All posts by Bill Bryan

The Pure in Heart

“Blessed are the pure in heart…”

In the opening words of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus focused attention on the center of true religion. Outside appearances, looking and acting religious aren’t what make us acceptable to God; rather it is the condition of our heart (Matthew 5.2-12).

The heart has always been the source of our troubles.

“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, envy, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7.21-23).

Some folks have the notion that the world is to blame. Change the world, improve our environment, and all our troubles will disappear. But that’s just not so. Where was man when the trouble started? He was in Eden – in “paradise” – no environmental problems there! Our troubles come from within, not without. That’s why purity of heart is so crucial. Neither education, health, power, wealth, nor fame make us good people – purity of heart does.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” How badly do we want to see God? Are we willing to open our innermost thoughts, our cleverly concealed desires, our secret ambitions for God’s inspection? Oh how happy are those who live without shame before the all-seeing eye of God.

Jesus is keenly interested in the quality of our innermost being – purity of mind so clean that lust cannot live; honesty so well-known that oaths are unnecessary; love, care, and concern so genuine that hate, anger, prejudice, and retaliation are never reasons for action; trust in God’s provisions so complete that worry, greed, and material indulgence don’t distract. Those are the characteristics of the pure in heart.

– Bill



The Contribution: An Act of Worship

The Lord’s church is a unique institution. One of her unique characteristics is the manner in which her financial needs are supplied.

No church policy pressures members into giving. We do not exact tithes from members, nor do we attempt to finance our work with street collections, fairs, bazaars, bake sales, bingo parties, or other such fund-raising activities.

Each week faithful Christians contribute from their hard-earned wages to support the work of this church. We are fortunate and thankful to our Heavenly Father for the loyalty of our brothers and sisters who have committed themselves to provide for these financial needs.

The principle upon which the financial needs of the church are supplied is given in 2 Corinthians 9.6-7:

But this I say, he which sows sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he who sows bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver.

Acceptable giving is something that is learned through studying God’s Word. It must be purposed and planned. It is a personal expression of devotion and love for God and His church. It is an act of worship centered in the heart expressed with money earned
through your labor.

– Bill


“And the Tempter Came…”

Not even God, for that is who Jesus is – remember Immanuel, “God with us?” Not even God could escape the pressure and challenge and nuisance and allure of temptation while He was on earth. The difference, though, between Him and us is that He never yielded. He never gave in to the temptation. He overcame the tempter on every occasion. But He knows how it feels to be tempted. He knows the struggles involved in having to deal with jealousy and greed and lust and ambition and anger, because He faced them too.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4.14-16).

Jesus, now in heaven in the presence of God the Father, is our High Priest and our Advocate. He is qualified to intercede for us because He was tempted like us in every way. And having overcome all temptation He sacrificed His sinless life to redeem us from our sins when we fall to the temptation.

Because of Him and through Him we may indeed draw near with confidence to God’s throne of grace. Hallelujah!

– Bill


The Baptism of Jesus

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’… Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him” (Matthew 3.1, 13).

John the Baptist’s ministry created a sensation. He found himself at the center of a great spiritual revival. Large crowds converged on the lower reaches of the River Jordan, both to listen to his call to repentance and to be baptized.

John had already spoken of Jesus as one mightier than he, the thongs of whose sandals he was not worthy to undo. It is not surprising that when Jesus presented Himself to John for baptism, John demurred. It would seem more appropriate for Jesus to baptize John than for John to baptize Jesus. But Jesus insisted.

It also seems strange that Jesus asked for baptism. John’s was a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus was without sin.  But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness” (Matthew 3.15) and John consented.

As Jesus emerged from the waters of baptism “lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon Him; and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3.16-17).

Those words united two Old Testament scriptures. First, “this is My Son” echoes Psalm 2.7 where God declared the Davidic king to be His son. Second, “in whom I am well pleased” echoes Isaiah 42.1 where God declared His pleasure in His servant. Thus at His baptism, Jesus was declared both Son and Servant of God.

 – John Stott, Through the Bible, Through the Year


The Universal Appeal of Jesus

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, Where is He that is born King of the Jews? for we saw His star in the east, and are come to worship Him” (Matthew 2.1-2).

The Magi (“Wise-men”) seem to have been astrologer-priests from the ancient Persian Empire. Their visit to Jesus complements that of
the shepherds. The two groups could not have been more different. Racially, the shepherds were Jews, the Magi were Gentiles. Intellectually, the shepherds were simple, the Magi were scholars. Socially, the shepherds belonged to the world’s have-nots, the Magi, in light of the expensive gifts they brought, appear to have been wealthy.

Yet despite these barriers which normally separate people from one another, both the Magi and shepherds were united in their desire to worship the Christ Child.

As pluralism spreads, it becomes increasingly evident that other religions are ethnic, limited to a particular people and culture. Only Christianity is not. Nearly 80 percent of the people claiming to be Christians today are non-white and non-Western.

This is the universal appeal of Jesus, irrespective of ethnicity, nationality, or culture. It brought the shepherds from the fields and the Magi from the East. It still acts like a magnet, attracting people from all regions of the world. It is one of the most convincing evidences that Jesus of Nazareth is the Savior of the world.

 – John Stott, Through the Bible, Through the Year


The Revelation of Christ: Who He Is, What He Does for Us


November 27, 2016 – Bill Bryan

Revelation 1:4-6

John to the seven churches that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.

To Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood – and He has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father -to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

The Faithful Witness

The Firstborn from the Dead – Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:20-23

The Ruler of kings on earth – Philippians 2:9-11


Loved us

Loosed us

Made us a kingdom, priests – Colossians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:20