Harbor Baptist Church

Harbor Baptist Church is a independent-Baptist church in Hainesport, NJ. We are primarily serving Burlington County. Harbor is a great church for children, teens, young adults, families, and senior citizens.

❤️LOVE & THE LAW📜

In yesterday’s post, I dropped out a phrase, “border-line legalism”; I don’t use this phrase lightly; as doing such could give someone a false eternal security in their outward works or inward person. So let’s not confuse legalism with someone being “mean” 😳 …that is not legalism. Now that we have addressed the afore, let’s deal with: Love and the Law!

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

11 According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

Paul was undoubtedly flustered with the twist on focus that these Christians had taken. You see- Paul, who certainly was a HOLY man (A holy man, speaking as he was moved by the Spirit to write the Word of God) understood that the GOSPEL BRINGS RIGHTEOUSNESS!

This is not to say that the law does not apply to Christians, but simply to say that it has already been utilized! We read the law; We saw we were sinners; we got saved! The law is our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ!

During the time at which Paul was speaking, it was common custom to engrave laws and hang them in public places such as courthouses or town squares— a custom that still mingles in our modern day. It was only in recent history that we removed the law (Ten Commandments) from public places in America. In verses 9-10 when we read that the law is MADE for the heathen, the word MADE actually implies in its deeper definition to be engraved or carved for display. Paul’s wording was specific, and inspired to achieve its desired work! The law wasn’t displayed or carved for the righteous; the righteous were already living and following it. (Picture the earlier reference of the publicly displayed Ten Commandments) How awesome!

Next, Paul thoroughly STRESSES the need for the “glorious gospel” to be the solution! This is the very Gospel that had turned a former murderer into a future martyr! (as tradition holds.)

But perhaps the most FASCINATING and APPLICABLE point to we who are saved is given in verse 5now the end of the commandment is charity…” The end means the desired outcome or purpose.

Could God be ANY CLEARER to Christians? OUR COMMAND IS TO LOVE! It’s repeated incessantly throughout the New Testament! (John 13:14, Romans 13:8, 1 Corinthians 16:14,Ephesians4:2-3,1 Peter 3:8-9, 1 Peter 4:8, 1 John 3:11, 1 John 3:18, 1 John 4:12-13) The list actually continues beyond these references given! I say again, OUR COMMAND IS TO LOVE!

Last week, I knocked on the door of a woman in her late twenties in Mount Holly, NJ. She would not mind me saying that there was visible evidence of a wild life etched into her body. Her ears were stretched from gauges that at one point probably seemed like a good idea; however, on her sweatshirt was the phrase, “God loves you!” This brightened my expectations. As she began to speak, I was astonished at the poise and dignity that she held. She began to tell us that she attended a Gospel-preaching church in the area, and that she had moved from a Baptist church in Virginia with her husband. As Paul so often did, she could not help but tell me her testimony— one that gives me chills to recollect! She said she did not get saved until she was 19. Prior to salvation, she lived out her life as a lesbian. She said “If you could only see who I WAS before 🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽!” She said that a little Baptist church in her home town began to show her more love than she had ever experienced. “They were unrelenting in their love to me— someone who lived a life contrary to their Book,” she recalled. She said “Of course I accepted Christ; of course I accepted love!” She told of how she turned from her prior lifestyle and began immediately praying for a husband who would accept her past. Well, God provided her with a loving husband, a beautiful home, and a future worth living for!

As I left her home that day, I knew that her statements would forever change my life. They challenged me to apply the commands to love in the New Testament; for you see, TO LOVE IS THE END, THE DESIRED OUTCOME, THE PURPOSE!

Keep it Focused

1 Timothy 1

As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,

Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

When we start reading 1 Timothy, we find Paul exasperated by the Ephesians. The people at Ephesus had not heeded the letter written to them, and now Paul -fresh out of imprisonment- has to deal with the mess. He decided to leave Timothy, his trusted convert and “son in the faith” to deal with the task of cleaning up Ephesus.

Cleaning them up from what? Was it deep sin? Were they denying the deity of Jesus? No. They were distracted. Distracted by studies that at best were campfire 🔥 talk (my dad’s coined phrase) and at their worst were doctrinal heresy. Distracted by arguments that would do nothing to reach people for Christ, but would actually steal away those that should be reaching the lost. You see…

When we create our own mental “diversions” in scripture, and then try to further them, the end is an argument.

I am not writing this to scold others; rather, I am writing this to challenge myself. When we know church/God’s Word better than we know the back of our own hand; When we can predict the quoted reference after a point in a sermon (talking to the many who grew up in church); when we can guess the ending of a common sermon tale 😉; then you know it’s time to focus yourself on helping to fulfill the works of God in your area. Even pastors when they reach this point of familiarity can begin to dabble in strange beliefs or distracted purpose within their walls. You see, the world cures boredom with more creativity and innovation to further fill us up; God cures boredom by having you pour out your knowledge and ability by putting it to work; He gives us a storehouse of bread to share with those who need it.

1.) Are you more concerned with problems than the SOLUTION brought to us by the cross?

2.) Are you sitting to be tickled by technology (I’m sometimes guilty) rather than guide with the Gospel?

3.) Are you waiting to be wowed by music instead of awed by the Creator?

Well then, PERHAPS, familiarity has bred contempt in your life.

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

We have the Word of God for its inward work, not its outward performance. If church is about performance to us I would say THAT is border-line legalism ;) —An outward appearance.

I can say I am guilty of trying to “perfect” things in my brain constantly. When I show up to church, my mind can wander to the color scheme of the screens or a typo in a bulletin (both my fault🤣) but let’s challenge ourselves not to get trapped in that mindset. That’s not why we have church. If our minds are more concerned about the things that in eternity DON’T MATTER, then let’s fix them QUICKLY.

More tomorrow

-Sean Higgins

A Sin Worth “The Cut”

2 Thessalonians 3:6-18

It’s awkward; we don’t like to think about it; if we’re not careful, we’d rather it weren’t in God’s Word— it is: CUTTING SOMEONE OUT OF YOUR CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP.

There it is. We said it. If I had written the rules of Christianity, I’d have scribbled an assortment of grueling sins for such a cut! Surely this sin worth “the cut” in 2 Thessalonians would be ADULTERY! Without a doubt, the sin worth the removal of kinship is MURDER! (Insert epic musical rift) We’re not wrong— right God? Well, let’s read the first verse of our text today!

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

WAIT A SECOND! TRADITIONS!? “The Lord is concerned about tradition?” you may ask. Yes, He is… and although we could spend all day on that topic, 😉 we will simply dive into the verses given us in this text! Reading onward,

11 For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.

12 Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread.

13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

14 And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.

Wow! Laziness and gossip— Let’s pause for internal examination…

There is nothing more detrimental to the work of God than a busybody. Nothing at all. Now, let’s not diminish other sins; we are simply saying that none is greater; no sin can more greatly thwart the working of the Kingdom of God. A busybody can be synonymous with many things, but perhaps the most notable would be: a trouble maker, an eaves dropper, a gossip. Paul knew (and spoke with the direct authority of God himself) that if gossip was not dealt with quickly and drastically, the problem would all but stop the moving of God. Who are you talking about right now to your friends? Next time you go to share something, ask yourself, “Does this help the person I am about to talk about?” More than likely you will find the answer to be a definite NO.

How convicting that the sin worth “the cut” in 2 Thessalonians 3 is one which we all delve into! How eye-opening to think that when we spread news of someone’s short-comings, ours is actually the beam in the eye of the story. Let’s wrap this up with the next comforting verse,

15 Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

The goal of “the cut” was never to actually have to keep ourselves at odds with someone who is a gossip; however, I dare to say that if we lived our part -shining forth the love of Christ in the church- that this “fracturing” of a close fellowship with a brother in Christ would not only fix the problem, but in turn restore a closer relationship: a relationship free of gossip and slander, and full of God and love. 🙌🏽

  • Are you guilty of the sin mentioned above?

  • Are you an ear to those who slander?

  • When you fracture fellowship, is your goal to build an even better relationship with that person?

-Sean Higgins

Free His Word!


2 Thessalonians 3 King James Version (KJV)

Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith.

God’s Word is POWERFUL; it is impactful; it is a difference maker! God’s Word is the most tangible thing that we have to a physical Jesus Christ! (See verse below)

John 1:14 King James Version (KJV)

14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

We established that His Word is mighty; now let’s for a moment remember that there are more forces at hand than simply the works of God. There is a very real and powerful force at hand whose goal is WEAKNESS; it is detrimental; it is a life-destroyer. The power of darkness through satan is real and cannot be ignored.

Paul’s goal was that the Word of God be unhindered to explode into the areas it entered and that it would leave a lasting effect on all it came in contact with! Paul, however, had seen the hindrance of the devil before, and knew enough to ask Christians to pray for the Word of God to have free course, and for it to have the same effect as it did on the Thessalonians! He also desired that the work of the Word of God would not be hindered by unreasonable and wicked men. He warned that not all men have faith.

-let’s bring this home, i’m EXCITED 🙌🏽

Do you ever feel that you make decisions for Christ and simply cannot keep them?

Have you felt that you read God’s Word and basically walk away the same?

1.) Well, FIND the power in the missing ingredient- prayer. Prayer is (to me) the more difficult part of waking with God. It’s easy to listen to Jesus through reading His Word, but it takes more thought and effort to battle in prayer and to audibly acknowledge battles and needs. Perhaps God’s Word is quite literally being hindered in your life! Start praying; get others praying!

2.) BEWARE of evil people in your life. Perhaps your decisions or commitments to Christ are devastated by people in your life who “have not faith”. Maybe these are even family members. Be aware of your spiritual surroundings and take caution to strengthen your guards around those who have an agenda other than spiritual success!

-Sean Higgins

Our Testimony

2 Thessalonians 1

10 When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

11 Wherefore we also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

God has given each of us a higher calling! It’s a calling that is BIGGER than any goals that we could come up with on our own. We are called to glorify JESUS CHRIST!

Notice how Paul said, “because our testimony among you was believed.” Our number one priority this week should be to keep our Christian testimony (our salvation testimony) in line with glorifying God! We cannot possible call ourselves a true follower of Christ, while living to follow everyone BUT Christ in our day to day. Paul’s salvation testimony- where God had brought him- was his number one validating point of reference. Through his salvation testimony he traveled the world bringing change.

We know we are succeeding when we are living a life that is fulfilling “all the good pleasure of his goodness.” God’s plans for us are SO much higher than whatever cheapened thrills we cash them in for!

Live your testimony out loud today! Let the bigger picture fulfill your life! 🙌🏽

-Sean Higgins

2131 Marne Highway Hainesport, NJ 08036  (609)267-4637