Inconvenient Truths

During this time of Thanksgiving let us above all else be grateful for a path of restoration between sinful humanity and the Holy God – through Jesus. There is only one way, but HALLELUJAH – there is a way! In our study of the 6th Chapter of John we find Jesus referring to Himself as the Bread of Life. He goes on to assert that the eating of this bread is necessary for salvation as is the drinking of his blood. It wasn’t the most pleasant of images and actually caused many to turn away from Him. However, the inconvenient truths were truths nonetheless and continue to be so today.

While the culture today worships inclusiveness as the ultimate test of morality, the words of Jesus Himself testify to the exclusivity of Christ as Savior:

“I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. – John 14:6

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” – John 3:16-18

“The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:35-36

Peter and Paul reinforced Jesus’ claim of being the only way to eternal life.

This is the “stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.” Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. – Peter in Acts 4:11-12

For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus. Paul in 1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus Is the Only Way!

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, November 21, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com


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The Valley of Tears

As I was reading Psalm 84 today I was drawn to the way God turns tears into refreshing springs for those who live in God’s presence and who find their strength in Him. It doesn’t say that there won’t be tears, but that those tears can be transformed and can transform us when we put our faith and trust in Jehovah-Shalom – the LORD, our peace.

Blessed are those who dwell with God, in His holy presence,

who continually praise Him from sunrise to sunset.

Blessed are those whose strength is in the Lord,

whose hearts are set on a journey toward Him.

As they pass through the Valley of Tears,

it will become a place of refreshing springs

the autumn rains also will cover it with pools of refreshing waters.

They move from strength to strength

till each of them appears before God in glory.

Psalm 84:4-7 – Paraphrased

The Day Jackie Died . . . . . Or At Least We Thought He Did!

As a kid I did a lot of things that today would be considered dangerous. I rode a bike without a helmet. What?!?!? How stupid was I? I had countless wrecks on that bicycle that led to countless skinned knees, legs, arms, and hands, but somehow I lived to tell the tales of my escapades. I played tackle football without a helmet, or pads for that matter. And I suffered no brain trauma – a fact disputed by those who know me best. However, it was not without danger.

I remember one of the many football games played on the Junior High practice field (later moved to the High School Band practice field) by the Sunday Afternoon Ragknots. Jackie had the ball. In the process of being tackled one of us came in to make sure he was down. In so doing, the diligent player hit Jackie in the chest with his knee. For just a couple of seconds Jackie looked dead and then he went into seizures with the accompanying foam in the mouth. Stanley, my best friend, and the competent football team trainer, sprang into action. He told us what not to do – stick our finger in his mouth, because Jackie could bite our finger off. We obeyed. Stanley’s efforts to stop the seizure were unfruitful, so he got his car and drove over to where Jackie lay writhing.

Three of us managed to get into the back seat of the car with the convulsing Jackie on our laps. (BTW, Stanley drove a large Pontiac which allowed room for all three of us and Jackie with room to spare. No, such a rescue attempt would not be possible in today’s cars, but I digress.) Stanley was never known to drive slowly and, in an emergency, he figured he had the moral imperative to speed. As we were flying to the hospital Stanley hit a dip in the road which caused us to actually fly. We went airborne. Jackie flew up and hit the roof of the car and fell back in our laps – totally still, non-responsive and non-convulsive.

We screamed at Stanley, but not to slow down, but rather speed up because Jackie was dead. He looked dead, acted dead, and certainly felt dead in our laps. Stanley was yelling at us to check his pulse, an action that was truly impossible in a car traveling at highway speed on city streets. We didn’t find a pulse but we did get to the Emergency Room in record time. The nurses and orderlies took him into the exam room to check him out. It was a blessing that we grew up in a relatively small town. We were the only ones there besides the medical staff who I think we woke up from their Sunday afternoon naps.

We waited in a quiet yet panicked state – fully waiting for the doctor to come out with head down, uttering those fearful words, “We lost him.” But no – Jackie was going to be OK!

Later, in the room where Jackie was to spend the night for observation, he told us that the doctor wasn’t totally sure what happened, but that he figured that the knee to the chest caused Jackie’s heart to either speed up to 3 times the normal rate or to start skipping beats. Either way, he was going to be OK. I don’t remember Jackie playing with us on Sunday afternoons after that, although my memory may fail me at that point. However, like the NFL, we established a new rule in light of what happened. From that point on, knees were never to be used to make sure a ball carrier stayed down. Full body contact, of course, was still allowed – but no knees.

There is a saying that God watches over babies and fools. It’s not in the Bible and yet, I know that on that particular Sunday afternoon, God was watching over us and sent His angels to step in and help the poor fools who had exhausted all of their abilities to remedy the situation. We should always remember that God is willing to help in each and every difficulty we face – even those times when someone wants to make sure we’re down and that we stay down. “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15)

Kingdom Parables

In this session we look at how Jesus taught by using parables – simple stories that gave insight into spiritual truths. In Matthew 13, there are 8 parables that all relate to the Kingdom of God. Through four of those parables we can learn three valuable lessons concerning the Kingdom of God and our responsibility as citizens of the Kingdom.

First, we must faithfully and consistently sow the seed of the Kingdom and proclaim the message of salvation in Christ to all, knowing that when the gospel takes root in good ground, it produces bountiful fruit.

Secondly, we must sow the seed of the Gospel of Christ in our culture and throughout the world so that the Kingdom can take root in all corners of the earth.

Finally, we must realize the true worth of the Gospel, which we hold in our hearts, and not conceal it. Rather we must sow the seed of salvation so that all who receive it can know its riches as we do and know the joy and fullness of Kingdom living.

Too often we choose to live in the muck and and mire of life thinking that’s all there is this world. However, when we realize that we are only passing through this world as aliens from another Kingdom – the Kingdom of God – we will take on a whole new attitude about our roll in this foreign land. What is our roll? We are Ambassadors for Christ and His Kingdom (2 Corinthians 5:20) and these parables outline our responsibilities as such. Praise be to God Who has entrusted us with such incredible truth and such a solemn duty.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, November 7, 2021. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

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