Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

When Did The Message of Jesus Arrive In Orange,

And When Will It Leave?

Orange became a settlement about 1852 and the oldest Baptist Church organized in 1857. It is Old First Orange Baptist Church today.

Lutcher Memorial Church Building, now the First Presbyterian Church of Orange, Tx, is a historic church at 902 W. Green Avenue in Orange, Texas. It was built in 1912 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The very first New Testament church was established without a building, of course, in Jesus calling out of the 12 Disciples. He trained and empowered them to carry on all that He had established, even telling them that they would do a much larger work than He had done. On the day of Pentecost after Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of His and our Father, fulfilled a promise He made in John 14, sending the Holy Spirit upon them empowering them to be a world evangelistic church building in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and into the uttermost parts of the earth. Acts Chapters 1 and 2 record the sending of the Holy Spirit and the empowering of the Disciples enabling Peter to preach the church's first message and the other Disciples joining in spreading through the city of Jerusalem that message of Jesus our redeemer and the call to come and be saved and baptized and go and make yet more disciples, carrying the Gospel upon their lives and voices to all they would come into contact with. Immediately 3000 souls came to Christ and followed Jesus' Apostles/12 Disciples. Out from there in Acts Chapter 8 went Phillip to Samaria with this new heaven sent power and preached the Gospel there and another church is established. Then out goes Peter under interesting instructions to establish a non-Jewish church. So we have the first Gentile church. Then in Acts Chapter 9 we see the Apostle Paul, the last of the Apostles, as Scripture says, being called to this work of evangelism and church building now carrying this commission of Christ to go into the uttermost parts of the world. He built new churches constantly, even building one from a prison stay for his public work in the Gospel. He won the jailer to Christ and the jailer's family and we have the church at Philippi and a letter written called the Book of Philippians. Paul did this until arriving as a prisoner in Rome to be tried and eventually executed for his determined stand for Christ and the building of His kingdom, hence, the churches of Jesus. When you read Church History you go from Paul into all of Europe and up into Great Britain and men being called of God did not cease and they kept building. Even in the hottest of persecution they kept winning the lost to Christ. As a matter of fact some of the greatest church building in that time of historic persecution was accomplished. God's people have always flourished more so under persecution. Persecution sort of held their noses to the grind stone, so to speak. Without pressure from the world the church historically has grown soft and lax in their advancement of the life and salvation of Christ. 

Persecution of the churches pressed them to find other places to worship and advance the Gospel ministry, the building of churches. Eventually the "New World" had been discovered that we know as North America. Some of the persecuted and those looking to get out from under the taxing by the King, etc. ended up together on ships crossing the Atlantic. We know them in history as the Pilgrims. They landed and seriously drove their stakes of living into the ground, live or die. Sadly, getting things established took a toll on many lives, but worship, church worship was certainly predominate.

As our nation grew out of the era of the Pilgrims and survived wars and too many hardships to list, we have a Constitution and an established Nation and the United States of America bloomed out of it. Through the blossoming of the population and commerce there was constantly men and women going out into the uncharted world to carry the Gospel and establish churches of the Lord Jesus Christ. Back in the civilized part of the new country churches did not stop building more churches. In the uncivilized, the wilderness at the time, Christians spread through those areas giving reason to establish church worship wherever they put their roots down. Circuit Riders became popular. They were first Methodist ministers taking the lead on that and the rest of us catching up with it. A minister would be assigned to pastor a number of churches, traveling week after week to meet with another congregation each week to lead them in worship.

Eventually God's church building at the devotion and sacrifice of men and women to keep the mission spirit going arrived in this region of Orange, Texas. Repeating my introduction…Orange became a settlement about 1852 and the oldest Baptist Church organized in 1857. It is Old First Orange Baptist Church today. Then in the process came Lutcher Memorial Church Building, now the First Presbyterian Church of Orange, Tx. It was built in 1912 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. Now, there may have been others that I have missed, because I haven't done a deeper study on local church history, but this will do.

In 1857 we know that the message of Jesus Christ arrived in Orange. The ongoing establishment and sustaining of churches in our country are the blood veins through it that have kept our nation strong with God and His love for America. If the churches continue to diminish, the life blood source of America's existence, the purpose for this nation being chosen and raised up through the harshest of environment will go away. This nation became the most established and flourishing country spiritually and then materially of any nation in history. It all is traced to this spiritual blood that flowed through every corner of it. A majority of the population kept the spiritual centers in tact (churches) and took their ministry constantly outside of their building, living the will of God with their neighbors, etc, while building yet more and more churches. Out of these churches flowed missionaries to build yet more churches, God worshipping centers, and furthermore out of these churches flowed missionaries taking the Gospel and church building back to where they came from as freedom opened up to it there, and then into the uttermost parts of the earth. American churches became committed to God to do this and have expanded it in every avenue of communication and travel possible. America has been wonderfully blessed of God through the years of this. But do we see why America is becoming so poor and corrupt and nearly at the mercy of her enemies around the world?

Let's just look at the Orange, Texas area and it will suffice in representation of what is happening all through America. The spiritual blood flow…the spiritual blood supply to our nation is diminishing. Church members have taken up with other kinds of worship on weekends instead of filling God's house to worship and spiritually strengthen to go back out and stay separate from worldliness and have instead become so integrated on weekends and through the week and year that churches are in a death nil situation. They struggle to stay alive and visible for the Lord God and finally have to surrender to death of the church. Hundreds every year close their doors. More worldly things are built to further distract the believers from going to worship and separate themselves from an ungodly world. The trouble further is that there are some things the church members are doing with the world that are not necessarily bad, but they have replaced in their lives their family's and country's spiritual life flow that has kept our nation in tact for use of God. They are not keeping God's churches open, nor are they missionarying or financially supporting the building of others. The weaker a church gets, the weaker they become in ability to afford the larger support of missionaries to build more churches.

Our nation is going away because those historically willing to worship God, building His house and more houses of worship to Him are going away. 

The first message of Jesus Christ the Lord came to Orange somewhere in the mid-1800's, and maybe a little before. Churches, the spiritual life blood of America were established here. But wait, look around. All of God's churches are struggling to stay in existence. They have been left to a few and they are straining under the load. It is only a matter of time and Orange County and throughout America God's purpose for this nation and thus its life blood purpose to stay in tact will be gone. Only we can change that. We have to get back to putting God and His church and the building of more of His churches first. Paul said it would come to this if we didn't stay alert. II Tim. 3:1-5 "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." II Thess. 2:3 "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first (apostasy, forsaking the word of God), and that man of sin (the Anti-Christ) be revealed, the son of perdition;" We're close.

Charles Empey is the Pastor of Cove Baptist Church, Orange, TX.


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