Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Update # 1

For those who wonder what to read, or what is good reading, or what not to read, I keep a list of:

  • Books I recommend
  • Books I have read
  • Books I have reviewed
  • Books I have in the wings waiting to be read

I have updated a couple of those lists. You might want to check in periodically and see what might be of help, comfort, and value to you. Remember, there is no end of the making of books. There is so little time and so many available to read. Choose wisely!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Test of Stewardship (Part 3)

SERMON                  GM14-034

SERIES:              Christian Living in a World of Chaos & Contradiction

SETTING:          North Kelso Baptist Church

SERVICE:          Sunday AM

SUBTITLE:        The Test of Stewardship        (Part 3)

SCRIPTURE:     1 John 4:17-19

SUBJ:                  Perfect love

SUMMARY:       Perfect love produces confidence

SCHEME:           that Christians stop fearing the judgment of God

Our theme is:  Perfect loves produces confidence

This is a good reminder for us all that God has implanted his character or nature within us which produces confidence about the Day of Judgment.

 Proposition:  Genuine believers as recipients of fellowship and Sonship are charged with a stewardship that when faithfully discharged demonstrates a true relationship with God.

Interrogatory Sentence:  How do genuine Christians faithfully discharge their stewardship duties?

Transitional Sentence: This passage supplies us with three (3) principles to be good stewards. 


The Christian Life is Viewed as Stewardship

The Test of Stewardship
1 John 4:17-19 * (Part 3)


A.   The Paralyzing Effect of Fear

Louis Pasteur was reported to have had such an irrational fear of dirt and infection that he refused to shake hands.

President and Mrs. Benjamin Harrison were so intimidated by the newfangled electricity installed in the White House they were afraid to touch the light switches. If there were no servants around to turn off the lights when the Harrisons went to bed they slept with them on.
B.    The Problem for Believers

This is like some Christians. Some believers are paralyzed with fear that they might be not genuine believers. They look to historical events or emotional feelings for evidence of their redemption rather than being confidently assured furnished by the fruit produced by God in their lives.

In verses 17-19 we see that perfect or matured love will produce the assurance needed by every believer that they are truly in Christ.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Is Church Boring?

You say that you don't gather with a local body of believers because you think the service is boring? In many cases I have to agree. I have attended many so called "corporate worship" services that have been nothing more than "snooze-fests." But what is the real problem?

The gathering together or as the New Testament puts it the assembling of yourselves together, today is far from what it was in the early days of Christianity. 

First of all, the "service" is not about you. At least not in the most direct manner. Ultimately if the gathering follows biblical patterns you will benefit tremendously.

Second, the gathering is to center around Jesus Christ and His glorious work of atonement. Acts 20:7 makes it clear that the early church gathered on the first day of week to commemorate the Lord's Supper. The church gathered to be reminded of, to take strength and inspiration from, and to proclaim the death of Christ. 

Third, in the 10th chapter of the letter to the Hebrews we see that the body gathers to stimulate or encourage each member to love one another and to serve one another. Each believer is to utilize and minister their spiritual gift in order to benefit their fellow believers. Also prayer is to be offered for specific needs and individuals, various physical needs are to be met, and fellowship of the saints is to developed.

The gathering should be an exciting, informal, and God-centered experience. If you attend services thinking that the church "owes" you something or that it ought to entertain you, then you are attending for all the wrong reasons.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Disappointed Sinners

It dawned on me how disappointed an unredeemed man must be with Christ. How can we who know Christ be so insensitive to say emphatically that Christ died for the sins of a specific individual when we know not if they are a subject of redemption? Can you imagine their utmost disappointment to stand before God and be told to depart from God and when they cry out, "Wait, one of your servants told me that you died for my sin, how do I not benefit from that?" Oh, how much safer to say, "You must know that you have been sentenced to eternal death and condemnation, unless you come to see your sin against God and feel the weight of the burden of guilt and sin, which when it becomes unbearable, you cry out to God for deliverance and salvation." Safer to say, "God has graciously provided a sacrifice whereby His wrath was appeased, will you turn to that sacrifice." When Christ has been revealed to the soul who cries "What must I do to be saved?" then we can say, Christ died for your sins for you have proven yourself to be a subject of redemption to the glory of God! 

(Gregg Metcalf)

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Seven Things That Are Detrimental to the Church

This list is by no means exclusive. I am sure we can add many more things for days to come. For example, the lack of church discipline today church-wide is a major problem. However, I would let this item fall under, "the shift from a God-centered vision to a man-centered vision." I do so because when God is no longer our orientation and the comfort, welfare, and ease of man is our orientation, then discipline will cease in the local churches. 

So, having said that, let me share with you what I think are at least seven (7) items that have had a detrimental affect on the local church. By the way these items are in no order of importance or significance.

  • The chasing of the American dream
  • The dumbing down of the gospel
  • The shift from a God-centered vision/focus to a man-centered vision/focus
  • The casualness/nonchalance in the pulpit
  • The removal of the pulpit
  • The loss of expository preaching
  • The influx of Neo-evangelicalism
For a bonus:

The emergence and rise of the rock-star pastor

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Free Will: Is It a Biblical Concept?

I stumbled across a statement one day in a book I was reading. I can't remember the book any more because it actually was a few years back. I have always made it a habit to write down various statements, quotes,  quips, or pithy sayings in order to at some point find the time to reflect on them. Many times I forget who made the statement which prevents me many times from giving credit/shame on you to the source. And yes, sometimes it is years before I come across my notes and muse on them.

I came across this statement once and because at the time I thought it was provocative I wrote it down meaning to come back to it. Well, Saturday I stumbled on it again and here goes:

"The will does not command the heart; the heart commands the will."

That sounds like such a loaded statement, doesn't it? It just doesn't sound right. If the heart is used as "the seat of emotions" then it sounds like our emotions control our will. One would think that it should be the other way around, the will or volition should control the heart or the seat of emotions.

But look at Matthew 12:33-35

"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil."

Matthew seems to imply that the heart is equal to or can be equated with the human nature. So, if this is the case, what does it imply?

  • Words and actions are fruit of the human nature; they reveal our nature
  • It implies that the will is in bondage (not free) to the heart. Men are not free to do what they should do.
  • It implies that the nature (heart/sin nature) controls the will
  • The will is only free to do what the nature/heart commands because that is all the nature knows. It operates within the confines of itself.
  • Even in bondage to the heart (nature) we are still responsible before God (Romans 7:18-23)
  • All men are born slaves or in bondage; either to sin (old nature) or to God (new nature). 
  • God liberates us from the bondage of sin making us a slave to righteousness. With this new nature we freely follow Christ.
To be continued...

Monday, September 15, 2014

And if the Lord is willing...

Beginning tomorrow, and because I don't know what will happen tomorrow and because my life is like a vapor that has appeared for a little time and then will vanish away, I add, if the Lord wills, I shall begin musing on some hot-bed theological topics.