Welcome Cody Hamilton, Youth Minister
Cody Hamilton is 26 years old and is a recent graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Since his graduation in May 2021, he has been assisting in planting a church in Missouri.
A Neo-Pagan Age
When we consider the world around us there is reason for hope and concern. There is hope because Christ is building His kingdom and there will be nothing that will stop this. The Church is growing all around the world. There is massive growth in central America as well as in China. The concern comes when we begin to look at our context. Where are we now?
We can look back through history and see the trajectory that has brought us to where we are. There was the rise and fall of Modernism which led to Post-modernism. Post-modernism, in part, pushes the notion that there is no objective truth. Everything is subjective in a Post-modern worldview. The question is, what comes next? In some ways we should expect a return to Paganism. If all things are subjective and there is no universal truth, then people will do what is right in their own eyes.
This is what we are beginning to see. Witchcraft, sorcery, mysticism, “spirituality,” and more are on the rise. This is not something that is far off and isn’t relevant for us. In fact, this issue is encroaching. There is a “witches bonfire” being held at Village Creek State Park this coming November. The Facebook event invites “all witches/pagans in the southeast Texas community to gather in nature…” Among the events listed to ensue at this bonfire is a drag show.
Church, now is the time to rise up. We must be a people who go and tell of the good news of Jesus Christ. We must open our arms wide open to a lost and dying world, ready to receive them with the love and care of Christ. We must diligently teach our children and our grandchildren about the lovingkindness of our Lord, for the Devil and the world are against them to tell them otherwise. We, First Baptist Church of Bridge City, must be a beacon of Gospel hope in the midst of a dark world.
Not the McRib
In many churches the Lord’s Supper is observed only four times a year. Like a “good Baptist,” things are done quarterly. It would seem that the Lord’s Supper is somewhat treated like the McRib at McDonalds. The McRib is one of their items that comes and goes. No one is quite sure why or where it goes, but it sneaks its way back onto the menu every now and again. In some ways this seems to be the attitude of many churches about the Lord’s Supper. We’re glad to have it when it comes around, but don’t really think about it when it’s not here.
To be clear, the Lord’s Supper is far more significant than the McRib. There is no contest. The question would then be, why do so many churches only observe it quarterly? The most general answer is that the church wants to preserve the reverence that is due this ordinance, and if they did it more often, then it could become routine and too familiar. Now, while one can appreciate the desire to preserve the reverence and awe that should accompany this ordinance, the overall conclusion and practice are simply nonsensical. One could easily make the same argument about attending the Sunday gathering of God’s people. Should we only come to church quarterly so as to preserve the awe and reverence of gathering to worship our Lord? Should we baptize new believers quarterly? Should we only pray quarterly?
The purpose of the Lord’s Supper is also neglected when it is set aside this way. What is the purpose of the Lord’s Supper? The purpose is for the believer to remember Christ’s sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. It sobers and quickens the heart of the Christian. Furthermore, it unifies the church. The Lord’s Supper is for the Christian. As we partake of the Supper together, we are acknowledging that we worship the same Lord, have an interest in the same Savior, and are looking forward to the same Kingdom.
If then, the purpose of the Supper is to cause the Church to remember Christ and be unified in Him, it would seem that observing this ordinance four times a year is antithetical to the purpose of the Supper. We do not reserve speaking about the resurrection of our Lord to Easter Sunday alone; neither do we reserve speaking about the incarnation of our Lord to Christmas day. We speak about these things freely through the year. The same ought to be true in our observance of the Supper.
There is no explicit mention of how often the Supper is to be had. The Lord simply says as often as you do it. Some churches do it every Sunday, some do it quarterly, some may do it less than quarterly. However, having the purpose of the Supper before us, it would seem that more often would be better than less often. And each time the Church looks to Christ in observing the Lord’s Supper, it should be with awe, reverence, and sobriety. We should never treat the Supper lightly, or simply as “another thing” during Sunday morning. Rather, it should fix our eyes of Jesus, unify the local church, and cause is to reflect on the Gospel of our Lord.
Old School Cool
At one point in time in the United States, foreign missionaries were the most popular people in the country. They were the celebrities of old. For some, they were inspirational and encouraged people in their faith. Others looked at them with bewilderment, wondering why the message of the cross would drive them around the world. Whether or not their fame was long lasting in the world’s eyes, we remember those who have gone before us and taken the message of the cross to the nations.
Adoniram Judson was the first missionary to Burma (modern day Myanmar). Judson would encounter countless trials, hardship, and endless work as he sought to bring the message of Christ to these people. Judson did not win a single soul to Christ until he had been there six years. Throughout his life in his new home he would lose numerous children to illness as well as his first two wives. This was a man who knew suffering and loss.
Judson would only ever return to the U.S. once. He, like other missionaries of his time, intended to live and die on the mission field. This was exactly what happened. Judson labored on the mission field until he died. He gave his life for one purpose. He desired to make Christ known to the people of Burma. He labored in studying their language, translating a Bible into their language, and much more. He was one of the sharpest men of intellect, and he gave his life on the mission field.
By modern day standards Judson seems rather boring. Some would even argue that his intellect was wasted. However, the exact opposite is true. The sharpest minds do indeed belong on the mission field. Judson was a prime example of this. His knowledge and wisdom were instrumental during his life on the field. To say that his life was boring, a waste, or anything of the sort is simply to not know the story of Judson’s life.
Judson, and his family, sacrificed much to take the gospel to Burma. May the Lord raise up more godly men and women like Judson to carry forward the good news of Christ. For, when we look back, and read, of our brothers and sisters who gave their lives like this, we can see the majesty and glory of Christ being taken to the whole world. And that is far more grand than anything that our modern celebrities have been up to.
Shadows of Old
The Old Testament is rich. It begins with Creation, and it unfolds God’s plan of redemption throughout history as we continue to read. Throughout the entire Old Testament, we find shadows of the things to come. The mystery of the Gospel, as Paul puts it, is not seen in it’s totality. All these shadows point directly to the substance, Jesus. Jesus is the substance that the shadows revealed in part, and He is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises.
This is what the author of Hebrews points out over and over. All of the Prophets, angels, and more were pointing to Jesus. This is why the author of Hebrews is at pains to point out the superiority of Christ. Jesus is better than all the prophets of old, and He is the final Prophet (Heb. 1). Jesus is the better and greater Moses (Heb 3). Jesus is the better and greater Israel (Matt. 4). Jesus is the better and greater High Priest (Heb 4&7). Jesus is the better and greater sacrificial lamb (Heb 10). Jesus is the better and greater Adam (Rom. 5). Jesus is better.
So, we look to Christ in all of life because He is the Author and Perfector of our faith. We lay aside every weight and sin that entangles as we run after Him (Heb. 12: 1-2). We search His Word for Him. When we see a shadow of Him in the Old Testament, we can glory in it because we know that Jesus Christ, Himself is better.
Grace and Peace,
C. R. Hamilton
Sunday Morning Bible Study, 9:15 am
Sunday Evening Classes (when in session), 5:30 pm
Wednesday Worship, 6:30 pm