Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How Well Do You Know the Biblical Christmas Story?

1.  How did Joseph and Mary get to the place where Jesus was born? 
2.  In what town was Jesus born? 
3.  Who sang at Jesus’ birth? 
4.  What animals does the Bible say were at the manger scene? 
5.  Were the Wise Men at the manger?  

6.  What three gifts did the Wise Men bring? 
7.  How many Wise Men were there? 
8.  How did the Wise Men travel to see the newborn Jesus? 
9.  Where is the Christmas Story found in the Bible (book & chapter)? 
10.  What year was Jesus born? 
a. AD 1  b.  AD 0  c.  1 BC  d.  5 BC

11.  What is a manger? 
12.  What does the name “Jesus” mean?
13.  Did Jesus exist before He was born in Bethlehem? 
14.  What was miraculous about the birth of Jesus? 

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  -Isaiah 9:6

Come back next week for answers…

Merry Christmas!
-David R. Brumbelow, author of Wit and Wisdom of Pastor Joe Brumbelow, and Ancient Wine and the Bible
(Permission granted to reprint.)


Answers to Christmas Test

1.  How did Joseph and Mary get to the place where Jesus was born? 

Answer:  The Bible does not say.  Mary may, or may not, have rode a donkey. 

2.  In what town was Jesus born? 

Answer:  Bethlehem in Judea.  There was also another Bethlehem in northern Israel.  (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:5-6)

3.  Who sang at Jesus’ birth? 

Answer:  No one.  Of the angels, Scripture uses the word “saying,” not singing.  (Luke 2:13-14)
On another note, did you know that every time an angel appears in the Bible, the Bible describes him as a male? 

4.  What animals does the Bible say were at the manger scene? 

Answer:  None.  While it was a barn or stable, and likely there were animals, the Bible does not say. 

5.  Were the Wise Men at the manger? 

Answer:  No.  The Wise Men came later to the house where they were staying.  Just as you would do, after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary sought, and found better accommodations.  (Matthew 2:1, 11)

6.  What three gifts did the Wise Men bring? 

Answer:  Gold, frankincense, myrrh. 

7.  How many Wise Men were there? 

Answer:  The Bible does not say, it only speaks of them in the plural.  We probably think there were three because of the three gifts.  And, that may be correct. 

8.  How did the Wise Men travel to see the newborn Jesus? 

Answer:  Scripture never says.  But camels were often used for travel back then.  And, Wise Men riding camels looks cool! 

9.  Where is the Christmas Story found in the Bible (book & chapter)? 

Answer:  Matthew 1-2; Luke 1-2.  Of course, there are other Bible verses related to the birth of Christ. 

10.  What year was Jesus born? 
a. AD 1  b.  AD 0  c.  1 BC  d.  5 BC

Answer:  We don’t know for sure.  According to our calendar, Jesus was supposed to have been born in AD 1; but our calendar is off a little.  Jesus was probably born about 5 BC. 
On another note:  AD does not stand for after dead!  It is a Latin abbreviation that means, “In the Year of our Lord.”  AD should come before the year; BC should come after the year.  Christians should use AD more often.  

11.  What is a manger? 

Answer:  A feed trough for cattle and / or other animals.  2,000 years ago they were sometimes carved out of stone, as well as made of wood. 

12.  What does the name “Jesus” mean?

Answer:  Savior; Deliverer.  (Matthew 1:21; John 1:29) 

13.  Did Jesus exist before He was born in Bethlehem? 

Answer:  Yes, He is God the Son and has always existed.  (Isaiah 9:6; John 1:1; Romans 9:5; Titus 2:13; Revelation 1:8).  That is why we say Jesus came from Heaven to Earth to be born of the Virgin Mary.  Jesus is the only One who could say, I’m infinitely older than My mother, and as old as My Father.  

14.  What was miraculous about the birth of Jesus? 

Answer:  At least two things.  1.  Jesus’ birth was a miraculous Virgin Birth.  This is one of the fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.  (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23, 25; Luke 1:34-37)   2.  Jesus’ birth was prophesied hundreds of years before He was born.  (Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2)

I have no problem having a Manger Scene with angels singing, Wise Men, camels, a donkey, cow, lambs, etc.  After all, it’s fine to have a composite of all the characters involved (or “maybe” involved) in the birth of Christ.  Kind of like a curtain call at the end of a play. 
But this test is simply meant to remind us we often assume things are in the Bible when they are not.  Always remember, the Bible is our final rule of faith and practice. 

Happy New Year! 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, January 1, AD 2018.

Other Articles in lower right margin.  

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Alcohol and Cancer

A sobering Statement has been released by the American Society of Clinical Oncology on “Alcohol and Cancer.” 

Excerpts from that article: 

“The importance of alcohol drinking as a contributing factor to the overall cancer burden is often underappreciated. In fact, alcohol drinking is an established risk factor for several malignancies.” 

“Alcohol is causally associated with oropharyngeal and larynx cancer, esophageal cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, breast cancer, and colon cancer. Even modest use of alcohol may increase cancer risk, but the greatest risks are observed with heavy, long-term use.”

“Beyond oncology [medical study of cancer], alcohol use and abuse together pose a significant public health problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 88,000 deaths were attributed to excessive alcohol use in the United States between 2006 and 2010. Approximately 3.3 million deaths worldwide result from the harmful use of alcohol each year. Population surveys demonstrate that 12% to 14% of adults have a current alcohol use disorder and that 29% have had such a disorder at some point in their lifetime.”

“Alcohol use during childhood and adolescence is a predictor of increased risk of alcohol use disorder as an adult. College-age and younger people who drink are prone to develop an alcohol use disorder later in life.”

People who do not currently drink alcohol should not start for any reason.

“In a thorough systematic review of the world’s evidence that adhered to prespecified criteria for drawing inferences, a World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) report judged the evidence to be convincing that drinking alcohol was a cause of cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, and colorectum (in men). Also, alcohol was judged to be a probable cause of increased risk of liver cancer and colorectal cancer (in women). An updated review of the evidence for liver cancer upgraded the conclusion for an association between alcohol drinking and liver cancer to convincing.” 

“…The associations between alcohol drinking and cancer risk have been observed consistently regardless of the specific type of alcoholic beverage.”

“…The index of suspicion is high that alcohol drinking leads to excess risk of pancreatic cancer and gastric cancer.

“As evidence continues to accumulate, the list of alcohol-associated cancers is likely to grow.”

“…For cancer prevention, it’s best not to drink alcohol.

“The results of meta-analyses and pooled analyses that have focused directly on this question for upper aerodigestive tract cancers indicate that risk of these cancers declines in those who quit drinking alcohol compared with those who remain alcohol drinkers.”

“As such, the benefit of alcohol consumption on cardiovascular health likely has been overstated. As reviewed in the Magnitude of the Association section, the risk of cancer is increased even with low levels of alcohol consumption, so the net effect of alcohol is harmful. Thus, alcohol consumption should not be recommended to prevent cardiovascular disease or all-cause mortality.

Low physician knowledge of alcohol use and cancer risk is another barrier to addressing alcohol use with patients.”

“…Alcohol use among physicians may make them less likely to counsel patients about the risks of alcohol use.”

“Worldwide, alcohol-related cancers are estimated to be 5.5% of all cancers treated annually…”

-Alcohol and Cancer: A Statement of the American Society of Clinical Oncology; November, 2017.  (Bold print is mine.  -DRB)
For entire Alcohol and Cancer Statement and footnotes see: 
Fox News article:

The bad news is, we are all eventually going to die of something (Hebrews 9:27).  The good news is we can significantly reduce our chance of death from cancer and other causes by not drinking alcohol.  As many have observed, what is the worst that can happen from not drinking? 

While all these quotes are significant, some I especially noticed because of contrary pro-drinking arguments.  I’ve, of course, added some of my own thoughts. 

While not outright saying you should not drink alcohol, the study did say if you don’t drink, do not start.  And frankly, if you drink, you encourage others to drink. 

Many have argued drinking is good for your health.  This study says just the opposite.  Alcohol should not be recommended for heart health, or over-all health. 

Even modest use of alcohol can increase your risk of cancer and other problems.  Alcohol is a poison; its use is abuse. 

Your medical doctor is not necessarily an authority on beverage alcohol.  My dad used to joke since he was overweight, he tried to find a doctor who was overweight, so the MD would not get on to him about dieting.  Apparently, the same is true when it comes to alcohol.  Any supposed medical benefits from alcohol can come from safer sources such as grape juice (unfermented wine), grapes, other fruit, and vegetables.  Sadly, many MDs have caused people to begin drinking; don’t be one of them. 

“For cancer prevention, it’s best not to drink alcohol.”  Not drinking alcohol, or taking other recreational, mind-altering drugs (marijuana, opioids, etc.), will prevent a host of other problems as well. 

Hope you all have a drug-free Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

For a detailed study on biblical teaching on alcohol, see: 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, November 28, AD 2017. 


Other Articles in lower right margin.  

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Children and Salvation by L. R. Scarborough

How to Deal with Children
Excerpts from the book, “With Christ After the Lost,” by L. R. Scarborough. 

Proverbs 8:17 (KJV)
I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me.

Matthew 19:13-14
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

Total Depravity
“Total depravity does not mean that a person is born guilty.  It means that he is born with his tendency to choose evil stronger than his tendency to choose the good and that apart from the power of Christ he will continue to grow worse and worse in disobedience to God.”

Death of a Child
“If a child dies before he comes to the time of accountability to God, what becomes of his soul?  He is covered by the atoning work of Christ and, not being responsible for any conscious act of sin, is saved by Christ’s death.”

Age of Accountability
“When does a child become accountable to God for his soul?  There is no certain age – some are younger than others.  When the child voluntarily chooses sin and is conscious of his wrong, then he becomes an active transgressor and comes under God’s law…Most children have a sense of sin between seven and ten years of age.”

Both a Life and a Soul
“The saving of a child’s soul offers a double opportunity to the worker in that there is also a chance to train and utilize the child’s talents and powers for the service of God.  A life is saved as well as a soul.  Some of our most important and useful leaders and Christian workers come from those saved in youth.” 

Cautious, yet Zealous
“Parents and teachers should be very cautious, and yet zealous, in dealing with children.  They can discourage them for life or they can over persuade them and get them into the church unsaved, without an understanding of the way of life.  Teach them; make the way plain; pray for them; give them favorable opportunity to find Christ.  Do not over persuade, but at the same time give them every opportunity to respond to the pleadings of the Saviour.” 

Difference in Salvation & Church Membership
“Children must not be led to join the church in the hope that it will help them to find Christ.  Regeneration is a necessary prerequisite to church membership.  The church will not save, help save, or keep saved – it is the place for the saved to serve in helping to save others.  Children should be taught and encouraged to join the church when they give evidence that they have fully and understandingly trusted Christ as their Saviour and Lord.” 

Home is Best Place to Win Children to the Lord
“The best place to win children is in their homes, where the parents can teach the Word of God.  Show them Christ by word and life.  Pray with and for them.  The mother should not be alone in this heavenly task.  God says: ‘The father to the children shall make known thy truth’ (Isaiah 38:19).  He should reinforce the mother every step of the way.” 

Sunday School Should be Place of Soul-Winning
“The next most fruitful place of soul-winning among children is in the Sunday School, where teacher, superintendent, and pastor can give them a winning gospel and urge them individually and by classes to accept Christ.  The teacher may have to do some of the work by visits and prayers in the home in conjunction with the parents’ efforts.  Every teacher ought to be a soul-winner…”

ABC’s of Salvation
“The following is a simple but effective method which has proved its value in children’s evangelistic services many times.  Call it ‘The ABC’s of Salvation…’
A         ‘All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23).
B         ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world’ (John 1:29). 
C         ‘Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool’ (Isaiah1:18).” 

Object Lesson
“A good object lesson to illustrate will be helpful.  Let a piece of red paper represent the soul that is ‘red like crimson.’  Let a piece of red glass represent the blood of the Lamb slain to cover our sins.  Look through the red glass at the red paper; the paper will look white.  Thus it is with our souls.  God cannot see our sin when He looks through the blood of Christ.  We can have our sins covered by His blood if we will trust Him.” 

-L. R. Scarborough, excerpts from “With Christ After the Lost,” Broadman Press; 1952 (I think originally published in 1919).  A great, classic, evangelism book to have in the pastor’s, and church, libraries. 
Lee Rutland Scarborough (AD 1870-1945) was the first evangelism professor at, and second president of, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. 
With Christ After the Lost” was reprinted by SWBTS as part of their Centennial Classics in 2008. 

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

Other articles in lower right margin.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dehumidifiers, Hurricanes, Floods, and Ministry

If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?  -James 2:15-16

A dehumidifier is a wonderful thing.  Through an amazing process, it extracts water from the air in a room.  Put a dehumidifier in a room, and you will be amazed at how much moisture was in the air.  You will also be amazed at how quickly things begin to dry out. 

In Southeast Texas we get roughly 50 inches of rain a year.  Sometimes we get a good portion of that at one time.  For those recovering from a hurricane, flood, or leaking water, a dehumidifier is of great value. 

Dehumidifiers are easy to use.  You don’t have to figure it out.  Just plug it in, turn on the power button, and let it run (of course, never place it in standing water, and use standard cautions).  In several hours, it will fill with water and automatically turn off.  You don’t have to worry about the water running over.  Then, just pull out the tray, empty the water, and start it again.  You can run it once a week, once a month, or 24 hours a day. 

Much of Texas is now recovering from flood waters.  A dehumidifier costs about $200 to $250, and is worth every penny. 

Right now, many churches are working in disaster relief.  I’ve previously recommended giving and volunteering with Southern Baptist Disaster Relief and Samaritans Purse.  Disaster Relief is one of the most effective of Christian ministries. 

Along these lines, a simple church ministry can be a dehumidifier.  A church can buy one or two, and use them in the church buildings as needed.  Write your church name and address on them.  Then when flooding occurs, they can be loaned or given to those in need.  $250 is not a lot to some; it is more than others can afford.  To some who’ve been flooded, it could be a tremendous blessing. 

Another consideration is sometimes when they are most needed, dehumidifiers are difficult to find.  If you purchase them now, you will have them when needed.  They can usually be found at building supply stores. 

So, whether an individual or a church, consider starting a Dehumidifier Ministry.  And, do it all with a smile and a gospel witness. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, September 11, AD 2017. 

Other Articles in lower right margin. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Is Hurricane Harvey God's Judgement?

I don’t say this hurricane is a judgement on Texas
Neither do I say Hurricane Harvey is not a judgement from God. 

Wouldn’t it be sad if God sent judgement on a people, and their pastors were busy declaring it was not God’s judgement?  

It may be just as wrong to falsely declare this is not a judgement from God, as to falsely declare this is a judgement from God.  
If you don’t know for sure, then say you don’t know for sure.  

I do not count out the possibility that God may at times give certain preachers special discernment in these matters.  
And, Lord knows there is plenty for God to judge in Texas and most every other state.  
Whether this is simply a natural disaster, or a judgement from God, we all need to get closer to Almighty God and pray that God might send revival to our land.  

Scripture to ponder:

For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.  -Jeremiah 8:11

That is, the prophets of Israel who prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and who see visions of peace for her when there is no peace, says the Lord God.  -Ezekiel 13:16

 “The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; And he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?” says the Lord.  -Jeremiah 23:28

 For a fuller consideration of this subject, see: 

 -David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 31, AD 2017. 

 Other articles in lower right margin.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Volunteering for Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey has devastated the Texas Coast.  Unprecedented rain has flooded multitudes. 

Two evangelical organizations that will be helping out tremendously, are listed below. 

Some of you may want to give to them individually, or through your church. 
Some of you may also want to volunteer to help in the cleanup. 

SBC Disaster Relief

Samaritan’s Purse

May God bless those who give, and those who volunteer.
Please continue to pray for those affected by the hurricane. 

You may also want to remember these disaster relief organizations (and, they do much more than disaster relief, including presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ) when future disasters occur. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 28, AD 2017. 
Other Articles in lower right margin.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tips on the Next Solar Eclipse

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.  -Genesis 1:1

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.  -John 1:3

Yesterday the great Solar Eclipse of August 21, AD 2017 took place across America.  If you were unprepared, here are some tips for the next Solar Eclipse. 

1.  Whether or not you are in the path of totality (total eclipse of the sun by the moon), any partial eclipse can be interesting.  So, be prepared.  In the Houston, Texas area we had 67% totality.  It was pretty dramatic if you knew what to look for.  The bright sunlight dimmed and if you had proper lens, you could clearly see the eclipse cut out a large portion of the sun. 

2.  Never look at the sun without proper protection for your eyes.  Proper protection does not include squinting, holding your hand above your eyes, looking between your fingers, or wearing a cap.  Neither does it include a pair of sunglasses, or even two or three pairs of sunglasses.  You can do serious damage to your eyes by looking at the sun. 

3.  Proper eye protection to look at the eclipse include those one-dollar eyeglasses especially made for the purpose.  But, get them early; they invariably run out. 

4.  An alternative most do not know is to use a welding lens or filter plate.  You can get them at a welding supply store, and sometimes at a hardware store.  A man at a welding supply said to look at the sun you need a shade 12 or 13.  It was reported by local news that NASA recommends a shade 13 or 14. 
If they do not have the right shade, you can put two together to equal the right level.  For example, a shade 8 and a shade 5. 
A welding lens only costs about four dollars.
Even these welding lenses should be purchased early; they very likely will be sold out before an eclipse.   
Do not use welding lenses that are scratched or cracked.  

5.  Make you own solar eclipse viewer. 
Get a welding lens, shade 13. 
Get a piece of cardboard about the size of a sheet of paper. 
Lay the lens in the middle of the cardboard and trace around it. 
Cut out a rectangle slightly smaller than the lens. 
Place lens over the cut out, and tape it to the cardboard with electrical tape. 
Before covering the print on the lens edge, you might want to copy that information on the cardboard, especially the shade number. 
Also include the date of the eclipse. 
You now have a viewer for the solar eclipse. 

6.  You can also make a box with aluminum foil, a pin hole, and white sheet of paper.  The sun shines through the pin hole and you can see the eclipse on the sheet of paper.  You can find more detailed directions on the internet.
These (#5 and #6) could also make good projects for Sunday School, school, or home school kids.  

7.  A solar eclipse reminds us of our Heavenly Father who created the Heavens and the Earth (Genesis 1:1).  Christians should never worship the creation, but we do worship the Creator.  The eclipse shows us the precision in which God hung the stars, planets, sun, moon, in space.  It should also remind us of how God created and placed us in the perfect environment to live, thrive, and serve Him. 

8.  Churches can prepare and advertise a Solar Eclipse Party. 
Place it in the paper and on your church sign. 
Print a handout with fast facts about the Solar Eclipse and our Creator.  Include your church name, address, service times.  
It gives you the opportunity for a community event, to help some who would not be able to see the eclipse, and gives a chance for witness. 
Provide snacks and drinks.  

9.  Professionals can take pictures of the eclipse.  But anyone can take pictures of those viewing the eclipse. They make interesting photos.  

“Eclipses are demonstrations of God's glory” and serve as “yet another example of creation pointing back to our Creator.”  
-California Baptist University astronomer Kyle Stewart;  

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 22, AD 2017.  

Other articles in lower right margin.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Confederate Statues, History, and Racism

Some of my thoughts on Confederate Statues, history, and racism. 

Racism is wrong and sinful.  Period. 

Racism on any side or from any racial group is wrong and sinful. 

Falsely charging someone with racism is also a serious wrong. 

The violence, injuries, and murder in Charlottesville, Virginia over the weekend is unjustified, wrong, and should be punished. 
The Confederate Statues and Memorials should stay and be protected.  They are part of our history and heritage.  They teach multiple lessons.  We should not cleanse and whitewash our own history.  

Those who are offended by Confederate Memorials - maybe that is part of the price you need pay for multi-culturalism.  Allowing these Statues helped in bringing a divided country together again.  Tolerance should work both ways.  

Confederate Statues should even be allowed to be established today. 

Get rid of other people’s Statues and Memorials, and you should not be surprised when one day others get rid of your Statues and Memorials.  How about being respectful and tolerant to both sides? 

On the other hand, Union Statues (Civil War era), Black Leaders Statues (liberal and conservative Black Leaders), other Ethnic Statues and Memorials should also be freely allowed (and are).  After all, we are a diverse, free society. 

A few ideas for statues of Black leaders:
Frederick Douglass
Booker T. Washington
Harriet Tubman
Ida B. Wells
George Washington Carver
John Jasper
Martin Luther King
S. M. Lockridge
Clarence Thomas
Thomas Sowell
Walter Williams 
Condoleezza Rice

The recent controversy at Charlottesville, Virginia was marred by hate and violence on both sides.  The murder by a White Supremacist should be punished to the full extent of the law. 
 The media needs to more fairly cover all sides.  

Vandalism of statues and memorials, no matter which side, should be condemned and prosecuted. 
Law Officers should vigorously uphold the law and arrest criminals, whether they be on the left or on the right; especially in riot situations.  

A couple of quotes I find interesting: 

“The hard left seemed as hate-filled as alt-right.  I saw club-wielding ‘antifa’ beating white nationalist being led out of the park.” 
-Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, on the demonstrations in Charlottesville, VA.  

 “What about the politicians such as the city council who voted to remove a memorial that had been in place since 1924, regardless of the possible repercussions? How about the city politicians who issued the permit for the lawful demonstration to defend the statue? And why didn't the mayor or the governor see that a powder keg was about to explode and stop it before it got started?”

“I denounce bigotry and racism of every form, be it black, white or any other. My prayer is that our nation will come together. We are stronger together, and our answers lie in turning to God.”
 -Franklin Graham, Samaritan’s Purse, on Charlottesville, VA.  

Christians need to love, be an example to, and witness to racists and extremists on all sides. 

-David R. Brumbelow, Gulf Coast Pastor, August 15, AD 2017.

Other articles in lower right margin.  

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.