Monday, July 3, 2017

Robert G. Lee; What He Was Made

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  -2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV

This year the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution “On The Necessity Of Penal Substitutionary Atonement.”  It was passed in part because some of the more theologically liberal and progressive folks deny and denigrate this biblical doctrine. 

A discussion of Penal Substitutionary Atonement always includes 2 Corinthians 5:21.  It reminded me of Robert G. Lee’s famous sermon, “What He Was Made.”

R. G. Lee’s outline: 
What He Was Made
1.  Made Flesh  (John 1:14)
2.  Made a Curse  (Galatians 3:13)
3.  Made Sin  (2 Corinthians 5:21)
4.  Made Alive  (Acts 1:3)

A portion of Robert G. Lee’s message on 2 Corinthians 5:21 follows:

“Terrible the fact that He [Jesus, God the Son], the sinless One, was ‘made sin’ in view of God’s hatred of sin. 

Behold this picture:  It is night time.  A little child, wearied with much play, falls asleep.  The father and mother, the light of love beaming in their eyes, the tone of love in their whispering voices, the inexhaustible wonder of parental sacrifice burning in their hearts, put their darling into the trundle bed.  With deft and tender hands the mother smooths the pillow and spreads the coverlets, the father taking in every detail of the scene with admiring eyes.  Child of phenomenal beauty that, its voice sweeter to their ears than chiming bells, its eyes bluer than violets dew-wet, it luxuriant curls golden like sunshine, its face on the pillow dainty like a pink rose in a snow bank, its soft sleep-breathings like faint whispers of a harp touched by angel fingers.  What a mighty hold those baby hands, wee and dimpled, have upon human hearts!  They kneel, those parents, a minute beside the trundle bed, pure thoughts holding high and holy carnival in their minds.  Then, before they go to seek for themselves rest and sleep, they pray that God will give them wisdom to rear that child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 

And then, in the night, while they sleep, a rattlesnake with stupid audacity and vile intrusion, crawls in through an open window and into the bed of the child.  The hideous reptile coils itself into a circular pile and lies there apparently in a stupor until, at the movement of a dimpled hand or a turn of the curly head, the rattler, his buttons buzzing with diabolic effrontery, strikes out madly.  And the poisonous fangs are buried in the cheek of the child.  In awful agony it died – while the parents sleep.  The next morning they awake.  They go to the bed and find their approach challenged by the rattler whose head sways ominously while his buttons sing with raucous warning.  They see their child swollen, dead, its little face bearing the evidence of its frightful death agonies. 

Now – if you will magnify the attitude and the hatred for that vile rattler by that father and mother a million times you will have a faint conception of how God Almighty looks toward sins and upon sin.  You will know in some slight measure His perpetual attitude toward sin, His eternal hatred of sin.  Yet it is said that our holy God ‘made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him!” 

Made sin.  What does it mean?  What do they mean, these two words, ‘made sin,’ that stagger under a weight of agony? 
It means that God dealt with Him as He must deal with sin – in severe and unrelenting judgment! 

It means that God sentenced sin, ordered sin to execution in the person and death of His Son.  Jesus has made up before God for all we failed to do and be.  Jesus takes all our sin and sins upon Himself and bestows all His righteousness upon us.  Jesus took sin’s place on the Cross!  Took the guilty culprit’s place there!  Took my place there!  It means that He, the perfectly righteous One, was made sin that we, the unrighteous ones, might be made righteous.  For God meted out to Jesus the full measure of punishment sin deserves. 

It means – He stood before God with all our sin upon Him that we, through faith, might stand before God with none of our sin on us. 

He who was righteous was judged before God as unrighteous that we who are unrighteous should be judged before God as righteous! 

He was made for us all that God must judge and we are made in Him by faith all that God cannot judge. 

And this could not be through physical suffering alone!  By the bloody drops of sweat in Gethsemane, by the dirty sputum, contempt materialized in a liquid, by the rough hands that plucked off His beard, by the merciless steel fingers of Pilate’s  scourge, by the thorns that punctured His brown veins, by the nails that pinned Him to the tree, by His mouth hot like and oven, I know, you know, all of us know, He suffered physically on the Cross. 

But!  To speak of Jesus’ suffering as intense physical torture only is a species of spiritual stupidity and intellectual clownishness.  Because of the depths and vastness of sin’s malignant nature, which caused the feet of Deity to draw back with trembling, terms like bravery, courage, martyrdom, physical agony have no place because they contain no meaning big enough to fit His experience, when He ‘made His soul an offering for sin’ – when he died a spiritual death as well as a physical death.  He founded our joy in the deep bitterness of His own soul. 

The pangs of hell got hold upon Him!  God turned Him into the slime pits of hell!  The thirst of hell was upon Him!  The lightest of His sufferings were physical!  The tortures of the damned were upon Him.  The soul of His suffering was the suffering of His soul.  He bore the burdens of sin on His sinless soul.  And He did this for all – all!...

The death of Christ was for us.  Therefore Christ was condemned to death instead of us.  To condemn us now after we have put our faith in Christ and surrendered personally to Him, would be to say that the death of Christ was not sufficient and that there was no justice with God, for He would get two payments for one debt, two payments for one offense.  But, thank God, the death of Christ is sufficient and God is not possessed of the injustice that demands two payments for one debt – and we can truly say, ‘There is now therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit.’ 

We can find no knowledge in the world better than this: that man hath sinned and God hath suffered; that God in Christ made Himself the sin of men; that men are made the righteousness of God! 

In view of this let us ask:  Is any distance too great to go – for Him – who went to the Cross for us?  Is any burden too heavy to bear – for Him – who bore the heavy weight of the world’s sins on His heart?  Is any sacrifice too severe to make – for Him – who was ‘made a curse’ for us?  Is any obligation too heavy to assume – for Him – who was ‘made sin’ in our behalf that we might become the righteousness of God in Him?  Is any service too great to render – for Him – who was made for us all that God must judge and punish?  Is it not time that we say: ‘I count all things but loss…that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering’?” 
-Robert G. Lee (AD 1886-1978), pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis, Tennessee, SBC president, author. 
Excerpt from his sermon, “What He Was Made,” in the book,
From Feet to Fathoms, Robert G. Lee, Broadman, Zondervan; 1926. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, July 3, AD 2017. 

 Other articles listed in lower right margin.  

Thursday, June 1, 2017

More on the Curse of Ham

There is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.  -Colossians 3:11 (NKJV) 

Some have recently brought up the fact that people of the past, and I suppose a few in the present, have used the Curse of Ham in Genesis 9 to justify slavery and racism.  It does not.  Some Southern Baptists used this argument years ago, but none I know of today.  Instead, for years Southern Baptists have spoken against this false idea. 

In a previous article it, was pointed out that Southern Baptist leader T. B. Maston spoke against this viewpoint back in 1959.  His book was published then and today by Southern Baptists. 

Southern Baptists have produced a commentary through LifeWay and Broadman & Holman (B&H); the New American Commentary.  It is presented here as just one of many more examples of Southern Baptists, and conservative Christians, repudiating racism in all its forms, and repudiating the false view that the Curse of Ham justifies racism. 

The New American Commentary on Genesis 9; the Curse of Ham. 

“There are no grounds in our passage for an ethnic reading of the ‘curse’ as some have done, supposing that some peoples are inferior to others.  Here Genesis looks only to the social and religious life of Israel’s ancient rival Canaan, whose immorality defiled their land and threatened Israel’s religious fidelity (cf. Leviticus 18:28; Joshua 23).  It was not an issue of ethnicity but of the wicked practices that characterized Canaanite culture. 

The biblical revelation made it clear that if Israel took up the customs of the Canaanites, they too would suffer expulsion.  It is transparent from Genesis 1-11, especially the Table of Nations (Genesis 10:1-32), that all peoples are of the same parentage (i.e., Noah) and thus are related by ancestry.  This we find at the outset by creation’s imago Dei [man is created in the Image of God], which is reaffirmed in God’s covenant with Noah and his sons, including Ham (Genesis 9:1,5-6). 

The blessing that befalls all peoples is carried forward by the Abrahamic promises, which counter the old curses by the blessing received by all peoples in any era who acknowledge the Lord.  ‘Any attempt to grade the branches of mankind by an appeal to Genesis 9:22-27 is therefore a re-erecting of what God has demolished’* (cf. Colossians 3:11; Galatians 2:18; 3:28).” 
-Kenneth A. Mathews, Genesis 1-11:27, New American Commentary, B&H; 1996. 
*D. Kidner, Genesis, Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove: IVP, 1967), 103. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, June 1, AD 2017. 

 More articles in lower right margin.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

T. B. Maston on the Curse of Ham

Then he said: “Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants he shall be to his brethren.”  -Genesis 9:25

Dr. Thomas Buford Maston (AD 1897-1988) was a longtime Ethics professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas.  While a student, I had the opportunity to briefly visit with T. B. Maston on a walk around the SWBTS campus.  In 1959 Dr. Maston wrote “The Bible & Race,” published by Broadman Press.  It was a book ahead of its times.  In 2008 SWBTS reprinted this book as a part of its Centennial Classics

In the last chapter, Maston deals with the Curse of Ham, or the Curse of Canaan in Genesis 9.  This biblical passage has been wrongly used by some to justify slavery and racism.  I will not reprint the entire chapter, but Maston’s conclusion.    
Conclusions Concerning the Curse

“What can we conclude concerning the curse of Canaan and its relevance to the contemporary racial situation?  Some personal conclusions are as follows: 

1.  The curse was a pronouncement of a particular sentence on a particular sin. 

2.  The curse was a prophecy.  Its main purpose was to predict the subjugation of the Canaanites by the children of Israel. 

3.  The fulfilment of the terms of the curse and the time of the fulfilment were dependent on the decisions and the conduct of the ones mentioned in the curse. 

4.  The curse of Canaan has no direct relevance to the contemporary racial situation.  The Negro was not included in the original curse, since he was not and is not a descendant of Canaan.  Even if he were a descendant of Canaan, the curse itself is no longer in force. 

5.  Most men seek divine sanction for what they do or want to do. 

6.  In seeking divine sanction for enforced racial segregation, some have used the curse of Canaan, which they usually label ‘the curse of Ham,’ and the Bible in general to support their position. 

7.  Even Christians may defend racial segregation as the best method of temporarily and immediately handling a perplexing problem without doing great damage to the cause of Christ, so long as they will not use the curse of Canaan and other biblical incidents and teachings to support their position, and so long as they do not defend segregation as being the full and final expression of the divine will in human relations.  When the latter is done, irreparable harm is done to the Christian movement and to the Christian witness at home and abroad. 

Surely the God who created man in his own image, who made of one all men, who is no respecter of persons, who loved all men enough to give his Son for their salvation, and who taught us to love our neighbor as ourselves did not and does not intend that any man or any segment of mankind should be kept in permanent subserviency or should be treated as innately inferior, as second-class citizens in a first-class society.”
-T. B. Maston, The Bible & Race; 1959. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 29, AD 2017. 

 Many other articles in lower right margin.  

Thursday, May 4, 2017

13 Reasons Why Not to Commit Suicide

1.  You are created in the image of God.  Yes, you!  You have great worth.  Life is precious. 

2.  Don’t let anyone or anything ruin your life.  Hang in there, keep going.  Sometimes the best revenge is simply to live a good, happy life.  There are victims, and there are volunteers.  Don’t be a volunteer.  Refuse to be a victim. 

3.  Though times are tough, they almost always get better. 

4.  Suicide is devastating to family and friends.  I remember a man telling of the suicide of a close relative.  Though the suicide had taken place years before, I could still see the pain in his eyes. 

5.  Suicide may encourage someone else to do the same. 

6.  Suicide destroys the handiwork of God.  It is the murder of yourself. 

7.  Others care more than you know.  Some people especially like you, and you don’t even know it. 

8.  Help is available from church, school, family, friends.  Pastors, Youth Ministers, Teachers, Counselors, Relatives are ready to help, if you just ask.  Some of those old people may have just the answer you’re looking for.  Spend a little time with them. 

9.  The Bible is God’s letter to you.  In its pages you will find strength, hope, truth, love, joy.  Start reading in the Gospel of John or Luke.  Check out Psalms and Proverbs.  There’s stuff in there you never imagined.  My favorite translation is the New King James Version (NKJV). 

10.  God has a plan, great plans, for your life.  You’re just getting started. 

11.  Have you made a mess of things?  You’re not the first.  God forgives and is in the restoration business. 

12.  Jesus Christ, God the Son, loves you so much He gave His life for you.  Trust Him.  Together you can handle anything. 

13.  Don’t throw away your future.  Be patient.  You will never know what you can accomplish in your 20s, 40s, 60s, until you get there. 

Life gets messy and complicated, but you are loved. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, May 4, AD 2017. 

Need help with the issue of suicide? 
Find help at a good church.  Attend every Sunday.
Check out Focus on the Family, a Christian, Family oriented organization. 

 More articles in lower right margin. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

11 Reasons to Not Drink Alcohol

1.  God said to be sober (1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 1 Peter 5:8; NKJV). The Greek word “nepho” literally means wineless; free from intoxicants.  

2.  We are to love God with all our minds (Mark 12:30).  Alcohol impairs that mind. 

3.  It is expensive (Proverbs 23:21). 

4.  It makes you do foolish things you would never do in your right mind (Proverbs 23:29-35).

5.  It is dangerous and addictive (Proverbs 20:1). 

6.  It hurts your testimony; you influence others to drink; you often harm others (Romans 14:21). 

7.  Drugs should not be used for recreation and pleasure. 

8.  Never take that first drink, and you will never become a problem drinker. 

9.  Drinking supports an industry that has destroyed untold thousands. 

10.  Not drinking is prudent and wise (Proverbs 20:1; 22:3). 

11.  You should rely on God, not drugs (Psalm 11:1). * 

-David R. Brumbelow, author of Ancient Wine and the Bible: The Case for Abstinence.

Got questions about the Bible and Alcohol?  
Find answers in Ancient Wine andthe Bible.”

(Permission granted to reprint.)   
* This is not intended to reject the legitimate use of drugs for strictly medicinal reasons.  

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 17, AD 2017. 


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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Baptists, Eastern Orthodox, and Hank Hanegraaff

It is reported that Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, has left Evangelicalism and joined the Eastern Orthodox Church. 

While not following Hanegraaff very closely, in past years I’ve heard him give some good, biblical answers on radio.  On the other hand, I am a Premillennialist, so I have disagreed with Hanegraaff’s views on the Second Coming. 

Hank Hanegraaff has apparently been evolving for some time.  I thought this might be a good time to point out some differences between Baptists, Evangelicals in general, and the Eastern Orthodox. 

By the way, some years ago I was teaching a Bible course at San Jacinto College, Pasadena, Texas.  I had an international student in class who was Orthodox and wrote a research paper.  In passing, he mentioned his belief in Baptismal Regeneration.  I gave him an A for the paper.  Though I disagreed with his doctrine, he did a very good job researching and writing. 

What are some of those differences in beliefs? 
Orthodox believe their authority comes from the Bible and tradition.  Baptists believe the 66 books of the Bible are our final authority for faith and practice (Acts 17:11; 2 Timothy 3:16). 
In addition, the Orthodox have added another 10 books to the Bible.  Along with the Bible, they also look to Church Fathers, church leaders after the Bible was written, as authoritative. 

The Orthodox believe baptism saves you.  They believe in baptizing infants, a practice not found in Scripture.  Baptists believe in Believer’s Baptism by Immersion, but do not believe it has a part in your salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Only faith in Christ saves you.  See the article below on Baptismal Regeneration

While Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a great, godly woman, Orthodox believe in her perpetual virginity and venerate her a little too much.  Baptists and most evangelicals believe after the virgin birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had other children (Matthew 1:25; 12:46; 13:55-56; John 7:5). 
We also believe it is going a little too far to call Mary the mother of God.  Jesus is God the Son and came from Heaven to Earth to be born in human form.  Jesus is far older than His earthly mother (John 1:1, 14). 

For a summary of the Eastern Orthodox church, see the article by Bill Gordon and Paul Negru at the North American Mission Board:

Be praying for Hank Hanegraaff, and make sure you are lashed to the Word of God, the Bible, for your faith and practice. 

Note: The word “orthodox” has also been used by Baptists to simply refer to someone who is conservative and biblical in their doctrine.  The word “Orthodox” in this article, however, refers to the denominational groups by that name. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, April 12, AD 2017. 


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Monday, March 27, 2017

Saint David

Yes, you read that right.  I am a saint.  And I have the Bible, God’s Word, to back up my claim. 

Some believe “saint” means a really good person.  For example, a man says, “My wife is a saint.”  In that respect. I will have to leave it up to others whether they would consider me that kind of saint.  As a believer I can claim the righteousness of Jesus Christ, but I’ll deal with that another time. 

Some believe a saint is a person so named by a church denomination.  The candidate must be deceased.  Then they go through a process of investigation, veneration, beautification, until finally the Pope bestows the title of saint on the candidate. 

Baptists, and many other Christians, look to the Bible alone as their final source of faith and practice.  What does the Bible, and specifically the New Testament portion of the Bible, say about saints? 

According to Holy Scripture, there is basically one rule for becoming a saint.  That rule is that the candidate has personally trusted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  If a person believes Jesus, God the Son, died for his sins and rose again, and that person repents of his sin and turns to Jesus, he is saved.  And, he or she immediately becomes a saint.  You don’t even have to die; once you have trusted in Jesus, you are a saint. 

How many saints do we have?  Millions.  All those who have placed their faith in Christ. 

Where is the biblical evidence for this belief?  I’m glad you asked!  The Bible refers to common, everyday followers of Jesus Christ as saints.  A few examples: 

Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda.  -Acts 9:32

Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive.  -Acts 9:41

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  -Romans 1:7

But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints. 
-Romans 15:25

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given orders to the churches of Galatia, so you must do also.  -1 Corinthians 16:1

 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia.  -2 Corinthians 1:1

All the saints greet you.  -2 Corinthians 13:13

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.  -Ephesians 1:1

But fornication and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as is fitting for saints.  -Ephesians 5:3

Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons.  -Philippians 1:1

All the saints greet you, but especially those who are of Caesar’s household.  -Philippians 4:22

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.  -Jude 1:3 

Notice how the word “saint” is used of regular, living, believers in Christ Jesus. 

Saint – “Title for all God’s people but applied in some contexts to a small group seen as the most dedicated ones…Saints are people who name Jesus as Lord.”  -Holman Concise Bible Dictionary

Despite all the evidence above (and there are a number of other Bible verses about saints), I’ve never been able to convince my church members to call me Saint David!  I guess I’ll have to be content with Brother David, Pastor David, David, Brumbelow, or “Hey you.”

To all the believers out there, enjoy your sainthood. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, March 27, AD 2017. 


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