Our sincerest prayers and sympathies go out to Beverly and Monica Hayes. June McLarry (Beverly’s mother and Monica’s grandmother) passed away this past Friday morning. May the Lord bear them up in their sorrow and give them the comfort only He can give.
BAPTISM FOLLOWING THE MESSAGE TODAY
It is required by our Lord that all who have been brought to faith in Him to confess Him before men in believer’s baptism. This is required NOT for salvation and NOT to wash away our sins. Only the blood of Christ can wash away our sins. Baptism is required as a confession that our sins have already been washed away by the blood of Christ alone.
One of our young men, Timothy Pannell, who grew up here under the Gospel, comes this morning to confess his faith in Christ before the congregation in believer’s baptism. We thank God for His grace shown to Tim. May the Lord continue to bless Tim as he walks by faith in Christ.
The regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit will cause a man to rejoice in the pardon of sin through the blood of Christ, but it will not cause him to be careless in his lifestyle so as to live without consideration for the glory of God and the reputation of the gospel. The Spirit’s work will give him rest in his soul that all is well between him and a holy God because redemption has been accomplished by the Son of God, but it will not lead him to be indifferent about his soul’s eternal welfare. It will cause him to rejoice that he has a good hope through grace, but it will not make him any the less watchful for his safety. Every saved sinner is overwhelmed that he should be an object of the free and sovereign grace of God, yet none will ever turn away from this admonition, “Brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10). —Pastor Jim Byrd
Man’s entire apostasy and death in sin, so that he cannot save himself, and God’s entire supremacy, so that He saves whom He will, are doctrines exceedingly distasteful to human pride. But they are Scriptural! Why was one thief saved and the other lost? “Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in Thy sight” (Matthew 11:26). God was not bound to save the one, and He had the power enough to have saved the other, and neither could save himself. What made the difference? The sovereign grace of God! “For who maketh thee to differ from another? And what has thou that thou didst not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7).
JESUS CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY!
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25).
These verses express the major problem with all of us by nature in our sin and depravity that, if left to ourselves, will keep us from faith in Christ and repentance of dead works. The way that SEEMS right is wrong! Why does it SEEM so right in the eyes of sinful men? It is because it is the way of human morality, works, and religion, but it is really “ways of death.” It is highly esteemed in the eyes of men, but an abomination unto God (Luke 16:15). It APPEARS righteous unto men, but it is the height of hypocrisy and iniquity in the eyes of God (Matt. 23:28; cf. Matt. 7:21-23). Sinful people may be sincere and zealous in these things, and they may have every “good intention” in these things that seem right unto a man. But sincerity, zeal, and “good intentions” in promoting lies is foolish and deadly (Matt. 23:15; Luke 18:9-14; Rom. 9:31—10:3).
Why are these things such an abomination and iniquity to God? It is because God is only glorified in the salvation and preservation of sinners by His free and sovereign grace based on the merit of the obedience unto death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. God shows His people that the only way of salvation, forgiveness, righteousness, and eternal life is the way of His sovereign grace in and by the Lord Jesus Christ Who is Himself and by His obedience unto death the only true WAY – “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by ME” (John 14:6).
Without faith in Christ, we cannot please God (Heb. 11:6). Without faith in Christ, our morality is iniquity – i.e. it does not measure up to the perfection of righteousness that can only be found in the glorious Person and finished work of Christ. Without faith in Christ, our sincerity and zeal only promote dead works and fruit unto death. Without faith in Christ, our “good” intentions are not “good” at all, because our intentions cannot be to glorify God alone – “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by Whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14). Without faith in Christ, Who is the only Way, all other ways are “ways of death.” Eternal life is to know and trust Christ – “And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). —Pastor Bill Parker