The indispensable doctrine

Outside of the church, Muslims are killing people, American taxpayers are giving over a half-billion dollars a year to Planned Parenthood so they can murder babies, and judges nationwide are giving a middle finger to God and Christians by forcing “same-sex marriage” down our throats, and there is so much more I could say.

Inside of the (professing) church, Joel Osteen still has clean teeth and is making his millions peddling fortune cookie wisdom, Christian bookstores are bowing the knee to the dollar by peddling his heresy and the unbiblical and antibiblical teachers of others, the largest Southern Baptist Church in the world is led by a man who has redefined the Ten Commandments as promises, and oh, there is here also so much more I could say.

sola scriptura - the indispensable doctrineWhy is all of this happening? Why are there so many problems both inside and outside of churches? Why is the world the way it is?

The easy answer, of course, is sin. And it’s the correct answer, too. Rebellion against God. A dissatisfaction with His provision and His command and a lust for the idol of self, the idol of more, the idol of my way.

But let’s dig a little deeper. Where does sin come from? Well, not so ironically, the same place we find out what sin is.

The first sin of man, resulting in the fall of man, occurred in the Garden of Eden. You know the story, but you should read it again anyway to be reminded. God told Adam, He “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 will surely die'” (Gen 2:16-17, emphasis mine).

So God spoke. Continue reading The indispensable doctrine

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Let us run

What follows is a transcript of the sermon I preached this morning, edited for blog form. Audio can be found here.

Beloved, let’s take our Bibles — if you didn’t bring one, grab one from the pew — and let’s turn to the twelfth chapter of Hebrews. Hebrews 12. It’s here we will prepare on this first Lord’s Day of 2015 to come to the table for the Lord’s Supper. Hebrews 12, and this morning our focus will be on verses 1-3.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Father, as a new year has dawned you are still God, and we still come to You in the power of the Holy Spirit and in thanks for the grace You have afforded us. You have given us one more day to proclaim Your word to a world, and in a world, that is passing away. I pray, Father, that we here today will be able to comprehend Your glory more fully this year, that we will understand better the amazing grace and depth of mercy You bestow on all whom You save. And I pray right now that this, the preaching of Your word, might be done better, more faithfully, more fearlessly, and be received more gratefully and fruitfully in this new year than in the last — starting now. Please, Father, we ask You now to continue conforming us to the image of Your Son, Jesus, the Messiah, our Lord and Savior, in whose name we ask these things. Amen. Continue reading Let us run

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For the love of God, read your Bible in 2015

Once upon a time Basil Manly, Jr. said,

If we are to be mighty in God’s work, we must be mighty in God’s word.

He was right.

MalachiChristianity divorced from not merely a casual reading, but a thoughtful study of the word of God is empty. Why? Because man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God (Matt 4:4). We cannot honestly claim to love of God if we so carelessly neglect His revelation to us.

Now we don’t live and die by the Gregorian calendar, but the dawn of the new year is an excellent time to evaluate your own Bible reading and make any necessary changes/improvements to the way you approach the text.

I’ve encouraged my church with what I call the RPM approach to Scripture — reading the text, pursuing the meaning, memorizing the word. This involves a systematic approach to all three.

R – Reading the text is adopting a systematic plan for reading the Bible and sticking to it, preferably daily. This is the reading plan I’ve given my church for 2015. It goes through the whole Bible, and with the Old Testament it uses the book order of the Hebrew Bible. HT to Jim Hamilton. This plan is adapted from his site.

P – Pursuing the meaning involves picking a book and spending a chunk of the year, or even the whole year, digging into that book. Last year we did this quarterly, but admittedly, not very well on a church-wide level. This year I want to do better — with one book. Since I’m preaching through Luke on Sundays, and will be throughout this year and more, God willing, I picked an Old Testament book for me/us, the oft-neglected Chronicles.

M – Memorizing the word is what it sounds like — systematically memorizing verses. It could be an assortment of verses or a chunk, like a chapter or more. I’ve got some of the young men in the church working on Ephesians 1:3-14. I’ve been working on 2 Timothy for some time and am not going to quit until I’m done. I encourage you to set out to purposefully memorize some Scripture this year.

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74 words and an image on Stetzer, Hall, Lifeway, and more

I’m going to refrain from saying all I want to say about this Ed Stetzer/John Piper/J.D. Hall/Lifeway/#the15 thing, but surely we can all agree that when Lifeway sells this…

Biblical? Solutions for Life.

…there are changes that need to be made. Right?

In the meantime, this Southern Baptist pastor would rather take his money to Amazon, who sells everything, than to Lifeway, which is an entity of the Southern Baptist Convention and purports to offer Biblical Solutions for Life.

 

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Reflections on #greaterthingsNC: The 2014 @ncbaptist Annual Meeting – Part 1

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 7.59.45 PMI just got home from the 2014 annual meeting of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, the theme of which was “Greater Things,” predicated upon Jesus’ statement in the upper room, recorded in John 14:12, in which He says, “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father.”

It was preceded by the annual Pastors Conference, the theme of which was “The Pursuit,” based on Paul’s words to Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:11, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.”

I would characterize both meetings as a mixed bag, with more positive than negative. But as is my custom I will speak to both. In this part I have some thoughts about the Pastors Conference. Continue reading Reflections on #greaterthingsNC: The 2014 @ncbaptist Annual Meeting – Part 1

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