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Gehazi

Have you ever heard a sermon on Gehazi? I have preached on Elisha before, but never on Gehazi. In reviewing the life and miracles of Elisha, I thought we need to focus on what happened to Elisha’s assistant, Gehazi. So, last weekend I preached for the first time ever on Gehazi.

Gehazi in the Old Testament book of II Kings was the assistant to Elisha. There was an assumption that Gehazi would have succeeded Elisha, as the dominant prophet of his time, just as Elisha had succeeded Elijah. When the Shunnamite woman’s son died, it was Gehazi who took Elisha’s staff and raced ahead to reach the boy, even before Elisha did.

But Gehazi got in trouble. We see this happen all too often among Christians, even among Christian leaders in ministry, in our day. There is a lesson to learn from Gehazi. When God used Elisha to heal the Syrian army commander, Naaman, of leprosy and to bring Naaman to faith in the true God, in return Naaman offered to pay Elisha a substantial amount of wealth. However, Elisha refused. He said, “As the Lord lives,” I will not receive it. There would have been nothing wrong with receiving the offering, but God led Elisha to make it crystal clear to Naaman that you cannot purchase healing or salvation — but that both were all and only by God’s grace.

Observing all this, Gehazi decided to go after Naaman. He made up a false story of how they needed some of his offering after all — a considerable sum which Gehazi was going to keep for himself — unethically profiting from the ministry. What is even more interesting is that Gehazi used the same words, “as the Lord lives,” as had Elisha. How often do we see people do that? Are we ever guilty of assuming the Holy Spirit will lead us to do wrong? Or that God will be with us in doing something unbiblical?

Well, God called Gehazi on it. God revealed to Elisha what had happened, and God judged Gehazi immediately with the very leprosy from which Naaman had been healed.

Scripture warns us, “Be sure your sin will find you out.” What a warning from the life of Gehazi!

Pastor Jim

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Easter

What a marvelous Easter celebration we had this year here at First Baptist Church of Cape Coral! It is always good to see more people. Our crowds were up over last year for all of our services, including Good Friday, Easter Sunrise and Easter weekend worship. And it is always good to see people come to Christ — as multiple people testified that they put their faith in Christ as their Savior.

We also had an extraordinary offering for missions — to further the cause of Christ worldwide!

We thank the Lord for His goodness and for His blessing upon our church, our community, our nation, and our world!

Pastor Jim

 

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Easter

Much of the civilized world recognizes Easter in some fashion. Many people think it speaks of springtime, newness of life, purpose & conviction (dying for what one believes in — the purpose living on). And it surely does — that and much more. But the true meaning of Easter is that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross for our sins, paid the price for us, suffered our judgment for us — and rose again, conquering death and hell and sin, and bringing eternal life to all who believe.

Here at First Baptist Church of Cape Coral, after our 12:00 noon Good Friday service, we will celebrate the resurrection this Easter weekend:

  • Saturday night weekend worship at 6:00 PM at First Baptist
  • Sunday morning 6:30 AM sunrise service at Jaycee Park on the River
  • Sunday morning 10:00 AM worship at First Baptist

Join us as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the tomb!

Pastor Jim

 

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Easter Is Coming!

The resurrection of Jesus Christ proves that He is the Son of God. The resurrection proves that Jesus has power over life and death. The resurrection proves that we have been delivered from sin and its consequences by faith in Jesus Christ. The resurrection proves that Jesus Christ has conquered death and hell.

We will be celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ here at First Baptist Church of Cape Coral, FL. Our upcoming schedule includes:

  • Palm Sunday worship this Saturday 6 PM and Sunday 10 AM
  • Good Friday Communion Service 12:00 noon Friday March 30
  • Easter Sunrise, Jaycee Park on the River, 6:30 AM Sunday April 1
  • Easter Worship 6 PM Sat March 31 & 10 AM Sun April 1

You are welcome to join us for any or all of our services!

Pastor Jim

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March Madness

Along with many college basketball fans, I enjoy “March Madness” — the annual NCAA basketball tournament. From basketball, there are a number of analogies to the Christian life. Here are a few:

  • “One-on-one” — when one player on offense is isolated with one player on defense. LeBron James in the NBA often does this to take the ball to the basket. In the Christian life, we need to learn to witness one-on-one. Many more people will come to Christ through all of our personal one-on-one witness than the work of any one evangelist or missionary. The biblical example is set in John, chapter 1, where one by one Andrew comes to Christ, then brings Peter to Christ, then Philip comes to Christ, and then Philip witnesses to Nathaniel, who comes to Christ — each of them through one-on-onewitness.
  • “Upset” — Always in the NCAA basketball tournament there are upsets — where the underdog team upsets a greater team. Well, you and I are the underdogs — the little guy. And “greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” We do not have greater power than Satan in and of ourselves, but through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit we do have greater power and can upset the world, the flesh and the devil against us.
  • “Home court advantage” — While the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) and the NBA all permit home court advantage, the NCAA tournament does not. All their games are played on neutral courts. But what an advantage you and I have in the Christian life — if we utilize “home court advantage” by staying out of the wrong places, running with the right crowd and being in the right places. This does not mean we will not attack the “gates of hell” by being a witness in the world. But we need to prepare ourselves with Scripture and prayer, so that we always have “home court advantage.” I have seen this first-hand. Years ago a U.S. presidential candidate visited our church. The assembled national news media — network TV, AP, etc. — were all on their best behavior, because they were in a church. We had “home court advantage.” The AP reporter sought me out afterward to tell me how impressed he was that I preached the gospel and baptized while the candidate and the media all listened and waited.

We need to do all we can to be effective witnesses for Christ. Meanwhile, if you like basketball, enjoy “March Madness.” My alma mater, Ohio State, plays today (as I write this), and then hopefully again!

Pastor Jim

 

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Muslims in Athens

Our church supports an outstanding missionary in Athens, Greece. Emmanuel Negru is with Word of Life Greece. The primary ministry of he and his wife, Theresa, is reaching college students on the campuses of Athens. This young man is one of the most outstanding missionaries I have known in 40 years. He is on fire for God! (And so is his wife!)

There are now about 1-million Muslims residing in Athens. Many of them came in in 2015 and 2016. During those days, missionary Negru went down to the main port of entry and handed out thousands of gospel flyers to the incoming Muslims. Naturally, he ran into resistance. The overall view of the Greek government and society was that the Muslims have their own religion, so let them be as they wish. Some of the Muslims resisted Negru’s efforts.

But with the boldness we see in the Book of Acts, Emmanuel Negru continued to hand out gospel literature by the thousands. And finally he saw some fruit. God has blessed his efforts. He is an outstanding young missionary.

Pastor Jim

 

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