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Friday, February 26, 2016

High Time

(It has been requested that the sermons be provided in print format, so I'm going to try and honor that request by posting them to the BLOG each week.  This sermon was preached February 21 2016 at FBC:)

Read - Romans 13:11-14

Key Verse - And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. (Romans 13:11-12)

Key Thought - We're running out of time to serve the Lord, and need to get busy for Christ now. 


Procrastinate - to delay or postpone action; to put off doing something.
Procrastination - the action of delaying or postponing something.
Procrastinator - one who delays or postpones something.

Every year at tax time I'm reminded of a commercial that I've seen only a couple of times, and wish they would run again. It was an H&R Block commercial that came out during tax time. Imagine, if you will, the scene – a living room where a family is seated watching television. But the television is so quiet that you cannot hear it at all. They are staring at the screen, but there is no sound. They all appear extremely nervous, and periodically one will venture to speak, but only in the slightest of whispers, so that it is nearly impossible to be heard. The clock is ticking in the room and that is the only sound that can be heard. 

Everyone looks nervous. Even the dog looks nervous. Suddenly a door crashes open on the second floor, and a horribly distraught looking father comes rushing to the banister and screams desperately to his cringing family, "Can I please have some quiet around here?!?" The H&R Block voiceover man then says something like, "Don't wait until the last minute, let H&R Block do your taxes for you."

There are several interesting topics in Romans 13. The first 7 verses speak to us about the Christian's response to and responsibility toward authority - specifically civil authority. 

Then, in verses 8-10, we have some instruction about love. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8) There is also some good truth regarding money, especially the Christian's proper handling of debt, but the primary truth is about the "debt" of love we owe others. 

Now as we come to the last section in chapter 13, verses 11-14, we find a clear warning against procrastination. Like the rest of the chapter, Paul is talking about Christians and Christian living, warning that we are running out of time to serve the Lord, and need to get busy for Christ now. But we might make application to those not yet saved, for procrastination for them has eternal consequences. To procrastinate about becoming a Christian will land you in hell. 

Well, let's concentrate on three words from the text - NOW, NEARER, and NIGHT. They all hammer home the same thought – We're running out of time to serve the Lord, and need to get busy for Christ. 


NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep; for NOW our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

Do you hear the urgency in Paul's words? He is saying here that we are running out of time.
Did you notice that twice in vs. 11 Paul used the word NOW?  NOW it is high time.  NOW our salvation is nearer.The whole verse is brimming with urgency. Paul is saying that the alarm clock is sounding. There is no time left for the snooze button. The church... in America, around the world, and RIGHT HERE IN RANDOLPH needs to wake up.
That’s what NOW says. NOW says that time is up. NOW says that no time remains. NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep. It is a vivid picture of urgency. 

In J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful trilogy “The Lord of the Rings”, there is a great illustration of NOW. At the end of the trilogy, we see Frodo Baggins gazing into the depths of Mount Doom. He needs to throw in the ring, and destroy it and evil with it forever, but he procrastinates… he is unwilling to do so. I always think that is a great picture of how we oftentimes wrestle with NOW. Samwise Gamgee’s words, “what are you waiting for,” say it so well. What, indeed? NOW is when we MUST to do things, but we struggle with NOW.

Bartimaus is another example of NOW. We learn his story in Mark 10:46-52. He had one chance as Jesus passed by. 

Zaccheus is yet another example of NOW. He had one opportunity, and climbed up into a tree to avoid missing it. You can read that story in Luke19:1-10

NOW! It's high time.

When is the right time for a person to come to Christ?


Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Corinthians 6:2)

When is the right time for a Christian to stop dabbling in the world, and start living for Christ?


Take a look at Romans 13:12-14 and you'll see Paul making this point. 

NOW! It's high time.

It's a very interesting and compelling word, isn't it? Do you see the urgency in it? Does it not cause you, and me, and all of us as a church, to see the need to wake up?

NOW it is high time to awake out of sleep; for NOW our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

Jerry Harmon, our missionary in Puerto Rico, told me once that in the cultures he ministers to there is a word that is nearly ubiquitous in its use. And that is the word mañana. Tomorrow. I'll handle it mañana

In the musical “Annie”, the title character sings a song which has become quite well known in our culture. She sings “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, it's only a day away.” 

But Paul reminds us here that we are not guaranteed tomorrow, and that there is not always going to be a tomorrow, at least on this earth. It's not always just a day away.

Brothers and sisters, let us learn from this word NOW. Let us train ourselves to see the urgency in the word. Let us wake up, NOW. Let us stop presuming upon God's patience, 

It's high time!


for now our salvation is NEARER than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)

Now there's not a whole lot of difference between the words NOW and NEARER, at least as far as Paul's argument in these verses is concerned. But maybe there is a slightly different nuance... a word picture, to help us understand the urgency of these things. 
You see, I believe he's talking about the nearness of the return of Christ... the nearness of the fulfillment of and completion of God's plan.

Marvelous message we bring,

Glorious Carol we sing,
Wonderful word of the King -
Jesus is coming again!

Jesus IS coming again. You know that, right? Prophecy after prophecy says so. Promise after promise tells us his return is fact, and it is imminent. There is not a single Bible prophecy that needs to be fulfilled before the rapture occurs, and so it could happen any minute. It could happen during this minute. 

And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven. *‭(Acts‬ ‭1:10-11‬ ‭NKJV‬)

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works. (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭16:27‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

There are a lot of interesting words used when we talk about the return of Christ. I just used some of them - words like PROMISED... PROPHECY... IMMINENT. All those are great words describing some aspect, or some truth about the second coming of Christ. But the text contains a word that I find interesting in its own right, and that's the word NEARER. Every day Christ's return gets NEARER. And if we are wise, and if we are paying attention, that fact should motivate us.

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (‭‭I Thessalonians‬ ‭5:1-6‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

There's a railroad crossing north of my home, which I must cross every morning on my way to work. As I approach it, I look both ways and if there are no trains coming I cross without the slightest concern. Sometimes, I see a train way off in the distance. I see it's light coming toward me. But it's so far off that I don't pay much attention to it and I just cross anyway. From my teenage years I remember a day, though, when my father was driving a truck and I was a passenger in the passenger seat. We approached that very same railroad crossing. My father looked to the left, and there was no train coming. Without turning his head to the right, I heard him say, "Is there anything coming?" To this I replied, "Yes." Although he denies this to this day, he then proceeded to press down on the accelerator and drive across the tracks! And although I deny it to this day, I'm sure I said some things loudly and rapidly at that point, because that train was NEAR. And every second was getting NEARER!
The urgency of the matter was clear to me. It was high time to get off those tracks. The train was not far away, it was near... NEARER... TOO near.

It's been over 2000 years since Jesus ascended into heaven, and the angel said to those standing around that "he will come again as you saw him go." Delay, the length of time intervening between the promise and the fulfillment, can make us complacent. But the fact that Paul is trying to press upon us in this text is that it is nearer now! 

We must fight complacency, and recognize the urgency of the matter.

Remember Jesus parable of the 10 virgins? Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matthew 25:1-13)
With each passing moment, the bridegroom’s coming was NEARER. But with each passing moment, their complacency, rather than their sense of urgency, grew.

Solomon warned, Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. (Ecclesiastes 8:11)
Brothers and sisters, let it not be so with us. is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is NEARER than when we first believed. (Romans 13:11)


The NIGHT is far spent, the day is at hand. (Romans 13:12)

It has been night in this world since the fall in the garden of Eden. Since sin entered the world it has been night.

In the upper room, when Jesus had instituted the Lord's Supper, and after He had washed the feet of the disciples, He identified Judas Iscariot as the one who would betray him, and said "what you do, do quickly.” Then John, in his account of these events, points out that Judas went out, and then he says "and it was night." (John 13:30)

Such a picture of the world in which we live! The world in which the Prince of darkness holds sway. A world in which we seem to walk in endless night. 

Ah, but Paul here gives us the wonderful reminder that the night will soon end for believers, and turn to endless day. 

And again, the point Paul is making in using the word NIGHT here is the same point that he's already made - time is growing short. 

NOW is when we ought to be doing something, because the coming of Christ is NEARER. His illustration using night and day... the NIGHT is drawing to a close... the day is upon us, is simply to reinforce that point.

So what should we do as the night draws to a close? We should wake up!

it is high time to awake out of sleep (Romans 13:11)

That's what we SHOULD do. But some of us struggle with that. We procrastinate. We see no urgency, and we hit the snooze button again and again and again. It's one thing to procrastinate on your taxes. It can get you into trouble with the IRS. But procrastinating on the things Paul is describing can cost you your soul. You will find yourself in hell. 
it is high time to awake

I recall a certain teenage boy, who shall remain nameless, who used to live in my house. Every morning I would try to roust him from slumber to go to school, and every morning he would procrastinate and refuse to get out of bed. He would not wake up. Until one day when, after He had ignored my summons, I calmly walked into his room with a glass of ice water and poured it in his face as he slept. Suddenly he understood the urgency of the matter. From that day on, all I needed to do was turn on the tap in the bathroom, and the night of slumber would end, and he would be standing in his doorway. By the way, parents, it's a method I heartily recommend. It works.


So, three words – NOW, NEARER, and NIGHT. And though they might address it in slightly 
different ways, they're all telling us the same thing – there is an urgency about our business as believers, and we need to get at it.

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. (Romans 13:11-12)

If you are not yet saved, then I implore you to consider the urgency of this matter. You're not guaranteed tomorrow. You have no hope that your time will be prolonged. The Bible clearly states that there is an end in view. You need to trust Christ, now, because the return of Christ, or your death, either of which signal the end of your opportunity to be saved, is nearer now than when you walked in the door. Will you not trust Christ today? Will you not fly to him today, now, before it is everlastingly too late?

If you are a believer, then I wonder do you see the urgency of serving Christ before it is too late? Sometimes we put off serving Christ, as if there's always going to be another year. We are nowhere guaranteed that. My brother, my sister, will you see the urgency to serve God now?

And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. (Romans 13:11-12)


High time!

This Saturday Is Busting At The Seams

You won't want to miss the fantastic opportunities this Saturday at Friendship Bible Church!

8:00 AM - Men's Prayer breakfast - always a fan favorite. Bring a friend and join your brothers for a great breakfast provided by the wonderful ladies of FBC, followed by a word from the Bible and a moment of prayer for one another. There is no better way to start your weekend, brothers!

3:00 - 5:00 PM - Bowling Party at Kent Lanes on SR43 in Kent. Pizza and pop provided. Feel free to bring a dessert or snack food to share if you want, but that's not necessary. Didn't sign up but would like to attend? Contact Deeanna 330-472-9491 as soon as possible!

Remember - You have friends at Friendship Bible Church! So come and spend some time with them this Saturday.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pray and pray a lot...

Especially when you don't feel like praying at all. (Timothy Keller)

It's Prayer Meeting Time!
6:30-7:30 PM
Pray aloud or silently, but...
Come and Pray with us!

All You Need Is Love

(It has been requested that the sermons be provided in print format, so I'm going to try and honor that request by posting them to the BLOG each week.  This particular sermon was PLANNED for February 14, but due to time constraints only about 1/3 of it was actually preached.  It is presented in its entirety here, though.)

Sermon preached February 14, 2016 at FBC:

Read - Romans 13:8-14

Key Verse - Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Key Thought - We should pay off financial debts,but we should never stop paying on our debt to love others.


Every year on the 14th of February the world celebrates Valentine's Day. Did you ever wonder where that all got started?
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailor’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.[“History of Valentine's Day”,]
There are other theories about the origin of the holiday, many rooted in pagan and Roman culture. But however the day came to be, Valentine's Day is a day to remember and celebrate love - one of the greatest gifts any of us ever receive.

So it is appropriate that our text is Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

The Beatles sang the song, “All You Need Is Love.” Now if you go and read the lyrics to that song you'll come away wondering what they were talking about. But the chorus is what we all remember:

All you need is love
All you need is love
All you need is love, love
Love is all you need

Regardless of whatever else they were trying to say in the rest of that song, they hit on a nugget of truth in the chorus. Paul says something similar in our text, doesn't he? Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Now there are two clear thoughts in that verse, and so we can divide our study up into an outline just by using those two thoughts. On the one hand, we are to OWE NONE. On the other hand, we OWE ALL.

Owe None

OWE NO ONE ANYTHING except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Now the main thought in this section is love, but before we get to that main thought, we need to deal with this one. Paul has been talking about indebtedness - Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) Whatever is owed, to whomever it is owed, pay it. So his thoughts continue into vs. 8 and naturally, as one would expect when dealing with the topic of indebtedness, turn to the financial.
At first glance we might be tempted to use this verse to teach that a Christian should never borrow money… that debt is always to be avoided. Many good Bible believers, including my favorite preacher of all time, Charles Spurgeon, believed that is exactly what this verse teaches. But to teach so would make this verse disagree with other scriptures.

For example we are told to lend to those who need it. In His Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. (Matthew‬ ‭5:42‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) So we can't take this one verse and adamantly proclaim that borrowing money is always wrong, because the Bible does not teach in other places that debt is always wrong. Rather it teaches that we should pay our debts (and that's how at least one other translation interprets this verse - let no debt remain outstanding), and not defraud (You shall not steal). We should not charge others exorbitant interest. We should work to pay for our needs (For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. (‭‭II Thessalonians‬ ‭3:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬). To not pay a debt is to steal from the lender. Clearly that is wrong, violating the 8th commandment. And to constantly use debt to obtain unnecessary items that we can't afford to pay for falls into the realm of coveting, and is therefore also clearly wrong, violating the 10th commandment.

So we cannot use this one verse to say NEVER borrow money. But comparing it to the rest of the Bible we can make the case that it is USUALLY dangerous and OFTEN wrong to borrow money. A major component in making the decision is knowing yourself. If you can't handle a credit card… If you can't pay it off each month, then you should not have it. If you have to struggle at the end of each month to pay off your credit card bills because you don't make enough money to cover your living expenses and your purchases for the month, then get rid of them. If you find yourself saying, “I'll start tithing and giving to God someday, but I can't afford to give now” because your bills are too high, then you need to get rid of the credit cards. We're clearly taught to worship God with our finances. (On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come. (‭‭I Corinthians‬ ‭16:2‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) We're also clearly taught to save money for the future. Read Proverbs and you'll find that taught throughout. So if you're in a situation where you can't save a penny because you are buried paying off credit card bills and your outgo exceeds your income, then you need to get rid of the credit cards and the debt.

Most people today, at least here in America, would benefit from taking Paul's words to heart and OWE NONE. Debt is almost always destructive and many carry a seemingly insurmountable burden of debt.
Older Americans are burdened with unprecedented debt loads as more and more baby boomers enter what are meant to be their retirement years owing far more on their houses, cars and even college loans than previous generations. The average 65-year-old borrower has 47% more mortgage debt and 29% more auto debt than 65-year-olds had in 2003, after adjusting for inflation, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York…[Josh, Zumbrun, “People Over 50 Carrying More Debt Than in the Past”, Wall Street Journal Feb 12, 2016]
Debt is a terrible burden that impoverishes so many. We tend to think that we are richer because we are surrounded by things, but since we don't actually own those things, but rather are indebted to somehow pay for them, they are actually an obligation and make us poorer! Just yesterday I saw a quote that said, “If you have no debts and $10 in your pocket you have more wealth than 25% of Americans.“

So Christian, Paul is clear here. In nearly every circumstance you should OWE NONE.

Before I get off this topic, let me remind you that at our church we have some tools in place to help you with these issues. "You mean the church will pay off my debts for me Pastor?” No. Of course not. One of the things we must all remember is that if we incur the debt, we must pay for it. Nobody else will do it for us. You want the thing. You also get the payments. So the church won't help you that way. But we can help by teaching you wise money management concepts from Scripture. Dave Ramsey's “Financial Peace University” is an excellent class that has helped multiplied thousands to defeat their debt problem. We have a certified instructor here and will be teaching another class soon, and who also offers one on one financial counseling. These are non-judgmental offerings that will HELP YOU.

I've been there - buried under debt. I've lived through the times where I hated to answer the phone because I knew the voice of a collector was probably what I would hear. Most in this room have been there. Some of us have learned to apply the Bible's teaching in this area and don't ever want to look back. I GUARANTEE that you will be better off if you handle your money God's way. That doesn't mean you will be rich, but it does mean that you will be happier, and healthier, and more whole.

So, the first principal from our text this morning is, OWE NONE. The second might sound a bit like a contradiction:

Owe All

There is one area where we are indebted and can never pay off the debt. There is one payment that we will make and must make forever. We are indebted to LOVE ONE ANOTHER.

Its interesting that Paul described it as a debt, as something we owe. Owe no one anything EXCEPT TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. (‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:8‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)
So, just as we are to render to Caesar what is Caesars, and to God what is God's… Just as we are to Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (Romans‬ ‭13:7‬ ‭NKJV‬‬), so we are to render to others what we owe them - love. This is the greatest obligation that any of us have. Jesus said the greatest Commandments were to love God and love each other. Jesus said to him, You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets. (‭‭Matthew‬ ‭22:37, 39-40‬ ‭NKJV‬‬)

Over and over we're taught this truth:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. "By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35 NKJV)

Let all that you do be done with love. (1 Corinthians 16:14 NKJV)

And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma. (Ephesians 5:2 NKJV)

But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (Colossians 3:14 NKJV)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. … And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment. (1 John 3:14, 23 NKJV)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. … Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. … And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also. (1 John 4:7, 11, 21 NKJV)

So in the matter of finances, we strive to OWE NONE, but in the matter of loving one another, we OWE ALL. Where we may (and should) work diligently to get OUT of debt in other areas, and where we may consider a debt to be a temporary burden, LOVE is a forever debt. We are never delivered from this obligation… And we never make the last payment.

Now Paul makes an interesting distinction in this verse that might not be immediately obvious. When he said “another” here he used the Greek word HETEROS which is one of a couple of Greek words that equate to the English word “another”. HETEROS literally means “another of a different kind.” This contrasts with another Greek word - ALLOS, which means another of the same kind.

Vine's explanation of the difference between HETEROS and ALLOS is very helpful:
Allos (ἄλλος, 243) and heteros (ἄλλος, 2087) have a difference in meaning, which despite a tendency to be lost, is to be observed in numerous passages. Allos expresses a numerical difference and denotes “another of the same sort”; heteros expresses a qualitative difference and denotes “another of a different sort.” Christ promised to send “another Comforter” (allos, “another like Himself,” not heteros), John 14:16. Paul says “I see a different (kjv, “another”) law,” heteros, a law different from that of the spirit of life (not allos, “a law of the same sort”), Rom. 7:23. After Joseph’s death “another king arose,” heteros, one of quite a different character, Acts 7:18. Paul speaks of “a different gospel (heteros), which is not another” (allos, another like the one he preached), Gal. 1:6-7. [Vine, W.E., “Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary Of Old And New Testament Words”]
The point is simply this - Paul's words here go beyond the family of God. We know and accept that we should love one another as brothers and sisters in the the church. We've seen that truth put forth before in Romans. “Be kindly affectionate to one another (ALLOS) with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another (Romans‬ ‭12:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) There he spoke of our loving other Christians - those who are like us. Here, he speaks of how we treat others in general - both saved and unsaved - those who are different from us. And our debt is the same to either. We are to love them.

Do you not grow weary with how our culture puts value on certain people and less value on others? There is a tendency with some to put more value on the life of a child than the life of an adult. There is the even more prevalent tendency in our culture today to value the life of an adult more than the life of a child - especially if the child is not yet born. There is the tendency to value the life of a woman more than the life of her unborn child. There are groups like ISIS which are easily dismissed as unlovable. And in the politically charged environment in which we live, it's awfully easily to think those who espouse similar viewpoints to our own are loveable while the opposite is true of those who think differently. Today we have to listen to constant refrains like “black lives matter” and in it's wake every other group has come up with a “FILL IN THE BLANK lives matter.”

The fact is, ALL LIVES MATTER. The clear teaching of Scripture is that every child, every woman, every man, every teenager, every homeless person, every black, every white, every brown, every lost, every saved, EVERYBODY is unbelievably loved by God. And we are to love EVERYBODY in that same way. None are MORE important. And none are LESS important.

That's a key component to the gospel. “The Christian gospel is that I am so flawed that Jesus had to die for me, yet I am so loved and valued that Jesus was glad to die for me.” (Keller)

Thom Ranier told of how one church loving the unchurched made a difference:
Gloria S. was ready to take her life. Years of drug abuse, failed relationships, and multiple rejections had taken their toll. Prepared with countless prescription drugs she saved for the purpose, Gloria turned on the television to keep her neighbors from hearing. The channel was tuned in to a Billy Graham crusade. At the bottom of the screen was a telephone number for anyone needing help. Gloria called the number before she took the pills. The counselor recognized the seriousness of Gloria's situation. She directed Gloria to a nearby Wesleyan church where someone would be able to help her. Gloria decided to put off her suicide and attend the church the next day, Sunday. Just before the worship service began, Gloria met the pastor. “Billy Graham sent me,” she told him. Sometime later, Gloria was able to give this testimony. Billy Graham saved me from killing myself, but my church showed me how to be saved from my sins. The love of the people was incredible. I never knew someone as dirty as me could ever receive love again. The people accepted me just as I was. I have seen Jesus. He is in the faces of all these people who love me.[Thom S. Rainer, Surprising Insights From the Unchurched, (Zondervan, 2001) p. 166]
In his book, Sources of Strength, President Jimmy Carter shared this lesson.
After a personal witnessing experience with Eloy Cruz, an admirable Cuban pastor who had surprising rapport with very poor immigrants from Puerto Rico, I asked him for the secret of his success. He was modest and embarrassed, but he finally said, “Senor Jimmy, we only need to have two loves in our lives. For God, and for the person who happens to be in front of us at any time.” That simple yet profound theology has been a great help to me in understanding the Scriptures. In essence, the whole Bible is an explanation of those two loves.[Jimmy Carter, Sources of Strength, Meditations on Scripture for a Living Faith, Times Books, 1997, p. xvii]
Augustine said, “Disturbers are to be rebuked, the low-spirited to be encouraged, the infirm to be supported, objectors confuted, the treacherous guarded against, the unskilled taught, the lazy aroused, the contentious restrained, the haughty repressed, litigants pacified, the poor relieved, the oppressed liberated, the good approved, the evil borne with, and ALL ARE TO BE LOVED.”[Aurelius Augustine, Leadership, Vol. 10, no. 4]

So with regard to financial obligations, we should OWE NONE. But with regard to our obligation to love others, we have a never ending, impossible to pay, debt - we are to OWE ALL.

One last thought jumps out at me from this passage.

Paul says Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore LOVE IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE LAW. (Romans‬ ‭13:10‬ ‭NKJV‬‬) I know that many teach that as Christians you need not fulfill the 10 commandments. But I don't think that is Biblical. The CORRECT teaching of Scripture, and that taught by Paul here, is that “as Christians your guiding principal is to love one another, and if you truly do that, you WILL fulfill the 10 commandments.”

Notice what he is saying here - If you love somebody you cannot hate them or murder them. If you love somebody you will not steal from them. If you love somebody you will not lie or cheat them. If you love somebody you will do nothing harmful to them. You will fulfill the law! But you will do so because you are motivated by love and not by compulsion.

We love Christ, therefore we obey Him… therefore we follow Him.

We love others, therefore we do good and right to them… therefore we do no harm to them. We can spend our time trying to live up to God's moral law, or we can just concentrate on loving God and loving others. The former will frustrate. The latter will succeed.


Well, maybe you're struggling with this a bit. Maybe this kind of loving others seems impossible to you. If so, consider one final verse - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. (Galatians‬ ‭5:22-23‬ ‭NKJV‬‬). Notice that this love Paul talks about doesn't come naturally. It is the fruit of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. As such, it's pretty easy to see that a prerequisite for this kind of love is having the Holy Spirit's working in our lives, and that only comes to those who are saved. So if you are struggling with loving as Paul teaches here, perhaps your struggle is deeper. Perhaps you're not born again. Perhaps you've never been saved. Perhaps you are still lost in your sins and have never trusted Christ.

I see a few challenges from this text:
  1. Some need to consider the instruction to OWE NONE and have a little talk with Jesus about their mismanagement of finances. Is that you?
  2. Some need to consider the instruction to OWE ALL. There is no loop hole here whereby you can excuse your lack of love for others. You owe a debt - you're to love others. How are you doing with that? Is the Holy Spirit bringing a face into your mind right now… perhaps someone you've struggled to love? Maybe it's not a face, but rather a group or class of people you have trouble with. Where some of us may need to pray for help with financial debt, ALL of us need to pray for help with the love debt, because ALL of us owe it.
  3. Some might need to consider that they struggle with this because they don't have the resources to live it. Only the saved can love others rightly. Are you saved? Are you born again? If you are uncertain, then you must call upon the name of the Lord… you must receive Christ as your Savior… you must believe and saved… you must be born again. Do it now. Then and only then can you love as you are loved.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


There has long been a hole in the ministry at Friendship Bible Church, and we have decided the time has come to plug it. I'm talking about the need for a ministry to the singles in our church.

When a teen graduates from high school, they are no longer part of the youth group. But they often don't feel comfortable just jumping right into the adult classes that are currently offered either. There is a need for a ministry to young single adults, whether they are in college or not.

When a person suffers the pain of divorce, there is often a feeling of loss unlike any other. And the church often has little to offer those having experienced it. It is the same with those who suffer the loss of a spouse. They are thrust into singleness, and wish the church could help them navigate the waters.

And perhaps the largest gap concerns those who have CHOSEN a single lifestyle. The Bible teaches such is not only a valid choice, but often a very good choice. Singleness is referred to in Scripture as a GIFT! The church often misses out not only on ministering to those who make this choice, but also on utilizing the gifts and opportunities that they have for ministry.

It is this hole that we want to plug. And so on February 17, we would like to invite all singles to attend the kick off celebration for the new Friendship Bible Church Singles Ministry.

This first meeting will take place on February 17 at 7:30 PM at Bill Johnson's home. There is no agenda to this meeting. We will have refreshments and spend time talking about what a singles ministry should look like. It is your chance to help define the program, so don't miss out on such an opportunity. Bring your favorite munchies or non-alcoholic beverages if you like, but that is totally optional. There will be plenty to eat and drink, and you will have a great time hobnobbing with others who, like you, are SINGLE!

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Sunday School 9:30
Worship Service 10:30
Fellowship 11:30
Special Guest - Missionary Joe Suttle

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

A lot of kneeling...

... will keep you in good standing!!!

Don't forget to carve out an hour for prayer meeting this evening at 6:30 at Friendship Bible Church.

Friday, February 5, 2016

It Is The First Saturday Of The Month

And that means...


Some have never experienced the quiet joy that comes from actually helping someone who is in need. Most of us pray for them... And most of us give toward their relief... But at the Haven of Rest we have an opportunity to actually DO something to physically help them.

Will you join the FBC Haven of Rest team at 10:00 on Saturday? You will be done by noon, and experience the joy of being part of something good.

Meet at the Haven of Rest in Akron.

And wear a hat.