Saved to the Uttermost – William J Kirkpatrick (1875)

Saved to the uttermost: I am the Lord’s;
Jesus my Saviour salvation affords;
Gives me His Spirit, a witness within,
Whispering of pardon, and saving from sin.

Refrain –
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost;
Saved, saved by power divine;
Saved, saved, saved to the uttermost:
Jesus the Saviour is mine!

Saved to the uttermost: Jesus is near;
Keeping me safely, Hi casteth out fear;
Trusting His promises, now I am blest;
Leaning upon Him, how sweet is my rest.

Saved to the uttermost: this I can say,
“Once all was darkness, but now it is day;
Beautiful visions of glory I see,
Jesus in brightness revealed unto me.”

Saved to the uttermost; cheerfully sing
Loud hallelujahs to Jesus my King;
Ransomed and pardoned, redeemed by His blood,
Cleansed from unrighteousness; glory to God!

Lyrics by William J Kirkpatrick (1875)

Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:25).

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The Days of Our Youth

After being ill for nearly two months earlier this year, my wife bought me a tanning package for my birthday. Tanning produces vitamin D – known as the “happy vitamin” – in the body, and she also hoped it get rid of the unfashionable “death warmed over” look I was sporting and she was concerned about.

The tanning salon is located in a gym, and when I went in to tan last week, I got into a conversation with the young man working at the counter. Nick told me that I look fit and have a toned muscular body and wanted to know my workout routine. My workout routine is basically: (1) pick up a book; (2) read; (3) turn the page; (4 ) repeat.

After 10 or 15 minutes chatting, he logged on to his computer to get me signed in. He stared at the screen a bit before I asked if there was a problem with my account.

“There’s no problem … I was just noticing when you were born. You’re the same age as my grandpa.”

“No, Nick, your grandpa is much older than I am,” I replied.

While I laid on the tanning bed I did the math. I AM old enough to be Nick’s grandfather.

Statistically, as an American male born when I was, I can expect to live to be 67 years old. Considering my family history, I’m likely to live at least into my early to mid-90s. Either way, my life here on earth is finite. So is yours.

There is no time like right now to trust in the Lord Jesus and be saved. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring for you.

The Bible encourages you to Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).

Ending Racism

Jesus answered and said, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female’ ” (Matthew 19:4).

Jesus believed that Adam and Eve were the first people and quoted from Genesis 1:27, demonstrating that the Genesis account of Creation is literal. Now here’s a question for you: What color was Adam and Eve’s skin?

Science has long proven – and continues to prove with new evidence – exactly what the Bible says: every skin tone known to man is possible with one set of genes (click here and here). Our desire here isn’t to debate the color of Adam and Eve’s skin, but to land squarely on the Biblical teaching that there is only one race: the human race.

The idea that some skin tones create people of greater or lesser ability isn’t rooted in Christianity or the Bible, but directly in atheistic evolution. The book most responsible for the prevalent idea of different races and racism in our world today was written by Charles Darwin in 1859. It’s full title is: On the Origin of Species: On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. 

Racism wasn’t created by white people – as someone tried to tell me yesterday. The Bible says that racism is the result of man’s rebellion against God in the Garden of Eden and sin keeps it going today.

The Bible says that every person born of Adam was originally made in the likeness and image of God the Creator (Gen 1:27; 5:1) and that sin altered that likeness and image. It is sin that separates people from God and one another in a thousand and one different ways. It is sin that creates pride and a sense of superiority. Sin can make anyone a racist. It is sin that God condemns in the Bible. It is sin for which God sent Jesus to die as the solution.

Sin’s fix isn’t in the racist idea of blaming “white privilege.” It isn’t by conducting protests, creating new laws, or shaming anyone. The answer for every sin of every kind is redemption in Christ Jesus, who died as the eternal Sacrifice for sin. Salvation in Jesus is the solution for racism and every other evil known to the human race.

Sin doesn’t distinguish based on skin-color; it’s an equal-opportunity destroyer. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and live!

The Symbol of the Wedding Ring

I wear a very simple wedding ring. It is forged stainless steel so it never tarnishes, breaks, or wears, and is inscribed with a verse from Scripture: I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine (Song of Solomon 6:3). My ring didn’t make me married, but symbolizes to myself and the world that I belong to my wife.

The wedding ring is an ancient symbol of marriage, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans about 3,000 years. Early rings were made of bone, ivory, or leather ,and the circle was representative of the eternal love and union of a man and a woman.

In the Roman empire, iron was used for rings. Silver was introduced during the 1700s in Europe. In America, a husband would give his wife a sewing thimble at marriage. The woman would then remove the top of the thimble to use as a ring. In some Indian cultures, the woman wears a toe ring rather than a finger ring.

In general, men did not wear wedding rings until the early 1940s, when soldiers fighting in World War 2 wore them as reminders of their wives back home. The ring was an outward symbol of a man and woman, a husband and wife, identified as one.

Throughout the history of civilized humanity, independent of culture, the ring has served as an outward symbol of identification and union. The ring doesn’t make two people married, but identifies one man united with one woman.

The Christian ritual of water baptism is like a wedding ring. Being dunked in a river or pool can’t wash away sins. If water removed sin, there would be no reason for Christ to have died. Rather, water baptism is an outward symbol that a believer is identified with Jesus.

As the Christian goes down in the water, it symbolizes his identification with the death of Jesus by faith. When he emerges from the water, it symbolizes his identification with the resurrection of Christ, again by faith. Water baptism is an outward symbol for all to see that we are inwardly identified and one with Jesus by faith.

He who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17).

First Graduating Class

The following remarks by Richard L Rice on August 11, 2018, were delivered to the first graduating class of Berean School of Ministry, Tala, Kenya.

We’ve assembled here today to recognize each of the students who have worked hard, studied faithfully, striven to achieve, and fulfilled all the requirements to become the first graduating class of Berean School of Ministry.

In the United States we hold graduation ceremonies much like this, but we use another word to describe this event: commencement. The word “graduation” means to give a diploma, but “commencement” means to begin or start. Today, graduates, is a new start, a beginning for you.

You’ve sat through long lectures, memorized the map of ancient Israel, read through much of the Bible, and studied and prepared for exams. These activities have been planned to increase your knowledge of God’s Word for your own spiritual growth and for teaching God’s Word to others; but this school is only a foundation for other things. What you build, and how you build, on this foundation is up to you. The foundation is the beginning of the rest of your life and service to the Lord Jesus.

Learning is life-long process. Your time at Berean School has been short and far too short to really know the infinite God or His Word to mankind. The Bible was written over a period of nearly 2,000 years – there is no way to understand it in only 3 or 4 years. Make this commencement day the beginning of a continued daily studying and learning the Scriptures for yourself.

Whether you use the knowledge gained in this school as a pastor, or just a better equipped servant in your daily life, knowledge and life-long learning are not the goal. Big heads filled with lots of information don’t make us better people. Through these past years I’ve reminded some of you through emails and WhatsApp and Facebook messages, the words of the Apostle John in Third John 3 and 4: I rejoiced greatly when brethren came and testified of the truth that is in you, just as you walk in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. Know the truth. Share the truth. Defend the truth. Contend for the truth. But be very sure that you are also walking in the truth. Your obedience to the truth shows that you understand the truth.

The truth of God is found in the Word of God. His Word is the truth. And God’s Word is sufficient for your every spiritual need. The Bible 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 (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Spirit of God uses the Scriptures to feed you, sustain you, build you, equip you, correct you, teach you, and prepare you for every good work. It is not prayer, or spiritual gifts or singing, or even ministry that is sufficient for your every spiritual need. Make today the beginning of life and ministry which is grounded and founded in the Scriptures alone.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Church in Rome that the power of God is manifested today in the preaching of the Scriptures (Rom 1:16). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation because it’s the Scriptures that reveal Jesus the Saviour. They speak of Him (Heb 10:7). On the Road to Emmaus, Jesus opened the Scriptures to the disciples (Lk 24:32).

John Calvin, one of the pillars of the Protestant Reformation, said, “The Scriptures should be read with the aim of finding Christ in them.” Never read your Bible without finding Jesus in its pages. Never preach a sermon without showing your hearers the glory of Christ. The commencement of your spiritual life began with Christ by grace through faith – now be certain that every step after this graduation is carefully guarded in Christ and with Christ by grace through faith.

May God richly bless you, my beloved.

 

Blind as a Pat

Bats are most active at night, but they don’t use their eyes to see. Instead, these flying mammals use a sophisticated form of sonar, transmitting a sound humans can’t hear, but which echoes back to the bat giving it a clear picture of where it is and what’s ahead. Because they don’t use their eyes to see while flying, we have the English phrase, “blind as a bat.”

Pat taught the adult Sunday school class in my church many years ago. One Sunday morning he showed up later than usual from the bus and he wasn’t wearing his glasses. Pat was quite blind without his glasses.

Pat,” I asked, “where are your glasses?

The Lord told me that I’m healed, so I threw my glasses in the garbage.”

Can you see?” I asked.

No, but I believe I can.

The following Sunday, Pat didn’t show up at all for the church service. His wife told me he’d taken the entire week off of work and on Sunday couldn’t find his way to the bus stop. The week after that he walked in Sunday morning with a new pair of glasses.

We have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:19-21).

Notice that Peter didn’t write that “prophecy comes” in the present tense, as if people still hear words from the Lord today. Instead, prophecy “never came“, past tense. God speaks today through the Scriptures.

Pat thought God had spoken to him by some supernatural means outside of the Bible. He forgot that the thoughts of our hearts are deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9). Sin deceives even the best of us into thinking we’ve heard what is really the musings of our own hearts. The only sure Word of God is the written Word of God, the Bible.

Don’t be blind as a Pat.

There is a Fountain – William Cowper (1771)

There is a fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins;
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains,
Lose all their guilty stands, lose all their guilty stains.
And sinners, plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains.

The dying thief rejoiced to see that fountain in his day;
And there my I, tho’ vile as he, wash all my sins away,
Wash all my sins away, wash all my sins away.
An there my I, tho’ vile as he, wash all my sins away.

Dear dying Lamb, Thy precious blood shall never lose its power
Till all the ransomed Church of God be saved, to sin no more;
Be saved, to sin no more; be saved, to sin no more;
Till all the ransomed Church of Go be saved, to sin no more.

E’er since, by faith, I saw the stream Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die.
And shall be till I die, and shall be till I die,
Redeeming love has been my theme and shall be till I die.

When this poor lisping, stamm’ring tongue lies silent in the grave,
The in a nobler, sweeter song I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save,
I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save, I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.
Then in a nobler, sweeter song I’ll sing Thy pow’r to save.

Lyrics by William Cowper (1771)

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow (Psalm 51:7).

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is a staple in the lives of most religious people. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians, and others pray. Even atheists pray! All of them claim answered prayers.

We often see and hear the phrases, the power of prayer and prayer changes things. These are phrases I detest. It’s one thing to say that we believe in the power of prayer, but it’s entirely different to say we believe in the God who hears and answers prayer. Prayer doesn’t change anything; God changes things. One is idolatry, the other acknowledges and glorifies God.

To talk about the power of prayer or prayer changes things means that it’s my words which are powerful. If the power to change things is in my prayer, God is robbed of His power and glory.

The power of prayer puts the results of prayer in the persuasive nature of my words rather than in the sovereign God who hears and answers.

The power of prayer rests in the faith I place in myself and what I say or how I say it. That’s very different from trusting God to hear and reply based on His love, grace, and perfect will.

There are some who say, “why, they’re just harmless phrases,” but I would much rather believe in and speak of an Almighty God who answers prayer according to His will, than to boast about the power of my feeble and often ignorant words.

Call to Me, and I will answer you … (Jeremiah 33:3).

Follow Your Heart

There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12).

Each Sunday morning I drive by a shallow pond in a city park where people bring their mechanized toy boats. Once in a while I see someone who has lost control of his boat and it falls under the influence of the ever-changing wind or water current. It floats haphazardly, lost to every influence it encounters.

So often we’re tempted to respond to life just like those boats. We read or hear something in the Bible and judge it emotionally. Something occurs, and we know what the Word says, but we don’t want to believe what God says about it. We allow our personal feelings deceive us into deciding what is true or false, good or bad, wise or unwise. You’ve thought, “I prayed about it and have peace” or heard someone say, “I don’t know what the Bible says, but the Holy Spirit told me ...”

The wisdom of the world pleads, “Follow your heart.” This temptation to discern truth based on our feelings is dangerous, because our feelings are often moved by sin. The Bible says The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

We make decisions because of the flitting desires of our hearts, even when these thoughts are contrary to what Jesus taught and He Himself prayed: Thy will be done (Matthew 6:10; Luke 22:42).

Seeking direction based upon our feelings will always move us outside of God’s Word. Our ever-changing emotions make us prone to being led astray by our own momentary wisdom rather than the wisdom of God.

God calls His children to live self-controlled lives under the direction of the Spirit of God working through the Word of God. Our minds – as well as our emotions – must submit to the Lordship of Jesus. When we let our feelings be our guide, we become slaves to our unstable feelings rather than to the One whose Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).

Praying with the Mob

The word democracy comes from the ancient Greek word meaning strength or rule of the people. The idea of democracy is that the majority of a people, acting as one, exercise influence or control over the policies and direction of government. The more people who want a certain thing are able to get it.

There are different degrees of democratic government in the world, but Heaven is not a democracy. God’s government is not controlled by powerful people nor by sheer numbers. Heaven is ruled by a sovereign Monarch.

How often have you heard someone say, We need to get everyone we know to pray for this certain thing. The more people who are praying, the more powerful our prayers will be. In other words, we can gang up on God with prayer gatherings, all-night prayer conferences, and the like, and make Him bow to our pleas. The idea that the more people who pray, the more powerful the prayer, is an attitude that God is a servant of the mob of numbers.

God’s response to prayer is not based on the number of people praying. The Bible knows nothing of such an idea. Instead, the Word of God reminds us:

The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16).

The prayer of a lone righteous believer has the exact same influence as one billion Christians simultaneously trying to move God by their numbers.

In ancient Israel, it was the pagans who believed their influence came from the number of people involved. Four hundred fifty priests sang, danced, prayed, and even cut themselves trying to move the hand of deity; but it was the prayer of a single – ONE – righteous man named Elijah whom God answered (1 Kings 18:19-39).

Instead of a mob influence, God is moved to act only by His own will. Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us (1 John 5:14). The influence of prayer is not how loud one shouts, what language is used, or how many people join together; the influence of prayer is to know the will of God and pray Thy will be done (Luke 22:42).