August 2019

Focus on The Truth

Pastor Jim Dewar • First Baptist Church Bancroft

John 4:24 “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” The Bible has much to say about the subject of truth. We see the importance of truth as it relates to the worship of God in the verse at the beginning of this article. In this article, I want to briefly consider God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word as Truth. These are some practical considerations for us regarding the matter. I am reminded of when a person is to give testimony in a court of law.  They are to swear or affirm that they will tell the truth and nothing but the truth. The Bible declares that God is a God of truth. We read in Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” The Psalmist says of God, Psalms 31:5 “Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth.” Isaiah also in Isaiah 65:16, two times uses the phrase ‘God of truth’.

Jesus, God’s Son is also described as truth. John 14:6 reads, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Jesus is the way, truth and life. The only way for someone to have a relationship with God is through Jesus Christ, …"No man cometh unto the Father but by me”. John 15:1” I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” 1 Peter 3:18 “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:”  Acts 4:12 “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” These verses all declare the same thing about Jesus; that He is the Way the Truth and the Life. He is the Saviour! That is what He came here to earth to be!

 The Bible also says this about the Holy Spirit in John 16:13 “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, [that] shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.”  From this verse we learn that He is the spirit of truth and that He guides in truth. Lastly, the Bible is referred to as the truth. Jesus in His High Priestly Prayer in John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” In that prayer, Jesus asks the Father to sanctify His people through “Thy Truth” then states “Thy Word is Truth”. In a world that has wrongly taught there are no absolutes and no truth, I choose to follow Jesus in believing that the Bible is a book of truth. Psalms 119:43 states, “And take not the word of truth utterly out of my mouth; for I have hoped in thy judgments.” In Psalms 119:142 we read “Thy righteousness is Word of God.  This is God’s Truth.

 I want to close with 3 John 1:4 it says; “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” The word walk means conduct. So may the conduct of your life be regulated by the truth of God’s Holy Word the Bible! To focus on truth is to focus on God, His Son, His Spirit and His Word!

Words!

Pastor Jim Dewar • First Baptist Church Bancroft, IA

Words! How important are the words we use? The answer to that question is very important. Some of us grew up with a phrase “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. We have lived long enough to know how untrue that statement really is. In my line of work being a Pastor, I speak a lot of words. I should have a word counter on me to count how many words I speak. I would submit, it’s not just the number of words we speak, but how we speak them. The following Bible verse is a qualifier for the words we speak, Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Here the Psalmist wanted even his words to be acceptable to God. That is definitely something to think about with the words we use and how we use them.

Words have power and meaning and must be used correctly. It is interesting to see all of the different opportunities for using words in communication that we have available today. We use face to face communication, letter writing, email, texting and many different social media outlets. Here is an interesting verse from the wisest man, Solomon, in Proverbs 8:8 “All the words of my mouth [are] in righteousness; [there is] nothing froward or perverse in them.” How many times have you dealt with an issue and then you got the facts and had to eat crow! Proverbs 18:13 “He that answereth a matter before he heareth [it], it [is] folly and shame unto him.” This verse means get the facts before you speak. How very true to consider.

 As mentioned before, words have power. God spoke the very world into existence by His spoken words. In Genesis 1:3 it says “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. “This verse and others in Genesis show us the power of God’s words in creation. If you are a Christian follower of Jesus Christ, you need to be concerned about the words you use. The words we use show the change of heart we have since our salvation by faith in Jesus Christ. Here are some scripture verses to think about and meditate on, Proverbs 10:20 “The tongue of the just [is as] choice silver: the heart of the wicked [is] little worth.” Proverbs 15:26 “The thoughts of the wicked [are] an abomination to the LORD: but [the words] of the pure [are] pleasant words.” Proverbs 16:23 & 24 “The heart of the wise teacheth his mouth, and addeth learning to his lips.  Pleasant words [are as] an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”

The Apostle Paul said in Ephesians 4:29 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” The word corrupt means “rotten” and those kinds of words should not come from a Christian’s mouth. Rather, your words should edify or build up and minister grace to those that hear!  In conclusion, consider the truth of these verses. Proverbs 25:11 “A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Matthew 12:37 “For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.” May we all think about the words we say and remember the teachings of Scripture.

May 2019

“This Do In Remembrance Of Me”

The recent Memorial Day observance in the United States of America is a time when we as Americans pause and remember our nation’s war dead. On that day we are remembering the men and women who, while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, died in securing and keeping our freedom.

In the Bible we read the phrase “This Do in Remembrance of Me”. Those are the words of Jesus and He is instructing His disciples in what we call communion. Communion is also called the Lord’s Table. In the Gospel of Luke we read, in chapter 22 and verses 19 & 20 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” In the verses above, Jesus is speaking and is instructing the disciples how to remember His death. Isn’t that a little interesting when you think about it? I mean, who would forget what Jesus did on the Cross? The answer to that question is: the same people who forget a birthday, an anniversary or appointment. In other words, we all forget sometimes!  So, what are we to be remembering? We are to remember the sacrificial substitutionary death of Jesus Christ on the Cross for our sins. Why did Jesus come to earth? The answer to that question is found in Matthew 1 when the angel of the Lord spoke to Joseph in a dream about the child that Mary was carrying. Matthew 1:21 “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” In Romans 10:13 the Bible says “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Have you ever asked Jesus to be your Saviour? In the Gospel of Luke 19:10 we read "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  According to the Bible we are all lost and in need of Salvation. That is what it means here in Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”  We are all lost sinners in need of salvation and only Jesus saves. Titus 3:5 reads “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Bible salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

So, Jesus’ coming to earth was to be the Saviour.  He was the spotless Lamb of God and the only one that could pay the penalty of our sin. We had a debt we could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe. In I Corinthians 15:3 we read “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures.” Christ died for our sins, because of our sins. And Jesus says that the bread of communion is a symbol of His broken body. The cup of communion is a symbol of the blood that He shed. So we are remembering that Jesus, the Son of God, came to earth to die on the cross. The Bible calls the cross a curse (“cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”). In I Peter 2:21-24 we read,  “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” The verses above tell us of Christ’s suffering; His sinlessness; and also Him bearing our sin. This is what Christ did and this is what we remember. May we never forget!

Please feel free to contact me or visit First Baptist Church in Bancroft.

(515) 885-2702 • fbcbancroft@gmail.com  • www.BancroftBaptist.com

The Victorious Christ

 April 2019

As we approach the time of year that we remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, I am reminded of the many Scriptures we read surrounding these events and also the hymns

that we sing. I Corinthians 15 is considered the Resurrection Chapter. We read in the first part of the chapter, I Corinthians 15:1-4 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;   By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;  And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”. In these verses we read how Paul is declaring the Gospel.  What is the Gospel? Simply put, it is the “Good News”. What good news?  The Good News of the Gospel is all about the coming of Christ to be the Saviour of the world, because of our sins. In verse three from the passage above, we read “Christ died for our sins”. That phrase is talking about the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Jesus Christ, who himself was sinless, on the cross because of our sins. This answers the question ‘why’ did Jesus Christ die. It was because of our sin. Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;.” No one is exempt from this but Jesus Christ!  He was the sinless Son of God, and that’s why He was the only one who could die for sin.  

     Christ became a curse for us, the scripture says in Galatians 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”.I like the hymn Blessed Redeemer. In the first verse it says “Up Calvary’s Mountain one dreadful morn, walked Christ my Saviour weary and worn; facing for sinners death on the cross, That He might save us from endless loss”. That is why He came! Jesus came to save us!  Are you saved? Have you received Christ as your Saviour?  We read in Ephesians 2: 8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Those verses teach us that salvation is by grace and faith alone, in Christ alone!

     Our text in I Corinthians 15 above also says Jesus was buried after He died, but on the third day He rose again! Jesus said all along that He would rise again.  In the Gospel of Matthew and in chapter 28, we read of Mary Magdalene and the other Mary coming to the place where Jesus had been buried. The Angel of the Lord says in verse six, Matthew 28:6 “He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.”  I am reminded of the hymn Christ Arose; in verse one it reads ”Low in the grave He lay- Jesus my Saviour!  Waiting the coming day- Jesus, my Lord! (Chorus) Up from the grave He arose, with a mighty triumph over His foes; He arose a Victor from the dark domain, and He lives forever with His saints to reign: He Arose! He Arose! Hallelujah! Christ arose!” Christ did exactly what He said He would do when He rose from the dead! He did what God sent Him here to do: to die for the sins of the world. I close with this reminder of the victory we have because of Jesus Christ. I Corinthians 15: 57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

February 22, 2019

Pastor Jim Dewar


 The Greatest Love

 The greatest love story...! I would imagine that phrase made you think of a movie or a play you have  seen or maybe a book you have read or possibly a song you have heard.  The word love is a huge part of our lives and our culture.  We have recently celebrated one holiday that definitely maximizes the subject of love, Valentine’s Day, where we use it as an opportunity to display our love to people we care about. I have two brothers and a sister. I am 16 ½ years older than my sister and I remember once, when I was in the Navy aboard the USS Inchon and she was in Kindergarten or early Grade School, she made a heart and wrote “I Love You” on a piece of writing paper. Somehow over the years that paper has disappeared from our sight but not from my memory.

 Jesus, in the Gospel of John chapter 15 and verse 13, tells us of the Greatest Love when He says,  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  That verse is often used in description of the American Soldier who dies for his country.  In scriptural context, that verse is describing Jesus laying down His life on the cross of Calvary because of our sin. There was a price to pay for sin and Jesus was God’s spotless Lamb. Only He could  take away sin’s penalty.  Only He could pay the price, and that was with His life.  All through the New Testament we are reminded of Christ’s sacrifice. In John 10:11 He says “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” Also in Romans 5:6 we see; “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  

 We also see in the New Testament God declaring His Love. Probably one of the most familiar scripture verses of all time is John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  In this verse we see the Provision of God’s Love in that God gave His only begotten son. He gave His only Begotten Son to be the payment and sacrifice for sin. In Romans 3:23 we read, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” No one is exempt from that statement except Jesus, and He came to be our substitute on the Cross of Calvary. We also see in John 3:16 the Promise of God’s Love when He says that ‘whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’. This is not talking about some kind of mental assent, but whole hearted trust and faith in Jesus Christ as your Saviour. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast.”  Another great passage where God declares His love for us is in Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The word commendeth means to demonstrate or display. God did that by Christ dying for us on the cross even though we were sinners. I hope you are trusting in Christ alone as your Saviour Who atoned for your sins. If ever I can be of spiritual help, please do not hesitate to contact me. I close with this reminder in John 15:13 “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (515) 885-2702 • fbcbancroft@gmail.com • www.bancroftbaptist.com

Happy New Year 2019

 January 2019

Today I want to encourage you in your walk with God. How is your walk with God? In the Bible, in the book of Genesis, we read about Enoch and Noah. They were men that walked with God. Genesis 5:22 “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:” Genesis 5:24 “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” Genesis 6:9 “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.”

 Are you meeting with God in prayer and reading His word? What a great opportunity we have, as we enter the new year, to renew or start some really great Christian disciplines of prayer and reading and studying the Bible. Jesus tells us about prayer in the Bible. Luke 18:1says “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint;.” Jesus taught us how to pray in the Lord ’s Prayer. Many call this the Disciples’ Prayer because He was teaching and instructing them and us how to pray!

 I would like to encourage you to plan to read the Bible through this year and every year for that matter. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. You can read the Bible straight through from Genesis to Revelation on your own or use a helpful printed schedule. There are 1,189 chapters in the Bible and by reading 3+ chapters per day you can finish reading the Bible in one year. There are printed reading plans that have you read some from the Old Testament and New Testament and other sections each day to help you read and keep on track. There are also Chronological Bible reading plans available. I personally use a Bible that is set up to read 85 verses per day to accomplish reading the Bible through the year. There are 31,101 verses in the Bible, so by reading 85 verses per day you can read through the Bible in a year. Some of these Bible reading plans can be found by searching for them online and download them to your computer. There is also a link to a Bible reading plan on our Church website, BancroftBaptist.Com. I would also encourage you, if you have not done so, to download the free Bible App to your Smart phone and all other mobile devices.

 Notice what we read in the Bible about its value to the heart and life.  We read of the power of the Word of God in our life over sin in Psalm 119:11. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might  not sin against thee.” The palmist declares his dedication to meditate on God’s Word in Psalm 119:148 “Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.” Jesus says our sanctification is through the Word of God, when He prayed in His High Priestly Prayer in John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” In the first of Jesus’ temptations, Jesus declares in Matthew 4:4 “But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” The Bible tells us the way of Salvation is through the Word of God. In 1Peter 1:23 it says “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” We also read in Colossians 4:16 “And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.” Also we read 2Ti 4:2  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. I believe the Bible was intended to be read publically and private, meditated upon, preached, shared and studied. Happy New Year, and as my old Pastor used to say “”Stay in the Word”. If ever I can be of spiritual help and service to you, please feel free to contact me! Happy New Year.