Archive for the 'Religion' 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

13
Mar
09

God’s Word brings Life

Obeying God’s Word brings life to a dead world.
A pattern arises…
Disobedience brings death.
Obedience brings life.

Adam’s disobedient life – brought eternal death.

Romans 5:12-15 (ESV)
12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law.
14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
15 But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

Christ’s obedient life – brought eternal life.

Hebrews 5:7-9 (ESV)
7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.
8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.
9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him,

The pattern arises from Genesis.
Genesis 6:22
Noah – obeyed God’s word and brought life. (To a physically dead world)
Noah was saved by faith in God’s word.
Genesis 12:4
Abram – obeyed God’s word and God brought him life.
Abram was saved by faith in God’s word… what saves us today?

In Abram we see God grant righteousness and faith to an undeserving man.
Through this gift from God we see a miracle nation (Isaac’s birth) brought forth by this man’s obedience. This nation “Israel” was set apart by God to proclaim to the world and “fill” it with the good news and testify to God’s grace and glory.

Israel was set apart first in the Abrahamic covenant of circumcision Gen. 17:9-11 this was a physical mark on their bodies to set them apart but it represented a spiritual separation an unseen-inward mark.

Later Israel was given outward marks to distinguish it from the world – the Law of Moses. These Laws and rites distinguished Israel from the Gentile world causing them to stand out or to be “an outstanding example to the world”.

Ultimately through Abram a Savior would come.
Jesus Christ would bring eternal life to all those who believe as Abraham did by “faith alone” in God’s word.

Romans 4:9-16 (ESV)
9 Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.
10 How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.
11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all, who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,
12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.
14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.
15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.
16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all,

We too are called to live separated lives from this world not by works of the law but by faith in the One who fulfilled the Law perfectly. The Lord Jesus Christ imputed His righteousness to our lives through His substitutionary life and death on the Cross and transforms us inwardly and outwardly by grace.

1. Inwardly (circumcised hearts)
Colossians 2:11-14 (ESV)
11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,
12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.
13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
14 by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

2. Outwardly (distinct from the world – “sanctified, set apart for holy use”)
Titus 2:11-14 (ESV)
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,
12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

v.13 -“waiting for” – this is a reference to the Second Coming of Christ.
v. 14 -This looking forward to Christ coming does something in us just as it did in Noah and Abraham. It produces zealous, pure workers that eagerly long for God’s glory to be revealed.

What kind of workers are we today?
Are we set apart from the world?
Are we obedient even in the face of persecution?

Like Noah and Abraham we are called out from this world to declare who our God is and share this knowledge with others.

Matthew 5:13-16 (ESV)
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

We must live in this world in such a way that our lives can testify to who our God is and then we in our obedience can bring others to see the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ and His gift of eternal life.

In Genesis we are commanded to fill the earth.
(Both physically and spiritually with the news of who our God is.)
1. Adam was commanded to – multiply and fill the earth…with children who would pass the knowledge of the true God on to others.
2. Noah was commanded to do the same.
3. Abraham was commanded to declare who God was by being separated from the world and to raise a nation who was set apart from the world around them
(A lighthouse to shine God’s truth in the dark world).

What does all this mean to us today?
How do we fill the earth with the knowledge of God today?

Matthew 28:18-20 (ESV)
18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19 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,
20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

We have been given a command to go into the world today.
We must live out this message in obedience to Christ command.
Go to into the world but do not be conformed to the world.

We share this message with individuals.
Make disciples – evangelize and follow through.

We teach this message to the Church corporately.
Teach the Word. This is how we are to fulfill the command.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (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.
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.

06
Mar
09

Declare His Glory!

Psalms 96:1-13 (ESV)
1 Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Sing to the Lord, bless his name; tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4 For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
7 Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns! Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved; he will judge the peoples with equity.”
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the Lord, for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.

05
Mar
09

Religion or Revelation?

Ever notice the universal reality of how “religious” our world is today?
We live in a “enlightened society” and notice how highly religious we are.

Interesting facts: probably already outdated!
In our country there are many different religions.
Buddhism – 1.5 million +
Mormons – 13 million (worldwide)
Hindu – 1 million +
Agnostics – 1.4 million +
Atheists – 1.3 million +
Baha’i – 120 thousand +
Taoist – 50 thousand +
Scientology – 100 thousand +
Eckankar – 30 thousand +
Pagans/Wicca/Druids – conservatively – 1 million +

So conservatively we have millions of “Religiously” lost souls in America.

Why would I say they are “religious” and lost?
Every religion that is not based on “God’s Word” alone is a distortion of the one true God’s revealed truth.
The truth is only found in the 66 books of the Old and New Testament which reveals God’s will and way to heaven that comes to us by grace alone through faith alone in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone.
John 14:6 (ESV)
6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

In truth all other religions according to Scripture are distortions of the reality of what Biblical Christianity teaches.
Scripture is clear that man can only come to God one way and through one truth that will grant us eternal life. We cannot come to God through any man-centered ideology, philosophy, religious experience or religious organization we can only come to God by faith in His revealed Word.

Mankind is religious by nature but we are regenerated by God’s revelation.

Let’s think about what religion is for a moment.
It is man’s attempt to reach God whereas regeneration occurs because God has reached down to man.
Mankind tries to find God by studying or sampling all the religions of the world.

This may prove insightful but it will not lead you to the true essence of “biblical” religion that is only found in God’s revelation – the Bible alone.

According to Scripture in order for religion to be true and accepted to God that religion must be based on what God has revealed about Himself in Holy Scriptures.
John 4:21-24 (ESV)
21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

The essential nature of religion is based on God’s self-disclosure.
“Religion is concerned with man’s relation to God, and man has no right or ability to accurately determine the nature of this relation. It is God’s prerogative to specify how man should be related to Him, and He does this in His divine word.”
Louis Berkhof

In the Old Testament “fear” of God moved the truly elect of Israel to view the Law as representation of God’s holiness.

This Law served to point out mankind’s failure to please God on their own merit.
That inability produced “fear” and fear drove them to depend on God’s mercy not their religious acts.
Genesis 15:1-6 (ESV)
1 After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision: “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great.”
2 But Abram said, “O Lord GOD, what will you give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?”
3 And Abram said, “Behold, you have given me no offspring, and a member of my household will be my heir.”
4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him: “This man shall not be your heir; your very own son shall be your heir.”
5 And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
6 And he believed the Lord, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Romans 4:2-3 (ESV)
2 For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God.
3 For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.”
Romans 5:1-2 (ESV)
1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The whole sacrificial (religious) system was intended to produce trust in God’s mercy not the sacrificial system.

The religious system instituted by God displayed or pictured what was to occur within the heart of all the truly elect of Israel.

It was through that system that they learned to fear God and that drove the elect to depend on God alone to provide their atonement for sin.
That fear was shaped by God’s revelation.
Hebrews 10:1-18 (ESV)
1 For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near.
2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sin?
3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin every year.
4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5 Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said, “Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God, as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’ ”
8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law),
9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.
10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.
12 But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet.
14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The essence of true religion in Old Testament is the “fear” of God that came through His revelation (His self-disclosure) through His word that came to man.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV)
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Job 28:28 (ESV)
28 And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’ ”
Psalms 19:7-9 (ESV)
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 the fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the Lord are true, and righteous altogether.

Divine revelation effects the emotions, intellect and will of man and produces “awe-reverence” which is the essence of true religion.
Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)
1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The New Testament shines more light on holy “fear” by showing us that “Fear entails Faith”.
Galatians 2:16-21 (ESV)
16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.
17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not!
18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor.
19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. I have been crucified with Christ.
20 It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if justification were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.
Romans 16:25-27 (ESV)
25 Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages
26 but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—
27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

Again we see that the essential nature of religion is based on God’s revelation not man‘s imagination.

In the New Testament we see that “true religion” is based on faith in Christ’s atoning work of redemption not Law.

So in the New Testament we see that the “fear” of God moves us to seek Him by “faith” knowing we cannot appease this holy God on our own merit.

Holy fear then leads to holy faith.
A holy fear also protects against carelessness or heresy in religion.
Matthew 10:28 (ESV)
28 And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear Him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.
Philippians 2:12-13 (ESV)
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,
13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.
Hebrews 12:28-29 (ESV)
28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Ephesians 5:15-21 (ESV)
15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,
16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,
20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,
21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
2 Timothy 4:1-5 (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.
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.

Holy fear moves us to sorrow over offending our holy God.
2 Corinthians 7:9-10 (ESV)
9 As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.
10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.

The essence of true religion can be defined as a “true fear of God based on His word as it reveals His holy nature through the Law and the Life of Christ.

That fear then moves the sinner to see his own nature in light of such holiness and drives the sinner to trust in God to justify him by faith alone in God’s mercy. Faith and fear are both revealed to the sinner through the self-disclosure of God through Holy Scripture. This revelation brings us into right relations with holy God through God the Son Jesus Christ atoning work on our behalf.

In the Old Testament this relationship was revealed to be necessary by God’s self-disclosure through the Law (his holiness). In the New Testament by Christ (the holiness of God incarnate) who displayed holiness by fulfilling the Law on our behalf.

This gracious act of God (His self-disclosure) produces in the man both “fear” that moves us to see ourselves in light of His holiness and “faith”.

Biblical based fear and faith drives man to trust in Jesus Christ’s holiness and Jesus’ righteous standing before God the Father not our own.
Romans 3:10-18 (ESV)
10 as it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one;
11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”
13 “Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.” “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

True saving faith and fear moves us to complete dependence on God’s promise of eternal life. Dependence and trust in God produces obedience to His will out of love for His grace and this produces true religion and true worship based on God‘s revelation found only in Scripture.

1689 Baptist Confession of Faith
1. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good and doth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in and served, with all the heart and all the soul and with all the might.
Jer. 10:7; Mk 12:33

But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
Gen. 4:1-5; Ex 20:4-6; Mtt.15:3,8-9; 2 Kings 16:10-18; Lev.10:1-3; Deut. 17:3; 4:2; 12:29-32; Josh.1:7; 23:6-8; Mtt. 15:13; Col. 2:20-23; 2Tim. 3:15-17

2. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and to him alone;
Mtt.4:9-10; John 5:23; 2 Cor. 13:14

not to angels, saints, or any other creatures;
Rom.1:25; Col. 2:10; Rev. 19:10

and since the Fall, not without a mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but Christ alone.
John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Col. 3:17; 1Tim.2:5

Pastor Randy

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

28
Jan
09

What does the Bible say about Itself?

What does the Bible say about itself?
First some words to unpack.
1. Revelation – apokalupsis – disclosure or unveiling – (general and special rev.)
2. Inspiration – (verbal-every word – plenary-all parts equally inspired) – God the Holy Spirit superintending over writers of scripture (using personalities and style and resulting in God’s word. – theopneustos a term that is only used once in the N.T. a (hapax legomenon)
2 Tim 3:16 All Scripture is (theopneustos) “God-breathed” breathed out by God. God originated all scripture and breathed it forth.
We do not listen for the voice of God we have it recorded in the scriptures.
3. Inerrancy – Infallible (w/out error in original manuscripts)

Now let’s look at what the Bible says about the Bible.

The Bible is:
1. The Word of God
Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.” (Jeremiah 1:9).

The Bible is more than a book detailing men’s thoughts about what God is like. It is God’s communication to men. His words are transmitted to us through its pages.

2. A living book
For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12).

In what way is the Bible alive?
It is alive in that it is the word of the Living God. It is alive in that it is active in its ministry to your heart. Like a surgeon’s scalpel, it cuts through the facade to speak to the inner you. It gets down to the real heart of issues.

3. A preserved book
The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever (Isaiah 40:8).

Voltaire was the French philosopher-scientist who, before he died in 1778, predicted that within 100 years, Christianity would be swept away from existence and pass into the obscurity of history. Within 50 years after his death, the Geneva Bible Society was using his house and printing press to produce stacks of Bibles.

4. A book of reality
For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty (2 Peter 1:16).

Peter says, “The things about which we wrote to you are not theological speculation, but rather an eye witness account.” John says the same thing when he speaks of “what was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life” (1 John 1:1).

5. An Inerrant book.
If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came; and the Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35).
Luke 24:44-47

Inerrancy means when all the facts are known, the Scriptures (original manuscripts) properly interpreted will be shown totally true in everything they teach – doctrine, history, science, geography, etc.

6. A propositional book (a book that compels you to consider things)
“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18).

God does not call us to abandon all sense of reason or thought when we come to Him. We are not to check in our brains at the door to the church and then pick them up again when we leave. He calls us to reason and to judge and to weigh out the facts of our salvation.

7. A needful book
To Direct my Life: Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path (Psalm 119:105).
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep Thy word (Psalm 119:67).
The Bible is our roadmap for living. It is the light to my path.

To Lift my Spirits: I am exceedingly afflicted; Revive me, O LORD, according to Thy word (Psalm 119:107).
While Hebrew 4:12 tells us that the Word of God is alive and powerful, here we read that this same word is able to revive me.

To Nourish my Soul: And the tempter came and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” 4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:3-4).

To Announce His Plan of Redemption: Surely the Lord God does nothing Unless He reveals His secret counsel To His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7).

God always speaks when He institutes redemptive activity. And by the same token, when He does not institute new redemptive activity, there is no need for God to give new revelation.

God has ceased to give new revelation or special revelations to men individually or as a group, because He has given us all we need in the scriptures.

“400 years of silence from the prophet Malachi to the prophet John the Baptist.
This idea of the cessation of revelation ought not to surprise us. The revelatory process never came in an unbroken stream. It was always here a little and there a little (Isaiah 28:13). The fact that the Old Testament canon closed and that revelation ceased for a time sets up a paradigm for the closing of revelation in the New Testament.”

God’ revealed will is set forth in scripture we do not listen to voices or intuitions we have the more sure word revealed through Jesus Christ and written in one Book the Bible. 2 Peter 1:2-3

One more I will add.
The Bible is:
8. A sufficient book
“All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” 2 Tim. 3:16-17

Sufficiency – Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting Him completely, and for obeying Him perfectly.

To run to any other source in time of need shows a direct disregard for God’s word and lack of faith that it is sufficient. There is no need for Christians to run to psychology, religion rituals, relationships, drugs, or seclusion because God’s word is sufficient for everything that man goes through in this world. God has given us all we need in His revealed Word. Sola Scriptura

Pastor Randy Tyler
A Sovereign Grace Proclaimer

28
Jan
09

HOW TO FEED YOURSELF

HOW TO FEED YOURSELF

Developing a healthy intake of scripture.

2 Timothy 3:15

Clean me, Feed me, Wipe my nose… we need to learn how to do all these things if we are ever going to grow up.

This lesson is designed to teach you how to clean yourself, feed yourself and well I’ll leave nose wiping up to your mom!

My goal is to drive you to the table of God’s Word daily without having to hold your hand to get you there every time.

Ephesians 4:11-16

Growing up is not always easy it requires labor, time and diligence (dedication) but the benefits are definitely worth the pains, matter of fact the pains are what actually stimulate growth (to build muscle you have to stretch it).

Before we can look at “How to Feed Yourself” I want you to understand “Why” we are commanded to do so in scripture.

2 Timothy 3:15

“Why” do we need to grow up in the Word?

Galatians 6:1-6; Philippians 3:14-17; Romans 15:1-6; Ephesians 4:14-16

We get a glimpse of “Why” in Ephesians 4:14

Maturity will protect you from being “tossed like a child here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine”

Ephesians 4 goes on to say in verse 16 that when we as individuals grow up then the whole body of Christ (the church) will grow in love for each other and for Christ who is our head.

These passages give us reasons why we must grow up and learn to feed ourselves. Growing up is not so much for our own good but for the good of others we grow up for the good of the body of Christ and the glory of God.

We must “grow up” – WHY?

We are called to grow together in unity and strength because the body of Christ (the church) is called to do battle.

Matthew 16:15-18

In order for the church to face the battle against the gates of Hades we need to have a healthy strong body and that begins with you as individuals.

You can’t keep living through your teachers vicariously you have to learn to feed on the Word yourself so that you will pull your weight in the battle.

We are called to be healthy soldiers.

2 Timothy

In 2 Timothy we are given our marching orders and only healthy soldiers will survive this battle against the “waves of false teaching” that beat against the church.

Paul commands Timothy (and you and I) to…

1. Be on Guard – 2 Timothy 1:14

(You can’t be alert or strong unless you are healthy.)

2. Be Strong – 2 Timothy 2:1

(Entrusting your life to God’s favor -only happens when you know your God which only happens when you know scripture.)

3. Be Careful – 2 Timothy 2:2

(Discern who you entrust this message.)

4. Be Devoted – 2 Timothy 2:3-4

(To the pursuit of bringing God glory no matter the cost.)

5. Be Accurate -2 Timothy 2:15

(A man armed with the Word and accuracy is unstoppable.)

6. Be Convinced -2 Timothy 3:14-17

(Know what you believe by careful study of the whole counsel of God – Study the Old and the New Testaments because scripture is the best interpreter of scripture. Once you have dug out the treasures found for yourself within these pages then it is yours forever.)

Within the six commands above we see “Why” we must develop a healthy daily intake of scripture.

The Bible is a treasure worth living and dying for. Buried within this living book is the pearl of great price as we dig we unearth the truth about Jesus our Savior. In the Bible alone we see God’s sovereign grace extended to sinners through out all the centuries of mankind and here alone we see the culmination of God’s sovereign plan in Jesus’ work of redemption.

How do we grow strong in the Word?

Strength and endurance is only achieved and maintained with daily exercise.

Exercise #1

Read the Bible – Develop a daily bible reading plan.

First choose a New Testament book then read through it in an orderly manner.

Example: Begin Ephesians start at chapter 1:1 then continue reading it in order until you have completed the entire book chapter 6:24.Read this book in it’s entirety for a month.

Try one chapter a day (repeatedly) or read the entire book each day either way but continue it for an entire month. At the end of the month you will be amazed at what you have learned along the way.

Secondly you should also be feeding on the Old Testament.

Choose an Old Testament book and begin reading it in a devotional manner maybe every evening before bed (don’t try the repetition process here or you will live and die in Leviticus) just read through the books to get the flow of the Old Testament.

How should we prepare our hearts for daily bible reading?

We must always Prepare our hearts to receive God’s Word so we must…

1. Begin with Prayer – Psalm 119:18

What should the prayer focus on? Colossians 1:9-10

This prayer should focus on our inability to understand the Word apart from the Holy Spirit’s illuminating work and our prayer should also entail confession of sin.

This daily exercise will not only equip your mind it helps keep your soul in check as well.

Helpful daily reading hint:

Pick a time each day when you are alert. Don’t rush through your reading allow time to meditate on the Word as you read.

Exercise #2

Study the Bible (not the same exercise as reading)

Study is more than reading.

Begin by dedicating a specific time each day or week. Psalm 1:1-3a

(Those who study will not be tossed to and fro by winds of doctrine he will be planted firmly.)

Bible Study involves careful analysis.

The process of studying entails:

1. Systematic/Contextual study.

(Reading it verse by verse. Read systematically going through a book one verse at a time.)

2. Asking questions as you read, keeping a notepad handy to write them on.

This requires hermeneutical skills of interpretation.

Ask: Who? What? Where? When?

a. Who wrote the book and who is he addressing?

b. What do doctrinal words mean? (propitiation, justification, foreknew) Keep a bible dictionary handy and look these up and write them down.

c. What is the context of the chapter and book?

d. When was the book written? (before Paul was arrested or after)

e. Where does this book take me in relation to the whole counsel of God?

Look for:

a. Repeated words or phrases (Ephesians 1:4-12 – HE)

b. Commands (Imperatives and Indicatives statements)

Example of a Imperative – 2 Timothy 4:1-2 straight forward commands.

Example of a Indicative – Romans 15:1 (ought) indicates a necessity.

Helpful study hint:

If your not sure where to begin then begin by taking notes on Sunday’s sermons then use that text as your starting point.

Exercise #3

Live the Bible

Begin to apply what you have studied that is when real growth occurs.

After you have dwelt long and hard in your study find ways of taking it to the street.

The apostles James and Paul remind us that if we don’t live it we don’t really believe it.

2 Timothy 1:7-12

James 1:21-27

We are all commanded to grow up and mature as Christians.

Our calling demands that we dig deep into the treasure house of God’s Word. We are commanded to mine the wealth out of it out so that we can pour it out on all those we come in contact with.

That is our calling and that should be your burning desire if you want to truly be a soldier of the Cross ready, willing and able to serve our great God and King.

Training Equipment

To maintain your strength you need good equipment to workout with here is a listing of some good resources to build you up in your faith.

Remember these are eternal investments that will bring eternal riches to those who use them well.

1. Bibles (good translations not paraphrases NO “Message” junk)

NASB, ESV, NKJV, KJV, Young’s Literal and some NIV 1973, 1978, 1984.

Study Bibles

MacArthur Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, ESV Study Bible.

2. Bible Dictionary

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

The New Bible Dictionary (Douglas, Ed w/FF Bruce, Tasker, Packer, and Wiseman)

3. Bible Concordance

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.

Analytical Concordance to the Holy Bible (R. Young)

4. Bible Commentaries

Expositor’s Commentary set

Matthew Henry

John Calvin

John MacArthur

Matthew Poole

John Gill

5. Scripture Cross Reference Material

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

“A preacher armed with this book and his Bible will never run out of material nor resources” Dr. John MacArthur.

6. Bible Study Software

Online Bible – inexpensive and loaded.

WordSearch 8 – great updates and tons of books!

Esword

Pastor Randy Tyler