Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Holy Spirit Is Real!

Good Monday Morning To You!

I hope you had a good week since we visited last. Thank you for allowing me these few minutes with you. My week was one of those normal weeks that believers have. God blesses you, then satan comes along and starts his nonsense, then you have to deal with the negativity and wild notions he plants in your mind, then as you compare what God has given you to what the devil tells you God has given you, the peace of God settles over you and joy reigns supreme once again. Did you also notice that the greater the blessing from God, the worse the assault from satan? Think about it: the food you eat is a blessing from God, but rarely does the devil aggravate you over it. Why? He doesn’t have to. Most people in America simply take it for granted. Even those Christian believers who do pause to pray before they eat, often do it mechanically, without much thought. They do not mean to, but the pre-meal prayer has become just a ritual. The person means what they are saying, but they give too little thought as to Whom they are saying it. Whenever these things come your way, Dr. Vic’s prescription is take a good healthy dose of the Psalms. Don’t worry about an overdose. With this prescriptive, the more the better. As you look into God’s word, the Holy Spirit begins to speak, and soon that joy returns. As a side note, you will notice that I used satan’s name above. You will also see that I did not capitalize the first letter of his name as is proper when using a proper noun. The reason: his name is too vile and wretched to be counted as proper. He is not worthy to have his name capitalized, so I do not.

Yesterday was another great day at Friendship Harmony. The services just keep getting better and better. I so enjoy preaching at this Church. For the past twelve years I took no pleasure in preaching; it had ceased to be fun. I had no freedom in my ministry and had to weigh every word I said. However, back on August 29 of 2010, the date Friendship Harmony began, preaching became pleasurable again. No longer was it just, “part of the job.” It has become my passion once again. When a Pastor has a congregation as fine as I have, he can experience the freedom, joy, and excitement of ministry. I cherish it and thank the LORD for it.

The sermon continued the “What if” theme. We started several weeks past with “What If There Is A God? Last week was, “What If Jesus Is Who He Says He Is?” Next week will be, “What If The Bible Really Is The Word Of God?” Yesterday I preached “What If The Holy Spirit Is Real? The notes are below.

What If … The Holy Spirit Is Real?
Various Scriptures
By Victor W. Cooper
What If Series 02/26,26/11

I. Who is He?
A. Spirit of Truth
John 15:26 (KJV)
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
Luke 1:35 (KJV)
B. The Holy Spirit
Luke 1:35 (KJV)
35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
Psalm 51:11 (KJV)
11 Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
C. Spirit of judgment
Isaiah 4:4 (KJV)
4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

II. What does He do?
A. Indwells
Ezekiel 36:27 (KJV)
27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
1 Corinthians 3:16 (KJV)
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
B. Guides believers
John 16:13 (KJV)
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
C. Convicts sinners
Isaiah 63:10 a(KJV)
10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit….
Mark 3:29 (KJV)
29 But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
1 Thessalonians 5:19 (KJV)
19 Quench not the Spirit.

III. What happens when the Spirit is resisted?
A. He becomes your enemy ie your worst nightmare.
Isaiah 63:10 (KJV)
10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.
B. He stops convicting.
Genesis 6:3 (KJV)
3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

[Delivered 2/27/11/a.m. @ Friendship Harmony Baptist Church]

As you can see, the Holy Spirit is very real. He is not a wisp of wind nor is He a symbol or a thought. He is called the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ, therefore, He is God. (Genesis 1:2; Acts 2:17; Romans 8:9; 1 Peter 1:1) Since the Spirit is God, his wise advise and counsel must be followed. Note of theology: Although He is called the third person of the Godhead, never relegate Him to third place. Do not think that He has a lesser role or place of importance than does the Father or the Son. There is no rank within the Divine Trinity; all are co-equal because all are the same except in function. The ministry of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is different but totally compatible.

Thanks again for our visit together. I hope you have a tremendous week wherever you are. As you go about normal everyday living, be sure you devote some private and quiet time to be with the LORD. Doing so does not guarantee that adversity might not come, but it will arm you with the tools to navigate these waters we call life. Be sure to pray for my family and me, and rest assured I pray for you as well.

I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What if... Jesus Is...?

Good Tuesday Morning To You!!

Thanks again for understanding about my not being able to visit with you yesterday. Since last Tuesday, I have had lots of irons in the fire. I won’t go into it --- it’s mostly preacher stuff. I love it, but it has kept me hopping like Peter Cottontail. You do remember Peter Cottontail, I’m sure. If not, Google him; I’ll bet he turns up somewhere on the net. I enjoy being busy with ministry duties. I enjoy meeting people and promoting our Church. I love promoting it because in turn it promotes the Lord Jesus Christ.

Speaking of promoting Jesus, did you get to read the two chapters in the Gospel of John that I suggested? If you did not, take your Bible and read John chapters 10 and 14 before you proceed. I’ll wait for you. They speak of Him, with most of it listening to Him speak. My Sunday message was “What If Jesus Is Who He Says He Is?” The Sermon notes are enclosed:

What If… Jesus Is Who He Says He Is?©
What If Series By Victor Cooper

I. What did He claim? Jesus made many claims, but here are three.
A. John 10:30 I and my Father are one.
B. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
C. John 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

II. What does it mean?
A. John 10:30
1 For Jesus to be one with the Father (albeit distinct from him) is tantamount to a claim to deity — Bible Background Commentary
2. The Jews understood His claim.
John 10:31-33 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? 33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
3. It means Jesus said He was God!
B. John 14:6
1. The Bible Knowledge Commentary:
Jesus is the “Way” because He is the “Truth” and the “Life.” As the Father is Truth and Life, Jesus is the embodiment of God so people can come to the Father. By His words, No one comes to the Father except through Me, Jesus stressed that salvation, contrary to what many people think, is not obtainable through many ways. Only one Way exists (cf. Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus is the only access to the Father because He is the only One from the Father
(cf. John 1:1-2, 51; 3:13).
2. ---Hard Sayings of the Bible
John 14:6 is one of those verses that are difficult not because we do not understand them but because we understand them all too well.
The issue, then, is not whether or not we like this claim, but whether or not it is true. The usual smokescreen is to say, "What about those who have never heard of Jesus?" The response to this is twofold: (1) there is a missionary imperative in the New Testament to minimize this problem (that is why, for example, Paul dedicates his life to preaching Jesus where he has not yet been preached) and (2) how God may choose to reveal himself or deal with those who have no human messenger is his business. If we know God's character, we can trust him to do his business well. Our problem is that we do know about Jesus and are living in a culture in which Jesus is all too well known. Furthermore, the missionary imperative falls to those of us who believe.
If, then, this claim is true, two conclusions follow. First, we are deceiving ourselves if we think that we can come to God any other way than through Jesus. What is more, no other way will supplement or add to Jesus as the way. Second, if we are already following Jesus, we are called, in John's terms, to be witnesses to the truth and life found in Jesus.
3. The OT announced it. Isaiah 59:16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
4. The NT affirmed it. Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
5. It means Jesus is the only means of salvation; all others are bogus and counterfeit.
C. John 10:11
1. The Good Shepherd provides
A. Security
B. Nourishment/Refreshment
C. Hope
D. Abundant life/Joy, Contentment
E. Eternal Life


III. If it is true, then…
A. … John 10:30 is correct in telling you that Jesus is God. You had better heed His warning.
B. … the exclusivity of John 14:6 is a fact taught by God Himself. If God tells you Jesus is the only way, you’d better quit trying to come up with others.
C. … John 10:11 is correct in reporting to you that you have a Shepherd (who just happens to be Almighty God); you’d better follow Him.

{Preached 2/20/11/10:00a.m. @ Friendship Harmony Baptist Church}

If Jesus is who He says He is, how will that affect your relationship with Him? Do you even have a relationship with Him? Jesus stands ready to forgive your sin and to receive you unto Himself. If Jesus is who He says He is, you had better trust Him, believe Him, and receive Him. Scriptures teach that today is the accepted day to do that very thing. Feel free to E-mail me or call if you’d like to trust Christ completely.

Hopefully we’ll get back on track and be back to our Monday morning visits next week. As any Pastor can tell you, we can plan our time, but one phone call can change it all. We don’t mind, though. We want to hear from you. Pastors worry when people STOP calling. I’m glad to be a part of the lives of my congregation, and glad they are a part of mine. Miss Bessie feels the same as do I. Take care of yourself this week. I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

See Ya Tomorrow!

Good Monday Morning To You!
Hey,I've got a favor to ask you. I can't come in for our regular Monday Morning visit for today, but could I drop by for a chat tomorrow. Sunday and Monday are very busy days and this week Tuesday would be better. If I wrote today, it would be very rushed, and I tend to be a perfectionist about handling the word of God. I feel you deserve my best effort. Look for the blog tomorrow morning when we will discuss passages from John chapters 10, and 14. Why don't you spend the time you would be reading the blog in reading those two chapters. Thanks for understanding --- I'll see you in the morning. Pastor Vic


Sunday, February 13, 2011

What A Day It Was!!!

Good Monday Morning To You!!

Happy Valentine’s Day. Thank you so much for letting me share a few minutes of this day with you. Do you remember when you were a kid in school and you passed out cheesy cards to everyone in your class. You gave one to everyone --- kids you liked and kids you didn’t. I grew up a city boy, so it was not uncommon to have a class with 40 people in it. Many of those kids, you knew who they were, but you did not really play together. Still, everyone got a card, and you got one from everybody. Ahh, childhood memories. I don’t know about you, but I had a great childhood - my parents saw to it. I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I had everything I needed. As I said, I’m a big city boy. I grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati. I like the city. I like the big city conveniences, and the big city opportunities. So where do I live now? In the country, literally back in the woods. My grandson, Nathan, used to call it “grandpa’s forest.” One day when he came for a visit, we took him and his little sister, my granddaughter, Layne, to the beach to play in the Gulf of Mexico. I asked them if they wanted to play in grandpa’s ocean. For quite a while they just knew their grandpa owned the Gulf of Mexico. Since I claimed ownership, I wonder if I should file a claim against BP? Very intriguing thought.

We had a very good day at Friendship Harmony yesterday. It was the day we formally adopted our constitution and recognized our charter members. I’m proud and indeed blessed to announce that 48 people became charter members. On hand to help us celebrate was Bro. Everett Rafferty, Director of Missions for the Royal Palm Association of Baptists, Sister Jennifer Horton, his administrative assistant, and Bro. Keith Lancaster from the Church Planting Division of The Florida Baptist Convention. These three people have been instrumental in helping Friendship Harmony move from a group of people meeting together for a worship service each week, to a fully functioning, fully operational New Testament Baptist Church. Thank you Everett, Jennifer, and Keith. Of course, all praise goes to Almighty God for His blessings upon our Church. Without the LORD’s aid, none of it could be possible. If I started listing all the blessings, we’d be here all day. The best blessing is the 48 souls He has entrusted into our care. There are others who faithfully attend as well, and they too are loved and appreciated. If everyone could be there at once, we would have more than 60 people attending. Several were sick yesterday and could not attend, but it was an awesome day.

Another of our blessings that I told you I would make known at the service yesterday was the addition of 75 new hymnals. These hymnals were donated to us by the Living Waters Community Church of Bonita Springs, Florida. These books were purchased new by them, then very soon thereafter they decided to project the words onto a screen. The hymnals were packed away and put into a shed. From there, through several more channels, they were donated to us. We certainly thank the LORD for them. Also, we were blessed with a new sign. It looks nice, and should serve our needs for a good long while.

Next week, I’ll tell you a little more about our constitution service. If you were there, you know what a fine time with the LORD it surely was. I cannot thank Him enough for being there not only with us, but for us. God’s presence is a blessing I never want us to take for granted, nor lose. Without Christ, there is no Friendship Harmony Baptist Church. Stay safe this week and be well. I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

What if....

Good Monday Morning To You!!! Did the Super Bowl go to suit you? I’m not a Green Bay Packers fan, but I’ll root for anybody over Pittsburgh. My apologies to my Monday Morning friends in Pittsburgh! I’ve been to Green Bay several times in my life as well as Pittsburgh. I’ve met good people in both cities and had memorable experiences in each. First and foremost, being from Cincinnati, I am a Bengals fan. ………….. O K, quit laughing. I support my team in good times and in bad. I’ve seen the bad and can’t wait for the good. Let’s shift our focus to baseball. How about them Reds? Spring training is just a few days away…….

Yesterday was another awesome day at Friendship Harmony. One dear lady came forward and announced that she had received Christ as her Lord and asked to be baptized. We now have five awaiting baptism. What a blessing. We were also introduced to the newest “members” of our Church: a brand new 2011 Roland digital keyboard, and a P.A. set. The piano has a full 88 note keyboard with the action and sound of a grand piano, plus many additional features as well. It sounds awesome and is totally portable. Since we rent space in a secular clubhouse, the portability factor was important to us. The entire piano only weighs 33 pounds and never needs tuning. The P.A. set came as a surprise, but it was sorely needed. Since we have grown like we have, people sitting farthest away were having trouble hearing. Now the piano as well as singers, song leaders, and preachers can be heard just fine. I stand amazed at how God is providing. I am actually experiencing some of my best times in the ministry. If I would have known that starting a new Church was this much fun, I’d have started in my 20’s! Two other new blessings will be introduced next week, but more on those next Monday Morning --- I do not want to spoil the surprise.

Yesterday I began a series of messages titled, “What If…? The idea came from two sources. One was from a long time friend who told me he was dealing with a “what if” question in his life. I do not know about you, but I certainly have wrestled with a few of those in the past. The second source came from a thought on an e-mail. This post said, “It is better to live your life believing there is a God and finding out at death that there isn’t than to live your life believing there is no God and finding out at death that there is.” The LORD led me to develop a sermon called “What If There Is A God?” Rather than making a wordy commentary on what I said, I’ve provided the sermon notes for you. I believe they are self explanatory, but you may feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

What If There Is A God.
Hebrews 11:6
By Victor Cooper
Series: What if?

Intro: Someone sent me an e-mail with this quote: “It is better to live your life believing there is a God, only to find out at death there is not than to live your life believing there is no God and finding out at death there is.”

What if…

I. What if … there is no God?
A. Then nothing ultimately matters.
1. We are born, we live, we die and that’s it. The Epicurean philosophy was eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die.
B. Living a Godly life does aid in societal living.
1. It allows us to live with each other in a civilized manner.
C. There is more evidence proving there is a God than proving there is not.
1. It takes more faith to believe there is no God than to believe there is. Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
2. For mankind to have evolved from a single cell would require far too many things going right for far too long against all odds to the contrary.
D. The fact of a creation indicates a creator.

II. What if … there is a God?
A. If there is, we had better get to learning of Him.
B. God has to initiate the education.
C. God must introduce Himself in a written word and through personal presentation.

Deduction ---
D. God introduced Himself through His written word, and through a living Word through the incarnation.
1. In becoming a man God did not subtract His deity; He added His humanity.

III. What if … the written word is in error?
A. Then we slip back to the side that teaches there is no God. Remember: No God means no creation.
B. If God can create ex nihilo (from nothing),
and if He can speak ex cathedra (with the voice of God), then He can preserve a written word.
1. Not preserving it would totally defeat the purpose of writing it in the first place. Isaiah 55:11 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.
2. It cannot be eliminated by man, satan, or time.
3. To eliminate the word you must first eliminate the Creator. Since the Creator is also the sustainer, that becomes an exercise in futility.

Conclusion: Indeed there is a God. He has made Himself known through His word and through His Son Jesus Christ. To know God means to first know Jesus. Do you? Do you know Him personally? Have you received Him through faith and forgiveness?

Don’t forget this coming Sunday at Friendship Harmony. We will formally adopt our constitution and function as a New Testament Church. Our special speaker will be Keith Lancaster from the Florida Baptist Convention. Also with us will be Everett Rafferty from the Royal Palm Association of Baptists located right here in Lee County. Both these men, as well as Jennifer Horton, also from Royal Palm, have provided wise and Godly council during these formative months of our new Church. They have made the experience much easier as they have shared their experiences with new Church starts. Keeping with Baptist tradition, there will be dinner on the grounds afterward. The menu will feature ham, chicken, turkey, and meatloaf (my favorite) as well as delicious side dishes carried in by the best cooks in the world. Plan on being with us for this great day in the life of our infant Church.

Stay safe, healthy, and well. I’ll see you next Monday Morning With Pastor Vic!