STIRRINGS AT BETHESDA
A Weekly Publication of Bethesda Baptist Church
July 7, 2014
1. Bethesda Academy, Monday, 6:30 p.m.
2. Business Meeting, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.
3. Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
4. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
5. Discipleship Training (“The Attributes of God”), Sunday, 5 p.m.
Special Prayer Requests
* Pam at home recovering from knee replacement surgery.
* Bill, father of Walkers’ son-in-law, in hospital with blood clots in his lungs.
Since there will NOT be a newsletter next week, here are the birthdays for the next two weeks:
* Caitlin Brook, Monday, July 7
* DiAndre Wordlaw, Monday, July 14
* Denise Hall, Tuesday, July 15
* Rich Norvell, Thursday, July 17
* Ellen Brook, Friday, July 18
This Sunday brother Curtis McClain will fill the pulpit in my absence. Please keep him in prayer as he prepares to preach the Word.
“The Gospel is not advice; it is power!”
Julie and San Diego
If you want to send Julie any gift cards, just plan to mail them directly in the next week as I, Debbie, will be out of town. She could use Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, or Target cards. Send them to:
Campus Crusade for Christ
824 Santa Clara Place Unit #2
San Diego, CA 92109
The Bethesda Academy
It’s never too late to join our Monday night study of the book of Revelation. We are studying the seven letters to the seven churches from chapters 2 and 3. Come join us tonight (Monday) at 6:30 p.m.
“When we preach Christ crucified, we have no reason to stammer, or stutter, or hesitate, or apologize; there is nothing in the gospel of which we have any cause to be ashamed.”
Saturday, July 26 is a swimming fellowship for everyone even if you are not swimming! The fun begins at 2 p.m. at the home of David and Christy Diamond. Check future bulletins and newsletters for specifics but mark your calendars now!
“It (the Gospel) is a means made use of by God in quickening dead sinners, enlightening blind eyes, unstopping deaf ears, softening hard hearts, and making of enemies friends; to which add, the manner in which all this is done, suddenly, secretly, effectually, and by love, and not force.”
The second Wednesday of each month is our church business meeting. That means we will all gather at 7 p.m. this Wednesday to discuss the business of the church. Come out and be a participant.
As you probably know by now, Debbie and I will be out of town next Sunday. We had planned on visiting my sister in northeast Indiana this past January. But, at the last moment, we had to postpone the trip due to weather. So we are leaving this Thursday and will return late next Tuesday.
In my absence Dr. Curtis McClain of Missouri Baptist University will preach. I encourage you to be present, lift him up in prayer as he proclaims the Word, and enjoy the spiritual meal he provides you next Sunday.
Finally, there is another matter that has been on my heart for some time (long before I came to Bethesda). Expressing my thoughts will result in a longer newsletter but I pray you take the time to read it.
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 1 John 2:3-4
Here are two critical verses from God’s Word which, in my humble opinion, many who profess the name of Jesus in our day need to carefully ponder. What follows is my translation with emphasis on the verbal forms in the two verses.
And by this we are presently and constantly knowing that we have come to know him once and forever, if we are presently and constantly keeping his commandments. Whoever is saying “I have come to know him once and forever” and are not keeping his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
In verse 3 John gives us the positive key to having assurance of our salvation. “To know him once and forever” is a statement implying a permanent relationship with Christ, i.e., salvation. If our lifestyle reveals we are consistently keeping the commandments of Jesus then we may have confidence that we are, indeed, His children.
But in verse 4, John presents the other side of the equation. If someone is claiming they possess salvation (“I have come to know him once and forever”) but they are not living a life which consistently keeps the commandments of Jesus, John says that person is a liar. Furthermore the truth is not in him. I believe that last remark means this liar is a false professing individual. He does not have God’s Spirit (the Spirit of TRUTH) dwelling in him. He is NOT saved.
Professing Christians, examine your life. Are you consistently and continuously keeping the commandments of Christ? If not then John says you should NOT trust your profession of faith. If you know Christ has commanded you to do something and you refuse then you are disobedient. And if that disobedience is habitual, you have not been born again. You are not saved. You are under God’s wrath.
What are “His commandments”? They are the 10 commandments, yes. They are the two great commandments given by Christ, yes. But they are all the commandments Christ has given in the New Testament. Here are a few:
1. Repent of your sins.
2. Trust (believe) Jesus.
3. Be baptized.
4. Join with a local church.
5. Be filled with the Spirit.
6. Worship together with fellow believers.
7. Share the Gospel with others.
8. Study the Word.
9. Pray without ceasing.
10. Give (time, money, service).
These are some of the commandments given by Christ. A person who has been truly born again DESIRES to keep all of these commandments (and more). We are saved by grace not by keeping the law. But once saved, we long to keep our Lord’s commands and we strive to do so.
People in our nation say the church is no longer effective. They claim the church has lost its power. Well, they are partially correct. The church is comprised of God’s people. Unfortunately many of those who are members in our churches are professors only. They have never truly repented. They
have never truly believed. God has not regenerated them and implanted His Spirit into their heart. They are simply trying to live a different kind of life on their own, the kind of life they know “church people” expect them to live. Why would we be surprised if a church has no power when it consists of many members who are unbelievers?
I am grateful that God has called me to be your pastor. However, God has not given me the ability to read hearts. Therefore, I challenge you and exhort you to examine yourself. Are you keeping Christ’s commandments because you long to please your Master? Or does your life reveal that you really have no interest in the things of God and obeying the Lord’s commands?
May Christ give you wisdom as you examine your own soul. And may He bless next Sunday’s service!