Pastor Ray Barnett

Pastor Ray Barnett Pastor Ray Barnett has served in the Amsterdam, NY area for over 25 years. As the founding pastor of the Time For Truth Ministries, his desire is to see a true Biblical New Testament church in our modern days, founded on the love of the brethren, and has labored to that end through times of blessing and adversity.

 

Recent Sermon
The Color of God
June 21, 2015 | by Pastor Ray Barnett | Scripture : Gospel of John 4:20-24
Recent Devotion

Monday July 6, 2015

INTERESTING FACTS : Alexander Hamilton,? REVOLUTIONARY GENERAL; SIGNER OF THE CONSTITUTION; AUTHOR OF THE FEDERALIST PAPERS; SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY

Following his duel with Aaron Burr, in those final twenty four hours while life still remained in him, Hamilton called for two ministers, the Rev. J. M. Mason and the Rev. Benjamin Moore, to pray with him and administer Communion to him. Each of those two ministers reported what transpired. The Rev. Mason recounted:

[General Hamilton said] "I went to the field determined not to take his life." He repeated his disavowal of all intention to hurt Mr. Burr; the anguish of his mind in recollecting what had passed; and his humble hope of forgiveness from his God. I recurred to the topic of the Divine compassion; the freedom of pardon in the Redeemer Jesus to perishing sinners. "That grace, my dear General, which brings salvation, is rich, rich" ? "Yes," interrupted he, "it is rich grace." "And on that grace," continued I, "a sinner has the highest encouragement to repose his confidence, because it is tendered to him upon the surest foundation; the Scripture testifying that we have redemption through the blood of Jesus, the forgiveness of sins according to the richness of His grace." Here the General, letting go my hand, which he had held from the moment I sat down at his bed side, clasped his hands together, and, looking up towards Heaven, said, with emphasis, "I have a tender reliance on the mercy of the Almighty, through the merits of the Lord Jesus Christ."

DAILY READING : PSALM 115 - 118

TEXT : Psa 116:1  I love the LORD, because he hath heard my voice and my supplications. Psa 116:2  Because he hath inclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. Psa 116:3  The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow. Psa 116:4  Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech thee, deliver my soul. Psa 116:5  Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful. Psa 116:6  The LORD preserveth the simple: I was brought low, and he helped me.
 
THEME : PRESERVATION
 
In America, and as Americans, we celebrate on the third Thursday of November as one of Thanksgiving. In particular, we thank God for His goodness to us in providing so many blessings. In colonial America, this was the purpose of the Puritans - give thanks to God, who gave them all they needed even though the severe hardships handed to them by the same God who sustained them were many. Thus, in Psalm 116 we have a Psalm of thanksgiving, though the specific occasion of its being written by David is not named. 
 
"This is a thanksgiving psalm; it is not certain whether David penned it upon any particular occasion or upon a general review of the many gracious deliverances God had wrought for him, out of six troubles and seven, which deliverances draw from him many very lively expressions of devotion, love, and gratitude; and with similar pious affections our souls should be lifted up to God in singing it. Observe,  I. The great distress and danger that the psalmist was in, which almost drove him to despair (Psa_116:3, Psa_116:10, Psa_116:11).  II. The application he made to God in that distress (Psa_116:4).  III. The experience he had of God's goodness to him, in answer to prayer; God heard him (Psa_116:1, Psa_116:2), pitied him (Psa_116:5, Psa_116:6), delivered him (Psa_116:8). IV His care respecting the acknowledgments he should make of the goodness of God to him (Psa_116:12).  1. He will love God (Psa_116:1).  2. He will continue to call upon him (Psa_116:2, Psa_116:13, Psa_116:17).  3. He will rest in him (Psa_116:7).  4. He will walk before him (Psa_116:9).  5. He will pay his vows of thanksgiving, in which he will own the tender regard God had to him, and this publicly (Psa_116:13-15, Psa_116:17-19). Lastly, He will continue God's faithful servant to his life's end (Psa_116:16). These are such breathings of a holy soul as bespeak it very happy." [Matthew Henry]
 
You love Him because He FIRST loved you! [1Jn_4:19  We love him, because he first loved us.] This is the truth of your relationship with Christ. You love Him - because. However, when it comes to the LORD He simply IS love. [1Jn_4:8  He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love./1Jn_4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.] He does not love you because you are good, you have done good, you benefit Him, you help Him etc. ad infinitum. Here you will find the essence of your relationship with God. You love Him because - then, you can name all the beautiful benefits of His love. However, with Christ, He simply loves you. You add nothing to Him - at all. He is God.
 
"I love the Lord - The Hebrew rather means, "I love, because the Lord hath heard," etc. That is, the psalmist was conscious of love; he felt it glowing in his soul; his heart was full of that special joy, tenderness, kindness, peace, which love produces; and the source or reason of this, he says, was that the Lord had heard him in his prayers.
 
Because he hath heard ... - That is, This fact was a reason for loving him. The psalmist does not say that this was the only reason, or the main reason for loving him, but that it was the reason for that special joy of love which he then felt in his soul. The main reason for loving God is his own excellency of nature; but still there are other reasons for doing it, and among them are the benefits which he has conferred on us, and which awaken the love of gratitude." [Albert Barnes]
 
How encouraging to know he hears you when you call! He hears your prayer, He understands your voice - He can discern it. How amazing to know He knows you from me, and me from another Christian etc. You will call upon Him and He will answer you as He answered David and everyone who ever sought Him or still seeks Him. He is willing to listen to you and deliver you from your distresses.
 
"Because he hath inclined his ear unto me,.... Not as hard of hearing, for his ear is not heavy that it cannot hear; he is quick of hearing, and his ears are always open to the righteous; it rather denotes his readiness to hear; he hearkens and hears, he listens to what his people say, and hears them at once, and understands them, though ever so broken and confused; when their prayers are but like the chatterings of a crane or swallow, or only expressed in sighs and groans, and even without a voice; when nothing is articulately pronounced: moreover, this shows condescension in him; he bows his ear as a rattler to a child, he stoops as being above them, and inclines his ear to them.
 
Thus, you will call on Him all of the days of your life on earth. Again, we need Him, He does not need us. True, He loves us. Yet, that is much different from Him NEEDING us. You should remember this. It makes His love all the more intriguing and special, since He does not need anything from us as all humans do. He simply loves you, and will help you when you call on him. No matter how long you have had any need, He will answer you the day you call on Him.
 
Therefore will I call upon him as long as I live; or "in my days" (d); in days of adversity and affliction, for help and relief; in days of prosperity, with thankfulness for favours received; every day I live, and several times a day: prayer should be constantly used; men should pray without ceasing always, and not faint; prayer is the first and last action of a spiritual life; it is the first thing a regenerate man does, "behold, he prays"; as soon as he is born again he prays, and continues praying all his days; and generally goes out of the world praying, as Stephen did, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit"; and it is the Lord's hearing prayer that encourages his people to keep on praying, and which makes the work delightful to them. Christ was often at this work in life, and died praying, Luk_6:12. "[John Gill]
 
So much more should you call on Him when "the sorrows of death" are near. Nothing is more frightening - to most people, than the thought of death. It is an unknown. No one who has died speaks of what it is like. Therefore, unlike other human experiences - sickness, anxieties, sorrows, etc., that people write or talk about, none can speak at length about death since God has blocked the way for the dead to communicate to you the experience of death. However, the Scriptures help you here. Christ has died, come back from the dead, and told you - you shall never die! He has saved you! Further, in this salvation, there is deliverance from death! [2Ti 1:9  Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 2Ti 1:10  But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel].
 
Theologian A.A. Hodge gives an outline from the Bile about death and [your] resurrection.
 
Resurrection of the Dead
 
Will be simultaneous both of the just and the unjust (Dan_12:2; Joh_5:28, Joh_5:29; Rom_2:6-16; 2Th_1:6-10). The qualities of the resurrection body will be different from those of the body laid in the grave (1Co_15:53, 1Co_15:54; Phi_3:21); but its identity will nevertheless be preserved. It will still be the same body (1Co_15:42-44) which rises again.
 
As to the nature of the resurrection body,
 
(1.) it will be spiritual (1Co_15:44), i.e., a body adapted to the use of the soul in its glorified state, and to all the conditions of the heavenly state;
 
(2.) glorious, incorruptible, and powerful (1Co_15:54);
 
(3.) like unto the glorified body of Christ (Phi_3:21); and
 
(4.) immortal (Rev_21:4).
 
Christ's resurrection secures and illustrates that of his people.
 
(1.) Because his resurrection seals and consummates his redemptive power; and the redemption of our persons involves the redemption of our bodies (Rom_8:23).
 
(2.) Because of our federal and vital union with Christ (1Co_15:21, 1Co_15:22; 1Th_4:14).
 
(3.) Because of his Spirit which dwells in us making our bodies his members (1Co_6:15; Rom_8:11).
 
(4.) Because Christ by covenant is Lord both of the living and the dead (Rom_14:9). This same federal and vital union of the Christian with Christ likewise causes the resurrection of the believer to be similar to as well as consequent upon that of Christ (1Co_15:49; Phi_3:21; 1Jo_3:2). [Hodge's Outlines of Theology.]
 
"The Psalmist now goes on to describe his condition at the time when he prayed unto God. "The sorrows of death compassed me." As hunters surround a stag with dogs and men, so that no way of escape is left, so was David enclosed in a ring of deadly griefs. The bands of sorrow, weakness, and terror with which death is accustomed to bind men ere he drags them away to their long captivity were all around him. Nor were these things around him in a distant circle, they had come close home, for he adds, "and the pains of hell gat hold upon me." Horrors such as those which torment the lost seized me, grasped me, found me out, searched me through and through, and held me a prisoner. He means by the pains of hell those pangs which belong to death, those terrors which are connected with the grave; these were so closely upon him that they fixed their teeth in him as hounds seize their prey. "I found trouble and sorrow," trouble was around me, and sorrow within me. His griefs were double, and as he searched into them they increased. A man rejoices when he finds a hid treasure; but what must be the anguish of a man who finds, where he least expected it, a vein of trouble and sorrow? The Psalmist was sought for by trouble and it found him out, and when he himself became a seeker he found no relief, but double distress." [C.H. Spurgeon]
 
Remember, you can prayer anywhere, at any time, to God the LORD who will hear you!
 
"Then called I upon the name of the Lord." Prayer is never out of season, he prayed then, when things were at their worst. When the good man could not run to God, he called to him. In his extremity his faith came to the front: it was useless to call on man, and it may have seemed almost as useless to appeal to the Lord; but yet he did with his whole soul invoke all the attributes which make up the sacred name of Jehovah, and thus he proved the truth of his confidence. We can some of us remember certain very special times Of trial of which we can now say, "then called I upon the name of the Lord." The Psalmist appealed to the Lord's mercy, truth, power, and faithfulness, and this was his prayer, - "O Lord, I beseech thee, deliver my soul." This form of petition is short, comprehensive, to the point, humble, and earnest. It were well if all our prayers were moulded upon this model; perhaps they would be if we were in similar circumstances to those of the Psalmist, for real trouble produces real prayer. Here we have no multiplicity of words, and no fine arrangement of sentences; everything is simple and natural; there is not a redundant syllable, and yet there is not one lacking." [C.H. Spurgeon]
 
TRUTH FOR TODAY : "CHRIST WILL SUSTAIN ALL WHO CALL ON HIM!"
 
Think of the mercy and goodness of God. God is merciful even to the wicked, giving them ample opportunity to repent and receive Christ and His Gospel. For instance, recall God's message of mercy to the people of Nineveh - sworn enemies of Israel, to whom Jonah, a Jewish prophet is sent to offer a message of a stay of execution that the Assyrians received and were thus spared God's judgment. Now, if God spared Nineveh - will He not spare you? Tertullian, an early Church Father, arguing against the heresy of Marcionism [that taught among other things, that there were two Gods - one good and one evil; i.e. the Old Testament God {Jehovah} was the evil God.] - stated that the One True God - in both Testaments, did good to the wicked, even as Jesus taught. [Mat_5:45  That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.]
 
"Look here then, say you: I discover a self-incriminating case in the matter of the Ninevites, when the book of Jonah declares, "And God repented of the evil that He had said that He would do unto them; and He did it not." (Jon_3:10) In accordance with which Jonah himself says unto the Lord, "Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish; for I knew that Thou art a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest Thee of the evil." (Jon_4:2) It is well, therefore, that he premised the attribute of the most good God as most patient over the wicked, and most abundant in mercy and kindness over such as acknowledged and bewailed their sins, as the Ninevites were then doing. For if He who has this attribute is the Most Good, you will have first to relinquish that position of yours, that the very contact with evil is incompatible with such a Being, that is, with the most good God." [Tertullian - "The Writings of Tertullian, Part Second - Anti-Marcion"]
 
Thus, whom the LORD saves, He will preserve [sustain] throughout this life and into the next. This means you can rest today in His goodness. He has shown you mercy unto eternal life, and He will sustain you all the way through until you come into His Heavenly Kingdom. You may be lacking in understanding of His ways, but He will give you wisdom in the course of time. Until then, He will sustain you in all things.
 
The Lord preserveth the simple,.... Such as have but a small degree of understanding, either in things natural or spiritual, in comparison of others; babes, as the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions render it, so in the Talmud (i); see Mat_11:25. Such who are sensible of their lack of wisdom, and what they have they do not lean unto or trust in, but being sensible of their weakness commit themselves to the Lord; they are sincere and upright, harmless and inoffensive, artless and incautious, and so easily imposed upon by designing men; but the Lord preserves them, as from sin, from a total and final falling away by it, so from gross errors and heresies; he preserves them from the snares and pollutions of the world, and from the temptations of Satan, so as not to be overcome with them; he preserves them by his Spirit, power, and grace, safe to his kingdom and glory.
 
"I was brought low and he helped me; the psalmist returns to his own case, and gives an instance of the divine goodness in himself; he had been brought low by affliction of body, by distress of enemies, through want of the necessaries and conveniences of life; he had been brought low as to spiritual things, through the weakness of grace, the prevalence of corruption, the temptations of Satan, and the hidings of God's face; but the Lord helped him to bear up under all this; he put underneath his everlasting arms, and upheld him with the right hand of his righteousness; he helped him out of his low estate, and delivered him out of all his troubles, when none else could; when things were at the greatest extremity, and he in the utmost distress, just ready to go down into silence and dwell there, Psa_94:17. The Targum is, "he looked upon me to redeem me.''  [John Gill]
 
According to the Heidelberg Confession, the faithfulness of Jesus Christ is what sustains you in life and death.
 
Ques. 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?
 
"That in soul and body, whether I live or die, I am not mine own, but I belong unto my most faithful Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ: who by his precious blood, most fully satisfying for all my sins, hath delivered me from the whole power of the Devil; and doth so preserve me, that without the will of my heavenly Father, not so much as a hair can fall from my head: yea, all things are made to serve for my salvation. Wherefore by his Spirit also, he assureth me of everlasting life, and maketh me ready and prepared, that henceforth I may live unto him." [Heidelberg Confession Scot translation]
 
Hence, Christ will not only give you your daily bread [Mat_6:11  Give us this day our daily bread.], but everything you need! [Php_4:19  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.]
 
"By the first petition of the second part, give us this day our daily bread, we pray in general that God would give us all things which the body requires in this sublunary state, not only food and clothing, but everything which he knows will assist us to eat our bread in peace. In this way we briefly cast our care upon him, and commit ourselves to his providence, that he may feed, foster, and preserve us. For our heavenly Father disdains not to take our body under his charge and protection, that he may exercise our faith in those minute matters, while we look to him for everything, even to a morsel of bread and a drop of water." [John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 20]
 
Look to the Kingdom for He SHALL sustain you! Think on this. Give your all not to forget what Christ has said in His Word, and He will keep you in perfect peace! [Isa_26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.{Heb. Literally - shalom shalom}].
 
What is the kingdom of God?
 
The kingdom of God is a present possession and a future hope; it is the present rule of Christ over His people through the indwelling Holy Spirit, but its full consummation awaits the final rule of Christ, when He "shall deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father ... that God may be all in all" (1Co_15:24-28). "The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, be-. hold, the kingdom of God is within you" (Luk_17:20-21). "For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost" (Rom_14:17). "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever" (Rev_11:15). [A B C'S OF CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE, Questions and Answers on Essential Christian Beliefs, By D. Shelby Corlett, D.D.]
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