Please Excuse the Mess

Please excuse the mess while I clean up the blog.  There are too many posts with very little order.  Outdated posts that make no sense today, 6 years later.  News article posts with links that no longer exist. Posts with comments that jump all over the place. Posts I want to revisit after years of growth. Etc. So excuse the mess while I weed through the mess. ;)

Plus I found my theme has been discontinued and has not had the most recent updates to go along with the recent WordPress updates.  Thus the broken links everywhere.

Berean Wife

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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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Session 7 – Beginning Our Ecclesiology with the Self-Revealed Character of God – John Snyder

Psalm  115

1 Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, But to Your name give glory, Because of Your mercy, Because of Your truth.

2 Why should the Gentiles say, “So where is their God?”

3 But our God is in heaven; He does whatever He pleases.

4 Their idols are silver and gold, The work of men’s hands.

5 They have mouths, but they do not speak; Eyes they have, but they do not see;

6 They have ears, but they do not hear; Noses they have, but they do not smell;

7 They have hands, but they do not handle; Feet they have, but they do not walk; Nor do they mutter through their throat.

8 Those who make them are like them; So is everyone who trusts in them.

9 O Israel, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

10 O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

11 You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord; He is their help and their shield.

12 The Lord has been mindful of us; He will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron.

13 He will bless those who fear the Lord, Both small and great.

14 May the Lord give you increase more and more, You and your children.

15 May you be blessed by the Lord, Who made heaven andearth.

16 The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; But the earth He has given to the children of men.

17 The dead do not praise the Lord, Nor any who go down into silence.

18 But we will bless the Lord From this time forth and forevermore. Praise the Lord!

NKJV

 

Ecclesiology and soteriology cannot be built on a false incorrect view of God.

1. God clearly explains that everything He does is for His name’s sake.

2. Everything that God does reflects His character.

3. What a religious person does reflects who they think they belong to.

a. The starting place of ecclesiology is with God.

Three characters to help us understand our ecclesiology based on the character of God:

1.  Moses
a.  From Moses we learn about the holiness of God.
i.  Exodus 3:4-5
ii.  We never help a problem by focusing on the problem forgetting about God. We cannot help deteriorating families by focusing programs on families to the exclusion of the character of God.
b.  Moses had seen something of the glory of God
i.  Thus we see the difference between Moses and Aaron in the matter of the golden calf.
ii.  Thus we see the matter of the revelation of the glory of God exclusively to Moses.
c.  Moses led the people to construct something that reflected the glory of God.

2.  Paul

a.  We learn to look at who God is and then apply this to every aspect of church life.
b.  1 Corinthians 1:23-25, 1 Corinthians 2:1-5, 2 Corinthians 4:7
c.  “Having a form of godliness but denying his power”
3. Rehaboam
a.  Jeraboam lead the northern kingdom astray

i. Invented a new, more convenient, adaptable form of religion.

ii. The Levis and everyone who feared the Lord leaves and goes south
b. But then Rehoboam strays as well. 2 Chronicles 12:1.

Application: Is our church any different than what we left except for the fact that we use reformed language?

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 6 – The Church’s Call to Biblical Preaching – Steve Lawson

2 Timothy 4:1-5

1 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom:
2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,
4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

NASU

This is not an isolated instance of emphasis on the word of God

Chapter 1 – retain the standard of sound words
Chapter 1 – guard the treasure entrusted
Chapter 2 – entrust these to faithful men
Chapter 2 – compete according to the rules
Chapter 2 – but the word of God is not in prison
Chapter 2 – accurately handling the word of truth
Chapter 2 – stray from the truth
Chapter 2 – able to teach
Chapter 2 – knowledge of the truth
Chapter 3 – knowledge of the truth
Chapter 3 – My teaching
Chapter 3 – Sacred writings
Chapter 3 – Inspired by God
Chapter 4 – Sound doctrine
Chapter 4 – Our teaching

1. The sobriety of the charge (v.1)

a. A solemn, serious charge. A biding, forceful order.

i. Diamarteuromai – to witness to, against. To attest.

b. The witnesses of the charge – God and Jesus Christ

c. The potential judgment – the living and the dead will be judged

i. The preacher will have a stricter accountability and stricter judgment

ii. Boldness – “all speech”

2. The substance of the charge (v.2)

a. Preach the word – imperative verb

i. Preach – to herald a message

ii. The – definite article

iii. Word – the word of God (see 2 Tim. 3:16)

1. Confine ourselves to the word of God. Only. All.

2. Read, explain, illustrate, apply

3. The specifics of the church (vv. 2-5). Eight more imperative verbs:

a. Be ready. The idea of alertness, urgency, always ready

b. Reprove. Exposing sin. Heart-searching and soul-probing.

c. Rebuke. To charge those who are sinning to stop.

d. Exhort. Parakaleo, to call alongside of. Application of doctrine to the life with persuasion.

i. With patience – to bear up under a trial

ii. With instruction – keep on teaching

e. Be Sober

i. This is set up in vv.3-4. These verses talk about “they” – that is, the superficially religious crowd.

1. They will not endure sound doctrine

2. They will call for false teachers

3. They will turn away

ii. Don’t be caught up in this wave

f. Endure hardship

i. Woe unto you when all men speak well of you

g. Do the work of an evangelist

i. A mission field is within the church

ii. Also to the mission field outside the church

h. Fulfill your ministry. Literally, “fill to the full”. Do all that God calls you to say and do.

Video available at G3 Conference

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Session 5 – The Founding and Founder of the Church – David Miller

Matthew 16:13-18

13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

KJV

Ecclesiology – the founding of the church
Christology – the founder of the church

The Founding of the Church – Ecclesia is described three ways in the New Testament.

1. The church is the visible, local body of believers, described using these metaphors:

a. A building

b. A bride

c. A body

2. The church is an institution. In this form it is abstract. But the manifestation of the abstract is only in a local, visible body.

a. Abstract principles, i.e., “the family”, are never taken to mean a universal body. It always refer to an abstract institution that is only manifested in a local, visible way.

3. The church is a broad collection or comprehensive inclusive body which is to be gathered together at a point in time in the future. This church will be local and visible.

The Founder of the Church – three statements regarding the founder of the church:

1. The character of the founder – the Son of the living God

a. Made of the exact same stuff as God the Father

b. Has the exact same characteristics as God the Father

2. The condescension of the founder – the Son of Man

a. Speaks of the humanity of Jesus Christ

3. The Christ

a. God’s anointed one

b. Three classes of men were anointed: prophet, priest, king

i. Prophet – he has a message. Sound in doctrine.

ii. Priest – he has proper credentials.

iii. King – he has a kingdom

Video available at G3 Conference

 


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Session 4 – The Church – Chosen and Called by God – Steve Lawson

Romans 8:28-30

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

NASU

The sovereign grace of God in salvation. God formed the church in eternity past by His own sovereign will. The church sees God clearest, itself rightly, and the world correctly when standing upon the sovereignty of God in choosing and formation of the church.

The text is as close as we have to the order of salvation. It goes from everlasting past (foreknowledge) to everlasting future (glorification). And it is all the act of God – He…He…He…

1. Foreknowledge – beginning in eternity past with God and his foreknowledge. This is the conception and the birth of the church. It is the first move in our direction by God.

a. What foreknowledge does not mean – foresight. God did not look down the tunnel of time to see who would chose Christ. Five reasons this cannot be true:

i. God never looks into the future to learn anything. It is an inferior view of God.

ii. God would see that no one would believe if he looked into the futue.

iii. The text speaks only of God and what He does. There is no reference to you or me.

iv. “Whom” – personal pronoun. Not what God foresaw, it is whom he foreknew. Nothing to do with events. It is about God and his relationship to a person.

v. The word “foreknowledge” is a personal relationship knowledge performed beforehand. It is often used as a synonym to the word “chosen”.

2. Predestined – those who God foreknew, are without a single loss or single addition, predestined. The destination is determined before the journey is begun – “pro-orizo”. And what is the predestination – to be conformed to the image of His son, that is, the sanctification of the believer.

Ephesians 1:11

11 also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,
NASU

a. We begin with the counsel. God counseled with himself.

b. Second, we see God’s will. The word is singular. A divine decision was made. Sovereign choice was made.

c. Third, there is God’s purpose. God’s divine determination to carry out his will. This is God’s resolution. And what God purposes, will, must, shall, come to pass exactly according to his will.

d. Finally, there is predestination. A designed destination. What God has purposed is irrevocable, unalterable, infallible.

3. Called – not a general call, not an open invitation. This call is an effectual call. Many hear the general call, only the elect hear this second call. It is a sovereign call to those God predestined. Four things about this call:

a. The author of the effectual call is God the Father. He is the caller Himself.

b. The nature of the call is efficacious. It is effect. It never fails to secure the effect for which it is intended. It is a divine summons. MacArthur says it is a subpoena. God draws us. God drags us.

c. The origin of the effectual call is from eternity past.

d. The outcome of the call is communion with Christ. See 1 Corinthians 1:9.

i. God appointed the day, the time, the bringer of the message.

4. Justification – all who are called are justified. Three metaphors:

a. Legal – legally declared to be without sin by God the judge.

b. Bookkeeping – the righteousness of God credited to our account.

c. Clothing – clothed in the white raiment of the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

5. Glorification – the verb tense is as if it has already happened (third person singular aorist active indicative).

 

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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