From the Lead Pastor

Taken from a sermon delivered on July 12:

Job: The Model for Righteous Suffering

Job1:1-5

Today we launch a new sermon series entitled: Job’s Questions – New Testament Answers. A study of Job’s hard situation alone could be discouraging and depressing for many, but if we link Job’s Questions with the New Testament anguish can become answers to those most difficult moments of life and the storms, we all have faced or will face. Yet we must begin with Job himself. Job is a model for the suffering righteous. Let’s examine Job’s character, his possessions, his faith and the attack of Satan. 

Job’s Character: Job 1:1 Four words or phrases

Blameless: means wholesome, moral innocence, well rounded. Upright: means straight forward, loyal, well integrated, Feared God: He had a reverence of God recognizing God’s majesty and power. Shunned evil: avoided evil   

Job’s Possessions: Job 1:2-3 He was Blessed!

Blessed with children 7 sons and 3 daughters. Highest expression of blessing was a large family. 10 represents in scripture completeness Blessed with possessions:  Lots of livestock and a large number of servants let’s call them employees. 

Job’s Faith: Job 1:4-5 Priest as well as provider

Gathering of the family: Brothers and sisters gathering was a normal occurrence. Gathering for worship: Concern, missing the mark or straying from the known path. Call Commitment Custom 

Job’s Attack by Satan: Job 1:6-2:10 Four Scenes

Scene One: Job 1:6-12 Heavenly meeting. Hopeful suggestion: Hateful response: Harmful plan:  Scene Two: Job 1:13-23 4 catastrophes. Prosperity taken in 4 swift actions: Stealing of the oxen and donkeys. Lighting takes sheep. Camels taken and a storm takes his children. Job mourns! Scene Three and four: Job 2:1-10 Heavenly meeting: Harmful challenge:  

What possible value can we find in this account? First, there is meaning, value and purpose in every life experience. Now that’s had to swallow isn’t it? Second, our society is filled with hardships and challenges but God remains on the throne and reigns over the circumstances. Third, we are in a spiritual battle with evil. Be strong and of good courage. Your Lord and God is with you.

~ Pastor James

Posted by Montgomery Heights Baptist Church on Sunday, July 12, 2020

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Taken from a sermon delivered on July 5:

Let Justice Prevail How the American Flag Became a Threat | Time

Micah 3

I love America! I love our flag. I stand for the pledge of Allegiance and put my hand over my heart to honor all those who have fought for and died for our freedom. Micah 3 a little-known prophet of Israel lived in a world facing great challenges because of the abandonment of God’s Word and dismissal of justice by their leadership. Today Micah speaks to our time by exposing crooked judges, compromising prophets, corrupt politicians and a complacent public.  

Crooked judges Micah 3:1-4

*Duty to know and enforce the law is given to State officials. Obligation to know justice. “You should know justice: Oppress the people “Hate good and love evil” Operate like butchers vv 2b-3 They are blind and deafened by greed and reverse priorities. Darkness is what they find when they ceremonially turn to God. v4 

Compromising Prophets/ Preachers Micah 3:5-8 (Prophet’s guild)

*Prophets led people away from God. v5a Should provide guidance but did not. Prophets motivated by selfishness v5b Say all is good for the right price. Prophets punished v7 They will be disgraced. Prophet Micah v8 is one whose message is consistent, powered by Holy Spirit and truth

Corrupt Politicians Micah 3:9-11a

*Above the law: They despise justice but should be guardians of justice. Abuse the people: They built a society on blood and wrong 

Complacent people Micah 3:11b-12 “They” 

*Leaders were to give direction, promote honesty and guide but they did nothing abandoned God’s leadership. Leaders say they lean upon God. It’s all good and the people follow. Leaders are blind leading complacent people to disaster. 

Our hope is not in the White House, Capital building with Congress, State Houses or even Courthouses. The hope for America is found in the Church House. 2 Chronicles 7:13-15. When trouble comes. Humble ourselves, pray, seek God, turn from evil ways, find forgiveness. God will respond. Let Justice Prevail!

~ Pastor James

Posted by Montgomery Heights Baptist Church on Sunday, July 5, 2020

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Taken from a sermon delivered on June 28:

One Race One Blood

Genesis 1:26-27

Today’s message will be unique in several ways, but the most important difference is I will be using a fairly complete manuscript because of the nature of the topic: Racism? We are one Blood The goal of this message is to inform, instruct and inspire us to look inside ourselves and grow in our outward presentation of Jesus.  

When I was young, we lived on a dirt road: Manning Road. Across that dirt road was our garden. Every spring it would be plowed in my earliest memories it was plowed by a mule. My grandmother, grandfather, cousin Barbara and brother Edward and I would begin to plant seed. Going to the seed store pick out the seed to plant. We would “sow” the seed. The most amazing seed was the corn!  One simple small seed would produce a stalk full of ears of corn. Ideas are like seed. They begin small but if planted in good soil, cultivated and watered will produce a crop. Ken Hamm and Charles Ware wrote a book entitled “One Race One Blood” they write in the introduction: In the mid-1800s, as the sailing ship Beagle cut through the oceans, a theologian and amateur biologist was formulating an idea. Without the insight of modern-day genetics and supported by superficial observations, his ideas began to solidify into a theory: the theory of evolution. The Origin of the Species, Charles Darwin conceptualized a world where life spontaneously came into being and then changed over time by the forces of nature into the phenomenal complexity and diversity of life we now see on this planet. Through his writings and lectures, the seed then became planted in the minds of others. Soon the theory had taken root in the gardens of the scientific community. Blown by the winds of society, the idea of evolution found its way into the fields of the education systems of the young. Its seeds spread into the laws of government. Soon enough, its roots began to infiltrate the mind of the Church, where it began to choke out the faith many held in the Word of God. In time, this single idea overtook almost the entire garden of Western thinking. It didn’t take long for the fruit of this garden to begin to ripen. Nowhere has this been more obvious than in the area of racism. While Darwin himself probably never imagined the impact, his idea would have on the culturally diverse peoples of the earth, history has shown us how evolutionary thought fuels racism and how racists use evolution to justify their hatred for those who are different than they. 

Inform: Genesis 1:26-27

We use words to describe our thoughts and ideas often without thinking what those words. Here are some definitions of words used today. Race: A competition. A division of humankind who have distinctive qualities shared by the same ethnic group. Racism: prejudice, discrimination or antagonism against a person or group basis of their membership in an ethnic group. Prejudice a preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or experience. Bigotry intolerance toward those who hold a different opinion. Ethnicity belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition.    

Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV)  Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them;

The first thing to understand is that there is only one race—the human race. Caucasians, Africans, Asians, Indians, Arabs, and Jews are not different races. Rather, they are ethnicities a social group with a common national or culture. All human beings are equally created in the image and likeness of God. 

Racism has been a problem throughout human history. Why? Because of sin that dwells in human hearts. Jesus said in…Matthew 15:19 (NIV) For out of the heart come evil thoughts–murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.

By 1925 racism was being taught in public schools. It was also the year of the Scopes Trial in Dayton Tennessee. The biology textbook being used across America was A Civic Biology Presented in Problems by George William Hunter blatantly stated: The Races of Man. At the present time there exist upon the earth five races . . . the highest type of all, the Caucasians, represented by the civilized white inhabitants of Europe and America. 

Nothing could be further from biblical truth. There is only one humankind created by God in His own image and likeness. Racism is a creation of evil hearts to divide and possibly subject groups of people. The concept of race was a created evil that can only be associated with Satan. Before Darwin, the word race was largely political and geographical term, but evolution rewrote the meaning to mean higher, lower, black, red, white races. This has so filled our society that most of us have struggled with the racism from time to time. Maybe our struggle is more with prejudice a preconceived opinion based only on faulty thinking. We must work toward removal of bigotry and intolerance of those who disagree with us. I want to remind us it’s difficult to be the people God calls us to become, continuing to make racial distinctions is not scientific, Biblical or Christian.    

Instruct Acts 17:22-26

Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious.  For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: to an unknown god. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you. “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.  From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands.

Religious but ignorant. Religion is the attempt of people to reach God by deeds. Christianity is God reaching down to us. 

Reality is God created all there is around us. Including every person, we will ever encounter. 

Real relationship with God that is personal is God’s desire.

Acts 10: 34-35 (NIV) Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. Summary of 

Dream of the sheet from God will all kinds of animals. 

Decision of Peter based upon God revealing to Peter and us that 

Division of people is a reality since Adam and Eve and the children were expelled from the Garden by their choice to disobey God. Satan divided Adam and Eve from God, Cain and Able 

James 2:8-10 If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” [you are doing right.  But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. 

Instead of judging others by differences seen, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the Old Testament, God divided humanity into two “ethic” groups: Jews and Gentiles. God’s intent was for the Jews to be a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentile nations. Instead, for the most part, the Jews became proud of their relationship with God and despised the Gentiles missing God’s purpose for calling them out. 

Jesus ministry was one of acceptance, not of the sin but the sinful person. Jesus never accepted the sinfulness of a person but instructed them to move beyond the sin into a full life changing relationship with God. Jesus ministry focus was those who had been left out or behind. It’s a challenge Jesus has given us. A challenge which we can take by His grace.

Inspire 2 Corinthians 5:16-21 

So, from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Jesus offers the ability to see people as he sees them. 

Jesus gives an opportunity for a new beginning by bring us into a relationship with God.  

Jesus gives a new purpose: Be reconcilers! Helping others into relationship with God.

Jesus reminds us we are in a meaningful relationship with God because He took upon Himself our sin and we are under a commission to love others with the intent to bring them into a relationship with God. 

Division has been the method of Satan to harm humanity from creation. Satan divided the family by speaking with Eve. Satan planted jealousy in Cain toward Able. The first murder. People lived by what they judged to be right resulting in hatred, violence which ruled. The world of Noah was destroyed by flood. God chose a people to represent Him in the world. The Children of Israel to be priests to speak for God to all Nations. This privilege was marred by evil thinking divided instead of uniting. Jewish Nation felt superior. Divisions expand. Divisions of social status. The color of skin. Wealthy or Poor. The list is unending. The concept of evolution deepens the divisions until people feel superior others oppressed. So here we are in 2020 in a year of plagues, unrest and violence.   

We have the briefest information on the reality we are all one blood. All are created by God.  All are beloved by God,but society is under the influence of selfish desires and Satan’s deceit,  We are divided. We are instructed by God’s Word. God plays no favorites. God sees us are. Broken people who need redemption. Jesus crossed barriers between the religious elites to the unclean. Jesus ate with sinners, tax collectors the broken and divided. Jesus sat at a well talking to a woman of Samaria who were hated by Jews. Jesus offered forgiveness to those caught in sin. Those who were tormented by demons. Even those who would turn their backs on him in the most challenging moment of his life. Peter was taught by Holy Spirit to go to a Gentile and witnessed their salvation. Paul went to Athens Greece and spoke with the philosophers telling them about the God who they did not know. May Holy Spirit inspire each of us to follow in the footprints of Jesus. Paul instructed the Christians at Corinth to not look at people as the world does but to strive to be ministers of reconciliation and ambassadors for the Kingdom of God. Loving God and loving our neighbor as we love ourselves. Finding ways to serve God and people.   

It’s difficult to meet the standard Jesus has set before us.  It can’t happen overnight. We slip into our old ways of thinking. Paul the great missionary and teacher of the Church had a problem. He asked God to remove it. God’s answer was not a miracle change. God spoke to Paul reminding him that His grace is sufficient. God’s people must work hard to change our thinking about those who are different from those with those whom we associate. Always remembering it is God’s grace that covers a multitude of sins. God help us to be people of reconciliation. Allowing our faith to break down barriers of hate to embrace others.

~ Pastor James

https://www.facebook.com/Montgomery-Heights-Baptist-Church-108840577214783

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Taken from a sermon delivered on June 21:

Posted by Montgomery Heights Baptist Church on Sunday, June 21, 2020