Meeting Times

Sunday Class 10:00 a.m.

Sunday Worship 11:00 a.m.

Sunday Discussion 2:00 p.m.

Sunday Ladies Class 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday Class 7:00 p.m.

By Mike Riley

In looking at history, we see that great events have occurred around some person of great influence, i.e., Harry Truman, Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower. In times of great national distress, it is nothing short of providential that certain people have been placed in certain places with certain qualifications, i.e., George W. Bush and 9-11 attacks.
As Christians, our influence also has far-reaching results (1 Thessalonians 1). We may not even realize the small part that we play in the process, but to the extent that we influence history, we are instruments of destiny.
A case in point is the providence found in the story of Esther. At the beginning of the story, we see the wife of King Xerxes (Vashti) being ousted because of her stubbornness and refusal to attend a royal banquet (Esther 1). Because her defiance was looked upon as a threat to the king’s supremacy and authority, a decree was put out against her and fair young virgins were sought to replace her. The king was smitten with Esther’s beauty and as a result, was made queen in place of Vashti (Esther 2).
Esther disclosed a plot to exterminate all of the Jews and assassinate King Xerxes (Esther 2:21-23; Esther 3). Because of her position as queen, Esther was able to spare her people from disaster. However, there was a real danger, in that she herself might not survive when her real identity as a Jewess was discovered (Esther 4).
When Esther’s relative, Mordecai, saw her unique position as queen, he urged her to reveal the plot to the king. He challenged her with the same haunting question which now lays claim on us:
“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 ESV).
As lights shining in a world of spiritual darkness (Matthew 5:14-16; Philippians 2:14-16), are we not instruments of destiny? (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16; cf. 1 Corinthians 9:16-23).
Let’s think about it!                                                                         
 

By Mike Riley

In Hebrews 12:1, the besetting sin spoken of here according to the context of Hebrews is the sin of unbelief (Hebrews 3:12,19; Hebrews 4:6,11; Hebrews 10:35-39). It is the sin from which all other sins in a measure proceed, and by means of which they are ever more or less cherished and supported. In this article, let us consider some of the following aspects of the Christian race:
1) Unbelief will keep us from our salvation which is in Christ (Gal. 3:27-28) – It will also keep us from obeying God’s eternal word (Hebrews 11:6). The sin of unbelief is like the long, loose robe that was commonly worn in the first century. To a runner, it would entangle his feet, encumber him, and hinder him from the “victory crown” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).
2) Not only must one believe in the One who can equip him to win – God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), he must also believe he, himself, can win – If we don’t really believe we can run the race and “win”, there is not much reason to enter into the race. As Christians running the Christian race, we can never display an “I can’t” or defeatist attitude. We must display the same type of winning attitude that the Apostle Paul displayed in (Philippians 4:13).
3) In order to successfully run the Christian race, the Hebrew writer admonishes us to “lay aside every weight” (Hebrews 12:1) – Christians are to “put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:8-9). Paul enumerates other “weights” that Christians are to “put off” (Ephesians 4:25-31).
4) The entire book of Hebrews gives us reasons for keeping and maintaining the Christian’s race – There is no reason for the Christian to be “beset” with the sin of unbelief, for the Christian has a “better hope” (Hebrews 7:19) and a “better testament” (Hebrews 7:22). With the “better covenant” comes “better promises” (Hebrews 8:6) and “better sacrifices” (Hebrews 9:23). Furthermore, “ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance” (Hebrews 10:34). To acquire these things, however, we must be “in the race,” and to be “in the race” means to faithfully live a Christian life according to God’s salvation plan.
5) The basic tenants of this plan include:  (1) hearing God’s Word (Romans 10:17; (2) demonstrating our “faith” in Christ Jesus (John 8:24). We do this by (3) repenting of our sins (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30); (4) confessing our belief in Jesus (Romans 10:9-10; and (5) being baptized in the name of Jesus for the remission of our sins (Acts 2:38); (6) we must then faithfully continue to “run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Conclusion
After successfully completing the Christian race, we can say along with Paul, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them that love his appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7-8). The receiving of that “victory crown” (Rev. 2:10) will certainly be worth it all! (1 Corinthians 2:9).
 

By Mike Riley

There is a scriptural way of determining whether or not a person is “filled with the Spirit” and it is not by observing how much emotions are openly displayed. Being “filled with the Spirit” is not a “high” that one reaches that puts him above others who are not so emotional.
Key Phrases In Parallel Epistles
The result of being “filled with the Spirit” is related in Ephesians 5:17-21. Paul describes the person “filled with the Spirit” as one who “understands what the will of the Lord is,” (vs. 17). He is not drunk with wine, (vs. 18); he sings and makes melody in his heart, (vs. 19); he gives thanks always to God, (vs. 20); and he submits to others (vs. 21).
The parallel epistle, Colossians, expresses the command to be filled with the Spirit as “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). How much one is filled with the Spirit is directly proportional to how richly God’s Word dwells in him – the Word is the means by which the Holy Spirit reaches, directs and fills our hearts (John 17:17; 1 John 5:6; 2 John 1-2).
“Filled With The Spirit” vs. “Fruit Of The Spirit”
There is also a direct correlation between “being filled with the Spirit” and having the “fruit of the Spirit”. By looking at the Christian who bears the fruit of the Spirit, one can observe to what degree the Spirit dwells in him (Gal. 5:22-25).
(1) How much does he love? God-like love always actively seeks the well being of others; (2) How happy is he?; (3) How much peace with himself and others is evidenced in his manner of life?; (4) Does he suffer long with his brethren?; (5) Is he willing to hold his temper and restrain his tongue In the face of provocation?; (6) Is he a gentle, kind person?; (7) Is he characterized by things that are good?; (8) Is there in him a strong, unyielding trust in God?; (9) Is he the kind of person who is submissive, or is he rebellious?; (10) And is he a person who is in control of himself? 
To the degree that a Christian bears the “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22), he is “filled with the Spirit”. And if he will “Walk in the Spirit,” he will “not fulfill the lust of the flesh” (vs. 16). Also note verses 17-21 in context. The admonition by Paul is, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit,” (vs. 25). As a Christian allows the word of Christ to dwell in and control him, he is letting the Spirit dwell in him and is walking in the Spirit. There are those who claim to be filled with the Spirit and to have experienced Holy Spirit baptism, who walk after the flesh. Though they offer as proof of a Spirit-filled life their uncontrolled emotional high, the scriptural evidence of Spirit controlled behavior is lacking.
Conclusion
True spirituality is evidenced in a person’s life! It is inherently associated with feelings but emotions are not the only “proof” of the Spirit’s influence.
 

By Mike Riley

In Psalm 20:7-11, the Psalmist writes: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple, the statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”
Throughout Bible history, God has repeatedly provided man with more than “ample warning” of His impending judgments. His purpose for warning man is to motivate him to repent and come back to Him (Luke 15; 1 Peter 3:20; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 8; Revelation 9). For the most part, man has not taken advantage of God’s “ample warning” because of his evil and doubting heart (Genesis 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:35; Revelation 9:21).
Examples of Ample Warning From God
1) Christ (through Noah) preached God’s Word to the people living in Noah’s day warning them of certain judgment through the impending flood (Genesis 6:13; Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 3:18-20). They did not repent and heed God’s warning and perished in the flood. Only eight souls heeded God’s “ample warning” and were saved (Genesis 7:7; 1 Peter 3:20).
2) Note the example given of disobedient Israel by the Hebrew writer in Hebrews 3:5-19. The disobedient did not “enter into his rest” (Numbers 14:29-30; Hebrews 3:18) because they didn’t repent and heed God’s warning through the testimony of Moses (Hebrews 3:5).
3) God warned Israel through Jeremiah and Ezekiel of their impending captivity by the Babylonians (Jeremiah 6:10; Ezekiel 3:10-11, 17) because of their idolatrous worship (Jeremiah 11:10; Ezekiel 6) but they did not repent and heed God’s “ample warning” (Jeremiah 6:19; Ezekiel 14:6-10).
4) The Lamb (symbolic of Christ) in Revelation 5:6 sends forth God’s Truth “into all the earth” by the Holy Spirit (seven spirits of God). He is to bear witness to and reveal God’s Truth (John 15:26; John 16:13) to mankind through the Apostles (John 14:26). Note that God gives unregenerate mankind plenty of “ample time” to repent as only “partial” judgments are rendered upon them by God (Revelation 8; Revelation 9) but they refuse to repent and heed God’s “ample warning” (Revelation 9:20-21). As we see in the preceding examples, God has given mankind plenty of “ample warning” concerning His impending judgments.
In Light Of This Evidence, We Need To Ask Ourselves The Following Questions:
1) Are we today rejecting God’s “ample warning” by our unwillingness to repent and render obedience to His Word (Matthew 7:21; Romans 2:13; James 1:22; 1 John 3:7)?
2) Are we taking advantage of God’s longsuffering and “ample warning” to us today by readying ourselves for the certain event of our Lord’s coming and certain judgment (Matthew 24:44; Matthew 25:10; Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:24-29; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12)?
3) Do we have an attitude of continual confession and repentance (1 John 1:9) when we sin so that we can always stand ready to meet our Lord when He returns (1 Thessalonians 4:17)?
4) Are we with joyous anticipation, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13)?
We should be – God through His Word has given us plenty of “ample warning.”
 

By Mike Riley

On a recent beautiful warm Saturday morning, a Christian friend and I were having breakfast at a local restaurant. At a nearby table, we noticed a young woman sitting quietly reading her Bible. She was absorbed in the text, occasionally looking up to consider what she had read. She never said a word, but her heart and priorities were visible to everyone in that restaurant. It was a gentle, positive, and silent influence.
She was not ashamed of Christ nor of His New Testament (Hebrews 9:11-15 KJV). She neither preached a sermon nor sang a song. She was willing to be identified with the Savior, yet she did not need to announce that allegiance.
In our attempts to share the message of Jesus, we must eventually use words, because ultimately words are needed to present the gospel (John 14:23; Acts 2:14 KJV; Acts 11:11-14 KJV; Acts 16:14 ESV; 2 Peter 3:1-2 KJV; Jude 1:17 KJV). But we can also learn from the example of this woman.
There are times when the quietness of our everyday actions speak louder than our words, revealing our love for the Lord (Philippians 1:21-27). In our desire to share Christ with a sinful world, let’s not ignore the power of our silent influence (cf. 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8).