Archive for the 'Baptist' Category

26
Mar
09

The Gospel is not about me

I was recently reading through Mark Dever’s book “The Deliberate Church” and ran across the following.

“The Gospel is not ultimately about me.

It is about God’s glory, and gathering worshipers for Himself who will worship Him in spirit and truth. It is about God vindicating His holiness by punishing Christ for the sins of all those who repent and believe. It is about making a name for Himself in the world by gathering people and separating them to Himself for the spread of His fame to the nations.

“Benefit evangelism” fills our churches with people who are taught to expect everything to go their way just because they became Christians. But Jesus promises persecution for following Him, not worldly perks (John 15:18-16:4; cf. 2 Tim. 3:12). We want to build Christians and churches who persevere through hardship, who are willing to suffer and be persecuted and even die for the Gospel of Christ, because they value God’s glory more than the temporal benefits of conversion. We don’t want people to become Christians because it will reduce their stress. We want them to become Christians because they know they need to repent of their sins, believe in Jesus Christ, and joyfully take up their cross and follow Him for the glory of God.

There are indeed wonderful benefits to the Christian life; but being God-centered in our evangelism by focusing less on the temporal benefits and more on God’s character and plan makes for more Christians ready to suffer, and more churches motivated by God’s glory.”

I thought Pastor Mark’s words summed up our mission and motive for establishing a new church in Ada.

The motive for our ministry in Ada is to establish God’s glory in and then through the church then to the world around us. We intend on doing this by building this ministry on God-centered worship that comes through Bible-driven exposition and Christ-centered worship as opposed to man-centered worship.

We desire this so that they may see the manifold wisdom of God through the church to the praise of God’s grace.

Ephesians 3:7-12 (ESV)

7 Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. 8 To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, 10 so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.

To find out more about our mission and our heart please go to our website.

Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Ada, Oklahoma

http://sovereigngracebc.wordpress.com

20
Mar
09

I love the smell of Sheep!

As you may know we are embarking on a new journey in church planting in Ada, Oklahoma. This new ministry has given me much to pray and ponder about lately. In preparation for the journey I have been looking at the lives of other pastors in the past to help prepare my own heart to “shepherd the flock of God” in the present.

Lately I have found myself reading about the ministry of R.C. Chapman who was referred to by C.H. Spurgeon as “The saintliest man I ever knew.”

Men like Chapman and Spurgeon give me great hope and great guidance in serving as God’s undershepherd. The following thoughts from R.C. Chapman have been in my mind and heart for some months now and I have found them to be a source of joy. I love to hear fellow pastors express their joy and love in serving as undershepherds and their testimony only fuels my burning desire to honor Christ by loving His sheep. I find great delight in the pursuit of loving and leading Christ’s church as a result of testimony and advice I have discovered here in Chapman’s life and ministry. Much of the following is derived from Alexander Strauch and Robert L. Peterson’s booklet on “Agape Leadership”.

“For those who are to exercise any office in the Church – that of evangelist, pastor- it is not knowledge and utterance only which are needed; but also, and above all, grace and an unblameable [lifestyle]…

Our joy in Christ speaks a language that all hearts can understand, and is a testimony for Him, such as mere knowledge and utterance can never give…

The figure of the mote [log] in the eye [Matthew 7] shows what skill and tenderness he has need of who would be a reprover to his brother. Who would trust so precious a member as the eye to a rough, unskillful hand?…”

R.C. Chapman

Chapman was never rough or harsh with people. Describing him, a friend said that Chapman was ‘bold as a lion and gentle as a nurse.” His model of handling others was God himself…

Chapman once said:

“Do we meet with unkindness from brethren? Instead of shooting our bitter words at them, let us judge ourselves; and endeavor, in love and wisdom, to overcome evil with good.”

Chapman found no satisfaction when a problem of sin and unrepentance had to be resolved by disfellowship from the church. He continued praying for restoration. Chapman cautioned that we must remember God’s love toward us when dealing with the sin of others.

“In reproving sin in others, we should remember the ways of the Holy Spirit of God towards us. He comes as the Spirit of love; and whatever His rebukes, He wins the heart by mercy and forgiveness through Christ.”

As a good undershepherd Chapman was constantly looking out for his sheep individually. He desired to encourage and equip them to serve others in the body of Christ by the exercise of their spiritual gifts.

“The Church, the body of Christ,” he said “cannot rise above its present low estate until there be a conscience in the members of fulfilling each one his office in the body.”

Chapman believed his responsibility, as pastor was to help people individually as well as corporately develop their faith in the Lord by laboring alongside them one on one.

“The lonely, the mournful, the friendless, the tempted, the defected, the despised, the forsaken, the outcast, Christ will wait on each one of them, whatever his case, as though that one were His only charge.

By this exact and special oversight of each member of His body, how precious, how lovely, how glorious, does Christ appear!”

As wonderful as Chapman’ testimony has proved to be as a minister of Christ I find that the Apostle Paul sums up my heart and the heart of all men who desire pastoral ministry better than anyone in 1 Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (ESV)

But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children.

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

As I ponder the responsibilities of pastoral ministry I am reminded that pastors like other Christians are ambassadors of Jesus Christ – we are called to be His representatives to the flock!

Pastors must be known by their clean hearts, clean hands, and clean conversation.

These traits are only possibly by grace alone that is why pastors must lean upon Christ in order to lead like Christ.

Pastors are called to be examples for the flock to follow as they follow Jesus.

1 Timothy 4:11-12

Prescribe and teach these things.

Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe.

“It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. A holy minister is an awful weapon in the hand of God.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

I love the smell of sheep!

Pastor Randy

Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Ada, Oklahoma

Dedicated to the doctrines of grace and expressing those doctrines with grace.

 

(A church plant in progress for the glory of God and the good of the saints!)

13
Mar
09

C.H. Spurgeon on Galatians 3:19

“This I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Therefore, no inheritance and no salvation ever can be obtained by the law.

Now, extremes are the error of ignorance. Generally, when men believe one truth, they carry it so far as to deny another; and, very frequently, the assertion of a cardinal truth leads men to generalise on other particulars, and so to make falsehoods out of truth. The objection supposed may be worded thus: “You say, O Paul, that the law cannot justify; surely then the law is good for nothing at all; ‘Wherefore then serveth the law?’ If it will not save a man, what is the good of it? If of itself it will never take a man to heaven, why was it written? Is it not a useless thing?” The apostle might have replied to his opponent with a sneer—he must have said to him, “Oh, fool, and slow of heart to understand. Is it proved that a thing is utterly useless because it is not intended for every purpose in the world?

Will you say that, because iron cannot be eaten, therefore, iron is not useful? And because gold cannot be the food of man, will you, therefore, cast gold away, and call it worthless dross? Yet on your foolish supposition you must do so. For, because I have said the law cannot save, you have foolishly asked me what is the use of it? and you foolishly suppose God’s law is good for nothing, and can be of no value whatever.”

This objection is, generally, brought forward by two sorts of people. First, by mere cavillers who do not like the gospel, and wish to pick all sorts of holes in it. They can tell us what they do not believe; but they do not tell us what they do believe. They would fight with everybody’s doctrines and sentiments, but they would be at a loss if they were asked to sit down and write their own opinions. They do not seem to have got much further than the genius of the monkey, which can pull everything to pieces, but can put nothing together. Then, on the other hand, there is the Antinomian, who says, “Yes, I know I am saved by grace alone;” and then breaks the law—says, it is not binding on him, even as a rule of life; and asks, “Wherefore then serveth the law?” throwing it out of his door as an old piece of furniture only fit for the fire, because, forsooth, it is not adapted to save his soul.

Why, a thing may have many uses, if not a particular one. It is true that the law cannot save; and yet it is equally true that the law is one of the highest works of God, and is deserving of all reverence, and extremely useful when applied by God to the purposes for which it was intended…

The first use of the law is to manifest to man his guilt. When God intends to save a man, the first thing he does with him is to send the law to him, to show him how guilty, how vile, how ruined he is, and in how dangerous a position. You see that man lying there on the edge of the precipice; he is sound asleep, and just on the perilous verge of the cliff. One single movement, and he will roll over and be broken in pieces on the jagged rocks beneath, and nothing more shall be heard of him. How is he to be saved? What shall be done for him—what shall be done!

It is our position; we, too, are lying on the brink of ruin, but we are insensible of it. God, when he begins to save us from such an imminent danger, sendeth his law, which, with a stout kick, rouses us up, makes us open our eyes, we look down on our terrible danger, discover our miseries, and then it is we are in a right position to cry out for salvation, and our salvation comes to us.

The law acts with man as the physician does when he takes the film from the eye of the blind. Self-righteous men are blind men, though they think themselves good and excellent. The law takes that film away, and lets them discover how vile they are, and how utterly ruined and condemned if they are to abide under the sentence of the law…

The law tells you that unless you perfectly obey you cannot be saved by your doings, it tells you that one sin will make a flaw in it all, that one transgression will spoil your whole obedience. It is a spotless garment that you must wear in heaven; it is only an unbroken law which God can accept.

So, then, the law answers this purpose, to tell men that their acquirements, their amendings, and their doings, are of no use whatever in the matter of salvation. It is theirs to come to Christ, to get A new heart and a right spirit; to get the evangelical repentance which needeth not to be repented of, that so they may put their trust in Jesus and receive pardon through his blood.

“Wherefore then serveth the law?” It serveth this purpose, as Luther hath it, the purpose of a hammer. Luther, you know, is very strong on the subject of the law. He says, “For if any be not a murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and outwardly refrain from sin, as the Pharisee did, which is mentioned in the gospel, he would swear that he is righteous, and therefore he conceiveth an opinion of righteousness, and presumeth of his good works and merits. Such a one God cannot otherwise mollify and humble, that he may acknowledge his misery and damnation, but by the law, for that is the hammer of death, the thundering of hell, and the lightning of God’s wrath, that beateth to powder the obstinate and senseless hypocrites. For as long as the opinion of righteousness abideth in man, so long there abideth also in him incomprehensible pride, presumption, security, hatred of God, contempt of his grace and mercy, ignorance of the promises and of Christ. The preaching of free remission of sins, through Christ, cannot enter into the heart of such a one, neither can he feel any taste or savor thereof; for that mighty rock and adamant wall, to wit, the opinion of righteousness, wherewith the heart is environed, doth resist it. Wherefore the law is that hammer, that fire, that mighty strong wind, and that terrible earthquake rending the mountains, and breaking the rocks, (1 Kings 19:11-13) that is to say, the proud and obstinate hypocrites. Elijah, not being able to abide these terrors of the law, which by these things are signified, covered his face with his mantle. Notwithstanding, when the tempest ceased, of which he was a beholder, there came a soft and a gracious wind, in the which the Lord was; but it behoved that the tempest of fire, of wind, and the earthquake should pass, before the Lord should reveal himself in that gracious wind.”…

“Wherefore serveth the law.” It was sent into the world to keep Christian men from self-righteousness. Christian men—do they ever get self-righteous? Yes, that they do. The best Christian man in the world will find it hard work to keep himself from boasting, and from being self-righteous.

John Knox on his death-bed was attacked with self-righteousness. The last night of his life on earth, he slept some hours together, during which he uttered many deep and heavy moans. Being asked why he moaned so deeply, he replied, “I have during my life sustained many assaults of Satan; but at present he has assaulted me most fearfully, and put forth all his strength to make an end of me at once. The cunning Serpent has labored to persuade me, that I have merited heaven and eternal blessedness by the faithful discharge of my ministry. But blessed be God, who has enabled me to quench this fiery dart, by suggesting to me such passages as these: ‘What hast thou that thou hast not received?’ and, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am.'” Yes, and each of us have felt the same. I have often felt myself rather amused at some of my brethren, who have come to me, and said, “I trust the Lord will keep you humble,” when they themselves were not only as proud as they were high, but a few inches over. They have been most sincere in prayer that I should be humble, unwittingly nursing their own pride by their own imaginary reputation for humility.

I have long since given up entreating people to be humble, because it naturally tends to make them proud. A man is apt to say, “Dear me, these people are afraid I shall be proud; I must have something to be proud of.” Then we say to ourselves, “I will not let them see it;” and we try to keep our pride down, but after all, are as proud as Lucifer within. I find that the proudest and most self-righteous people are those who do nothing at all, and have no shadow of presence for any opinion of their own goodness.

The old truth in the book of Job is true now. You know in the beginning of the book of Job it is said, “The oxen were ploughing, and the asses were feeding beside them.” That is generally the way in this world. The oxen are ploughing in the church—we have some who are laboring hard for Christ—and the asses are feeding beside them, on the finest livings and the fattest of the land. These are the people who have so much to say about self-righteousness. What do they do? They do not do enough to earn a living, and yet they think they are going to earn heaven. They sit down and fold their hands, and yet they are so reverently righteous, because forsooth they sometimes dole out a little in charity. They do nothing, and yet boast of self-righteousness. And with Christian people it is the came.

If God makes you laborious, and keeps you constantly engaged in his service, you are less likely to be proud of our self-righteousness than you are if you do nothing. But at all times there is a natural tendency to it. Therefore, God has written the law, that when we read it we may see our faults; that when we look into it, as into a looking-glass, we may see the impurities in our flesh, and have reason to abhor ourselves in sackcloth and ashes, and still cry to Jesus for mercy. Use the law in this fashion, and in no other…

“Could your tears for ever flow,
Could your zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone;
Christ must save, and save alone.”

If ye would know how we must be saved, hear this—ye must come with nothing of your own to Christ. Christ has kept the law. You are to have his righteousness to be your righteousness. Christ has suffered in the stead of all who repent. His punishment is to stand instead of your being punished. And through faith in the sanctification and atonement of Christ, you are to be saved.

Come, then, ye weary and heavy laden, bruised and mangled by the Fall, come then, ye sinners, come, then, ye moralists, come, then, all ye that have broken God’s law and feel it, leave your own trusts and come to Jesus, he will take you in, give you a spotless robe of righteousness, and make you his for ever. “But how can I come?” says one; “Must I go home and pray?” Nay, sir, nay. Where thou art standing now, thou mayest come to the cross. Oh, if thou knowest thyself to be a sinner, now—I beseech you, ere thy foot shall leave the floor on which thou standest—now, say this—
“Myself into thy arms I cast:
Lord, save my guilty soul at last.”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

09
Mar
09

News – Good News!

If you have read anything below this posting this “news” will not surprise you too much.

As the Lord wills and guides we will soon be planting a new church in Ada, Oklahoma.

This desire was planted in my heart by God years ago and now and it seems through God’s providence He is causing that desire to grow upward!

We are very excited about this work and would like to ask you to pray that God would be glorified in and through the establishment of a biblically reformed evangelistic church in Ada.

I must say that the Lord is already moving providentially in ways I would have never imagined.

The Lord has brought many people and ministries alongside us to help guide and oversee this work as well as foundational families to help establish the work on solid ground.

We are dedicated to expository preaching as well as expository living.

We are dedicated to the doctrines of grace and expressing those doctrines with grace.

We are dedicated to proclaiming the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ to the city of Ada and the surrounding areas.

Please pray accordingly for us as we endeavor to be a “pillar and support of the truth” to our mission field.

To God be the glory in the Church.

I will keep you posted as we progress toward a start date and location.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this ministry.

Pastor Randy Tyler

Dedicated to proclaiming God’s sovereign grace as the hope for sinners and strength for saints.
 

 

26
Feb
09

Spurgeon’s Burden

I want to share some words with you from the “prince of preachers” Charles Haddon Spurgeon these words were taken from sermons preached during the years of 1855-1889.

Spurgeon’s words are compelling, convicting and Christ honoring. I pray they will stir our souls to worship the Lord Jesus more fervently and move us to obey His commands more excellently.

The burden of a preacher…
“If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay…

Do we really believe that sinners will be damned forever? Do we think about their fate very often, if ever? Or do we busy ourselves in the work of the Lord, and never bother to implore them to come to the Savior? In general, the modern pulpit is deathly silent when it comes to the horrors of Hell. When do we hear preaching about the reality of the Lake of Fire or of the terrible wrath of God? Such themes aren’t popular with modern preachers. They never have been. They are not popular with me. Other topics are more attractive, but preachers must not ignore the fate of the lost, because if we do, we run the risk of it also being ignored in the pews…

If we don’t implore the world to turn from sin it’s because we don’t truly believe God’s Word. We cannot be so deathly cold, so evil-hearted as to not care. We haven’t let the reality of Hell sink into our minds and soften our hard hearts. The fact of its existence should horrify us beyond words, and then it should be reflected in our prayers and in our preaching.”

“The burden, which the preacher of God bears, is for God and on Christ’s behalf, and for the good of men. He has a natural instinct, which makes him care for the souls of others, and his anxiety is that none should perish, but that all should find salvation through Jesus Christ…”

“You cannot preach conviction of sin unless you have suffered it. You cannot preach repentance unless you have practiced it. You cannot preach faith unless you have exercised it. You may talk about these things, but there will be no power in the talk unless what is said has been experimentally proved in your own soul. It is easy to tell when a man speaks what he has made his own, or when he deals in secondhand experience…”

The proper use of the Bible…
“Defend the Bible? I would as soon defend a lion! Unchain it and it will defend itself!”

“The sermons that are most likely to convert people seem to me to be those that are full of truth, truth about the fall, truth about the Law, truth about human nature and its alienation from God, truth about Jesus Christ, truth about the Holy Spirit, truth about the Everlasting Father, truth about the new birth, truth about obedience to God and how we learn it, and all such great verities. Tell your hearers something, dear bretheren, whenever you preach, tell them something, tell them something!”

“Preach Christ or nothing; do not dispute or discuss except with your eye on the cross.”
“They will never accept grace till they tremble before a just and holy Law. Therefore, the Law serves a most necessary purpose, and it must not be removed from its place…
The Law is the surgeon’s knife that cuts out the proud flesh that the wound may heal. The Law by itself only sweeps and raises the dust, but the gospel sprinkles clean water upon the dust, and all is well in the chamber of the soul. The Law kills; the gospel makes alive. The Law strips, and then Jesus Christ comes in and robes the soul in beauty and glory. All the commandments and all the types direct us to Christ, if we will heed their evident intent.”

“I do not think I can preach more, for a faintness has come over me, nor is there need for more if you will but chew the cud of this one precious truth: Jesus is the Lamb which God provided, and He is the Lamb, which God Himself presented at the altar. Yet, I must rouse myself to say a little more. Who was it that sacrificed the Lamb of God? Who was the priest on that dread day? Who was it that bruised Him? Who put Him to grief? Who caused Him the direst pang of all when He cried, “Why hast thou forsaken me?” Was it not the Father Himself? This was one point in the hardness of Abraham’s test – “Take now your son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and offer him a sacrifice.” He must himself officiate at the sacrifice. This the great Father did! He is the Lamb, the Lamb of God. And now today the bright side of this truth remains. He is the Lamb that God always accepts, must accept, glories to accept. Bring but Jesus with you, and you have brought God an acceptable sacrifice.”

20
Feb
09

Mission All

We hear a lot of talk in Christian circles today about going into the mission field but just what is our mission and where is the mission field located?

When it comes to the issue of missions we all tend to think about third world countries, swamps and mountainous tribal people but what about the mission field in our neighboring cities?

What about those cities and towns all around us that are filled with man-centered churches rather than Christ-centered churches.
There is no shortage of “program” driven groups organized by men who are great motivators but where are the Bible-driven churches that are filled with men who are called by God to be humble expositors?

Maybe our mission field is closer than we think.

What is our mission?
The Apostle Paul gave Timothy very powerful God inspired instruction regarding this very issue in 2 Timothy. “Preach the Word” Timothy that is your mission.

2 Timothy 4:1-2 (ESV)
1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

Our mission is to feed people the life giving Word of God.
This task is not limited to taking the gospel to people in far off lands. We are also called to take the Word of God to all those who are starving and in need of the bread of life.

We are commanded by the Lord Jesus to go into the entire world and make learners, baptize believers and teach them to observe what Christ commands. This commission was given to the church hence the need of planting new churches in areas where this is not being accomplished.

This commission is not aimed at just going to a foreign land or our respective communities and just dropping gospel crumbs and leaving. We are called to go and proclaim the Gospel and establish biblical churches.
This commission encompasses going to all people wherever they are and feeding them the bread of life one verse at a time, reproving, rebuking, exhorting and patiently teaching those who are starving for the truth. This mission requires the establishment of biblical churches. Once churches are established they are to prayerfully continue sending others out to plant new churches elsewhere.

The church of Jesus Christ was established to equip the saints for ministry so that we might take the gospel to those all around us and this commission is given to local churches. Imagine how wonderful it would be to be able to send new converts to a city and know that in that city there is a solid bible teaching church. That desire will not be fulfilled until someone obeys Christ’s commission to go into the entire world and see churches established for the glory of God.

If you have eyes to see you will notice that the mission field is all around us. Today we are experiencing a famine of great proportions even here in the Bible belt and the need for biblical churches here may be greater than ever before. The result of this famine is that souls that are hungry for truth and seek to hear the Word proclaimed in the church find themselves starving because the Word has been set aside in many pulpits today. Sadly many pulpits have exchanged proclamation of the Word for programs of the world.

The need is all around us and the need is great but the solution is greater!
2 Timothy gives a clear warning about the problem and Paul gives us the biblical solution, “do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

2 Timothy 4:3-5 (ESV)
3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions,
4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

The churches work and mission is to proclaim truth not engineer new programs.
It is painfully obvious that many church programs we see today within evangelicalism are geared to relieve itching ears. I say this brokenheartedly I am not trying to be pious but I am trying to be honest about the need in our day. So I sadly realize that many have abandoned the God ordained means of ministry and life transformation for man-made attempts to improve our lifestyle. This does not have to be so because God has given us His all sufficient Word and Spirit that gives “all things that relate to life and godliness.”

The church of Jesus Christ has not been commissioned to improve your lifestyle. The church was commissioned to proclaim God’s objective truth as revealed in scripture. The Word of God has the inherent power to change the hearts and lives of all that believe. So the overarching mission of the church is to bring the people of God this life giving Word of truth. This is accomplished by a clear-impassioned precise explanation of the Word of God. Biblical exposition brings the Words of eternal life to those who have ears to hear and transforms people into instruments of God’s grace. Those transformed by the Word will go into the world around them and that is the mission of the church.

Over the last two years the Lord has opened my eyes and my heart to see this desperate need in our communities and has provided a solution. Souls need to be fed and led to the living water and bread of life found in the Holy Scriptures.

There are souls all around us who are hungering and thirsting after God’s glorious Word yet they have no place to go to find food nor drink. As I look out over the spiritual landscape of the Bible belt I am all to aware that even with all that is around us many are starving to death in communities where church buildings abound.

Those who are starving for God‘s Word often look in vain for life giving truth in many pulpits today. Many people are looking for spiritual food and instead find man-made placebos proclaimed in the pulpit rather than God ordained truth. This compels me all the more to reconsider why those who are called to ministry must take up the commission of Christ and go wherever the need arises.

The need is great all around us and the saddest part is that many men behind those pulpits do not even know that they are replacing the life giving Word in exchange for bankrupt systems of the world. I believe this has happened because many of today’s church leaders are more informed by Wall Street and Corporate American rather than by reading their Bibles. Just look where Corporate America has led us lately, right into bankruptcy and decline this is not the model the church should follow.

We are called to be mission minded and willing to bring people the solution.
When it comes to fulfilling our mission we are given a divine solution that is based on an infallible Word that contains eternal promises. The great commission is most easily displayed in the establishment of Word-centered churches. The restoration of souls and the recovery of our churches within the Bible belt is necessary today and possible by God‘s sovereign grace. That restoration and recovery must start by men willing to step out and see new churches planted for the glory of God. Men of God must be willing today to take this radical step because all to often those who have been called to stand on the rock of the Word in all to many pulpits have slipped off into the sinking sand of the world.

Many of today’s leaders are spiritually bankrupt because they constantly seek to exegete the cultural rather than trying to learn how to exegete a text in context. All to often churches have built their ministry on the sandy ground of shifting culture rather than the solid rock of scripture.

Matthew 7:24-27 (ESV)
24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

Ephesians 4:11-16 (ESV)
11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,
13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,
14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.
15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ,
16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Sadly, today some churches have gradually replaced Bible exposition with man-centered medicine. These churches have reinterpreted Christ’s commission. Many think the mission of the church is to satisfy felt needs of sinful men rather than administering the life giving Words of God that exposes the heart of sinful men and ministers to our real need of salvation and sanctification. The mission of the church is to administer the double-edged sword of God’s Word. The Word of God alone accurately handled can plunge into the heart and bring healing in its wake this is the churches mission as ordained by God.

Hebrews 4:12-13 (ESV)
12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

It is now obvious the mission field is closer than you may have realized.
Just look around and when you see men and women starving as they roam from church to church in search of life sustaining food and fellowship you know you have arrived at your mission field. The only way to end this famine and feed the starving is for someone to take the life giving Word of God to these dying souls.

Who should be going into our neighboring communities reaching the lost and feeding the saints? That mission must begin with those who are called and equipped and willing to go out into the neighboring cities, and to the ends of the earth to establish Bible-driven churches that shepherd the flock of God and love His sheep.

2 Timothy 2:1-2 (ESV)
1 You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus,
2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Here is our own domestic mission field.
The mission field is in plain sight and our mission is clear to those who have eyes to see. The mission should begin with prayer and then move us into action. We must long to see the establishment of biblical Christ honoring churches in every city. The mission is to see churches established that would faithfully hold forth the scriptures. We must strive to accomplish this mission through expositional teaching and expositional living and loving one another according to scripture. We see the power of that kind of missionary effort in the book of Acts as well as in Paul’s pastoral admonition to Timothy.

Acts 2:42-47 (ESV)
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

1 Timothy 3:14-15 (ESV)
14 I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these things to you so that,
15 if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of truth.

The mission of planting gospel-centered churches is not some new revelation.
God has ordained the establishment of Word-driven churches at Pentecost. The church is God’s ordained means of reaching the world with the Gospel of Christ. It is not a new revelation to go establish churches when the need appears and it is obvious that there is a real need all around us today.

The good news is that there is a real solution for those who desire to see God’s name honored among the nations around us today and desire to obey His call.
Those who are called and qualified should fearfully and joyfully obey this call. There should be a burden, a passion and a prepared heart and life.

This is not a small undertaking. I have observed in others who have planted gospel driven churches that this is a labor of love but it is most assuredly laborious. The price may be great but I do not think from what I have observed that there could be any greater joy for the man of God than to see God‘s people in every city loving and living in His Word.

Now that we see the need and know where the mission field is the next question to ask is when should people go into this mission field?
Do we wait until we have forty people or more or funding from other groups? Or could it be that God might use a handful of people that resemble Gideon’s army so that He gets the glory and not us?

Maybe God could use just twelve people or maybe even one or two, to turn the world upside down, establish churches, care for the hurting, proclaim liberty and set the captives free!

“We are not mighty, noble or strong” but by God’s grace and for His glory those gifted and called can go and must go. Those called will also want to go into the world and proclaim God‘s gospel message of sovereign grace and establish Christ exalting churches for His glory and the good of His people.

Soli Deo Gloria

Pastor Randy

10
Feb
09

Raising Children with Hope in God!

Helpful words about ministering to children from Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The church and the home provide an environment where God often does His saving work in the heart. Our obedience to God and our faithfulness as parents does not ultimately save our children from wrath, but it is very often the means by which God saves our children.

Similarly, our disobedience and unfaithfulness as parents does not necessarily condemn our children, but is often the means by which our children are led to destruction. God has ordained that parents bear the responsibility of acquainting their children with the Word of God and the life of faith.

Our success in this endeavor matters more to Him than it does to us, and He has made all the resources of heaven available to us. Therefore, we as parents and as a congregation must be faithful to teach our children to fear the Lord and to keep all His statutes and commandments and to love the Lord with all [our] heart . Statutes and commandments can easily be taught so that a child can remember them and repeat them back. We can also train our children to conduct themselves in certain ways and to maintain behavior which portrays godliness.

However, teaching them to fear and to love God in the fullest sense of those words is our greatest challenge. We want our children to not only know the truth but to embrace it with all their hearts lest it be said of them:

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God, or give thanks to Him. (Romans 1:21) or
They profess to know God but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed. (Titus 1:16)

Our children can know all about God. They can know endless Bible stories, and even have vast portions of Scripture memorized and yet not honor God or have fellowship with Him. They can live their lives knowing who God is and yet never meet Him until they meet him at the judgment seat and hear Him say, “Depart from Me. I never knew you.”

When we teach children we must aim for their hearts as well as their heads. We feel that more effort needs to be made to raise the expectations of parents and teachers of what God might do in the heart of a child in response to hearing the truth.

The prerequisite for nurturing faith in children is that parents and teachers must love God and love His word. It is almost impossible to teach something you have not experienced.

Children will not be excited about God unless those that are teaching them are excited about God. God will not be real to them if He is not real to us. If God is not real to the parent or teacher, if His word is not treasured and respected, then transferring a love for God and His Word is almost impossible.

Therefore, parents and teachers must be diligent in keeping their own hearts alive for the sake of their children.

A healthy love and fear of God is more easily cultivated in children that have a healthy love and fear of their parents. It is very difficult for children to learn to honor God if they defy their parents and resist their authority. It is very difficult to nurture a reverence for God and humility before Him when children are permitted to treat parents and adults in general with disrespect.

As a church we must be very earnest in our efforts to help our people be courageous parents. The permissiveness that is encouraged and taught in our culture, and which is rampant in the American church and evident in our own congregation, not only makes life miserable for those who have to be with our children but can lead our children to destruction.

Discipline your son while there is hope; do not set your heart on his destruction. Proverbs 19:18

We can model, teach and discipline in a way which encourages the heart to respond but only the Holy Spirit can effectually change the heart of the child. Therefore, priority must be given to intercession in any ministry to children and their parents.

Bethlehem Baptist Church