Searching For What Is Lost!

ovejaydracmaYesterday I had the privilege of speaking to the 6th grade-12th grade students at Lakeview Christian School in chapel. The text was from Luke 15:1-10 and dealt with the meaning of two of the three parables in this chapter—the parable of the lost sheep and the parable of the lost coin.

1 Then drew near unto him all the publicans and sinners for to hear him. 2 And the Pharisees and scribes murmured, saying, This man receiveth sinners, and eateth with them. 3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying, 4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance. 8 Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

 

The context of these parables is found in that tax collectors and sinners had been drawn near to hear Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes were murmuring because Jesus would receive them and eat with them. In response to their murmuring, Jesus tells these three parables.

The parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin magnify three truths about God.

1. The Defining of the Search

This is the mission of God. It is the mission of the Son, the Spirit, and the Father. Jesus is not acting independently of the Father but in cooperation with Him and the Spirit. Jesus came not to be a good teacher, a great example, a miracle worker, but to seek and to save the lost.

Clearly, this defines how God feels towards sinners. No doubt, it describes his love toward those whom he will save. This defines his work, because the sheep and the coin are not looking and searching for their owner but it is the owner who does the seeking. Paul reminds us in Romans that there are none that seek after God. Christianity is not about man seeking God, but God seeking after man.

It clearly shows us that God is interested in the salvation of his people, willing to leave the 99 to save the one. And is not satisfied with 9 until she finds the one. No matter which sheep or which coin, he searches for the one that is lost.

2. The Demands of the Search

For the one who really cares for the sheep and the coin, there is no time spared, no expense spared, no suffering avoided, no trouble avoided, no sacrifice is too great. He endures many hardships.

The women rearranges her priorities and her schedule to find this coin. She leaves no part of her house unturned in search for this coin. Everything stops to find the coin.

God holds nothing back in his searching and saving of lost souls. Of course, the Father spared not his Son. But freely gave him up for us.  Jesus willingly came to suffer and to be shamed and to die in our place. The Sprit comes and convicts and convinces the sinner of his need to be saved. Nothing was spared to save your soul. Nothing! What ever the demands were, God did not shy away from them.

3. The Delight of the Search

Finding the sheep and the coin results in rejoicing.  There is a reward for the search, the sheep is found and the coin is found and there is rejoicing over it.  And others are called to rejoice with the one who finds it. The Bible says when someone gets saved there is rejoicing in the presence of angels. Not that angels are rejoicing but the triune Godhead is rejoicing in their miraculous work of salvation. He does not rejoice over me but over his patience and persistence in finding me.

There are some who claim to have found God. Something happens in their lives or He is presented in a way that it is easy to find him. So they have sorta found God. But there are others who have been found by God. They were not looking for him and were not at first interested in him but he has searched and found them and made them his.  You have to decide whether you are a Pharisee who through your religion found God or you are a sinner who by the grace of God was found by Him. That makes all the difference in the world.

The Danger of Teaching Our Kids Biblical Moralism!

School-designHere is a great post from Samuel Williamson who has a new book entitled, “Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids.–How Moralism Suffocates Grace.”

Several years ago I met with a woman distraught by her son’s rejection of Christianity.School design She said, “I did everything I could to raise him right.

I taught him to be like the ‘heroes of faith,’ with the faithfulness of Abraham, the goodness of Joseph, the pure heart of David, and the obedience of Esther.” She wondered why he rejected Christianity. I wondered why it took him so long.

Here is how we destroy the gospel message Look at almost any Sunday school curriculum. You’ll find: Abraham was faithful, and God made him the father of a nation. So be faithful like Abraham. Joseph was a good little boy (unlike his “bad” brothers), and God made him Prime Minister of Egypt.

So be good like Joseph. David had a pure heart (unlike his brothers), and God made him King of Israel. So have a pure heart like David. Esther was an obedient girl. God made her Queen of Persia and she saved God’s people. So be obedient like Esther. Finally, if we fail to be good, Jesus will forgive us (a “P.S.” tacked onto the end).

What’s so bad about these Sunday school lessons? Nothing really. Except that they lie about God, they lie about these “heroes of the faith,” they lie about the Bible, and they lie about the gospel. Apart from that, they are pretty good. Oh, they also create “younger brother” rebels and “older brother” Pharisees.

Is the gospel our central theme, or is it a “PS” tacked onto the end? The gospel storyline The message of the gospel—the entire storyline of scripture—is God’s loving pursuit of people who run from him as fast as they can and who live lives unworthy of his love. That’s why it’s called grace. But our Sunday school lessons teach us to be good little boys and girls, and God will love us and use us. It’s the total opposite of the gospel. It’s a counterfeit of the worst kind.

The inside out of the gospel

The wonder of the gospel is not the love of the beautiful; it’s when Beauty kisses the Beast. The Beast isn’t loved because he has changed; the Beast is changed when he is loved. Joy doesn’t come when he’s loved for his beauty; joy overwhelms him when he is loved in his hideousness. If the Beast were loved for his beauty, it would be an unbearable burden. Any day he might be scarred, and soon he will certainly be a wrinkled old man.

So why do we burden our children with the unbearable load of “being good little boys and girls like the heroes in the Bible”? We wouldn’t load a pack mule with the burdens we place on our children.

There’s gotta be a better way Let’s teach the wonder of the gospel. Let’s show our kids that God loves us … simply because he loves us. In our beastliness. That he loves us before we are good. That his love isn’t vague sentimentality, but it cost him his most precious treasure to turn us into his prized possession; that the storyline of the Bible is God’s Search and Rescue mission to find the dying Beast and kiss him into joyous life.

How Abraham was an idol worshiper and God loved him and pursued him; How Joseph was a narcissistic boy and God loved him and pursued him; How David was a murdering adulterer and God loved him and pursued him; How Esther had sex outside of marriage with a non-believer and God loved her and pursued her.  Our heroes weren’t loved because they were good; they were good because they were loved.

We may believe in the innocence of youth, but our children know better. They see the children in the schoolyard (and they see us at home!). They don’t need the counterfeit gospel of pack-mule-moralism; they need the kiss of the Beauty. Maybe we do too. Besides, it’s what the Bible in fact teaches.

The Pursuit of Peace!

Peace-handsThe desire for peace is a worthy pursuit. Whether the peace sought be our marriages, our families, our churches, our work, our nation, or our world. Peace is something we all should desire.

What we should remember though, is peace is a very difficult thing to obtain and even harder to maintain. Especially in the “me first“ culture in which we live in America. It seems conflict and hostility rule the day. Nevertheless, peace is possible in all the areas of our lives but there are two contrasting paths of our pursuit of peace.

The first is Tolerance. This means we compromise what we know to be true and right and simply tolerate the false and the wrong for the sake of peace. We may not change our convictions but we simply are not going to say anything and we are not going to challenge anyone. This is what we must do if we are gong to have peace. However, this is a very damaging choice. It leaves the others in their error and sin. It helps no one and the resulting peace is a very hollow. This is the error the world encourages us to pursue. Tolerance in all areas and at all costs is a way but a bad way to have peace.

The second is Submission. There are disagreements but we submit to God ordained order and roles. Submission is hard and so unnatural that only a Holy Spirit possessed person can do it. There may be conflicts in the marriage but at the end of the day, the husband is head of the home and wife is to submit to his decision. Children submit to their parents. Church members submit to their leaders and in a sense should submit to others in the church. Employees are to submit to their employers. In addition, we all should be submitting to the authority of the Lord and His word.

I hope you can see that peace is possible where there is submission and this peace will be honoring and glorifying to God. This is the way that God has enabled peace to be a reality. Tolerance is not. So we can have a hollow and temporary peace accomplished by tolerance or we can have real lasting peace that comes through submission.

It is important which you individually choose and which the church chooses.

“Accept Jesus” or “Be Accepted by God”?

cross3Today’s entry is from the blog of Paul Tautges.

Nothing is more important than understanding what the Bible teaches about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What we understand and personally believe about this historical and supremely spiritual event determines our eternal destiny. Therefore, there is no room for error on this doctrine. Error will only lead to eternal damnation in hell. Biblical truth is our only hope of heaven.

There is one verse that so completely defines the meaning of the death of Christ that if we had no other verse, it would be enough. It would be enough to tell us why He died, what His death accomplished for sinners, why He only remained dead for three days, and how our guilt can be removed so that we can be restored to God.

The verse I am referring to is 1 Peter 3:18, “For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.”

Here we discover five truths that explain the meaning of the death of Christ.

It was a sacrificial death (for sins).

Jesus died for sins because death was God’s requirement. God pronounced this death sentence before man ever sinned. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:16-17). That is surely what happened. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and they died. Now, they did not drop dead immediately, but the slow process of physical death began that very moment. More tragic than the slow deterioration of their physical bodies, is the fact that they immediately experienced spiritual death, separation from God. They lost their oneness and fellowship with Him and attempted to hide from His presence because of their guilt. As a result, God pronounced His judgment on their sin, killed an animal and used its skin to make a covering for their shame, and cast them out of the garden to prevent them from eating from the tree of life and forever sealing their doom (Genesis 3:15-24). The consequences of their actions then spread to all men. Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned (Romans 5:12).

Later, in the book of Exodus, God raised up a man by the name of Moses to deliver His people from Egyptian slavery. What was the sign of their deliverance? The blood of a spotless lamb applied to the doorposts of every Jewish home. Passover, still an annual feast of the Jewish people, reminded them of God’s deliverance and prophesied of the one, final Passover Lamb that would give His blood as payment for man’s sin. The New Testament declares, Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed (1 Corinthians 5:7).

While the nation of Israel was in the wilderness, God established a way for their sins to be covered by a sacrifice and for fellowship with Him to be restored. The opening words of Leviticus, which defines the provisions and boundaries of this sacrificial system, established death as its foundational requirement: Then the LORD called to Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When any man of you brings an offering to the LORD, you shall bring your offering of animals from the herd or the flock…that he may be accepted before the LORD’” (Leviticus 1:1-3). Why was the sinner required to bring this offering? That he might be accepted before the Lord. Many people today talk about accepting Jesus as one’s personal Savior. However, the Bible is more concerned with whether or not God accepts us. From the beginning, the Bible established the only means of acceptance with God—the death of a sacrifice. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering [this demonstrated personal responsibility for sin], that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf (Leviticus 1:4).

The sacrifice was brought for sin and fellowship with God was established on the basis of its death. This is consistent throughout the Bible. So, when we come to 1 Peter 3:18 and read this incredibly simple statement, Christ died for sins, we must look backward and understand what Peter meant. Christ offered Himself as a sin offering though He had no sin of His own to atone for. He died for sins—our sins. In other words, the Old Testament animal sacrifices looked forward to the New Testament “Son sacrifice;” the Son of God who died for our sins.

It was a sufficient death (once for all).

The death of Jesus Christ for sin was so complete that it is the only sacrifice that can ever be offered for sin and does not need to be repeated EVER. This is what Peter meant by three simple words, once for all. The book of Hebrews teaches this same truth. The context of the following verses is the comparison of Christ to human priests that repeatedlyoffered sacrifices for their own sins and the sins of others: For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins [because He had none of His own], and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself [on the cross]. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever (7:26-28). See also Hebrews 9:11-12 and 10:10-14.

The death of Christ was sufficient to pay the penalty for sin once for all. That means the only way to be accepted by God (saved) is through His death and resurrection. It also means we must never offer to God any sacrifice while thinking that it is even remotely a part of obtaining our salvation. To think that we can add anything to the sacrifice of Christ is an error that leads to hell. Yet many people continue to attempt to pay God back for the bad things they have done. The Apostle Paul addressed this when he wrote, if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly (Galatians 2:21).

It was a substitutionary death (the just for the unjust).

When Jesus died, the innocent died for the guilty. The righteous died for the unrighteous. God died for man. The Creator died for His creatures. The phrase, the just for the unjust, is a summary of Isaiah 53, the most thorough Old Testament prediction of the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ. Notice the language of substitution, i.e. someone doing something for someone else.

Verse 4: Our griefs He Himself bore
Verse 4: Our sorrows He carried
Verse 5: He was pierced through for our transgressions
Verse 5: He was crushed for our iniquities
Verse 5: The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him
Verse 6: The Lord caused the iniquity of us to fall on Him
Verse 11: My Servant, will justify the many
Verse 12: He was numbered with the transgressors
Verse 12: He Himself bore the sin of many
Jesus was the Someone doing something for someone else and the something that He did was to meet God’s required punishment for sin—death. So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men (Romans 5:18). The one act of righteousness that saves those who believe is His death on the cross. Adam was our representative for sin, which led to death. Jesus is our representative for righteousness, which leads to life.

It was a saving death (that He might bring us to God).

The death of Christ purchased reconciliation with God. This was its purpose. He died to bring us to God. Think back to the sacrifices of the Old Testament. How were the people brought back to God? By the death of a sacrifice. How are sinners, today, brought back to God? The same way—through the death of the One sacrifice.

For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. Therefore from now on we recognize no man according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and gave us the ministy of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:14-19).

Why has God not counted my sins against me? Because, while Jesus hung on the cross, the Savior assumed punishment for my sins. God was reconciling me back to Himself through Christ. This is the truth that has transformed my life and given me a new purpose to live. As a church-going boy, I knew Jesus was the Savior of the world, but I failed to understand that He was my Savior. Only when I saw the death of Christ as being in my place did the truth of the Gospel set me free from my sin and give me hope of new life in Him.

The message that I am now obligated to tell you is: He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21). God the Father imputed [placed] the sins of the world on the back of His sinless Son in order to give the righteousness of Jesus Christ to those who trust Him as their Sin-bearer. If we do not understand and believe that Jesus paid for our sin on the cross to give us His righteousness then we are without eternal hope. This is the very heart of the Gospel. This is the Good News!

It was a satisfactory death (but made alive in the spirit).

Jesus was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit. The resurrection of Jesus from the dead was a public demonstration of the satisfaction of God. Jesus predicted this: Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. When therefore He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had spoken (John 2:19-22).

It was as if the Father verbally spoke: “I am completely, 100% satisfied with the death of My Son on the cross as full payment for man’s sin. There is no need for any more sacrifices for sin. It is finished.” He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification (Romans 4:25). John 6:37-40 shows how these truths relate to us.

Everyone who beholds the Son (sees Him for Who He is and what He has done) and believes in Him (trusts that what God says about the purpose of His death is true) will be saved. If we apply the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ to our spiritual need then the promise of God is that we will one-day live with Him forever.

What about you?

If you are still wondering how First Peter 3:18 applies to you, here is the clearest answer to your question: if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord [behold the Son], and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead [believe the Son], you shall be saved; for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Romans 10:9-10).

Have you applied the death of Christ to your own spiritual need by acknowledging your sinfulness to God? Do you believe the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross is the one blood sacrifice you need in order to be made right with God? Have you embraced Jesus Christ as the one-and-only Lord? That is what it means to be a Christian.

By lakeviewbc Posted in Easter

Three Hours One Friday!

cross-78000_640And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.

Luke 23:44-45

Luke 23:45 is an interesting verse. It describes what happened as Jesus hangs on the cross. In one verse, that is often simply overlooked, Luke describes what happened to Christ and what happened for his followers.

The Darkness- We often hear that God turned the lights off so that he would not have to look at His Son who had taken upon him the sins of the world. That might be so. But maybe these three hours of darkness, from twelve noon till three o’clock, was the expression of the imposing of judgment upon the lonely, outcast Sufferer. It was three hours of Jesus being alone with God. His dealings with men were finished, now he is dealing with God alone, with God for men. He is under the judgment of God and the wrath of God is being poured out on His Son. So as this transaction between God and Jesus takes place, the sun was darkened.

The Veil- With one bold stroke Luke unites two great phenomena of that hour. While this darkness covered Jerusalem, the veil in the Temple that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place was torn into, from the top to the bottom. What a wondrous combination. Darkness for him, and a rent veil for you and me! Darkness for him, light for us; exclusion for him, access for the sinner; judgment for him, freedom for us; suffering for him, salvation for us.

That’s what happened on a Friday long ago and it’s effects still thunder in the world today.

By lakeviewbc Posted in Easter

Passion Week Thursday!

Maundy ThursdayIn the final week of Jesus Christ, Thursday would be his final day of freedom (Remember the Jewish Thursday would run from sundown Wednesday to sundown Thursday). Friday he will go from one mock trial to another and be crucified. So knowing that the next day you will put to death, how do you spend the day before? Jesus spends it in a very selfless fashion.

He Eats With His Disciples. The last supper in the upper room will be the last time that Jesus and his disciples will be together before the cross. It is during this supper that Jesus reveals there is a betrayer among his disciples.

He Washes the Feet of His Disciples. We are reminded that salvation is an ongoing process. While there is an initial cleansing, there must be daily cleansings as well. Sanctification is the on going process of our salvation. It is amazing that Jesus serves His disciples this way and even more amazing that He serves the one He knows will betray him. Jesus here serves as an example to us, that we should service one another.

He Prays For His Disciples. We can read the prayer of Christ on Thursday in John 17. The prayer is mainly a prayer concerning his disciples, both current disciples and future disciples. He prays that the Father may be with His disciples in the absence of Christ.

His final day before being betrayed, arrested, and crucified is spent preparing His disciples for their life and ministry without him. These 11 are going to carry out the mission that Christ came to purchase. He will send them the Holy Spirit and they will spread the Good News around the world. On Thursday, Jesus is focused on his disciples.

By lakeviewbc Posted in Easter

A King’s Wrath!

daniel1In Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar issued a command that was binding on every citizen in the Babylonian empire. The command was that each person was to worship an image of gold the king had commissioned made. Three young Hebrew men refused to comply to the command. They had good reason to resist but in the end they were in open rebellion to the command of the king. Their disobedience to the word of the king enraged Nebuchadnezzar. His wrath was kindled against these three rebels. The king determined that his wrath would be poured out upon these three by heating a furnace seven times hotter than it had ever been heated before , have them thrown in, and let them feel the wrath of an angry and disrespected king.

As the king looks in the furnace, fully expecting the three burning and in pain, he sees four instead of three. The fourth, he says, looks like the Son of God. The three were brought out of the furnace and they were completely unharmed. No burns, no singed hair, no smell of smoke, and the ropes that confined them burned away. It is clear that the presence of this forth individual protected the three from the wrath of the king. It is recorded that the three Hebrews came out of the furnace but it never does mention the fourth man coming out.

What a wonderful picture this is of the salvation of those who trust Jesus Christ. It is only through Christ we are spared the awful wrath of the King in which we have offended and rebelled. We are unharmed while Jesus receives the full force of the wrath intended for us. We are made free while he hangs on the cross enduring the punishment meant for us. We live and are not crushed by the wrath of God because the fourth man, Jesus Christ was crushed in our place.

Obedience!

obedienceThe Bible is full of imperatives. Biblical imperatives demand something from God’s people. All of God’s demands are always applicable for everyone everywhere. The commands of God are binding on God’s people, not as criteria for salvation but as guidelines for sanctification.

Therefore, keeping the divine demands of Scripture assumes a prior relationship between divine sovereign and human subjects. The children of God are to fulfill their responsibility to obey, because they already are the children of God by faith in Christ. In other words, God’s people don’t obey to be children but because they are His children.

Our sanctifying obedience rests on two vital truths. The first is The Power of the Holy Spirit. Our obedience is through faith and is dependent on God’s grace, for it recognizes that only through the power of the Spirit can obedience to divine demands be possible or be pleasing to God. Paul tells us in Romans 11:36, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.” Without the power of the Spirit of God doing these things in us, there would be no obedience. The second is The Provision of the Son. Our obedience also acknowledges that failures occur at a remarkably alarming rate. But the provision of forgiveness is available in Jesus Christ. It is the power of God that accomplishes any obedience in us and it is the provision of God in the Son, Jesus Christ, that not only forgives our failures but also accomplishes our obedience through the perfection of Jesus Christ.

It is when these two truths become progressively clearer do we progressively become like Christ in the work of sanctification.

Heaven Is For Real!

Heaven_is_for_Real_1It seems, I always come across as the bad guy and the kill joy. I try not to be but I rarely succeed. I had a conversation with an 8th grade student who wanted to talk about the upcoming film, Heaven Is For Real.” I came across very badly because I told her the truth. And when you tell the truth, you are the bad guy and the kill joy.

The book, Heaven Is For Real” has sold more than 7 million copies. It is the supposedly true story of a four-year old boy who went to heaven. In heaven, he got a halo and wings that turned out to be too small for him. He claims to have sat on Jesus’ lap while angels sang to him. He met the Holy Spirit whom he describes as “kinda blue.” The tale of this little journey to heaven and back is full of things that are not in the Bible and other things that are contrary to the Bible.

This book and the many others like it, are an attack on the sufficiency of Scripture. The Bible tells us a lot about heaven and it tells us all that God wants us to know about heaven. However, to the undiscerning church in America, Scripture is simply not enough. We read these books and watch these movies when we have the Word of God. It is amazing!

There is no one in the Bible taken to heaven. No one! Four men received visions of heaven, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Paul, and John, but not one person was taken physically to heaven. In fact the Bible speaks to this in John 3:13, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”

If you read “Heaven Is For Real” or any of the other end-time books, you will discover that their version of heaven is all about their glory and not for the glory of God. All things are to bring glory to him and I would guess heaven especially would be about his glory and not ours.

So yes, I told her the truth and yes, I was seen as the bad guy and the kill joy. The truth seems to have that effect on people.

By lakeviewbc Posted in Heaven

Commitment!

Church-membershipFrom time to time I want to highlight the importance and the meaning of church membership. In my opinion, this is a subject that is horribly misunderstood in American churches. 9 Marks is one of the most profitable resources to moving the church back to it’s Biblical roots.

In one sense, we become part of the body of Christ the moment we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. In another sense, we become part of the body of Christ the moment we commit to a particular body. So in a very real sense being a Christian means being joined to a local church.

Church membership is not simply a record of a box we once checked. It’s not a sentimental feeling. It is not an expression of affection toward a particular place. It’s not an expression of loyalty or disloyalty toward parents. It should be a reflection of a living commitment to a group of people.

The practice of church membership occurs when Christians grasp hold of each other in responsibility and love. By identifying ourselves with a particular local church, we are telling the pastor and other members not just that we commit to them, but that we commit to them in gathering, giving, prayer, and service. We are telling them to expect certain things from us and to hold us accountable if we don’t follow through. Joining a church is an act of saying, “I am now your responsibility, and you are my responsibility.” Biblical membership means taking responsibility. It is seen in our mutual obligations to each other. The church is a body in which all parts care for one another.

Those members who are not faithful or who shirk their responsibility as members confuse both real members and non-Christians about what it means to be a Christian. Since membership is the church’s corporate endorsement of a person’s salvation, we do them no favors by ignoring their lack of commitment.

We must continually be reminded of each member’s commitment to the life of the church.

By lakeviewbc Posted in Church