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Session 8 – Making Disciples versus Baptizing Goats – Conrad Mbewe

Acts 16:11-15

11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis,
12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days.
13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together.
14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.
15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

ESV

The engine that drives the mission enterprise is the desire to find those who would worship the one true God. Should we be seeking out true disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, or just finding people to join to bolster up the numbers? What are the motives to bring in the crowds? In order to make a living? In order to gain a reputation? If we don’t bring them in we may lose them?

1. What are the kind of people who need to be converted before being welcome into the body of Christ?

a. Every kind of people

i. The godless people

ii. The socially good and religious – Lydia falls into this category.

1. Lydia was a Gentile who was aligned with the Jewish tradition – “a worshipper of God”. But she was still dead in her sins.

2. It is possible for an individual to be near the kingdom but still be outside.

2. There is only one way to salvation. The Lord is the one who must bring them in. “the Lord opened her heart…” It is the supernatural work of God.

a. All are born into this world spiritually dead.

b. And no matter how religious a person may be, if they are unconverted they are spiritually dead.

c. Keeping the dead in the church building and “Christianizing” them does not make them any less spiritually dead.

d. It is only the work of God, not man, to open the eyes of the spiritually dead.

3. Conversion brings about a powerful change in a person’s life

a. Obedience to Christ – she was baptized

i. We have a church full of people who cannot come under the banner of “Jesus is Lord”

b. Others should know salvation – and the rest of her household

c. Love for others – she urged us to stay with her

d. Love for God – faithful to, or believing, in, God

So what do we do with the goats? Preach the gospel to them. God himself will convert the goats. But we have compromised in this area in order to get more and more people on the church rolls – by calling them sheep when they are goats. How can you worship one that you do not know?

 
Video available at G3 Conference

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Question and Answer Session – G3 2014

DM – David Miller​
TC – Tim Challies​
SL – Steve Lawson​
JS – John Snyder​
CM – Conrad Mbewe​
TF – Todd Friel

Q.​Working definition of the church.
A.​DM – A visible congregation of Christ’s baptized disciples.

Q.​What are the essentials of a church?
A.​TC – preaching, ordinances, church discipline

Q.​Should small groups give/take ordinances?
​TC – No, that should be only the church

Q.​What about a church that doesn’t want to sing?
A.​SL – That would be a church that would fall short of God-ordained things to do in the church.
​JS – There is a difference between churches with professional music and congregational music.

Q.​What are options and what are requirements for church services?
A.​SL – Scripture is silent on this issue. Opinions – regularly on Sunday morning and one or two other times during the week.
CM – everybody is not going to do everything. But the majority should be involved in the normal life of the church.

Q.​What about an assembly of people who are watching their pastor on video?
A.​TF – There is a difference between a mediated relationship and a face-to-face relationship. Preaching is a two-way communication.
TC – We are poor at seeing the cost that will come because of technology. We see the benefit, but not the cost.
SL – Some of the most important pastoring is done immediately after preaching, answering questions, meeting people, being hospitable. Also important for the church to see the pastor’s family.

Q.​How much of your library are books and how many are media?
A.​TC – a book is media. The question is mode. 1/3 is screen.
​SL – most of my reading is “real” books. Has some Kindle books.
​CM – almost all are real books. Electronic media is much more limited in Africa.
​TF – I like real books.
​DM – transitioning from books to e-books out of necessity.

Q.​What does it mean to plant a church versus expanding via a satellite campus?
A.​TC – Church restoration is important as well.

Q.​Why are there so few churches with schools these days?
A.​SL – Because it is very expensive. And is this the primary mission of the church?
​TF – But what about the holistic element of education?

Q.​The controversy over the doctrines of grace. What is the difference between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism?
A.​SL – those who see no difference are those who know nothing of the doctrines of grace. Only the Calvinist plays with a full deck. The Hyper-Calvinist is passive, not evangelistic, not mission-minded, not burdened for the lost.
​CM – Christians are called to beware of becoming a Calvinist. There is no distinction between the two in Africa.
​JS – Calvinism when not viewed within in its biblical framework can be controversial, such as complete sanctification is controversial when it is taken out of its biblical framework. If election is taken out of its framework, it will lead to Hyper-Calvinism.

Q.​What are the big issues in the SBC?
A.​DM – Homosexual marriage. All world religions are a path to God.

Video available at G3 Conference

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Session 3 – The Worshipping Church – Conrad Mbewe

John 4:21-25

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.”

ESV

 

Knowing God truly is will cause us to worship Him. God has created all things for His own glory. The most important activity that can occupy a creation is to worship its creator. God reveals even more of Himself in the grace which He extends.

We need to focus not only the doctrine of the worshipping church but also the practice of the worshipping church. Or, in other words, how does God expect the church to worship Him.

The Samaritan women in John 4 appeals to a specific argument of the day, specifically who is right? There was a fight between the Samaritan and the Jews. This same fight about who is right goes on today. We see in these verses that it matters not who is right, but what does God consider right.

Jesus solves this issue. He begins by revealing who God is. God is spirit.  An argument concerning a physical place is not relevant because God is spirit.

The hour is coming and now is…” What was different about this specific time? It was the fact that God had become man and was walking among the people. And it was Jesus Christ who would further reveal God to the true worshippers.

What does Jesus mean about worshipping in spirit and in truth? Notice the “But” in v.33. There was error in the thinking of the Samaritans. And up to that time, there was correctness in the thinking of the Jews. But all that is now changing. True worship is not about a physical place and physical means. It is a spiritual transaction and spiritual interaction.

What about truth? The Samaritan worship was not built on truth. There was no truth in the gods set up on Mount Gerazim. The Jewish worship was built upon the truth. God had revealed Himself and the Jews sought to worship according to this truth. God is seeking for worshippers who will worship Him according to the truth revealed about God, and specifically as revealed through Jesus Christ. There has been a greater revelation of truth, and those who would worship God must worship in this greater revealed truth.

Practically, this has outworkings in our worship today. Such as in our hymnody. Our hymns should be characterized by spirit and truth. And our singing must be in spirit and in truth. However, it is easy for us to end up in error at one end or the other – worshipping in spirit but not in truth, or vice versa. Also, it is possible for our worship to have neither spirit nor truth. It could be our heart is in love with the world or with self. This means we need to spend the time to prepare our hearts and our minds for worship instead of entering into worship in a flippant, unprepared manner. I must make sure that I am worshipping in spirit and in truth.


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Hyper-Calvinism and Prayer

Conrad Mbewe at the True Church Conference made a very succinct comment concerning the subtle forms of hyper-Calvinism when it comes to us loving sinners.

Conrad Mbewe make the point that one way to spot hyper-Calvinism in the church is to look at it’s PRAYER MEETING. He pointed out that any church which claims to be evangelistic but has a dead prayer meeting is hyper-Calvinistic. Likewise he said that any preacher who claims to have evangelistic preaching who’s prayer closet is empty is a hyper-Calvinist.

From Julius at Constrained By Grace

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Question and Answer Session

Saturday night at True Church 2010 ended with a question-and-answer session. The panel consisted of: Barry King, Conrad Mbewe, Jonathan Sims, Michael Haykin, and Jeff Noblit. Matt Fowler moderated the questions. No attempt is made to relate the answers to who provided them. In many cases multiple people provided the answers.

Question: What hyper-Calvinistic tendencies have you faced in your own congregation?

Answer: Church members can be Calvinist in their head but hyper-Calvinist in their heart. This is a result of our quest for doctrinal purity. Sometimes people attack over the internet. Sometimes people have too high or different expectations based on what they read on the internet. Church members spend too much time in morbid introspection and lose their vision of Christ. Some people moving from “easy-believism” go too far and end up in the opposite ditch. It is seen in the attitude that God hates the wicked and does not want to see them saved.

Question: Is there a tension between counseling seekers and looking for lament?

Answer: Lamenting is not necessarily wrong until it is taken to an extreme. Godly sorrow for sin is right. But when a person is converted not all their attention should still be given to their sin. There is a sense in which we must recognize that our sins have been put away, as far as the east is from the west, in the depths of the sea.

Question: How do you train men who are being called to eldership in a church plant?

Answer: Encourage older elders to pick out the “Timothys” in their congregation early and begin their training before they go out to plant churches. Put these young men on the pastoral team. Get input from several people before men are sent out as elders to plant their own churches. Formally, cover three areas: doctrine, preaching, and evangelism.

Question: What about the 3000 people who heard the message in Acts 2 and were baptized the same day?

Answer: The profession of faith in the Bible is baptism. The church is not held to any one model in bringing in members.

Question: What do I do if I have become calloused to the lost?

Answer: It is not a matter of feelings, it is a matter of obedience, whether I feel like it or not. We have lost our sense of duty. It is also a matter of our awareness of what God has done in our own lives. It is also a matter of bringing glory to God.

Question: What do you say to a person since we are not seeking a “decision”?

Answer: 1) we can invite them to church and to special events. 2) we can give our personal testimony. 3) share the gospel without asking for a decision. 4) ask someone what they think. 5) don’t make the sinner’s prayer an act required for salvation. 6) guide someone to Bible passages that show what are the fruits of salvation.

Question: Is there a recommended soul-winning course?

Answer: John Blanchard’s book “Ultimate Questions” can be used to train in evangelism. Divide it up into eight sessions.

Question: Is there a revival of young people who are embracing the doctrines of grace? Do we need to fear an expansion of hyper-Calvinism?

Answer: Any time there is an expansion of Calvinism there is an expansion of hyper-Calvinism.

Question: How long should a person be inactive before church discipline is practiced?

Answer: The Bible does not give us a guideline in this, other than the spiritual well-being of the congregation is under the supervision of the elders of the church. It depends on what you have done in the period before consideration of the practice of church discipline. Have you visited with them? Have you prayed for them? Have you warned them? What were they told when they joined? Did they understand the requirements? The goal is restoration, not removal. Inactive members belong on the prayer list, not on the members list.

Question: How do we teach sovereign grace in a congregation that knows nothing of these doctrines?

Answer: Don’t use the words “reformed” and “Calvinistic”. Just preach through the word of God and over time the doctrines of grace will come up. We need to be patient with those who just don’t see it yet. Recognize that there are mysteries that may not be able to be satisfactorily resolved for all people. Weak pulpits joined with a study of systematic theology will come back to bite the church. Our aim is not reformed, our aim is not Calvinistic, our aim is Biblical. And this must be done in love. Calvinism cannot be a “hobby-horse” preaching topic. There is no need to read Calvinism into every Biblical passage. Have role models in the church – both from history and present in the church.


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Conrad Mbewe – The Great Commission

The ninth session of True Church Conference 2010 was led by Conrad Mbewe, speaking on the Great Commission from Matthew 28:18-20. The highest reason for evangelism is because it is for the glory of God. Other reasons are: because of our love for sinners, because it is the work of a disciple to be a fisher of men, because of the power of the gospel in the lives of people. And in the Great Commission we find another reason: obedience to a command of our great Head Jesus Christ.

There is significance to the timing of the words of the Great Commission. They are His words just before His ascension. They carry the same weight as the weight of a father’s words to his children when he is on his death bed. We need to come back to this passage frequently and ask the question “Am I obeying this command?”

There is a word that appears four times in these three verses – “all”. Surely there is a revelation of the heart of the meaning of this passage in this word “all”.

The ends of these verses are the Lord Jesus Christ. They begin with Jesus, they end with Jesus. In the middle is our responsibility.

1. All authority – given to Jesus Christ. He demonstrated authority while he was here on earth in his humanity. But it would appear that a different measure of authority was given to Jesus after His crucifixion and resurrection. He was ascending to His mediatorial kingship. We should have comfort and confidence in obeying the command of the Great Commission because Jesus has all authority.

2. All nations – make disciples. This appeared to be an impossible command. How could a group of twelve ordinary Jews perform this extraordinary task? How could a Jew be expected to go to the Gentile nations? The book of Acts shows their hesitancy. God used tribulation to scatter those He used to fulfill this command. God used a vision to change Peter.

a. see Genesis 12:2-3 and Revelation 5:9-10

b. Should our goal be to have a good church, with a good pastor, and good music, in a good building? No, our goal is world conquest. Our goal is to push back the domain of darkness across the expanse of the globe.

3. Teaching them to obey all things – that Jesus has commanded. This indicates that there are those who are in rebellion against the authority of Jesus. Our job is to make these people into loyal subjects of the King. Not just know all things, but to obey all things. This is more than a cultural mandate. This is a mandate to convert the nations.

a. We are all called to obey, and all called to call others to this same obedience.

4. With you always – to the end of the age. We return here to the ideas of comfort and confidence. The efficient cause of our labor does not depend on us, it depends upon He that is with us. We need spiritual eyes to see that He is with us, and if we see that, then we would see the vigor of our obedience increase.

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Conrad Mbewe – Loving Sinners

The fifth session of True Church Conference 2010 was presented by Conrad Mbewe of Zambia, Africa. Mbewe is known as the “African Spurgeon.” Mbewe’s sermon was on Loving Sinners. His text was Luke 19:41-44.

An argument of hyper-Calvinism in regards to evangelistic preaching is that preaching should be directed only to the regenerated person. The book of Acts shows this is not the case. Sermons in the book of Acts were directed to unbelievers. Hyper-Calvinism locks you away from loving sinners the way Jesus did.

The context of the text is following Palm Sunday and the excitement that that entailed. The people were praising God. It was the triumphal entry of Jesus. But instead of being joyful, Jesus weeps over Jerusalem. Why? Because Jesus saw the destruction that lay in the future of the city.

Points from the passage:

1. If you love sinners the way God loves them then it will move you into evangelism because they are ignorant of what it takes to bring peace with God (verse 42a).

a. This was the season when the Son of God was on earth, but the people did not realize it. They were chasing after things which could not satisfy.

b. The people were busy practicing the externals of religion with no change of heart.

c. Jesus spent His time with sinners. We concentrate on inward programs but have lost sight of those on the outside who need Christ’s love.

2. If you love sinners the way God loves them, then it will move you to pray for them that God will open their eyes because only God is able to do so (verse 42b).

a. Unless God speaks life into us we will remain dead. Jesus knew this, but He still wept. His heart was  broken by their blindness.

b. See Romans chapters 9-10. Paul wept over the spiritual blindness of his brother Israelites.

3. If you love sinners the way God loves them it will move you to preach to them of the judgment to come (verses 43-44).

a. The judgment to come broke Jesus heart. And also for the reason for the judgment – because they had rejected the day of their visitation by God.

b. And how much greater the condemnation will be for those who reject the resurrected Savior.

c. This should move us to action.

d. See Luke chapter 16.

e. If you are rescuing people from a sinking ship, you don’t spend time looking into God’s eternal plan to see who He wills to save and who He wills to die. You put everything you have into rescuing everyone you can.

Jesus’ love for sinners held Him to the cross. What is your love for sinners causing you to do?



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