GOSPEL PREACHING ONLINE
January 7, 2007
Let us seize every opportunity to serve Christ. The smallest opportunity may be the door of great usefulness to the souls of men and the glory of God.
Bro. Josh Peterson leaves this week to serve his country in the United States Navy. Josh, we are thankful for your willingness to serve our nation. We will faithfully remember you before our Father’s throne, as the Spirit of God enables us. “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
I am preaching this morning for Grace Baptist Church in Taylor, AR. I am scheduled to preach tonight and tomorrow night for the Sovereign Grace Fellowship in Wichita Falls, TX. You are privileged to hear the gospel preached to you by Bro. Ron Wood this morning. Bro. Daniel Parks, pastor of Redeemer Baptist Church in Louisville, KY will be here to minister to you tonight. And Bro. Darvin Pruitt will fill the pulpit on Tuesday.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Emily Rice-8th Ryan Hellar-12th
NURSERY DUTY THIS WEEK
Today: Laura Peterson (AM) Pam Wood (PM) Tuesday: Debbie Bartley
As We Begin Another Year — Don Fortner
(Tune: This Is My Father’s World #39 — SMD)
1. Joyfully we appear, our God, before Your throne,
As we begin another year, to make Your glory known.
What bounties we’ve enjoyed! What mercies we’ll yet share!
Your boundless grace for us employed has opened this new year.
2. We’ve wept and we’ve rejoiced as You our steps prepared;
Father, we would bow to Your choice through all the coming year.
Our unbelief forgive, our doubts and carnal fears!
Help us alone for Christ to live, each day of this new year.
3. Prepare us for Your will, teach us to trust Your care;
And let Your lovingkindness still our hearts through all the year.
Revive, refresh our souls, make Christ more and more dear,
Whate’er Your providence unfolds, each day of this new year
“This Year Thou Shalt Die”
The Lord our God has graciously brought us to the dawn of another year. The word of his prophet pronounced upon the lying prophet, Hananiah, is a word we would be wise to consider, as if it were spoken to us at the beginning of every new year. Though it must be qualified with a possibility or, perhaps, even a probability, let it be sounded in the ears of every sinner. — “This year thou shalt die.” It is not only possible, but very probable, that many who read these lines will die before the new year, we now anticipate with great joy, has ended. It may be that I will die this year. Perhaps you will. But we must soon die.
May the Lord graciously “teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12), that we may apply our hearts to Christ, who alone is Wisdom (Colossians 3:1-3). May he give us grace to live each day he has appointed for us in this world as if it were our last. It very well may be that he has said concerning me, “This year thou shalt die.”
Carnal men celebrate the dawning of the new year as carnal men. Let us enter it with sober minds and spiritual aspirations. Shall we live on God’s earth as loiterers, standing in the way of others? Shall we be drones in the vineyard of God, cumbering the ground? O Lord, arise; help us and deliver us from such, for your name’s sake. May he enable us to devote ourselves entirely to your cause in this world, and to serve our generation in the time he has given us, for the glory of God. If this year shall be our last on earth, O Spirit of God, by your blessing, it may be our best. If our end is near, if our days are almost fulfilled, make us a blessing to many, for Christ’s sake.
Perhaps you ask, “Shouldn’t we rejoice as we remember the past and anticipate the new year? Shouldn’t believers, above all people, have real, heartfelt joy on such a day as this?” Indeed, we should be filled with joy and thanksgiving, with adoration and praise to our ever-gracious God as we remember the days and years of grace we have experienced. God our Father has chosen us in eternal love. Christ our Redeemer has bought us with his precious blood. And God the Holy Spirit has called us “out of darkness into his marvellous light” and has made us new creatures in Christ. We are justified, sanctified, forgiven of all sin, and “accepted in the Beloved.” We are “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.” All this and indescribably more God has done for us by his grace! Above all people, let us rejoice! “Rejoice in the Lord always; and again I say, Rejoice!” If he has said of me, “This year thou shalt die,” my heart replies, “My times are in thy hand;” they could not be in a wiser, more tender, or more loving hand.
Whether we die this year, or another, is really of no great significance. The only matter of importance is that I die in Christ and that, until I die, I live unto Christ. To that end, I ask my God and Savior to make me as “a weaned child,” weaning me of everything that rivals him, setting my affection on him who loved me and gave himself for me.
Whether the Lord has said of me, as he did Hananiah, “This year thou shalt die,” I cannot know; but I rejoice to know that he has said of me, as he did Zedekiah, “Thou shalt die in peace” (Jeremiah 34:5). I must confess, to my shame, that I have much in common with Zedekiah. There was absolutely no reason he should have expected to die in peace and buried in honor, and remembered with fondness. Yet, the Lord God promised that he would be (Jeremiah 34:4-5), and he was. The king of Babylon took him captive, killed his sons before his eyes, then put out his eyes, and bound him in chains (Jeremiah 39:7), but Zedekiah died in peace.
Zedekiah was the 20th and last king of Judah. Though Jeremiah was his prophet, “he did evil in the sight of the Lord,” just as his fathers had done, and provoked the Lord to anger (2 Kings 24:19-20). Yet, the Lord God had chosen him in Christ as a vessel of mercy and was determined to show him mercy. His name means either, “the Lord is my judge”, or “the Lord is my righteousness,” and God, who providentially gave him that name, made Christ, the Justifier of his redeemed, the Lord his righteousness. Because Zedekiah died in Christ, who of God was made unto him righteousness, he died in peace.
God’s prophet told him, “Thou shalt not die by the sword,” by violence; “but thou shalt die in peace.” Though he saw much violence, he died in peace. How could such a rebel, such a sinner as Zedekiah die in peace? How can such a rebel, such a sinner as I am die in peace? — The only way a sinner can die in peace is to die washed in the blood of Christ, robed in the garments of salvation, and born again by his Spirit. The only way a sinner can die in peace is to die in Christ, believing Christ, having Christ as his righteousness. Because Christ alone is my righteousness, God says to me, “Thou shalt die in peace,” and I hope to die in peace. It is written, “Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord.”
Not only did he die in peace, Zedekiah was buried in honor. It is becoming popular, even among God’s people, to replace burial with cremation. But burial is throughout the Scriptures held before us as an honorable and instructive thing. The burial of our bodies distinguishes men from beasts. When a wild beast dies, his carcase is left to rot on the ground. We bury one another in hope of the resurrection, laying their bodies in the earth until the resurrection. Burial carries with it the implication of our immortality. When the Lord assured Zedekiah he would be buried, he showed him great favor, saying, “They shall burn odours for thee.” God commanded his prophet to tell Jehoiakim that he would be buried in dishonor, with “the burial of an ass” (Jeremiah 22:1(9); but to Zedekiah, the object of his favor, he promised an honorable burial.
Though we are not informed of Zedekiah’s life after the Lord revealed Christ to him, he who was once a curse was obviously made a blessing to many while the Jews were in Babylonian captivity (Zechariah 8:13), because after his death the children of Israel lamented his death as a great loss (Jeremiah 34:5). As this new year begins, whether it is appointed for me to die this year or another, I pray that God the Holy Spirit will give me such grace, making me a blessing to his people, for Christ’s sake.
January 7, 2007
Grace Baptist Church of Danville
2734 Old Stanford Road-Danville, Kentucky 40422-9438
Telephone (859) 236-8235 - E-Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald S. Fortner, Pastor
Schedule of Regular Services
10:00 A.M. Bible Classes
10:30 A.M. Morning Worship Service
6:30 P.M. Evening Worship Service
7:30 P.M. Mid-Week Worship Service
Television Broadcasts in Danville
Channel 6 - Sunday Morning 8:00 A.M.
Channel 6 - Wednesday Evening 6:00 P.M.
Channel 6 - Friday Evening 7:00 P.M.
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com