From the Pastor's study
July 24, 2020
While they were not perfect, and understanding that there are some differences between conditions then and now (such as that political office or involvement then entailed idolatries the vast majority of the time), what might Christians today learn from the example of Christians living under the Roman Empire and Emperor in the early centuries of Christianity (from the birth of Christ to about 313 A.D. or so) regarding how they related to the State (Imperial Rome, which at that time, was not in favor of Christianity)?
Here’s a quote to ponder from Philipp Schaff’s Book, The History of the Christian Church. (In this time of uprisings, note especially the last three sentences about how Christians, who knew a whole lot about persecution and unjust oppression from the state, responded.)
“But in general the Christians of those days, with their lively sense of foreignness to this world, and their longing for the heavenly home, or the millennial reign of Christ, were averse to high office in a heathen state. Tertullian expressly says, that nothing was more alien to them than politics. Their conscience required them to abstain scrupulously from all idolatrous usages, sacrifices, libations, and flatteries connected with public offices; and this requisition must have come into frequent collision with their duties to the state, so long as the state remained heathen. They honored the emperor as appointed to earthly government by God, and as standing nearest of all men to Him in power; and they paid their taxes, as Justin Martyr expressly states, with exemplary faithfulness. But their obedience ceased whenever the emperor, as he frequently did, demanded of them idolatrous acts…
The comparative indifference and partial aversion of the Christians to the affairs of the state, to civil legislation and administration exposed them to the frequent reproach and contempt of the heathens. Their want of patriotism was partly the result of their superior devotion to the church as their country, partly of their situation in a hostile world. It must not be attributed to an “indolent or criminal disregard for the public welfare” (as Gibbon intimates), but chiefly to their just abhorrence of the innumerable idolatrous rites connected with the public and private life of the heathens. While they refused to incur the guilt of idolatry, they fervently and regularly prayed for the emperor and the state, their enemies and persecutors. They were the most peaceful subjects, and during this long period of almost constant provocation, abuse, and persecutions, they never took part in those frequent insurrections and rebellions which weakened and undermined the empire. They renovated society from within, by revealing in their lives as well as in their doctrine a higher order of private and public virtue, and thus proved themselves patriots in the best sense of the word.”
– Philipp Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Volume 2, Chapter 8, Section 96
June 1, 2020
“Violence shall no more be heard in thy land,
wasting nor destruction within thy borders;
but thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.
19 The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee:
but the Lord shall be unto thee an everlasting light,
and thy God thy glory.
20 Thy sun shall no more go down;
neither shall thy moon withdraw itself:
for the Lord shall be thine everlasting light,
and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
21 Thy people also shall be all righteous:
they shall inherit the land for ever,
the branch of my planting, the work of my hands,
that I may be glorified.”
April 22, 2020
April 1, 2020
A Sight of Sin and a Sight of Jesus:
“We can only properly deal with sin as, at the same moment, we personally and closely deal with Jesus. A spiritual sight of the one object, apart from a believing sight of the other, will plunge the soul into the deepest despair. A sight of atoning blood must accompany the sight of our guilt. Seen and dealt with alone, dissociated from the Savior, it is the darkest and most appalling object that can engage human study. But God has graciously and marvelously met the case. The instrument that exhibits sin in its greatest blackness at the same moment exhibits it in its fullest pardon…To have a sight of sin and a sight of Jesus at the same moment constitutes one of the holiest and richest pages in the history of a child of God. There are many of the Lord’s people who see sin, but who do not see Jesus at the same moment who do not look at their sins through the medium of the cross. To look at sin through the divine holiness, as reflected in the divine law, is to look and despair, to look and die! But to look at sin through Christ- to see it in the blood that cleanses it, in the righteousness that covers it, in the love that pardons it fully, freely, and forever; oh, this is to look and hope, to look and live! One eye upon sin, and one eye upon sin’s atonement, will enable the soul to walk humbly and filially with God. One eye looking at self and one eye looking at Christ will so regulate the experience of the soul, so accurately adjust its moral compass, as to preserve the balance between presumption and despair; leading to a humble, holy, watchful walk as it regards sin on the one hand, and to an assured, happy, hopeful sense of pardon, acceptance, and glory on the other. No fact in Christian experience is more certain than this, that sin is never properly seen until Christ is known; and that Christ is never fully known, until sin is seen in its existence, guilt, and power. It is a sense of our vileness, guiltiness, and condemnation that takes us to Christ; and when we see Christ, and accept Christ, and enter into believing rest in Christ, we then have the deepest conviction of the greatness, the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and at the same moment the most assured conviction of our full and eternal deliverance from its guilt, tyranny, and condemnation. This harmony of tint- the blending of light and shades in and Christ- forms one of the loveliest and most impressive pictures of the many which illustrate the history of the Christian’s life.”
~From A Sight of Sin and a Sight of Jesus, by Octavius Winslow, 1808-1878, English Preacher and Minister
March 20, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of Calvary Bible Church,
Yesterday afternoon President Trump announced stricter guidelines to help with the national response to the Coronavirus, including requesting that public assemblies of ten or more people be avoided. After much prayer and deliberation, the other Elders and I have decided that we as a Church will comply with the President’s request to limit assemblies during this 30-day period of time. Therefore, effective immediately, all scheduled services, ministries, meetings, and gatherings of the church are cancelled until further notice. We want to protect our people, love our neighbors, serve our community, and honor the governing authorities in this way.
The Elders will continue to monitor the situation. Only the Lord knows the future, so we are taking things as they come and not getting ahead of ourselves, but for now, our regularly scheduled services and ministries are cancelled.
With that said, there are several things I wanted to let you know during this interim time period.
- We plan to have the sermon live by video on Facebook at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday Morning for both Sundays, so you are welcome to go online to our Facebook page,https://www.facebook.com/calvarybiblecharleroi/, at 10:00 a.m. on Sunday morning and watch the video of the sermon live. The video will also remain on the page for you to view later on if you prefer that. If you do not have Facebook you can still view are weekly sermons at https://calvary-bible-church.freeonlinechurch.com/live
We also plan to record the sermon in audio format which can then be used to make CD’s available that we can mail and distribute to those who may be interested in hearing the sermon that way. If you would like us to mail you a CD of the sermon, please call the church office at 724-243-7684 and let us know and we will gladly send that out to you.
2. Additionally, in light of our having to cancel our Church Prayer Meeting , we encourage you instead to take time to pray from your home or wherever you may be, knowing that others from church will be praying right along with you.
3. We encourage you to stay connected with one another as the local body of Christ and as a church family. We are brothers and sisters in Christ, so look for ways to stay connected and stay in fellowship with one another. With so much technology available today, from cell phones, text messages, e-mails, Facebook and other social media, to good old cards, letters, and phone calls there are so many ways that we can stay in touch and encourage one another in fellowship as the body of Christ. We encourage you to call and check-in on one another. Christian fellowship isn’t primarily getting together for a meal once in a while after church, its being the body of Christ, being the family of God, loving and helping one another, encouraging and building one another up. This is a unique opportunity for us to show our love and care for one another and to help one another in practical ways. Let’s especially remember to check-in on those among us who may be more susceptible to illness at this time, the elderly and those with various health issues. Give a call to check-in on them, offer to pick something up at the store for them, or help to get them anything that they may need at this time, as you are able. You might call to pray together as well, or send a card to someone in the congregation, letting them know you are thinking for them and praying for them.
We know that these current events can affect people in a different variety of ways, so if you become in need of help, please reach out to the Elders, or call me or the church office and let us know what your need may be.
- We encourage you to be salt and light to your family, friends, and neighbors at this time, especially those who may be lost. We encourage you to “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven., Matthew 5:16. Also, “be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you…”, 1 Peter 3:15. Be ready to share how you can be so calm, peaceful, and loving to others at this time. As always, don’t be ashamed of the gospel of Christ.
- We encourage you to remember the Lord’s tithes and offerings as well. There are several ways for you to give. You are welcome to mail your check to the church office at 990 4th St. Ext., Charleroi, PA 15022. You can also drop your offering off at the church office Tuesday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Another option is if you have online banking and are familiar with online bill pay, you may be able to set it up to send your offering to the church through the online checking option, and we will get a physical check mailed to us from your banking institution that way. Lastly, you can simply set aside your offerings and bring them with you when we do reconvene again. The Lord always provides what is needed and He has blessed our church in many ways, so we are very thankful to Him, and we trust Him totally to continue to provide what is needed.
- As always, the Elders are available to you, and I am still available to you, so if you need anything at all from me, or if you would like to speak with me, please do not hesitate to contact me. You can call me any time on my cell phone at 717-344-9353 or e-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would be glad to speak with you at any time.
- Lastly, terms are important, so it is important that we all understand that the “church” isnot“closing”. We arethe Church! The church is an institution founded 2,000 years ago by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself, based on the foundation of the truth of His being the Divine Son of God, and of His death and resurrection for the redemption of His people, Matthew 16. Speaking of the church, Christ said that “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”, Matthew 16:18. Christ died on the cross, He atoned for our sins by His blood. He was buried, three days later He rose from the dead. He appeared to His disciples for about forty days, and then He ascended into Heaven, where He was seated at the right hand of God the Father, and where He continuously intercedes for us now. Fifty days after He rose from the dead, on the day of Pentecost, the Risen and Ascended Lord Jesus sent forth from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, to fill and empower the Church. Peter preached a powerful sermon and the Holy Spirit awakened and brought many sinners (who had crucified Christ only fifty days earlier) to repentance and faith in Christ, about 3000 people were added to their number, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”, Acts 2:42. That Pentecost was the birthday of the Church and the Church has been worshipping, fellowshipping, teaching, and evangelizing through the centuries ever since.
The Church has faced difficulties before. In Acts 8:1-4, we read that persecution scattered all the believers but the apostles to different areas, yet we read that “they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.”, Acts 8:4
The Church is not closing, we are just temporarily having to rethink how we do those things that Christ formed the church to do, but we will never stop being the church. There is no such thing, because we (and every other believer all over the world) are the Church! We were Christ’s church before this, we will continue to be the Church during this time, and the Church will still be here doing what Christ called us to do long after these current events are all over. We will continue worshipping, praying, ministering to one another, and reaching out with the gospel and with the love of Christ to others.
So be the Church now. In how you reach out and care for one another, be the church. In how you witness to the community and serve the lost with peace and calm while they are afraid, be the church. In how you continue to worship and praise and thank such a wonderful God and Savior, be the church.
I miss you already, and we will look forward to when we can come together again as a local church to have worship and fellowship around our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
Be well, do good works, trust in the Lord, and stay in touch for these two weeks.
Please help us by calling and passing this along to those in our congregation who may not have e-mail or Facebook.
Love in Christ,
Pastor Brian Blais
Calvary Bible Church
990 4th St. Ext.
Charleroi, PA 15022
March 15th, 2020
“Matter for praise and adoration can never be wanting to creatures redeemed by the blood of the Son of God; and who have such continual scenes of His infinite goodness presented to their view, that were their souls duly affected with a sense of His universal love, they could not but be continually calling on heaven and earth, men and angels, to join with them in praising and blessing that “high and lofty One, Who inhabiteth eternity, Who maketh His sun to rise on evil and on the good,” and daily pours down His blessings on the whole race of mankind.”
~George Whitefield, 1714-1770, English Preacher and Itinerant Evangelist, from his Sermon, Thankfulness for Mercies Received, a Necessary Duty
March 8th, 2020
“They that see God cannot but praise Him. He is a Being of such glory and excellency that the sight of this excellency of His will necessarily influence them that behold it to praise Him. Such a glorious sight will awaken and rouse all the powers of the soul, and will irresistibly impel them, and draw them into acts of praise. Such a sight enlarges their soul, and fills them with admiration, and with an unspeakable exultation of spirit…When they behold the glorious power of God, they cannot but praise that power. When they see God’s wisdom, they cannot but continually praise that wisdom. When they view the infinitely pure and lovely holiness of God, whereby the heavens themselves are not pure in comparison with Him, how can they avoid with an exalted heart to praise that beauty of the divine nature! When they see the infinite grace of God, and see what a boundless ocean of mercy and love He is, how can they but celebrate that grace with the highest praise!”
~Jonathan Edwards, 1703-1758, New England Pastor and Preacher from his sermon “Praise, One of the Chief Employments of Heaven”.
March 1st, 2020
“They who come to Christ, do not only come to a resting-place after they have been wandering in a wilderness, but they come to a banqueting-house where they may rest, and where they may feast. They may cease from their former troubles and toils, and they may enter upon a course of delights and spiritual joys.
Christ not only delivers from fears of Hell and of wrath, but He gives hopes of heaven, and the enjoyment of God’s love. He delivers from inward tumults and inward pain from that guilt of conscience which is as a worm gnawing within, and He gives delight and inward glory. He brings us out of a wilderness of pits, and drought, and fiery flying spirits; and He brings us into a pleasant land, a land flowing with milk and honey. He delivers us out of prison, and lifts us off from the dunghill, and He sets us among princes, and causes us to inherit the throne of glory. Wherefore, if any one is weary, if any is in prison, if any one is in captivity, if any one is in the wilderness, let him come to the blessed Jesus, who is as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Delay not, arise and come away.”
~Jonathan Edwards, (1703-1758), From his sermon “Safety, Fullness, and Sweet Refreshment in Christ”