Casting All of Your Care Upon the Lord

Casting Our Care Upon Christ

W. A. Criswell
W. A. Criswell

Do you have cares you can’t seem to deal with? Do you have burdens you can not meet? Are you facing trials you can’t handle? If there was an answer you could adopt and be helped would you take it? Here is a link to a message by   W A Criswell. Are you too busy to listen and watch? If so you are too busy. If you have prayed for help this could be the source God wants you to hear. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish. Take the time to heed this message for it is designed to help you. It is given to bless you. This is a totally free report in detail.  The minister is the late W A Criswell of Dallas, Texas.  He was the long-time pastor of First Baptist Church/Dallas.  Click the following link for this dynamic message by Dr. Criswell.

1 Peter 5:7

” Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting-our-care-upon-christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him  

On the radio and on television you are rejoicing with us in the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the message entitled Casting Our Care Upon Christ. It is a message from the Úfth chapter of 1 Peter. In our preaching through this epistle of Simon Peter, last Sunday we stopped at verse 4 in chapter 5. This Lord’s Day we begin at verse 5 and preach through verse 7, “Yea, all of you be subject unto one to another, and be clothed with humility,” then he quotes Proverbs 3:34; a proverb that is quoted by James, the preceding epistle, in James 4:6: For God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble ye therefore yourselves under the hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you. [1 Peter 5:5-7] The verse that he quotes out of Proverbs is so dynamically stated here as the apostle wrote it in that Greek language, “God resisteth the proud” [1 Peter 5:5]. Tassō means “to arrange, to appoint, to determine, to set oneself,” tassō. Antitassō means “to arrange oneself against, to determine against, to set oneself against,” it is a strong, strong word. God antitassō, “sets Himself against.” The whole order of God’s universe is arranged against the proud. Isn’t that an unusual thing that God should take such a dislike, show such deep disfavor for soul-emptying, self-destroying pride, and yet it is a natural concomitant of our fallen natures? We like to be lifted up; we like to be received; we like to be advanced; we like to live in ourselves, and we like for all of life to revolve around us. We like to be ministered unto; we like all of the plaudits of the galleries. We love being the center of attention, made over. Pride: it is natural to the fallen man, like weeds grow up in a watered garden, or like the reeds and the rushes grow up on the side of a pond, so pride is a characteristic of our fallen natures. When we kill it, it has a thousand lives. When we try to bury it, it bursts forth out of the tomb. It takes on a thousand shapes. And when we think we have captured it, it eludes our grasp and mocks our pursuit. Pride is a God-defying sin. It arraigns the justice of God as did Cain [Genesis 4:8-16]. It confronts God and challenges Him to combat, as did Pharaoh: “I don’t know Jehovah. Who is He, that I should obey His voice?” [Exodus 5:2]. It even shapes itself into a god, as in the days of Nebuchadnezzar [Daniel 3:1-7]. If I have any sensitivity to the Scriptures at all, I think it says that Satan fell, Lucifer fell because of pride; he lifted up his spirit and would be God himself [Isaiah 14:13-14]. God antitassō, “He arranges Himself, He sets Himself,” the whole universe is against pride. “But God giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may lift you up in due time” [1 Peter 5:5, 6]. 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 2/10 mighty hand of God, that He may lift you up in due time” [1 Peter 5:5, 6]. How would it be that a man humbles himself before God? May I mention about four things? Here’s one: a man would humble himself before God if he receives the most menial, lowest oÜces in Christ as though they were opportunities of great honor, such as being a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord, such as speaking a word to a little child. That’s not beneath the dignity of a saint of God, to talk to a little child about our precious Lord, or such as washing the saint’s feet. I have been in services of those old Primitive, foot-washing Baptist people. They cry their tears fall into the pans as they wash each other’s feet. I wish I knew something to do in the church like that. “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God” [1 Peter 5:6]. Doing little things that we might do great things; being obedient in order that we might be rulers in His kingdom. How would you depict a real, and glorious, and great Christian? How would you draw him? Well, here are some things I can suggest: a king, keeping the door of God’s house; a prince, feeding little lambs; or better and best still, the Son of God, clothed in the garment of a servant, a slave [Philippians 2:5-8], washing His disciples’ feet [John 13:4-5]. I think that’s what the apostle had in mind, by using one of the most unusual Greek verbs that you could ever stumble across: egkomboomai. Isn’t that a heavy, multisyllabic word, egkomboomai? Well, you’d look at that thing in reading this Greek text and say, “What in the earth does that word mean?” It’s used nowhere else in all God’s Bible. And yet, He uses it here. So you go to a lexicon, a dictionary. I don’t know what it means. You look it up in the lexicon, and the word means, “bind on yourself the clothing, the garments, of a slave.” That’s the word he uses here when he says that we are to be clothed with humility [1 Peter 5:7], we are to bind on ourselves the clothing of a slave. And I think Simon Peter had in mind that never to be forgotten moment when the Lord took oÙ His clothes and girded Himself as a slave to do the menial task of a household servant [John 13:4-5]. There was nobody there to wash the feet of the guests, so the Lord took oÙ His garments and girded Himself in the clothing of a slave, and He washed feet. You think that’s great? God says it is. That is the way to be exalted! “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.” We stoop to conquer. What does this mean: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God”? [1 Peter 5:6] For a second thing: not only the acceptance of a menial assignment in the name of Christ, but also the yielded surrenderedness to the disciplines of God. “Whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth” [Hebrews 12:6]. And there’s no one of us that escapes the rod, the disciplines of God. And to bend before the will of God, as a reed bows before the wind; to be yielded to the will of God, as soft wax will take the imprint of the seal, thus to receive from God’s hands God’s disciplinary providences is to humble one’s self before the Lord, not Úghting against God, not hating God. As our Lord, in Gethsemane, He kissed the rod that beat Him and prepared for heavier strokes. So the things that come in our lives over which we have no control, to receive them as from God’s hands, and to be grateful for them. There was a little boy I read about who was very crippled. And he hollered at the streetcar conductor as the streetcar stopped at the corner: “Wait up, mister! Wait! Wait for me, I’m coming! Wait!” And the streetcar conductor kept the streetcar door open, and the little, crippled boy clambered in and found a seat by a man who looked at the little fellow in amazement. The boy was so bright, though so terribly crippled, and so cheerful. And the man couldn’t help but exclaim to the lad, “Son, you seem so happy and so bright and so glad. How do you be that way when you are so crippled?” 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 3/10 bright and so glad. How do you be that way when you are so crippled?” And the little fellow brightly replied, “Oh, sir,” he said, “Oh sir, my father tells me that God always gives us what is best. And don’t you think I ought to be happy with the best?” Whoever was the father of that little boy was a great man! He had found the answer. What God gives us is what is best and to receive the disciplines of life, the circumscriptions of life, as from His hands is to be blessed, humbled that you might be exalted. What is this, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God?” [1 Peter 5:6] Not only the acceptance and honor of a menial task, an assignment in Christ, and not only yielding in gracious submission to the disciplines of God, but coming to God in God’s way, gratefully, gladly, humbly coming before the Lord, not in our way, but in His. Not in some self-chosen, reasoning persuasion that we have decided upon, but as God shall invite us, so we come into His presence. Maybe coming full of wonder, bowed down, weighted down with wonder that God should love us and that He should invite us. Astonished, overwhelmed that God should have paid so great a price for us [1 Peter 1:18-19]. Just in amazement, that God should have chosen me, should have invited me! Coming to God in God’s way, not arguing with God, “Now, God, I think of it like this, and here’s the way I think I ought to be saved. And here’s how I think I ought to come.” No, but doing it God’s way! · When God says, “Look and live” [Numbers 21:8], I shall look! · When God says, “Believe, and be saved” [Acts 16:31], I shall believe. · When God says, “Trust” [Psalm 62:8], I shall trust. · When God says, “Wash and be cleaned” [Revelation 7:14], I shall wash. · When God says, “Confess” [Matthew 10:32], I shall confess. · When God says, “Be baptized” [Matthew 28:19-20], I shall be baptized. · When God says, “Join yourself to His people” [Hebrews 10:25]. I shall join myself to His people, humbly, coming before the Lord in God’s way, not mine. What does it mean “to humble oneself before the Lord, that He might exalt us in due time?” [1 Peter 5:6]. Why, I think it means emptying ourselves of us and being Úlled with the divine fullness of God. Even God cannot Úll a cup that’s already Úlled. Even God can’t come into a man’s heart when he’s full of himself: all he thinks about is himself, all he talks about is himself, all he dreams for is himself, all his whole life revolves around is himself. How can God do anything for a man like that? But, if a man will empty himself, “Nothing of me, Lord, may it all be of Thee.” That man can be Úlled with all of the fullness of the Triune God. “Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you” [1 Peter 5:6-7]. Now if we will do the verse 6, “Humble ourselves unto God” [1 Peter 5:6], there are a whole lot of cares that we won’t be burdened with in verse 7, “Casting all of your care upon Christ” [1 Peter 5:7]. Ah, there are so many things that burden us, and weigh us down that we bring on ourselves. They don’t come from God; they come out of us. There are some men who are grasping; they are ambitious, and they are 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 4/10 out of us. There are some men who are grasping; they are ambitious, and they are never satiated with self-preferment. The more they have, the more they want. The more publicity given them, the more they eagerly seek it and desire it. The more advancement that they make, the more they want to be advanced. The more famous they are, the yet more famous they want to be. They are never satisÚed; the more money they have, the more they want to get. And they are Úlled with the cares of this world, seeking themselves, presenting themselves, and they are unhappy in their hearts, they are weighed down with themselves! There are some cares, I say, that we bring on ourselves: troubled about tomorrow, worried about tomorrow, Úlled with anxiety about tomorrow. God says there’s enough trouble in any day we live in besides borrowing tomorrow’s trouble [Matthew 6:34]. Just trust God for it, just believe in God for it, that’s a care that we don’t need to bear, just turn it over to God, every tomorrow. There are cares that come upon us that we bring upon ourselves. One of the strangest things about big men is that they can be vexed and upset over such little things. Jonah was a great man. Jesus pointed him out and said the greatest revival preacher of all time. There never was a man that had such a result in his preaching as Jonah, Jesus said so! [Matthew 12:41] The entire great world, ancient capital of Assyria, the entire city of Nineveh from the king clear down to the lowest servant, repented at the preaching of Jonah [Jonah 3:4-10]. He was a great, great prophet of God and a mighty revivalist. Now I want you to look at him. He’s over there on a hill, sitting under a gourd vine pouting, pouting! [Jonah 4:6]. You know what he is pouting about? At Úrst, he started oÙ about what God might do about Nineveh [Jonah 3:2-3]. But this pouting I’m talking about was over a cucumber vine, it was over a bower of melon leaves; it was over a gourd that grew over his head and a worm cut it down and it made Jonah mad! “I’m mad!” And, not only did it make him mad, but he said: “I want to die!” [Jonah 4:5-9]. All over the wilting of a gourd vine; that’s Jonah, and that’s you! I know a man that lost his entire fortune and never thought anything about it; he just lost his whole estate. And he got furious with his wife over a button that wasn’t sewed on his shirt. We can be that way; we vex ourselves over little inconsequential minutiae! Now these are the cares that he’s not talking about. If we live under God, and as unto the Lord, none of those will ever come upon us. Well, what are these cares that Simon Peter is thinking of: “Casting all of our cares upon Christ” [1 Peter 5:7]. What are those cares? Well, I can name several of them. Here’s one: spiritual cares. And by spiritual cares I mean, “O God, dear blessed Jesus, what if my life fails? Lord, what if I don’t make it to heaven? Lord, what if I fall into hell? Lord, what if my soul is not ultimately saved? What’s going to become of me when I die and in the great judgment day, O God, am I going to be saved?” Why, the Lord says to me by His inspired apostle Paul in the Úrst chapter in Philippians, he says, “He that hath begun a good work in you, He will perform it unto the day of Jesus Christ,” to the great consummation of His coming [Philippians 1:6]. He says in the last chapter of the Book of Hebrews, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” [Hebrews 13:5]. And He says in the tenth chapter of John, “I give unto you eternal life; and you will never perish” [John 10:28]. What more can He say than to you He hath said, You, who unto Jesus for refuge have Ûed? 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 5/10 [“How Firm a Foundation,” John Rippon,1787] That is one care I can take to Jesus. “Lord, am I going to make it? Am I going to be saved? Really, God, will I be in heaven some day? When they call the roll up yonder, will I answer, Here, Lord, here I am?” God says, “Yes! You turn that over to Me, I will see you through. All the devils in hell cannot get you; and all of the sin in the universe cannot sink you, cannot destroy you, because where sin abounds, My grace overÛows, it more abounds” [Romans 5:20]. I can take that care, am I going to make it? Am I going to get to heaven? Am I going to be saved? I can take it to Jesus. What are these cares that he’s talking about, that I can take to the Lord? [1 Peter 5:7]. Here’s one of them: kingdom cares, kingdom cares. Now, what do you mean about kingdom cares? I mean the foreboding that sometimes Úlls our hearts about God’s kingdom in the earth. You can look around you, and you read, and see, and visit, and it seems as though the kingdom of darkness is going to swallow up the kingdom of light. Why, there are whole great nations of the earth, and one third of its population, that is under stated state atheism, darkness like midnight, like you could cut it. And even in Christendom, there’s a great apostasy and falling away, in empty churches, all over this earth. “Lord, what is going to become of Thy kingdom?” That’s a care I can take to God. He presides over His own. Even on the cross light shined from the cross that the darkness could not quench, could not put out, could not drown. And some of the most brilliant rays that have ever Ûooded the darkness of this world have come from the shining of the Úres that have burned the martyrs at the stake. I can take it to Christ. He is able, and He presides over this universe. Upon a day when I Úrst came here to Dallas, I sat by Mrs. Truett and talked to her about her great husband, pastor of this church forty-seven years. She said to me, to my great surprise, that sometimes the great preacher, George W. Truett, would be despondent; he fell into despondency. She said it was at a time when he felt he had failed, and she said to me, “I said to him, ‘George, when you have prayed and asked God to bless you; and when you have done the best that you can, then leave it to Jesus, leave it to God.’” It is for us to dig the well; it is for God to send the rain and the water. It is for us to plant the seed; it is for God to make it to sprout and grow. It is for us to cultivate the Úeld; it is for God to give the harvest. It is for me to witness; it is for God to give the increase, to save the soul. That’s a care I can take to Jesus. When I’ve done the best I can, then God must do the rest, and He will; casting all our care upon Christ [1 Peter 5:7]. What are these cares that the apostle speaks of? I think they are cares that attend our business life: “O Lord, I must make a living for my wife and my children, and I must support my home and I must win daily bread. Lord, I have staked everything I have into this business. O God, what shall come of it?” That’s a care that I think a man can legitimately and rightfully, and pleasingly to God, take to Christ. Make Him your partner; He will bless you, He will see you through. Queen Elizabeth, of the 1600s, Queen Elizabeth I, called in a merchantman in London and asked him to go on a mission for her across the seas, a long time to be absent. And he replied, “But Your Majesty, but Your Majesty! What shall become of my business while I’m gone? It will fail! It will go bankrupt! I cannot leave on so long a mission, Your Majesty, I cannot go! What will happen to my business?” 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 6/10 And the queen said to that prince of merchants, she said, “Sir, you go on my business, and take care of my business; and while you’re gone, I’ll take care of yours.” The merchant went abroad, stayed, did the work of the queen, came back, and to his amazement, under her patronage and her tutelage and her care and guidance, his business had Ûourished and quadrupled! That’s what God will do for you, if you’ll make a partner out of Him and take it to Christ. I want to show you that I’m not just saying words. Look, look out of the Book. The Lord Jesus said to Simon Peter who was in the Úshing business, he and the sons of Zebedee were partners in the Úshing business, that’s what God’s Book says, they were partners in the Úshing business. So the Lord said to Simon Peter, “Simon, I want your boat. I want your boat. You see these people, I want it for a pulpit to preach in. I want to borrow your boat” [Luke 5:1-3]. And Simon Peter could have replied, “Lord, Lord, You don’t understand. Lord, that’s my livelihood! That’s my business! I can’t give You my boat. I don’t have any other way to Úsh. I don’t have any other way to make a living but to Úsh. Lord, I need the boat, You can’t have it!” But what does the Book say? Simon Peter gave the Lord his boat, and the Lord used it to preach the gospel. Then when the message was done and the sermon was Únished, “Simon Peter,” said the Lord Jesus, “Simon, launch right out there.” And when he got out there, the Lord says, “Now, let down your net” [Luke 5:1-7]. And he got a haul, a catch of Úsh. Under Jesus he caught more Úsh in ten minutes than he had ever caught in the previous ten months of his life. I’m just telling you what’s in the Book, I never made that up, that’s in the Book! You’re in a business? Make Jesus your partner, take every problem and every decision, take it to Jesus, see what happens to you and your business. “Casting your care upon Him; for He careth for you” [1 Peter 5:7]. Oh, where does the time go? One other, the cares of the home, of the children: “Does the Lord know my name? Does He? Does He know where I live? Does He know what I do?” Listen, He cares for ants as well as angels; He cares for worms as well as whales, for He cares for sparrows as well as for cherubim, for butterÛies as well as for battalions of angelic hosts. And He knows all about you, and your cares, and your children, a mother: The Master has come over Jordan, Said Sarah the mother, one day. He is healing the people who throng Him, With a touch of His hand, they say. And now I shall carry the children, Little Rachel, and Samuel, and John, 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 7/10 Little Rachel, and Samuel, and John, I shall carry the baby, Miriam, For the Lord to look upon. The husband looked at her kindly, As he shook his head and smiled: Now who, but a doting mother, Would think of a thing so wild? If the children were tortured by demons, Or dying of fever ’twere well; Or had they the taint of the leper, Like men in Israel. But the mother replied, Nay, do not hinder me, Nathan, I feel such a burden of care; If I carry it to the Master, I know I can leave it there. If He lay His hand on the children, My heart will be lighter I know, For a blessing forever and ever Will follow them as they go. 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 8/10 So over the hills of Judah, Along by the vine rows green, With Miriam asleep on her bosom, And Rachel her brothers between; Among the people who hung on His teaching, Or awaited His touch and His word, Through the royal, proud Pharisees listening She pressed to the feet of the Lord. Now why shouldest thou hinder the Master, said Peter, with children like these? Seest thou not from morning to evening He teacheth and healeth disease? Then Christ said, Peter, forbid not the children, Permit them to come unto Me! And He took in His arms little Miriam, And Rachel He sat on His knee: And the heavy heart of the mother 2/1/2017 W. A. Criswell Sermon Library | Casting Our Care Upon Christ https://www.wacriswell.com/sermons/1974/casting­our­care­upon­christ/?keywords=Casting+all+your+cares+upon+Him 9/10 Was lifted all earth care above, As He laid His hands on the brothers, And blessed them with tenderest love. And He said of the babes in His bosom, Of such are the kingdom of heaven And strength for all duty and trial That hour to the mother was given. [“Christ and the Little Ones,” Julia Gill] Do you believe that? Do you think that’s true? God says it’s true! “Forbid them not.” In my study, to the left, and I look at it hours every day, right there in my study, to the left, is a magniÚcent painting by the Yugoslav artist, painted a century ago, and the title of it is Forbid Them Not. And Jesus is there, standing in a white, beautiful robe, and He has in His arms a little baby, and the children are at His feet. And Simon Peter and the others are trying to send the mothers, with their children, away, but Jesus is holding up His arm like that, saying, “Forbid them not, to come unto Me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 19:14]. “Casting all your care upon Him” [1 Peter 5:7]; take to Him anything; take to Him everything, and biggest, and best, and mostest of all, take to Him yourself, and your house, and your home, your heart, and your life, and your children, and your every tomorrow. Would you, accepting, receiving, opening your heart to the Lord as Savior, or putting your life in the fellowship of the church? This week someone said to me, “When you give that invitation, would you explain what you mean when you invite people to come to the Lord?” Here’s what I mean, “Lord Jesus, I open my heart to Thee. Forgive my sins; come and dwell in my soul. Write my name in the Book of Life in glory; stand by me in this life, and in the hour of my death, and in the world to come. I want God as my Savior!” And the second invitation, “I want to give my life to God in the church, my membership some other place, but I’ve been saved and I’ve been baptized, and I want to come and fellowship with the church.” Or maybe a third, “I would just like to give my life again and anew unto the Lord, and I’m coming. I want to pray with you.” For whatever reason the Spirit shall press the appeal to your heart, in the moment that we sing this hymn of appeal, come. Answer with your life; make the decision now, and when you stand up, stand up coming. God bless you, angels attend you in the way, while we stand and while we sing

The Bad News that make the Good News, Good

 

Adrian Rogers / Now in Heaven
Adrian Rogers / Now in Heaven

http://www.lightsource.com/ministry/love-worth-finding/  (Click this Link for Video Presentation of Dr. Rogers’ message)

The Lost World

The Bad News that make the Good News, Good

Romans 1:18-32
INTRODUCTION

    1. We live in a lost world.
    2. Our world is on a collision course with judgment.
      1. Even the things we laugh at, such as in entertainment, are despicable.
      2. Yet, we are told to be tolerant.
      3. The sin today, as viewed by many, is not sin itself, but to simply call sin a sin.
        1. Today’s culture views men as sick, but not sinful.
        2. Today’s culture says that we may be weak, but not wicked.
        3. Today’s culture says that we may be ill, but not evil.
    3. We find many giving excuses for the way we live.
    4. Romans 1 shows that this lost world is without excuse. Sin is inexcusable and is headed for judgment, and that judgment is called the wrath of God.
    5. It is that bad news that makes the Good News good.
    6. Romans 1:18
      1. God is a God of infinite love.
      2. He is also a righteous, holy God and a God of judgment.
    7. Paul shows in Romans 1 why this world is lost and ready for judgment.
    8. Paul gives three steps in man’s path to eternal separation from God.
  1. MAN’S WILLFUL SELF-DETERMINATION  (Romans 1:19-20)
    1. The revelation of God’s truth.
      1. According to this passage, mankind has no excuse for refusing God.
      2. God’s existence is clearly seen.
      3. God reveals Himself to mankind through:
        1. Conscious
          1. Romans 1:19
            1. “In them” – the inner, subjective witness of conscience.
            2. Regardless of background, circumstances, or environment, there’s an inner witness in each of us.
            3. John 1:9
        2. Creation
          1. Romans 1:20
          2. “Unto them” – the outward, objective witness of creation.
          3. Psalm 19:1-4
    2. The reach of God’s truth.
      1. This revelation of God is to all of mankind.
      2. Everyone is without excuse according to Romans 1.
    3. The resistance of God’s truth.
      1. Romans 1:18
        1. The word “hold” in this passage means to “hold back the truth,” “repress the truth,” “smother the truth,” or “suppress the truth.”
        2. This essentially means to resist the truth; some don’t want to know the truth of God.
        3. Those who do not believe in Almighty God hold back the truth.
  2. MAN’S WICKED SELF-DECEPTION  (Romans 1:20-21)
    1. There is a selfish indifference.
      1. Romans 1:20-21
      2. We don’t glorify God.
        1. Truth is not given to satisfy our curiosity, but so that we will worship God and glorify Him; be thankful to Him.
    2. There is a sophisticated ignorance.
      1. Romans 1:22
      2. There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. But those who refuse to see think that they see perfectly clear.
        1. They profess themselves to be wise.
      3. When man does not believe in the true God, it does not mean that he believes in nothing. It means that he will believe anything.
        1. It’s not that men won’t believe; it’s what men will believe.
    3. There is shameful idolatry.
      1. Romans 1:23
        1. The word “changed” in this passage literally means “exchanged.”
        2. They want to glorify man and creation rather than God.
        3. Humanity takes our worst vices of war, greed, lust, and pride, and makes gods out of them.
          1. First, the sinner molds the idol, and then the idol molds the sinner.
      2. An idol is anything we love more, fear more, serve more, or value more than God.
      3. 2 Timothy 3:4
      4. We exchange, or substitute, the glory of Almighty God for these idols.
  3. MAN’S WOEFUL SELF-DESTRUCTION  (Romans 1:26-27)
    1. How does a society self-destruct?
      1. They become sexually perverted.
        1. Romans 1:26-27
        2. Leviticus 18:22
        3. Luke 17:26-30
        4. Ezekiel 16:48-50
        5. 2 Peter 2:6
        6. Isaiah 3:8-9
      2. They become socially perverted.
        1. Romans 1:28-31
      3. They become spiritually perverted.
        1. Romans 1:32
          1. They are aware of the judgment of God, but they don’t care.
  4. CONCLUSION
    1. Three times in Romans 1, it states that God gave them up and gave them over.
    2. Hosea 4:17
    3. The worst thing that could happen for an individual or for a nation is to so resist God that He obliges us and leaves us in our sin.
    4. But the Good News is that Jesus Christ has paid our ransom and that God offers salvation to all who will believe.
      1. Romans 1:16
      2. Isaiah 1:18
    5. Through Jesus Christ, every sin can be forgiven.
    6. Do you know Jesus?
      1. Call upon Jesus today. Repent (turn) from your sins, and turn to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins, and acknowledge Him as Lord of your life.
    7. Romans 10:9-10
    8. Romans 10:13

 

Five Vital Doctrines of Christian Faith

FIVE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE FAITH

 

There are five fundamentals of the faith which are essential for Christianity, and upon which we agree:

1.      The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).

2.      The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).

3.      The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).

4.      The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).

5.      The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20). [1]

And those who disagree with any of the above doctrines are not Christians at all. Rather, they are the true heretics.

So disagreements are perfectly acceptable within the confines of Christianity, because our salvation does not hinge upon doctrines other than the above five.

But if some deny even one of the five fundamentals mentioned above, they have departed from the faith, “giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1). By denying the above scriptural doctrines, they have heaped to themselves “teachers, having itching ears” (2 Timothy 4:3); thereby even “denying the Lord that bought them” (2 Peter 2:1). These are the true heretics, who are preaching “another Jesus”, according to 2 Corinthians 11:4:

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

And later in this same chapter, Paul refers to these people as the ministers of Satan, in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15:

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

So, please – if you take offense to differences in lesser doctrines, don’t think that we are condemning you as unbelievers or heretics. Nothing could be further from the truth. As long as you hold to the five fundamentals of the faith, you may join the debate. And together, we shall reprove the unfruitful works of darkness (Ephesians 5:11).



[1] Please note: this is NOT a reference to the “King James Only” debate; rather, this is a reference to people who claim to have revelations apart from the scriptures.

 


Back to Being Berean: Various Subjects and The Bible’s Answers

 

Heaven for You?

Heaven Can Be Yours!
The Way to Heaven Made Plain From the Word of God!
By Dr. Robert L. Sumner – Purchase “Heaven Can Be Yours!” tracts.

Robert L Sumner
Robert L Sumner

Dr. R. A. Torrey told of talking with a young society lady at New Haven, Connecticut, when suddenly she interrupted him to say, “Don’t talk that way; it makes me think and I hate to think.” This sin-weary world is filled with people who hate to think, somehow supposing that by thus ignoring the issue of salvation everything will eventually turn out all right for eternity. Nothing could be farther from the truth and I earnestly urge you to think seriously with me for a few moments about missing Hell and gaining Heaven.

Everyone wants to go to Heaven! No one in his right mind desires an eternal home in Hell’s house of horrors. The only man in my entire ministry—he was in the Livingston, Illinois, county jail at the time—who told me that he definitely wanted to go to Hell was judged insane and taken to a state hospital three days later. I know I am expressing your choice when I say you desire to reach Heaven eventually.

Yet, as the Negro slaves sang while chopping their Alabama cotton, “Heab’n, Heab’n, ev’ry body talk about Heab’n ain’t goin’ there, Heab’n, Heab’n.” Jesus Christ Himself is the authority for teaching that more people will miss Heaven and end up in Hell than will make Heaven. He said in Matthew 7:13, 14:

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Since this is a subject of utmost seriousness—the most important one you will ever consider—it is vital that we start at the root of the matter and note first,

I. SIN, the Bar to Heaven!

Some might question, “Why doesn’t God just let everyone into Heaven when they die and be done with it? What keeps anyone out of Heaven?” The answer is sin!

Consider how plainly the Bible declares that sin shuts Heaven’s doors to every guilty sinner. After God gives that glorious picture of Heaven in the 21st chapter of Revelation, describing the gates of pearl, the streets of pure gold like transparent glass and the walls of jasper, He warns:

And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life. —Revelation 21:27

Notice the expression, “in no wise!” God will permit no sin or sinner in Heaven under any circumstance whatsoever. In the next chapter, the last in the Bible, after again describing some of the glories of Heaven, He declares:

For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and make a lie. —Revelation 22:15.

Again we have the strong insistence of the Almighty that every sinner must remain “without” Heaven. That lovely, unspoiled, unspotted city will not be tarnished or polluted with the single sin of a single sinner. So, in order to protect His Paradise and keep it pure, every sinner must be denied access to it.

If God allowed a sinner to enter Heaven, that sinner would sin. A Hitler or a Saddam Hussein would not be in Heaven long before he started a revolution. Confidence men would soon be trying to sell some prospective sucker a golden street. Liars would unceasingly be endeavoring to deceive the redeemed, the angels, and even God Himself. The adulterers would attempt to satisfy their passions if only through the thoughts of their hearts (Matt. 5:27, 28). In Revelation 22:11 God explains this truth about sinners continuing to sin forever, saying, “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still.” Therefore, if one sinner entered Heaven he would soon spoil it by his transgressions. Heaven must be kept “off limits: for unredeemed sinners.

In I Corinthians 6:9, 10, the Word of God declares:

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

The same truth is stated in Ephesians 5:5, 6:

For as ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Another strong emphasis of this truth is found in Galatians 5:19-21 where we read:

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

Sin, A Universal Fact

Perhaps you are one of the many who seek to still the pricking of your conscience by telling yourself that you have never killed, never committed adultery, never robbed a bank, never defrauded a neighbor, or committed any of the so-called “baser sins.” Then let me remind you that God classes hatred with murder, envy with adultery, strife with drunkenness, and anger with witchcraft in the above scriptural condemnation.

He has further stated,

…for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. —Romans 3:22, 23

No difference! No difference between the society queen and the scarlet woman! No difference between the president and the pauper! No difference between the community leader and the common thief! If you are a moral, self-righteous woman who has never trusted Christ, you are on the same level before God with the worst fallen woman of sin who plies her trade on ignorant, foolish men. If you are a man without Christ, no matter how highly esteemed in your community or respected by your associates, you are on the same level before God with the worst drunkard and dope addict who ever staggered into a rescue mission begging for free soup and a place to sleep.No difference!

There may be differences in the degree of sin and the amount of sin, but in the fact that both are guilty sinners whom God is forced to shut out of Heaven, there is no difference!

How abundant are the scriptural statements that all stand guilty before God as sinners deserving a just condemnation in an eternal Hell of torment!

For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not. —Ecclesiastes 7:20

God looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, that did seek God. EVERY ONE of them is gone back: they are ALTOGETHER become filthy; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE. —Psalm 53:2, 3

How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? —Job 15:16

ALL we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned EVERY ONE to his own way… —Isaiah 53:6

As it is written, there is NONE righteous, no, NOT ONE: There is NONE that understandeth, there is NONE that seeketh after God. They are ALL gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is NONE that doeth good, no, NOT ONE.—Romans 3:10-12

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us…If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. —I John 1:8, 10

Some have sinned more than the average, some have sinned less, but everyone has sinned and thereby “become guilty before God” (Rom. 3:19). To deny it is to deceive yourself and in addition commit the terrible crime of calling God a liar! It was Christ Himself who said, “there is none good but one, that is, God” (Matt. 19:17). God’s conclusion is that you and I are both sinners and that our sins have shut the door of Heaven to us.

Sin Must Be Paid for by Someone!

Sin must be settled. There must be a penalty for disobedience. Some suggest that God merely pardons sin without any payment, any settling or making right. Others tell us that since God is love He will never send any of His creatures to an eternal Hell of unending torment.

But human reason unites with Divine revelation in decrying such foolish philosophy. Can you imagine what your city would be like if there were no penalty for the broken law? Suppose there were no policemen, no jails, no sentence or penalty executed against the rapist, the thief, the murderer, the seditionist, and the criminals of various descriptions! What would a state be like with no penalty for the breaker of its laws? What would a nation be like in such circumstances? What would the world be like in such a hopeless condition?

All reason cries that sin must be punished and that law-breakers must be separated from the innocent so they cannot ply their evil upon them. It is exactly the same with God and His Laws! The Scriptures rightly insist, “the soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4, 20). It is not unjust for Him to declare that “the wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). The eternal principle ever must remain:

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. —Galatians 6:7

It would not be right or possible for sinners to sin and remain unpunished.

From the many Scriptures thus far considered we have seen the following positive Bible conclusions:

1. All sin and every sinner must be barred from Heaven;
2. Every person on earth is a sinner guilty before God;
3. Therefore the door of Heaven must be shut to every single individual, with no exceptions, unless his sin is completely and entirely removed.

But, thank God, all is not hopeless! The same Word of God gloriously, joyfully announces to all the world the blessed truth,

II. CHRIST, the Way to Heaven!

In the 14th chapter of John, the Savior told His disciples about the wonderful Heaven He was going to prepare. When Thomas asked that all important question everyone desires to have answered, “How can we know the way?” the Lord replied:

I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. —John 14:6

Notice that Christ is the way to Heaven and the only way! No individual can ever go to the Father or the Father’s house of many mansions except by Jesus Christ! Paul’s epistle to the church at Colosse describes it—“…Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). No one can have a sure hope of Heaven without Christ in his heart!

Christ’s Death Opened Heaven to Guilty Sinners

How could Christ open Heaven’s barred doors for wicked sinners? By paying personally the penalty of their sins! This He did at the cross of Calvary, making it possible for God to remain just and yet justify the ungodly who receive Christ as their Savior (Rom. 3:26).

Isaiah looked down through the centuries to God’s sacrifice at Calvary and wrote by inspiration of the Holy Spirit:

Surely he hath borne OUR griefs, and carried OUR sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for OUR transgressions, he was bruised for OUR iniquities: the chastisement of OUR peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed…and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. —Isaiah 53:4-6

Scores of other Scriptures unite in telling the glorious gospel story of a Savior who offered Himself a sacrifice for sinners and paid the penalty of the condemnation they justly deserved. The Bible says:

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. —I Peter 2:24

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

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. —I John 3:5

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. —I Peter 3:18

In whom we have redemption THROUGH HIS BLOOD, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. —Ephesians 1:7

Oh, dear reader, thank God again and again that His lovely Son left the glories of Heaven, coming to earth and taking upon Himself the outward form of a servant (Phil. 2:7), that He might “give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20:28). The Bible expresses:

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. —Philippians 2:8

Sin had placed an uncrossable chasm between man and Heaven, but Jesus Christ bridged that gulf with His cross. Sin had built a wall between God and man so tremendous that, in the words of the old Negro spiritual,

My Lord, it’s so high, Can’t get over it;
So wide, Can’t go around it;
So low, Can’t crawl under it.

But the Son of God used His cross as a spiritual battering ram to blast a hole through that wall big enough to let the vilest sinner through. Now all who will come by the way of the cross and its Christ can enter into fellowship with God.

Calvary’s Sacrifice Sufficient for Any, All!

Now none has an excuse for missing Heaven and entering Hell since any and all can be saved forever by trusting Christ. The meanest man, the wickedest woman, the most defiled youth, all can find forgiveness and salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. The standing offer of God is: “him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out (John 6:37), and, “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13).

Anyone can be saved and gain Heaven who wants to be saved! Earlier we reminded you of God’s vow that no fornicator, idolater, adulterer, thief, drunkard, or sinner of any kind (I Cor. 6:9, 10) will enter Heaven. But in the very next verse He declared:

And such were some of you: but ye are WASHED, but ye are SANCTIFIED, but ye are JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. —I Cor. 6:11

Yes, sinners of every description—guilty of every conceivable sin—can find pardon and forgiveness in the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not know you or what sins you have committed, but on the authority of the infallible Word of God I positively guarantee that you can be forgiven and saved by trusting Christ!

The poet was right when he cried:

The blood that purchased our release
And purged our crimson stains;
We challenge earth and Hell to show
One sin it cannot cleanse!

The Word of God expresses it, “the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from ALL sin” (I John 1:7).

John Newton, the man who wrote one of the sweetest songs of all time, “Amazing grace! how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me!” had been guilty of every sin known to mankind in his days as a drunken rum runner and slave trader in the South Sea Islands. Yet his own epitaph, hung over a century ago on the north wall of the Woolnoth Chapel, is:

JOHN NEWTON, CLERK,
Once an infidel and libertine,
A servant of salves in Africa,
Was, by the rich mercy of our
Lord and Saviour
JESUS CHRIST,
Preserved, restored, pardoned, and
Appointed to preach the Faith he
Had long laboured to destroy.

He will do the same for you that He did for John Newton and countless thousands of other guilty, Hell-deserving sinners down through the ages. Sin is the bar to Heaven but the atoning death of Christ opens the way to Heaven for all who want it.

Do you ask how this salvation offered by Christ can be yours? Then follow the Scriptures carefully as they unfold,

III. FAITH, the Key to Heaven!

Here is the strange thing exceedingly difficult for the natural mind to understand: salvation is by faith alone, completely apart from any human merit! The average person supposes that Heaven is gained by good deeds, works of righteousness, religious acts, exceptional morality, or other forms of righteous achievement. But the Bible is crystal clear that such is not the case and that it is absolutely impossible to earn or merit Heaven.

Ephesians 2:8, 9 tells us:

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that NOT OF YOURSELVES: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.

And Titus 3:5-7 reminds those already saved of how it happened:

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.

Augustus M. Toplady was right when he wrote in his beloved hymn, “Rock of Ages,”

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill Thy laws demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone.

The Bible Way Is the Faith Way

Throughout the entire Word of God the only plan of salvation taught is that sin is forgiven and eternal life received only by faith. Over and over God guarantees a home in Heaven to all who will believe in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Consider just a few of the plain statements:

To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM shall receive remission of sins. —Acts 10:43

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by THE FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST, even we have BELIEVED IN JESUS CHRIST, that we might be justified by THE FAITH OF CHRIST, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. —Galatians 2:16

…Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. —Acts 16:30, 31

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is BY FAITH OF JESUS CHRIST unto all and upon all them that BELIEVE…Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation THROUGH FAITH IN HIS BLOOD, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which BELIEVETH IN JUESUS…Therefore we conclude that a man is JUSTIFIED BY FAITH without the deeds of the law..—Romans 3:20-22, 24-26, 28

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever BELIEVETH IN HIM should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that BELIEVETH ON HIM is not condemned: but he that BELIEVETH NOT is condemned already, because he hath not BELIEVED in the name of the only begotten Son of God. —John 3:14-18

He that BELIEVETH ON THE SON hath everlasting life: and he that BELIEVETH NOT the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. —John 3:36

Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him ALL THAT BELIEVE are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. —Acts 13:38, 39

Don’t you see, dear reader, that salvation is merely a matter of accepting what God has provided through the finished work of His Son at Calvary? A home in Heaven will be yours the moment you will trust Him to forgive your sins and take you to Heaven. Can you trust Him? Can you risk Him, who cannot lie (Titus 1:2), to do what He said He would do for all who receive Christ as their personal Savior? It is simply a matter of taking God at His Word.

The great reformer, Martin Luther, was asked on one occasion if he felt his sins had been forgiven. That mighty man of faith replied, “No, I do not feel they are forgiven, but I know that they are because God says so in His Word!” That’s it exactly! God has promised salvation to all who will receive His Son as their personal Savior. Now, if you will receive Christ, salvation and Heaven will be yours according to the very Word of God! He died to make your salvation possible; will you let Him save you?

God Is Helpless to Save Those Who Reject Christ

Before I close this message I must warn you that the finished work of Christ at Calvary is absolutely worthless and meaningless for the individual who refuses to receive Him. God reminds us in Hebrews 10:26, 27:

For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more [lit. “no other”] sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

There is no other way of salvation for the individual who scorns the sacrifice Christ made at Calvary through His death, burial and resurrection.

One of the strangest cases in the annals of American legal history centered around a young man named George Wilson. For crimes committed on December 6, 1829, Wilson and a companion, James Porter (alias James May), were charged with six indictments in the Circuit Court of the United States for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, all dealing with obstructing or robbing the mail, two of which were for “putting the life of the carrier,” Samuel M’Crea, “in jeopardy.” Found guilty, both men were sentenced “to suffer death on the 2nd July following.”

Porter was executed on schedule, but because of a “numerous and respectable body of petitioners” pleading with him for Wilson’s life, President Andrew Jackson issued a formal pardon, signed on his behalf by Secretary of State Martin Van Vuren, in which he said he “had pardoned, and do hereby pardon the said George Wilson the crime for which he has been sentenced to suffer death, remitting the penalty aforesaid.”

Then came the blockbuster: Wilson refused the pardon!

The finest minds in the field of legal jurisprudence were called in for consultation as to what to do and eventually the problem reached the Supreme Court. In a unanimous decision, that top legal body ruled a pardon to be unqualifiedly ineffective until accepted by the party involved. John Marshall, one of America’s ablest lawyers and the fourth Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, wrote in the decision:

A pardon is an act of grace, proceeding from the power entrusted with the execution of the laws, which exempts the individual, on whom it is bestowed, from the punishment the law inflicts for a crime he has committed….

A pardon is a deed, to the validity of which delivery is essential; and delivery is not completed without acceptance. It may then be rejected by the person to whom it is tendered; and if it be rejected, we have discovered no power in a court to force it on him.

It may be supposed that no being condemned to death would reject a pardon, but the rule must be the same in capital cases and in misdemeanors.

The same is true spiritually! You are a sinner under the sentence of sin, condemned to an eternal Hell. It is hardly to be supposed that you, in your right mind, would reject the pardon of God’s love which His Son Jesus Christ provided at Calvary. But if you do, it is no pardon and the atonement is worse than worthless in your case—you must pay the penalty of your own sin in Hell forever!

Don’t Refuse God’s Pardon; Trust Christ Now

Yes, Heaven can be yours! But you had better settle the matter right now before it is too late. Multifold are the warnings in the Word of God against putting off salvation. For example, He tells us:

Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. —Proverbs 27:1

He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy. —Proverbs 29:1

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, TODAY if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts…)…—Hebrews 3:7,8

Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation. —II Corinthians 6:2

Decision for Christ

If you want to make sure of Heaven and will receive Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior today, please indicate it by signing the following decision form. Then, as soon as possible, let others know of the stand you have taken.

* * * * * *

First Name: Last Name: 

E-mail Address: 

 

Dear Dr. Sumner:I confess that I am a poor sinner who truly deserves the eternal judgment of God in Hell forever because of my wickedness. But I also believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, paid the penalty for my sins through His death, burial and resurrection, making it possible for me to gain Heaven. Right now, as honestly as I know how, I repent of my sins and ask Him to save me. I do now open my heart to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to come in. I want Him to give me everlasting life now as He promised, then take me to Heaven when my earthly life is over. I trust Him to do it. I will confess Him as my Savior before others as soon as I have the opportunity. With His help, I want to live for Him the rest of my life.

1

 

If you will fill out the information above and submit the form, I will write you a letter of counsel and encouragement. Now that you have honestly received Christ into your heart you should be baptized and unite with a Bible-believing church.

Creation: Day Three

God Created the Earth and All that is in it: Day 3

By John MacArthur

Audio Link: http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/90-214/creation-day-3

John MacArthur
John MacArthur

Let’s open our Bibles to Genesis chapter 1. We are continuing in a study of creation, the account of creation; the only authoritative account of creation given in the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, the book of beginnings, Genesis.

Let me read down through verse 13. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.  And God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness, and God called the light day, and the darkness He called night.  And there was evening and there was morning, one day.  Then God said, ‘Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.’  And God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse, and it was so.  And God called the expanse heaven, and there was evening and there was morning, a second day.  Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear,’ and it was so.  And God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas, and God saw that it was good.  Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them, on the earth,’ and it was so.  And the earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and the trees bearing fruit with seed in them after their kind, and God saw that it was good.  And there was evening, and there was morning, a third day.”

Now, let me sum up what the Word of God in this much of Genesis has taught us about origins.  With plain, understanding of the text, the inescapable account says that the eternal God created out of nothing, without preexisting material, the heavens and the earth, which simply means the universe.  He created the universe as it is now, in a sequence of six solar days, the first three of which we just read.  He capped His creation, as we will find out, on the sixth day, by creating man in His own image; an intelligent being with personality, with self-consciousness and cognition.  This creation occurred in a period of one week of normal days, about 6000 or so years ago, and the entire creation was mature and aged at the instant of its creation.  Death did not exist, nor any corrupting influence; and the creation was good.  Death and corruption entered the creation for the first time at the Fall of Adam and Eve, which is recorded in the third chapter of Genesis.  When they sinned in disobedience to God, death entered the scene; prior to that there was no death.  That means there could be no evolutionary processes because nothing died.

Later the surface of the earth was reshaped, drastically and dramatically, by the great universal Flood, described later in the book of Genesis; a flood which rearranged the earth cataclysmically, as water rose literally above the mountains, coming down from above and surging up from the bowels of the earth.  As a result of that flood only eight people survived: Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives, and the animals survived which were in the ark, and from that the replenishing of the earth occurred.  That is the Genesis record.

And as I told you last week, science is not a hermeneutic. Science is not a principle for interpreting Genesis, or for that matter, any other passage of Scripture.  And the accuracy of the Genesis account is no different than any other biblical text.  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.  All Scripture is moved in the hearts of men, produced in the hearts of men by the working of the Holy Spirit, so that they wrote down precisely what the Spirit wanted them to say.  And Jesus summed it up when He said in John 17:17, “Thy Word is truth.”

Now, from that foundation we must conclude that any form of evolution is a contradiction and a denial of the clear revelation of Scripture, and I mean any form, whether it comes from an atheistic evolutionist like Julian Huxley, or whether it comes from a theistic evolutionist like Hugh Ross.  Any form of evolution is a contradiction and denial of the clear revelation of Scripture, which indicates that somewhere around 6000 years ago, God created the entire universe as we know it in six 24-hour days.

There’s only one source of the account of origins and that is the Bible, the Word of God, and in particular and in specific, Genesis chapter 1.  As I have been saying, there are no scientific facts that necessarily contradict the Genesis creation account.  Rather, all true science supports the biblical creation teaching.  It has to be that way because Genesis is true.  Therefore all true science is in support of the Genesis account.

It’s a hard thing for people to admit this because science for so long has reigned supreme on the throne of contemporary thinking.  Evolution has been a given.  In fact, it’s become an absolute in our society, but it is systematically coming apart at the seams.  The more we know about the nature of the universe, the more we realize the utter impossibility of any form of evolution, even to the degree – and this is an interesting source to quote – that Robert E. Smith, a member of the western Missouri affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, whom you would know to be no friend of Scripture, says this, and I quote: “For the past five years, I have closely followed creationist literature, and have attended lectures and debates on related issues.  Based solely on the scientific arguments pro and con, I have been forced to conclude that scientific creationism is not only a viable theory, but that it has achieved parity with, if not superiority over, the normative theory of biological evolution.  That this should now be the case is somewhat surprising, particularly in view of what most of us were taught in primary and secondary school.”  He goes on: “In practical terms, the past decade of intense activity by scientific creationists has left most evolutionist professors unwilling to debate the creationist professors.  Too many of the evolutionists have been publicly humiliated in such debates by their own lack of erudition and by the weakness of their theory,” end quote.

Paul Ackerman has written a book called It’s a Young World After All, and in it he says this – some of you have been to Disneyland, I can tell.  In the book he says this: “Let me be blunt on this matter.  Evolutionists around the world have had to learn the hard way that evolution cannot stand up against creationism in any fair and impartial debate situation where the stakes are the hearts and minds of intelligent, undecided, but nevertheless objective and open-minded audiences.  Experience will prove that the same is true for the age issue as well.  Evolutionists’ beliefs regarding the origin and development of life cannot withstand the scrutiny of an informed opposition, and neither can evolutionists claim to the effect that the universe has existed for 10 to 20 billion years, and the earth for 4.5 billion years.  To delay the collapse of widespread public acceptance of such claims, it will be necessary for evolutionist scientists to carefully avoid debate,” end quote.  They cannot survive a debate, and so they won’t debate.

Now, this is an illustration after an illustration about science, some facet of science that supports a young earth and a biblical account of creation.  I’ve tried to give you a few as we go along.  Here’s one that I find somewhat fascinating.  Every once in a while you see on the weather report that there’s some indication of how many raindrops fell, and it added up to a tenth of an inch, or an half an inch, or three inches, or whatever.  It’s not a very sophisticated test that they do to determine that.  They just have a container with an open top, and when it rains they measure how much water is in the container.  You can do that science yourself.  It rains a certain number of raindrops, and it fills up the can to a certain level, and they can then go out after it stopped raining and tell how much it rained by measuring the amount of water in the container.

Now, it is possible, by that simple method, that with a slight modification in your procedure, to turn the rain gauge into a kind of clock.  Let’s assume that we live in a location where it rains continuously, and rains at a known rate.  When we set the container outside under those conditions of continuous rain and a known rate, we can therefore, by measuring how much water is in the can, determine how much time has gone by – pretty obvious – so that the can with the water in it becomes a measure of time.  It becomes a kind of clock.  The longer the container has been exposed, the more water is in it.  The more water is in it, the longer it’s been exposed.  So we can measure a certain amount of time having gone by, by the amount of water that’s in the can.  Now, I know I’m not taxing your intelligence with that; I don’t want to.  I just want to give you a simple illustration.

And when you see the people in southern California make a road through a mountain, and they cut a wedge out of that mountain to make a road, and you look at the side of that cut mountain, you see various lines of stratification.  Or when you go to the Grand Canyon, and you see the amazing geological stratification that has occurred there, you’re seeing what evolutionists assume has been this continual building up of sediment for billions and billions and billions of years.

Now, evolutionists believe this.  They believe that for billions of years, this sediment has been building up, but there are a number of ways to pose problems to them.  Here’s one that I find very interesting: scientists can tell you just about how regularly meteors shower the earth.  They’ve measured that for a long, long time.  They can tell you how many meteors burn up in space before they hit the earth, and how many meteors generally, some very small, hit the earth each year.  With the passage of billions and billions of years, and the building up of sediment, it should be true that that sediment has within it meteors at every interval.  If the continuity, and the perpetuity, and the uniformity of meteor life is equal to the continuity, perpetuity, and uniformity of everything else in this theory of uniformity, then this earth has been being showered with meteors for 4.5 billion, or however old it is.  And so you should be able to go down the strata, you should be able to go down the geologic column and find meteors all through that column, like the rain shower, therefore you could measure the age of the earth.

Interestingly enough, this is what the data shows: a survey of all literature on the occurrence of meteors in sedimentary rock failed to turn up one single case of a meteorite being found anywhere in any geologic column.  The meteorite clock indicates we have a very young earth; all the meteors are on the top.

Philip Johnson has written a fascinating book called Darwin on Trial.  If you’re interested in more scientific information, read that book; he marshals abundant scientific evidence against evolution, as do many, many other writers.  Now, that’s just sort of a little bit of an introductory tidbit about the science side of things.  I want to mention one other thing that’s a biblical issue before we look at day three.

The question always comes up, at what point were angels created?  They’re not mentioned in Genesis 1, so how do we know when angels are created?  Well, neither Genesis, nor for that matter any other text of Scripture, states specifically when angelic beings were created.  What is definite is that they are creatures, and they were created, and they did have a beginning.  They are immortal.  Once created they live forever, but only the triune God is eternal, without beginning and without ending.  Angels are created beings.

Now, some have suggested that they had to be created on the sixth day, because it was on the sixth day that God created man, and angels, according to Hebrews 1:14, were created to be ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who will be the heirs of salvation.  And since they were created to serve those who were human, and who receive salvation, therefore they would have been created along with them on the sixth day.  I find that a pretty weak argument, frankly, because that’s not all angels do.  They don’t just minister to the saints.  In fact, if you go into heaven in Revelation 4 and 5, you find them doing what?  Worshiping God.

Primarily, and throughout all eternity, they will be worshipers of God.  So it would be fair to the purpose of angels, which is primarily to worship God, to associate them in the created order with some point at which they would begin to praise and worship God.  They – they’re definitely seen in the book of Revelation, worshiping God at the consummation of history, and it seems to me likely that they could well have started worshiping God at the beginning of history.

In fact, there is one passage of Scripture to which we can turn. I’ll just refer to it; you can look at it another time.  Job 38 verses 4 to 7; Job 38 verses 4 to 7.  And it tells us that the angels were present when the foundations of the earth were laid, and were rejoicing over it.  So it could well have been that that was day one, if the foundations of the earth means that original formless, void earth that had not yet been shaped and refined into its final form.  If it means the foundations in the sense of elements and the components that were there, but as of yet not shaped into their final form, then the angels would have been created at that time.  Psalm 104, write that down, Psalm 104 verses 2 through 5 speaks of the shining of God’s light during the original creative process and mentions the angels just before referring to laying the foundations of the earth.

Now, if the shining of God’s light refers to verse 3, “Let there be light,” which occurred on day one, and it was followed by the foundations of the earth, and it means therefore the shaping of the earth that occurs actually on day three, it could well be that the angels were created after that shining light and before the foundations of the earth, meaning the shaping of the earth rather than its unformed character; the shaping which took place, as we will see, on day three.

So you can take your choice; but I believe that the angels would have been created by God either prior to the full creation of the earth that is described on the first day of creation, so that they could worship God for doing that, or they were certainly created before the shaping of that earth on day three, when the land was separated from the waters, as we read.

Now, the question of when they were created obviously isn’t important enough for God to include it.  What is important is to know that they are created by God.  They, as it says, in the Nicene Creed, are the product of the creator of all things, visible – that would be the material world = and invisible – that would be the spirit world of angels.

Now let’s return to the text of Genesis chapter 1.  I think it’s fair to assume at this point the angels have been created, and they are there praising God and worshiping God for the wonder of what they are beholding as He is bringing His creation into magnificent and beautiful shape.  Verse 1 gives the overview: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  That’s simply an overview of everything.  Verse 2 then goes back to describe how He did that.  Obviously, it includes all of the elements and all of the components; ex nihilo,  out of nothing, He made all the necessary materials from which to shape His universe.  And then there came the earth in its, its preliminary condition, formless and void; that is, it was chaotic.  It was not yet pulled into the order which would sustain life, and it was not yet inhabited.  And God then, creating that earth surrounded by darkness, adds light to it in verse 3.  And so you have this unformed, uninhabitable earth, a kind of a composite of elements not yet put together in their final form, and you have that surrounded by darkness until the light is created that surrounds it.

And then on day two, starting in verse 6, God creates the heavens.  The earth is engulfed in water, as we remember, clearly indicated to us in verse 2.  The earth is engulfed in water, God slices into that and sends some of that water upwards.  And it seems to me best to understand that that water goes all the way up beyond the stellar heavens, because the space between the upper water and the lower water is called the expanse or space.  It’s called heaven, and it’s where the light is, and it’s where, later on, the stellar bodies, the celestial bodies, the sun, the moon, the stars, are all placed.  And so that part of that water goes to the infinite ends of the universe in some fashion.  We don’t know exactly how to explain all of that; nothing more than what’s in Genesis is a justification for being dogmatic.  But God then leaves the earth still engulfed in water, but He has created heaven.  That heaven then is filled with light when you come to the end of day two.

The earth is still uninhabited, uninhabitable, and not in its final form until day three.  Before we go to day three, I just want to stick something in here for your thinking.  On the day that God created the expanse, there was this tremendous cataclysmic movement of water coming off the earth and just literally moving to the extremities of the infinity of heaven.  This great expanse that we know as space, the great expanse that we know as heaven, takes its shape, and it came into being.  Just imagine the speed with which the whole of the infinite heavens were created.  A little later when we talk about stars, we’re going to talk about how vast outer space is; it just staggers your mind.  And all of that came into being instantaneously, the full vast universe.

Science has come to the place where they have to recognize this.  There are scientific clues; they call it the “Big Bang” theory.  We like to call it the “Big God” theory.  We know it was a big God.  They think it was a big bang.  World magazine records this.  Now, this was the May 1 issue this year; I just read it.  Scientific evidence for the Big Bang becomes more and more theological, according to cosmic inflation cosmology.  The idea is that somehow the whole universe just went like that..

A Mr. Gregg Easterbrook explains, quote, “The entire universe popped out of a point with no content and no dimensions, essentially expanding instantaneously to cosmological size.  This is now being taught at Stanford, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and other top science schools.  This explanation of the beginning of the universe bears haunting similarity to the traditional theological idea of creation ex nihilo, out of nothing.”  Mr. Easterbrook quotes one of the world’s top astronomers, Allan Sandage, of the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution, as saying, quote, “The Big Bang can only be understood as a miracle,” end quote.

Day two was a big bang by a big God, who instantaneously created the universe.  Now we have an unformed earth, we have light, and we have a vast universe, and we come to day three in verse 9.  “Then God said, ‘Let the waters below the heavens’” – now, that would be the waters that are on the earth still; the other waters have gone above the heavens by contrast, and clearly that language indicates that.  “‘Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear.’  And it was so.”  Now God, on day three, is going to shape the earth.

It begins – verse 9 does, as always in the Genesis account, “Then God said…”  You see it again in verse 11, “Then God said…”  In verse 14, “Then God said…”  In verse 20, “Then God said…”  And so it has been in the past, verse 2, “Then God said,” verse 6, “Then God said.”  Everything comes into being from nothing by God simply speaking it into existence.

On the first day, God divides light from darkness.  On the second day, God divides the water below from the water above.  On the third day, God divides land from sea.  “Let the waters below the heavens…”  Now, that clearly is the water that still remains on the earth.  The water above has gone into the expanse of heavens.  The waters now still remain on the earth.  Back in verse 2 the earth is covered with the water.  The surface of the deep, it’s called, and the surface of the waters.  Still, the earth is engulfed in this water.  Beneath the water is the solid matter, hidden beneath the waters covering the earth.

God then commands these waters that cover the earth to be collected or gathered into one place. The Septuagint uses the word “synagogue,” a gathering place.  All of the water surrounding the earth is now gathered into one place, and at the same time verse 9 says, “God said, ‘And let the dry land appear,’ and it was so.”  So God separates the water from the dry land.  Now, this is just a simple statement, a simple sentence, but can you even begin to fathom the cataclysm that occurred when that was spoken by God?  All of a sudden, the material that is in its unformed condition, buried under the depths of the surface sea, starts to move, and all of those necessary elements start to work to produce land, to push up to create the surface of land.  The water moves, gathering itself into one place.  Tremendous chemical reactions get under way as the elements combine with each other to form the complex of minerals, the complex of rock and soil, making up the solid earth as to its crust and its mantle and its core.  Just a staggering act of creation.

Henry Morris writes, “Great earth movements got under way.  Surfaces of solid earth appeared above the waters, and an intricate network of channels and reservoirs opened up in the crust to receive the waters retreating off the rising continent.”  Continent rises – it may well have been only one great continent, later divided into multiple continents by the cataclysm of the breaking up of the tectonic plates during the Flood, when the fountains of the deep broke open the continent and pushed it into its current form.  But at this time, the continent, perhaps only one continent, rises, and all the water is gathered into one place.  This is an incredible thing.  The water is assembled, and not only in one great sea, but assembled certainly into numerous distinct basins.  The gathering of the waters is a plural term; there were multiple waters.  They were all gathered so that they touched each other, in the sense that they were all connected.  There would have been underground reservoirs, there would have been underground tubes, streams, and rivers, and springs, and fountains, but all connected together.  All the water flowing everywhere in the earth interconnected.  And the condition would not be, as I said, the same as our post-flood seas. Everything changed at the time of the Flood. But God created the seas and He created the dry land.

Now, I want to show you that this is the clear testimony of Scripture, that God created all of this instantaneously.  Look at Job 38, and this is worth a look because I’m going to take you in to something that is fascinating to me.  Job 38, verse 8: now, the Lord is talking to Job here, and believe me, the Lord is not an evolutionist.  Job 38:8, the Lord asks Job, just reminding Job that he ought to keep his mouth shut, you know, in verse 4 before we get to verse 8, He says, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth?”  That’s not evolution, folks, that’s creation.  Where were you?  “Where were you when the morning stars,” the angels, “sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy in creation?”  That’s that text that indicates that they were there at creation.  In verse 8: “Or who enclosed the sea with doors, when bursting forth it went out from the womb, when I made a cloud its garment and thick darkness its swaddling band.  And I placed boundaries on it and I set up bolt and doors and I said, ‘Thus far you shall come but no farther, and here shall your proud waves stop.’“  Where were you, Job, when I created the sea and I bounded it with shore lines?  And I told the sea, “You can’t go beyond that; that’s your limit.”  It’s a reference to God’s creative work, as described on day three in Genesis.

Turn to Psalm 74. Psalm 74, first of all, and verse 13; here the psalmist is extolling God.  And in verse 12 he talks about God being his King from of old, his ancient King whose works, deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth; who works deeds of deliverance in the midst of the earth.  Then in verse 13, “Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength.”  Thou didst divide the sea by Thy strength.  In other words, it was You that created the sea.  But he adds in verse 13 this most interesting statement: “Thou didst break the heads of the sea monsters in the waters.”

Go to Psalm 104. I’ll come back to that in a minute, but Psalm 104, verse 7.  He says in verse 5 He established the earth on its foundations so that it wouldn’t totter forever and ever.  Can you imagine a lopsided world going around like this, and we’d all be going around the same way, jumping off a few feet every rotation?  That’s called the science of isostasy, that the earth is in perfect balance.  The heavier materials of the earth sunk to the center, the lighter ones to the outer part, and it is perfectly balanced.

Verse 6: “Thou didst cover it with the deep as with a garment.”  That’s exactly what Genesis 1 says.  “The whole of the earth was covered with water; the waters were even above the mountains.  But at Thy rebuke” – verse 7 – “they fled.  At the sound of Thy thunder they hurried away.  The mountains rose, the valleys sank to the place which Thou didst establish for them.  Thou didst set a boundary that they may not pass over, that they may not return to cover the earth.”  Certainly, that could refer to the creation work of God; it could also refer to what God did after the Flood, had it engulfed the earth.  I think I lean toward the fact that it refers to creation, because of the description of Him establishing the earth in verse 5, and covering the earth with water in verse 6, as with a garment.  I think that this is a creative context and the language of the psalmist is describing what happened when God drew the land together and separated the sea.  Verse 10 continues the same creative context.  “He sent forth springs in the valleys, they flow between the mountains,” and so that again is a creative statement.

In Proverbs chapter 8 – and notice this is all in the wisdom literature, in Job and Psalms and Proverbs.  It has a certain poetic design.  But in Proverbs chapter 8, verse 27, it’s talking about wisdom, wisdom personified here, and verse 27, actually, you can go back to His everlasting nature.  God at the beginning possessed wisdom, verse 22; from everlasting He possessed wisdom.  Before the mountains were settled, before the hills were brought forth, verse 25, and again, it’s in this creative context again.  Verse 26, “While He had not yet made the earth and the fields, nor the first dust of the world, when He established the heavens” on day two, “I was there,” wisdom was there.  “When He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep, when He made firm the skies above, when the springs of the deep became fixed, when He set for the sea its boundary,” all of that precludes any evolutionary activity at all.  All of it is attributed directly to God.  God did it all, just as described in Genesis chapter 1.

Now I read earlier from Psalm 74 the mention – this is an interesting footnote – the mention of a sea monster.  And as you study the wisdom literature, you see that sea monster coming up a number of places. In Job, for example, chapter 7 and verse 12, “Am I the sea or the sea monster that Thou didst set a guard over me?”  And again it’s saying that God set a guard over the sea, but very often when it talks about God setting a guard over the sea, it mentions this, this sea monster. You also see it in Job 9:13, “God will not turn back his anger, beneath Him crouch the helpers of Rahab.”  And rahab is translated “sea monster.”

Now, what is this?  Well, Rahab apparently was the name of an ancient mythical sea monster.  Rahab was a familiar term to describe a sea monster that rebelled against God.  There were apparently some ancient myths among the pagans that when the gods were designing the world, and wanting to provide land and the sea, there was some great, rebellious sea monster they called Rahab who was trying to prevent God from separating the land from the sea – who wanted the sea to overrun the land.  And God had to confine the sea, and confine this sea monster that was wanting to rebel, and so God, in defining the borders of the sea and the shoreline, in legend, had to defeat this great monster known as Rahab, who wanted to fight against God.  That was the legend; that is not in the Genesis account, but that was the legend – that there was some monster trying to prevent God from separating land and sea.

Isaiah 51 also mentions this, and it mentions it in a different context.  “Awake, awake” – verse 9 – “put on strength, O arm of the Lord; awake as in the days of old, the generations of long ago.  Was it not Thou who cut Rahab in pieces?”  And again, here is this same mention of Rahab again, this, this sort of pagan mythical sea monster.  You see it also in Psalm – one more and I’ll leave you alone on this point, but I think it’s an interesting point – Psalm 89, verse 10, “Thou thyself didst crush Rahab, like the one who was slain.”

Now, here’s the way it goes.  The Gentiles, or the people around – it wouldn’t be Gentiles at that point, since Israel wasn’t necessarily defined that early – although it would’ve been Proverbs times.  But the pagan people around have invented these creation myths in which the gods were attempting to separate land from sea, and there was resistance by this great sea monster who was fighting to preserve his sovereignty, and to be able to overrun the land and drown whoever he wanted to when he wanted to.  The great gods were able to defeat the sea monster.

Well, this legend found its way into some of the rabbinical tradition.  And Rahab, then, became a name that would refer to any sort of any reality, or any fantasy which caused havoc – which rebelled against God, which fought against divine purposes, or the people of God.  And you find a number of references to Rahab, to the sea monster, in rabbinic literature.  They called Rahab “the lord of the sea, the great monster of the sea” – I suppose today his name would be Neptune – and he was always opposing the will of God in these legends.  But the Holy One was able to contain him and control him.

It seems as if the Jews then borrowed the idea of Rahab, and turned it into a sort of a metaphor for anything that resisted the power of God; anything real, or anything in fantasy, that resisted the power of God.  And you find the references to Rahab, as I noted them, all throughout Old Testament wisdom literature.  And what is so interesting to me about that is when you come to the Genesis account, and the actual account of creation, there is no Rahab.  There is no sea monster.  There is no other existing power.  There is no other existing force, or existing deity in a sea monster form.

What you have in Genesis is a very careful, detailed, believable, real account of creation, with nothing poetic, nothing legendary, nothing mythical whatsoever.  And the very fact of that, I think, acts as a protest against those ancient myths which tended to corrupt even the thinking of Jews as time went on.  The Torah, the law of God, Genesis would spell it out like this: far be it from you to think, as do some pagans, that the sea is endowed with an autonomous divine power that fought, as it were, against the creator of the universe.  Far be it also from you to imagine, as some Israelite poets relate, that the sea refused to do the will of its maker, and that He was compelled to subdue it and force it to obey.  It is true that the Torah records that God assigned a fixed place for the waters of the sea, but this was not done by suppressing the will of the sea which sought to rebel against God, the God of heaven.  God simply said, “Let the waters be gathered together, and it was so.”

Now, I said all that just to take a shot at those critics of Genesis who want to turn this text into legend, or myth, or give it some unfounded poetic license.  The writer of Genesis meticulously avoided making any use whatsoever of a well-known legend that even appears in other wisdom literature, and is even referred to by the prophet Isaiah, he using it metaphorically to speak of anything that wreaks rebellion and havoc.  There was no such battle.  God said it, and it was so.

Back to Genesis 1: so verse 9, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place,” and that would include subterranean lakes, subterranean rivers, and streams, and springs, and wells, all interconnected; and the land, probably in one great massive continent.  And by the way, just as a footnote, if you take the continents of the earth and push them all together, it’s almost a perfect fit, almost as if they cracked and split apart.

Verse 10 then tells us that God named what He had made. “He called the dry land erets” – earth – “and He called the gatherings of the waters mayim” – “seas.  And God saw that it was good.”  It was good.  It had been so; He said back in the very beginning that He created light, and there was light.  He said He created heaven, and it was so.  And He created in verse 9 dry land and seas, and it was so.  But now He says it was good.  It was good.  Why?  Because it was now habitable; it was now habitable.  Oh, the light was good in and of itself, according to verse 4.  But the earth now became good.  And then the plants, verse 12, were good.  And verse 18, the bodies in heaven were good.  And verse 21, everything He made in the sea and in the air was good.  And verse 25, all the animals were good.  And verse 31, He made man, and He looked at all of it, and it was very good.  There’s no sin there, folks.  There’s no death.  It’s just good.

So by the time you get to where we are in verse 10, you have the tripartite universe; tripartite meaning three parts, earth, sea, heaven.  That’s the created universe, and it was good.  And God could say it was good because it had reached the point where it could contain and sustain life.  And so God moved into the second phase of creation on day two, verse 11, “Then God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them on the earth,’ and it was so.”  Again I remind you it came because God said it, He spoke it into existence, verse 11.  Always and unmistakably God speaks it into existence.  And this is vegetation; verse 11, “Let the earth sprout vegetation.”  Now, I think that’s a general category, and there are two parts to that category.  There are plants, verse 11, and trees. Vegetation is divided into two parts: plants and trees.

Down to verse 29, God said, “Behold, I have given you” – speaking to man – “every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you and for every beast.”  So God divides the vegetation into two parts, plants and trees.  And what is the difference?  The difference is the plant has the seed in it, and the tree has the seed in its fruit.  That is clearly indicated in verse 11.  Plants yielding seed and fruit trees bearing fruit with seed in them.  That’s the distinction.  All the vegetation which itself contains the seed would come under the plants; all the vegetation which in its fruit contains the seed would come under the trees.  So as soon as the inanimate material was ready to sustain life, without delay, life in its simplest form was created and intended to be the food for all of the higher life yet to be made.

Now, I want you to notice that first of all in describing the plants, He says of them in verse 11, “plants yielding seed.”  He says it again in verse 12, “plants yielding seed,” then again in verse 29, “plants yielding seed.”  He continues to repeat that feature to let us know – this is so important – that the vegetation was capable of what?  What?  Reproduction.  That’s the whole point.  He made full-grown, fully-mature vegetation with seed in it that could be dispersed.  One of the great, great wonders of the world is the science of seed dispersal.  I watched an entire video on that; just absolutely astonishing to see how God designed seed dispersal, not the least of which is accomplished by birds in your own yard, and sometimes even attempted on your car and on your head.  Pre-fertilized seed dispersal is very efficient.  I’ll leave it at that.

There are a number of other ways.  One of the wonderful works of the wind is seed dispersal.  The whole science of seed dispersal is just absolutely phenomenal.  Plants were made, then, by God, not as seeds, but as full-grown plants, containing seeds that could then multiply.  That’s the way the whole of creation was made, and I remind you of that again; it was made mature.  When man was created he wasn’t created as an infant, had to grow.  He was created as a full-grown man.  Everything was created full-grown.  There were plants – edible ones, of course – that yielded seed – verse 11 – and fruit trees whose seed was in their fruit, bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them on the earth, and it was so.  So he had those two categories of vegetation.  Just one very important note: catch this little phrase.  It’s repeated over and over – after their kind: verse 12, after their kind; once in the middle of the verse, toward the end of the verse, after their kind.  May I encourage you a little bit?  That phrase is repeated ten times in the first chapter of Genesis; ten times.  The Hebrew word for kind is min, M-I-N; what is does is indicate the limitations of variation.  A plant can only bring forth something of its own kind.  A tree can only bring forth something of its own kind.  It only has the capacity to function on the basis of a genetic code that is in it.

Now, whether in the Hebrew, kind corresponds to our word genus, or our word species, or our word family, or our word phyla, or whatever you want to use – and I’m remembering words from my college class, and I have no idea what they mean.  But whatever the Hebrew word min means, or whatever it corresponds to in English, the one thing it does do is eliminate any possibility of an evolutionary process.  Because whatever the plant is, and whatever the tree is, it can only reproduce after its own kind.  To say that all living things come from a common ancestry is refuted by the ten times repeated phrase, “after its kind.”  After its kind; I used to illustrate this with college students by talking about amino acids.  I mean it get so individual that you’re made up of amino acids, and your body, no matter what you put in it, will only reproduce more of you.  In fact, if you put too much in it, it’ll reproduce more of you than you care to see.  But amino acids are called the building blocks of life.  Now, you could decide that you were going to eat fried chicken the rest of your life; 20 years from now, you would not cluck.  No combination of chicken amino acids and human amino acids will produce Big Bird.  All you will ever produce is more of you, no matter what goes in – that’s after their kind.

In the wonderful resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15, verse 38, God gives it a body – well, go back a little bit, “That which you sow doesn’t come to life unless it dies,” in verse 36, verse 37, “That which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be but a bare grain or a seed, perhaps of wheat or something else.  God gives it a body just as He wished and to each of the seeds a body of its own.  All flesh isn’t the same. There’s one flesh of men, another flesh of beast, another flesh of birds, another of fish, and God is saying there are distinctions.  There are designs beyond which any living organism cannot pass.

The meaning of seed can be easily grasped.  Seed is clearly the ability to reproduce a form of life in its own likeness.  “Implanted,” says Henry Morris, “in each created organism was a seed programmed to enable the continuing replication of that same organism.  The modern understanding of the extreme complexities of the so-called DNA molecule and the genetic code contained in it has reinforced the biblical teaching of the stability of kinds.  Each type of organism has its own unique structure of the DNA and can only specify the reproduction of that same kind. There is a tremendous amount of variational potential within each kind, facilitating the generation of distinct individuals and even of many varieties within the kind, but nevertheless precluding the evolution of new kinds.  A great deal of horizontal variation is easily possible, but no vertical changes.”

I mean, look around; look at all the different-looking people here – a lot of different looking people, all people.  The exact limits of kind may be a little more challenging.  We don’t exactly what Genesis meant, but we do know limits were set, and we understand that organisms were to stay within their own kind.  The biggest thing we could say is birds remain birds, and animals remain animals, and fish remain fish, and reptiles remain reptiles, and insects remain insects.  And that itself halts the entire evolutionary process, and that’s how God created.

So we have already talked about genetics, and how genetics guarantees that no evolution can occur.  It is absolutely impossible.  Michael Behe, whom I mentioned, who wrote Darwin’s Black Box, not a Christian but literally questioning everything about evolution, devotes two chapters in his book to showing that as more is learned about the amazing complexity of cellular structure, the theory of chemical evolution is becoming more and more impossible.  He says, “This stuff is the pre-biotic chemist’s nightmare.”

So what do you have?  Go back to the text.  In Genesis 1:11 and 12, you have the origin all vegetable life, and you have not only its origin, but you have its orderly continuity fixed by means of certain seeds and kinds that perpetuate that life.  Never has a plant evolved into something higher; only on the Sci-Fi channel, not in reality.  In fact, if you study mutations and change in genetics, it’s always negative.  It is always negative.  It is always downward.  The study of fruit flies has been something evolutionists have given their life to because it – fruit flies have such a short life span they can observe it over many generations.  And the theory is you can see enough generations to see change, to see the evolutionary process taking place.  The only problem is they take these fruit flies, and in order to make them mutate rapidly, they bombard them with radiation, they radiate them.  And radiation, exposure to heat, chemicals and radiation can create mutations, we know that that is true.  We understand that even in the chemistry of radiation that’s used with regard to cancer.  It has the ability to cause cells to be killed and to change.  But mutations do not create new structures.  You may have in the study of fruit flies crumpled wings, oversized wings, and undersized wings, you may have double sets of wings, but you don’t have a new kind of wing; nor does the fruit fly become a honey bee.  Mutations, by the way, are very rare, and this is fortunate, because they are virtually all harmful.  They all decline, and in most cases mutations never even survive.  That’s why evolution has been called “fact-free science.”  Thought you’d like that one.

So, what are we learning then? Genesis 1:1 to 12 shows us that the intelligent agent is the living God, who on the third day of creation separated the land from the sea, caused plant life to sprout from the land.  Two categories, plants which have their seed in them, trees which have their seeds in the fruit that comes from them; they therefore are able to replicate themselves throughout the end of time as long as a given species exists.  God looked at it all in verse 12 and saw that it was good.  And then God signs off again in verse 13, “And there was evening and there was morning, a third day.”  There was ereb and there was boqer. There was a 24-hour day; that is so clear.  Those terms, evening and morning, are used more than a hundred times in the Old Testament, and they always refer to a 24-hour day.  God did it on the third day.

Let me close – Job 26, verse 7.  God’s the object of this, the subject of it.  “He stretches out the north over the empty space.”  What a statement!  “He stretches out the north over the empty space.  He hangs the earth on nothing.  He wraps up the waters in His clouds and the cloud does not burst under them.  He obscures the face of the full moon and spreads His cloud over it.  He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters,” that’s the horizon of the earth, “and the boundary of light and darkness.  The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke.  He quieted the sea with His power, and by His understanding He shattered Rahab, by His breath the heavens are cleared, and His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.  Behold, these” – I love this – “are the fringes of His ways and how faint a word we hear of Him, but His mighty thunder, who can understand?”

When God – he’s talking about rain, and when God breaks into the darkness with light, and rain, and storms, and lightning, and fury, and all of this, we’re just hearing a faint sound, a faint indication of His immense incomprehensible thunder.  We’re only looking at the fringes of His ways.  What a God we have!

Father, we thank You again for the Word which gives light in this most important and urgent area of creation.  Thank You for this tremendous portion of Scripture, and may we worship You all the more for the greatness of Your power, to call these things into existence which were not.  You are the creator, You are our Lord and Savior, and our great Redeemer, and our friend, a friend to sinners.  What a glorious truth that is.  Thank You.  Thank You.  Amen.

Copyright GTY John MacArthur

How You Can Send Treasure to Heaven

TREASURE IN HEAVEN

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Matthew 6:19-20

Audio Link:   http://www.wacriswell.com/player.html?theFile=MP3s/1964/64-10-25m2_TR787.mp3

W. A. Criswell
W. A. Criswell

If you are sharing with us on television or radio the service of this First Baptist Church in Dallas, in your Bible the message is based upon a humble, simple, beautiful admonition of our Lord in the passage of Scripture that we read together, Matthew chapter 6, verses 19 and 20.  And the title of the sermon is Treasure in Heaven.  The word of our blessed Lord is this:

 

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, where thieves do not break through nor steal:

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.[Matthew 6:19-21]

Our Lord makes here a plain and simple distinction between treasures upon earth and treasures in heaven.  And His first admonition is this.  It is against the investment of our hopes, and our dreams, and our ambitions, and our love and devotion in this world, in this earth, because, our Lord said, because of the providences and exigencies of life that so bring defeat and despair and disappointment.  And He summed up those exigencies and providences in the words of a moth, of the rust, of the thief that carries it away.  When we invest the love of our hearts, and the devotion of our lives, and the dreams and ambitions of our souls in this life, our Lord would say there awaits for us an inevitable disappointment and despair.  “Lay not up for yourselves the treasures of hope and devotion of soul and life in this world.”

Sometimes we can invest our dreams and our hopes in a field, in the product of the ground.  As you know, for so many years I was a village and a country pastor.  And in one of those churches there was a farmer who had a great, vast wheat field.  And having planted it, and having seen it grow, the time came for the harvest.  And he spoke so much and so often of what the field would buy when the harvest of grain was sold, and even his wife began to speak to me of the things that they would buy with the money the field would bring.

Upon a time, visiting in the home, she said to me, “Last week, my husband went up on a little knoll overlooking the field, and buried his face in his hands, and cried like a child.  For that week a heavy hail storm had come, and beat down every stalk of the wheat into the ground.”  This is the treasure in the world that brings with it so oft times disappointment.

Sometimes our hopes and our dreams are in the investments we’re able to make in the financial community and economic program of a great nation like America in stocks, in bonds, in many other ways can we treasure up for ourselves in this world.  And it also has the possibility of loss and disappointment.  In this very city, in the circle of this very church, there came to see me one time a sweet, dear woman who all her life had lived in wealth and affluence.  She had come to see me about the possibility of her finding a job.  And I said, “You?  You?”

“Yes, I.”  For they had lost everything they possessed in an investment venture that had turned to ashes and to dust, and she was seeking employment in order to sustain the basic needs of her little family; treasure in this world.

Sometimes we can dream of it, and think of it, and work for it, and build it in behalf of our children.  And there could hardly be a nobler aspiration than for a father and a family to work, and to build toward an estate that the children can possess, and continue to build up like some of the great names and the great fortunes in America.  But it also has in it the possibility of indescribable sorrow and loss.  Sometimes the child is prodigal and wasteful and doesn’t assume those marvelous opportunities placed in his hands by a provident father.  And, of course, sometimes every dream and every hope is dashed to the ground by the visit of the pale horseman, and death takes away everything for which we’ve prayed and loved: treasure in this world.

Sometimes our treasures are exhibited in the diligence of a man for his business.  And again, it is a virtue commendable for a man to be diligent in his business.  He works.  He’s not lazy.  He’s not slothful, and he’s ingenious, and he pours his heart into it, and he seeks to make it flower and to grow under his guiding and skillful hands.  It is only that if we invest in that labor the whole dreams of our lives, the possibility of infinite loss is also present.

A little boy one time playing at his mother’s feet, said, “Mother, I don’t think Daddy will go to heaven.”

And the surprised mother said, “Well son, what makes you think Daddy will not go to heaven?  Your father is a fine, noble man.

“Oh,” said the little boy, “I don’t think he will go to heaven because when I asked him to play with me, he said, ‘Son, I’m too busy at the store.’  And when we ask him to go with us on a picnic, he says, ‘But I’m too busy at the store.’  And when we invite him to go to Sunday school and to church with us, he says, ‘I’m too busy at the store.’  And mama, I was just thinking that when time comes to go to heaven, Daddy will be too busy at the store.”

I think of that with so many of our professional men especially.  How many doctors do I invite to church?  Everyone that I ever have opportunity to talk to!  As a profession, they are so influential, and they touch life at its most strategic place.  Most of them will never come, and their reason?  “You see pastor, I have a profession, and I’m ministering to mankind, and I’m doing my part in this world.  But I’m too busy to take time out for God, or the work of the Lord, or the worship of His name, or the assembling of God’s people together.  I’m too busy at my profession.”  So through all of the gamut of life will you find that.  Their hearts are in this world.  Their dreams are in this world.  Their accumulations are in this world.  Their treasures are in this world, and our Lord says it carries with it ultimately, finally an infinite loss and despair.

It was our Lord who told the story of that abundant, and affluent, and prosperous farmer who so increased in his yields, he tore down his barns and built greater granaries, then finally said, “Soul, take thine ease, for thou hast much store, and to come, and to spare.  Eat, drink, and be merry.  Look at the substance; you have incomes from half a dozen sources.”  The Lord said, “Upon a night, God knocked at the door of his life, and said, Foolish one, this night thy soul shall be required of thee.  Then whose shall be these things that thou hast provided for thyself?  So,” said our Lord, “is he that heaps up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” [Luke 12:16-21].  When our dreams and the love of our hearts, and when our treasures and all that we propose, think, and love, when all of it is in this world, there comes along the moth, there comes along the rust, there comes along the thief, there comes along death, there comes along disappointment and grief when our treasures are in this world.

Then our Lord spoke of the beautiful alternative, “But, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where the moth cannot destroy, and where the rust can eat away, and where the thief cannot break through nor steal [Matthew 6:20].  Put your heart and the love and devotion of your life in heaven.”  What a glorious prospect, and what an infinite promise that it is possible for a man to possess what he possesses forever, that a man enjoy the fruit of his life and his labor world without end, that a man can be rich toward God.  Why, the very thought of it is inspiring and challenging and wonderful to behold.

Now, our Savior would not deny that there is a gladness, and a glory, and a triumph, and a blessing in this life in our philanthropy, in our giving, in our remembrance, our sympathy, our understanding, our sharing.  There is a reward here.  Even our Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” [Acts 20:35].  There is a reward in this life, in this world, in our investment in the kingdom of God and in the work of our Savior.

I do not know of a more beautiful story than a testimony of the great merchandiser John Wanamaker.  In the city of Philadelphia is one of the most magnificent stores in the world, John Wanamaker.  He grew up in the days when people somehow found it difficult to support the church and to exalt the Lord in the earth.  You know, it’s mighty easy for people to become miserly and small and diminutive in their outreach and in caring for God’s house and God’s work.

So in the Broad Street Church, located near the city hall, where the boy John Wanamaker was growing up, there was a grand old pastor by the name of Dr. John Chambers.  In those days, the people built their own paving in the street; and if the street was paved, the people who owned the property had to do it.  So the pastor stood up and said, “The paving around our street is so shabby, and it makes God’s house look so poorly, and the whole community is not blessed by our indifference.”  And he pled with the congregation to put a beautiful paving around the church, and there was no response; fell on deaf ears and hard hearts.

So young John Wanamaker—he said he was sixteen years old then—young John Wanamaker decided in his own soul that he’d do that for God and for the pastor.  He was the son of a man who owned a brickyard in Philadelphia.  So he gathered together all the brick that he could in his father’s yard, and then he went to the other brickyards and gathered together all the brick he could from those yards; then he took his own little savings, and then he gathered savings from others, and finally enough to pave the street around the church.

And so it was finished on a Saturday evening.  And early the next morning, the boy John Wanamaker went down to see what the pastor would think when he saw that beautiful brick paving on two sides of his church.  And after a while, and early in the morning, the grand, old preacher, Dr. John Chambers, came walking to the church with his head bowed, thinking about God’s message for that morning hour.  And he walked onto the street and out into the middle of it before he noticed it.  Then he put his foot down hard on it to see if it was real.  Then he walked around on it.  Then he looked up one way, and then he looked up another way.

And the preacher was so happy and so glad, and the young John Wanamaker, getting into the spirit of it, began to follow the preacher as he walked around looking at the pavement.  And then suddenly the preacher just stopped and turned around, and there the boy stood.  And the old preacher said, “Son, my boy, you had something to do with this.  Thank you, my boy, thank you, my boy!”  John Wanamaker said in the years of his life, he said, “You know, that was one of the finest moments I ever lived through.”  He said, “That was my first introduction to the infinite joy of doing something for God.  Now,” he said, “I’ve been doing it through the years since, and every year better and finer and sweeter than the year before.”

And when President Harrison in 1889, appointed John Wanamaker as postmaster general of the United States, he said to the president, “I will accept on one condition:  that every Lord’s Day I’m privileged to return to my church in Philadelphia, and teach my Sunday school class.”  Men like that kind of exalt our humankind in the earth.

But I’m not speaking of that.  I’m just saying that there is a joy, there is a gladness, there is a reward of doing things in this earth—to see it with your eyes, to feel it with your heart.  But what our Lord said, “As much as it is blessed in this life, and as richly as the reward comes like a flood over our own souls here in this world, the riches,” he says, “and the true treasures are those that we experience and enjoy and lay up in glory.”

Well, I got to thinking about that, started thinking about that.  The Lord says, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven” [Matthew 6:20].  So I got to thinking about that.  Treasures in heaven, how do I get them over there?  Every thing we possess in this world and this life we leave behind here, all of it, all of it.  All of it’s left behind:  stocks, bonds, lands, jewels, gold, silver, bank accounts, homes, houses, whatever, it’s all left in this world.

How do I send it over?  Lord how do I lay up treasures in heaven?  How do I get them beyond the great divide?  I began thinking about that.  And then something came so poignantly and meaningful to my heart.  Why, it is a simple thing, it is a plain thing.  The way I get treasure on the other side in heaven is through somebody who’s going there.  That’s how I get it across.  That’s how I place it on the other side:  through someone who is going there.

Well, I started to thinking about that.  Well, who’s going there?  Who’s going there?  Ah, Last Sunday morning, I was thinking about this sermon as I walked around our blessed Sunday school.  When I don’t have to preach at the eleven o’clock hour, I just look around, watching our people at the Sunday school hour.  So last Sunday morning when Dr. Sullivan brought the message at this eleven o’clock hour, I just walked around and looked at our people.  And this was my answer:  treasures in heaven, people who are going there.  Well, I walked by our Special Education department, a ministry we have to retarded children.  And I stood at the door, and I watched them.  Oh, I just thank God for it.  They were so jammed in there.  Some of these days, we’re going to build a beautiful place for those retarded children, where they can have a fine place to come to church.

Looking on the inside of that room where our retarded children are loved and taught, I saw a little boy that is so dear to my heart.  You see, his mother brought him to me here at the church, and she said, “I took my boy to another church, and to another denomination.  And that week I was called on by the leaders of the church, and they said to me, ‘Don’t you bring that boy to this church anymore.  He’s not like us. He’s different from us, and we don’t want him.  Don’t you bring that boy anymore to this church.’”

And the mother said, “And it just killed me.  It broke my heart.”  Then she said, “And I heard about you.  I heard about you, and I heard about your church, and I brought my boy.  I wonder if you’d take him?  Would you have him?”  I said, “Dear mother, God sent us here just for this.  You bring your boy.  You bring him.”

Then, upon a time, she brought the boy to me and said, “You know, my boy says he’s taken Jesus as his Savior, and he wants to be baptized.  And I thought you could talk to him and see if he understands.”  Why, I never saw a boy that understood better in my life.  And I pray with all the children.  I prayed with him.  And the mother said, “Ask him to pray.”

I hadn’t thought about it; being a retarded boy, you know, I was kind of reluctant.  The mother said, “Ask him to pray.”  That little boy, down on his knees, prayed with the tears falling off his face, prayed for me, and thanked God for me, and prayed for the church, and thanked God for the church; sweetest prayer, sweetest prayer.  So the mother said, “Now when the boy comes to join the church, I’m coming too.  We’ll both be joining.”

There he is.  Every Sunday he’ll be here.  He’s going over there.  And all of those dear, precious retarded children, they’re going over there.  And when I do good for them, and invest in them, and make possible a ministry for them, that’s treasure over there.  They’re going.  They’re going.  Oh, I love this church!

Just walking around looking, there’s our Oral Deaf department.  They can’t hear.  They’re little children that are born with an oral defect, an auditory defect, and we’re so given to ministering to those children.  They don’t meet with our Silent Friends because they try to make it possible for them to lip read, and not use manual signs.  And those dear children are there.  And they’re going over.  They’re going over, and I’m sending treasure over there with them.

And I walk around the church and look at this dear church, and there’s the apple of my eye and the love of my heart:  my Good Shepherd department.  That’s a ministry to the poor people downtown.  Every great city has a sub-marginal area around it, where the people who used to live have gone out, further out, and built beautiful homes, but that doesn’t mean there’s nobody lives there.  Poor people crowd in; and I’ve always felt—and you’ve heard me say this for the years of my ministry here—our church, whether any other church ever feels it or not, our church under God has an obligation to the poor people who are pressed against the heart of this great city, and our Good Shepherd department is our ministry to those poor people.  They’re won to Jesus.  They’re baptized here by the hundreds.  They’re going over.  They’re going over; treasure in heaven.

And I just look at the whole fabric of this blessed ministry.  Our own children, why, I just love to go by and look at them.  Our own children: there’s little Johnny, and there’s little Mary, and they’re the bone of our bones, and the flesh of our flesh, and the life of our life, and the love of our loves; these are our children.  They’re going over.  They’re going over.

Then our teenagers and our young people, the whole ministry; then I think of our services here, and the appeal we make for Jesus, and those who respond and are saved.  They’re going over.  And finally I begin to think about our missions, the six missions of our church and the souls that are won there, and they’re going over; and then, ultimately, the ministry of our dear church beyond the seas and to the farthest ends of the world, and they’re going over.  And they’re going over; treasures in heaven.

There was a vision I read one time.  It was a vision of a couple laden.  They had everything.  And they had come to the great divide that separates between us and the beautiful city of God.  And when they came to the great divide, they came with reluctance, and dread, and foreboding, and anxiety, and fear; and they were laden down.  And the angel who stood on the other side before the beautiful city said to the couple so laden down, “Now, see that scrapheap?  Put all of that stuff you’re carrying on the scrapheap.”  And the man said, “On the scrapheap?  But these are the accumulations of my life!  Look at this gold.”  And the angel said, “Gold?  Why, we pave our city with that.  Put it on the scrapheap and come over.”  And with great reluctance he put it all on the scrapheap.  And the angel said to her, “What do you have in that case you clasp to your heart?”  She said, “These are my jewels.”  And the angel said, “Those little jewels?  Why, we make the foundation of our city out of those jewels.  Put them on the scrap heap.”  And they went over with reluctance, and empty-handed, all left on this side of the great divide.

 

Carve your name high o’er the shifting sand,

Where the steadfast rock defies decay;

All you can hold in your cold, dead hand

Is what you have given away.

 

Count your great conquests on sea and on land,

Hoard up and treasure as you may—

All you can hold in your cold, dead hand

Is what you have given away.

[Author Unknown]

 

And there came another couple, practically nothing, unladen; and they came to the great divide.  And the angel met them, and with gladness and with joy and with anticipation they laid down what little they possessed and entered into the city of God.  And at the gate there was rejoicing, and welcoming, and singing, and happiness, and in shaking hands with the people, they met so many they’d never seen before, had never heard of before.  And as they shook hands, the dear couple said, “Well, who are you?  And how did you know our names?  We never saw you before.”  And they replied, “When we came to this beautiful place, we saw in the Book of Life your name, and we read on the pages bright and fair of your gifts that made possible the preaching of the gospel of the Son of God to us; and we’re here because of you.” treasures in heaven, invested in those who are going over.

Oh, what a beautiful and marvelous thing God hath made possible to us.  And isn’t it wonderful thus so to love God and thus so to serve Jesus, that when the time comes, we go to Him or He comes for us.  It is not with dread and foreboding, but with exultance, and anticipation, and glory, and triumph?  It can be like that if we’ll make it.

 

If Jesus should come in the rise of the morning,

When all of the world is engrossed in its care,

How many of us could our Master discerning

Turn in our accounts and welcome Him here?

 

Or if He should come at the bright hour of noonday,

With a light far more glorious than that of the sun,

How many have eyes that could gaze on His glory,

And hearts that could say, Even so, let Him come!

 

If deep in the night, when the third watch is starting,

A cry should go forth, The Bridegroom is here!

If upward in rapture the bride were departing,

Could you without fear meet your Lord in the air?

[Author Unknown]

 

If I know my soul and if I know my heart, I am ready.  “Even so, come, Lord Jesus” [Revelation 22:20].  Treasure in heaven:  the love and the devotion of our lives on the other side, where it becomes a possession forever, oh, bless our dear people as we become rich toward God.

And while we sing our song of appeal, somebody you, give your heart to Jesus.  Somebody you, put your life in the fellowship of the church; a couple you, a family you, one somebody you, while we sing the song of appeal, make it now.

We’re still on the air.  If you’ve listened to the sermon today, either trusting Jesus as your Savior or devoting your life again and anew to Him, make a commitment of your soul to our blessed Lord now.  You may be driving along on the highway; pull to the side of the road, bow your head over the steering wheel, and say, “Lord Jesus, I just give all I am or ever hope to be to Thee.”  In a bedroom, kneeling on the floor; in a living room, down by the side of the chair; in a family circle, the commitment of the whole house to the Lord; “God bless us this holy day as in a new and a deeper, a more meaningful way, we offer to Christ all that we have and are.”

And in the great throng of people here, in the balcony round, there’s a stairway down front and back, and on either side, and there’s time and to spare; come.  Come.  “Here I am, preacher, I give you my hand; I give my heart to God.” Or, “Here’s my wife and our children; all of us are coming today.”  A couple, or one somebody you, make it now.  On the first note of the first stanza, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.