The High Cost of Transgressing the Law of God

Isaiah 24 stands as a warning of the dangers of worldliness. Just after Rome was sacked by the Goths, Augustine preached a sermon saying, “Do not hold on to the old man, the world. Do not refuse to regain your youth in Christ, who says to you; ‘The world is passing away, the world is losing its grip, the world is short of breath. Do not fear. Your youth shall be renewed as an eagle.'” Augustine was well aware of the crumbling of the city of man and the emptiness it sells. He wrote a book about it, The City of God, where he compared the two defining cities – the city of God and the city of man. This is the focus of a new section in Isaiah which spans from chapter 24-27. Here Isaiah pictures two cities. These chapters form one unified message.

These two cities are contrasted in chapters 24-27: There is the ruined city of man: 24:10; 25:2; 25:12; 26:5; 27:10. And there is the happy city of God – Mount. Zion: 24:23; 25:6-7; 25:10; 27:13

Building on the previous section

In chapters 24-27, Isaiah is expanding on the previous section. He has been speaking of judgment against individual nations, and specific places in the world. Now, Isaiah seems to be bringing it all together to give a vision of what will happen after these temoral judgments. After the temporal judgments, there will be a final judgment were everything of the city of man collapses forever.

Another sermon on judgment?

This is another chapter of judgment of the wicked. The language is devastating as you will see. We have heard of much judgment so far in Isaiah. Question: Is it wise to speak of judgment so often? Should we minimize these discouraging messages? It depends on how you apply them. Is it better to know of a coming disaster? Is it better to be informed of cancer early our late? Is it better to know how to describe the wrath of God to people in this world, or is it better that you don’t have a rich language to communicate it? One thing is certain: God is merciful to declare His coming judgment. In Isaiah 24 that judgment is catastrophic and comprehensive. Why? verse 5, explains, “Because they have transgressed the laws, Changed the ordinance, Broken the everlasting covenant.”

An end in sight

Don’t think that your sorrows will continue indefinitely. Don’t think that the world will continue on with one temporal judgment from God after another forever. It will stop one day. Isaiah 24 declares various elements of what this will look like. God will “utterly” change everything forever. In chapters 13-23, Isaiah has been warning of the end of the nations as they have come to know themselves. He has spoken of their temporal end. He has identified how and sometimes even when He would humble them while they are on the earth. Now he speaks of their final end. All for what? In order to say, “Do not love the world or the things in this world… do not nourish the old man – God will put an end to him.”

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Paralells Between Newborns and New Christians

God is very kind to His people as He sanctifies them in truth. My friend Charles Churchill, whose wife just had a new baby, sent me a list. The list compares newborns with new Christians. Im sure this happened as he was rocking his baby to sleep, while contemplating the realities of having a new baby in the house – and the road ahead. My favorite is number three.

  1. Need to be fed frequently (and frequently at odd hours)
  2. Grow in spurts
  3. Put everything in their mouths (and have to be taught over and over what not to put there)
  4. Constantly soil themselves and have to be cleaned up and taught how to not do this
  5. Sometimes have to be weaned from milk and pushed onto solid food
  6. Have to be taught how to do everything (catechism?)
  7. Are very weak and have almost no stamina
  8. Are incredibly trusting (will fall asleep in your hands)

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Steve Noble Interview About Memorial Day Picnic


Here is local NC radio show host, Steve Noble who interviewed me on our Memorial Day Picnic. Steve has come to our celebration many times over the years.

My friend Scott Brown calls in to invite all of us to his massive family Memorial Day Celebration at his family farm outside of Raleigh! – Steve Noble

Click the audio player below to listen:

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Celebrate Memorial Day

 

Memorial Day Picnic – May 26th

The Wake Forest Memorial Day Picnic is hosted by Hope Baptist Church with the purpose of bringing the community together to honor our veterans. There will be war stories and speeches, live music, military vehicle rides, games for kids, classic cars, parades, and free NC Barbecue. This is a rain or shine event held under the big tent at the Brown Farm, 3721 Quarry Rd Wake Forest, NC 27587. Everyone is invited, so bring your picnic blankets and lawn chairs!
 

Events:

 

Free NC BarbequeMilitary Vehicle RidesDan the Animal ManKids GamesLive MusicPatriotic Speeches

 

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What Are You Doing and Who Do You Think You Are?

The prophet begins Isaiah 22 with a question, “What ails you now?” which is another way of saying, “Whats up with you?” In verse sixteen he asks another question: “What have you here, and whom have you here?” In other words, “What are you doing and who do you think you are?” He is talking to Shebna, a prominent leader who is having an ornate sepulcher carved for his own glory, while Judah is being attacked.

Isaiah is continuing to give a snapshot of what is happening in the Valley of Vision. He has been explaining how the people of Judah were saying, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.” In the midst of this, Isaiah is commanded by God to go directly to a man – a political leader, in order to rebuke him for this kind of lifestyle. Shebna is a representative example of one who does not look to his maker. His portion is in this world. He wants his glory and honor here.

However, God will not leave His people in the hands of those who seek their own glory. He demotes Shebna and raises up a servant, “Then it shall be in that day, That I will call My servant Eliakim the son of Hilkiah.” With the rise of Eliakim, selfishness is replaced by servanthood.

The question is: Am I like Shebna or Eliakim?  What are you doing and who do you think you are?

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Moses – Saturating Your Household With the Word of God, Deuteronomy 6 – Mark Liddle

Last year, Mark Liddle, pastor of Dominion Baptist Church delivered a message at our fatherhood conference in Birmingham Alabama. He was dealing with what is perhaps the keystone text on fatherhood and family discipleship – Deuteronomy 6.

Deuteronomy 6 is holy ground because Jesus said that it contained the greatest commandment. When Jesus makes a statement like this, we need to perk up and listen. This text identifies the center of the gospel and the behaviors that are consistent with it. Moses is challenging the fathers of Israel to evaluate the condition of their hearts and to teach their children.

The evangelization and discipleship of children has always been a great responsibility for the people of God. Throughout history, various methods have been used to accomplish this, but one thing is perfectly clear from Scripture: God has given the greater part of this task to fathers. This fatherly responsibility comes with an unusual set of requirements and lifestyle demands. In short, fathers are commanded by God to saturate their households with the Word of God, explaining it when they “sit in their house when they walk by the way, when they lie down and when they rise up.” It is a call for fathers in every generation to rise up and to take on the mantle of family teacher, counselor, and shepherd.

Below is the audio of the message he delivered:

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Eric Jackson and The Power of the Gospel

By now, you may have heard that Hope Baptist has two of her members in jail on sex offenses against their sister. The tragic family life of the Jacksons is almost overwhelming. It is a story we will never forget.

But how did this come to light? The reason this story is in the national news right now is because of the power of the gospel. Eric Jackson came to the church, responded to the preaching of the Word of God, recognized that he was a false convert, embraced the true gospel, and was born again. His new heart compelled him want to walk in the light. As a result, he confessed his sin.

He first went to my fellow Hope Baptist pastor, Dan Horn and confessed. We collaborated on the situation and the next day Dan called to report it to the authorities in Elizabeth City. Shortly thereafter Dan went with Eric to the authorities to turn himself in. In that meeting Eric exposed the patterns of evil in his home and his past participation in it. Finally, 18 months later when their investigation was complete, 8 of the 11 family members were indicted by a grand jury and jailed to await trial. The father and the mother, Jon and Nita Jackson are out of jail on bond.

If Jesus had not saved Eric, perhaps the devastating culture of this family could have continued, even to more generations. But the gospel transforms and shines light in dark places. Jesus was the source of light that caused things to be brought into the light, “In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 1:4-5

Paul speaks of the transforming power of the gospel to the Corinthian church. He mentions that some of them had a horrible past – adultery, homosexuality… He writes to them of the mercies of God in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

When the gospel has truly been embraced, it makes murderers former murderers. It makes idolaters former idolaters. It even makes child molesters former child molesters who walk in the light. Nothing else has that kind of power. Nothing else can break the patterns of sin that once enslaved those who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).

Please pray for the young woman who has been sinned against so grievously that she would know the cleansing power of the blood of Jesus Christ, the mercy and truth of God and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. She needs the healing that is in His wings.

Our two brethren are now in jail, but we know that God requires His people to be subject to the governing authorities.  They are His ministers for good, and it is a blessing when they perform their God-given function of restraining evil (Romans 13:1-7). Sometimes, being a captive to sin in the past, means you need to go to jail for the present.

The beauty of the gospel is found in its power to save sinners and set them on the narrow road where they will be progressively healed of their infirmities. Jesus speaks of that beauty in this way,

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;  to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)

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A Generation that Has Walked Off the Foundations

Imagine a generational movement that rejects the basic structure of society the way God designed it with it’s various authorities and institutions. Imagine a world where the majority of people have thrown off respect for authority in the family, the church and the state. Imagine a world where the basic function of work has been rejected. This is a world where a people have walked off the foundations of society into thin air.

Greg Forster wrote an insightful article identifying the characteristics of the rapidly morally declining “Millennial Generation” says that “Millennials are becoming disconnected from most of the basic structures of human civilization.” He states, “The decline of social trust is the deepest problem our culture faces. The cancer of distrust will eat away at all our plans to deal with political, economic, and familial problems.”  This article should stand as a warning sign and a motivational stimulus for parents to devote their best energies to bring up a generation in the fear and admonition of the Lord – the only foundation that will stand. Here is his article on The Distrustful Generation

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The Lord of Hosts Called for Weeping and Mourning

In Isaiah 22, the prophet weeps for his people who would rather be partying when they should be repenting. He speaks to a people who have lived in the valley of vision, yet have set their gaze in the wrong direction. There is a time to weep and mourn and a time to rejoice, but Judah has rejoiced when she should have mourned. They continue in their frivolous worldly joy when judgment is coming. Verses 13-14 summarize it,

“But see, there is joy and revelry, slaughtering of cattle and killing of sheep, eating of meat and drinking of wine! “Let us eat and drink,” you say, “for tomorrow we die!” 14 The LORD Almighty has revealed this in my hearing: “Till your dying day this sin will not be atoned for,” says the Lord, the LORD Almighty.”

But why? Verse 11 explains the root cause, “but you did not look to the One who made it, or have regard for the One who planned it long ago.” Where you look – the gaze of your affections – makes all the difference in the world. You will either be set free or go into captivity. 

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Chronicles Tour – Landmark Events

Landmark Events | Carolina Chronicles Tour | May 21-26

Join Us in North Carolina

It has been said that North Carolina is the vale of humility between two mountains of conceit. Although the northernmost territory of the Carolinas truly saw humble beginnings, the state became an economic powerhouse, a cornucopia of conservative Christianity, and a bastion of heroic defenders. We will visit sites where perseverance and heroism meant everything. We will visit one of the homesteads that produced the only Southern industrial giant of the gilded age; a man who exploited the most historic crop of America, tobacco. We will talk of presidents and pirates, explorers and entrepreneurs, gentlemen and generals. Our tour will conclude on Memorial Day in Wake Forest at the renowned annual celebration at the home of one of the most effective preachers today, Pastor Scott Brown. We will meet World War II veterans and hear stories of war and redemption, danger and providential protection.

(more…)

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A Glorious Expedition – To Lead Your Wife

How important is it that we lead our wives?  In this feminist world, leading a wife can be difficult for a husband. On the one hand, many women are offended that someone would be so bold as to try to lead them. But strangely, at the same time, many women languish if their husbands are not leading them. Here is a fantastic article by Zachary Lee on how to lead your wife:

“We as men are all called to lead our wives (Eph.5:25-27) which sounds like a glorious expedition. However, no one knows how to do it practically. Many men want to lead their wives better, but have trouble knowing how to do so. Some men try to preach at their wives (which doesn’t work). Others try to make their homes a mini-seminary (which doesn’t work). Others start reading the Bible and then get frustrated and just give up (which doesn’t work). Other men are discouraged because they don’t feel as though they are godly enough to lead (which doesn’t work).”

You can read the rest of this really helpful article, by clicking here,


To hear more on the topic of marriage come join Scott Brown, Joel Beeke, Sam Waldron, Jeff Pollard and Derek Thomas for an online book discussion on husbands loving their wives. This six part online webinar series is designed to help husbands love their wives like Christ loves the Church.

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Sanctification – Progress to A More Comfortable Residence

Jeremy Walker in his book, The Brokenhearted Evangelist includes a wonderful illustration of the process of God’s healing hand in the life of a believer. He writes,

“Don Carson uses the analogy of a young couple scraping together enough money to buy a house in need of much investment of time and energy. He goes to work describing the ugly insufficiency of the premises, but then skips to the future” – (Walker 61):

“The black and silver wallpaper has been replaced with tasteful pastel patterns. The couple has remodeled their kitchen, doing much of the work themselves. The roof no longer leaks, and the furnace has been replaced with a more powerful unit that also includes a central air conditioner. Better yet, as the family grows, this couple completes a couple of extra rooms in the basement and adds a small wing to serve as a study and sewing room. The grounds are neatly trimmed and boast a dazzling rock garden. Twenty-five years after the purchase, the husband one day remarks to his wife, ‘You know, I really like it here. This place suits us. Everywhere we look we see the results of our own labor. (more…)

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The Way of Modesty is the Way of the Gospel

Here is a message I delivered on the Biblical texts that need to be considered when developing ones view of clothing. We really only have two alternatives: Allow the current trends to draw us along, or to look at Scripture to guide us.

Here is the message:

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The way of modesty is the way of the gospel. For a woman, the heart of it is the fruit of a transformed heart desiring to please her Master, putting on the mind of Christ, setting her affections on the things above, glorying in the fact that her nakedness has been covered by Christ and that even her apparel should reflect the robes of righteousness that have been given to her. That means that a girl can dress modestly but not have a converted heart. She can clothe her body without having her heart clothed in robes of righteousness. (more…)

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The Heart of the Fatherhood of God – Dan Cruver

What is the Fatherhood of God? There are many facets to the answer to this question. But, on one level, the fatherhood of God is revealed in His person and in His relationships in the Godhead. So, we must ask, “why is God three persons not two, or four;” What is the nature of this relationship?; What are the implications of this relationship?; what words or images best describe these relationships? What is the result of the relationships?” All of these questions lead us to the heart of the fatherhood of God. Is it possible that the very nature of the tri- unity of God has been designed so that we might participate in that communion of love that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit experience? At redemption we received adoption so that we would share in the love of the Father and the Son. This is the result of our adoption as sons, so that we might be joined by the second person of the trinity who would join us to fellowship with the Father. When Christ came in His incarnation, He created communion between the Father and the Son and the Spirit. Why? So that we might receive adoption as sons which is at the heart of the fatherhood of God.

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Tender, Sympathetic, Diligent and Useful

Most Christians want to be more effective and productive for their Savior. Here Matt Perman in his book on productivity, quotes William Wilberforce:

“You are everywhere commanded to be tender and sympathetic, diligent and useful.”* That’s intriguing — and exactly right. We hear often about the fact that we should be sympathetic and diligent, but we don’t often hear people say “we should be useful.” But it’s true. Christians should be useful people. It’s not enough to be diligent and work hard. Your work has to actually benefit people. And that means you have to know what you are doing. You are to be useful — and usefulness takes competence.

* William Wilberforce, A Practical View of Christianity (1797; Peabody, MA:

Perman, Matthew Aaron (2014-03-04). What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done (Kindle Locations 1261-1269). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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