DecisionPath Staffing Agency

We occasionally have businesses, who are seeking employees,  contact us.

The fact that we are passing this information on to our church family should not be construed as South Charlotte Baptist Church’s endorsement of these businesses. However, we know that, at times, individuals in our church family are seeking employment and for that reason, we are making this information available.

DecisionPath Staffing Agency currently has a number of temp to perm positions open in South Charlotte, Rock Hill and Ft. Mill. If you are interested, please click here for further information or call (704) 996-3507.

A Woman’s Behavior & Her Responsibility

I believe that the ladies taking the time to read this blog probably desire to be a “Proverbs 31 woman.”

“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10

I’m sure that the ladies reading this blog would love for Proverbs 31:28 to be descriptive of herself, her children, and her husband…

“Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.”

However, ladies, are you willing to do what is necessary to become a Proverbs 31 woman?

I was recently reminded of George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation. By the time George Washington was 16 years old, he had copied out, by hand, 110 rules of proper behavior and etiquette. Although it was used as an exercise in penmanship, George Washington took these rules to heart.

  • Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dress’d.
  • Do not laugh too loud or too much at any publick spectacle.
  • Use no reproachfull language against any one; neither curse nor revile.
  • Play not the peacock, looking every where about you, to see if you be well deck’t, if your shoes fit well, if your stockings sit neatly, and clothes handsomely.
  • Associate yourself with men of good quality if you esteem your own reputation; for ‘tis better to be alone than in bad company.
  • Speak not injurious words neither in jest nor earnest scoff at none although they give occasion.
  • Be not curious to know the affairs of others neither approach those that speak in private.

 

We could say that most of these rules of proper behavior and etiquette are no longer “en vogue.” In other words, they are no longer popular and therefore you don’t find this type of behavior modeled too often or being actively taught. Unfortunately, that which the Bible speaks of regarding what makes a Proverbs 31 woman is also no longer “en vogue” – it is no longer popular; not even, at times, amongst Christian women!

“(vs. 3) The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; (vs. 4) That they may teach the young women to be lsober, to love their husbands, to love their children, (vs. 5) To be ediscreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.” Titus 2:3-5

This passage is directed to the aged women and to the young women. Lest I offend anyone, allow me to simply say – All aged women were once young women and all young women will one day become aged women. Therefore, this passage of Scripture is applicable to every lady in this auditorium – both aged and young!

The Behavior of Ladies.

Behavior – the way one lives!

Quote: “The way a woman moves, the look on her face, what she says or leaves unsaid, and her habitual attitude of mind and body are all included in ‘behavior.’”

How should a Godly woman’s conduct be characterized?

  • Holiness – Ladies, your behavior should project the character trait of holiness.

“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

“While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

“Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

“But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” 1 Peter 3:1-4

  • Not false accusers – The Greek word that is used here is “diabolos.” It occurs 38 times in the New Testament and 34 of those times it refers to Satan. Satan is a slanderer. He is the “accuser of the brethren.” Ladies, nothing can be more destructive to the harmony of a home or the local church than the gossip and slanderous remarks that can come out of your mouth!

“Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good fto the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

“Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:29-32

  • Not given to much wine – Given then number of times that Paul refers to the sin of intoxication, it was evidently all too common of a sin in the early church. Ladies, don’t allow anything to control you other than the Holy Spirit. Be a Spirit-filled, godly woman!

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” Ephesians 5:18

Ladies, you should give more attention to your inward character than you do your outward appearance and dress.

  • Teachers of good things – The Greek word that is used here for teacher refers to an instructor who is acknowledged for their mastery in their field of learning. Another way that this could be said is “teaching what is good.” Ladies, there is a right way and a wrong way to behave, to live, to dress, to speak, to conduct your life. We live in a society where anything goes and some – even Christian ladies – have taken that literally! Unfortunately, the feminist movement has only reinforced the idea that anything goes!

The Responsibilities of Ladies.

The responsibility of ladies is to teach. Ladies, you teach by example and you also teach by exhortation. What should you teach?

  • To be sober – To be sensible. To think right. To make good decisions. Making good decisions begins with thinking properly. Thinking properly begins with God’s Word. Teach the young ladies, by example and exhortation, to make much of God’s Word!
  • To love their husbands and to love their children – This does not come naturally. Why? Because we are sinners and naturally are lovers of self! The young ladies need to be taught how to take their eyes off themselves and place them onto others.
  • To be discreet – To be prudent which, while it carries the thought of being wise, also carries with it the matter of being appropriate. Young ladies need to be taught how to act appropriately; how to dress appropriately; how to speak appropriately; how to behave appropriately around others. Much of what the world would say is appropriate should be, to a Christian, unacceptable!
  • To be chaste – Purity; Innocence. Those are two words which have been thrown out the window! At the root of this word, chaste, is the word, holy! We live in a world where our young ladies are losing their purity; losing their innocence at an ever-younger age – much of it in the name of “Education!” There are those who advocate starting sex education in Kindergarten in the public schools.
  • To be keepers at home – This is probably the least popular item on this list. Many women have sacrificed their home, their marriage, their children on the altar of having a career. Our young ladies need to be taught that being a mother; being a home-maker does not make them a second-class individual. On the contrary, to be “keepers at home” is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling roles that a woman can fill!
  • To be good – This carries with it the idea of being kind and generous. I’m sure that there are those I this congregation who would give the testimony that their mothers sacrificed so that they could have. Why? Because their mother was good. This kind of goodness only comes about as an individual is humble and un-selfish two traits which are not well-known these days.
  • To be obedient to their own husbands

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.” Ephesians 5:22-24

This also, is not a very popular idea today.

Maybe this will make it a little easier to accept: Wives should be guided by their husbands. Understand, God is a God of order. The lines of authority within the home have been clearly drawn in the New Testament. For our sake, and the sake of our homes, we must not seek to rearrange the order which God has instituted.

We need ladies to behave like Godly ladies. We need ladies to teach other ladies how to behave like Godly ladies! But why? Notice the end of Titus 3:5…

“That the Word of God be not blasphemed!”

Your behavior as a child of God will go a long way to either uphold the testimony of God’s Word or to cause it to be spoken of in an evil way. Your desire should be…

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Ladies, I pray that your desire is to point others to Jesus Christ. Your behavior; your response to God’s Word; can be used by God to bring others to him! Ladies, you can be sure that, if you honor God’s Word, He will honor you!

 

The Tale of Two Ways

 

“Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

“So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.” Genesis 3:23-24

Therefore” Again, Genesis chapter 3 records for us one of the darkest moments in the history of mankind when Adam & Eve sinned and brought the curse of sin upon all of creation.

So he [God] drove out the man” Because of their sin, Adam and Eve could no longer enjoy the splendors of the Garden of Eden. No longer could they enjoy the sweet communion that they had had with God.

To keep the way of the tree of life” Before Adam and Eve sinned, they had could freely eat of the tree of life. However, Romans 5:12 tells us…

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”

So, here is the question, “What is the way which leads back to life?”

  • Jehovah’s Witnesses – Be baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most must earn everlasting life on earth by door-to-door work. Salvation in Heaven is limited to 144,000.
  • Mormons – Saved by works including faithfulness to church leaders, Mormon baptism, tithing, ordination, marriage, and secret temple rituals. No eternal life without Mormon membership.
  • Seventh Day Adventists – Salvation by grace through faith, but maintained by commandment-keeping and repentance.
  • New Age Movement – Need to offset bad karma with good karma.
  • Scientology – No sin or need to repent. Salvation is freedom from reincarnation (derived from eastern religions).
  • Islam – The balance between good and bad deeds determines one’s destiny in paradise or hell.
  • Hinduism – Salvation is the release from the cycles of reincarnation which is achieved through yoga and meditation. This can take many lifetimes, though. Final salvation is absorption or union with Brahman, like a raindrop falling into the ocean.
  • Buddhism – The goal in life is nirvana, to eliminate all desires or cravings, and in this way escape suffering. The Eightfold Path is a system to free Buddhists from desiring anything and eventually achieve nonexistence.

Now, in Genesis chapter 4 we see Cain and Abel bringing an offering unto the Lord. Abel’s offering was accepted by God. Cain’s offering was not accepted by God. It’s here that I must highlight the truth that there is only one way that leads back to life. There are not many ways. There is a right way and there is a wrong way.

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

It is not prideful to believe this truth. It is not unkind to proclaim this truth. In fact, the most loving thing that we can do is to proclaim the truth that there is only one way to eternal life!

The Way of Abel

Abel had faith.

“By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.” Hebrews 11:4

What made Abel’s offering “of the firstlings of his flock” – the sacrifice of a lamb – “more excellent” than Cain’s? Genesis 3:21 tells us that the Lord God made coats of skins and clothed Adam and Eve. This involved the killing of an animal. Why?

  • It wasn’t for food. The animals would not be given to mankind for food until after the flood.
  • It wasn’t specifically for clothing either. If that was the case, God could have simply taken the wool from the lamb and woven it into a woolen garment and clothed them.
  • It was to show them that, because of their sin, blood must be shed!

“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Leviticus 17:11

“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Hebrews 9:22

Abel, by faith, simply took God at His Word and brought an animal sacrifice.

Abel was righteous.

He was saved. He had eternal life.

“That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” Matthew 23:35

“Abel was not saved by offering a sacrifice any more than a present-day Christian is saved by taking the Lord’s Supper. The sacrifice was simply a token, a confession of faith in the coming Saviour, just as taking the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Christ’s death is properly a token, a confession of faith in the Savior who died for us.” – John R. Rice

Abel was a prophet.

“That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;

“From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias…” Luke 11:50-51

“To [Jesus Christ] give all the prophets witness – including Abel, that through his name (the name of Christ) whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission (forgiveness) of sins.

Abel, through his sacrifice, was proclaiming that there was One who would come to take away the sins of the world.

“And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.” Genesis 22:8

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29

John the Baptist, in those words, was talking about the same Lamb of God that Abel believed in and looked forward to.

The way of Abel – the way that is only found through faith in Jesus Christ – is the only way that leads to everlasting life!

The Way of Cain

“Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” Jude 11

“Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” 1 John 3:12

Cain created his own way to God through his own works. Jude 11 says, “Woe unto them!” How dreadful for them! The grief that they will experience because they have chosen to go their own way!

Cain was wicked. He did not find salvation. Instead, he found only wickedness as his way led him to murder his own brother for no other reason than that Abel was righteous and that, through his sacrifice proclaimed that there is only one way to God.

Cain was driven further from the Lord. Cain’s way did not lead him to the Lord. In fact, it led him further from the Lord. As he went further from the Lord Cain experienced fear and a loss of joy and satisfaction in this life.

“And Cain said unto the LORD, My punishment is greater than I can bear.

“Behold, thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth; and it shall come to pass, that every one that findeth me shall slay me.” Genesis 4:13-14

And yet, God was merciful. At every stage in this story, God offered Cain a way of escape just as we see in Genesis 4:7. However, in his pride, Cain refused.

How will you respond to God’s mercy today?

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

“Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;

“That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:5-7

  • Will you receive Him today?
  • Will you thank the Lord for His wonderful mercy in saving you?
  • Will you pray that your friends and family will respond to His mercy and be saved?
  • Will you pray that South Charlotte Baptist Church will continue to faithfully proclaim, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world?”

The Pineville Pioneer, October 5, 1983

The following is the text of a news article that appeared in “The Church Chimes” sections of the Pineville Pioneer on October 5, 1983…

Rev. Walter Kirk has been the pastor of the South Charlotte Baptist Church for almost six years. The present church· site is located on 7½ acres at 12416 Lancaster Highway, south of Pineville, and has been there for one year. Previously, the independent Baptist congregation met at the Quail Hollow Junior High School for 4½ years.

Rev. Kirk was born in Salisbury, N.C. and raised  in  Washington, D. C.  After graduating from high school, he attended UNC-Chapel Hill on a baseball scholarship for a year and a half. He dropped out of college to play professional baseball for the Dodgers and Red Socks organizations. Kirk played shortstop and second base during his tenure as a rookie. The now-famous Tommy Lasorda was a fellow rookie on the Dodger team.

After a tour of duty in the U.S. Marine Corps for just over a year, Kirk earned a B.S. in Physical Education at the University of Maryland.

At the age of 22, he became converted to Christ. Kirk was the vice president of the University of Maryland Christian Fellowship and directed several high school Bible clubs in the D. C. area.

Deciding that his life’s work would be in the ministry, Kirk finished his college education at Bob Jones University in Greenville; S. C., receiving a B.A. in Bible and an M.A . in Theology.

Rev. Kirk feels that the role of his church is to “win people to Christ and provide a spiritual training for members through Biblical preaching and teaching; to maintain the moral and spiritual values of the member; to take Biblical stands on current issues facing us today.”

The  role  of the  Church as an entity in the world of 1983 is, in Kirk’s opinion, “a mission of evangelism of the lost – at home and around the world.   To bring everyone we can to the saving knowledge of Christ.”

As for his personal beliefs, Kirk says, “I am a fundamentalist, which is essentially the verbal inspiration of the Bible: The virgin birth of Christ, the substitutionary  death of Christ on the cross, His bodily resurrection  from the dead and His premillenial return.”

“Put in the  simplest form, I believe in the heart of the Christian faith – the fundamental  doctrines,” Kirk said.

Rev. Kirk feels he was called to be a minister because his life “would be better invested in preaching the Gospel and serving Christ than continuing to play pro ball.” (He is still a baseball fan!)

The 80-member congregation is presently developing a sustaining choir. Kirk’s Assistant Pastor, Gary Cofty, is the director of youth programs and in charge of visitation.

Services are: Worship – 11 a.m., Sunday; Sunday School  – 10 a.m.; Sunday Evening Worship – 7 p.m.; Mid-week services – Wednesday – 7:30 p.m.

Rev. Kirk and his wife, Virginia, reside at 5816 Tillery Drive, Charlotte. They are the parents of three children: Donna, whose husband, Dennis Coates is a Baptist minister in Findlay, Ohio (daughter, Dena, is one year old); Daniel, a junior at Bob Jones University; and Jenny, residing at home.

Click here to view the original article.

Join South Charlotte Baptist Church on Sunday, October 8, 2017 as they celebrate 40 years of God’s faithfulness!

Labor Not to Be Rich

God created mankind to work. Work is not a result of God’s curse upon mankind. In the Garden of Eden, before the fall of man, God commanded Adam to “dress and keep” the Garden of Eden. God also brought all the animals to Adam so that he could name them. Throughout Scripture we find admonitions for hard work.

“Seest thou a man diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; we shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 22:29

Yet, only a mere 4 verses later, we are met with this command…

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.” Proverbs 23:4

This leads us to a consideration of the question, “Why should we work hard?” and “What are we working hard for?”

The Desire for Riches

Definition – Labor

  • To be exhausted
  • To be tired
  • To expend considerable energy to a task
  • Hard physical work

Now, these things are not bad. Again, remember that we have been commanded by God to work and we should work hard. However, this verse contains a command of something that we should not work hard for! Riches!

Definition – Riches

  • Having a great deal of money or assets (Those things which we deem to be useful and/or desirable.)
  • To accumulate
  • To get abundance
  • Having a considerable greater number of possessions which would imply status and honor.

The definition of “riches” suggests several questions…

Who determines what is useful or desirable? Because the Lord is our Shepherd, He should determine what is useful and desirable for us in our lives.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

Who determines how much we should accumulate? Read Luke 12:16-21. Too many people allow others to determine how much to accumulate. We call that the “Keeping up with the Joneses” syndrome! We should allow God to determine how much!

Should our status and honor be determined by the possessions that we have? No! God should determine our status and honor.

“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” Proverbs 22:4

All of things brings up another, very good question, “What is our focus upon?”

Notice the focus of the foolish man that we read about in Luke 12:21…

“So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

  • Self
  • Treasure
  • Not on being rich toward God.

Read 1 Kings 3:5-14. God was pleased that Solomon’s focus was on desiring an understanding heart that could discern between good and bad. As a by-product of this, God would bless Solomon with all those things that he could have focused upon such as riches!

God then, in Proverbs 23:4 adds, “…Cease from thine own wisdom.”

“We are not to be guided by human wisdom, which places priority on being successful in this world, making a lot of money, and earning a measure of independence.”

“And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.

“For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

“But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Luke 12:29-31

The world focuses on “things.” Often Christians follow the world’s leading and in so doing are easily caught in the vicious cycle of having to work harder and longer to provide for the “necessities” of life. It seems that the harder people work, the less they have; the less they have, the harder they have to work! In so doing, Christians don’t have enough time to attend church and they don’t have the time to serve the Lord through their local church!

Could it be that many individuals find themselves in this type of situation because they have the wrong focus? They are focused on “things” instead of God!

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Labor not to be rich…Instead seek ye first the kingdom of God…

The Deceitfulness of Riches

Proverbs 23:5 asks the question, “Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not?”

“Pursuing wealth is like chasing the wind. A man can never get enough of it and it is hard to keep. Wealth is hard to acquire and a man must leave it all behind when he dies.”

Read 1 Timothy 6:9-11; 17-19.

1 Timothy 6:17 tells us that riches are “uncertain!” I’m sure that Job, the greatest man in the east, would agree with us on that point. Within the space of one day, Job lost everything – all his possessions. And, you could say that it all happened according to God’s purpose and plan for Job! Yes, even in the best of circumstances – being in the will of God – riches/things/possessions are terrible items in which to put our trust. They can be gone instantly. Besides that, 1 Timothy 6: 7 tells us…

“For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.”

So, what is the answer. How is an individual to get off the roller coaster of working longer and harder with little to show for it and no ability to serve the Lord? It won’t be easy but at some point they need to see the foolishness of riches, confess their wrong focus, and then place their focus upon the Lord!

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” Luke 12:34

In the Beginning: Where did Cain get his wife?

The following question was asked…

I have always wondered about the Origin of Cain’s wife as she came from the land of Nod. Were there other people in the initial placement of life on Earth and a separate man (Adam) given a helpmate (Eve)to tend Garden. I only see mention of a total of 3 sons for Adam and Eve.

There are several questions that are found within this “one” question.

Did Cain’s wife come from Nod?

“And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” Genesis 4:16

The Bible simply tells us that Cain dwelt in the land of Nod, not that his wife was from the land of Nod. Simply put, Cain’s wife was a close relative of his own.

For a more complete answer to that question, click here to be taken to the Answer in Genesis’ website to watch a brief video by Ken Ham.

Did Adam and Eve only have a total of 3 sons?

We have recorded the names of 3 of Adam and Eve’s sons: Cain, Abel, and Seth. However, those aren’t the only children that Adam and Eve had.

“And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:” Genesis 5:4

Adam and Eve had more children. Cain, Abel, and Seth were the only ones that were recorded in the Bible.

Many of the questions which individuals have can be answered simply by knowing and understanding God’s Word. It does take time, effort, and study. But it is a rewarding activity – spending time in God’s Word!

Walk in Newness of Life

“Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Romans 6:4

On Easter Sunday, we celebrate the truth that Jesus Christ was crucified, He was buried, but that He gloriously and powerfully rose again the third day! While we rejoice in this truth – the truth of Easter – the question must be asked, “What does Christ’s death, burial and resurrection mean for us today, right now, in 2017?”

 

Christ’s death burial and resurrection has affected our life here after.

We must keep in mind the truth that Romans 5:8 says, “…while we were yet sinners…” and that Romans 5:12 says, “…all have sinned.”

All of us are sinners. That is a fact whether we choose to admit it or not. Sin has been defined, by some as, “missing the mark” – missing the mark of God’s holiness. But it also includes “hitting the wrong mark” – doing that which is against God’s holiness.

The result of sin is seen in Romans 5:12 – death – eternal death in hell.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

“And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

“And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15

Three times in Romans 5:1-11, it states that Jesus Christ, God’s Son, died for us. He died so that we would not have to! Through faith, we must receive His gift – the gift of eternal life.

“That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 5:21

Romans 5:1-11 describe for us the benefits we receive once we have, through faith, received Jesus Christ.

  • We’ve been justified. (vs. 1) God no longer sees our sin; He sees the righteousness – the holiness of Jesus Christ!
  • We have “hope of the glory of God.” (vs. 2) We will one day enjoy life in Heaven!
  • We shall be saved from wrath. (vs. 9) We do not need to fear the wrath of Hell any longer!
  • We shall be saved by His life. (vs. 10) His death has paid our penalty!
  • We have received the atonement. (vs. 11) Our sins can be forgiven and covered by the blood of Jesus Christ!

These are all the results of salvation which will affect our life here after. We have been saved from the penalty of sin. We know that one day when this life is over that we spend eternity in Heaven.

But what about right now? What about our life here and now? How has Christ’s death and burial affected my life from Monday through Sunday?

Christ’s death burial and resurrection has affected our life here and now.

In Romans 6:4 Paul states that “we should walk [live] in newness of life.” That refers to our life here and now!

Newness. While I don’t presume to speak for everyone, I would imagine that most individuals like – and prefer – that which is new or fresh.

  • The taste of fresh baked bread just as it has been brought out of the oven.
  • The fresh smell and feel of clothes that have just been brought out of the dryer.
  • The fresh smell of the air after the conclusion of a spring storm.
  • The smell of a new car.

Paul starts out Romans chapter 6 with a question, “Shall we continue in sin?” In other words, once we are saved and we know that our life here after is secure, should we continue to live in sin? There are two possible ways that you could approach that question.

Thank God for His grace! I can now live as I please!

Sin has such a hold on me that I can’t help but sin. Thank God for His grace!

Both of those thoughts are false, though. Why? Because of the holiness of God. Holiness – absolute perfection – is the fundamental attribute of Who God is. Adam and Eve were created in holiness and although, through them, sin has entered the world God still demands holiness.

The answer to the question, “Shall we continue in sin,” should be…

  • Because of grace I must live in holiness.
  • Because of grace I have the ability to live in holiness.

“For he that is dead is freed from sin!” Romans 6:7

Most Christians understand that they have been freed from sin, “I know that I’m saved and on my way to Heaven. I don’t have to fear Hell.” But practically, they are not living in the “newness of life” a life – here and now – that has been freed from the power of sin!

Too many people – including Christians – think of Sin as some sort of pet that they can carry around in their pocket that they can bring out whenever they want to play with it. They think that they are in control.

Sin is a cruel taskmaster. Sin cannot be made to serve. Sin demands to be served.

Understand this – You will serve something in this life!

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” Romans 6:16

So, if we are going to live in “newness of life” there are some truths which me must count as truth!

  • We have been baptized into Jesus Christ. (vs. 3)

“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:” Romans 6:5

The use of the word “baptized” signifies that we have been placed into a new environment. We have been placed into the family of God. It also signifies that we have been brought into union with Christ. Our relationship with Christ has changed. We were once the enemy of Christ but now we have peace with God through Christ.

  • We must live in Jesus Christ. Romans 6:8 states that “…we shall also live with Him.” Romans 6:10 states that “…he liveth unto God.” Romans 6:11 states that we must reckon – account – that we are “…alive unto God…”

“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:19-20

  • We are dead to sin. Notice how Paul, in Romans chapter 6, describes our relationship to sin now that we have received Jesus Christ by faith.
    • We are dead to sin. (vs. 2)
    • The body of sin has been destroyed. We no longer must serve sin. (vs. 6)
    • We must account that we are dead to sin. (vs. 11) Whether we “feel like it” or not, we are dead to sin!
    • We must not allow sin to have control over us. (vs. 12)
    • We must not yield to sin. (vs. 13)
    • Because of grace, sin cannot have control over us. (vs. 14)
    • We still have a choice to either serve sin or serve righteousness. (vs. 15-16)
    • We were the servants of sin. (vs. 17) We no longer are sin’s servants!
    • Because we have been freed from sin, we are now the servants of righteousness. But unlike sin, righteousness does not demand to be served. We must make the conscious choice to yield ourselves to righteousness and serve righteousness (vs. 19).

Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, which we celebrate and remember today is an opportunity for us to consider, “Are we walking in the newness of life?” While we know that our life hereafter has been affected for the better, what about our life here and now?

President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of bloody civil war. The proclamation declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Booker T. Washington remembered the Emancipation Proclamation in this way, “As the great day drew nearer, there was more singing in the slave quarters than usual. It was bolder, had more ring, and lasted later into the night. Most of the verses of the plantation songs had some reference to freedom. … Some man who seemed to be a stranger (a United States officer, I presume) made a little speech and then read a rather long paper—the Emancipation Proclamation, I think. After the reading, we were told that we were all free, and could go when and where we pleased. My mother, who was standing by my side, leaned over and kissed her children, while tears of joy ran down her cheeks. She explained to us what it all meant, that this was the day for which she had been so long praying, but fearing that she would never live to see.”

And yet, many of those slaves, while being made free from slavery willingly yielded allegiance to and began serving the Union. By the end of the Civil War, almost 200,000 black soldiers and sailors had fought for the Union and freedom.

Will you willingly and consciously choose to walk in newness of life by yielding to Jesus Christ and righteousness?

In the Beginning: The Unique Creation of Mankind

As I have been preaching through Genesis chapters 1-11, the following question was asked:

Is there any significance to the fact that Jesus spoke everything into existence (out of nothing) but that he formed man from dust (something that He already made)? Why didn’t He speak us into existence?

While I understand the question, it is based upon a slightly incorrect understanding of creation. The question assumes that God spoke everything into existence. But did He?

 

Notice the similarities between the man and animals.

Both man and animals were formed from the ground.

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground…” Genesis 2:7

“And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air…” Genesis 2:19

Both man and animals have life.

“And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life…” Genesis 1:20

“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life…” Genesis 2:7

The same Hebrew word for “life” is used for both man and animals in those verses.

Man is different than animals in that man was created in the image of God!

God regards man differently from the animals. The Bible account is primarily concerned with the relationship between God and man. Man was created by God, in his image, for God’s joy and glory, and exists only in the context of God. It is because God is (Hebrews 11:8) that man has being (Acts 17:28). True, the earth and animals too have a place in God’s economy, but essentially, the world was created as a place for man to live (e.g. Romans 8:19–22). (From Answers in Genesis website)

Man is different than animals. God had a special relationship with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – a relationship which He did not have with any other aspect of His creation. When Adam and Eve sinned, that relationship was destroyed. God, however, because of His love that He has for us went to great lengths to re-establish that relationship; He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die upon the cross to pay the eternal penalty for our sin! Click here to read more.

A Good Name

A soldier in the army of Alexander the Great was a habitual offender and a malingerer. When he was brought before the general for punishment, the commander-in-chief looked at the soldier and asked his name. “Alexander,” the man replied. “Look here, soldier,” said the conqueror, “you either change your behavior or you change your name.”

Booker T. Washington, a former slave, carved his own way to statesmanship. He used to describe his experiences along the way. “Slaves have no names,” he would say, “no authentic genealogy, no family history and no ancestral traditions. Therefore, they have nothing to live up to.” So he invented his own name. He explained: “I tried to picture myself in the position of a boy or a man with an honored and distinguished ancestry. As it is I have no idea who my grandmother was. The very fact that the white boy is conscious that, if he fails, he will disgrace the whole family is of tremendous value in helping him to resist temptations. And the fact that the individual has behind him a proud family history serves as a stimulus to help him overcome obstacles when striving for success.”

If you know Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have “a good name!”

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:” John 1:12

“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26

“…And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26

Read on to look at this “good name!”

What is “a good name?” Simply, it is our reputation.

Who determines “a good name?”

“Our reputation represents the way others look at us…” – Psychology Today

Will you allow others to determine your reputation or will you allow God to develop your reputation? Notice that Proverbs 22:1 states, “A good name is rather to be chosen…” We do have a choice. Our reputation will be a result of the choice that we have made to either have a good name based upon the standards that the world has set or to allow God to develop our reputation based upon the standard of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Our reputation is what others think us to be; our character is what God knows us to be.”

 If we are to have “a good name” in the eyes of God, it must be built below the baseline.

“A good name” is valuable.

Proverbs 22:1 tells us that a good name and loving favor should be of more value than great riches, silver, and gold. Even the world understands that “a good name” is valuable.

“Launching a new venture, getting that new job or promotion, bringing together a team of A-players, securing financing from shrewd business connections that you hardly know… these are all potentially life-changing goals. All of them are attainable only if you have built and maintained a stellar reputation.” – Forbes.com

https://www.forbes.com/sites/karstenstrauss/2014/05/06/your-reputation-is-the-most-valuable-thing-you-possess-heres-how-you-maintain-it/#70adca053ac0

But why is “a good name” valuable?

The world sees “a good name” as a means to an end – self-gratification; to get what they want.

“But remember that life is a huge networking opportunity. Nothing good ever comes easily, and if you want to be respected, respect yourself enough to say no and make the decisions necessary to take you there. Safe guard yourself, and make sure your character is translated to your reputation. What goes around comes around, so make sure that everything that does is exactly what you want people to know about you.” A college student from George Mason University

https://www.theodysseyonline.com/why-your-reputation-is-the-most-important-thing-you-have

To a Christian, “a good name” should be valuable because…

It glorifies God.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31

It speaks of Him to others.

“Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:

“Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 10:32-33

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Notice what Nathan, the prophet, tells King David after his sin with Bathsheba…

“Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” 2 Samuel 12:14

“A good name” is a fragile commodity; it is easily damaged or destroyed

“It takes 20 years to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” -Warren Buffett

 “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished.” Proverbs 22:3

A wise individual understands how fragile “a good name” is and will therefore be cautious. Every action will have some affect upon our “good name” – every word, every Facebook post, every selfie, everything!

Therefore, “a good name” must be guarded and protected.

“A good name” doesn’t need to be guarded from outward attacks.

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

“Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

“For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.” 1 Peter 3:15-17

Our “good name” suffers most from self-inflicted wounds.

How do we guard our “good name” from those self-inflicted wounds?

“By humility and the fear of the LORD are riches, and honour, and life.” Proverbs 22:4

Stay Humble

Humility will help us to keep our focus on God’s “good name” instead of our own.

Stay Right

The fear of the Lord is an attitude of profound reverence and respect that we have toward God. This reverence and respect will lead us to value His “good name.”  But it doesn’t stop there…The fear of the Lord leads one to trust God, obey God, and avoid evil thus protecting His “good name.”

We may not give too much thought to our reputation. However, to the world, a “good name” is so valuable that there are organizations and businesses which do nothing but help people rebuild their reputation when it has been damaged. Let’s give the proper amount of attention to our “good name” that there will be no need for it to be repaired and re-built.

The Perfect Storm

 

The perfect storm is defined as a particularly violent storm arising from a rare combination of adverse meteorological factors. On October 30, 1991, the North Atlantic experienced a perfect storm when Hurricane Grace, a storm that had formed days earlier in Bermuda and which had moved north, encountered a massive low pressure system that was moving south out of Canada. The clash of systems over the Atlantic Ocean caused 40-to-80-foot waves on October 30—unconfirmed reports put the waves at more than 100 feet in some locations. This massive surf caused extensive coastal flooding, particularly in Massachusetts; damage was also sustained as far south as Jamaica and as far north as Newfoundland. As the storm developed, the crew of the 70-foot fishing boat Andrea Gail was fishing for swordfish in the Grand Banks of the North Atlantic. The Andrea Gail was last heard from on October 28. When the boat did not return to port on November 1 as scheduled, rescue teams were sent out. The boat was never found; the crew was never heard from again.

As devastating as that storm was, though, a storm with more dire consequences for the entire world is recorded for us in Genesis chapter 3. Let’s look at that storm:

The Characters

The Serpent (3:1) The Bible doesn’t answer many of the questions which people have in regards to the serpent.

  • Did Satan take the form of a serpent?
  • Did Satan indwell a serpent?
  • Did God create serpents with the ability to speak?

There are a few things that we, from Scripture, do know.

In Revelation 20:20, the Bible calls Satan, “that old serpent.” 2 Corinthians 11:14 tells us…

“And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

But, probably one of the things that is most important for us to remember about Satan is that he is our sworn enemy. He will do anything; use anything to destroy us.

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” 1 Peter 5:18

Ladies and Gentlemen, Satan does not like you. Satan does care about you. Satan does not have your best interests at heart. Satan is not your friend. Satan hates you. He hates your family. He hates this church. He will do anything – use anything –  to bring death and destruction to you, your family, and to anything that you love and care about.

Adam. Genesis 2:15-18 indicates that, before God had created Eve, that God had given the command, “Thou shalt not eat,” to Adam.

Therefore, Adam would have been responsible to then communicate that command with Eve.

“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” Ephesians 5:23

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

Allow me to simply state this – Gentlemen, as the head of your home, you are responsible before God to teach them – your wife and your children – God’s Word. Don’t abdicate that responsibility to your wife; don’t abdicate that responsibility to the church.

Eve – Eve was deceived. Eve was responsible for her actions. Eve was held accountable for her actions.

“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.” 1 Timothy 2:14

The Conditions.

The Doubt. (3:1 – “Yea hath God said?”) This perfect storm began when Satan attempted to get Eve to doubt God’s Word. One of the things which Satan seeks to do with all of us is to get us to doubt God!

  • Does God love me?
  • Can I trust God?
  • Does God know what is best?

The best – and really the only way – to combat doubt is to know God’s Word!

“Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Psalm 119:11

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” Joshua 1:8

That’s why Satan works so hard at keeping us from spending time in God’s Word. He knows that, the less we know God’s Word, that the more likely we are to doubt it when we find ourselves in a time of testing and temptation.

Also, the less we know God’s Word, the more likely we are to twist it; to change it; and the add to it in the same way in which Eve added, “neither shall ye touch it,” to God’s command! (3:3)

The Appeal. Once Satan cast doubt upon God’s Word, he then made his appeal to Eve. (3:4-6)

“For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” 1 John 2:6

  • She saw that the tree was good for food. (The lust of the flesh.)
  • The fruit was pleasant to the eye. (The lust of the eyes.)
  • The tree was desired to make one wise. (The pride of life.)

We must understand that Satan appeals to us in the very same way. Satan used these same appeals when he tempted Jesus in Matthew chapter 4.

“But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” James 1:14

 Ladies and gentlemen, to guard against the attacks of Satan, we must 1) know God’s Word and 2) guard our eyes and guard our hearts from the appeals of Satan.

The Choice

Some of the saddest words in all of Scripture are recorded for us in Genesis 3:6, “…she took of the fruit…and did eat…” God created man with a free-will – the ability to choose. Satan can persuade but he cannot push!

  • Eve – being deceived – made the choice to take and eat.
  • Adam deliberately, with his eyes wide open, made the choice to take and eat.

Satan can try to get you to doubt God’s Word; he can appeal to every lust and desire within your heart. However, when you sin, it is because you made the choice.

The Consequences

Every choice that we make in life has consequences. This choice by Adam and Eve was no different. It carried definite consequences.

“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Genesis 3:7

“Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:15

Before you choose to give in to sin remember this – We can choose our actions. We cannot choose the consequences. God had told Adam, in Genesis 2:17, what the consequences would be if he disobeyed….

“But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12

On that day, because of their choice, they died spiritually. And, on that day, because of their choice, we all died spiritually – “…all have sinned!

The Covering

Adam and Eve’s sin had to be covered. They tried to cover their sin with fig leaves. I hate to say it but fig leaves don’t last. Their attempt at covering their sin was futile. Any attempt that you and I make to cover our sin will not be adequate; it will not last. Religion is not adequate. Works can never be adequate. A more lasting covering had to be made.

“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them.” Genesis 3:21

The covering that the Lord made pointed to and was a picture of the permanent covering that would be offered – that is offered – through Jesus Christ.

“But God commendeth [demonstrated] his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

Because of Jesus Christ, we have another choice – to either receive Him or reject Him. Which will you do today?

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

In October, 1991, during the “perfect storm” that I referenced at the beginning of my message, all those individuals on the Andrea Gail lost their lives. During the perfect storm that is recorded for us in Genesis chapter 3, all of mankind died – died spiritually. However, there is hope! Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection provides us with hope – hope of eternal life – not death. Yet, we must choose to receive Him. Choose Him today!