Sermon Shorts from Spurgeon — Sermon 18: The Tomb of Jesus

There is something gloomy and noisome about a vault. there are noxious smells of corruption; oft-times pestilence is born where a dead body hath lain; but fear it not, Christian, for Christ was not left in hell—in Hades—neither did his body see corruption. Come, there is no scent, yea, rather a perfume. Step in here, and, if thou didst ever breathe the gales of Ceylon, or winds from the groves of Araby, thou shalt find them far excelled by that sweet, holy fragrance left by the blessed body of Jesus; that alabaster vase which once held divinity, and was rendered sweet and precious thereby. Think not thou shalt find aught obnoxious to thy senses. Corruption Jesus never saw; no worms ever devoured his flesh; no rottenness ever entered into his bones; he saw no corruption. Three days he slumbered, but no long enough to putrefy; he soon arose, perfect as when he entered, uninjured as when his limbs were composed for their slumber. Come then, Christian, summon up thy thoughts, gather all thy powers; here is a sweet invitation, let me press it again. Let me lead thee by the hand of meditation, my brother; let me take thee by the arm of thy fancy, and let me again say to thee, “Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”

From the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Volume 1, Sermon 18 by Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Church Meetings – Part 2: What Constitutes a Church?

In our culture here in the U.S. and in other places as well, a church is often associated with a building. We talk about going to “church” and what we mean by that is that we’re going to go to the church building and worship with other people who meet in that church building. In addition, you will find multiple “churches” in a given geographical area. Typically there are different denominations, such as Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. who meet in different church buildings. Depending on the size of the city or locality, there can be multiple Baptist churches, Methodist churches, etc. However, you will not find that type of occurrence in the Bible.

The concept of having many local churches in a given geographical area is foreign to the Bible. In the Bible, a church isn’t a building. Rather, it is Christians who assemble together. A local church in the Bible includes all the Christians in a given geographical area. Furthermore, there are no denominations in the Bible. I’m not saying that it’s wrong, I’m just saying that there was no “First Baptist Church of Corinth”, “First Presbyterian Church of Corinth”, “Corinthian Methodist Fellowship”, etc.  There was one “church” in Corinth, which was actually a sizable city for its time.  Churches at that time met in homes, in synagogues, in the open air, or wherever they could.

What you have in the Bible is one “church” per locality.  Even when Paul wrote to Galatia, which was actually a larger region, he wrote to the “churches” in that geographical area.  And here’s the point: Those churches must have had some interaction or Paul couldn’t have been confident that the epistle would have made it to them all. 

The Bible shows one “church” at Rome, one at Ephesus, etc.  Given this, why isn’t there more cooperation of Christians within a geographical area, especially churches of like faith and practice?  And even the ones who don’t practice exactly alike could work together in evangelistic efforts, charity work, and other endeavors.

I used to live in NC in a town of about 16,000 people.  There were over 50 churches!  And most of those were Baptist or Methodist.  (I like to joke that even the Catholic church was Baptist: “St. John the Baptist Catholic Church”.  I’m not kidding.)  I had met people who went to other churches and there were true Christians who loved the Lord in various churches. But we rarely, if ever, interacted with the other churches.  If anything, we competed with them.  I ask: Is that what Jesus intended for His church to be?

It seems obvious from the Epistles that God wants Christians to communicate and work together, regardless of where they meet for regular worship. Just like Paul could write to the churches in Galatia and have confidence that his epistle would make it to all of those churches, likewise churches today should have some interaction based upon their joint faith in Jesus Christ.

Coronavirus: The True Christian Response

Coronavirus?  Don’t worry.  Kenneth Copeland’s got this.  He pronounced it “destroyed forever”.  Is this the true Christian response to a pandemic?

In March, he claimed to heal people of COVID-19 while he prayed for them as they laid their hand on their TVs.  (One wonders why he doesn’t visit hospitals.)  Then he told those who lost their jobs due to the pandemic to continue paying tithes.  (Since 10% of 0 is 0, I guess that wouldn’t be a problem for them.)  Then he said he would continue to have church services even if he had to pass out thermometers to everyone, and if someone had a fever, that he would “get it healed right there.”  (Hard to argue with that.)

Why do people listen to this guy??

The true Christian does not call down the “wind of God” upon the coronavirus and pronounce it “destroyed”. Kenneth Copeland is a charlatan who is just interested in money which he extracts from people by acting like he has special powers imbued upon him by God. Suffice it to say, he does not.

The Seventh Day

It took God just 6 days to create everything.  This is a testimony to His omnipotence.

Genesis 2:1-3  Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.  2 And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

That creation was “finished” means that there was no more creation out of nothing (ex nihilo).  All physical matter had been created.  Of course, the created matter could change through various means (chemical, nuclear, etc.), but from this point, matter could neither be created or destroyed (First Law of Thermodynamics).  Continue reading

The End of Christian Freedom in the U.S.?

With the recent Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage (marriage equality), there have been dire warnings from numerous sources heralding the negative effects of this landmark decision.  Todd Starnes has outlined one in this opinion piece:

Essentially, a Christian chaplain in Kentucky was told he could no longer minister to juvenile inmates because he refused to “sign a state-mandated document promising to never tell inmates that homosexuality is ‘sinful’”.  Although the final outcome will be decided in court, this is just one example of Christians being discriminated against for not toeing the the line of political correctness. Continue reading