Category Archives: Bulletin Articles

Words of wisdom from our weekly bulletin

JESUS PURCHASED A GUARANTEED UPGRADE FOR US

Psalm 45:6-7 reads: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever. The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness; you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions” (ESV).

The writer of Hebrews quotes this passage as something spoken by the Father to the Son (Heb 1:8-9)  The next two verses of the psalm inspired Henry Barraclough, at the age of 24, to write the hymn Ivory Palaces: “My Lord has garments so wondrous fine, And myrrh their texture fills; Its fragrance reached to this heart of mine With joy my being thrills. Out of the ivory palaces, Into a world of woe, Only His great eternal love Made my Savior go.”

On earth the foxes have dens and the birds have nest, but God had nowhere to lay his head.  The Savior traded heaven’s ivory palaces for a world of woe so that we can upgrade from a tent to an ivory palace. And what an upgrade it is:

“For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent groan, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life.  Now He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who also has given us the Spirit as a guarantee” (2 Cor 5:1-5).

 

                                                  Don Campbell

ANGELS

When we sing “Count your many blessings” how often do we include angels?  In the 3rd stanza this line occurs, “angels will attend, help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.”  The topic of angels is such a multi-faceted one that there will surely be lots of varieties of opinion. It seems to exemplify that verse in I Cor 13 which talks of “seeing but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.”  After reading all the references you may come to a different conclusion, which is fine since it doesn’t deal with salvation.  The characteristics of angels runs the gamut from the one who lost the struggle with Jacob ( Ge 32: 22-28) ( Hos12: 4) to the one in 2 Kings 19: 35) who went into the Assyrian camp and put to death 185,000 men in a single night.

There has to be a huge amount of angels in heaven since there is mentioned in Revelation 5:11 thousands upon thousands and 10,000 X 10,000 ( one hundred million) who are gathered around the throne of God to sing His praise. It could well be that each has a name and a personality given the fact that God created every human to be different.  They are called celestial attendants of God or messengers of God by the dictionary.  Ironically, only two have names in the Bible.  Gabriel went to Nazareth to tell Mary of her honor of becoming the mother  of  the  Christ  and  Michael  who disputed with the devil about the

body of Moses.  ( Jude 9) ( I Th 4: 16)  Of course Satan has his angels also although no number is given. ( Jude 6) ( Rev 12: 9) ( 2 Pe 2: 4)

Little children have angels in heaven who always see the face of the Father. ( Mt 18: 10) Christians have angels who are ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation. ( Heb 1:14)  Peter escaped from Herod’s prison with the help of an angel who was called “his angel” by the brethren meeting in John Mark’s mother’s house. ( Acts 12;15)  Angels appeared to Jesus just before his crucifixion to strengthen him. ( Lk 22: 43)  One whose appearance was like lightening and his clothes were white as snow rolled back the stone covering Jesus’ tomb.  ( Mt 28: 2-7)

We hear Jesus say that in heaven we will be like the angels in that we will neither marry nor be given in marriage and like the angels, we will no longer die.  ( Lk 20:36) If we still have the curiosity, we may want to find our guardian angel and thank them. Here on earth men have entertained angel unaware. Abraham ( Ge 8) ( Gideon ( Jdg 6) Manoah, Samson’s father, ( Jdg 13) were some.  Because of all the different manifestations mentioned here I believe Christians have guardian angels. We are never to worship them, but we should thank God for sending them. ( Col 2: 18)                                                                                                                                                                                            ——Jim Bailey

WALK THIS WAY

With the possible exceptions of a shoe salesman, a charm school teacher, or a physical trainer or therapist, no one needs to tell us how to walk after learning it as a toddler.  We can choose our own speed, pace and frequency even without a special tutor on our wrist.  It is sometimes so unique that some people can be identified without seeing their face.

If we define this way as a spiritual walk, path or journey through life, then the how becomes much more important.  Although this journey is often called a race in several scriptures ( Acts 20:24) ( 1 Cor 9:24) ( Gal 2:2) ( Gal 5:7) ( 2 Tim 4:7) the idea seems to imply a perseverance ( Heb 12:1) rather than a speed contest. Ironically the Olympics has now sanctioned race walking as an event.

We are to walk in love ( 2 Jo 6) truth ( 2 Jo 4 ) and light. ( Jo 1:7) Jesus sets the when and where of our walk—“…whoever follows me will never walk in darkness” ( Jo 8:12) and “…A man who walks by day will not stumble.” ( Jo 11:9)

Jesus is the way. ( Jo 14:6) He allows us to walk in the correct way “by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body.” ( Heb 10:20)  Outsiders in the first Century used the term The Way and called it a sect. ( Acts 9: 2) ( Acts 24:14)  Christians called love the most excellent way. ( I Cor 12:31)  We walk this way when we are immersed into Christ and become sons and daughters of God. ( Gal 3: 26-27)  A very familiar poem talks about walking in the footprints of Jesus and realizing at some point that he is carrying us through the most difficult areas.

—Jim Bailey

BLASPHEMY

Blasphemy is not only oral cursing or reviling God, but also is irreverent behavior towards anything held sacred.  Jesus was frequently accused of it by the Pharisees and Teachers of the Law. ( Mt 9: 3) ( Lk 5: 21) ( Jo 10: 36)  It is very easy for Christians today who can see the big picture to question the behavior those leaders.  To be fair,  they thought they were obeying the Old Testament Scriptures which taught not to desecrate the Sabbath and many other actions which Christ did. ( Eze 20: 27)  When Sennacherib king of the Assyrians insulted and blasphemed the Holy One of Israel ( Isa 37: 6 & 23) ( Isa 52: 5) God sent an angel to their camp and put to death 185,000  men.  No wonder the Jews of Jesus’ day thought he deserved death for his “irreverent behavior.”  By claiming to forgive sins and for claiming to be equal with the Father, Jesus was blaspheming in their eyes.

The Apostle Paul included himself as a former blasphemer and persecutor of Christians ( 1 Tim 1: 13) and yet forgiven by God’s grace because he acted in ignorance and unbelief. ( Acts 26:11)  The New Testament false teachers caused the name of Christ to be blasphemed among the Gentiles by bragging about the Law and yet breaking it. ( Ro 2: 24)  They slandered celestial beings because they didn’t understand such matters. (  2 Pe 2: 10-12)

Jesus forgave such sinners from the cross because, “they know not what they are doing.” He also said, …all the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them…” ( Mk 3: 28)  However, in the next verse he proclaims one of the most difficult teachings in the Bible.  “ But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin. ( Mk 3: 29)  This verse touches New Testament Christians who have been given the indwelling Holy Spirit by obedience ( Acts 2:38) ( Acts 5:32) ( Jo 14: 16 -18)

I believe that if we “fall away” and evict the Holy Spirit from our inner being, it will be  “impossible” to be brought back to repentance because we would be crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.  We would be blaspheming the Holy Spirit he gave us and thus have no other recourse. ( Heb 6: 4-6)

—Jim Bailey

Lift High the Royal Banner

LIFT HIGH THE ROYAL BANNER

When an army is scattered on the battlefield, every soldier becomes more vulnerable. David wrote: “But you have given us a banner to rally to; all who love truth will rally to it; then you can deliver your beloved people. Use your strong right arm to rescue us” (Psa 60:4-5).

Our banner today is Christ himself, for he said, “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV).

Christ was lifted up 1983 years ago.   In 1887, Daniel W. Whittle wrote the hymn The Banner of the Cross. The refrain rallies soldiers of the cross: “Marching on, marching on, For Christ count everything but loss! And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing, ’Neath the banner of the cross!”

The second verse calls us to lift high the royal banner “Over land and sea, wherever man may dwell, Make the glorious tidings known; Of the crimson banner now the story tell, While the Lord shall claim His own!”

Like some who do not appreciate the sacrifices of those who have died defending the Stars and Stripes, but trample on it or wear it as clothing, some professing Christians do not appreciate our crimson banner, bringing shame and reproach upon it with sinful living.

Paul said that Jesus gave “Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself  His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14).  Let us lift high the royal banner of the cross, not by wearing it, carrying it, or parading it, but by being a people zealous of good works.

           Don Campbell