The Baptist Bible Hour now comes to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. O for a thousand tongues to sing, my great Redeemer's praise! Thou the rays of my God and King, thou triumphs of this grace!
This is LeSaire Bradley, Jr. inviting you to stay tuned for another message of God's sovereign grace. O for a breeze of heavenly love, do let my soul away! To that celestial world above, where pleasures ne'er be paid, The eternal Spirit gain to me, mine by the giving of, To steer through life's impetuous sea, where stormy winds do blow! From grounds of pride on either hand, from quick sands of despair, O guide me safe on Canaan's land, through every leg and spare!
Anchor me in that port above, on that celestial shore, Where dashing billows never move, where timbers never roar! I want to thank you who are regular supporters of this radio ministry. If it were not for your consistent help, we would be unable to continue. I feel sure there are some of you who have said more than once you are going to do your part to help, but with the busy rush of life, you just have never gotten to it. I encourage you to pray that the Lord will guide you in what you're able to do to help keep this message of grace, the gospel of our Savior, going out over the air and on the internet. Our mailing address is Baptist Bible Hour, Box 17037, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217.
Or you can donate at our website, baptistbiblehour.org. I was thinking the other day about how much I'm looking forward to springtime. I looked out at the table on our screened-in porch where I love to eat when the weather is warm.
I particularly enjoy breakfast there as the sun is coming up. I have to admit that this has been a mild winter for us here in Cincinnati, but even when the sun was shining, the wind was often cold. But on the first day of March, we had a beautiful day with the sun shining brightly and the temperature over 70 degrees.
And Emily and I were actually able to get out and take a walk. So with that warm day, we had another indication springtime is coming. Now I have said all of this to say that as I have anticipated the arrival of spring, I thought about a message I preached several years ago entitled The Blessing of Springtime.
It has been on the program a couple of times, but I want to use it again today. The second part will be next week. I pray it will be a blessing to you. We would like to encourage our listeners to take advantage of the Baptist Bible Hour podcast. On your smartphone or other mobile device, you can subscribe to the Baptist Bible Hour podcast and listen to the daily and weekly edition of the program.
It doesn't matter if you have an Apple or Android device, you can easily access this resource. Subscribing to the Baptist Bible Hour podcast is free of charge. You can listen to the program whenever you like. You can pause it if you have an interruption and come right back to where you left off and keep listening. Let's say you hear a particular message that's especially helpful. Simply save that message and listen to it as many times as you like. We're thankful for the multiple opportunities to platform the message of God's sovereign grace.
Your local radio station, our website at BaptistBibleHour.org, and the Baptist Bible Hour podcast. It's a beautiful spring day. The azaleas are blooming out beside the building. Some of the flowering trees bloomed a little early this year, but we've enjoyed that beauty. It was a lovely day yesterday when Brother Wagner took some of the men and boys from the church to the woods on his property over in Indiana. Just to see how many wildflowers and beautiful trees are to be found in the woods is inspiring as we see a display of the handiwork of God. The buttercups and the terrillium and Jack and the pulpit.
The list was endless of all of the interesting and beautiful flowers which are there. Let me think of a passage in Song of Solomon that I want to read to you. Song of Solomon chapter 2 verse 10. My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away. For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs and the vines with tender grape give a good smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away. This book depicts the intimacy of love between a husband and wife, the special joys and blessings of marriage. In olden times at least, Jewish rabbis saw this as a message regarding God's special love for His people. And it was read in its entirety at least once a year in many synagogues. Christian expositors see it as a love relationship between Christ and His church.
Certainly the language is beautiful, and we believe that there are lessons to be drawn from it. First we'd like to make some general observations with reference to springtime. First, God's power is displayed. Winter gives the appearance of death. Think about wintertime. You think of cold winds, freezing temperatures, ice, snow, short days, dreary days, cloudy days. You look at the forest in the dead of winter.
You can hardly imagine how life could ever return. Where are those flowers? Where are those beautiful leaves?
Can it all be enlivened at another season? And then springtime comes back. Many times Emily and I have talked about looking into the woods behind our house. We say, now this time we want to be able to pinpoint when it happens. So often you look out there and you can tell, probably within a few days, there are going to be some leaves on those bushes first and then begin to come out on the trees. And no matter how closely you try to observe it, it just happens. You get a rain and overnight you look and say, how did that happen overnight? Just remarkable that from twigs that appeared to have no life in them a short time before, there's that new life bursting forth.
How beautiful when things come alive. Book of Matthew chapter 6, Jesus says in verse 28, And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow.
They toil not, neither do they spin. And yet I say unto you that even Solomon in all of his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothed the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? It is God himself that clothes the field.
God himself that blesses the lilies to grow. So God's power is displayed. Solomon speaks of the birds singing. Is it remarkable that God has built into certain birds that instinct to go to a warmer climate in the wintertime and then they know how to come back when spring returns?
Of course, according to the speculation of men, that's just one of those interesting things that happened. And yet we see in it the power of God, a part of his marvelous creation. God's power is displayed.
God's covenant is being kept. The very return of springtime says that God is a covenant-keeping God. In the book of Genesis, chapter 8, verse 22, God promised Noah, not on the basis of his conduct, but on the basis of a sacrifice that was offered, that while the earth remaineth seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. So in the dead of winter it might seem that spring will never come. Sometimes it delays and it seems that the cold, dreary days linger on. But ultimately, the springtime arrives.
And it arrives because God said it's going to arrive. That as long as the earth remains the seedtime and harvest, summer and winter, day and night, these things shall not cease. And we turn to the book of Jeremiah and notice that there's something even of greater significance than just the changing from one season to another. In the 33rd chapter of the book of Jeremiah, we read in the 20th verse, Thus saith the Lord, If ye can break my covenant of the day and my covenant of the night, and that there should not be day and night in their season, then may also my covenant be broken with David my servant, that he should not have a son to reign upon his throne, and with the Levites the priests my ministers. The covenant that God made with day and night, the covenant that He made regarding the changing of the seasons, He says is sure, and if that covenant could be broken, you could break another covenant. You could break the covenant that I made with David.
What's the significance of that? Our salvation is a part of that. Acts chapter 2, verse 29, Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulcher is with us unto this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his loins according to the flesh he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne.
He is saying this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither did his flesh see corruption. Jesus Christ is on the throne today. He rules and reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And this is in keeping with the covenant that God made with David. So even as we observe the changing of the seasons, the change from night to day, we're reminded that God is a covenant keeping God.
And He's keeping that covenant with His people, and He fulfilled that covenant with David to raise up Christ to sit on the throne. So as we observe springtime, we see God's powers displayed, we see His covenant is kept, and God's grace is remembered. God's grace is remembered because just as the wintertime is a cold, dreary season, and we see that there is a need of renewal and transformation, we recognize that need in our own life. David prayed in Psalm 51, verse 10, create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Isn't it wonderful to know that God, by His power and by His grace, is able to renew us? We may feel to be cold and barren and have suffered from the frigid times when we were away from the Lord in our own thinking, in our walk and in our attitude, but we pray, restore me, renew me, and by His grace that prayer is heard. Furthermore, as we think about springtime, we think of it with reference to the first coming of Jesus Christ. His coming to this earth when He was born of the Virgin and came here to live among men.
That season when He came was indeed as a beautiful springtime in comparison to the law service. As you read through the Old Testament, you can't help but be struck with how many dark scenes there are. You read of multitudes in idolatry. God raising up His own people to destroy the Hittites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites because of their wickedness, because of their idolatry.
And then when His people departed, He raised up some of those heathen kings to come in and invade them. And it seems like it's just one continuous story of failure. The failure of His own people. The failure of most of their kings.
The failure of many of their prophets. Oh yes, there were bright days. There were happy seasons. David was continually calling upon God's people to sing and to rejoice because of the goodness and mercy of the Lord. There was much coldness and darkness. We look at Psalm 107 verse 10. Such as sit in darkness in the shadow of death, being bound in affliction and iron, because they rebelled against the words of God and contempt the counsel of the Most High. He therefore brought down their heart with labor.
They fell down and there was none to help. Then they cried unto the Lord in their trouble and He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness in the shadow of death and break the bands asunder. The Lord did hear His people when they humbled themselves, when they repented, when they cried to Him. But He speaks of those that sat in darkness in the shadow of death. Psalm 106 verse 21. They forget God their Savior, which had done great things in Egypt. What a cold, dismal, dark time it is when one forgets the God who has favored them, blessed them, and delivered them. Verse 24.
Yea, they despise the pleasant Lamb. They believe not His word, but murmured in their tents and hearken not unto the voice of the Lord. Verse 29. Thus they provoked Him to anger with their inventions and the plague break in upon them. Verse 34. They did not destroy the nations concerning whom the Lord had commanded them, but were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works, and they served their idols, which were a snare unto them, and they sacrificed their sons and their daughters unto devils. Is that not a dreary, depressing scene?
Would we not think of that as the cold winter time? And then you go to the book of Isaiah chapter 58, and the people suggest that God should have no complaint against them. They said, Lord, have you not taken notice of the fact that we have fasted?
But He said, is it the fast that I have chosen? You're concerned about debate. You're concerned about winning an argument.
You're concerned about defending yourself. You haven't been humbled. You haven't been convicted of your sin. What a cold time when religion had become a mere form. And I'll tell you, that's not only true when we look at the history of God's people and olden times, but think of it today. If religion becomes nothing more than being engaged in some system or formality, no matter how basic and simple it is, if it's just a routine, if it's just go to church because it's time to go to church, we just pick up the hymnbook and we sing, but there's no real praise to God.
There's no real song that comes from our heart. That formality is empty. You think about then what that religion had become, how it had deteriorated in the days of the Pharisees. They objected to Jesus healing a man on the Sabbath day. They weren't concerned about the plight of the man that needed to be healed. They weren't concerned about the glory of God that would be demonstrated when Jesus healed him.
They were concerned about the interpretation they gave to certain laws and the additions they had made to it. No compassion for those that were in need. They said, this man receiveth sinners and eateth with them.
Aren't you glad that he did? Jesus did not eat with sinners and receive them because he approved of their sin, excused their sin, condoned their sin, but he did because he came to save sinners and so he received sinners. But not the Pharisees. They pointed an accusing finger when Jesus ate in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Rather than this self-righteous religious man having compassion for the repentant woman that wept at Jesus' feet, he had only words of criticism for the master himself and no thought of trying to minister to this woman who wept. Those self-righteous, proud men that brought the woman that was taken in the very act of adultery only wanted to trap Jesus and condemn her. But Jesus said, thy sins are forgiven thee.
Go thy way and sin no more. Whether you look at the history of Israel on the pages of the Old Testament or see the low state to which that religion had sunk under the leadership of the Pharisees, much speaks of the darkness of wintertime. Oh, but the coming of Jesus was like the arrival of spring. Isaiah chapter 9 verse 2 said, the people that walked in darkness have seen a great light and they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them the light is shined. Though the night was long, though it indeed was terribly dark, there was a day coming, a day coming when Jesus Christ, the light of the world, would arrive on the scene. And that prophecy is quoted in Matthew chapter 4 in the 14th verse, that it might be fulfilled, which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, verse 16, the people which sat in darkness saw great light and to them which sat in the region of the shadow of death, light is sprung up.
How good to know. What a difference it makes when the dark clouds have been overhead for a long time. The winds have chilled our bones. There's been no great joy, no brightness, no uplift. And then the springtime comes. Oh, what a springtime it was when Jesus arrived. Malachi chapter 4 says, but unto them that fear my name shall the son of righteousness arise with healing in his wings and ye shall go forth and grow up as calves of the stall. The son of righteousness arising with healing in his wings. All of the maladies of the Old Testament times, all of the vanity of the holding on to tradition and the going through the formalities, now things take on a whole new perspective. Light, light has come in the midst of darkness. Beauty and joy prevail. Jesus himself is the lily of the valley.
He's the rose of Sharon. Oh, what a beautiful thing when God came to this earth as a man. Isaiah referred to this beautiful time in his prophecy in chapter 35.
We believe that these things were indeed fulfilled as the master walked here upon earth. The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them. The desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose. It shall blossom abundantly and rejoice even with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it.
The excellency of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord and the excellency of our God. Strengthen ye the weak hands, confirm the feeble knees.
Say to them that of a fearful heart, be strong, fear not. Behold your God will come with vengeance, even God with the recompense. He will come and save you. Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as in heart and the tongue of the dumb shall sing. For in the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert. And surely then, when spring arrived in the very presence of Jesus, that wilderness and solitary place, that desert place, was made to rejoice. The beautiful flowers of His grace were seen. The blind were blessed to see. The deaf to hear.
The lame to walk. What a remarkable change. And, oh, the warmth that came with the Gospel message. The Pharisees were always there to impose additional burdens upon those about them.
They would not lift one finger to assist anybody, relieve anybody. But with all of their many rules and regulations, with their self-righteous attitude, they were constantly imposing burdens on others. But Jesus came to set the captive free. He came to lift the burdens. He brought the joyful good news. He came with a word of welcome. Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. He said, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
What a season of warmth. At Sinai, the children of Israel were driven back. The lightning flashed, the thunder rolled. They could not bear even to hear the voice of God.
They trembled with fear. But we come unto Mount Zion, and there is joy as the Gospel is proclaimed. The good news is declared that Jesus Christ came to save sinners. Yes, the springtime can well be seen in the coming of Jesus in comparison to the long winter of law service, the warmth and joy of this Gospel day. How sweet the name of Jesus, pretty and fair. It soothes His sorrows, builds His wounds, and cries.
What a blessing to enjoy the beauties of springtime. And what a joy to think about what is represented there when we consider the springtime in our own soul that comes from the outpouring of God's blessing, his blessings upon us as individuals, his blessing in his church. I hope that you will write us and until next week at this same time, may the Lord richly bless you all.
... comes the troubled breast, his manner to the hungry soul, and to the weary breast, and to the weary breast. The Baptist Bible Hour has come to you under the direction of Elder LeSaire Bradley, Jr. Address all mail to The Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217.
That's The Baptist Bible Hour, Cincinnati, Ohio 45217. ... I live my prayers excellently, although it's been denied. St. Anna fuses me in vain, and I am home, the child. ... And I am home, the child.
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