Sermons from Sunday (May 24th, 2020)

Deep South Reformation would like these sermons to benefit and be an aid to help you understand the Scripture for God’s Glory. If you are a pastor and would like your sermons on DSR, let us know. If you have any other questions, please contact us!

  1. North Hills Church (West Monroe, LA)

2. Springs of Grace (Shreveport, LA)

3. Highland Park Baptist Church (Monroe, LA)

4. New Testament Baptist Church (Biloxi, MS)

5. Bullitt Lick Baptist Church (Shepherdsville, KY)

6. Christ the Redeemer Church (Pine Bluff, AR)

Hebrews 11: Justified by Faith – Part I

By W.E. Travis II

“Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit.”

John Calvin, Institutes, III.II.7

“Faith is God’s work in us, that changes us and gives new birth from God. (John 1:13). It kills the Old Adam and makes us completely different people. It changes our hearts, our spirits, our thoughts, and all our powers. It brings the Holy Spirit with it. Yes, it is a living, creative, active, and powerful thing, this faith. Faith cannot help doing good works constantly. It doesn’t stop to ask if good works ought to be done, but before anyone asks, it already has done them and continues to do them without ceasing.  Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace, so certain of God’s favor that it would risk death a thousand times trusting in it. Such confidence and knowledge of God’s grace makes you happy, joyful, and bold in your relationship to God and all creatures. The Holy Spirit makes this happen through faith. Because of it, you freely, willingly and joyfully do good to everyone, serve everyone, suffer all kinds of things, love, and praise the God who has shown you such grace.” Luther

We have had this same understanding of faith given to us over the course of the last several months – but this definition was not told to us, nor did we read – we saw it. Our dear brother Clayton lies even at this moment dying in the hospital – the time that grace has allotted to him to live is coming to an end. This is a difficult thing for his bride, his children, his mother and father, and family and us his brethren. However, Clayton has told us multiple times that he believes in God and in God’s ordained outcome over his illness – Clayton knew that if God determined to heal him that he would be healed / Clayton knew that if God determined not to heal him then this cancer was going to be the means used of God to bring him to God. 

  • We see that Clayton’s understanding of faith is consistent with that of Calvin and Luther: Calvin said that faith is “a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence,” Luther stated, “Faith is a living, bold trust in God’s grace…” Clayton has put a “bold, firm, and certain” hope / faith in God – in spite of any external circumstance because Clayton’s life like our own as Believers have a hope not in what we (necessarily see) but in Him in whom we cannot see. 

John Bunyan when enduring suffering for the sake of the Gospel of Christ noted this: “By this scripture I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon everything that can be properly called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my wife, my children, my health, my enjoyment, and all, as dead to me, and myself as dead to them. The second was, to live upon God that is invisible, as Paul said in another place; the way not to faint, is to “look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Hebrews 11:1 declares: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” 

We see, therefore, that our brothers in Christ – Calvin, Luther, and Clayton are in harmony with the Great God of this majestically eternal faith.

And faith is the point of our focus for this morning – because it’s the point of Hebrews 11.

    • In fact, Hebrews 11 is a treatise on the great doctrine of Justification by Faith Alone. 

Over the past three years, we have examined the teaching of Hebrews upon the supremacy of Jesus the Christ. Over this course of time, we have seen Christ is superior to: 

  • All the prophets of old
  • Angels 
  • The Law
  • Moses (the greatest of the OT Prophets)
  • The Levitical Priesthood 
  • Melchizedek
  • And the entire Old Covenant as a whole

The purpose of this sermon we call the Book of Hebrews is to teach and persuade the listeners to press forward in their commitment to Christ and not to return to the old ways of Judaism.

  • This may seem like an unnecessary point to make to a group of individuals that have professed faith in Christ – to not turn their backs upon Him – to not apostatize their professed faith. 
  • However, we need to appreciate the situation as much as we are able: First-century Christian Jews were no longer to offer sacrifices for their sins, and therefore, in many ways, were to turn their backs on many of their ancient rituals. What they have known about their religion and its practices, what they had known – all that had been passed down to them by way of ancestry, what they had been explicitly commanded to do by God in the past – in regards to sin and sacrifice has all changed in light of Christ. 
    • Think of how difficult change is for you for us, for SBC Churches: To begin to understand this difficulty we need look no further than ourselves and see how hard it is for churches to let go of things they have done for only one generation –  how difficult must it be to transition from something that culturally you have been doing for nearly a millennium?! 
    • Jews grew up in a restrictive culture – especially as it was relayed on how they were to relate to God. 

In order to come to God an entire catalog of stipulations and restrictions had to be obeyed:

        • Laws on how to offer Burnt Offerings, Grain Offerings, Peace Offerings, Sin Offerings, Guilt Offerings, Laws on consecration and cleansing, Laws about clean and unclean animals, Laws about Purification After Childbirth, Leprosy, Cleansing your house, bodily discharges, making atonement, eating blood, sexual relations, laws on keeping feast days and festivals, the Sabbath, and on and on. 
        • In later days the Jewish credo was expounded to include fastidious adherence to an additional 613 laws – many, if not most being of human invention. 
          • Laws such as being allowed to swallow vinegar on the Sabbath but not to gargle it – for gargling constituted work and work was a violation of the Sabbath. 
          • A law that permitted the eating of an egg that had been laid on the Sabbath – but only if the chicken was killed the next day for violating the Sabbath. 
          • If a bird flies under your garment on the Sabbath you are not permitted to lift your garment you must wait for the bird to fly out on its own. 

These sound silly but to the first century Jewish Christian they were very much a part of not only their national identity but also their personal identity. And now in light of Christ that identity has been destroyed – because they are being instructed to now forsake all of these rites, rituals, rules, and regulations and to believe in Christ and Christ alone.

However, the point is this: their national and personal identity had been swallowed up in pharisaical religion rather than divine revelation. For if they had been paying attention they would know that Christ is not a radical deviation from OT truth, but rather He is its fulfillment. 

But how does the author challenge this long-held and deep-seated misunderstanding held by (presumptively) a large part of his audience? How is he going to penetrate their sort of Old Testament thinking? The answer in chapter 11, by giving us a list of Old Testament saints whose lives were marked by faith. The true people of God through all the ages have become the true people of God by faith, chapter 11 is loaded with illustrations. Just looking at verse 4, “By faith, Abel…” In verse 5, “By faith, Enoch..” In verse 7, “By faith, Noah…” Verse 8, “By faith Abraham.” And again in verse 17, “By faith Abraham.” And in verse 20, “By faith, Isaac.” In verse 21, “By faith, Jacob.” Verse 22, “By faith, Joseph…” Twenty-three, “By faith, Moses.” And again in verse 24. Going down further, in verse 31, “By faith, Rahab.” And then in verse 32, “There’s Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, the prophets, who by faith did all these amazing things.”

  • How were all of these OT Saints made right with God? How were they justified? 
    • How was Able justified? By the offering of his produce? No – by Faith!
    • How was Enoch justified? By his personal holiness? No – by Faith! 
    • How was Noah justified? By obedience through building the Arc? No – by Faith! 
    • How was Abraham justified? By circumcision? No – by Faith!
    • How were Isaac and Jacob justified? By being descendants of Abraham? No – by Faith!  
    • How was Moses justified? By keeping the Law? No – by Faith!
    • How has every single believer in the history of redemption been justified? By Faith!!! 
      • This is the point that must be apprehended by all – faith is what declares you right in eyes of a Holy God – never your works. 

“The believing soul by means of the pledge of its faith is free in Christ, its bridegroom, free from all sins, secure against death and hell, and is endowed with the eternal righteousness, life, and salvation of Christ its bridegroom. So he takes to himself a glorious bride, “without spot or wrinkle, cleansing her by the washing of water with the word” (cf. Eph. 5:26–27) of life, that is, by faith in the Word of life, righteousness, and salvation. In this way, he marries her in faith, steadfast love, and in mercies, righteousness, and justice, as Hos. 2(:19–20) says. Who then can fully appreciate what this royal marriage means? Who can understand the riches of the glory of this grace? Here this rich and divine bridegroom Christ marries this poor, wicked harlot, redeems her from all her evil, and adorns her with all his goodness. Her sins cannot now destroy her since they are laid upon Christ and swallowed up by him. And she has that righteousness in Christ, her husband, of which she may boast as of her own and which she can confidently display alongside her sins in the face of death and hell and say, “If I have sinned, yet my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned, and all his is mine and all mine is his,” as the bride in the Song of Solomon (2:16) says, “My beloved is mine and I am his.” This is what Paul means when he says in I Cor. 15(:57), “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” that is, the victory over sin and death, as he also says there, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law” [I Cor. 15:56]. From this, you once more see that much is ascribed to faith, namely, that it alone can fulfill the law and justify without works.” (Luther) 

  • I want to leave you this morning with a parable – a parable that I pray is an encouragement to you – no matter if you be on your deathbed, in the midst of a financial struggle, immersed in a family squabble, a nagging sin of doubt, or fear, or sexual infidelity, or whatever it may be. I pray that you leave this morning with the understanding that Christ is enough. 

There once was a King who chose for himself a bride who was a poor, deformed, harlot. She had no loveliness of her own and yet the King wanted her. As their wedding day arrived the King gave to his bride a   “wedding-ring of faith” and the very second he placed that ring on her finger she became his Queen and they were forever united. They became “one” and all that was his became hers. His love, His blessings, His possessions even His kingdom now belonged to her.

Her bridegroom provided her with “all his good things”. He washed her with the water of his word, dressed her with “eternal righteousness” and presented her, despite her character,  as a “glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle”. 

This also meant that all that was hers became his.  In the intimacy of this union, the King took on himself all of his bride’s transgressions and debts. He “takes a share in the sins, death, and hell of His wife, nay, makes them His own, and deals with them no otherwise than as if they were His, and as if He Himself had sinned”.

Now this fallen woman was Queen, but she had lived all of her life as a prostitute and so she did not know how to act as Queen. Though she was freed from her condemnations and showered with all of her husband’s blessings, though she could be “fearless of death [and] safe from hell” her character was still that of a harlot. But, through her union with the King, her character no longer defined her.  Her status of Queen defined her, and the longer she lived with her King the more her character changed.

“It is impossible now that her sins should destroy her, since they have been laid upon Christ and swallowed up in Him, and since she has in her Husband Christ a righteousness which she may claim as her own, and which she can set up with confidence against all her sins, against death and hell, saying, “If I have sinned, my Christ, in whom I believe, has not sinned; all mine is His, and all His is mine,” as it is written, “My beloved is mine, and I am His” (Luther).

_______________________

This message was preached by Pastor W.E. Travis II on March 3, 2019, to the Saints at Mt. Eden Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY.

Sermons from Sunday (May 10th, 2020)

Deep South Reformation would like these sermons to benefit and be an aid to help you understand the Scripture for God’s Glory. If you are a pastor and would like your sermons on DSR, let us know. If you have any other questions, please contact us!

1. North Hills Church (West Monroe, LA)

2. New Testament Baptist Church (Biloxi, MS)

3. Springs of Grace Baptist Church (Shreveport, LA)

4. Highland Park Baptist Church (Monroe, LA)

5. Christ the Redeemer Church (Pine Bluff, AR)

6. Bullitt Lick Baptist Church (Shepherdsville, KY)

 

Song: Jesus Your Mercy

Sermons from Sunday (May 3rd, 2020)

Deep South Reformation would like these sermons to benefit and be an aid to help you understand the Scripture for God’s Glory. If you are a pastor and would like your sermons on DSR, let us know. If you have any other questions, please contact us!

1. North Hills Baptist Church (West Monroe, LA)

2. Springs of Grace Baptist Church (Shreveport, LA)

3. Highland Park Baptist Church (Monroe, LA)

4. New Testament Baptist Church (Biloxi, MS)

5. Bullitt Lick Baptist Church (Shepherdsville, KY)

6. Christ the Redeemer Church (Pine Bluff, AR)

Song: Christ Our Hope in Life and Death

Death as Vocation

By W. E. Travis 

Introduction: I have entitled this morning’s message as Death as Vocation. Which on its face may seem odd because we typically associate vocation with job, profession, or career. The providence of God has allotted to me the vocations of Teacher and Pastor, to Darrell Carpenter and Pastor, to Christian Physical Therapist, to Leslie Accountant, to Destiny stay at home mother. 

As we will see, however, we limit the word vocation to our own peril. Vocation comes from the Latin word vocare, meaning “to call.” Used in the Christian sense, vocation refers to a divine calling, a summons that comes from God Himself. He calls people the world over to an entire catalog of employments. There are as many vocations as there are facets to human life (Sproul).

We have different vocations with respect to the jobs and tasks God gives us in this life. But we all share in the vocation of death. Every one of us is called to die. That vocation is as much a calling from God as is a “call” to the ministry of Christ. Sometimes the call comes suddenly and without warning. Sometimes it comes with advanced notification.

    • But, it comes to all of us.
    • And, all to whom it comes – it comes from God. 

In light of the hysteria that currently grips not only our state, country, and the world but also perhaps even some of our homes I want us to understand two things in regards to death: First, that death is by Divine purpose & Second, death is according to Divine appointment.

  • Our texts for this morning show forth both of these truths: 
    • Ecclesiastes 3:1-2: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die”
    • Hebrews 9:27: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment…”

What is being stated here (and very clearly mind you) is that our death lies in the One who gave us this life. God is not only in control of our death (in whatever form it comes to us), but He is the One who has appointed our death – we should both believe and say that God is Sovereign over our death.

To embrace the Sovereignty of God is to affirm more than mere truth, however, this is where it must begin. Before we wrap our days up in the sovereignty of God we must first come to terms with it as it is presented on the pages of Scripture. We lack the time to cover this inexhaustible matter: However, I think I can show you the Sovereignty of God in a satisfactory manner and in short order as well. 

  • [The LORD’s] “dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation. “All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven. And among the inhabitants of earth; And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, ‘What have You done?’” Daniel 4:34-35
  • “[I am] The One forming light and creating darkness, Causing well-being and creating calamity; I am the Lord who does all these.” Isaiah 45:7
  • “Remember this, and be assured; Recall it to mind, you transgressors. Remember the former things long past, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is no one like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things which have not been done, Saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure’; Calling a bird of prey from the east, The man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:8-11

The Sovereignty of God is an expression that once was generally understood. It was a phrase commonly used in Christian literature. It was a theme frequently expounded in the pulpit. It was a truth which brought comfort to many hearts, and gave virility and stability to Christian character. But, today, to make mention of God’s Sovereignty is, in many quarters, to speak in an unknown tongue. 

Were we to announce from the average pulpit that the subject of our discourse would be the Sovereignty of God, it would sound very much as though we had borrowed a phrase from one of the dead languages. Alas! that it should be so. Alas! that the doctrine which is the key to history, the interpreter of Providence, the warp and woof of Scripture, and the foundation of Christian theology should be so [eagerly and] sadly neglected and so little understood.

The Sovereignty of God. What do we mean by this expression? We mean the supremacy of God, the kingship of God, the godhood of God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that God is God. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the Almighty, the Possessor of all power in Heaven and earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purpose, or resist His will (Psa. 115:3). To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is “The Governor among the nations” (Psa. 22:28), setting up kingdoms, overthrowing empires, and determining the course of dynasties as pleaseth Him best. To say that God is Sovereign is to declare that He is the “Only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Tim. 6:15). Such is the God of the Bible. – A.W. Pink

  • Such is your God dear Christian. All things bow in submission to His will whether Nations, Kings, people, or plagues. If there is one rogue particle of the Coronavirus roaming this planet then God is not God. But He is God – He is the only Sovereign of the Cosmos. 
    • And no matter the trial (even if it be a global pandemic that threatens your very life) the sovereignty of God ought to be the pillow on which you lay your head. 
    • The acknowledgment that God is in control of all things, the conviction that there is not one nanometer of this creation over which God does not shout “Mine!” must steady your hand and sure your feet to live or die at God’s appointed time & for God’s appointed purpose. 

Charles Spurgeon took his pastorate in London during the midst of an outbreak of cholera in 1854, and he remarked the following: “If there ever be a time when the mind is sensitive, it is when death is abroad. I recollect, when first I came to London, how anxiously people listened to the gospel, for the cholera was raging terribly. There was little scoffing then.”

Twelve years later when London was ravaged again by Cholera the Bishop of Liverpool J.C. Ryle responded: “Vestries may fail to do their duty, and Governments may be slow to act. Hospitals may be overcrowded, and doctors may fail. But the Lord reigns and we [The Christian] have no cause to despair.” 

  • In the midst of panic, in the presence of sickness, and even in the face of death – Mt. Eden will you lay your head down on the pillow of unerring providence? Will you take all your solace in this reality: “In Your book were all written/ The days that were ordained for me/ When as yet there was not one of them.” Psalm 139:16

The day of your death is an appointment. The day of your death is a Divine Calling – it is a vocation:  This is the point of Ecclesiastes 3:1-2: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die”

The time / this time (this very chaotic, irrational, dysfunctional, deadly time) has been appointed by God. And the purpose of this time is twofold – a purpose for those who are in Christ and a purpose for those who are not.

  • For you Christian this Godly affliction is profitable: 
    • It teaches you (rather presses upon you) to shake off your earthly prospects and sets your longing for glory. 
    • It forces you to contemplate and deal with the vanity of this life and leave off unprofitable pursuits. 
    • These momentary afflictions and contemplations of the end of your life only magnify the sufficiency of Christ. 
    • The prospect of death confirms your faith by experience, and so sanctifies you and prepares you for heaven. 
  • For the ungodly this Godly affliction is not necessarily useful: 
    • For those who know God not, the panic of death (ironically) distracts them from the giver of life. 
    • The experience provides only a temporary expression of fear 

      And secularism is strengthened as man in the foolishness of his heart looks to the external factors of Government, doctors, and medicines (as his ultimate hope).  

If we are getting to the root here – the root of our panic, the root of our hysteria, the root of our fear – it is the fear of dying. That is what makes all of this scary (the News coverage, the reports, the breaking news, the governmental debriefings, the scale of infections and the toll of deaths and on and on ad infinitum it goes)  we are scared to die. 

And yet, we have these words: “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven – A time to give birth and a time to die”

    • There is an appointed time to die. Death is a Divine appointment. And it is an appointment that will not come prematurely nor will it come with delay. But rather it will come the precise moment Divine Sovereignty has decreed.

Listen to how the death of Jesus was spoken of: 

      • “So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.” Jn.7:20
        • “So they were saying to Him, “Where is Your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father; if you knew Me, you would know My Father also.” These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.” Jn.8:19-20
        • “Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” Jn.13:1

“The time of a man’s coming into the world and going out of it, both being fixed by the Lord: this is true of all men in general, of all men that come into the world, for whom it is appointed that they shall die; and particularly of Christ, whose birth was at the time appointed by the Father, in the fullness of time; and whose death was in due time, nor could his life be taken away before his hour was come, and this holds good of every individual man; his birth is at the time God has fixed it; that any man is born into the world, is of God; no man comes into it at his own pleasure or another’s, but at the will of God, and when he pleases, not sooner nor later; and the time of his going out of the world is settled by him, beyond which time he cannot live, and sooner he cannot die.” – John Gill

When your time comes to die – what you must be resolved to understand now is that it will be an appointed time – a time appointed by God before ever the worlds were formed. There will not be anything that violates this time and His determined means to end your time in this world and to begin it in the next. 

Your hour of death, beloved of God, serves a glorious and Christ-exalting purpose to get you to Him. 

    • Therefore, fear not for your Christ has overcome this world – therefore, do not be so in love with it that you are scared to leave it. “O believer! What is there in this earth to tempt you to hang back, when God calls you to depart? 
    • While you are here, you may lay your account with many losses, crosses, disappointments, griefs, calamities, of all sorts. 
    • Friends will fail you, enemies will hate you, lusts will molest you, Satan will tempt you, diseases will ravage your body. Death is the way (the appointed way) that the dearest of God’s saints, and all the cloud of witnesses, have gone before you; yea, the Lord Jesus your Head hath trod this path, and hath taken the sting out of death, and have paved a way through its dark valley, that His people may follow Him.
      • Hath the Captain of your salvation gone before you? And will any of His soldiers shrink to follow Him? Are you content to remain always at the same distance from Him, and to enjoy no more of His presence than now you have? Are you satisfied to live forever with no more knowledge of God, no more love to Christ, no more holiness of heavenly-mindedness, that at the present you have? Are you not desirous to go to the place where you will be eternally free from all your remaining ignorance, deadness, wanderings, pride, passions, unbelief, selfishness, worldliness, fears, and many other sins and lusts which beset you here and now? (Spurgeon)
      • Why would we above all people on the face of the earth fear the very thing intended to unite us in glory and for eternity with our Redeemer? Your death is a Divine Appointment, an appointment with the Divine. To finally after all your many years, of toils, dangers, and snares to meet with Him face-to-face, to stand in His presence, and to worship Him without the hindrance of sin throughout the ages of ages. 

This time that we are now living in is a gift. 

  • A gift to think about life and to live it for the greatest and most glorious purpose possible – the living God.
  • It is a gift in that we are forced more now perhaps than in days past to concern ourselves with the state both of the lost and ourselves.
  • It is a gift in that we may now look at time for what it is a limited resource provided in order that we may live for the God of glory. 
  • It is a gift that we may contemplate the wonders that await us who have been tucked away into Christ for eternity. 

Close with Bunyan’s description of the Celestial City [Feel free to access here: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/131/131-h/131-h.htm


This message was preached by Pastor W.E. Travis II on March 15, 2020, to the Saints at Mt. Eden Baptist Church in Shepherdsville, KY.