Culture Wars and the Whole Counsel of God

ThePoint_Wide_Subtitle

My friend Dan Darling recently offered insight on an oddity of Christian subculture. He tweeted, “If ‘stop fighting culture wars’ means rejecting irrational fear and worship of politics, yes. If it means ignoring Jesus’ command to love our neighbors by using our voice and vote to speak and work against injustices that hurt our neighbors’ flourishing, then no.”

CONTINUED AT: Culture Wars and the Whole Counsel of God

Seeking the Peace & Purity of the Church

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REFORMED BOOKS ONLINE

The Best, Free, Biblical, Reformed Books & Articles Online

Seeking the Peace & Purity of the Church

One of the main aims of Church discipline, which should also be the aim of all Christians, is to seek the peace and purity of Christ’s Church.

It is not always readily clear, however, what that principle calls for in particular situations; and the phrase is often readily misused by those who have little care for the purity of the Church, or her peace.  If all parties are seeking the peace of the Church in purity and seeking the purity of the Church in peace, disputes and scandals can be resolved in a healthy manner.

Here are numerous historic resources that will help you and your Church in seeking the peace and purity of Christ’s Kingdom:

CONTINUED AT: On the Peace & Purity of the Church

Devotional Thought for Today – 06/12/2021

ITCHY EARS

What Does 2 Timothy 4:3 Mean?

2 Timothy 4

CONTEXT: In the final chapter of 2 Timothy, Paul writes about two major themes. The first is quite obvious the importance of preaching the Word of God (2 Timothy 4:1–8). The second section offers personal concerns and thoughts to Timothy (2 Timothy 4:9–22).

In order to understand our text, we need to understand the previous verse, the Command or Charge (v.2) from Paul to Timothy to Preach the Word! He must be ready when it is convenient (in season) and inconvenient or troublesome to preach (out of season). He, Timothy must be ready to JUDGE those in error and point out their errors (reprove and rebuke). Finally, Timothy is to encourage, support, aid, and comfort the church (exhort) by using sound Biblical teaching (doctrine) and patient leadership (longsuffering).

Now our Text for Today (v.3) makes more sense, especially in today’s churches. Far too many folks have itchy ears and want whatever they can get out of a “worship” service. Somehow their Theology and Doctrine (these are almost 4 letter words in some evangelical circles) are all screwed up. They have placed themselves and their needs above God. 😥

He is the best preacher, not that tickles the ear, but that breaks the  heart.

Paul makes it clear to Timothy and it should be clear to everyone who stands behind a pulpit (or wherever they stand or sit today) The object of Worship, the Object of Preaching is Christ and Him crucified, not the folks in the pew. Churches are not places to bring the world into they are the House of God, Holy Sanctuaries, and should be treated as such. It is far too easy today to walk into many churches and be confused thinking it is an amusement park.

” If a teacher fascinates with his doctrine, his teaching never came from God. The teacher sent from God is the one who clears the way to Jesus and keeps it clear; souls forget altogether about him because the vision of Jesus is the only abiding result. When people are attracted to Jesus Christ through you, see always that you stay on God all the time, and their hearts and affections will never stop at you.”

Oswald Chambers 


Other Resources:

What does 2 Timothy 4:3 mean by itching ears?

Devotional Thought for Today – 03/08/2021, Beware False Teachers

Seduced With Flattery

What makes a room or building a sanctuary?

The masses demand that which will soothe them in their sins and amuse them while they journey down the Broad Road!

If I Only Had One Sermon To Preach”

The U.S. Cities Most Committed to Weekly Bible-Reading & Prayer

Is your city on the list? Not surprisingly all but TWO of the cities are in the Southern US. Interestingly mine is on the list and it is also the murder capital of the US (per capita).

Periodically, Barna zooms in from nationally representative data on the Church to focus specifically on U.S. cities, equipping pastors to lead better in their context. As leaders and congregants emerge from COVID-era church life, it’s important to take note of personal faith practices across the U.S.

With measures of church attendance and affiliation in flux, the infographics in this article focus on two key measures across the nation—Bible reading and prayer...

SOURCE: https://www.barna.com/research/weekly-prayer-bible-reading/?

Long-Term Declines in Church Giving and Membership can be Addressed

Fewer folks have attended church in the past 12 months than ever before. This however is not something we can blame solely on the increases of Video Church since Covid came along. An example, I was speaking with a friend the other day about why they didn’t go to church. Their answer was ‘I get the same experience watching at home relaxing.This is BAD doctrine and that come from BAD teaching from pulpits all across America. Church is not about and “experience” it is about fellowship, glorifying and worshipping the triune God with like minded believers. – Mike

CHAMPAIGN, Ill., April 13, 2021 /Christian Newswire/ — Recent survey data from Gallup points to a decline in church membership in the U.S. For the first time in over eight decades of surveys, Gallup found church members were less than half of the U.S. population…

Source: Long-Term Declines in Church Giving and Membership can be Addressed

Gage’s physical and mental health were connected

“I think it’s important for me to tell my story because there’s a lot of people out there ready to give up. There’s a lot of guys who are hurting. It doesn’t matter how beat down you are, if you can still breathe, man, just keep getting up.”

Make the Connection

Video: Gage’s physical and mental health were connected

In the Air Force, Gage was able to become the fittest and strongest he had ever been. Unfortunately, arthritis started holding him back and eventually sent him home. After reconnecting with family membersfriends, a church community, and other Veterans, Gage found a new purpose. “It’s the reconnection with Vets that helps me the most.”

Watch Now

Barna Update: Most Black Adults Say Religion & the Black Experience Go Hand in Hand

When Black History Month is observed each year, faith is a thread throughout many of the stories and celebrations of the Black community in the U.S. In fact, according to Black Americans, it’s an essential part of the narrative. 

In this February release for Barna’s ongoing 2021 series exploring new data about the Black Church, we’ll look at how Black Americans perceive Black churches—as well as their pastors—and their own personal engagement in congregations…

READ MORE  > >

 

 

Devotional Thought for Today – 12/05/2020

Psalm 50


The God of contemporary Christianity!

(A.W. Tozer)

“These things you have done, and I kept silent. You thought that I was altogether like you! But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face!” Psalm 50:21

The God of contemporary Christianity is only slightly superior to the pagan gods of ancient Greece and Rome–if indeed He is not actually inferior to them, in that He is weak and helpless–while they at least had some imagined power.

Among the sins to which the human heart is prone, hardly any other is more hateful to God than idolatry; for idolatry is at bottom a libel on His character. The idolatrous heart assumes that God is other than He is–in itself a monstrous sin–and substitutes for the true God, one made after its own likeness. Always this god will conform to the image of the one who created it–and will be base or pure, cruel or kind, according to the moral state of the mind from which it emerges.

The essence of idolatry, is the entertainment of thoughts about God that are unworthy of Him. Wrong ideas about God are not only the fountain from which the polluted waters of idolatry flow–they are themselves idolatrous. The idolater simply imagines things about God–and acts as if they were true.

If we insist upon trying to imagine Him–we end with an idol, made not with hands but with thoughts. And an idol of the mind, is as offensive to God as an idol of the hand!

Before a Christian Church goes into a decline, there must first be a corrupting of her Scriptural thoughts of God. She simply gives a wrong answer to the question, “What is God like?”–and goes downhill from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed–her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is–and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind!

The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God, until it is once more worthy of Him–and of her!

Hope in a Cynical Age

Hope in a Cynical Age

 

by Nathan Williams | Nov 03, 2020

According to 1 Corinthians 13:13, there are three great spiritual virtues: faith, hope, and love. And of these three, Paul says that the greatest is love. Paul makes it clear that love drives our spiritual lives, and without it, we are as worthless as a rhythm-less drummer. In addition to love, as good Protestants, we understand the importance of faith. Faith alone saves. In addition, without faith, it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Paul spends large chunks of his letters making sure we understand the role of faith in our spiritual lives. But hope? Hope can easily get lost in the shuffle like a middle child in a minivan. It’s easy to think of hope as a nice addition to our spiritual lives if we happen to have it, but not necessarily something to be purposefully cultivated and intentionally pursued.

READ MORE 

Daily Devotional – God’s Called

The saying below has become very popular on Social Media and among evangelicals in general but is it Biblical? Today we will briefly look at God’s Called.

21 Best But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to ...

1 Corinthians 1:26-31

AMP and RVR 1960


CONTEXT:

As always we must take into consideration the Whole Counsel of God. Failure to do so even in this instance could lead to false or heretical teachings as you will see. 

So first let us look at the saying does God call unqualified folks. If we are speaking in the terms of Salvation, YES, of course our text will prove that.

On the other hand if we are speaking of ministry the answer is SORT OF. A careful reading of other bible text lists pre-qualifications for; Pastors, Deacons, Evangelists, etc. 1 Tim. 3:1-13, Tit. 1:5-9 then God further qualifies these chosen men through their study 2 Timothy 2:15 of scripture. To call someone to Pastor a church ignoring these qualifications is the same as saying God’s Word does not apply to our church and that is false teaching and HERESY, a term I never use lightly. 

Our text this morning,  1 Corinthians 1:26-31, comes from Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth. This is a church divided by two factions one I will call the Arrogant and Well Off, the other the Humble and Poor

A breakdown of 1st Corinthians 1 is as follows: 

In v.1-3 Greetings and Salutations to the church

In v.4-9 He thanks God for Christ and the fellowship therein

In v.10-17 He makes a plea for unity amongst the body of believers 

In v.18-25 He describes the Power and Wisdom of Christ

In v.26-31 He closes by reminding the Corinthians of their lowly state before Christ


BREAKDOWN:

25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.Paul begins to closes chapter one, by insulting the church at Corinth. Seriously there is no other way I can read this, he is not pulling punches to lovingly sugar coating anything. WARNING; do not read into the text; Paul is not implying God is foolish or weak; he is implying that the those who think God is such a Greek, Moron, for sacrificing His only begotten son are the truly week and follish.

26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: – Look at your own calling to Salvation, and those around you in the church, how many are of the high and mighty the intellectual elite (prior to conversion did they have that distinction?). Paul points out it is the rare rich noble that believes in Christ.

27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; – Instead of Mr. or Mrs. Fancy Pants, God chooses those that the world looks upon as foolish and weak to confuse the world and their so called mightiness. 

28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: – The Greek word here translated in the KJV as base things, is the word Nothing.  Paul says God calls the nothings of the world (modern word would be insignificant) to Christ. He uses the nobodies to shame the somebodies. 

29 That no flesh should glory in his presence. – WHY? The answer is simple so no one can brag about themselves in God’s presence. As stupid as that sounds I am convinced there are those who try when they day comes when we all stand before God on judgement day.

30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: –  Not only do true believers not boast in themselves they understand that God is the source of our Life in Christ. 

31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. – Paul is quoting Jeremiah 9:23-24 here, and makes it clear if you need boast boast in the Lord. 


APPLICATION:

Paul makes clear in his writing to the church at Corinth that God is please to Call the foolish and weak, that truly believe the Gospel of Christ and Him Crucified. God purposely chose the base or insignificant as far as “the world” was concerned just to prove to who in the end is really foolish and weak.  

The Question is are you to High and Mighty to heed God’s Call?