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True Church Conference 2013

True Church Conference 2013 will begin tomorrow, February 21 and run until February 24, 2013.

The Topic is Striving Toward a True Church

Speakers include:

Dr. Tom Nettles

Pastor Jeff Noblit

Bro. Jono Sims

Bro. David Miller

Bro. Don Singleton

Bro. Noel Hendrix

 

Live stream

{This is the first year in several years that my husband has not been able to attend.}


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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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Jonathan Sims – Urging All to Repent and Believe

The third sesson of the True Church Conference 2010 “The Quagmire of Hyper-Calvinism”.

The morning session closed with a lecture by Jonathan Sims, a pastor in Shelbyville, Tennessee. His topic was urging all to repent and believe. His text was Acts 17:30-34. Why should we urge all men to repent and believe the gospel? Because that’s what God did. Because that’s what John the Baptist did. Because that’s what the apostles did. Because that’s what Jesus did.

Acts 17 is the story of Paul in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. In Thessalonica he preached that Jesus was the Christ. In Athens he disputed with the learned men. He urged these men to repent and believe.

1. We must urge all men to repent and believe because all men are ignorant (verse 30). All men are spiritually blind. All men are depraved. The men in Athens were ignorant. Consider their altar to an unknown God.  Paul made a call to all men of Athens to repent and believe.

2. We must urge all men to repent and believe because God commands all men everywhere to repent (verse 30). He does not suggest, he commands, and his commands are meant to be obeyed. “Flee the wrath that is to come.” Repentance is a gift from God, but it is also the command of God.

3. We must urge all men to repent and believe because all men will one day face the judgment of God (verse 31). The day has been appointed. The standard is righteousness. The proof of judgment lies in the resurrection of Jesus Christ which guarantees the resurrection of man. We all fall far short of the standard of Jesus Christ. However, we also have assurance in Jesus Christ (verse 32). Men are ignorant of the wrath to come without the gospel preacher.

4. We must urge all men to repent and believe because some will repent and believe (verse 34). Some will mock (v. 32). Some will be unsure, they will procrastinate (v.32). But some will repent and believe. Just to see one cleave unto Jesus Christ is worth it. God’s plan is to save some by preaching the gospel to all. Not to save all by preaching to all. Not to save some by preaching to some. And certainly not to save some by preaching to none. It’s not about the preacher, it’s about the message.

5. We must urge all men to repent and believe because this is our calling. See Acts 9:15-16. And we must not be disobedient to the call.  See Acts 26:19-20. Spurgeon sees the dichotomy. He recognizes that repentance and conversion are a gift of God. But he also sees the commission to preach to all men repentance and conversion.



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True Church Conference 2009 – Jonathan Sims – My Journey in Grace Thus Far…

Jonathan Sims “My Journey in Grace Thus Far…”

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. ESV

How I have grown in grace over the years:

1) Expositional Preaching – verse by verse; book by book
2) Friendships

  • Personal
  • Books – biographies and writings of the great preachers and missionaries


Inability of Man

Eph 2:4-5
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved—
ESV

Repentance is from God

Rom 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? ESV

God’s Call is Effectual

John 10:27-30
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
30 I and the Father are one.
” ESV

Fears and Doubts for the future

~ Knowledge puffeth up – Pride
~ Monastic Separatist Spirit
~ Arrogant Young Preachers
~ Weak on the Local Church – no accountability
~ Cooling of Evangelism

How to guard against error

1) Pulpit firmly anchored in expositional preaching
2) Church discipline
3) Church standards
4) God-centered church

Short Video clip of the sermon


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True Church Conference 2009 – Jonathan Sims

Pastor Sims preached on I Samuel 7.

1 Sam 7
1 And the men of Kiriath-jearim came and took up the ark of the Lord and brought it to the house of Abinadab on the hill. And they consecrated his son Eleazar to have charge of the ark of the Lord.
2 From the day that the ark was lodged at Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, some twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.
3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” 4 So the people of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and they served the Lord only. 5 Then Samuel said, “Gather all Israel at Mizpah, and I will pray to the Lord for you.”
6 So they gathered at Mizpah and drew water and poured it out before the Lord and fasted on that day and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” And Samuel judged the people of Israel at Mizpah.
7 Now when the Philistines heard that the people of Israel had gathered at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. And when the people of Israel heard of it, they were afraid of the Philistines.
8 And the people of Israel said to Samuel, “Do not cease to cry out to the Lord our God for us, that he may save us from the hand of the Philistines.”
9 So Samuel took a nursing lamb and offered it as a whole burnt offering to the Lord. And Samuel cried out to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him.
10 As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to attack Israel. But the Lord thundered with a mighty sound that day against the Philistines and threw them into confusion, and they were routed before Israel.
11 And the men of Israel went out from Mizpah and pursued the Philistines and struck them, as far as below Beth-car.
12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, “Till now the Lord has helped us.”
13 N So the Philistines were subdued and did not again enter the territory of Israel. And the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel.
14 The cities that the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and Israel delivered their territory from the hand of the Philistines. There was peace also between Israel and the Amorites.
15 Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life.
16 And he went on a circuit year by year to Bethel, Gilgal, and Mizpah. And he judged Israel in all these places.
17 Then he would return to Ramah, for his home was there, and there also he judged Israel. And he built there an altar to the Lord.
ESV

Ebenezer – Stone of help, “till now the Lord has helped us.”

1 Sam 7:3 And Samuel said to all the house of Israel, “If you are returning to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the Lord and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” ESV

suwr” – Hebrew – put away, rebel

Rebel against your rebellion towards God.

Mark Dever quote from William Howse (?)

“The difference between a Christian and a non-Christian: when a non-Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with his sin. When a Christian is convicted of sin, he sides with God, against himself.”

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