Blog

If God is for Us, Sermon Draft for Romans 8:18-31 Sunday April 22, 2018

Below are the sermon preparation notes for Sunday April 22, 2018.  These are in rough form, but expedited to aid you in following along and for personal study throughout the week.

In my opening of the sermon, which can be found at EkronBaptistChurch.com, I mentioned two musicians.  You may find examples of the music of Blind Willie Johnson and Sister Rosetta Tharpe as follows.

Blind Willie Johnson

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y_o4omd8T5c

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnAQATKRBN0

As time did not permit, the sermon is being broken into two parts; April 22 and 29.

 

The Sermon.

If there is any iconic music that defines America, it would be the blues.  Sorrow, pain, distance from God are all reflected in the twelve bars of a minor key. The blues has much to do with the sorrow of the heart and the desperate call of a man seeking redemption.  The Bible knows these struggles; especially in the Psalms.  They both beg the question, “Is God for us?”

First a recap so that we know the context

Romans 8:16-31 (Writing to believers)

  • Suffering now, is temporary for those who believe.
  • We have the hope of redemption.
  • We are marked by the Holy Spirit.
  • All things work together for good for those who love Christ Jesus.
  • God is working, those whom He foreknew, He predestined, called, justified, and glorified.

Therefore, if God is for us , who can be against us?

Who is God for and why?

V28 Those who Love God. Saving relationship, love in both directions, God loves us and we love God.

But, we must love the True God, not a god of our making. The heresy of the ages if for man to be put on equal with God. This is done by denying His word and as well, making God to be in man’s image.

First, the negative.

It is a falsehood to believe that God loves everyone.

The danger is that we have this strange un-biblical expectation that God will just overlook sin, and become all inclusive.  This is a blasphemous lie of Satan.

(My emphasis is underlined)

Lev 20:23  And you shall not walk in the customs of the nation that I am driving out before you, for they did all these things, and therefore I detested them.

Deu 25:16  For all who do such things, all who act dishonestly, are an abomination to the LORD your God.

Psa 5:5-6  The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.  (6)  You destroy those who speak lies; the LORD abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man.

Psa 11:5  The LORD tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.

Hos 9:15  Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels.

Isa 59:2  but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.

Mal 1:2-3  “I have loved you,” says the LORD. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the LORD. “Yet I have loved Jacob  (3)  but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”

Rom 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

Rom 1:24-25  Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,  (25)  because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

Rom 9:13-15  As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”  (14)  What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!  (15)  For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

1Co 6:9-10  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,  (10)  nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Eph 5:5  For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Jas 4:4  You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1Jn 1:6  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

God is against those who continue to do evil and do not repent.  We can see death and destruction for unholy people, those who delight in wretchedness.

 

Why does God love a wretch?

(Mystery)

Rom 5:6-8  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  (7)  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  (8)  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Rom 9:14-18  What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!  (15)  For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”  (16)  So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.  (17)  For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”  (18)  So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

We do not know why or how God works to save some and yet others are lost.

God loves and saves not based upon who we are, but upon His will. God turns darkness into a tool, suffering into refinement, loneliness as a crucible to remove pride and love for the world, and in His time, brings a drama of glory that no eye has seen, ear has heard, or mind has imagined.

No testing is pleasant in the moment, but God is working.  Trials and testing are not a sign of God being against you.  In most cases, they may very well be a sign that God is working in your life for good.  So much of Scripture is written to give the believer hope and strength in times of testing, that God would be glorified in your sacrifice and perseverance. Thus, there is a true application here, and hope for the weary, God is revealing His glory to us.

Psalmists often fretted that God was distant. But here is the answer, If God is for us, who can be against us?

The Positive

So who is God for?

He is for those who cry out to be saved, repenting of their sins.

Those who love, not a mental affection but those who have found God as a Pearl of Great Price.

They abide in Christ, living according to His will that they may glorify Him.

It is important to know that those who are saved are known by God

Gal 4:8-9  Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods.  (9)  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?

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.’

Additional Scriptures to know about the heart of believers are as follows;

Joh 3:3  Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Joh 3:33-36  Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true.  (34)  For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure.  (35)  The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand.  (36)  Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.

Joh 10:7-10  So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.  (8)  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them.  (9)  I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.  (10)  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

Rom 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  (17)  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Rom 10:10-13  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  (11)  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  (12)  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  (13)  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Rom 15:6  that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Rom 15:8-11  For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,  (9)  and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy. As it is written, “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”  (10)  And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.”  (11)  And again, “Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles, and let all the peoples extol him.”

1Co 6:20  for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

2Co 5:17-19  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.  (18)  All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  (19)  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

2Ti 1:8-9  Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God,  (9)  who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

1Pe 2:9-10  But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  (10)  Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1Pe 2:11-12  Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.  (12)  Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

1Pe 4:16  Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

1Jn 1:5-10  This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  (6)  If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  (7)  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  (8)  If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  (9)  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  (10)  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1Jn 2:3-6  And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.  (4)  Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,  (5)  but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:  (6)  whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

Rev 15:4  Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

Thus, if God is for you, you will know by a transformed life in which God is actively working in Justification and sanctification. Transforming you from what you once were to the image of His son.

So, if God has loved you, count it all joy, exalt in Him.  If God has saved you, rather than abandoned you, worship Him.

Therefore, in Christ we have

  • Confidence in prayer.
  • Boldness in the proclamation of the gospel.
  • Faith in His word
  • Assurance of hope.
  • Resolve to persevere.
  • A love for His church.
  • Desire for holiness.
  • A willingness to suffer and sacrifice to gain Christ.

In closing, I need to answer a question that we may have gotten wrong because our understanding of God has been wrong.  Yes, God is a god of love,  But He does not dole out salvation like candy.  Salvation is costly as it cost the life of His Son.  It is to be cherished, respected, and held as holy.

How is a person saved?

  • Repentance and faith. Repent of sin and believe, not a head belief, but a transformed heart belief.

What happens when someone dies in their sins?

  • Eternity in Hell.

We must have a right Gospel and it must be proclaimed.  (Starting a systematic Theology class   May 27th)

Rom 10:14-18  How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  (15)  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  (16)  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  (17)  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.  (18)  But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for “Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.”

 

 

 

 

Loving Meade County Kentucky

14322511_10154561333988826_2420556783289549842_n

 

I was posed a question as of late asking how Ekron Baptist cares for Meade County.  This is a serious question that all churches need to answer.  To often churches do become isolated within the walls of the building.  To me, church is a verb.

First off, a church is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.  A church is to love one another, even their enemies.  Without exception, everything a church does should be based within Scripture as we are commanded by God to share the gospel message, locally and globally.

With those parameters in place, churches ought to have some form of local ministry to the community.

At Ekron Baptist we annually provide backpacks and school supplies for needy children.  We provide food that day as well as entertainment that is all free of charge.  Every year on October 31st we provide a safe environment for families to trick or treat along with another meal.

Weekly our church has helped people in need by supplying groceries from our food pantry.  We also have assisted countless people in those dire times when the utilities have run high and a payment needs to be made.  We also offer free counseling from a certified counselor and others in training.  Often, our church sponsors kids we have met on the spur of the moment, who wish to go to camp with our youth. This is quite costly.  Several of these youths go on to serve in the community, they have been found helping the elderly with needs they physically cannot meet. All this is done in a spirit of love and free of charge.

Throughout the year, we collect supplies for shoeboxes to give to the needy in Meade county.  We also are a stop on the Grim Reapers Motorcycle Club toy run.  We provide lunch to the participants as well as toys toward the efforts, all of which stay in our county. Our ongoing sewing and craft ministry creates blankets, dresses and other items for the elderly as well as creating packages for those children who are rushed into foster care in sad situations. These packages often have items that will comfort a child in crisis. Statistically, our county sees a 16.9% poverty level.  This is severe.  We do what we can and wish we could do more.

So why do we do this? Why so much without requiring an obligation from others?  It’s not because we are good neighbors.  Rather the answer finds its roots in the fact that as God so loved the world, He gave His only Son to meet the greatest poverty of all mankind.  Poverty will always be with us. But the greater need, the greatest poverty, is to be found in debt to a holy God because of our sins against Him. The greatest gift is to have the debt of sin paid for, that the wrath of God would be atoned for, that in turn, we could be forgiven of all our sins. This is the gospel message.

We love our neighbors.  And we serve in the community, not because we are good people, as a matter of fact, we are a bunch of sinners who daily rely upon the grace of God, but serve out of what God has done in our hearts.  Because we have experienced our sin being dealt with by the cross of Christ and have learned through the Bible about a right relationship with God, we want to share how all who repent and call upon His name can be forgiven their debt and given a new life.

The mission of Ekron Baptist Church is to love God, love others, and to make His glory known.

We invite you all to attend and hear the good news for yourself.

Romans 8:1 In Christ Jesus, Eternal Security by the Hand of God

Below re the rough draft sermon notes for the message on January 7, 2018

In Christ Jesus, Eternal Security by the Hand of God

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

51PZPkM9A0L._SX355_

Romans 1 as a statement is expounded upon by Romans 2 to the end.

To be free of condemnation has much more to do with the life ahead than the life behind.

We have assurance in this chapter.  Assurance of forgiveness, of grace to grow, and for the eternal security in Christ.

Justified by Faith

Peace and access

Value of suffering leads to endurance, character, and hope, which are all effects of God being at work in you.  If you do not quit, if you find daily strength in Him, that is evidence of His hand.

God is at work.  For no one repents apart from God working in him. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Conviction however is not conversion.  You can agree with the scriptures, you can boast in their morality, but without a change of heart you are still lost. Romans 7:13-25 shows early manifestations of Christ’s work.

The Christian, according to chapter 8, speaks not of law, but of grace.  For we are not under law but under grace.

Seven things about being in Christ Jesus

1. No condemnation, (1-4) but what about the law?  The law could never do what Christ has done.

2. Adopted and sealed by the Holy Spirit. (5-13) Our salvation is guaranteed because of the work of the Holy Spirit. Sanctification and

3. Witness of the Spirit (14-17) the presence of the Spirit is a proof that we are children of God. Not just forgiven but adopted. We handle life’s problems different from the world using them for His glory. (Coram Deo)

4. The World is Condemned, but the Holy Spirit gives hope. (18-25) because we are sons and daughters, an inheritance of glory is before us. We are often so subjective by moods, this is an assurance that even if we are not feeling it, we are still saved. Creation is corrupted by sin. Look at salvation and ourselves in the big picture of God’s plan.

5. The Spirit prays for Us. (26-27) God does not leave us alone. The Holy Spirit is our intercessor. Our paraclete. He leads, guides, directs, teaches, reveals understanding of scripture. He enriches our prayers.  He seals us for redemption.

6. We are in a process of growth. (28-34) Do not forget this. Especially on the emotional rollercoaster of events.   The very character of God is assured upon the believer’s life. Salvation has a process that God guarantees.  The stages of growth may be obscure, but the are definite.  This cannot fail as God is the one in control.  If He did not spare His own son, how can He not fulfill even the least little event? The son is the guarantee.

7. God’s love is assured by the cross of Christ. (35-39) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? There is no condemnation, thus there remains love. No entity can remove you from God’s love, for it is God who saves you.

  • If there is no work that you can do to save you, and yet God chooses to save, you are secure.
  • If there is nothing you can do to make God love you any more, and nothing you can do to make God love you less, you are secure.
  • If you could sin to lose your salvation, that would mean that your power is greater than God’s. But the cross proves the power of Christ over sin, and the grave.  Nothing is greater.
  • “If you could lose your salvation you would.” John MacArthur. But you can’t Man cannot thwart the will of God.

 

 

 

On the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation

Editor’s note: Below are the sermon notes for Sunday October 29th.  They are in a rough draft form. The sermon itself can be found at ekronbaptistchurch.com

 

Tuesday marks the 500th anniversary of we have come to call the birth of the Protestant Reformation.

In 1517, a German Monk and professor named Martyn Luther nailed 95 Theses to the castle church door in Wittenburg.  His intention was to call a debate to the practice of the Catholic Church selling indulgences. That is, accepting money to atone for sins of those in Purgatory. This, among many other problems that were ongoing with the church at the time were seen as a stark contrast to the word of the Bible.

luther

Martin Luther was born…(1483-1546)

Lived….

Lightning bolt…..July 2, 1505

Tormented by his sin…Though predestined for destruction.

 

  • Confessing at times up to 6 hours a day.
  • Made pilgrimages
  • Feared leaving out a sin.
  • Would confess coveting the stale piece of bread that a brother monk had.
  • https://worldlysaints.wordpress.com/2017/01/04/martin-luther-his-confessions-and-battle-against-sin/
  • C. Sproul explains, “Confession was a regular part of monastic life. The other brothers came regularly to their confessors and said, ‘Father, I have sinned. Last night I stayed up after ‘lights out’ and read my Bible with a candle.’ Or, ‘Yesterday at lunchtime I coveted Brother Philip’s potato salad.’ (How much trouble can a monk get into in a monastery?) The father Confessor would hear the confession, grant priestly absolution, and assign a small penance to be performed. That was it. The whole transaction took only a few minutes. Not so with Brother Luther. He was driving his Father Confessor to distraction. Luther was not satisfied with a brief recitation of his sins. He wanted to make sure that no sin in his life was left unconfessed. He entered the confessional and stayed for hours every day.”[1]

Eventually studying the Bible, he discovered Romans 1:16-17. This is what led to his relief.

Rom 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  (17)  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Led him to understand that the just shall live by faith, not works.

In Revelation 22:18 a waring is given about adding to the book.  And a reading of Scripture itself will find that salvation is only by the name of Christ and as a gift of God, not of works, lest, man may boast of his abilities rather than repent of depravities.

The Catholic church was inherently teaching a salvation by works. Whereas the Scriptures clearly do not teach that sin is atoned for by penance, indulgences, or sacraments.

 

INDULGENCES: Tetzel was teaching a false doctrine.[1]

Reading the 66 books of the Bible that the early church fathers accepted in 367, does not include any support to the idea of Purgatory.

http://www.christianitytoday.com/history/issues/issue-14/selling-forgiveness-how-money-sparked-protestant.html

http://www.biblestudents.com/htdbv5/r553.htm

Key Statements

Here are 13 samples of Luther’s theses:[2]

  1. When our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, says “Repent ye,” etc., he means that the entire life of the faithful should be a repentance.

 

  1. This statement cannot be understood of the sacrament of penance, i.e., of confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priesthood.

 

  1. They preach human folly who pretend that as soon as money in the coffer rings a soul from purgatory springs.

 

  1. Those who suppose that on account of their letters of indulgence they are sure of salvation will be eternally damned along with their teachers.

 

  1. Every Christian who truly repents has plenary [full] forgiveness both of punishment and guilt bestowed on him, even without letters of indulgence.

 

  1. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has a share in all the benefits of Christ and the Church, for God has granted him these, even without letters of indulgence.

 

  1. Christians should be taught that whoever sees a person in need and, instead of helping him, uses his money for an indulgence, obtains not an indulgence of the pope but the displeasure of God.

 

  1. Christians should be taught that the pope ought and would give his own substance to the poor, from whom certain preachers of indulgences extract money, even if he had to sell St. Peter’s Cathedral to do it.

 

  1. This shameless preaching of pardons makes it hard even for learned men to defend the pope’s honor against calumny or to answer the indubitably shrewd questions of the laity.

 

  1. For example: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory for the sake of holy love … for after all, he does release countless souls for the sake of sordid money contributed for the building of a cathedral? …”

 

  1. To suppress these very telling arguments of the laity by force instead of answering them with adequate reasons would be to expose the church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies and to render Christians unhappy.

 

  1. We should admonish Christians to follow Christ, their Head, through punishment, death, and hell.

 

  1. And so let them set their trust on entering heaven through many tribulations rather than some false security and peace.

 

Within two months, Johann Tetzel fired back with his own theses, including: “Christians should be taught that the Pope, by authority of his jurisdiction, is superior to the entire Catholic Church and its councils, and that they should humbly obey his statutes.”

Luther Stood on the promises of the Bible

Rom 1:16-17  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.  (17)  For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Many false denominations and teachers today will lead you to a works righteousness.  This contradicts the character of God as a giver. They misrepresent the nature of God

They will also sell indulgences of a different type, asking for “seed money”.

 

 POWER OF SALVATION

Not just in death, but in eternal life. Salvation is being set free and adopted as an heir.

Salvation’s only cost is the blood of Christ. It is a gift of God,

We must treasure this gift or it is no treasure to us at all.  If you do not hold to this gift as above all earthly treasures, Christ has no part in you.

BELIEF is not a work of man, but a work of God within you. As depraved sinners, no one seeks for God.  But God draws all unto Himself that would be saved.(Rom 3:10-11) (John 6:44)

God’s RIGHTEOUSNESS is revealed. God does the work. While we were yet sinners,

Rom 5:6-8  For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.  (7)  For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—  (8)  but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

Why is this relevant?

How shall we live? By faith, not works. But by faith in God. As revealed in His word.

lutherAt the Diet of Worms, Luther made this statement; “”Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

 

[1] http://scholarship.rollins.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1006&context=mls

[2] http://www.christianitytoday.com/biblestudies/bible-answers/theology/luther-95-theses-protestant-reformation.html

On the death of an icon

While the world mourns the death of Hugh Hefner, I mourn his life. It was a life wasted in the pursuit of every fleshly vice that King Solomon warned against.  He took many down the path of sin.  His efforts belittled the value of women and taught sexuality without bounds. He is no hero.

Yesterday I sat in a courtroom watching as defendant after defendant stood statuesque before an earthly judge awaiting his fate. Some received a small fine, others jail time, some a second probationary chance.

But one day, we all will stand before God as Holy Judge and we guilty on all counts.  Without excuse.

Let that sink in.

If Christ be our plea, how do we evidence that now? What cry do we have above Matthew 7:22  “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?”

Remembering the words of John Newton,

“Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly: I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”

Let us live preparing for the day we stand before God.

Standing Firm in the Gospel Philippians 4:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 13

 

Below are my preaching notes for Sunday September 17, 2017

Php 4:1-3  Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.  (2)  I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.  (3)  Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

Paul has taught well on straining toward the gospel. He mentions enemies of the cross of Christ, and reminds us that our citizenship is in Heaven.

Now he reminds us, to stand firm in the Lord.

  • Opposition is part of the Christian life.
  • To be without trials and opposition is to be a worldly church, for the world hates the Gospel message.
  • To be without trials is to be unloved by God, for God chastens and reproves those whom He loves.

 

Paul inserts an admonition to two women, Euodia an Syntiche.

  • Not getting along
  • Creating a disruption
  • We are not told the exact circumstance, only enough to know that whatever the problem, it was not gospel centered.
  • They have labored in the Gospel, but need help in regaining a focus of what is important.

Distractions such as these cause major problems in the church

  • Distraction from the goal of the Gospel.
  • Disunity among believers
  • Displaced worship.

 

Paul takes time to simply address the issue and the feel of the message ought to be that our mission is the gospel, not personal agendas.

I can think of several verses on this issue.

1 John states

1Jn 2:9-11  Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.  (10)  Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.  (11)  But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

In Matthew Jesus teaches

Mat 5:21-24  “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’  (22)  But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.  (23)  So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you,  (24)  leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

 

Today, I’d like to offer solutions to the heart.  We can’t make everyone happy with us.  But we are accountable to God for our heart condition.  Our focus is commanded to be gospel centered. And the heart of the Gospel is God’s love.

 

1Co 13:1-13  If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  (2)  And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  (3)  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  (4)  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant  (5)  or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;  (6)  it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  (7)  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  (8)  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.  (9)  For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  (10)  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.  (11)  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.  (12)  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  (13)  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Love is (Agape = Brotherly Love) a verb.  Brings about a harmony and unity.  It is a bond of Christianity like no other.

  • Patient- Longsuffering, put up with failures. Opposed to hasty anger or conclusions.
  • Kind- Purposefully seeking to benefit others by helping or assisting.
  • Not envy or boast It is not jealous or self-promoting.
  • Arrogant It has humility, not elevating oneself above others. Not self-inflated (Literaly means to blow wind)
  • Rude Does not act unbecomingly (Has manners)
  • Does not insist on its own way It does not insist on its own agenda or spotlight.
  • Not irritable or resentful Not easily put off or carries a grudge. Lets things go.
  • Does not rejoice at wrongdoing Not vengeful or happy when others suffer.
  • Rejoices in truth It cares more about what is right than looking good.
  • Bears all things Hides the faults of others.  Easily willing to overlook others lack of grace.
  • Believes all things It does not readily believe rumors or gossip.
  • Hopes all things Love gives second chances and focuses on the good of a person.
  • Love never ends Loves in not limited by time, distance, events. See romans 8:31-39

 

Christian maturity is evidenced by the fact that we have repented of fleshly ways and are learning to love like Christ.  We look like Jesus.

Sunday September 17th, Answer key Standing Firm in the Gospel Philippians 4:1-3 and 1 Corinthians 13

Below is the answer key for those who are taking notes and may not have recorded all that was taught.

Stand firm in the Lord.

  • Opposition is part of the Christian life.

Euodia an Syntiche.

Distractions such as these cause major problems in the church

  • Distraction from the goal of the Gospel.
  • Disunity among believers
  • Displaced worship.

1Jn 2:9-11

Mat 5:21-24

1Co 13:1-13

 

Love is

  • Patient- Longsuffering, put up with failures.
  • Kind- Purposefully seeking to benefit others by helping or assisting.
  • Not envy or boast It is not jealous or self-promoting.
  • Arrogant It has humility, not elevating oneself above others. Not self-inflated
  • Rude Does not act unbecomingly (Has manners)
  • Does not insist on its own way It does not insist on its own agenda or spotlight.
  • Not irritable or resentful Not easily put off or carries a grudge. Lets things go.
  • Does not rejoice at wrongdoing Not vengeful or happy when others suffer.
  • Rejoices in truth It cares more about what is right than looking good.
  • Bears all things Hides the faults of others.
  • Believes all things It does not readily believe rumors or gossip.
  • Hopes all things Love gives second chances and focuses on the good of a person.
  • Love never ends Loves in not limited by time, distance, events. See romans 8:31-39

 

Survey of Ideas to Reach our Jerusalem and Judea

Below is a copy of the survey that was passed around during our think tank Sunday evening July 16th.

Reaching our Jerusalem and Judea

Act 1:8  But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Mat 28:18-20 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

How would you define our mission field? (In your own thoughts of what you think of when you hear mission field or Meade county)

 

What is the gospel message?

 

Have you ever shared the gospel with a person and challenged them to follow Christ as their Savior?    Y  N

What does it take to reach a person with the message of the gospel?

 

What hinders a person from Christ?

 

What can we do to better create opportunities to share the gospel?

 

How can we as a church support you to share the gospel?

 

Who do you see as your personal mission field?

What keeps a person from attending church?

 

What things can we do differently at church to reach people?

 

What new things can we do?

 

Please rank the following on a 1 to 10 scale, 1 being less important and 10 being critically important.

How important is it for you to share the gospel?

How much effort do you make in praying for the lost?

How important is Sunday School to you?

Would you attend a special Bible study if it were offered?

What things would you like to learn, and would bring an un-churched friend to attend in a small group?

1

2

3

 

What ideas for reaching people would you like to share?

 

 

What else comes to mind that you would like to share?

Trends in Reaching Our Mission Field

Below is the handout held on Sunday evening July 16th.

Trends in Reaching Our Mission Field

Southern Baptists

Southern Baptist lost 200,000 members in 2015, and had 300,000 fewer baptisms for the first time in 68 years.[1]

 

Losses of 204,409 in 2015 followed 236,467 of 2014.  The population of the United States grew 321.4MIlliion in 2015 and 318.9 in 2014.  Thus, in 2015 there were 15,294,764 Southern Baptists.  That is one Southern Baptist per 21 people in the USA.

 

The Ekron Mission Field

Meade County is only 11% churched with a 16.9% poverty level.

 

 

What is Being Said

Sam Eaton wrote an article entitled “From the depths of my heart, I want to love church.”[2]

A few insights;

  • Church impressions of Millennials is the lowest in recent history (22-35 year olds)
  • For under 30 y/o, only 20% , 2 in 10 believe church attendance is worthwhile. (All time low)
  • 59% of these raised in church no longer attend.
  • Millennials are the least likely group to attend church.

Millennials believe that no one cares what they think.

  • Lack of interest in opinions
  • Lack of invitation to serve as leadership

Care more about love than missions statements.

  • Desire action and service
  • Stick with the heart of the gospel

Churches lack a compassion for the poor

  • “If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is in us at all.” David Platt
  • Become active in the community to help people in need.
  • Have the church serve others regularly.

Stop Blaming the Culture

  • Explicitly teach how our lives should be different than the culture.

The You Can’t Sit With Us Effect.

  • Churches that feel cliquey, like high school.
  • Be radically kind and compassionate.
  • Serve together.
  • Train people to help others connect.
  • Do not blame others for not being connected. Some are shy, have anxiety, are struggle. Bridge the gap.

Millennials do not trust institutions

Millennials want to be mentored. They crave relationships.

  • Urgently strive to create relationship opportunities
  • Develop mentors and provide ongoing encouragements

Millennials want to feel valued.

  • Have a genuine love interest in them.
  • Show appreciation.
  • Do not major on failures.

Millennials want to talk about controversial issues.

  • Have an environment to do so.
  • Create a program for youth to transition into adult life
  • Intentionally train youth to live a godly life.

Public Perception

  • Make your church present felt at public events.

Stop talking about US

  • Respect their generation
  • Don’t fail to deliver. Under promise and deliver in abundance

Churches are failing to adapt.

  • Data clearly shows that churches are not connecting with Millennials.

 

Who is Growing

Some are growing, but with a twist on reading the data. [3]

The top 100 fastest growing churches tend to be larger churches in metropolitan areas.[4]

Conservative churches tend to grow while liberal churches are in decline. [5][6]

“For example, 93 percent of growing-church pastors said they agreed with the statement “Jesus rose from the dead with a real, flesh-and-blood body leaving behind an empty tomb,” compared with 56 percent of declining-church pastors, according to the summary.

And 71 percent of pastors at growing churches said they read their Bibles daily, compared with 19 percent of pastors at declining churches.”

 

5 Trends learned from the top 100 growing churches[7]

1 Non-Denominational Dominates

2 Biblical Truth Builds Churches

3 Millennials aren’t the problem

4 Transparency is Critical

5 Technology is Changing the Mission Field

[1] Baptist News Freefall continues in SBC Membership Bob Allen June 8, 2016

[2] http://faithit.com/12-reasons-millennials-over-church-sam-eaton/

[3] https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/factchecker-are-all-christian-denominations-in-decline

[4] http://www.outreachmagazine.com/outreach-100-fastest-growing-churches-2016.html

[5] https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/01/04/liberal-churches-are-dying-but-conservative-churches-are-thriving/?utm_term=.76107e7d0f19

[6] http://religionnews.com/2016/11/21/study-finds-churches-with-conservative-theology-still-growing/

[7] http://am.digital/5-things-learned-100-fastest-growing-churches-america/

Lists, Books, and Recommended Reading

History Day Research 045 - Copy

I love lists.  Calendars, electronic checkbooks, scraps of paper, and legal pads all bring me great organizational joy.  My accounting background still fondly remembers the moment I first laid eyes on Lotus 123.  My heart raced to exclaim that computers had been created for just such a purpose.  It all started early in life for me.  Going to the Danville public library to visit my grandmother found my childhood fascinated with the card catalog system for tracking those beautiful columns and rows of books.  It essentially combined my love for reading with my bent towards organization.  Today, I relish in the use of Evernote and Dropbox on my iPod.

Just the other night in a deacons meeting my heart quickened.  One of the brothers shared how after years of only reading his Bible and books for work he was taking it upon himself to begin reading, in which he might grow further in Christ.  Restraining myself from actually fist pumping in the air, I silently praised God for this breakthrough.  You see, I am a firm, ardent, and staunch believer that we should never stop learning.  We need to be discerning Bereans, who test and take to heart everything as to the glory of God.  Since we are to be worshippers in spirit and in truth the discipline of study is as imperative as rungs and sides of a ladder to reach greater heights in learning and application.  We learn, we apply, then we learn some more.

Learning is a means of sanctification.  It is critical to discipleship.

Therefore, today I would hope to encourage you all to learn.  Again, learning is a means of sanctification.  Below you will find my current recommended reading list, under several categories.  Some books might as well be included in several groupings.  However, my purpose here is to give each category of life its own set of tomes for indulgence.  I would love to get your feedback and hear of books you love.  Please write to me at seniorpastor@ekronbaptistchurch.com.

 

Ten Books I Want My Church Members to Read

  • The Bible- I don’t want to make the Bible a side suggestion. I want it to be the imperative.  There is no substitute here, and it should be devoured more than bread or water.
  • Prayer- Ole Hallesby
  • The Screwtape Letters- C S Lewis
  • The Atonement- Leon Morris
  • The Cost of Discipleship- Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This book should be read annually as it wards against mediocrity.
  • Maximum Impact- Wayne Mack If we are to be the church, then we must know how to represent Christ and His message through love.
  • Spiritual Depression- Martyn Lloyd Jones. This book speaks to the depths of the soul in its desires and hope.
  • Desiring God- John Piper
  • Instruments in the Redeemers Hands- Paul Trip If you are a disciple you will be dealing with people.  This tome has helped me to enjoy the trials of ministry.
  • Christless Christianity- Michael Horton In a kaleidoscope world of “Christian” viewpoints, this book brings clarity to what we ought to see.

 

Ten Books for Apologetics

  • Who Made God? Ravi Zacharias & Norman Geisler
  • The Testimony of the Evangelists Simon Greenleaf
  • Between Heaven and Hell Peter Kreeft
  • The Defense Never Rests Craig Parton
  • I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist Norman Geisler & Frank Turek
  • Why I am a Christian John Stott
  • Tactics Gregory Koukl
  • Why Good Arguments Often Fail James Sire
  • Christianity and Liberalism J Greshem Machen
  • Mere Christianity C S Lewis

 

Ten Books for Youth to Read

  • Don’t Waste Your Life- John Piper
  • Do Hard Things- Alex and Brett Harris
  • Radical- David Platt
  • Pilgrim’s Progress- John Bunyan
  • God’s Passion for His Glory- John Piper
  • Respectable Sins- Jerry Bridges
  • Basic Christianity- John Stott
  • Worldliness- C J Mahaney
  • Preparing for Marriage- Wayne Mack. Many books on dating deal mainly with sex.  I ask, should not a book on dating delve into the natural result of such a relationship.  Let us help youth to understand what God requires of a marriage relationship before they initiate the giving away their affections.

 

10 Books for the Weary

  • When I don’t Desire God- John Piper
  • The Christian Life- Ole Hallesby
  • Life Together- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
  • Beside Still Waters- Charles Spurgeon
  • Future Grace- John Piper
  • Revival- Martyn Lloyd Jones
  • How Long Oh Lord- D A Carson
  • Surprised by Suffering R C Sproul
  • Revival Richard Owen Roberts
  • Out of the Depths Martyn Lloyd Jones

 

Twelve Books for Leadership

  • The Reformed Pastor- Richard Baxter
  • Brother’s We are Not Professionals- John Piper
  • Lectures to My Students- Charles Spurgeon
  • Preaching and Preachers Martyn Lloyd Jones
  • Competent to Council- Jay Adams
  • Counseling- John Macarthur
  • How to Say it- Rosalie Maggio
  • The Art of the Personal Letter-Margaret Shepherd
  • Manners- Emily Post
  • Speaking the Truth in Love- David Powlison
  • The Deliberate Church- Mark Dever
  • Warnings to the Churches- J C Ryle

 

Ten Biographies You Need to Read

  • The Diary of David Brainard. Jonathan Edwards
  • Through Gates of Splendor. Elisabeth Elliot
  • Surprised by Joy. C S Lewis
  • The Life of John Newton
  • Foxes Book of Martyers
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther- Peter Smith
  • The Hiding Place. Corrie TenBoon
  • Bonhoeffer. Eric Metaxas
  • Confessions. St. Augustine
  • The Insanity of God.  Nik Ripken

 

Ten Books for Married Couples

  • Sacred Marriage- Gary Thomas
  • Strengthening Your Marriage- Wayne Mack
  • This Momentary Marriage- John Piper
  • The Exemplary Husband- Stuart Scott
  • The Excellent Wife- Martha Peace
  • Uprooting Anger- Robert Jones
  • The Art of Divine Contentment- J C Ryle
  • How to Act Right When Your Spouse Acts Wrong Leslie Vernick
  • God, Marriage, and Family Andreas Kostenberger
  • This Momentary Marriage John and Noel Piper

Five Books for Parents

  • Shepherding a Child’s Heart- Tedd Tripp
  • The Peacemaker- Ken Sande
  • Instructing a Child’s Heart- Tripp
  • Boys and Girls Playing Together- J C Ryle
  • Sacred Parenting- Gary Thomas

 

Other Books that need to be read……

  • Uprooting Anger Robert Jones
  • When People are Big and God is Small Ed Welch
  • The Atributes of God- A W Tozer
  • The Holiness of God- R C Sproul
  • The Cross Centered Life- C J Mahaney
  • Holiness J C Ryle
  • Instruments in the redeemer’s Hands- Tripp
  • The Heart of Addiction- Mark Shaw
  • Counsel from the Heart- Elise Fitzpatrick and Eric Johnson
  • Idols of the Heart- Elise Fitzpatrick
  • Lies Women Believe- Nancy Demoss
  • Unpacking Forgiveness- Chris Brauns.