We gathered to worship Sunday morning at Mill Creek Baptist Church and began by asking for prayers for the Nancy Lancaster family, Dillion, Jim, John, Harry, Skip, Blaine and Gene, along with travel prayers for some.
Doug Cory greeted the congregation and Linda Abercrombie gave the devotional, "Enemy Territory," and read Exodus 14:14. Satan has a lot of names. He is the enemy and he is real. He disobeyed, fell and he wants us to do the same. We are in enemy territory, but God fights for us if we will let Him. In John 10:10, Jesus tell us, "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and they may have it more abundantly."
Rick Lett taught the adult Sunday school lesson, "Living Wisely," with scripture study from Proverbs 14:8-15. Following God's wisdom leads to joy, while failing to do so leads to grief. Solomon tells us that the end of foolishness is destruction and the end of wisdom is godliness and peace. The wise person seeks to understand knowledge, following God's wisdom leads to contentment, God's wisdom produces joy even when there is grief, and God's wisdom leads to His blessings.
Congregational hymns included "Trust and Obey" and "Redeemed," with Susan Cory at the piano. Karen Gardner provided special music as she sang "Time After Time."
Brother Mark Hall began Sunday's sermon by telling us, "The devil did not want us in church today, but if you are here, he didn't win."
"What are We Worried About" was the title of the message, with scripture from 2 Thessalonians 1:7-12 and 2:1-12.
Brother Mark told us that there are a lot of people asking if we are living in the last days right now. "I am concerned about Christians that are worried and fearful about things. Turn off the TV and open the Bible. It is OK to be cautious, but there is no need for fear. When you feed fear, it gets bigger. There are three truths that we need to look at: we need not be disturbed, we should not be deceived and we will not be disappointed."
As Brother Mark talked about each one, he told us that first we need not be disturbed. "Jesus is coming back, but now as a sovereign king and will execute judgment." He talked about when Jesus is coming. "We won't know the day, but we will know when He is here and He won't be late. We need to pray for a lost friend or neighbor so they are ready."
Brother Mark talked about the wonder of Jesus' coming. "We talk about the 'wow' of things we see, but when Jesus comes, everyone at the same time will say 'wow.'" He also talked about the witness of Jesus' coming. "All of the people of Jesus will be there. As a Christian, don't let the worldly stuff get you down. Give yourself a rest and give your troubles to God."
Brother Mark told us that we should not be deceived. "The Antichrist is the devil in human clothes. He is the father of lies." In Matthew 24:24, Jesus says, "For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect." 1 John 4:2-3 tells us that the Antichrist is now already in the world.
Brother Mark said, "The falling away started years ago. There are fewer who identify themselves as Christians each year. There are more falling out than coming in. But the devil has not taken over yet because he has been restrained by the Holy Spirit. Where is the Holy Spirit? He lives in us. The church is still restraining the Antichrist, but little by little, the church is falling away. We still need church. The church is essential."
Several in the congregation performed a skit with a rope to demonstrate how the church restrains the devil. Brother Mark said, "If we don't restrain him, the devil gets loose, goes to his throne and gets more and more powerful with his message that is popular with the world. He can do that with the church out of the way, so we have to restrain him."
Thirdly, Brother Mark told us that we will not be disappointed. "Revelation 19:11-21 tells us what that day will look like when Jesus comes. Verse 20 tells us what will happen when Jesus meets the devil.
"Then the beast was captured and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone."
Brother Mark told us, "That is why, if you are saved, you have nothing to worry about. This is a harder time to live in now than Mayberry, but don't fear, Jesus is coming, He will be on time and will take care of us. Focus on friends and family that need to be saved. Hold the rope so the devil doesn't get loose. Don't look at it as gloom and doom but instead as the brightness of Jesus coming. In the meantime, help us to hold the rope so the devil doesn't get loose and we fall. We live in difficult times. The devil can talk you out of getting saved. Don't let him rope and restrain you. We don't know how much time we have. Lay down your pride and pick up the cross."
Our hymn of invitation was "The Savior is Waiting" and Jerry Abercrombie gave the benediction. Brother Mark presented a certificate of Baptism to Tim McCaine.
We invite you to worship with us at Mill Creek Baptist Church on Sunday mornings. Worship service is at 11 a.m. and Sunday school at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome. We are located 3 1/2 miles east of Noel just off Highway 90.
Opinions expressed are those of the author.