Marriage a Gospel Witness

Below you will find the rough draft outline for the sermon delivered at PSNBC.ORG on Sunday May 23. Please forgive any typos or misspellings.

Relationships: Marriage a Gospel Witness

INTRO: Our engagement, obedience first love secondary.

Eph 5:22-33  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  (24)  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.  (25)  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  (26)  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  (27)  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  (28)  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  (29)  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  (30)  because we are members of his body.  (31)  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  (32)  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  (33)  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Biblical marriage does not look like the world.

Modern takes on marriage, though good in their books, methods an procedures, often muddy the water. Marriage is not about us. It is about the glory of God.

Is summary, this passage in Ephesians carries the meaning that God created marriage to demonstrate His glory. In all of creation, marriage was to exalt Him.

OUR TEXT

Eph 5:22-33  Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord.  (23)  For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.  (24)  Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. 

  • Abuse note about misinterpreting this scripture/What to do.
  • Wives are not inferior, but God has created each person for the duty of glorifying God. The role of the wife as such is that she is the nurturer of the home. She literally sets the tone of the upbringing of the children. She is an example to family and those around her of what it is like for a person to be reconciled with God.
  • God simply teaches us that He has a purposeful order.

(25)  Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,  (26)  that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,  (27)  so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 

  • Husbands have a directive to lead their wives in sanctification. This is the continual refinement of Holiness. It cannot be done by any other method than by love, a sacrificial love.
  • Both husband and wife are called to sacrifice in ways that clearly benefit the other They also play to one another’s strengths.

(28)  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  (29)  For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,  (30)  because we are members of his body.

  • Love, over and again is the command of God to the husband.

 (31)  “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”  (32)  This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church.  (33)  However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

  • Thus, the marriage is a picture of our relationship to Christ and the work of love for holiness. Marriages in Christianity are to be a teaching tool and an example that gives God the glory in a confused and bewildered world.

Nor does it take its clues from the world. Worldly marriage is often self-centered driven. “What’s in it for me?”

A secular marriage can be fantastic, it can be long lasting and filled with love. Ut as Christians, our calling is to have a marriage that honors God that is quite evident to the church, our children, and the lost.

WHAT DOES BIBLICAL MARRIAGE LOOK LIKE?

Biblical marriage is a lot like a tandem bicycle. 1 drives the other supports.

Without the encouragement of support =drudgery

Without a clear leader= ambling without purpose

Biblical marriage is quite different from the Greco-Roman or even Jewish marriages that existed at the time that these Scriptures were written. Because of the culture, both Jewish and Gecko-Roman, the idea of submission was involved.

The only time submitting is a problem is when you do not want to submit.

This is so because of 1, your heart position 2 poor leadership that you cannot respect.

To lead in biblical marriage is to be a leader who leads with love and not threats or conditions.

Biblical marriage is a heart issue that seeks to glorify God together.

Christian Gospel Centered marriage therefore demonstrates how God makes a difference.

  • In trials, growth, and submitting to Jesus
  • In honesty and forgiveness
  • In Fidelity
  • In Worship
  • In cleaving together
  • In raising Children
  • Endurance and perseverance
  • In aging and the chapters of life
  • The list goes on.

As Christ loves the church, so should the husband love the wife. This is imperative, non-negotiable.

GOD’S PLAN

Gen 2:24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

It is a joy despite circumstances. As a matter of fact, the cleaving of a marriage often occurs as the couple seek God together through the hard trials of life, rather than placing blame or working in selfishness.

The union between man and wife is to grow and return to a condition of being unashamed

Gen 2:25  R1And the manH120 and his wifeH802 were bothH8147 nakedH6174 and were not ashamedH954.

bôš: A verb meaning to be ashamed, to act shamefully, or to put to shame. It is both an external and a subjective experience, ranging from disgrace (Hos_10:6) to guilt (Ezr_9:6). In Gen_2:25, shame is related to the sexual nature of humans. Moreover, to act shamefully is equivalent to acting unwisely (Pro_10:5; Pro_14:35). To be ashamed is to experience distress, as farmers with no harvest (Jer_14:4; Joe_1:11), but the blessing of God means that one will never be put to shame (Psa_25:20; Joe_2:26-27).

Gen 2:23  Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.”

It finds joy in pleasing the other as a means of honoring God.

The motive of biblical marriage is to honor God.

  • The Husband loves His wife
  • How the wife submits and respects her husband.

Purposes of a Biblical Marriage

  • To complete each other
  • To raise godly children
  • To honor and glorify God

CONCLUSION

God calls us to be holy and no other relationship (except with Jesus) will be used more for our sanctification.

To neglect your marriage is to shun Christ’s work, His best for you.

Marriage like salvation and church membership is a covenant.

Your committal to God is greater than to your spouse, but God works through your spouse.

Marriage is a witness to the world of

  • Love
  • Forgiveness
  • Mercy and grace
  • Submission and sacrifice

Marriage is a gospel witness.

Hebrews 7 & 8:1-6 The High Priesthood of Melchizedek Christ Alone

Below you will find the rough draft notes for the sermon preached today at PSNBC.ORG. I post these as a study guide for those who participate in the sermon. Please enjoy and grow.

Melchizedek priesthood is greater than that of Aaron.

The law covenant was given to Moses. This was to abate the wrath of God. (We talked of Hell last week)

The New Covenant in Christ’s blood falls under that of Melchizedek who is a King of righteousness and of Salem (Peace) (Jeru=salem)

Thus Christ is the one by which we are saved from the wrath of God.

Christ alone (Solus Christus)

Not Jesus and__________________

  • Works
  • Good works
  • Baptism
  • Sacraments
  • Second Baptism
  • A translation
  • Mary
  • Penance
  • Purgatory
  • Thoughts or intentions

Salvation is in Christ Alone!

It is also not Jesus and “now move onto other things.”

It is Christ and abiding at His feet.

Union with Christ is the only way of salvation.

Act 4:12  And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” 

Joh 15:4-6  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  (5)  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  (6)  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.

Php 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Hebrews 7 is thus pointing out the sufficiency of Christ for saving the people of God.

Jesus Christ is thus three things to us, Prophet, Priest, and King.

“Christ and Christ alone, is fitted to be mediator between God and man.” 1689 London Baptist Confession

Jesus Christ as Prophet

The prophet whom we need to instruct us in the things of God so as to heal our blindness and ignorance.

Deu 18:15  “The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—

Mat 17:5  He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Jesus reveals to us God Himself.

Rom 16:25-27  Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages  (26)  but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—  (27)  to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Jesus Christ as Priest

“Because of our estrangement from God and the imperfection of our services at best, we need His priestly office to reconcile us to God and render us acceptable to Him.” 1689 London Baptist Confession

Salvation is in Jesus only as there are two conditions that must be met, and can only be me t in Him.

  1. To satisfy the justice of God through obedience to the law.
  2. To pay the price of sins.

Rom 5:19  For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.

Rom 5:10-11  For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life.  (11)  More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

Jesus remains our High Priest and Intercessor forever.

Rom 8:34  Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

Jesus Christ as King

Jesus reigns through the Holy Spirit taking care of the judicial matters of atonement. He convicts of sin and righteousness and imparts faith to those whom would believe.

Act 2:30-36  Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne,  (31)  he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.  (32)  This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.  (33)  Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.  (34)  For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand,  (35)  until I make your enemies your footstool.”’  (36)  Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

CONCLUSION

“ Shall we say that we have done our duty to God? Shall we say that we have done our duty to our neighbor? Shall we bring forward our prayers? Our regularity? Our morality? Our amendments? Our church going? Shall we ask to be accepted by any of these?” J C Ryle

Mat 7:21-23  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  (22)  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  (23)  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

The will is that

  • Hab_2:4  “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.
  • Rom_1:17  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”
  • Gal_2:20  I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
  • Gal_3:11  Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”
  • Gal_3:12  But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”
  • Heb_10:38  but my righteous one shall live by faith, and if he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.”
  • Heb_11:9  By faith he went to live in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, living in tents with Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise.

“Through Him alone we can have peace with a Holy God. By Him alone we can have admission in the presence of the Most High, and stand there without fear. We have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him. In Him alone we can be just, and justify the ungodly.” J C Ryle

God and Government

Underneath, you will find the rough draft sermon notes for the sermon preached at Poplar Springs North Baptist Church on Sunday January 17, 2021. You will find the video link of the service here.

Rom 13:1-14  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  (2)  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (3)  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  (4)  for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.  (5)  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  (6)  For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  (7)  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.  (8)  Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.  

(9)  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (10)  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  (11)  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  (12)  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  (13)  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.  (14)  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

1Pe 2:13-21  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,  (14)  or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  (15)  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  (16)  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  (17)  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.  (18)  Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.  (19)  For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.  (20)  For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.  (21)  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

Joh 18:33-36  So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”  (34)  Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”  (35)  Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”  (36)  Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

INTRODUCTION

I quoted on Facebook John Calvin the other day. He once said, “When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers.”

This is not a commentary on political leaders, but rather, look at our nation, why should God not treat us as Sodom and Gomorrah?

Abortion, sexual perversion, false prophets, the total disregard of His holy name.

What we read in Romans, and in 1 Peter applies today.

The early church faced times worse that we do today

Nero Persecuted the Christians as a coverup.

John, while in exile was under the rule of Domitian, who may be the hideous beast of Revelation.

Christians were often under local threats of persecution. The church was born in adversity from the local governments.

Paul and Peter write our texts today under Claudius who had banished Jews from Rome.

The Bible was written to give the church hope.

Let us now look at Scripture to understand first What God Demands.

Exegesis

Rom 13:1-14  Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  (2)  Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.  (3)  For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,  (4)  for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.  (5)  Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.  (6)  For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.  (7)  Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.  (8)  Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 

  • Authority appointed by God
  • Wrath for wrongdoing as governments deal with authority.
  • Obeying Government is obeying God.

God sets up in His word 3 authorities to govern our lives

  • The Family (as in Adam and Eve, Husband and wife) Nurturing Rule (Motherhood is the highest office a person can hold)
  • The Government as we study today (Civil and legal matters, community)
  • The Church  (Spiritual matters and eternity) morality, and care of the soul.

Ethical and Moral dilemma Questions are raised. Not the scope of today.

  • These texts were prooftexts in the civil war, often preached to slaves.
  • What do you so with a cruel boss or husband?
  • What about 1776 and the revolution against England?
  • What do you do in Bonhoeffer’s situation, Do you kill Hitler to save lives?

We all have situational problems, they must be lived within the parameters of Scripture.

Transition

Peter, just as Paul ,says many of the same things. SO we have two authorities writing in a manner that is to build doctrine and remove confusion.

1Pe 2:13-21  Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,  (14)  or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  (15)  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.  (16)  Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.  (17)  Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.  (18)  Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust.  (19)  For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.  (20)  For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.  (21)  For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.

  • We are subject yet free.
  • We are to live as examples that others would glorify God.
  • How we handle adversity is a clear indication that we are not of this world.
  • Endurance is possible because this world is not our home.

Now we turn to see what God commands?

Back in Romans 13 we find what God is commanding us to do.

We are to check our hearts in the matters.

(9)  For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  (10)  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.  (11)  Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.  (12)  The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  (13)  Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.  (14)  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Verse 9 goes over the part of the Ten Commandments that relate to the laws of our country. These laws are written as to how we are to relate to one another.

We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our example.

We will NEVER find our own strength to endure, therefore, we must all the while seek Christ. Cry for revival.

TRANSITION

Jesus put it this way in John 18

What does this say about God? (Our conclusion)

Jesus view of the Earthly Government

Joh 18:33-36  So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”  (34)  Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?”  (35)  Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?”  (36)  Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.”

  • We clearly live differently.
  • We count it all joy in various trials.
  • We like Jesus fight for His kingdom

This world is not our home, However it is our mission field

  • Respect the government as you are an ambassador to this land.
  • Pray for leaders, whether you like them or not. We are commanded to love our enemies.
  • Do not give you energies to unworthy or non-eternal things.
  • Love other= fight for justice, protect the weak, do not be idle.
  • Save souls
  • Be good stewards
  • Seek the glory of God.

Sermon Notes

The Authentic Jesus: Purification for Sins

Hebrews 1:1-4

These rough draft notes are provided to help you follow along with today’s sermon, Sunday October 25th, 2020. Once published, you can find the sermon at http://psnbc.org/

INTRODUCTION: Why this Study, Why Hebrews?

Our goal in this series is to gain a deeper and authentic understanding of God Himself through the person of Jesus Christ.  In some ways this is a push back on the false teachings and false narratives that dominate the airwaves, books stores, and pulpits of today.

It is so we can know Him. This, is incredibly important considering John 17:3, Matthew 7, and the book of Romans. It is the fulfillment of John chapter 1, and the entire reason that God would even give us the Bible, His word, is that we would truly know Him.

We are using the book of Hebrews, though it is the most difficult book of the New Testament to understand, as it reveals a depth regarding the nature of Christ, and ultimately, it teaches us what authentic faith is.  So we will learn about the authentic Jesus and the authentic church.

Heb 1:1-4  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  (2)  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.  (3)  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  (4)  having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

THE TEXT

PART 1 The nature of God makes salvation possible.

Heb 1:1-4  Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets,  

  • In the NT we have the written Word.  The expression of God.  In many ways His revelation has progressed and we are in a better state. We have His word, filled with truth, experiences, and the cross by which it is confirmed and possible to abide with Him.
  • But in the OT the prophets were the voice of God. Thus, sayeth the Lord.
  • Yet, most failed to listen.  They spurned and killed the prophets, rejecting God’s word.

(2)  but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.

  • In the NT we have the fulfillment of OT prophesy and the embodiment of God.
  • Jesus reveals who God is and corrects the false teaching and interpretations of those who did not know but spoke or those who spoke but did not know. Jesus is the revelation of the Father to mankind. IF we have seen Him we have seen the Father.
  • The Son is thus the Voice of God representing who He is, Heir of all through the cross, and co-Creator with God the Father and the Holy Spirit.
  • Therefore, the teaching of Christ is that we would know Him. We know Him through repentance, obedience, and abiding in Him.
  • We cannot know Him apart from His word.
  • In His word, He declares who He is. His Holy Spirit helps us understand.
  • He desires to be known. Thus He will reveal.

 (3)  He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,  

  • Jesus represents the glory of God.  Know Him and you will know God.
  • His nature is understood by seeing His actions, seeing what God has done.
  • Sustainer of the Universe= Sovereign, He can do miracles.
  • Sat down = Authority established and the work done

(4)  having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

  • The early church dealt with false doctrine as people worshipped angels.
  • Jesus is the Son of God.  Nothing less. This must be understood.

PART 2

Understanding His nature, is to understand Holiness

Explain the nature of God as Holy which produces love, justice, wrath, and the purification of sinful people that they may be redeemed.

Holiness is the most overlooked trait. His holiness means that He is separate from the world, there is no sin in Him. He cannot be anything other than holy.  His nature will not contradict itself. (Would not make a rock He cannot lift) We call this transcendent; He is other than anything else.

His nature of holiness therefore is so pure that it is right and just to be the object of worship.  It is true to worship such an existence.

Thus, God created man and woman to be abiding worshippers and to enjoy the expression of His nature. (Genesis 2 & John 4)

But man sinned. (Genesis 3)

This brought a rift of separation. For God cannot abide with sin.

God, to remain Holy must also remain just.  To be just, sin must be punished.  It cannot be overlooked or excused.

Therefore, sin against a holy God deserves wrath.  Wrath is the just recompense for our sin. Even eating a piece of fruit is thus deserving because of the holy nature of God. Therefore, hell exists.

But God, so loved. (John 3:16)

God’s love desires His creation to be saved.  Think on this, to be saved means to be saved from the wrathful nature of God. Therefore, rather than being fair and giving us what we deserve, God so loves. He satisfies the wrath that is due by venting His wrath upon the only one who can fully satisfy it, His own perfect Son.

This sin is punished and a way is made to express His nature of love to the fullest by loving those who do not deserve love at all. Romans 5:8.

Now the gift is free. But it is also costly.

It is also not given out arbitrarily.

To take what is precious and to make it common is shameful, it is a disregard for the Creator of the gift.

Thus, there is a qualification for receiving the gift.  All who would forsake their sins, those desires of self-establishment, who turn unto God acknowledging his holiness and rightful honor to receive all glory, honor, and praise, to these beggars He provides a cleansing, a new nature, and an adoption by which they dine at the Father’s banquet. They leave behind all that once entangled them to find God is good.

To be a Christian is to forsake sin and embrace God as Savior, Lord, and love.

CONCLUSION

So, let us be worshippers of Jesus Christ. Knowing Him by knowing His nature, not just seeking stuff as a beggar who looks for food Let us rather come as sons and daughters, adopted into the family of those whom we once spurned, and know Him for who He is, giving Him the glory He is due.

Toward a Deeper Prayer Life

Many prayer meetings in churches have grown cold.  I fearfully believe that the root cause of this is that we have whittled down and limited our concerns to the health issues of the members and friends of members.

The health of people should not be marginalized.  Health is a deep-rooted concern.  God often uses the diminished health of people to draw them back unto Him.  In the Scriptures, Jesus did heal.  Often, His work of healing was to prove His divinity and authenticate His message. But prayer meeting should go way beyond the concern for such comfort. The need to pray amongst spiritual warfare is a prime example found in Ephesians chapter 6.

The church was told by our Lord that it would have power. To get that power, the church prayed earnestly. In the opening chapters of Acts, they held a ten-day prayer meeting.  Imagine, ten days of corporate prayer.  I would love to know exactly what that looked like.  I wonder who prayed, did they huddle in groups, was there teaching, did they take breaks, was fasting involved, and many more inquires of what they prayed about?

As I write this blog, I am concerned mainly with the corporate prayer within our churches. My particular church has been hit very hard by the Covid 19 disruption.  Typically, on Wednesday nights we would meet to pray at 6:30 PM.  After announcements, and a short lesson from the Scriptures, we would take requests. After going over requests and the prayer sheet we would often huddle in groups of three to seven and pray, each taking turns.  The beauty of God’s people huddled together in intercessory prayer is amazing. It is seeing God at work.  The prayers of the saints are powerfully birthing an awareness of the glory of God. Unfortunately, such gathering is on hold for now.

When a church meets corporately for prayer, one aspect that we must take into consideration is that it is more important to pray for holiness than for happiness. That is what I am alluding to when I say we need to pray for more than just health.  Health concerns in and of themselves are concerns for our happiness. They sympathetically work to relieve someone’s suffering.  This is truly noble; however, we need to be reminded that suffering is God’s way of purging a person of selfishness, worldliness, and a reliance on their own strength.  Suffering is the furnace of spiritual refinement. It is a classroom. Thus, when we pray for health concerns, pray first that the person endures and grows closer to Christ in their time of trials and temptation.  Next, pray for their holiness, followed by health concerns.

To pray for holiness is to pray for two things directly.  The first is holiness in the sense of being righteous, without sin.  Pray for conviction by the Holy Spirit for repentance. Second, holiness also means to be separated unto God, for His good works.  Pray for this. We are commanded to be holy for He is holy.

Then, in our prayer meetings, we need to pray to be people of praise, that is worship.  Jesus spoke to the woman at the Samaritan well in John 4, noting that the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  That is to say with heartfelt emotion that is guided by His standards and teaching. This is our calling, to worship Him, glorifying Him, and enjoying Him forever.

We need to pray about our practice, our letting our light shine that all the world may see our good works and be drawn unto Him. When we pray for practice, that means to pray about missions, the sharing of the gospel. We should pray for missionaries, at home and abroad, by country, city, and personal name.  We should also pray that God would open our eyes and create opportunities for we ourselves to share the gospel. This very aspect should not be a casual request.  We must earnestly seek to have hearts that love the building of God’s church and kingdom.

In that same regard, pray for workers of the harvest.  For explicitly, Jesus commands that we pray for the workers of the harvest, for the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.

Therefore, we must also pray for hearts of faithfulness.  The old hymn describes it well

Prone to wander Lord I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Take my heart Lord take and seal it

Seal it for thy courts above.[i]

Pray that our affections for God would be greater than our desires for the world.  Truly the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life are constant enemies to our sanctification.  The puritans were very well known for praying for holiness in this regard. Corporate prayer meetings need a DNA of praying for such resolute surrender unto God, seeking His strength in our great weakness.

As we live in a world that is often shouting its philosophies for living, it would be very easy to be lazy and go with the flow.  This is why we must also pray for wisdom.  We are sheep among wolves.  Jesus told his disciples that they are going out in the midst of wolves, therefore be as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.  We are no different.

We also need to pray that we are a people of love. Not just a love toward those who will love us back; “For even the gentiles do that.” But rather, pray that just as Christ loved us while we were yet enemies, we too would love our enemies, do good to them, and pray for them.

We need to pray for religious affections as Jonathan Edwards emphasized in his book by the same name.  Pray that we would be increasing in our love for Christ.  Salvation is not about a ticket to Heaven, but more about an ever-sanctifying love for Christ.

Pray that the church itself would be a people that operate as a group that loves.  This will cover the need for harmony, unity, and perseverance. A church that loves is willing to get involved in the messy lives of individuals.  A church that loves will speak gospel truth, practice church discipline, defend the faith, and will love lost people.

By definition, love is a verb. So pray that this love will begin in the heart and then bear fruit through action. A great place to start is loving each other and then loving the community.

As we pray about the religious affections, realize that our prayer may be weak and ineffectual because of our heart condition.  It is a severe condemnation when Jesus looked over Jerusalem and announced, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  Pray that truly our hearts would beat for Christ.

A second cause of ineffectual prayer maybe we emphasize the wrong things.  We choose to be good at things that do not matter. I am reminded of Pilgrim’s Progress where Christian gets caught up in “Busy Work.” One saint once said that they feared becoming successful at the wrong goals. We must be seeking first the Kingdom of God and focus on a Christ centered life.

A third hindrance is simply sin. Our prayers ought to include prayers of repentance.  In repentance, we pray for God to change us that we despise sin and cling to Him.  We want to hate what He hates and love what He loves. We pray not just that we are sorry, but that He would so change our desires that the draw of sin is taken away and replaced with a longing for Jesus. We pray like David, “Search me and try me and reveal any wicked way.”

We simply sin because we fail to take God at His word and try to live on our own abilities.  This has been the way since the fall. Oh that the Spirit would move to bring repentance of the assuredness of our own flesh.  May we truly abide in Him, longing for true fruit.

One last category of that which hampers our prayers is that of asking wrongly. We are told that we ask with the wrong motives, that we may have requests granted to satisfy our flesh. Another way of saying this is that our focus is on joy from a source other than Christ. This circles back to our attitude about God.

 

So, in our prayer meetings, we must seek first the Kingdom of God.  That is that we hold fast to His ways and His person.

Would you join me in seeking that God would transform our church prayer meetings?  It is my hope that the emphasis becomes more on Christ and our obedient abiding in Him rather than on comforts that are fleeting.

 

 

[i] “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is a Christian hymn written by the 18th century pastor and hymnodist Robert Robinson who penned the words in the year 1758 at the age of 22. As per Wikipedia.

Wes Pinkley Videos

Did you know you can find Wes Pinkley, Pastor of Poplar Springs North Baptist Church on video? There are several sources.

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Sermons can be found on YouTube at the Poplar Springs North Baptist YouTube channel

A Dublin, GA TV35 interview discussion of how the Corona Virus has impacted church life can be found here on TV35;s YouTube channel

Several videos of devotions, teaching and prayer meetings are here at the Poplar Springs North Facebook page.

And finally, the original TV35 interview from August of 2019, as part of his early ministry in the Dublin community.

March 22 a poem

March 22

No sounds of church bells

No children heard

No hugs

No clamor of the classroom

No choir singing His praises

Yet, the church resounds wherever we may be

The gathering may be stilled

But this time will make us stronger

To appreciate what fellowship we had

That in days to come

It will be more about Him

As precious

Glorious

And the Father to what matters most.

Websites for Boredom While at Home

Need more Jesus?  With extra time on our hands here are a few ministries that I want to encourage you with.

Start with these

The International Mission Board https://www.imb.org/

The North American Mission Board https://www.namb.net/

 

FOR PREACHING THAT ENDURES

Martyn Lloyd-Jones if my favorite preacher to listen to.  You can find him at https://www.mljtrust.org/?gclid=Cj0KCQjw6sHzBRCbARIsAF8FMpWRYItRtfYysLc7pjafEA4vMbIIDp6QqMN6N95Zlkseusx2TjBH4esaAu4kEALw_wcB

Alistair Begg is one of my favorite preachers today . https://www.truthforlife.org/

John Macarthur is another https://www.gty.org/

H B Charles Jr is wonderful. https://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakeronly=true&currsection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Rev._H.B._Charles,_Jr.

 

NEWS AND INFORMATION

Interested in apologetics/Dinosaurs/ and culture try https://answersingenesis.org/

Baptist news http://www.bpnews.net/

Christian Post https://www.christianpost.com/

Our own Georgia Baptist newspaper  https://christianindex.org/

 

HUMOR

https://twitter.com/rev_norespect?lang=en

https://twitter.com/ChrchCurmudgeon?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor

What I read in 2019

Every year I try to read 52 books.  Once the holidays hit the pace slows considerably.  With a move from Kentucky to Georgia, I still managed the following.

Good and Angry.  David Powlison
Leading the Unleadable Alan Willett
Q B Q the Question Behind the Question John G Miller
Shout Sister Shout Gayle Wald
In Remembrance of Me. Jim Henry
Prince Caspian. C S Lewis
The History of Poplar Springs North Baptist Church
Honor for Aging Parents. Judy Hale
Pixar Storytelling. Dean Movshovitz
Nighthawks Charles Johnson
The Sinking of the Indianapolis
The Ghost Ships of the Arcangel William Geroux
The Gospel Ministry Thomas Foxcroft
God, Greed, and the Prosperity Gospel. Costi Hinn
The Heart of Domestic Abuse. Chris Moles
All the Songs The Beatles
The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.  John MacArthur
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism. Mark Dever
Facing Snarled and Scowls. Croft & Carroll
Passions of the Heart.  John Street
The Fellowship of the Ring. J RR Tolkien
Talking to Strangers. Malcolm Gladwell
The Gospel Comes with a House Key Rosaria Butterfield
Prayer, it’s Not About You. Harriet Michael
A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens