Tuesday, March 29, 2011


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Jesus Christ's Gospel is for everyone.
His Gospel has left out none.
It matters not how bad we've been.
Jesus can forgive all our sin.

Salvation is offered full and free,
to those close by and across the sea.
God is love, and he loves you.
Believe the Gospel, and prove it's true.

Our sin debt by Jesus was paid.
The way of salvation has been made.
Let it be known to one and all:
You'll be saved, if on Jesus you call.

Jesus Christ wants no one to perish in sin.
Believe in him, and be born again.
Accept Jesus now, before it's too late.
You might die while you wait.

Friday, March 25, 2011


An important message from:
Pastor Bruce Oyen
Grace Baptist Church
Rochester, WA
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com:

If you want to read an excellent article that shows from the Bible how to get to heaven, be sure to read this one:
Heaven Can Be Yours!
The Way to Heaven Made Plain From the Word of God!
By Dr. Robert L. Sumner

To read it, click on this link: http://www.biblicalevangelist.org/heaven.php.


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

May the Lord guide you, and stay right beside you.
May he give you courage when you fear, and let you know he is near.

May he give you wisdom from above, and shower you with his love.
May he your burdens bear, and assure you of his care.

May he your every need meet, and grant you his fellowship sweet.
May he give you strength within, and victory over sin.

May he give you a song in your heart, and may his joy never depart.
May he your grief relieve, and may you his comfort receive.

May he help you his will to do, and grant what is best for you.
May he keep you on the narrow way, and help you not to stray.

May he encourage you if your faith is weak, and help you his face to seek.
May he give you light when the way is dim, and keep you close to him.

Yes, this is my prayer for you. But, would you pray for me, too?
Like you, I have needs of my own. Please bring them before God's throne.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

You Can Become A Missionary Today!

Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

If you are a Christian, you can become a missionary today! That's right, today! Jesus himself told his disciples, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," we are told in Matthew 4:19. What he meant is that if we follow him , he will use us to make known to others the Good News about him. If they believe that Gospel message, they will immediately obtain forgiveness of sins and eternal life, just like we did when we believed it.

However, we don't have to go to a foreign country, or have a Bible college education, or have great public speaking skills to be a missionary. All we need to do is take some simple steps right where we live or work to help others come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior.

One step to take is to tell someone else how we came to believe in him as our Savior. Then, tell them how, they, too, can believe and him. If we know what John 3:16 says, we know enough to lead someone else to faith in Christ. It says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Many persons have become Christians because some one told them about the Lord.

A second step we can take to help others come to know Christ as their Savior is to invite them to attend church services or home Bible studies with us. Many of us feel inadequate when it comes to telling someone else how to become a Christian. But, we all can invite another person to attend these activities with us where they will get the Gospel in the music and in the sermons. Many persons have become Christians because someone invited them to church services or home Bible studies.

A third step we can take to reach others with the Gospel is to give out Gospel literature. We can give a friend a good Christian book that has meant a lot to us, and which clearly presents the Gospel message. A book the Lord used to draw me to faith in him in the late 1960s when I was a drug-abusing teenager was The Cross And The Switchblade, written by David Wilkerson. We can also give a friend a Bible, with instructions that they should start reading the New Testament because it will acquaint them with Jesus. We can give someone what is called a Gospel pamphlet, also called a Gospel tract. I did this just yesterday evening (Tuesday, March 22, 2011). I was staying at a motel, and was in the lobby using the computer provided for customers. After I had checked my e-mails, it occurred to me to give the desk clerk a copy of the well-known Gospel pamphlet called "God's Simple Plan Of Salvation." So, I went to the publisher's website, printed out a copy of it, and gave it to the desk clerk.

While I did some more work on the computer, the woman read the pamphlet, and then, on her own, thanked me for giving it to her. This opened the door for a conversation with her. She told me she had previously accepted Christ as her Savior. She also told me she was not attending a Bible-believing church. So, I gave her the name and address of the church hosting the conference many of us were attending. She said she knew where the church was located. Maybe she will begin attending the church and be helped in her Christian life. However, if she decides she has not yet truly believed in the Lord as her Savior, that pamphlet could be one more link in her believing in him. Many persons have come to know Jesus Christ as their Savior through Gospel literature. If you want to give someone a copy of "God's Simple Plan Of Salvation," you can get it from this website: http://www.godssimpleplan.org/.

You can become a missionary today! Just take some of the steps mentioned above. It is even possible that the Lord will prompt you to go to a foreign country as a missionary.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

God's Simple Plan Of Salvation

The following well-known evangelistic message was taken from the publisher's website: http://www.godssimpleplan.org/. Some years ago, the publisher gave me permission to print it in the newspaper, etc., so long as proper credit was given. As you can see on the website, it is printed in MANY different languages, and is printable right from the website. So, let's try to win more persons to faith in Jesus Christ with this good Gospel message.
Pastor Bruce Oyen
Grace Baptist Church
Rochester, WA

God’s Simple Plan of Salvation
My Friend: I am asking you the most important question of life. Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity depends upon your answer. The question is: Are you saved? It is not a question of how good you are, nor if you are a church member, but are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?

God says in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again. In John 3:7, Jesus said to Nicodemus, “Ye must be born again.”

In the Bible God gives us the plan of how to be born again which means to be saved. His plan is simple! You can be saved today. How?

First, my friend, you must realize you are a sinner. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Because you are a sinner, you are condemned to death. “For the wages [payment] of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This includes eternal separation from God in Hell.

“ . . . it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).

But God loved you so much He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus, to bear your sin and die in your place. “ . . . He hath made Him [Jesus, Who knew no sin] to be sin for us . . . that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jesus had to shed His blood and die. “For the life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11). “ . . . without shedding of blood is no remission [pardon]” (Hebrews 9:22).

“ . . . God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus and He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is true. God cannot lie.

My friend, “God . . . commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). This repentance is a change of mind that agrees with God that one is a sinner, and also agrees with what Jesus did for us on the Cross.

In Acts 16:30-31, the Philippian jailer asked Paul and Silas: “ . . . ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ And they said, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . . . .’ ”

Simply believe on Him as the one who bore your sin, died in your place, was buried, and whom God resurrected. His resurrection powerfully assures that the believer can claim everlasting life when Jesus is received as Savior.

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name” (John 1:12).

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13).

Whosoever includes you. Shall be saved means not maybe, nor can, but shall be saved.

Surely, you realize you are a sinner. Right now, wherever you are, repenting, lift your heart to God in prayer.

In Luke 18:13, the sinner prayed: “God be merciful to me a sinner.” Just pray: “Oh God, I know I am a sinner. I believe Jesus was my substitute when He died on the Cross. I believe His shed blood, death, burial, and resurrection were for me. I now receive Him as my Savior. I thank You for the forgiveness of my sins, the gift of salvation and everlasting life, because of Your merciful grace. Amen.”

Just take God at His word and claim His salvation by faith. Believe, and you will be saved. No church, no lodge, no good works can save you. Remember, God does the saving. All of it!

God’s simple plan of salvation is: You are a sinner. Therefore, unless you believe on Jesus Who died in your place, you will spend eternity in Hell. If you believe on Him as your crucified, buried, and risen Savior, you receive forgiveness for all of your sins and His gift of eternal salvation by faith.

You say, “Surely, it cannot be that simple.” Yes, that simple! It is scriptural. It is God’s plan. My friend, believe on Jesus and receive Him as Savior today.

If His plan is not perfectly clear, read this tract over and over, without laying it down, until you understand it. Your soul is worth more than all the world.

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

Be sure you are saved. If you lose your soul, you miss Heaven and lose all. Please! Let God save you this very moment.

God’s power will save you, keep you saved, and enable you to live a victorious Christian life. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, Who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Do not trust your feelings. They change. Stand on God’s promises. They never change. After you are saved, there are three things to practice daily for spiritual growth:

Pray -- you talk to God.
Read your Bible -- God talks to you.
Witness -- you talk for God.
You should be baptized in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ as a public testimony of your salvation, and then unite with a Bible-believing church without delay. “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord . . . .” (2 Timothy 1:8)

“Whosoever therefore shall confess [testify of] Me before men, him will I confess also before My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32).

Copyright: Robert Ford Porter, 1991


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

The Bible is composed of what are now presented in our Bible translations as 66 separate writings. However, originally some of the books of the Old Testament were one book, not two books. For example, 1 and 2 Samuel started out as just one writing.

Though we often refer to all of them as books, that is not a strictly accurate description of them all. Some of them, such as Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, might properly be called "books." But not others, for they are personal "epistles"( letters) sent to individuals and churches. Examples of these would be Paul's letter to the preacher Titus, and his letter to the church at Ephesus.

But how are we who teach and preach these writings that make up the Bible to master their contents? Here is one answer to that question: repeated readings of one of the Bible's 66 books is a fundamental in Bible teaching and preaching. Here are some reasons why this is true:

1) It fixes the entire individual book or letter in the mind, so it is seen as a whole. There is nothing like being thoroughly familiar with the Biblical book or letter one plans to teach or preach through, even if it is not completely understood.

2) The more familiar one becomes with a given book or letter, the more readily it begins to be understood. It seems to open itself up to us through our mastering its contents.

3) Repeated readings actually helps one memorize it without trying to do so, and we know how valuable it is when teaching and preaching to have it memorized.

4) By repeated readings of a Biblical book or letter, one learns more and more of that book's or that letter's details, so that the reader not only grasps the big picture, but its parts. And knowing the parts is crucial to its interpretation.

5) Repeated readings of a Biblical book or letter gets one into the "feel," the emotion, of it, if that element is present. That, then, allows the teacher to, hopefully, teach it with the same feeling as its author had when writing it.

G. C. Morgan. in his short but valuable book on preaching, said there are 3 essentials to preaching, which I want to apply to both preaching and teaching: 1)truth, 2)clarity, 3)passion. Our passion is partly derived from absorbing the pathos of the Biblical book or letter with which we are working.

Yes, repeated readings of a Biblical book is a fundamental in Bible teaching and preaching. Maybe that is why the famous Donald Barnhouse would read a given Biblical book 50 times before he began to teach through it.

But it is equally true that anyone, not just teachers and preachers, will be helped in understanding a Biblical book by repeated readings of it.

But let's all give ourselves to repeated readings of the entire Bible, not just to some of its contents.

"The Bible: The Greatest Book On Earth"

A few years ago, I read J. Sidlow Baxter's wonderful Bible survey book called, "EXPLORE THE BOOK." His poem about the Bible, found in the Introduction, is very good. It is not titled, so I made a title from the first line. It should make you shout a hearty, "AMEN!!"
Pastor Bruce Oyen
Grace Baptist Church
Rochester, WA
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

By J. Sidlow Baxter.

This is the greatest book on earth,
unparalleled it stands;
its author God, its truth divine,
inspired in every word and line,
tho' writ by human hands.

This is the living rock of truth
which all assaults defies.
O'er every stormy blast of time
it towers with majesty sublime;
it lives, and never dies.

This is the volume of the Cross;
its saving truth is sure;
its doctrine pure, its history true,
its Gospel old, yet ever new,
shall evermore endure.


Here are the words to a very good song. I hope they are a blessing to you. The chorus is sung after each verse, and is given at the end. The song is found in Inspiring Hymns, and maybe in other books, too.

Pastor Bruce Oyen
Grace Baptist Church
Rochester, WA
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

By William Poole

Just when I need him, Jesus is near, just when I falter, just when I fear;
ready to help me, ready to cheer, just when I need him most.

Just when I need him, Jesus is true, never forsaking all the way through;
giving for burdens pleasures anew, just when I need him most.

Just when I need him, Jesus is strong, bearing my burdens all the day long;
for all my sorrow giving a song, just when I need him most.

Just when I need him, he is my all, answering when upon him I call;
tenderly watching lest I should fall, just when I need him most.

Just when I need him most, just when I need him most;
Jesus is near to comfort and cheer, just when I need him most.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

About Hiding God's Word in The Heart

By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Psalm 119:11 says, "Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."
This goes far deeper than simply memorizing Scripture, as important as that might be. Many persons have memorized scores of verses, but they give no evidence of being followers of Christ. Therefore, we must conclude that storing Bible verses in one's memory is not equal to hiding God's Word in one's heart.

So, what does Psalm 119: mean? The Keil and Delitzsch commentary on Psalm 119:11 gives a good answer to the question: "One is said to hide the word in one's heart when one has it continually present with him, not merely as an outward precept, but as an inward motive power in opposition to selfish action (Job 23:12)."

Though Joseph in the book of Genesis did not have a Bible to read and memorize, he is a good illustration of what it means to hide the Word in one's heart in the manner of which the Keil and Delitzsch commentary speaks.
He knew what God expected of him, and resisted the sexual advances of Potiphar's wife by saying, "How then can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" (Genesis 39:9)
If we have hid God's Word in our heart, it will help us resist any temptation we might face.

"Come On Mabel, Let's Go Home!"

By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Mabel had been in poor health for a number of years, and now she was in the hospital again. Things didn’t look good for her. We thought this might be her last illness.
One day while sitting in my church office, I got a phone call from the hospital that her death was imminent. So, I hurried to be with her and Calvin. We got to her bedside at about the same time. But it was too late. She had passed away before we got there. We stood at her bedside in silence, the silence of death and grief. Calvin lovingly stroked her lifeless arm. It was hard to let go of the one to whom he had been married for so many years. After a few minutes, Calvin said to her, “Come on, Mabel, let’s go home!” He knew she was dead, but he wanted to take her home like he had done several times before. His words were an understandable expression of his grief. After a few more minutes at her bedside, we left the room and went home.
Later, I reflected on what Calvin had said to Mabel as he stroked her arm. His words brought some words of Scripture to my mind. I saw in Calvin’s statement an illustration of a wonderful Biblical truth. That truth is what we call the Rapture, the event spoken of in several New Testament passages, the most well-known of which might be 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18. Verses 16 and 17 say, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
According to the Bible, when a Christian dies their soul leaves their body and goes to be with the Lord in heaven. That is why the apostle Paul said in Philippians 1:21 that “to die is gain.” That is why he said in verse 23 that to “depart and be with Christ is far better” than remaining on earth. That is why Stephen, near death from stoning by enemies of the Christian faith, cried out in prayer, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Recorded in Acts 7:59.)
To be in heaven is far better, for it is a place of perfect happiness in the Lord’s presence, compared to our earthly lives which can be filled with trials, tribulations, and tears.
When Mabel died, it was as though the Lord said to her, “Come on, Mabel, let’s go home!” And that is what he says, as it were, to every Christian on their deathbed: “Come on, Bill, Bob, Susan, Samantha, let’s go home!”
Some time after Mabel’s death, it was Calvin’s turn to die. Some of us were with him at that time. Our son, Phil, held his hand and prayed for him in those last moments. It was as though the Lord said to Calvin, “Come on, Calvin, let’s go home!”
That is what will be said, so to speak, to all Christians at the Rapture, too. The Lord will say to their bodies in their graves, “Come on, be reunited with your souls and come home!” And to those still alive at the Rapture, the Lord will say, “Come on, let’s go home!”
When we think about the wonderful future of Christians as revealed in the Bible, it is no wonder 1 Thessalonians 4:18 says: “Wherefore, comfort one another with these words.”

"Life's Pathway"

I hope the following poem will encourage all who read it.
Pastor Bruce Oyen
Grace Baptist Church
Rochester, WA
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Life's Pathway
By Ruth Evangeline MacGregor

Sometimes the path God chose for me has led through pleasant ways,
through peaceful valleys, quiet streams, with warm and sunny days.

Sometimes the climb was steep and rough, with darkness overhead;
with chilling winds and falling stones, yet still the path I tread.

I know this path was planned for me according to God's will;
I've trusted him throughout the past, and I will trust him still.

And someday he'll reveal to me the wisdom of his choice.
Then I'll know why this path was best, and praise him and rejoice.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Read The Bible Once A Year

By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

I have a message you need to hear:
Read the Bible at least once a year.

Make it a lamp for your feet, a light for your path;
It will get you to heaven, and spare you God’s wrath.

Read the words of Moses and the Gospels through.
Read popular Revelation, and obscure Amos, too.

The Psalms can comfort us, and make our burdens light.
The prophets can convict us, and set our hearts aright.

If you’re not a Christian, you need the Bible, too.
For it tells of Jesus, who died for me and you.

It also says He rose again, and lives in heaven above.
But you must accept him who died for us in love.

The Bible's message is for all, if only we will hear.
So, we need to read it once every year.

This easily can be done, if you do what I say:
Read four of its chapters faithfully every day.

You will marvel at the message in God's Word.
It's the best message man has ever heard.


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
e-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

There is a great deal of emphasis on Bible reading among Christians, but they need guidance in how to profit from Bible reading. That is what I hope to provide with this article. May the Lord bless it to that end.
1.) WHEN READING THE BIBLE, INTERPRET IT LITERALLY WHENEVER POSSIBLE.When we read the Bible with this in mind, we will discover that it should be interpreted this way quite frequently, unless there is good reason to interpret it non-literally.
Therefore, when we read Genesis 1:1’s statement, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” there is no reason to think it means other than just what it says. It does not mean God evolved the heavens and the earth. It does not mean they evolved on their own. It means God created the heavens and the earth.
Moreover, when we read the Bible this way, we will take literally the events recorded in the book of Jonah. This is not to be understood as a fable, as C. S. Lewis, in his book, GOD IN THE DOCK, would have us believe. Rather, Jonah was a literal man who was swallowed by a literal great fish that literally vomited him out on dry land, and he literally lived to tell about his time of prayer and repentance in that fish’s belly.
Often, the context of what is being read will indicate if something is to be understood literally or figuratively. The contexts of the preceding examples indicate they are to be understood literally.
But the context of something in 2 Kings 14:8 - 12 indicates that figurative speech is used in verse 8, which says, “The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle.” It is obvious that King Jehoash spoke of himself as the cedar to whom King Amaziah, represented by the thistle, sent a message. Merrill Unger’s commentary on these verses is noteworthy: “In his hearty rebuff Jehoash was both the cedar and the wild beast that trampled down the thistle.”
Remember to interpret the Bible literally as you read it, unless the context indicates it should be interpreted figuratively. You will profit more, if you do so.
2. TO PROFIT MORE FROM BIBLE READING, READ IT COMPLETELY.Size-wise, the Bible is not a very large book, even in giant print. Many novels and biographies are longer than the Bible. Even so, many Christians have not read the Bible completely. Instead, favorite verses, chapters and books are read and re-read. These might include 1 Thessalonians 4:13 - 18, Romans 8, the book of Psalms, and the Gospel of John.
There is nothing wrong with re-reading favorite parts of the Bible, but we should not neglect the rest of it. If you have not read it from cover-to-cover, you have missed many of its treasures.
Amos R. Wells wrote a poem about this very subject. It is called, “ Read The Bible Through.” Part of it is given here:

I supposed I knew the Bible, reading piece-meal, hit or miss;
Now a bit of John or Matthew, now a snatch of Genesis.
Certain chapters of Isaiah, certain Psalms--the twenty-third!
Twelfth of Romans, first of Proverbs. Yes, I thought I knew the Word!

But I found that thorough reading was a different thing to do,
And the way was unfamiliar when I read the Bible through.
You who like to play at Bible, dip and dabble, here and there,
Just before you kneel a-weary, and yawn through a hurried prayer,

You who treat the Crown of Writings, as you treat no other book,--
Just a paragraph disjointed, just a crude, impatient look.
Try a worthier procedure, try a broad and steady view;
You will kneel in very rapture, when you read the Bible through.
As we think about reading the Bible completely, let me challenge you to try doing so once a year. This can be done by reading four chapters a day. If you read at a consistently-moderate speed without taking time to ponder what is read, it won’t take long to read four chapters a day. Then, go back and think over something that got your attention while reading the chapters.
3. CONSIDER THE IMPORTANCE OF READING THE BIBLE REVERENTLY.Reverent Bible reading is the direct result of believing the Bible to be God’s Word. The Divine authorship of the Scriptures sets them apart from all other books, making them “the holy Scriptures.” In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul said Timothy had known “the holy Scriptures” since he was a child. Romans 1:2 refers to the gospel, which God “had promised afore by his prophets in the holy Scriptures.” Yes, they are "the Holy Scriptures."
Nehemiah 8:5 & 6 illustrates reverence for the Bible by the fact that, when it was read to others they stood at attention. Isaiah 66:2 tells us God said, “But to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my Word.”
I am not suggesting that we must stand when the Bible is read in church services just because those persons did so. Nor am I suggesting that we must literally tremble in the presence of the Bible. These statements from Scripture simply underscore the importance of heart-felt reverence for the Word of God.
John Burton, Sr. lived from 1773 - 1822. His reverence for the Bible as God’s Word has become known through his poem, “Holy Bible Book Divine.” The first nine words of the poem are, “Holy Bible, Book divine, precious treasure, thou art mine.”
May God help us to read His Word with such reverence as Burton had!
Reverence and humility go together, but are not the same. We should read the Bible humbly because it is God’s Word, not ours. The Thessalonians were commended for having received the Gospel in the manner they did. This is recorded in 1 Thessalonians 2:13, which says, “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”
We need to read the Bible humbly because, being God’s infallible Word, it contradicts much of our own reasoning. We need to adjust our opinions to it, rather than adjust it to our opinions. As we read Scripture, let us keep in mind Isaiah 55:8 & 9, in which God says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
Humble readers of God’s Word do a number of things, including the following: They will accept its condemnation of premarital, extramarital and homosexual behavior. They will accept its teaching that the only way to God and salvation is through the Lord Jesus Christ. They will accept its moral absolutes, and reject moral relativism. They will acknowledge that God and His Word are their final authority in life, not human reason.
King Josiah had his faults like the rest of us. But he is an example of one who humbled himself to the Word of God when it was read to him. 2 Kings 22:11 says, “And it came to pass, when the king heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes.” Having learned how far his people had strayed from the will of God, the king reacted in an extreme way by tearing his clothes. We don’t need to tear our clothes, but we would do well to humble ourselves to the Word of God as he did.
The word “expect” means to “to look forward to as certain or probable.” So, to read Scripture expectantly is to read it with the expectation that it will speak to us in some way.
If an envelope comes in the mail, we open it with the expectation that it will contain a message for us. When we open the Bible, we should do so with the same attitude.
But what should we expect it to say to us? 2 Timothy 3;16 says, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine (teaching) for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” So, we should look for those things when we read the Word of God.
However, we can expect other things from the Scriptures, too. Romans 15:4 refers to “the comfort of the Scriptures.”
It tells us God’s plan for the future in places such as Matthew 24 and 25, 2 Peter 3, and, of course, the Book of Revelation.
Many a Christian man on his deathbed has turned expectantly to Psalm 23 to find consolation from the verse that says, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.”
Many a Christian mother with a wayward child has turned expectantly for strength to Jeremiah 33:3, which says, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee and show thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.”
The prophet Daniel is a good example of one who read the Bible with expectation, and in this case with the expectation that God’s promises would be fulfilled. He and his people had been deported from Israel to Babylon as a punishment for the nation Israel’s sins. This deportation was to last 70 years, according to Jeremiah 25:11. Daniel 9:2 tells us the prophet knew the 70 years were almost up, so he went to God in prayer about it all, expecting God to bring the Jews back to their homeland.
Isaiah 55:11 applies to our subject. It says, “So shall my Word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Therefore, read the Bible expectantly!
By reading the Bible dependently, I mean we look to others for help in understanding it.
First and foremost, we are dependent on God to help us understand His own Book. The writer of Psalm 119 felt his dependence on God, as his prayers in the following verses reveal. Verse 18: “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.” Verse 34: “Give me understanding and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.” Verse 73: “Give me understanding that I may learn thy commandments.”
Though infallible understanding does not come to us in answer to prayer, we surely are helped by it.
Not only can we turn to the Lord for help in understanding His Word. We can seek help from others as well, even though they are not infallible guides. Those who refuse help from others in their study of the Scriptures often end up more confused than anyone else.
All honest persons can relate to what we read in Acts 8 about the conversation between Philip the evangelist and the Ethiopian eunuch. While the Ethiopian read a portion from the Old Testament Book of Isaiah, the evangelist asked him if he understood what he was reading. The Ethiopian answered, “How can I except some man should guide me?” So, the evangelist helped the man understand that the prophet had written about the Lord Jesus Christ, and it would seem he helped the man put his faith in Jesus to be saved.
Where might we turn for help in understanding the Bible, other than directly to God in prayer? To Bible dictionaries and commentaries by reputable Bible scholars. Unger’s Bible Dictionary is well-known. William MacDonald‘s Bible Believer‘s Commentary is a favorite of many readers. The Ryrie Study Bible is valuable. Of course, pastors, friends, and other literature can be helpful.
All these resources combined will help keep us from going too far wrong as we work our way through the Bible.
What should we look for as we read the Bible? Let me say, don’t so much look for a “what” as for a “who,” and that “who” is the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Bible truly is a Christ-centered Book. Most Christians know the New Testament is centered on Him. But so is the Old Testament. Jesus Christ himself taught this, as the following quotes of the Lord’s own words prove. In each case, He was referring to the Old testament writings. In John 5:39 He said, “Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” In John 5:46 He said, “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, for he wrote of me.” In Luke 18:31 He said to the twelve disciples, “All things that are written by prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.” Luke 24:27 says, “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he (Jesus) expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” In Luke 24:44 we read, “And he (Jesus) said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms , concerning me.” This last verse refers to the whole Old Testament in the three main divisions by which it was known to the Jews in the Lord’s day: law, prophets, psalms.
So, what learn from these verses is the Lord considered himself to be central to the Old Testament. Let us, then, look for Him as we read the Bible.
Others saw Jesus in the Old Testament, too. In John 1:45 we are told, “Philip findeth Nathaniel and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.”
We previously considered the conversation in Acts 8 between Philip the evangelist and the Ethiopian eunuch, in which Philip helped the Ethiopian understand what he was reading in the Old Testament. In Acts 8;35 we read the following significant statement: “And he (Philip) preached unto him (the Ethiopian) Jesus.” He did this from the Old Testament!
When in college, one of the teachers traveled a lot to preach in Bible conferences. He told us students that it seemed no matter where the conference was held, a certain man, whom some of us students knew, would be present. That is the way it is with the Bible: Jesus Christ will be present, whether we are reading the Old Testament or the New Testament. So, when reading the Bible we should look for Jesus.
8. THE BIBLE SHOULD BE READ OBEDIENTLY.The Bible has a message for both non-Christians and Christians. Its message for non-Christians is found in verse such as Acts 16:31, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” It is also found in John 3:36, “He that believeth on the Son (Jesus Christ) hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”
Yes, the Bible has a message for non-Christians. But most of it is directed toward those who are Christians. It is primarily God’s Book for God’s people. It informs us about the future. It comforts us in sorrow. It tells us what we should believe, and it lays great emphasis on how Christians should behave.
Consequently, the Bible should be read with obedient hearts if we are to profit from it. In fact, it seems that the Bible is a closed Book to Christians with closed hearts. While we might open it covers to read it, its message falls flat if we are not intent on following it truths. A. W. Tozer wisely said, “For truth to be understood, it must be lived.” The writer of Psalm 119 understood this principle, for he said in verse 11, “Thy Word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” He knew it was not good enough to simply store the Word in his memory. It had to be hid in the heart.
King Josiah set a good example of reading the Bible obediently. Note what is said about him in 2 Kings 23:2 & 3: “…he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of the LORD. And the king stood by a pillar, and made a covenant before the LORD, to walk after the LORD, and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all their heart and all their soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people stood to the covenant.”
Let us emulate King Josiah by applying to daily living what we read in the Word of God. If we do so, it will be in great contrast to some the prophet Ezekiel preached to. Ezekiel 33:31 tells us God said of those persons, “And they come unto thee (Ezekiel) as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.”
By reading the Bible logically, I mean reading its 66 individual books and letters as units, chapter-by-chapter. This is superior to reading a few verses here one day, and a few verses there another day. When we read the Bible’s books and letters as units, we get each one’s over-all subject matter fixed in our minds. In other words, we get the big picture. This especially true after repeated readings.
Each book or letter of the Scriptures has its own logical progression, which can only be seen by reading it in its entirety, preferably in a relatively short period of time so we see the big picture sooner.
While it is better to use the hop, skip and jump method of Bible reading than to not read it at all, we will profit much more if we read it in the logical way presented here.
This does not mean we must start with Genesis, the Bible’s first book, and read until we finish with Revelation, the Bible’s last book, like we would read a biography from cover-to cover. It means that we read entire Biblical books and letters, even if we alternate back and forth from the Old Testament to the New Testament. So, one might first read Genesis, and then read Matthew, working eventually all the way through the Bible, and then starting the process all over.
There are some strikingly-significant statements in Psalm 119 about meditating on the Bible. Verse 15 says, “I will meditate in thy precepts.” Verse 23 says, “Thy servant did meditate in the statutes.” Verse 48 says, “I will meditate in thy statutes.” Verse 78 says, “I will meditate in thy precepts.” Verse 97 says, “O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.” Verse 99 says, “thy testimonies are my meditation.” Verse 148 says, “Mine eyes prevent (anticipate) the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.” All these verses emphasize the importance of meditating on the Word of God.
But what does it mean, to meditate on the Bible? Simply put, it is to seriously think over what we read, seeking to understand it and apply it to daily life.
Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, illustrates what it is to meditate on the Word of God. In Luke chapter one we read that after she had given birth to the Lord, the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds and said important things to them. One of those statements is found in Luke 1:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” After the angel’s appearance and announcements, the shepherds found Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus, who was lying in a manger. Having found them, the shepherds told Mary and Joseph the message of the angel of the Lord concerning the child Jesus.
What was Mary’s response to such a remarkable announcement about her newborn Son? Verse 19 says, “Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” That is what meditation on the Word of God is: pondering it in the heart.
If we want to profit from Bible reading, we should do the things we have considered in this message:
1. Interpret it literally whenever possible.
2. Read it completely.
3. Read it reverently.
4. Read it humbly.
5. Read it expectantly.
6. Read it dependently.
7. Read it Christ-centeredly.
8. Read it obediently.
9. Read it logically.
10. Read it meditatively


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

God the Father cares for you.
He knows the trials you’re going through.

His grace is sufficient for your troubled heart.
He is with you now, and will not depart.

When you’re loaded down with care,
He wants to hear your heartfelt prayer.

You can ask for a miracle or for strength to cope.
You can ask him to restore your hope.

You can tell him what is on your mind.
He is understanding and very kind.

He is wise and can see
What answer is best for you, for me.

So, if he doesn’t take your troubles away
He will give you strength for each day.

Yes, God the Father cares for you.
You can trust his love. It’s tried and true.

Two Deadly Snakes

By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Two deadly snakes are slithering on the ground.
They want more victims, and don't care where they're found

They will sneak up on you with their awful bite.
It might be in daylight, or in the dark of night.

These snakes look friendly, like a family pet.
But their bite is deadly, as deadly as it can get.

These snakes are booze and gambling, a very dangerous pair.
They can take a good man and leave him in despair.

They can ruin your friendships, and your family, too.
They can ruin your character and leave you feeling blue.

They can give you poverty in place of your wealth.
They can give you misery in place of your health.

They can take your faith and turn it into doubt.
They can take your happiness and turn it inside out.

There are many bad things these two snakes can do.
So, don't let booze and gambling get a bite on you.

Stay a long way from them, though harmless they seem to be.
If you see them, tell them, "Get away from me!"


By Pastor Bruce OyenE-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Jesus knows about your heartache.
He knows what you're going through.
He knows when you're about to break,
And in it all he cares for you.

Jesus knows about each sleepless night.
He knows your feelings of despair.
He knows when things aren't going right,
And will listen to your heartfelt prayer.

Jesus knows each difficult day.
He knows when your strength is nearly gone.
He knows how hard can be the way,
And will help you carry on.

Some day, the skies will be clear.
Some day, the sun will shine once more.
If it doesn't happen now, down here,
It will when you walk through heaven's door.


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

We do not know what this life will hold,
whether mostly joy or grief untold.
But we can trust in God above
to filter it all through His tender love.

He will give answers to our prayers.
He will help us with our cares.
He will enable us to do His will.
No matter what, He's with us still.

As our days, our strength shall be.
God knows what's needed for you, for me.
He holds our days in His hands.
We can trust His loving plans.


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com
Have you considered the wonder of prayer?
That we can pray anytime, anywhere?
That we can lift our hearts to God above?
To one who cares for us with his tender love?

Oh, how good to turn to him when in need!
To know he listens, that he pays heed!
To bring our burdens to him, to bring our care!
To sense he's waiting  to meet us there!

God wants us to bring our needs to him,
whether they're big or small.
None are overlooked by him.
He's concerned about them all.

If you are God's child,
here's what you should do:
Pray to him daily.
He wants to hear from you.

Pray in the name of Jesus,
God's own beloved Son.
He honors the name of Jesus,
and remarkable things get done.

Give thanks for God's answers
given to your prayers.
They are his reminders
that he really, truly cares!


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
E-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

    The genuineness of many texts of the Bible are disputed for one reason or another. Examples of such disputed texts are Mark 16:9 - 20, John 7:53 - 8:11, and 1 John 5:7. In this article, I will present scholarly support for these verses. It is up to the reader to consider the evidence presented, and to reach one’s own conclusions based on that evidence. The scholars that will be quoted are Arthur Farstad, E. H. Bickersteth, and John Gill. Each one of these authors believed in the historic, orthodox view of the Bible’s verbal inspiration. That is, they believed the Bible to be the Word of God, and without error in the original writings.
Arthur Farstad was the Executive Editor of the New King James Version. He also wrote a book called “The New King James Version -- In The Great Tradition.” This a very interesting book that deserves careful reading. His support for the verses in question is found on pages 112, 113, and 114.
Here is what he said about the verses in Mark 16: “Frankly one fears that some would like to be rid of the passage because of verses 16 - 18 on the doctrines of baptism and miracles. The point that the footnotes in most Bibles fail to report is that 1,400 manuscripts do contain this passage. Further, St. Jerome, when he translated the New Testament into Latin, included Mark 16:9 - 20. It is significant that he did so in the fourth century, when the dissenting Egyptian manuscripts were also written! Apparently these two copies which lacked this passage were not representative in their own time. In short, the long ending of Mark is on a firm foundation and widely supported.”
Here is what Farstad wrote about the verses in John 7:53 - 8:11: “The manuscript evidence for this story is not nearly as strong as for Mark 16, but as far back as 1913 there were 900 copies of John that did contain it, and many more are known to exist today. The NIV note says, ‘The earliest and most reliable manuscripts do not have John 7:53 - 8:11.’ Let it be emphasized again that the EARLIEST Greek copies of John - those from Egypt - do indeed lack this text, but their superior reliability is only a theory.”
Farstad also wrote, “Perhaps the best way for the Bible reader to test the passage is to read John 7:52, skip over 7:53 - 8:11 to verse 12, and see if it hangs together well. It does not! The NIV obscures this NON SEQUITUR by supplying the word ‘people’ to the text of 8:12. Every Greek text says ‘them,’ and if 7:53 were the verse right before it, the term ’them’ would refer to the meeting of Nicodemus and the Sanhedrin. BUT OUR LORD WAS NOT AT THAT MEETING.”
Though it is not directly related to the point under discussion, one should read Farstad’s presentation on pages 114 and 115 of two historical errors in the critical text of Matthew 1 and Luke 23. It is quite interesting.
E. H. BICKERSTETH’S SUPPORT FOR MARK 16:9 - 20 E. H. Bickersteth is a well-known author from the 1800’s who wrote many books on Biblical subjects from a Bible-believing perspective. One of his books is on the Trinity, and another one is on the Holy Spirit. He also wrote poem-hymns.
In his introduction to his commentary in the Pulpit Commentary on Mark’s Gospel, Bickersteth has a section called “Observations On The genuineness and authenticity of the last twelve verses of St. Mark’s Gospel.” Under the subheading, “The evidence of manuscripts,” he wrote, ”With these three exceptions (Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, and L), all the Uncial Manuscripts maintain the twelve verses in their integrity. The evidence of Cursives is unanimous in favor of the disputed verses.” Under the subheading “The Evidence Of Ancient Versions,” Bickersteth wrote, “The most ancient versions, both of the Eastern and of the Western churches, without a single exception, recognize this passage.” Under the subheading, “Internal Evidence,” Bickersteth wrote, Now, to begin with. If it is assumed that St. Mark’s Gospel ended at the close of verse 8, the abruptness of the conclusion is very striking in the English, and still more so in the Greek….It seems scarcely possible to suppose that it could have ended here.”
Bickersteth also wrote, “On the other hand, having regard to the mode in which St. Mark opens his Gospel, we might suppose that he would condense at the close as he condensed at the beginning. The first year of our Lord’s ministry is disposed of very briefly; we might, therefore, expect a rapid and compendious conclusion. Two or three important evidences of our Lord’s resurrection are concisely stated; then, without any break, but where the reader must supply an interval, he is transported into Galilee. St. Mark had already recorded the words of Christ (xiv.28), ‘But after that I am risen I will go before you into Galilee.’ How natural, therefore, that he should refer in some way to our Lord’s presence in Galilee after his resurrection; which he does in the most effective manner by quoting the words which St. Matthew (xxvii.16, etc.) tells us were spoken by him in Galilee. Then another stride from Galilee to Bethany, to the last earthly scene of all - the Ascension. The whole is eminently characteristic of St. Mark. His Gospel ends, as we might expect it to end, from the character of its beginning. On the whole, the evidence as to the genuineness and authenticity of this passage seems irresistible.”
JOHN GILL’S SUPPORT FOR 1 JOHN 5:7. John Gill is the famous Baptist and Calvinist author of many books, including a massive, multi-volume commentary on the Bible. You can read about him in C. H. Spurgeon’s book, “Commenting And Commentaries.”
The following quote is taken from John Gill’s commentary on 1 John 5:7. It is not a complete quote of his comments on the verse. Rather, it is a quote sufficient to serve the purpose of this article. Though I have the complete set of Gill’s commentaries, this quote is taken from an internet resource: www.GodRules.Net. His works are available online from several websites.
Gill wrote this on 1 John 5:7: “Ver. 7. For there are three that bear record in heaven, &c.] That is, that Jesus is the Son of God The genuineness of this text has been called in question by some, because it is wanting in the Syriac version, as it also is in the Arabic and Ethiopic versions; and because the old Latin interpreter has it not; and it is not to be found in many Greek manuscripts; nor cited by many of the ancient fathers, even by such who wrote against the Arians, when it might have been of great service to them: to all which it may be replied, that as to the Syriac version, which is the most ancient, and of the greatest consequence, it is but a version, and a defective one. The history of the adulterous woman in the eighth of John, the second epistle of Peter, the second and third epistles of John, the epistle of Jude, and the book of the Revelations, were formerly wanting in it, till restored from Bishop Usher's copy by Deuteronomy Dieu and Dr. Pocock, and who also, from an eastern copy, has supplied this version with this text. As to the old Latin interpreter, it is certain it is to be seen in many Latin manuscripts of an early date, and stands in the Vulgate Latin edition of the London Polyglot Bible: and the Latin translation, which bears the name of Jerom, has it, and who, in an epistle of his to Eustochium, prefixed to his translation of these canonical epistles, complains of the omission of it by unfaithful interpreters. And as to its being wanting in some Greek manuscripts, as the Alexandrian, and others, it need only be said, that it is to be found in many others; it is in an old British copy, and in the Complutensian edition, the compilers of which made use of various copies; and out of sixteen ancient copies of Robert Stephens's, nine of them had it: and as to its not being cited by some of the ancient fathers, this can be no sufficient proof of the spuriousness of it, since it might be in the original copy, though not in the copies used by them, through the carelessness or unfaithfulness of transcribers; or it might be in their copies, and yet not cited by them, they having Scriptures enough without it, to defend the doctrine of the Trinity, and the divinity of Christ: and yet, after all, certain it is, that it is cited by many of them; by Fulgentius f46 , in the beginning of the “sixth” century, against the Arians, without any scruple or hesitation; and Jerom, as before observed, has it in his translation made in the latter end of the “fourth” century; and it is cited by Athanasius about the year 350; and before him by Cyprian f48 , in the middle, of the “third” century, about the year 250; and is referred to by Tertullian about, the year 200; and which was within a “hundred” years, or little more, of the writing of the epistle; which may be enough to satisfy anyone of the genuineness of this passage; and besides, there never was any dispute about it till Erasmus left it out in the, first edition of his translation of the New Testament; and yet he himself, upon the credit of the old British copy before mentioned, put it into another edition of his translation.”
    One of the goals I have had in writing this article was to give evidence in support of these disputed verses. Another goal is remind us that one can be a firm believer in the Bible’s verbal inspiration, but not be in agreement on some disputed texts of the Bible. If one affirms historic, orthodox Christianity as it is found in the pages of the Word of God, one will affirm that the original writings of the Bible were infallible, and that the teachings of the Bible are, therefore, infallible. But that does not require everyone to come to the same conclusions about the evidence for or against disputed Bible verses.


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
Email: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

   While expository preaching and verse-by-verse Bible teaching yield rich rewards for both the preacher and his congregation, consider some things in support of topical preaching, which has fallen on hard times in some Bible-believing circles.
   But, first, think about the fact that topical preaching has fallen on hard times for, perhaps, one primary reason: it might too often have been shallow in content. This is not the fault of the method, but the fault of the preacher. Topical preaching will be as shallow or as deep as one makes it. It might have been A. W. Tozer who made the wise comment that one can’t preach from an empty head. Those who try to do so preach shallow sermons.
Some great preachers of the past mostly used the topical method, but their sermons were not shallow. Examples are C. H. Spurgeon, and R. A. Torrey. These men were topical and doctrinal preachers with some real substance to their sermons. Both men were intellectuals, and it was evident in their sermons.
It is an interesting fact that Spurgeon’s topical sermons are still popular, in contrast to the expository sermons of his contemporary, Alexander MacLaren.
MacLaren was a pulpit giant in his own right, and his sermons are still worthy to be read. He was an excellent expositor. But MacLaren’s sermons are seldom republished. They collect dust on the shelves of libraries, while Spurgeon’s sermons get republished all over the world year after year in many languages, even though he died in 1892.
Another person who preached topical sermons with Biblical meat in them was J. Vernon McGee, as his excellent book of sermons, “DOCTRINE FOR DIFFICULT DAYS” proves. These sermons were preached to his own congregation at The Church Of The Open Door.
Not only did these men preach topical sermons. So also did most of the preachers in the Bible itself. Their examples, too, should give us reason to consider doing so ourselves.
So, what is the value of topical preaching? For one thing, our listeners think topically. And because they think topically, we can apply the Word of God to what they think about. They have many subjects go through their minds that can be addressed by this method of preaching the Word of God. They think about marriage, divorce, remarriage, money, sex, child rearing, prayer, God, the Bible, heaven, hell, the world’s many religions versus Christianity, the numerous divisions in what is called “Christendom,” cults, and many other matters.
If the preacher were to address these matters only as they come up as he goes through the Bible book-by-book and verse-by-verse, it would take years to do so. Therefore, he needs to apply the Bible to what he thinks his listeners need to know at a given time.
Another value of topical preaching is that it gives the preacher a good means of exposing his listeners to the great doctrines of the Christian faith in a systematic way.
He can do a series on the inspiration of the Bible, the deity of Christ, the Trinity, the person and work of Christ and of the Holy Spirit, heaven, hell, the resurrection of the dead, salvation by grace through faith, the rapture, the second coming of Christ, and many other topics.
McGee’s sermons in his book referred to above book are an example of such preaching. His topics were these:
1) What Is Doctrine?
2) The Bible.
3) Inspiration.
4) The Doctrine of Origins.
5) The Purpose And Nature Of Man.
6) Angels.
7) Satan: Who Is He?
8) Salvation: Part 1:
9) Salvation: Part 2:
10) Eternal Security and Assurance.
11) Sanctification.
12) Heaven and Hell
13) Eschatology.
Each one of these topics can easily require two or more sermons. However, it is best to not preach too many sermons in a row on one topic. The average person wants it to be obvious that the preacher is making progress with his topic.
So, if he preaches five sermons on five consecutive Sundays on, say, “The Second Coming Of Christ,” the congregation will become weary of the topic unless he is an unusually gifted speaker. Therefore, it would be better to preach two sermons on the subject, and then move on to a few new subjects and then return to preach more on the second coming of Christ.
There are different methods of preaching topical sermons. One can be called “the topical-expository method.” The distinctive feature of this method is that, though it is a topical sermon, its main points are derived from one passage of Scripture, instead of deriving them from verses scattered throughout the Bible. This passage can be made up of several verses, not just one.
Consider an example of this method. While working on this article, I preached a sermon from 2 Timothy 3:14 - 17. To get the congregation’s attention, the sermon was titled, “What Makes The Bible A Special Book?” My 5 main points were derived right from the verses themselves. The points were:
1) The Bible is a protective Book, if we continue in its teachings, vs. 14.
2) It is a child’s Book, because it can be learned in childhood, just as it was by Timothy, vs. 15.
3) It is an evangelistic Book, because it can make us wise unto salvation through faith in Christ Jesus, vs. 15.
4) It is an inspired Book, having come from God, vs. 16.
5) It is a profitable Book for 5 reasons, verses. 16 & 17.
Of course, each main point was expanded on and applied.
A second method of topical preaching is the most common one: A Biblical topic is preached on, with the sermon’s main points being derived from verses found in, perhaps, a number of places in the Bible. This method might be called “the scattered-verses method” because sermons are built on verses scattered throughout the Bible.
I preached this kind of sermon while this article was being written. My subject was, “Eight Characteristics Of Biblical Churches,” also known as “The Biblical distinctive of Baptists.” The main points have been preached in Baptist churches for many years:
1) A Biblical church believes in the authority of the Bible.
2) A Biblical church believes in the autonomy of the local church.
3) A Biblical church believes in the priesthood of all believers.
4) A Biblical church believes in two church ordinances: baptism and the Lord’s supper.
5) A Biblical church believes in individual soul liberty.
6) A Biblical church believes in saved church members.
7) A Biblical church believes in two church officers: the pastor-bishop-elder and deacons.
8) A Biblical church believes in the separation of church and state.
Each main point was supported from two or more Bible verses which were found in different parts of the Bible.
Another method of topical preaching could be called “a topic in a Biblical book method.” When this method is used, the preacher expounds on what a given book of the Bible says on a specific topic.
So, to give some examples, one could preach on what Philippians says about joy and rejoicing in the Lord. One could preaching on what First Peter says about suffering. One could preach on what the Thessalonian epistles say about prophetic subjects. One could preach on what James says about temptation or prayer or faith and works. This method is both interesting and beneficial.
Topical preaching is valuable, too, because by it the preacher can apply the Word of God to matters that are of present interest to his listeners. For instance, when it is time to vote for a president of the USA, the pastor can preach a message from Romans 13 what is our responsibility to human government. Or if a church member has died, he can preach a message about the blessing of departing this life to be with Christ, which is far better. Or if someone makes a profession of faith in Christ, he can preach a message on baptism and one on the importance of teaching new converts what they should believe and how they should behave.
CONCLUSIONExpository preaching and verse-by-verse commentating are valuable means of feeding the Word of God to others. But don’t underestimate the value of preaching on the topics spoken of in the Bible. Both the preacher and his listeners will benefit considerably when this method is used. The wise preacher will use both methods as he preaches the Word of God.


By Pastor Bruce Oyen
e-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

     Sometimes midweek services are stuck in a rut. The same faithful few attend to carry on a longstanding tradition that seems to have lost its purpose. You get that feeling best described by the familiar words. “same old, same old.”
    Our church was in a rut of routine, but we found a way out of it. We decided to quit meeting in the church building on Wednesday nights in order to have an outreach at some of the local nursing homes and retirement homes. By doing so, we have an evangelistic ministry to non-Christian residents and employees of these places, and a ministry of encouragement to those who are Christians. Sometimes friends and relatives are visiting residents, and we have the privilege of ministering to them, also.
    This change has gotten more of our church folks to attend than when we met in the church building. And a high percentage of those persons participate in what we do by providing special music, by giving inspirational readings from Scripture and poetry. Someone usually gives a short devotional, too. Of course, residents, employees, and guests enjoy a hearty handshake, a warm smile, and brief conversation.
   Our new ministry accomplishes at least two things:
1) It gives us a sense of purpose. We know we are accomplishing something positive in the lives of the residents, employees, and guests who attend. We know it could lead some of these persons to faith in Christ, and we know it can encourage others in their difficulties.
2) It helps make our church known in a positive way in the community. We want our church to be known as a church that reaches out with the love of Christ, and this helps make it happen. This can cause those in attendance to reach out to the church for help in some way. It might be for a wedding, a funeral, marriage counsel, or something else.
    This simple change has gotten our church out of a rut of routine. That “same old, same old” feeling is gone. Maybe it will do the same thing for your church.
By Pastor Bruce Oyen
e-mail: bk_oyen@hotmail.com

Have you ever seen an announcement on TV about a bank robber the police are seeking help to apprehend? They tell his height, weight, color, clothes he might be wearing, and other features such as tattoos, so that you might recognize him and turn him into the police.
That's how to recognize a criminal, but how do we recognize a good Bible study class? What are some of it characteristics? I will give four characteristics of good Bible classes so that teachers will know if they are doing a good job, and so students will know if they are helping or hindering Bible classes study the Word of God.
But before I give my list of four, what do you think are some characteristics of good Bible classes? Might they be the following?
1. Everyone uses the same Bible translation.
2. Many translations are used.
3. The teacher teaches directly from the Bible’s original languages.
4. Study guides and handouts are used.
5. Only the Bible is used.
6. The class starts and ends on time.
7. The teacher lectures without giving ample time for questions and discussion.
8. The teacher maintains a good balance of lecturing, questions and discussion.
THE MAIN CONCERN OF THIS ARTICLEThe main concern of this article is the fact that in many classes very little direct Bible teaching is given because the time is taken up by too much discussion. Everyone is encouraged to share his or her opinion on the subject under consideration, the end result of which is little more than the sharing of anecdotes and personal opinions. Many times these anecdotes and opinions reveal ignorance of the Word of God instead of feeding people the Word of God. There is so much class discussion that ample direct teaching is hindered.
Here is an example of what I mean: One time when visiting a church Bible class, considerable discussion had to do with the rightness or wrongness of a Christian marrying a non-Christian.
One man told the class to keep in mind that many non-Christians have gotten saved as the result of marrying Christians. This seemed to end the discussion. But I pointed put that, though that might be true, it does not justify violating the Bible’s prohibition of doing so, and supported my statement with 1 Corinthians 7:39, which says a Christian should marry “in the Lord,” meaning a Christian should marry a Christian.
Class discussion is good, so long as it is not allowed to encroach upon the direct teaching of the Bible. But this is what takes place week after week, so we need to get back to providing good Bible classes. Therefore, let us now consider some characteristics of good ones.
SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD BIBLE CLASSES1. Good Bible classes have teachers who teach Biblical content, rather just guiding or facilitating group discussions on Biblical subjects.For example, if the subject is “What the epistle of James says about temptation,” the teacher will not just ask the class what they think James wrote about this matter, and then let the discussion go in all directions like a sailboat on Lake Superior without anyone holding the rudder. Instead, though the teacher might ask that question and allow time for discussion, he or she will always tell the class what James actually does say about temptation in James 1:2 & 3, and 12, 13, & 14.
2. Good Bible classes have teachers who believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and who, therefore, accept its teachings as absolute truth.If a teacher does not have this opinion about the Bible, he or she will call its teachings into question, which, of course, will undermine the students’ faith in the Bible. Therefore, such persons should not be allowed to be Bible teachers in churches, schools, or anywhere else.
Several years ago, an embittered divorcee told me in private conversation that the apostle Paul’s teaching on marriage and related subjects was in error. Think of the negative impact she would have had on others if she had been a Bible class teacher. No doubt, she negatively influenced her children’s view of the Bible’s teaching. And that is exactly what many are doing week by week in their “Bible classes,” on that and many other subjects.
On the other hand, think of the positive impact of one who does believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, just as we read of it in 2 Timothy 3:16 and 2 Peter 1:21. Many of you reading this article were greatly influenced for good by the teaching of your parents, a Sunday school teacher, or a pastor who told you many times the Bible is the Word of God.
3. Good Bible classes have teachers who know that a Biblical statement means what its author meant by it, and they know it means nothing else.Such teachers try diligently to determine the author’s meaning of a statement, and then communicate that to their students.
In 2 Corinthians 11:8, the KJV, New KJV, NASB, and NIV say the apostle Paul said he had “robbed” other churches to minister to the Corinthian church. It is the teacher’s job to find out what that means, for it means only one thing. It would be a serious mistake for the teacher to ask the class what they think the statement means, and then give them the impression the various and contradictory opinions might all be right.
Rather, the class should be told that Paul used the word “robbed” in this case to mean he received financial support from other churches to serve the Corinthians, but he did not receive support from them for his own good reasons.
Sometimes a teacher might be unsure of what a Biblical statement means. This is common and acceptable. In such cases, the teacher should be honest with students, and perhaps open it up for discussion. But the teacher must never imply that all opinions are right, or that a statement means what we want it to mean. It always and only means what the author meant by it, even if we don’t know what that is.
As we try to determine what a Biblical statement means, it will cause our minds to work up a sweat. Research is hard, mental work, but it must be done. This work yields the best discoveries in the Bible. It reminds me of when we lived on the island of St. Croix, in the U. S. Virgin Islands. We would go to the beach to swim and hunt for sea shells. Many shells were found right in plain sight on the shore. But the best ones were found by turning over rocks, or by looking between rocks. That took more work, but was worth the effort.
So, don’t shy away from the hard work of Bible study. Prayerfully and carefully use commentaries, Bible dictionaries, Bible handbooks, and other Biblical reference works that will help you unlock the meaning of a Biblical statement.
4. Good Bible classes have teachers who not only seek to inform their students’ minds, but who also seek to transform their lives with the Bible.That classic text about the inspiration of the Bible, 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17, tells us the Bible is of divine origin. But it does much more than that: it tells us it has life-transforming power. It is “profitable for doctrine (teaching), for reproof, for correction, and instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
We can know the Bible well without it doing us any good. This was made clear to me one day in 1974 or 1975, when I was selling Christian books door-to-door on the island of Nassau, Bahamas. As I walked down the street, a man walked in my direction on the same side of the street. I could tell he had become good friends with Jim Beam or Johnny Walker, for he was drunk. When he learned what I was selling, he gave me a Bible test: “How many times is God directly referred to in the book of Esther?” Fortunately, I could tell him the answer, “Not once.” This man had obviously stored the Bible in his memory, but he had not hid it in his heart.
Though, ultimately, the student must decide for himself or herself what impact the Bible will have on daily life, the teacher seeks to transform lives with it, not just inform minds.
IN CONCLUSIONIt is hoped that this article will help both teachers and students seek to have these characteristics of good Bible classes in our churches and elsewhere.
Teachers can work harder at teaching the Bible, and students can cut back on the amount of discussion that uses up the time needed for genuine Bible study.
Moreover, it is hoped that pastors will take greater oversight of the Bible classes sponsored by their churches, so those classes will more effectively expose those in attendance to the Word of God.
One way this can be done is to have required classes on teaching for teachers, even teachers who have been at it for years. It might be better for a pastor to simply announce such classes will be held, and that teachers will be required to attend, than to sit in on classes and then have to correct the faults observed. However it is done, great tact must be used.