of soldiers guarded the tomb where the body of Jesus was laid.  On the 3rd day, before daybreak, an angel descended from heaven on God’s orders and rolled back the huge stone that had sealed the dead.  His appearance was like lightning and clothing white as snow.  The veteran soldiers were frightened out of their wits.  Every one of them passed out and sprawled in the ground like dominos.

 

Mary Magdalene and other women brought burial spices to the tomb.  They did not use them.  The angel announced, “He is not here; for He is risen, as He said.”  Then he invited them to come and see the emptied tomb and the linen burial cloths.  Convinced of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, the women hurried to the place where the apostles were hiding.  What a miracle!  Just exactly as Jesus told them in the last few months, on the 3rd day, He arose!

 

The angel at Gethsemane and the angel at the tomb served God at crucial moments in the life and death of Jesus, the Son of God.  Jesus is the Savior of the world.  The joy of our risen Savior was the saving of souls.  The angels rejoiced, too.  Mission accomplished!

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Crowds, Their Response, and His Weeping                  March 25, 2018

 

Jesus had just trekked 17 miles up the meandering dirt road from Jericho to Jerusalem.  Standing on the Mount of Olives, He cast His eyes over the golden city.  The time had come.  No longer would He avoid the limelight.  Jesus spotted the Temple and its huge complex.  His eyes turned to the hill of Golgotha.  His heart was deeply stirred.  Jesus had descended from heaven “to save His people from their sins.”

 

The journey from Galilee had swelled from a few believers to thousands. A very great multitude assembled at the gate into the Holy City.  Excitement grew when Jesus mounted the colt for the triumphal entry.  There was a scramble for palm branches to be spread on the road to the Temple.  Their joy soon erupted into cheers: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!  Hosanna in the highest!!” (Matthew 21:8-9).  Citizens of Jerusalem and a huge number of Passover pilgrims joined the procession and “began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice” for all the miraculous healings performed by Jesus (Luke 19:37).  Was He not the Messiah King?

 

“And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?!’  So the multitudes said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.’” (Matthew 21:10-11).  Others responded, shouting with joy calling Him the “King who comes in the name of the LORD” and the “King of Israel” that fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9.

 

When Jesus reached the Temple courtyards, He dismounted and “drove out all those that bought and sold (sacrificial lambs) in the temple and overturned the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of those who sold doves (for sacrifices by the poor)”.  His stern voice echoed, “It is written, ‘My house shall be a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of thieves!’” (Matthew 21:12-13). 

 

The reaction of the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees was ice cold and menacing: “By what authority are you doing these things?!” (verse 23).   Jesus countered their demand with a simple question.  The baptism of John the Baptist: “Where was it from?  From heaven or from men?”  These religious leaders formed a quick huddle whispering, “If we say, ‘from heaven’ He will say to us, ‘Why then did you not believe him?’  But if we say, ‘from men,’ we fear the multitude for all count him as a prophet.’” (verses 24-27). They were caught dumbfounded.  All they could whimper was that they did not know. 

 

Those who had been blind and lame gathered with a large group of children shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” over and over again.  While Jesus smiled His appreciation for them, the religious leaders became indignant and stomped away grumbling.  Getting late in the day, Jesus left Jerusalem. 

 

On the Mount of Olives just two miles away, Jesus began to weep.  He had obeyed God and pleased Him perfectly (John 8:29).  He had preached the Gospel to many thousand souls in all the cities and villages of Israel.  He had healed the sick by the thousands.  He raised the dead—the son of a widow of Nain, a 12-year-old girl, and Lazarus.  What more could the Son of God do to save sinners?  The religious leaders rejected both Him and the God they claimed to serve.  His tears were for the judgment of His people.

 

There was one more thing.  The Apostle John quoted the Lord Jesus Christ: “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again.  No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself, I have power to lay it down, and I have power to raise it again.  This command I have received from My Father.” (John 10:17-18).  Perhaps He gazed for some time that night at the hill Golgotha. That is where He would suffer and die to save His people from their sins.  Nearby was the tomb He would be resurrected from on the 3rd day having destroyed the power of death and Satan.  The high price was paid.

 

This is the mighty triumph of our God and Savior Jesus Christ on Easter morning.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

 

What Do Angels Do?                    March 12, 2018

 

For centuries artists have imagined what angels must have looked like.  In a family Bible time a young boy was becoming more interested in spiritual things.   One Christmas while reading the story of the birth of Jesus, he blurted out to his father, “Angels can’t talk.”  Confused, the father insisted that that angels could talk.  His son protested, “But they can’t talk because they don’t have batteries.”  Angels are “ministering spirits” (Hebrews 1:14) who delight in serving Almighty God.  They do not need batteries!  Psalm 91:11 – says, “For He shall give His angels charge over you to keep you in all your ways.”  In the New Testament alone, they were commissioned by the LORD to give a message or help believers at least 18 times.

 

Angels are mentioned are almost 300 times in the Bible.  Let’s observe that angels cannot do some things:  make more angels, answer our prayers, or do the miracles that Jesus could do.  The Bible never describes them as babies, or being females, or as mechanics fixing car engines.

 

Angels have personalities:  they are intelligent but do not know everything (1st Peter 1:12).  They expressed joyous emotion when the angelic host sang at the birth of Baby Jesus and they express joy every time a sinner turns to the Lord Jesus Christ in faith and are saved (Luke 15:7, 10).  They have a will to decide this way or that (Genesis 19:17-22).

 

As ministering spirits of God, angels are very excited to worship their Almighty Creator in song and word around the throne of God.  Their favorite hymn is “Holy, Holy, Holy” (Isaiah 6:3).  Christians sing another song with the same title written by Reginald Heber.  Is it true that the LORD God joins them in singing? (see Zephaniah 3:17).

 

Angels had a great part in the nativity of Jesus.  The archangel Gabriel brought the message to Mary that she would be the mother of the Messiah (Luke 2:1ff).  She was astounded and humbled.  How could this be?  She was a virgin.  Gabriel revealed that she would become pregnant by a miracle.  Mary submitted herself totally as a servant to the will of God.  After Jesus was born, an angel appeared to Joseph in dreams instructing him to flee to Egypt with his precious family, then to return to Israel, and finally move to the safety of Nazareth.

 

Angels have been “secret agents”, too.  The book of Hebrews assures us of this: “Let brotherly love continue.  Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some have unwittingly entertained angels.” (13:1-2).  Have my wife and I done that?  I do not know.  Might we, or you,

discover when we are in heaven, we entertained an angel?!  I am confident that God has sent one to help us in times of some special need.  God does send His angels to help Christians.

 

Everything the angels of Almighty God do is the will of God.  May we commit ourselves to love the brethren in Christ as they do.  May we follow the example encouraging one another as the angel Michael did to the prophet Daniel (chapter 1), as one angel prepared food for the prophet Elijah when he was worn out and depressed (1st Kings 19:5ff), and serve the weak and sorrowing Son of man soon to die on the cross to make atonement for us (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:42-45).

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Are Angels for Real?                    February 26, 2018

 

One way to find out if angels are for real is to find honest eye-witnesses of angelic activity.  I am sure that the Apostle Peter possessed that integrity.  Let’s find out what Peter knew.

 

Not long after the Day of Pentecost, Peter and his fellow apostles were proclaiming that Jesus was the Messiah, died on the cross, and arose from His grave.  By the power of God, they were healing the sick and the lame, and casting out demons all in the name of Jesus.  This new movement infuriated the religious establishment in Jerusalem.  Its high priest and the party of the Sadducees commanded their security guards to arrest and toss the apostles in prison.  God sent an angel to open those secure gates.  This messenger (“angel”) told them to stand in the temple courtyards teaching the resurrection of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah (Acts 5:17-32).

 

Seven chapters later, wicked King Herod (grandson of Herod the Great) ordered the death of the apostle James (Acts 12:1ff).  That pleased the high priest and Sadducees so much that the king seized Peter and tossed him in prison.  Realizing the apostles had a record as jail breakers, the Sadducees appointed 16 soldiers to guard the prison doors.  For extra security, Peter was chained to two guards in a cell.  The Sadducees denied the existence of angels. Could not be!  They would prove it now.

 

Acts 12:7 – “Now, behold an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shown in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, ‘Arise quickly!’  And his chains fell off.”  Jolted by the angel from a deep sleep, he thought he was seeing a vision.  Reaching the first and second gates, Peter followed the angel as the doors opened automatically.  At end of the street the angel disappeared.  By now wide awake, Peter talked to himself saying, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all expectation of the of the Jewish people.” (12:11).   Both high priest and angel-deniers must have been flabbergasted.

 

How about King Herod?  Engaged in crooked politicking, wearing his royal apparel on his birthday, he made glowing speech about himself and his power.  Representatives from Troy and Sidon kept shouting over and over and louder and louder, “The voice of a god, and not of a man!”  My, this was the epitome, his moment in the sun.  Acts 12:23-24 – “Immediately an angel struck him because he did not give glory to God. And he was eaten with worms and died.  But the Word of God grew and multiplied.” 

 

The Bible makes almost 300 references to angels.  They are God’s messengers and “ministering spirits” doing God’s will (Hebrews 1:14).  Abraham met angels, so did Moses, David, Daniel, Isaiah, the apostles, and the women at the empty tomb of Jesus.  We have proof angels are real.

 

Let’s be careful here. There is “angel-mania” around that distorts the purpose of angels.  They are not baby angels, not described as feminine, never slay anyone and are always sweet, or have material bodies.  Let the Bible be your authority on the nature and character of angels.

 

Angels exist to glorify God, carry messages to believers, and obey every command of the LORD.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

 

Mighty Angels and Flaming Fire                       February 19, 2018

 

Is it fair for the Lord carry out fiery judgments as recompense upon the wicked?  The Apostle Paul suffered undeserved whippings, beatings with rods, pelted with stones and left for dead, and prisons.  His only “crime” was preaching the good news that Jesus Christ saves sinners from hell.  Payday for sinners will be at the court of the Great White Throne (Revelation 20:10-15).  God is a holy and righteous Judge. 

 

Here is some background on the 1st chapter of 2nd Thessalonians.  Paul, and his fellow missionary Silas were whipped and jailed in Philippi, a city in Macedonia. “Crime”?  Casting a demon out of cruelly abused a slave-girl.  Her handlers made a lot of money by her fortune telling.  In the next city Paul and companions were shamefully abused.  Hired mobs almost killed him, but Paul escaped from Thessalonica.

 

There was another sinister plot.  A “fake” letter and/or false teaching from some unknown person (or persons) sent to the new Christians in Thessalonica.  It alleged that they were in the Great Tribulation Period, that “Day of the LORD”.  It scared this congregation of new believers.  2nd Thessalonians 2:2-3, says, “That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that day of Christ is at hand.  Let no man deceive you by any means.  For that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”  This is the anti-Christ.

 

The first chapter begins with praising God for His grace and giving them peace of mind despite persecution and severe tribulation by Christ-haters.  Then, Paul praised these new Christians for growing in faith in God and abounding love for one another.  He was telling other congregations of new believers how this church was patient, persevering, and faithful despite tough times (1:4).

 

In verses 6-8 Paul assured them that justice will be served.  “Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God and obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 

Mighty angels and flaming fire! 

 

Longfellow’s Christmas carol expresses it well: “And in despair I bowed my head; ‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said, ‘For hate is strong and mocks the song of peace on earth, good will to men.’  Then pealed the bells more loud and deep; ‘God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; the wrong shall fail, the right prevail, with peace on earth, good will to men.’”

 

What is the destiny of the wicked?  The Bible declares:  Sinners shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”  (verse 9).  Hell was a place intended for the devil and fallen angels:  “Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his (fallen) angels.” (Matthew 25:41).  And, verse 46

“these shall go away into everlasting punishment:  but the righteous into life eternal.”

 

When Jesus returns, He will gather all believers together and take them to heaven to live forever.

(2nd Thessalonians 1:10-12).  I hope that you have put your faith in Christ and are saved.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Who Is the Angel of the LORD?            February 14, 2018

 

What had Jesus been doing long before He was born?   This question may confuse you a little.  How can someone do anything before they were born and took one’s first breath of air?  Or, to get to the point, before one was ever conceived in his mother’s womb.  We will find the Son of God was intimately involved in the lives of many persons in the Old Testament record.

 

The Almighty LORD and Creator cherished His handiwork and pronounced it “very good” (Genesis 1:31; 2:7, 21-23).  When our first parents, Adam and Eve were deceived and sinned grievously, God responded in mercy and judgment.  The Bible says this couple heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the evening breeze in the Garden Paradise of Eden (Genesis 3:8).  His choice persons had violated His commandment not to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. 

 

If God is invisible and does not possess a physical body, how could he walk without legs?  This hints something important about the triune God:  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  one Person acts as the Commander-in-Chief (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 92:1-2); one Person acts as His Captain (Joshua 5:13f; Isaiah 42:1ff); another Person acts as the Giver of spiritual gifts (1st Corinthians 12:4-7).

This is the glory and mystery of the one and only Almighty God.

 

Who was the Person walking in Eden searching for Adam and Eve?  The pre-incarnate Christ. [pre-incarnate means that Christ took upon Himself a temporary body thousands of years before He was born a Baby in Bethlehem with real body of flesh].  He did this to communicate justice and mercy to the fallen sinners.  He conversed with them, pronounced their penalty, and in mercy spared their lives.

 

Again Christ came down from heaven to walk and talk with one of His choice saints.  The Bible describes Christ and Enoch walking and conversing together.  This is called a “theophany” – a God appearance. When Christ returned to His abode, He took Enoch with him.  Again Christ came down from heaven to deal with the rebels who were building the tower of Babel (Genesis 11:5).  His eyes saw it firsthand up and close.

 

It is not until Genesis 16:7, 9, 10, 11 that the title “Angel of the LORD” appears.  “Angel” means messenger.  In this case, this is the Son of God, the Christ.  “LORD” is in Hebrew Yahweh; this became “Jehovah” in the English Bibles.  It is translated as “I AM,” or “I AM THAT I AM.”  That is His Name:  Jehovah (Exodus 3:13-14). 

 

The Angel of the LORD looked down upon the mistreatment of Hagar by jealous Sarai (Genesis 16:6-13).  Hagar called the Angel of the LORD the “God who sees.”  Later, in 21:14-20, the Angel is called “God” by the inspired narrator, a man named Moses.

 

What does this tell us?  God is extremely concerned for people.  God is close in times of trouble.  God is personally involved in human history.  The Son of God, Jesus Christ, is still watching and involved in our lives—yours and mine.  He is not a God afar off.  Jesus is that Angel of the LORD who controls the course of history by His leadership and the divine will of God.

           

Next week:  Part 2 on the study on the Angel of the LORD.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Great Significance of the Lord’s Supper             February 5, 2018

 

In everything Jesus did there was a significant purpose in it.  As His journeys in Israel from one end to the other were finished, He determined to give His twelve disciples an important, visual lesson for their souls.  The Lord’s Supper is a symbol of the price Jesus paid to redeem souls.

 

All the Jews were preparing to eat their Passover meals. True to its purpose, the meal was not a mouth-watering banquet.  They had eaten the Passover meal many times. It consisted of roasted lamb, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs (lettuce, wild endive, nettles, or coriander).  Bitter herbs were to remind the Jews of their bitter suffering in Egyptian slavery and their exodus.

 

Jesus sat down at the table in a borrowed upper room.   He looked into the eyes of the twelve men.  There was a hush as Jesus spoke from His heart: “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.”  Luke’s Gospel 22:15. This was a Passover they would never forget. 

 

When the Passover meal was finished, Jesus took that loaf of bread, paused, and prayed a blessing upon it.  He then broke off a piece for Himself and passed the loaf around the table.  When all had a piece in their hands, Jesus said, “Take eat; this is My body.”   Next He took the cup, paused, prayed again, “Drink from it, all of you.”  (Matthew 26:26-27).  All eyes were fastened on Him.  What in the world is this?!

 

The bread was not flesh.  Looked like bread, tasted like bread, had the aroma of bread.  The fruit of the vine in the cup was obviously not His blood.  Looked like grape juice, tasted like that juice, had the sweet aroma of grapes.  Why, there He sat in His body.  Jesus continued, “For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (26:28).  Maybe John was perceptive, or was it another disciple.  Had not Jesus taught them that He would be arrested, suffer, and die...?   What was so secretive about arranging a place for Passover.  He spoke again: “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  (26:29)

 

The significance of His words meant a parting of the ways.  He felt chilled.  Only after the arrest, suffering, and death of Christ did His words make sense.  Jesus talked in parables often, like, “I am the door” (Jesus is the door, the way to enter heaven).  “I am the vine.” (Jesus is our source of life and nourishment).  This time, the meaning is that His body would suffer gashing wounds, beatings, and crucifixion.  His life’s blood would be shed as the Passover lamb once for all.

 

Jesus’ final message for the Supper was of great significance: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”  That is why many communion tables have these words etched on them.  This simple, meal of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine is Jesus’ way of reminding us of the price Jesus paid to become the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).

 

Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection is the Gospel.  Let’s not forget its significance.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

When Scoffers Don’t Offer Much Hope                     January 29, 2018

 

Biologists have said that every cell in the human body will be replaced by new cells in a cycle of 7 years.  Yet, the identity of the person remains the same as it was before.  There is a continuity between the old and the new.  Suppose a man born in America moved to India.  He lives there for 20 years.  When he returns, every cell in his body will have been replaced more than 2 times.  Again, the identity remains the same.  There is continuity between what he was and what he is.

 

Christianity is unique when it comes to the fact of the resurrection of the human body.  Jesus claimed that when He died, in 3 days He would be raised from death and possess a new body. That new body would have the same identity:  Jesus of Nazareth, the Man.  That new body would have continuity with the former human body:  this same Jesus would possess a heavenly body.  In that glorified body Jesus could be seen, touched, eat, come out of a sealed tomb, and enter the closed doors of that upper room.   His resurrection was real.

 

Scoffers insist that is absolutely impossible.  Ancient Greek philosophers, respected for their “knowledge,” denied that there is no such thing as resurrection—the dead overcoming death and living forever.  A modern scoffer, Sigmund Freud known as the founder of psychiatry, insisted, “And finally there is the painful riddle of death, for which no remedy at all has yet been found, nor probably ever will be.”   Scoffers offer no hope beyond the grave.  Scoffers offer no hope of living in heaven’s paradise.  Scoffers offer no hope of seeing your loved ones again.

 

But, 2000 years ago, that sealed and guarded tomb under the hill of Golgotha could not stop the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In that resurrection body Jesus appeared to the apostles.  He not only appeared, He encouraged them to touch him and to give His something to eat.  The women came to bring burial spices on that 3rd day but—tomb empty, no body.  Just burial robe and the cloth that had covered His face undisturbed as if the body of Jesus floated out of it like a ghost.  He was no ghost.  His body was real!

 

A controversy arose among the church members at the Greek city names Corinth.  Some were saying that there was no resurrection (1st Corinthians 15:13ff).  The Apostle Paul defended the resurrection making the points that if they were right, then Jesus was dead, that his preaching was useless, that he was a liar, that, that the Christ was not risen, that their faith in Jesus was futile, and that they would be still in the bondage of their sins.  Let’s listen to Paul: “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (15:19).

 

The apostle continued in verses 35-44 that to scoff and deny the resurrection makes one a “fool.”  This word “fool” here does not mean stupid or dumb.  It refers a person who lacks common sense of the reality—the facts.  The fact is that 4 days after his death, Jesus raised Lazarus.  The facts are that over 500 persons were eyewitnesses saw Jesus in His resurrected body.  They testified on every street in Jerusalem that “He is risen, as He said!!” (Matthew 28:6).  Governor Pilate, the Jewish Sadducees, no one could find that dead body.

 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the “resurrection and the life.”  He who believes in Him, though he die, he shall live!  Will you believe this?  Whoever believes in Christ, they will live forever.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Jewish Scholar’s Confusion                        January 22, 2018

 

A Jewish Bible scholar had been fascinated by the incredible miracles performed by the Man from Nazareth.  Can anything good come from that despised city?  Nicodemus knew that. There was no other way to explain it but this: “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with Him” (John’s Gospel 3:1-2).

 

Jesus, reading that man’s mind, abruptly got to the point: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (verse 3).  The scholar was taken back – “born again”?   Did this mean “born anew”, he wondered.  Confusion blurred his thinking.  Surely he should know what this Galilean rabbi meant….

 

The scholar blurted out: “How can a man be born when he is old?  Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born? (verse 4).  Imagine that.  Surely an expectant mother would never want to go through birth pangs twice with one child!  Having 4 children, one at a time, yes.  But birthing one two times?  No way.

 

Jesus understood the confusion of the elderly rabbi.  Using comparisons, He began to explain what he meant.  “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (verse 5).

 

Without going into technical meanings, let’s look at the big picture.  “Born again” may well refer to the process of a human birth.  When a baby is ready to leave the womb, her “water breaks.”  When our 3rd child was born, that was the moment to assist my wife to slide into the car and hurry to the hospital.  This parallels the expression “that which is born of the flesh is flesh.” (verses

6-7).  Wind is a part of God’s creation, too, and it is both powerful and invisible; just as wind cannot be seen, the Holy Spirit is also invisible (verse 8).  There is the birth that welcomes a baby into the world.  There is a birth that welcomes a new believer into the kingdom of God.

 

Jesus took time to tell Nicodemus about His “rescue mission.”  God Himself sent Jesus “down from heaven” (verse 13).  The “Son of man” from heaven would be “lifted up” describes the crucifixion of the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (verse 14 & 1:29).  Jesus Christ identified Himself as the Son of God, the Messiah of the Jews (verses 16, 17, 18).  I can only imagine how Nicodemus was stunned.  He was speechless.  Was he gazing into the eyes of his Messiah?  In total silence he heard Jesus invite him to believe in Him with the promise he would not perish but have everlasting life.

 

How can anyone be saved from the judgment of God?  Jesus preached: “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand” (Matthew 4:17).  Pray, asking God to forgive you.  Place your faith in Jesus as the Son of God who died on that old rugged cross taking your punishment for your sins (1st John 1:7 & 9).  Believe His dead body was resurrected breaking the power of death (Romans 10:9-10, 13).  I did this.  If you do this, the Bible promises “Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God….  Who is he that overcomes the world, but He who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1st John 5:1 & 5).  God’s promise?  Everlasting life comes from being “born from above.”  Nicodemus put his faith in Jesus Christ and was “born again” (John 19:38-42).    Amen!

 

Did this mean “born of God”?

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

The Coming Return of Jesus Christ                  January 15, 2018


Shortly after the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, He gathered His disciples to the Mount of Olives just outside of Jerusalem.  He appeared in His resurrection body—a real body that could see, talk, hear, and be touched—the same new body that made doubting Thomas shout to Jesus: “My Lord and God!!”  This same Jesus promised that He would come again in power and glory.

 

For 40 days He had taught them all they needed to know about the coming Kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).  That done, “while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward as He went up, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven.’”  Jesus will come again!

 

The Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostle Paul supernatural details of that day and hour (read 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18).  How would Jesus raise up the saints (Christians) who had already passed away?  Some believers worried—would they be left behind?  How could they be raised?  Their concerns were answered.  When Jesus descends from heaven, an archangel will shout proclaiming His identity and blow the trumpet of God.  Instantly, by the power of Christ, the dead will rise first.  Moments later, Christians who were still living would be caught up together with them to meet Jesus Christ in the air.  The spirits of the dead (described as “asleep” in graves) and the spirits of the living would receive their immortal and tangible bodies at this tremendous event in the skies.

 

In Philippians 3:20-21, Paul described the supernatural miracle concerning resurrected bodies.  “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He able to subdue all things unto Himself.”

 

The Bible describes a person as being composed of a body and spirit.  Death can separate them.  The body will be buried.  The spirit departs to be with Jesus in heaven’s glory (compare Luke 8:54-56 and the death of Jesus, John 19:30).  The Bible is clear that upon death that the spirit leaves the body and goes to be present in heaven with Jesus (2nd Corinthians 5:8-9; compare Philippians 1:20-23).

 

Only God knows the date of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 24:36 & 42).  It is God’s “day-minder.”  No one person knows that day.  Just as the apostles urged Christians of their era to “eagerly wait” for that day, we should do the same.  Let’s make sure that our “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1st Thessalonians 5:23).

 

Are you ready for the return of the Lord?  I certainly hope so.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

 

Jesus Christ, the Hope of Glory             January 8, 2018

 

Emily Dickinson penned these lines regarding her personal perspective on genuine hope and joy, “Take all away from me but leave me ecstasy, and I am richer then than all my fellow-men.  Is it becoming me to dwell so wealthily, when at my very door are those possessing more in abject poverty?”  A rich man’s bank account cannot buy the hope and joy that can only be found in Christ.  Jesus paid the full price of one’s salvation.  He alone is one’s hope of glory.

 

Is this ecstasy possible?  Yes!  God promised believers that there is a “hope which is laid up for you in heaven.” (Colossians 1:5).  Every time the word “hope” is connected to salvation in the Bible, it is not a maybe or a “hope so” hope.  It is sure.  It is a covenant signed and sealed by the hand of God Himself.  Fanny Crosby, blinded in infancy, could testify, “Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine, oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!  Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.  This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long.”

 

This ecstasy was paid for with a terrible price by Jesus on that old rugged cross standing on the hill called Golgotha.  “… we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”  By sacrificing Himself Jesus “qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.  He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” (Colossians 1:12-14).  In a well-known song, Elvina M. Hall explained salvation simply: “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe, sin had left a crimson stain, He washed it white as snow.”

 

The Apostle Paul had it right: “… God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery … which is CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY.”  (Colossians 1:27).  To the congregation at Rome he was in a state of ecstasy -- glory and joy – exclaiming, “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”  (Romans 11:33).  Daniel W. Whittle put this verse into a song: “Once far from God and dead in sin, no light my heart could see; but in God’s Word the light I found, now Christ lives in me.  Oh, what a salvation is this!”

 

How did I receive this ecstasy, this God-sent glory and joy?  Here it is in Romans 10:9-10, 13 – “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. ….  For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  As a boy of 9, I believed in Jesus as my Lord, that He died for me, and arose alive from the tomb.  I confessed my faith in Jesus Christ to God.  At that moment, my soul was conveyed into the kingdom of God.  My name was entered into His Book of Life.  I did not have to be baptized for this.  What peace and joy I experienced when I said, “Amen.”  My sins were forgiven.  I was in Christ my Lord.

 

Is this too simple?  No.  God intended it to be simple so even a child could understand it

and put their faith in Christ as Savior.  I hope that you have done the same.  What joy we can have in Jesus Christ, our sure and trustworthy hope.

 

Pastor Ed Anderson

 

Her Life Changed 360 Degrees              January 1, 2018

 

The mother of Jesus was minding her own daily business as a young lady.  There was water to retrieve from the Nazareth well, clothes to wash and hang out to dry, and wheat to grind into flour.  Suddenly, Mary sensed that someone was in the room.  Who was this man?  He looked friendly.  He looked like one of the Jewish men in her village.  Curiosity put away any fear.  It was what he announced to her that “changed her life 360 degrees.”

 

With a comforting voice the stranger brought a message from heaven: “Rejoice, highly favored one, the LORD is with you; blessed are you among women!”  (Luke 1:28).  His message troubled her soul — what in the world does he mean?  Though she believed in the LORD as her Savior, how could she be so highly favored?  The reputation in Jerusalem of the Nazarene villagers was less than good.  To set her at ease, he spoke to her heart, saying, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”  The stranger called her by her name!  Perhaps, as with Zacharias the priest, the angel identified himself, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.”  (1:19).

 

Gabriel explained, “… behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a son, and shall call his name Jesus.”  Well, OK, she was betrothed to be married in less than 10 months.  A son?  That would be wonderful to present her fiancé a son to carry on the family name.  Give him the name him “Jesus”?  In line with the Jewish culture, Joseph might prefer to name his first son after himself, but, being the wonderful man he was, this name might be alright.  These thoughts might have been in her mind.  But, the angel was not finished.  “He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest (God), and the LORD God will give Him the throne of His father David … and of His kingdom there will be no end.” (1:32-33).

 

Mary understood the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah-King: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder.  And His Name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of peace.  …. The zeal of the LORD will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7).  In her meeting with her older cousin Elizabeth, she sang, “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name, and His mercy is on those who fear Him.”

(Luke 1:50).   What might be the “the great things” include?  A miraculous thing?  But how could this be?  (1:34).  Gabriel’s answer was unmistakable: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you ….” (1:35).  God Himself would empower her to conceive and become pregnant with the “Son of God”!!

 

God could do the impossible.  By faith Mary believed and replied to Gabriel, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord!  Let it be to me according to your word” from God.  (1:38).

 

Mary’s and Joseph’s lives took a 360 degree turn.  As the months passed by the miracle began to show.  Joseph, having been informed by an angel, married her immediately (Matthew 1:18—22).  He became her husband and protector.  Life-change obstacles confronted them. The emperor’s tax declaration required they go to Bethlehem to be registered.  The 3-day journey south as the Infant developed in her womb.  No place to stay.  No crib for a bed.  Just a manger made for livestock.  Away from home and family.  Her life was never the same.  Gladly she became God’s handmaiden.  God would provide for food, for finances, and a job for Joseph locally and even in Egypt. 

 

Are we willing to be maidservants and man-servants of the LORD?  Mary and Joseph shared the glad tidings Messiah-King.  May we follow their example.  Trust and obey.  There is no other way but to trust and obey in the paths of the LORD.  God will provide for us as He did for them.  Amen!

 

 

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