Sunday, February 27, 2011

February 13, 2011 | Matthew 9:9-13 - "Its Just a Flesh Wound": Jesus, the Liberating & Transforming Gospel, & Why We Need It

I know I'm over two weeks, but here is the sermon notes from February 13, 2011.  I've just been busy and forgot to upload it online.  I don't have any audio to post, but do have my notes so I hope they help.  See you guys Wednesday or at least next Sunday.

Notes - "Its Just a Flesh Wound":  Jesus, the Liberating & Transforming Gospel, & Why We Need It  

For more:
January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel
January 16, 2011 | Matthew 8:18-27 - The High Worth of Discipleship   
January 23, 2011 | Matthew 8:23-34 - Knowing is Only Half the Battle:  The Authority & Power of King Jesus
January 30, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-9:8 - Chasing a Tail Named Idolatrous:  Our Enslaved Idolatry and How Jesus Sets Us Free 
February 6, 2011 | Matthew 9:1-8 - Anything You Can Do . . .:  Why Forgiveness Is Greater Than All Our Sin 
The Sermon on the Mount Series
Matthew Thus Far:  Matthew 1-5
The Last Week of Jesus: From Triumphal Entry to Triumphal Grave Series   

March 2011 Newsletter Available Online Now

The newsletter for March 2011 has been posted online and can be viewed here or as always you can click on the link to the left.

The article in the newsletter can be read here.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

This is Who We Are: What a Baptist Is and Believes - Baptism

Like most Protestant traditions, Baptist practice two ordinances (we avoid the word sacrament in an effort to avoid the connotation that these practices are salvific): Baptism & the Lord’s Supper.  These two ordinances were instituted by Christ who commanded all believers to practice them.  Regarding baptism, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 says:

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer’s death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.*

The confession makes clear several points.  First, baptism is by immersion.  For centuries, Christians sprinkled baptismal candidates, but Baptist have avoided this primarily on the grounds of the meaning of the word.  “To baptize” in Greek means “to immerse” or even “to drown.”  The act of sprinkling primarily came as a result of the practice of infant baptism.

Secondly, Baptist affirm believers baptism.  This is among the Baptist distinctives.  We only baptize those who have made a public profession of faith by which the local church recognizes God’s work in salvation and follow up with the public ordinance of baptism.  Many traditions within both Catholicism and many Protestants traditions baptize children.  Baptist have always rejected this position on biblical grounds.  No infant in Scripture was ever baptized nor is there any trace of the practice of infant baptism in the early Church.

Thirdly, baptism is a symbol illustrating the work of Christ in the believer.  Contrary to some traditions, baptism only gets a person wet and nothing else.  Some Christians have held throughout the centuries that baptism contributes to our salvation.  Baptist reject this on the ground that salvation is by grace through faith alone apart from any works on our behalf.  If one must be baptized to be saved, then salvation is not by faith alone.

But what does it symbolize?  As the confession reveals, baptism is about the death, burial, and resurrection of both the Redeemer and the redeemed.  It is through the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross (whereby He absorbed the full wrath of God in our place) and the resurrection (whereby we are given His righteousness) that we are saved.  Thus baptism reminds every witness of the work of Redeemer who has saved us by dying in our place and being raised from the dead. 

Likewise, baptism is a picture of the redeemed.  We have been crucified with Christ.  We have put to death our old selves only to be raised as new creatures in Christ.  Salvation, then, is more than a ticket to heaven when we die, but regenerates us into new persons.  We are not what we once were.  We are washed.  We are renewed.  We are restored.  We are made righteous.

It is for these reasons, among others, that baptism is central to the Christian faith.  It is not merely a ritual, but a testimonial symbol reminding us of the gospel.  It is through baptism that Baptist welcome new believers as members into the local church.  It is a testimony of the work of Christ in the lives of sinful men.  It is the gospel put on displayed. 

It is important for Christians to see in baptism more than merely a religious rite.  Baptism ought to be a moment of celebration and a reminder.  The work that Christ began at the moment of our conversion remains with us today.  When people look at our lives, do they see the fruit of what baptism illustrates, or must we point to a certificate hanging on our wall. If all we have is a certificate, then we do not have Christ.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul raises the question of can believers continue in sin after embracing the gospel?  His answer is no.  He grounds this conviction on two points.  First, we were once slaves of sin, but are now slaves of Christ thus we must obey our new Master.  Secondly, Paul points to baptism.  To remain in our sin is to remain dead.  But we who have been saved are not dead just as Christ is not dead.  We have been raised.  We have been changed. Let us therefore worship our risen Lord living in light of His righteousness imputed onto us as a testimony of what He accomplished at the cross and resurrection.  Baptism is all about the gospel.

*  The following Scriptural reference are given:  Matt 3:13-17; 28:19-20; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:21-22; Jn 3:23; Acts 2:41-42; 8:35-39; 16:30-33; Rom 6:3-5; Col 2:12.

Just for Fun:

This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Introduction
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Scripture
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God
This is Who We Are  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Father
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Son
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Spirit
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Man
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Salvation
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes -  God's Purpose of Grace
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Church  

For more:
Hardinsburg Controversy:  Some Links
Theology - Online Baptism:  The First, But Certainly Not the Last 
Theology - Cannonball!!!

A Word From the Pastor - February 2011

Obviously I'm really late, but I forgot to post this the first of this month.

Alert to the men of the congregation: Valentines Day is almost here.  Buy your chocolates.  Buy the roses.  Buy the bears.  Buy whatever it is she expects you to buy.  Valentines Day is a big deal these day and rightfully so.  To set aside a day to focus on the one you love is crucial.  But then again, why aren’t we doing this everyday? If we understood what love – real love – is, we wouldn’t need a holiday to remind us.  The Christian worldview begins with the cross and ends at the resurrection and it is there we find the true meaning of love.  Just as Christ died for us as a servant submitting His wants and needs for ours, so too we ought to do the same for each other – especially our spouse.  Sacrifice, service, submission, and selflessness are central to any definition of love.  We dare not confuse this sort of love with infatuation.  Infatuation is conditional and temporal, but the love Christ exemplified at the Christ is unconditional and eternal.  This means that Valentines Day is everyday to the Christian couple as everyday is a reminder of what the Savior did for us and what we ought to do everyday for each other.  Let the cross be the center of your marriage.  Then again, let the cross be the center of your life in all that you do.

Nothing But the Blood

I just really like this song and enjoy both versions of this classic hymn. Disregard the slides and stuff on the first video.

Chis Rice:

Matt Redman:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Repost | The Utopian Myth: Pandora and Avatar Blues

Logizomai: A Reasonable Faith in an Unreasonable WorldI am sitting in my office working on Sunday's message and am reminded of a chapter in my book Logizomai: A Reasonable Faith in an Unreasonable World regarding the Utopian myth.  As we'll discuss Sunday, every sin is an attempt to rebuild Eden.  Every sin.  The following article I wrote that eventually would be edited and included in my book regards how every culture and movement seeks to create Eden, a Utopian world.  The gospel is our only hope at such a world. As we'll discuss Sunday (and as the following article argues), Eden is a creation of God, not of man and so long as man turns inwardly for answers, Eden will remain far off.  The gospel turns us back to the Garden in that contentment, peace, love, satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy are rooted in God, the Creator of Eden.

Please read and consider the following article.  Let us look for Eden, not in the things of this world and our many false idols, but in God who restores everything through the gospel.  God is in the business of restoration and He does it through the gospel.

I have not seen Avatar. Apparently I am among the few in the world who haven't. When it is released on DVD perhaps I will take the time to watch the film. But I'm in no hurry. I have nothing against the film, the director, the actors, or anything, I just haven't gotten caught up in the Avatar praise. Millions have seen it and it has grossed more than a billion dollars. A movie with such a vast appeal should be considered carefully. Having not seen it, I can only comment on people's reactions to the movie, not the movie itself.

CNN have reported on a trend among many who have seen the film that should surprise us at first, and yet be expected. Many have left the film depressed. The depression is based, not on the films appeal or let down for most have really enjoyed the film, but because of the Utopian world director James Cameron created made up of the nature-loving alien race. The depression is not in the movie itself, but in the reality that the world so brilliantly depicted on screen may never be realized.

The depression is centered on the confusion over reality and fantasy. Those suffering from "Avatar Blues" wish that the world depicted on film was actual reality. I must confess, though having not seen the film, that I too wish for such a world. Don't we all? A world of pristine nature populated by a race of beings intelligent and living in peace with one another. Families remain unified, crime and natural disasters never enter our vocabulary, and our Utopian hopes are realized.

Man has always craved such a world. Though Pandora is the creation of writers and movie directors and producers, the ideal-world they created is not. Utopia is the dream of everyone born in this world. We all know that things are not as they should be. Crime, injustice, suffering, natural disaster, war, poverty, famine, death, destruction, hatred, violence, bigotry, lust, rape, inequality, cowardice, brokenness, betrayal, hardships, dirty politics, broken promises, loneliness, illiteracy, discontentment, depression, anxiety, and disease. This world is a mess and we wish it weren't.

Discontentment in such a broken world has led to countless attempts to bring about such an Utopia. Various kingdoms in the ancient world tried to conquer their way to Utopia. The belief in racial and national superiority (not to mention the lust for power and wealth) led many political and military leaders to conquer, pillage, and wipe out inferior nations believing that if they were in complete control, there would be peace, tranquility, and Utopia. Peace through dominance was their mantra, and it failed.

Then came philosophy and Western ideals. The rise of the Greeks and Romans with the belief that they were superior to those uneducated and uncivilized. But rather than solutions and Utopia, it brought about more death, destruction, chaos.

Then came religion. Christianity ceased being about repentance once it became the official religion of the world. Religion breeds legalism and tyranny. But Christianity was not alone. The rise of Islam (600's) and other faiths thrived on the eve and through the Middle Ages. Instead of Utopia, forced conversions and heresy trials brought about continued death, disease, and the cry for a better world. Utopia remained far off.

Then came the Enlightenment and secularism. Many saw imperfection and sought to remedy it by running from faith. Many believed that the new world of scientific investigation and breakthroughs along with medical advancement would rid the need for war over endless theological debates and bring about a Utopian world free of disease and war. Instead, we discovered that for every disease cured, a thousand replace it. As science advanced, so did the necessity to push the limits. Science, and the Darwinian worldview that replaced it, led to the practice of eugenics, population control, and racial superiority which led to more death, more violence, more disease, and more war.

Secularism also gave rise to economic theories like Marxism that promised Utopia once everyone was equal and everyone (was forced) to share their wealth. Instead of Utopia, the 20th century proved that communism breeds tyranny, death, corrupt power, and economic disaster.

In less socialistic, secular society's the failed experiment of religion was countered with a cry to break from tradition. The rise of the sexual revolution, radical feminism, and racial dominance became the new voices of Utopia. "If only we would break from old traditions and be liberated and free," the logic went, "would we have peace, love, freedom, and Utopia." The hippie's wanted Utopia and sought it in experimental drugs, alcohol, promiscuous sex, and peace rallies. Instead of Utopia, it brought about broken homes, a less free government as the result of an emboldened government, STD's, unwanted pregnancies, and the deaths of millions through abortions. Instead of Utopia we got more chaos. And now many born in such a world roam the halls of Congress.

Now we've moved on to postmodernism. Modernism failed and so we look for more Utopian promises. They too have and will fail. The cry for tolerance and the demonization of those who affirm doctrines without apology or fear promises to bring about peace and tranquility. Labeling criminals as victims and belief as bigotry has only encouraged added bigotry and crime rather than remedy it. Utopia remains far off.

No wonder people see a world so real on the screen become depressed when they watch the evening news.

The cry for an Utopian world is part of our makeup. As Christians we understand better than anyone why this is: we were once there.

The Bible begins with God who created the world in which we live, but not as we see it today. After creation, God declared the work of His hand as "very good." He day of rest was not the result of exhaustion, but of self-gratification for the glorious work of His hands. All that He had done and created was in fact "very good." A part of this creation was man who alone could enjoy the creation of God in a unique way. Man for a period of time (we do not for sure how long, but likely a very short time) enjoyed the Utopian, perfect world that God created: no crime, no natural disasters, no poverty, no inequality, no despair, no depression, no broken homes, no disease, and no death. Pandora was the handiwork of God.

And then it happened. Rather than God celebrated and worshipped as Creator, man sought to be the center of control. Out of open disobedience and rebellion, man sought to be the center of the universe by dethroning their Maker. Utopia was destroyed.

The story of the Fall (Genesis 3) helps us understand why we long for such a world. Paradise was lost and we want it back. At the same time, it also tells us why we, on our own, will never create it. First, we never created paradise in the first place. Scripture is clear, only God creates perfection. No matter how hard we try, we will never be able to duplicate the handiwork of God. The Garden of Paradise in both the beginning (Genesis 1-2) and ending (Revelation 21-22) of Scripture are the results of God's handiwork. Secondly, so long as man remains self-centered, paradise will forever remain lost. The spark that led to this chaotic world was the belief that God can be ignored and we can be worshipped. By rebelling against God, our first parents decided to live for themselves and for their own pleasures. Pride and self-centeredness created and sustains our fallen, depraved, pathetic world.

The Old Testament is a rather sad, yet familiar story. Every page reveals how man continues to seek peace and Utopia and yet fail under their own ignorance and self-centeredness. Genesis reveals how man turns to himself, seeks answers in himself, and fails miserably. The giving of the Law created a people of legalists who believed they were perfect enough, but in reality remained just as depraved. Judges and Ruth reveal the utter chaos that liberty and anarchy create. Samuel through Esther show how power and corruption inherent in politics destroy lives and any hope of Utopia. The poetic literature cry for peace and the end of injustice. The prophets warn of coming doom as the result of man's actions.

It is a pathetic story that we all know too well. We, like those of old, have sought for Utopia in the same ways as they with the same results. Politics, unchecked liberty, legalism, tyranny, war, and cries for peace have all failed. We continue to repeat the same mistakes of the past.

If the Old Testament was the story of the failure of man, the New Testament tells the story of the triumph of Christ. The Gospels tells of the triumph of the cross and how on account of His death, man finally has hope, if only they would give up their self-centeredness and repent. Acts shows the triumph of the cross-centered Church where love, real love, was central and unifying. The Epistles show us how to live such a cross-centered life. And Revelation returns us to Paradise. Paradise was lost, but it will be regained.

The central character of the Old Testament, one could argue, isn't God, but man. The central character of the New Testament isn't man, but Christ. The Old Testament is a book of man's failure in his attempt to create paradise. The New Testament is the hope of Christ triumph to bring about Paradise once again. Man failed, but Christ has triumphed.

Stories about "Avatar Blues," though at first surprising and almost laughable, shouldn't be so shocking after all. The world created by the film makers is a world we have all craved and the depression that we are so far from creating such world remains. Yet only Christianity explains why we all feel this way, and provides the answers on how a world like Pandora can be created.

Utopia will never be the product of man because of his self-centeredness and rebellion against God. A being bent on rebellion will never create peace. Paradise is solely within the creative hand of God. He must, and has, intervene. He must, and will, recreate Paradise if it is to ever become a reality. Our hope is in God and His gospel. Repentance shreds us of any self-reliance and self-centeredness. We cannot, but God does and will. Hope is not found in man, but in God alone. Will we continue the same failed cycle of turning to politics and politicians, unchecked liberty and promiscuity, legalism and tyranny, economics and science? Or will we turn to the place we refuse to go: our Creator who gave us Paradise in the first place? Only time will tell.

Psychology Today - Avatar Blues
Russell Moore - Avatar: Rambo in Reverse
For more:  

We Are a Motley Crew: MacArthur on the Healing of the Hemorrhaging Woman

I thought this was a great quote from Dr. John MacArthur in his sermon on Matthew 9:23-26.

No, you see, God has never looked for the superstars and the bright lights and the famous people.  He's always been content with folks like us.  The Bible says that the prophet Isaiah predicted when the Messiah would come, He would preach the Gospel to the...what?...poor.  And Paul said, "Not many noble, and not many mighty, but He's chosen the base and the weak and the ignoble and the foolish things."...I mean we are a motley crew, you know that?  Really.

I was reading this week a very interesting book called Fearfully and Wonderfully Made written by Dr. Paul Brand and Phil Yancey.  It's a book you oughta read.  Tremendous.  In one section of it, he talks about how...the people of God are such an unlikely bunch; and he quotes from novelist Frederick Bookner, who said this.  "Who could've predicted that God would choose not Esau, the honest and reliable, but Jacob, the trickster and heel?  Who could have predicted that God would put his finger on Noah, who hit the bottle?  Or on Moses, who was trying to beat the rap in Midian for braining a man in Egypt.  And if it weren't for the honor of the thing, He'd just as soon let Aaron go back and face the music.  Who could have predicted that God would choose the prophets who were a ragged lot, mad as hatters, most of 'em."

And then Paul Brand adds, "The exception seems to be the rule.  The first humans God created went out and did the only thing God asked 'em not to do.  The man he chose to head a new nation known as God's people tried to pawn off his wife on an unsuspecting Pharaoh; and the wife, herself, when told at the ripe old age of 91 that God was ready to deliver the son He had promised her, broke into rasping laughter in the face of God.  Rahab, a harlot, became revered for her great faith; and Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, went out of his way to break every proverb he so astutely composed...

Even after Jesus, the pattern continued.  The two disciples who did the most to spread the Word after His departure, John and Peter, were the two He had rebuked most often for petty squabbling and muddleheadedness.  And the Apostle Paul, who wrote more books than any other Bible writer, was selected for the task while kicking up dust whirls from town to town sniffing out Christians to torture.  Jesus had nerve in trusting the high-minded ideals of love and unity and fellowship to this group.  No wonder cynics have looked at the church and sighed, "If that group of people is supposed to represent God, I'll quickly vote against Him."  Or as Nietzsche expressed it, "His disciples will have to look more saved if I'm to believe in their Savior."  

We are a motley crew, aren't we?...The ignoble and the weak and the foolish.  We all have this in common:  we have a sense of desperate need, and we have faith to believe.  So Jesus is impartial.  "God is...says the respecter of...what? ...persons."  There's neither male nor female, Jew nor Greek, bond or free, rich or poor.  All are one...

We are a motley crew indeed!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Keller on Mornin Joe

I strongly encourage you to watch the following clip from the MSNBC show Mornin Joe which includes Tim Keller who is a great author and pastor.  Keller has written and said a lot about idolatry in a way that we need to hear.  This has been something that has been on my mind for several weeks now.  We are enslaved idolaters and we need the gospel.

HT: Dr. Denny Burk

Thursday, February 17, 2011

John Newton - In Evil Long I Took Delight

I came across an old hymn written by John Newton (the author of the most famous hymn Amazing Grace) in preparation for Sunday's message.  The hymn is called In Evil Long I Took Delight and having never heard it before, it has suddenly become one of my favorites.  Consider the words:

In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.

I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His languid eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.

Sure, never to my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though not a word He spoke.

My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.

A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayst live.”

Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.

Friday, February 11, 2011

February 2011 Newsletter Available Online Now

Every month we make a newsletter available to everyone at Goshen to keep them informed on the upcoming events of the month.  If you have not been able to grab one at church, you can download it here for free.  Either click on the link below or as always, there will be a link on the left for the most recent newsletter.

See ya Sunday!

February 2011 Newsletter 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

February 6, 2011 | Matthew 9:1-8 - Anything You Can Do . . .: Why Forgiveness Is Greater Than All Our Sin

Here is the audio and notes from this past weeks sermon.  I have really enjoyed our time in Matthew 8-9:8 and know that it is just going to get better.  See ya either tonight or next Sunday. Matthew 9:1-8 reads:

Getting into a boat, Jesus crossed over the sea and came to His own city. And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, "Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven." And some of the scribes said to themselves, "This fellow blasphemes." And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, "Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Get up, and walk'? "But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"--then He said to the paralytic, "Get up, pick up your bed and go home." And he got up and went home. But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.


For more:
January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel
January 16, 2011 | Matthew 8:18-27 - The High Worth of Discipleship   
January 23, 2011 | Matthew 8:23-34 - Knowing is Only Half the Battle:  The Authority & Power of King Jesus
January 30, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-9:8 - Chasing a Tail Named Idolatrous:  Our Enslaved Idolatry and How Jesus Sets Us Free 
The Sermon on the Mount Series
Matthew Thus Far:  Matthew 1-5
The Last Week of Jesus: From Triumphal Entry to Triumphal Grave Series   

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is Forgiveness Possible? ER

This video illustrates the emptiness of postmodern theology and pastoral care. Unless we have answers, regardless of their popularity, we offer no hope. Ambiguity is not hope, but hopelessness. Self-sufficiency isn't as reassuring as we like to convince ourselves it is.

HT: Denny Burk

Friday, February 4, 2011

This is Who We Are: What a Baptist Is and Believes - The Church

The Baptist Faith & Message 200 moves from discussing God, the Bible, & salvation, to talking about the community in which newly redeemed believers fellowship: the Church.  Here, the BF&M 2000 makes two distinctions of the church.  The first regards the local church:

A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith & fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, & privileges invested in them by His Word, & seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible & accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors & deacons. While both men & women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

Here the confession says several things. First, the local church is autonomous & made up of regenerated, baptized believers. This is one of our distinctives as Baptists. Each church is responsible for its own business. The various conventions & associations connected to the church have no authority over the church.  The Southern Baptist Convention does not & cannot hire or fire staff or build a new gym.  That is the business of the local church. This is unique among denominations. Unlike Roman Catholic, Methodist, or Presbyterian who have a hierarchal system, Baptist do not. 

But who makes up the local church?  Regenerated, baptized believers dedicated to & shaped by the gospel.  This is the basis of church membership & why Baptists take church membership so seriously.  We do not baptize babies, we baptize believers (this separated us from other denominations like Catholicism, Presbyterianism, & Methodism).  The New Testament speaks of only baptized believers who have made a confession of faith, have repented of their sins, & are redeemed by Christ.  These believers, as the confession says, joins the local church, participates in its fellowships, grows & disciples in the faith, becomes ambassadors for Christ, & observes two ordinances of Christ: baptism & the Lord’s Supper (Catholics add to this list what they call Sacraments including such things as marriage, confirmation, & extreme unction among others).

The second point of the confession regards the Universal Church (which prior to the Great Reformation was referred to as the catholic church.  The word “catholic” means, “universal”).  The confession says:

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, & tongue, & people, & nation.

The church isn’t just limited to the local body of believers, but extends to the universal body of redeemed souls both living & dead. The language of body is important & taken directly from Scripture (see 1 Corinthians 12ff).  The Church is the Body of Christ making Christ its Head.  He is the Head & stands as its Lord & Sovereign leader.  True redeemed believers submit fully to the Lordship & Headship of Christ.

But the concept of the universal church ought to make us rejoice.  The gospel transcends all time, cultures, race, gender, nations, languages, age, & people.  We rejoice with the same salvation in Glenn Dean as do those in the village of Dargol in Niger, Africa.  The same Lord rules over all & offers the same grace to all.  This means that one day, when united with our Maker, we will worship our Savior.  The we here isn’t limited to middle-class white Americans, but will include every person from every nation & race.

This ought to lead us to rejoice in our great God of salvation & it ought to drive us towards evangelism.  May we work to grow the body of Christ to see unity in the midst of diversity. Baptist have a rich heritage in supporting missions & celebrating the diversity of the body of Christ.  Only the gospel can bring such diversity into a unity under the Headship of Christ.

The question, then, is how will we serve in the body of Christ?  Will we act like the head & demand from Christ or will we be the body that we are, & serve at direction of our head so that our Savior might be glorified & the souls of men & women everywhere be redeemed.

This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Introduction
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Scripture
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God
This is Who We Are  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Father
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Son
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - God the Spirit
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Man
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes - Salvation 
This is Who We Are:  What a Baptist Is and Believes -  God's Purpose of Grace 

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

January 30, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-9:8 - Chasing a Tail Named Idolatrous: Our Enslaved Idolatry and How Jesus Sets Us Free

Here is the audio and notes from this past Sunday.  You may notice in the notes that I did not take any nor do I have a bibliography.  This sermon is one that kept me up all night and really burdened me all week.  I have a real concern that everyone inside and outside the church are enslaved and yet they think they are free.  This will radically change the way we view everything.  The beauty of the gospel is that it transforms us from slaves to sons to joint heirs with Christ.

Next week we'll get back on track and look specifically at Matthew 9:1-8.  A wonderful passage of Scripture.


For more:
January 2, 2011 | Matthew 8:1-17 - "Be Cleansed":  The Great Healer & His Great Gospel 
January 16, 2011 | Matthew 8:18-27 - The High Worth of Discipleship   
January 23, 2011 | Matthew 8:23-34 - Knowing is Only Half the Battle:  The Authority & Power of King Jesus
The Sermon on the Mount Series
Matthew Thus Far:  Matthew 1-5
The Last Week of Jesus: From Triumphal Entry to Triumphal Grave Series