Category Archives: Preaching

It’s Not a Platitude: God Is Still in Control

The events of this week led me to change what I was going to speak on Wednesday evening. I hope you will take the time to hear what God put on my heart.

As an added bonus, my sister plays the piano and sings an original piece to start things off.

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Filed under Abortion, America, Christianity, Countries, Culture Wars, current events, Preaching

Speak With Authority, or Sit Down

It’s early on a Sunday morning, 15 minutes before 7 a.m., to be exact. I’m sitting here at the dining room table with my Bible and my laptop (graciously provided to me by our church), contemplating the Scripture I am going to be sharing a few hours from now.

What I am about to say is not for everyone, for not everyone has been given the responsibility to lead. Nevertheless, though not all of us will have the opportunity and calling to shepherd a congregation of believers, each and every one of us will at some point be responsible for communicating truth to those for whom we are one day going to give an account.

The verse from this morning’s text that has captured my attention is Titus 2:15.

“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

That was the King James Version rendering. Now, let’s read the text as translated in another version.

You must teach these things and encourage the believers to do them. You have the authority to correct them when necessary, so don’t let anyone disregard what you say.

Titus 2:15 NLT

What I think we as pastors need to remember is that what we have to say needs to be taken seriously. If, however, we stand before our flocks as shepherds with no staff, not only are we “despised,” but so is the Word we are called to teach.

Those who know me the best know that I am a nice guy. Seriously, I hate confrontation so much that I will go to great lengths to avoid it. I want to be liked, even to a fault.

But when it comes to preaching and pastoring, we must take very seriously Paul’s admonition to Titus. As Paul left Titus in Crete to “set in order the things that are wanting,” so has God ordained us to set and keep things in order(1:5), speak those things which become sound doctrine (2:1), and remind believers of their obligations and responsibilities as representatives of God’s grace (3:1).

The problem we in leadership face is how to demand attention, to “let no one despise” us, without coming across as authoritarians or tyrants. Is a pastor to be a bully in the pulpit? Is he supposed to lord his authority over the sheep and force them to lie down in green pasture? Some think so.

However, it is Jesus who exemplified for us the model of servant leadership which draws attention. It is this same kind of example the apostles left us when we read of their boldness after Pentecost.

Our authority comes from the Word of God. Our boldness comes from the Holy Spirit. We are equally accountable as both heralds and subjects.

If we find ourselves timid, skiddish, reluctant, or intimidated behind the pulpit, we must ask ourselves some very point-blank questions. Who are we trying to please, God or man? Why are we called to be heralds? Just to be heard, or to proclaim the Message of the King?

Should we actually “speak the things that become sound doctrine,” then we are accountable to God for what we say, for we are to speak what He is saying. If we are tasked with heralding the Word, then God will hold us accountable for getting the message out to those who need to hear.

If we cower or hesitate in our duty, then we either doubt the authority of the Word, or we proclaim it in the power of our own strength. There is no excuse for the pastor, the shepherd, the man of God to stand behind the pulpit or on the neon-lit stage and waste time offering suggestions and scratching itching ears when we are plainly told, “These things speak…”

“Let no man despise thee” tells us there is a responsibility incumbent upon the preacher.

Therefore, unless you are going to mount the pulpit this morning with authority as one tasked with an urgent message from the King of the universe. . . unless you are going to “be strong in the Lord, and the power of His might” (Ephesian 6:10). . .

Sit down.

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Preaching

Christmas IS the Gospel

This month will see a lot of Christmas sermons preached, and if you actually go to church somewhere, you might actually get to hear some 😉

But if you aren’t planning on attending any church services this December, or if you just can’t get enough of sermons on the subject of Christmas, I would encourage you to listen to the one I’m attaching below.

Several years ago (2012) while pastoring at another church, I delivered a sermon entitled “Christmas Is the Gospel.” It was recorded on my iPhone that was sitting on the pulpit, so don’t expect too high a quality of production.

Why did the angels tell the shepherds what they are about to hear was “good tidings”? Pick up a Bible and turn to the book of Luke, chapter two, and follow along.

Listen: Christmas IS the Gospel

And remember, “sharing” is caring 🙂

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Filed under Christmas, God, Preaching, salvation

Preach What YOU Need to Hear

To begin, let me first apologize for the horribly weak audio of me speaking. The video I’m attaching was recorded, as usual, on my iPhone, but for some reason the corded external microphone attached to the pulpit didn’t work!

Ironically, you can hear everyone else clearly.

But beyond the audio issue, I’m attaching this video from Sunday night in order to encourage you. You see, even preachers need preaching to.

Did you know God loves you? He does.

If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear them. Either comment below or email me at pastoracbaker@yahoo.com.

Blessings!

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Filed under baptist, Bethlehem Baptist Church, Bible Study, Christianity, Depression, Love of God, Preaching

Are You a Christian Citizen? This Sermon Is for YOU!

I wasn’t able to save and edit the sermon separately. If you don’t want to watch the first part of the worship service, then just fast-forward. It’s up to you; it’s still a free country 😉

However, if you want to see what it’s like to attend a smaller Southern Baptist church in middle-Georgia, one doing its best to recover from the craziness of lockdowns and virtual-only services, watch the whole thing.

Regardless, I want to share a link to this Sunday morning’s sermon which was streamed live on Facebook. God put a sermon on my heart that needs to be heard by every Christian in America, and beyond.

Years ago, the legendary Dr. Adrian Rogers preached a sermon on the responsibilities of a Christian citizen. The four points of his sermon outline made up the skeleton for mine. I’m no Adrian Rogers, but the Truth is the truth.

Whether a citizen of the United States of America or some other place, we have been left with certain responsibilities that transcend culture and national lines. But now that we are right on the edge of an election that has the potential to either ignite incredible violence and destruction or initiate the end of the Republic as we know it, the subject of this sermon is that much more important for Americans to hear.

I’d love to hear your feedback. Watch and listen to the message God gave me, then leave a comment below.

And pray for America.

Click on the picture to watch the video. Thanks!

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Filed under America, Bethlehem Baptist Church, politics, Preaching, worship

Meeting Jesus Changed My Life More than Meeting Bill “Superfoot” Wallace

When I Met “Superfoot”

I think it was in 1984, or maybe it was in ’83 or ’85, but somewhere along that timeframe I went to and competed in the Battle of Atlanta (a major Karate tournament). While there, I had the memorable experience of meeting the undefeated middleweight champion the world in full-contact kickboxing (PKA), Bill “Superfoot” Wallace.

If you are unaware of Bill Wallace, he was the kind of fighter that deserved respect, even from the great Chuck Norris. As a matter of fact, it was Bill Wallace who was tapped to be Norris’ enemy in the 1979 movie “A Force of One.”

Here is Wallace with a young Jackie Chan in the 1985 film “The Protector.”

Now, movies are one thing, but real fighting is something else. As some of you may know, Chuck Norris was a great fighter, but he never competed in full-contact professional matches. Yes, he was the 7x World Champion, but that was in “point” fighting. Jackie Chan is a great martial artist, but not a true fighter. Bill Wallace went 23-0 with half of those wins being by knockouts.

Check out this next video. It is a more recent interview in which Wallace explains his unique fighting style.

So, Bill Wallace was somewhat of a hero of mine back in the day. For a short time I became as flexible as he was, but I never won any fights by knocking out my opponents. Heck, after I had a car wreck back in 1988 and inhaled the horn of my 1967 Mustang, I didn’t want to get punched in the face anymore. That’s when I gave it up.

And that’s when I no longer tried to emulate any of my martial arts heroes.

When I Met Jesus

But it was back in the 1970’s when I met Someone who would literally change my life forever. His name was Jesus.

Unlike the fading effect Bill Wallace had on me, Jesus has been affecting every part of my life ever since I gave my life to Him (I never gave my life to Mr. Wallace). What’s even more awesome is the fact that the longer I’ve known Jesus, the more and more I have become like Him!

Knowing Bill Wallace all these years might have made me a better fighter, but age and injuries would have eventually caught up with me, the end result being lots of conversations about the “glory days” and little opportunity to do any full splits or kick opponents.

But man, having met Jesus, then maintaining a relationship with Him, means that no matter what the future holds I will always be in tip-top shape; the tools of my fighting art will never dull; and there will always be opponents over which to gain victory!

Meeting Bill Wallace had an effect with a limited shelf life. It’s the same with so many other things. But meeting Jesus has – in the present tense – an unlimited and eternal shelf life! It’s better than honey!

Who’s your hero? Has your life been changed forever because of that meeting? If you’d like, I could introduce you to Jesus. He’d love to spend time with you!

If you have the time, here’s one more video you can watch. It’s from this past Sunday morning at Bethlehem Baptist Church where I am the Pastor. The title of the sermon is “Encountering the Living Word.”

https://fb.watch/1nYQM1cDQT/

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Filed under Christianity, Preaching, salvation

Good Intentions Don’t Trump Obedience

Good Sunday evening, everybody! Wow! What a day it has been!

I know, when you come to a blog, you expect to read something, right? I know I do. I mean, if I wanted to watch a video I’d log onto YouTube.

But the message that God gave me to preach this morning was a powerful one. I take no credit, for I was fearful of what to say just minutes before the preaching began.

You see, when I wan in Memphis this last week, a passage of Scripture was mentioned, and that was 1 Samuel chapter 15. Only one verse was talked about, but it was at that moment that the Holy Spirit seemed to nudge me, like He was saying, “Preach from this on Sunday.”

It was only when I started reading through the chapter, a familiar one at that, that I began to feel the heartache that Samuel must have felt. I began to see King Saul and the people of Israel in the faces of congregants to which I’ve ministered over the years. The overwhelming tragedy of the story of Saul and his disobedience began to bleed from the pages.

Before long, I took pen to paper and wrote out a simple outline from which I preached this morning.

“When Meaning Well Doesn’t Cut It”

When we do not fully obey God’s commands, we….

I. Delay Justice

II. Display Disregard

III. Deprive Blessings

IV. Deny Reality

V. Distress Those Who Care

Would you please take a few moments and watch the video below? Yes, I know, it’s longer than the typical YouTube videos we all get used to – or is it just me? But without any editing, without even wasting time uploading it to YouTube, what you have here is the whole morning service as seen on Facebook Live.

The sermon starts at around the 15:30 mark.

I’d love your feedback, especially if God spoke to you in some way.

(Please forgive the video quality)

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Filed under Bethlehem Baptist Church, Christianity, Preaching, worship

Labor Day – The Nature and Doctrine of Work

Let’s talk about work, shall we? Better yet, I’ll just share with you an amplified outline of a sermon I delivered last year.

And if you think reading this is work, just whistle!

What is it? (Work)

A. It Was Created By God. Note: God was the first to “work” when He created, and He set the example for us to follow in that He worked, then He rested. But God’s work and mand’s work were not synonymous in nature: God created what man was to tend. There are huge theological and anthropological implications to this truth: man does not create; he only tends.

B. It Was Perfect By Design (what to do and where to do it) but spoiled by sin (what he HAD to do and WHERE to do it).

  • Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put (to settle down, to rest, to set in a certain place) him into the garden of Eden to dress it (till, work, service) and to keep (guard, keep in a certain state) it.”
  • Genesis 3:17-24 – See “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread . . .”, and “sent,” “till,” and “thrust.” Still a requirement, but no longer “resting,” pleasurable service, or in a state unpolluted by the stain of sin.

C. It Is a Blessing. Ecclesiastes 5:12 – “The sleep of a laboring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.”

D. It Is a Reformer. Ephesians 4:28 – “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.”

E. It Is Mandatory.

  • To ensure you eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-11 – “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not all, but are busybodies.”
  • To provide for your family. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5:8).

F. It Is a Peacekeeper. 2 Thessalonians 3:12 – “Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.”

What Is Expected? (Ephesians 6:5-9)

A. To Be Obedient. “(5) Servants, BE OBEDIENT to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

B. To Be Genuine. “(6) Not with eyeservice [a person who appears to be actively fulfilling his duties, but only when someone is looking], as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

C. To Care. “(7) With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men;

  • See also Colossians 3:23 – ” Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.”

D. To Be Fair. “(9) And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

What to Expect

A. Earthly Compensation. Colossians 4:1 – “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

B. Heavenly Compensation. Ephesians 6:8 – “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.”

C. Fiery Evaluation.

  • If work is sacred, it’s not secular and separate from the spiritual life.
    • Created by God
    • Done for the glory of God
    • Meant to be a witness (Matt. 5:16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”)
    • We must answer to our Heavenly Master for our earthly work (Col. 4:1)
  • Then every work, whether overtly religious or not, has spiritual ramifications and will be tried. 1 Corinthians 3:10-14
    • But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.
    • (13) Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire;
    • and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. (14) If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.”

Conclusion

Where has God placed you? Where is the field in which you labor? What kind of laborer are you? What kind of boss are you? do you view your work, your job, as sacred?

“Just look at your tools…at your needle and thimble…your goods, your scales…everything our bodies do, the external and the carnal, is and is called spiritual behavior if God’s Word is added to it and done in faith.” – Martin Luther (attributed)

Jesus said in John 9:4 – “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.”

What kind of worker are you? Are you giving your best for the Master?

Do you whistle or whine? 

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Filed under Bible Study, Preaching, Work

Act Like Heavenites, Not Like the World

For some reason, although I have my suspicions, the audio from Sunday morning’s sermon never reached the online viewers. Therefore, last night I went back to the church and re-preached what I preached Sunday morning . . . sorta.

I will share the link with you.

(btw, that’s a vintage ’70s Lucerne Jump Date on my wrist 😉 )

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Pulpit Time: August 23, 2020

Tonight is the first night of the Republican convention. I’m sure it will be far less depressing than the DNC’s version not long ago. I mean, will anybody sing a song about how Nancy Pelosi is destroying their life?

Anyway, you can sit in front of a television (or computer) and watch political pulpiteering, or you can check out some more eternally-important pulpiteering I did yesterday.

By the way, I like my new glasses!

God bless!
Anthony Baker (The Recovering Legalist)

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