September 28, 2015


A Monthly Publication of
Bethesda Baptist Church
September 28, 2015

BUSINESS MEETING, Wednesday, October 13, 7 p.m.

We have several October celebrations! Happy Birthday to:

* Gene on the 1st
* Glenda on the 4th
* Christy on the 6th
* Brady on the 20th
* Dan on the 28th

Also, we say Happy Anniversary to the following couples:

* Dan & Karla on the 9th
* Jimmy & Christi on the 23rd
October Fellowship

Annual Church Bonfire! Our church bonfire will be held on Friday the 9th beginning at 6:30 p.m. The church will provide the hot dogs. You bring some munchies, drinks, and a lawn chair!


The Luther Monthly

The book of Romans teaches the doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Martin Luther said much on this subject. Here is one sample from his commentary on Galatians (written 1531).

“Sin is not canceled by lawful living, for no person is able to live up to the Law. The Law reveals guilt, fills the conscience with terror, and drives men to despair. Much less is sin taken away by man-invented endeavors.  The fact is, the more a person seeks credit for himself by his own efforts, the deeper he goes into debt. Nothing can take away sin except the grace of God. In actual living, however, it is not so easy to persuade oneself that by grace alone, in opposition to every other means, we obtain the forgiveness of our sins and peace with God.”

Pastor’s Postscript

For reasons I do not comprehend, when football season begins, I hear TV ads, radio commercials, and newspapers talk more about gambling than they do other times of the year. So I thought I would share some thoughts on the subject with you this month. WARNING: if you are buying lottery tickets, visiting the boats, or putting down wages on games, I simply say to you, “STOP IT!” The remainder of this column may make you mad!

Gambling is a “big deal” in our country these days because such activity is no longer isolated to a few communities in Nevada. Even here in St. Charles we are faced with gambling not only by means of the various lotteries but also from local casinos. Is it wrong for a Christian to be engaged in the gambling industry by participating in lotteries and casino games? Is gambling contrary to Godly principles?

I believe the Bible does speak on the subject. First, though, what is meant by gambling? How does gambling differ from, say, spending $100 to go to a Cardinals game? The Oxford Dictionary’s primary definition on gambling states: “playing games of chance for money”. Obviously, when you attend a sporting event and pay a considerable price to do so, you are not involved in a game of chance and you are not looking for a financial gain. You are truly going for entertainment.

But is that ever the case with gambling activities such as lotteries, slot machines, or blackjack tables? Certainly these games are “games of chance”. And are you truly playing them for entertainment? What entertainment is there in pulling a slot machine handle? While I can never fully judge someone’s motive, I would seriously doubt there are many people purchasing lottery tickets at convenient stores for the fun of it. No, they are buying those tickets with some hope of gaining wealth. These games are gambles, not entertainment: you pay your money to play a game of chance in hope of financial gain. If an individual believes they gamble only for entertainment then please just go ahead and give me the money you were going to spend in the casino.

Often gambling is compared not only to forms of entertainment but to investments such as the stock market. Some will defend their stance on gambling by noting anyone who has money in the stock market is also gambling. But such arguments as these fail to understand the “guts” behind gambling.

All gambling involves: (1) putting something of value at risk (usually money), (2) chance involved in determining the outcome, and (3) something of value belonging to someone else as the possible prize. The bottom line: (1) no new wealth is created and (2) for every winner there are one or more (usually many) losers.

Now, if you want the Bible to say “Thou shall not gamble” then you will not find it. But this does not mean the Bible does not call gambling a sin.So, here are some reasons why I believe the Bible teaches against all forms of gambling and why Christians should not participate in such activities.

1. Gambling leads to destruction.
“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)

2. Gambling is driven by covetousness.
Reread the above verses. People gamble with some hope (either great or small) that they might make some money. They covet some level of financial gain.

3. Gambling is a form of stealing.
As noted above, gambling does not create new wealth. Rather it takes the money of the losers and gives it to the winners. This is nothing like the investment world. If a stock goes up, ALL investors win. If a stock goes down, ALL investors lose. But gambling takes the money of some and gives it to another. We know what the Bible says about stealing.

4. Gambling is improper stewardship of God’s possessions.
All that we have belongs to God. We are simply a trustee of those possessions and that includes the money in our possession. We are the stewards of the Master’s finances. Through the parable of the talents, Jesus taught that the good steward wisely invests, not gambles, the master’s money (Matthew 25). God calls on us to work and labor with what He has given us (1 Corinthians 4:12; Ephesians 4:28). Gambling the Master’s money is never acceptable.

5. Gambling argues against the sovereignty of God.
When folks gamble, they are risking their money on what they believe to be luck or chance. To do so denies the Biblical truth of the Sovereignty of God:

“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” (Proverbs 16:33)

6. Gambling takes advantage of the poor.
Statistics and common sense bear this out. Those who make the least are far more likely to gamble and to risk a higher percentage of their income than those who make more. The poor desire to quickly and easily end their poverty and become wealthy. A recent survey found individuals in the United States making less than $13,000 a year spend 9% of their income on lottery tickets. Gambling appeals to greed and the false hope of quick riches rather than a dependency on God and hard work.

7. Gambling is foolish.
The odds of winning in any gambling event are very, very low. This is especially true in the lottery. If you have extra money to spend on gambling, it is far better to place it in some interest bearing account and, ultimately, create wealth.

“Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” (Proverbs 21:20)

8. Gambling provides an improper testimony of God.
A Christian who is gambling in a casino, for example, is not honoring God by his action. He communicates to those who are watching him that he believes it is proper and right to win the money of others, mostly the poor, by playing a game of chance. He is teaching the lost around him that God approves of gaining (NOT MAKING) wealth in such a manner. Yet God clearly indicates we are to work and labor for such wealth as noted above.

There are other things I could say. I close with this thought: Jesus is standing before the boat on the Missouri River with a $100 bill. You finish the story.

May our Lord and Savior bless your October!

Pastor Bruce

October 6, 2014

A Weekly Publication of
Bethesda Baptist Church

October 6, 2014

Upcoming Activities

1. Bethesda Academy, Monday, 6:30 p.m.
2. BUSINESS MEETING, Wednesday,7:00 p.m.
3. Church Bonfire, Saturday, 6 p.m.
4. Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
5. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
6. Discipleship Training, Sunday, 5 p.m.

Church Bonfire!

Our annual church bonfire is scheduled for this Saturday, October 11 beginning at 6 p.m.  The church is providing the wood for the fire and the meat.  Bring a side dish, a desert, and a drink to share.  Also, bring a lawn chair (or blanket if you prefer).  If you have “roasting sticks”, it would probably speed the cooking process a bit if you brought them as well!

See you on Saturday evening.

“the chief point, and the very central place of the Epistle and of the whole Bible”
Martin Luther on Romans 3:21-31

Some Theological Terms

Our text for next Sunday morning introduces a couple of theological words, which require attention.  I’ll focus on one, namely “redemption”.

“To redeem” is to ransom someone from slavery or captivity.  In the Old Testament, the most famous example of redemption is the exodus.  God’s people, Israel, had been in bondage for centuries as slaves.  Using Moses, God redeemed His people.

Exodus 15:13 – You have led in your steadfast love the people whom you have redeemed.

Deuteronomy 7:8 – … the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Of course the exodus and other Old Testament acts of redemption all foreshadow and illustrate the ultimate redemption, Christ’s redemption of His people by way of the cross.

Ephesians 1:7 – In him we have redemption through his blood…

Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

1 Peter 1:18-19 – knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Hebrews 9:12 – he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.

Clearly the New Testament teaches that Christ redeemed His people by means of His blood on Calvary.  Most of the passages I quoted above reference the blood.  The purchase price for our redemption from sin was the death of Christ.  As Jesus Himself said,

Matthew 20:28 – even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

So redemption has been accomplished!  It is a completed act!  The price was paid on Calvary.  There is no further payment to be made.  As the Hebrews text above states, “by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.”

If Christ’s life was given as a ransom, if His blood paid the debt owed by our sins, and if this debt was completely paid at Calvary, one might ask the question, “For whom was this payment made?”  I would answer “For millions.”

Others would claim Christ’s death paid the price owed for every sin of every man.  That would mean every man has been ransomed.  Then I would ask the question, “Why do some find themselves in Hell if the penalty for their sins was paid for by Jesus at Calvary?”  Certainly the answer is not, “Because those people refused to believe Jesus and receive Him as their Savior” for disbelief is a sin meaning these men did not have all their sins paid for on Calvary.

Essentially the question is “What was God’s intent for Christ’s redeeming and atoning death?  Did God intend to redeem all or some?”  If God’s intent was to redeem all then Christ failed in His mission.  Not all are redeemed.  I cannot believe Christ failed.  Furthermore, I cannot believe Christ’s blood was shed for those who refused Him and are now in Hell.  That would imply His blood is ineffective.

No, I believe Scripture teaches God’s intent was to ransom MANY and, praise God; He has done so by the death of Christ!  Jesus was so named as the angel said, “He WILL save HIS people from THEIR sins” and He has done just that.  As the design for Moses’ work in the exodus was to redeem God’s people, not all people, it was God’s design in the work of Christ to redeem all of God’s people, each and every one of them, but not all people.

Such a thought makes one want to sing along with the words of that great hymn written by Fanny Crosby.

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the lamb;
Redeemed thro’ His infinite mercy,
His child, and forever, I am.

I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long;
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the lamb.
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child, and forever, I am.

“there is not probably in the whole Bible a passage which sets forth more profoundly the righteousness of God in Christ.”
John Calvin on Romans 3:21-31

Operation Christmas Child

We will begin our annual Operation Christmas Child collection in a couple of weeks.  When you are out shopping, be on the “look out” for some bargains that you might include in some of the shoeboxes.

“Scripture teaches that the righteous shall live by faith.  Man will never attain the righteousness required by God’s law.  His own attempts to become righteous will fail and, as a result, instead of being justified before God, he will be condemned.  God’s wrath will be poured out upon him because of his sin.  And all are guilty, Jew and Gentile.”

Pastor’s Postscript

I have gone a bit long again this week so I will close with a few reminders:

1.  We have a business meeting this Wednesday.  One item we will vote on is the election of 2 messengers to the Missouri Baptist Convention.  David and Christy Diamond have graciously volunteered so our church needs to officially recognize them as our messengers, permitting them to represent us in all the voting that takes place during the meeting.

2.  The church bonfire is this Saturday at 6 p.m.  We have held these for several years and they are always a great time of fellowship.  Plan on joining us this Saturday.

I hope to see you on Wednesday but, if not, please come out Saturday!

May Christ grant you a blessed week!

September 29, 2014

Upcoming Activities

1. Bethesda Academy, Monday, 6:30 p.m.

2. Ladies Book Study, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

3. Bible Study & Prayer Meeting, Wednesday, 7:00 p.m.

4. Deacons’ Meeting, Wednesday, 7:45 p.m.

5. Men’s Breakfast & Book Study, Saturday, 8 a.m.

6. Sunday School, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.

7. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

8. Discipleship Training, Sunday, 5 p.m.

Church Bonfire!

Our annual church bonfire is scheduled for Saturday, October 11 beginning at 6 p.m.  More details will follow in Sunday’s bulletin and next week’s newsletter!

Missouri Missions

We have finished collecting for the South Missouri State Mission Offering.  Your giving was amazing!  We passed our goal by at least 20%.  May the Lord bless your generosity. Another mission opportunity begins soon with our annual Operation Christmas Child project.  Stay tuned!

“Sin is not something that just scratches the surface.”  R. C. Sproul

Some Theological Terms

The next theological word demanding our attention is “justification”.  Here are some thoughts from others on this important subject.

Thomas Watson:  “Justification is the very hinge and pillar of Christianity.”

Timothy George:  “Justification is the presupposition of the Christian life.”

John Calvin:  Justification by faith “is the main hinge on which religion turns.”

Next, some explanations:

Criswell Study Bible:  “… justification is a legal term designed to picture the believer’s new status before God.  As a result of the redemption in Christ, God’s grace provides man with a righteous standing before God.  As a sinner, man is guilty and must be condemned.  However, the vicarious death of Jesus on the cross paid the penalty of sin, and on that basis God declares men of faith to be justified, i.e., treated as though innocent before God.  The moving cause of justification is the grace of God.  The ground upon which justification is accomplished is the blood of Christ.  Justification, like all other aspects of salvation, is appropriated by faith.”

Wayne Grudem:  “An instantaneous legal act of God in which he (1) thinks of our sins as forgiven and Christ’s righteousness as belonging to us, and (2) declares us to be righteous in his sight.”

John Murray:  “Regeneration is an act of God in us; justification is a judgment of God with respect to us.  The distinction is like that of the distinction between the act of a surgeon and the act of a judge.  The surgeon, when he removes an inward cancer, does something in us.  That is not what a judge does—he gives a verdict regarding our judicial status.  If we are innocent he declares accordingly.”

Ladies Book Study

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is the final class of the current Ladies Book Study.  I have heard only good reports from those who have been attending.  As pastor I want to thank all the ladies who have been a part of this successful study.  I especially want to thank Pam for all her time and effort in leading you ladies! May God bless each of you and use the material you have learned for His glory!

“Lost people aren’t seeking God; they are seeking what they can get from God.  They want to escape Hell but they don’t want the God who can deliver them.  They want peace in this life but they don’t want the Prince of Peace.  They want a ‘Purpose Driven Life’ but they don’t want the God who sovereignly decreed their purpose in life.”  

“Stopping mouths is a difficult business.” A. T. Robertson

Happy Birthday!

* Gene Schulze celebrates another birthday this Wednesday, October 1.

* Glenda Averett also celebrates this week, on Saturday, October 4.

Pastor’s Postscript

The Lord was kind and gracious to us yesterday in sending another visitor our way.  We are always delighted and blessed when He does so! Make sure you note on your calendar the church bonfire which is less than 2 weeks away.  We always have a good time at this event and I see no reason why this year should be any different.  We want everyone to turn out and join in the fun! See you on Sunday if not before!

May our Lord watch over you this week and bless you in many ways!


October 7, 2013

Urgent Prayer Requests

* Petra Lau and her family, friends of Karla – her father was murdered
* Bill Sugar, friends of the Diamonds, Lymphoma
* Brenda & Pete, health concerns.
* Special prayer for Zachary
* Cynthia Wordlaw, need for a kidney
* Dennis fighting kidney failure
* Sandy & Rachelle, working many hours (plus Rachelle is under the weather) & Julie at Mizzou
* Dan, health concerns
* Mueller family, Alicia’s pregnancy
* Marilynn Norvell
* Aaron Wordlaw and his arthritis
* Gene & Lois Schulze at home
* Mark & Julie Johnson and the situation with their Illinois home
* Wednesday’s business meeting as we consider a proposal for a new sign
* Our church and need for revival

Upcoming Activities

1. Ladies Book Study, Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.
7 p.m.
3. Autumn Bonfire, Saturday, 6 p.m.
4. Sunday school, Sunday, 9:15 a.m.
5. Worship Service, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.
6. Discipleship Training (Elijah), Sunday,
5 p.m.

“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.”
1 Corinthians 15:52

Ladies’ Book Study

TOMORROW (October 8) evening at 6:30 p.m.  BE THERE!!!

Business Meeting

Our monthly business meeting is this Wednesday evening at 7 p.m.  One item on the agenda is a proposal from the Trustees for a new church sign.  I encourage ever member to attend the meeting and have a voice in this selection.

  Autumn      Bonfire

Our annual bonfire will take place this Saturday evening beginning at 6 p.m. behind the church.  Please bring some firewood (if you have any), some goodies to eat (hot dogs, chips, marshmallows, etc.), something to drink, and your lawn chair!

Sermon Extras

The main thrust of my message yesterday was to convey some certainties concerning the future of Christians like you and me.  These certainties, as Paul notes in verse 18, are to bring encouragement.  I shared with you 5 certain future events outlined in these paragraphs:  the Lord returns, the dead are raised, the living are raptured, a reunion occurs, and eternity begins.

Concerning the rapture, the common teaching of our day is that the Lord will return prior to 7 years of great tribulation on the earth and remove his followers via the rapture.  Following the tribulation, Christ will come to earth in His second coming to essentially end history and deal with the lost.

In this view the rapture is seen as a quiet affair.  Jesus comes, raises his dead followers, and takes his living followers with him back into the air.  The lost world “awakens” to find many missing people but no good explanation for their disappearance.

I once held this position.  However, the more I have examined the 1 Thessalonians passage as well as others, I do not see the “rapture” text as a quiet affair.  As I said yesterday, you must read INTO the text this quietness.  The Lord descends with a cry of command, the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God.

Speaking of trumpets, notice the following verses:

1 Thess. 4:16 – the Lord returns with the trumpet of God and raptures the living.

1 Cor. 15:51-52 – “Behold! I tell you a mystery.  We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the LAST trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised, imperishable, and we shall be changed.”

There is no doubt Paul is referring to the same event in these two letters.  It is the event we call the rapture.  So the trumpet call is the “last” trumpet call.

Now read Matthew 24:29-31 and note the presence of the trumpet call.  As I understand Scripture, the rapture of the living believer takes place at the Lord’s second coming, not some 7 years before it.

While we may disagree on this, two things we may agree on are these:  Jesus is coming back and ALL his followers will be forever with Him!

Pastor’s Postscripts

I am grateful for everyone who attended our service yesterday morning.  We are not a large congregation and, when two or more families are out of town on the same Sunday, their absence is keenly felt!  Furthermore, I appreciate the band leading us in singing despite missing 40% of their members!  And it was also a blessing to have Audrey back with us and even singing a special song as part of our worship service.  Thanks to each of you for utilizing your gifts in the service of Christ!

I’m certain many of you are sharing Christ with those who are lost and I encourage you to continue to do so.  But, if you seem to be making little progress, at least extend them and invitation to attend church with you on Sunday.  The Lord uses multiple methods for bringing His sheep into the Kingdom.  As Paul wrote, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.”  Perhaps your testimony to your family, friends, and acquaintances is the planting.  And perhaps their attendance at church will be their watering.  Perhaps then God will be pleased to provide their growth into a child of God!

Autumn is now here and the holidays are rapidly approaching.  Please join us this Saturday for our annual bonfire, somewhat a mark of the approaching end of the year.  It’s always a good time of fellowship.

See you then or, at least, on Sunday!