Saturday, December 5, 2015

39 The King on Retaliation and Generosity (Part 2)

What did Jesus mean when he told people to give their clothes, walk two miles and loan freely?

Monday, November 16, 2015

38 The King on Retaliation and Generosity (Part 1)

Christ's teachings on non retaliation are some of the most difficult to understand (or accept).  In the Age of ISIS what did King Jesus mean when he taught his disciples to turn the other cheek?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

37 The King on Telling the Truth

The King demands of all his royal subjects that they be so known for their honesty that oaths and promises are unnecessary.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

36 The King on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (Part 3)

In this last sermon on Jesus' and Paul's teachings on divorce and remarriage we examined a series of hypothetical scenarios and explained the prohibitions and allowances of who may remarry, who may not remarry and who may not remarry but may be allowed to do so in the future.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

35 The King on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (Part 2)

In this sermon we examined the teachings of Jesus and Paul to find the two things that God considers valid grounds for divorce.

Under Adam or Christ? (Romans 24)

All of humanity fall under one of two Federal Heads of Mankind.  Most people are under Adam, the first man who plunged the world into sin and ruin.  Christians are under the Last Adam, Christ, the only God-man who created a new race of the adopted children of God.

Monday, October 19, 2015

God's Action and Our Response (Romans 22)

Salvation is wholly of the Lord but that doesn't mean we don't participate in the divine nature. God acts and we, by grace through faith, reacts.

Assurance of Salvation by Love (Romans 23)

God loves you and there's nothing you can do about it so you may as well just get used to it. If he loved you as a sinner he will love and care for you as a saint.

34 The King on Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (Part One)

This is the first of three (or four) sermons from Jesus' teachings on the subject from The Sermon on the Mount.  It is politically incorrect but biblically correct.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

33 The King on Cutting off All Sin and Temptation

Jesus demands that his followers cut themselves off from all sin, as well as any thing or situation that they know will tempt them to sin.

Salvation: Past, Present and Future (Romans 21)

Beginning in chapter five Paul tells the Roman Christians that they are at peace with God.  He also helps them understand "the tenses of salvation."

Monday, September 28, 2015

32 The King on Lust

Adultery, extramarital sex, homosexuality, and pornography are drenching America in deviant sexual behavior. These outward depravities, however, begin as lust in the mind.

Believing God Takes Faith (Romans 20)

Think justification by faith is easy?  Think again.

Monday, September 14, 2015

30 The King on Murder and Anger

King Jesus, as "the new Moses," interprets not just the letter of the Law but defines the spirit behind it.  Christ exhorts his disciples to go beyond the outward obedience to the inward motivation.

We are Saved Like Abraham (Romans 18)

How can Abraham be the spiritual ancestor of both the Jews (with the Torah) and the Gentiles (without the Torah)?

29 The King Judges Those Who Abuse the Bible

King Jesus the Just didn't mince words for those who would ignore or abuse/twist the Bible. Jesus held the very real prospect of going to hell over the heads those who do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Salvation is by Faith and not Works (Romans 17)

This lesson from Romans 4 touches on Abraham and the very essence of salvation by faith and not good works. 

Sunday, August 30, 2015

28 The King Fulfills the Old Testament

Rather than abolishing the Old Testament Jesus claimed strongly that that Genesis through Malachi pointed to him.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Is the Law Over? (Romans 16)

Since Paul maintained that salvation is by faith in Christ and not observing the Law of Moses does that mean the Old Testament has no importance to us today?

Sunday, August 23, 2015

27 The King Warns Worthless Disciples (Part 2: Light)

Does your public witness match your Christian profession? Disciples are to be walking announcements of Christ's reign.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Justification, Redemption and Propitiation (Romans 15)

Paul used big words and every one of them is important to understanding the HOW and WHY of salvation.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

26 The King Warns Worthless Disciples (Part I: Salt)

What if individual Christians or entire churches fail to do and be the people they have been called to be by their Master?

Monday, August 10, 2015

A Fussbudget-Free Church

The Peanuts comic strip taught me the funny-sounding word “fussbudget.” Charles Schulz used the word to describe the perpetually crabby Lucy Van Pelt, the perennial opposite of her amiable brother, Linus. [As an aside, Schulz attended a Church of God (Anderson) congregation when he was a young man; perhaps he knew a few.]

Today we concern ourselves with a church fussbudget, a fussy person: he assumes authority to straighten other church people out―through complaining, griping, critiquing, criticizing, shaming and badgering with unsolicited opinions, advice and views―even though the Bible doesn't give him that authority. Fussbudgetry (or fussbudgetism) is a serious sin in any church. A fussbudget destroys church harmony, church unity, church people and, at times, the church itself. The congregation suffers with horrible dysfunction when a fussbudget spreads his gangrene. The Holy Spirit is grieved and quenched.

A fussbudget tells her pastor his role and job description. She unloads on the church secretary, worship leader, teacher, helper, board of trustees chairperson, etc. her opinions and critique. She feels compelled to tell people off or correct them.

A fussbudget believes that if a person disobeys his correction then the person is disobeying God's will. A fussbudget tries to control his foes through intimidation.

A fussbudget actually withers and drains the objects of her criticism. Enthusiasm for ministry evaporates immediately. Pastors fantasize about resigning or retiring. Ministry leaders get burned out and quit. People refuse to serve on boards and committees for fear of attack.

Church folks loathe encountering a fussbudget. They see him approaching and, filled with dread over a verbal beating, they want to run and hide.

The sad thing? A fussbudget often doesn't know she is one. There's a human quirk where people don't see the beams in their own eyes but, rather, see the specks in others' eyes.

Here is how everyone can avoid being a church fussbudget:

  1. Never give unsolicited advice, criticism, opinions or preferences to church members who displease you. Don't say it. Don't share it. Don't type it. Keep it to yourself.
  2. If the Lord wants you gently to talk to someone close to committing imperiling sin then do so but, if not, see #1. But don't confuse this with a personal desire to get back at, talk back to or speak harshly with another. It isn't about your feelings.
  3. Never gossip personal grievances to others about a person who displeases you.
  4. If someone actually has sinned against you then follow obey the Bible's steps toward reconciliation. (Matthew 18.15-20)
  5. However, if it isn't a sin but, rather, anything short of that then see #1. Nobody in the church wants to hear it, neither the pastor nor anyone else. It isn't being helpful.
  6. Trust the Holy Spirit and the local church's spiritual leadership to deal with people/leaders who aren't following the Bible, such as a Church Council, Board of Elders, etc.
  7. Never spread anonymous criticism. Treat it like an unsigned letter. Don't pay it any heed and refuse to pass it along. Don't say, “Some people are concerned...” or “I've heard...”
  8. Remember, the church isn't about what you want. It doesn't exist for you.
  9. Don't be a Lucy. Be a Linus.    

25 The King Blesses Those Persecuted for Himself

Christ introduces a paradox; Christians are to rejoice when they are persecuted because it means they are in good company when treated so.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

24 The King Blesses Those Persecuted For Righteousness' Sake

King Jesus didn't deceive his followers with visions of false peace.  His royal subjects were going to suffer for the Kingdom.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Righteousness of God (Romans 14)

Since people never can be good enough to be in a right relationship with God what is God's method for saving sinners?

Sunday, July 26, 2015

23 The King Blesses the Peacemakers

It's important to understand what a peacemaker is not as much as what a peacemaker is.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

What God Thinks of Mankind (Romans 13)

People think too highly of themselves. What does God think of the world?

Sunday, July 19, 2015

22 The King Blesses the Pure in Heart

One of the requirements for a citizen under Christ's Reign is to be pure in heart. Is that possible in this world?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Paul Answers Jewish Objections (Romans 12)

Paul engages an imaginary Jewish debater with five rebuttals to his detractor's counters.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Christ: The Head of the Church

I preached this sermon on the Monday afternoon of the 2015 Craigsville Campmeeting.  So, I it was only recorded in audio.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

19 The King Blesses the Meek

The late pastor and evangelist, W. Dale Oldham, asked, "Is meekness weakness?" What does it mean to be meek before God and man? Why is it a virtue that is needed to enter the Kingdom of God?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Paul's Thesis Statement (Romans 6)

We surveyed Romans 1.5-17 where Paul greeted the Romans, blessed them and gave them his thesis statement for the entire letter.  What is the nature of salvation?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

17 The King Blesses the Poor in Spirit

In this first sermon through the Sermon on the Mount we examined what it meant to be poor in Spirit.  How does a person enter in to Kingdom of God?

Jesus the God-Man (Romans 5)

Exactly what was Jesus and what did he later become when he was conceived in the womb of Mary, a virgin?  Does it matter if we agree on this point?  What can we disagree about and still be considered orthodox Christians?  

Monday, May 4, 2015

Promised Beforehand Through His Prophets (Romans 4)

Did Jesus just come out of nowhere?  Was he prophesied about in the Old Testament, the Tanakh?  Do you have to suspend disbelief and commit intellectual suicide to embrace the Jesus story?  Does biblical prophecy support the notion that King Jesus is the Messiah?

Sunday, May 3, 2015

16 The King Restores What Sin Has Broken

Jesus taught in the Galilean synagogues and proclaimed the breaking in of the kingship of God/reign of God through his Christ (i.e. the kingdom of God) and healed diseases and cast out demons, thus proving his point.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A Called Apostle (Romans 3)

What did it mean to be an apostle? How could Paul, who came after Jesus' earthly ministry, claim to be an apostle? Are there apostles today?

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Just Who is a Jew?

I ran across an interesting opinion piece in Israel's oldest newspaper, haaretz.  It was entitled, "Defining 'who is a Jew’" and written by A.B. Yehoshua.  Mr. Joshua goes into the sticky and nuanced as defining Jewishness for the purposes of understanding who has the Israeli Law of Return.  Mr. Yehoshua ably demonstrates the quandaries that civil government can face in determining who may migrate to Israel with full citizenship rights.

Judaism's definition is beyond my pay grade; that is for them to hash out.  For me as a Christian the answer is theological from my christological viewpoint.  What makes it difficult is that "Jew" is used in different senses in the New Testament.

The Apostle Paul readily would use the term "Jew" those who were born into The Covenant People:
I am speaking the truth in Christ--I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit--that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 9:1-5 ESV)
Yet he also used "Jew" to describe an observant Jew:
For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. (Romans 2:28-29 ESV)
But, in the end, it little mattered to Paul because he believed old distinctions were done away with in Christ:
For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:12-13 ESV)
and now the circumcised Jew and the uncircumcised Gentile became one new person, a spiritual Jew, so to speak, and children of Abraham by being justified by faith as Abraham did: 
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? "Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin." Is this blessing then only for the circumcised, or also for the uncircumcised? For we say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness. How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised. He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised. For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. (Romans 4:1-13 ESV) 
But now in Christ Jesus you [Gentiles] who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:13-22 ESV) 
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise. (Galatians 3:28-29 ESV)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Slave of Christ Jesus (Romans 2)

The word "slave" is politically incorrect today yet Paul considered it a great honor to be Christ's slave.  What does it mean to be a slave of Jesus?

14 The King Gathers His Messianic Community

It's easy to assume that Christ was an itinerant rabbi with just a dozen apostles. The reality is more complex; King Jesus traveled with a Messianic community composed of men and women. What were the demands he imposed on those who would be his followers?

13 The King Begins His Mission

It's easy to think of a gospel account as a biography where each writer stuffed as much material in as he could.  This is incorrect; Matthew, Mark, Luke and John carefully selected their material and bypassed other information to build their case for Christ.  In this sermon we see what Matthew, under God's sovereign guidance, chose not to include in between two verses.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Mystery of the Heavenly Bracelet

I heard a wonderful story this morning in my church office at First Church of an event that happened recently. Our main maintenance guy on staff, Mack, attends Fairview Christian Community Church.  Mack had a glorious incident to share with me.  Mack's pastor, Larry Dyer, has Parkinson's Disease.  (He soon will receive deep brain stimulation at a Nashville hospital to treat his tremor.)

About three weeks ago Larry's congregation came up to their pastor to give him cards and encouragement.  After that Sunday morning worship service Larry noticed something amazing.  On his wrist was a bracelet that he had never seen before.  He didn't recall anyone putting it on his wrist that morning, either.  It said something similar to, "I can do all things through Jesus Christ."  

Larry noticed that afternoon that the encouraging bracelet was gone!  He and his wife looked for it and they found it, of all special places, underneath his Bible.  Larry put it back on and hasn't taken it off!

Isn't that a glorious story?  Nobody claims to know from where this mysterious bracelet came.  He doesn't know how it got on his wrist, back off his wrist and underneath his Bible.

What a merciful God we serve!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Resurrection Sunday 2015

What does it matter if Jesus of Nazareth either rose from the dead or did not?

Palm Sunday 2015

Why did the Jewish authorities want Jesus dead?

Monday, March 30, 2015

Paul (Romans 1)

We begin our verse-by-verse study through the Apostle Paul's Letter to the Romans by examining the man behind the message. How did Rabbi Saul of Tarsus become Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

12 Satan Tempts the King (Part 3)

Could Satan tempt Jesus to worship him, the devil, in order to give Christ what he wanted?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

11 Satan Tempts the King (Part 2)

Satan tempted Christ, while the Son of God was fasting for 40 days in the desert, to force God's hand—to test the Father—to demand protection if/when Christ jumped from the pinnacle of the Temple. Christ refused to demand God prove himself. Do we?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Receiving God's Forgiveness

Jesus said:
 Pray then like this: "Our Father in heaven, ...forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.  (Matthew 6:9a,12b,14,15 ESV)
Did Christ "really" mean this or is there a nuance we are missing?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

10 Satan Tempts the King (Part 1)

Jesus was led into the desert to be tested by his Father and tempted by Satan.  Will the King, the True & New Israel, succeed in 40 days what Israel failed to do in 40 years?

Sunday, March 8, 2015

9 The Baptism of the King

Why did King Jesus want John the Baptist to baptize him?  After his water baptism Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit and the Father announced his Son.  Larry preached this sermon before the church held a baptismal service.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

8 The Herald of the King (Part 4)

If a person surrenders to King Jesus then he is given the Holy Spirit.  If a person rejects King Jesus then he is given judgment.  Which would you prefer?  And why do so many reject the King?

7 The Herald of the King (Part 3)

Many people believe they can be good enough to go to heaven when they die. Others believe they are going to heaven based on the goodness or decisions of others. Is this true? How does one get to heaven?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Dan Williams of Edmund High Proves that Chivalry isn't Dead, Ladies

In wonderful contrast to Filthy Shades of Grey, one high school teenager, Eagle Scout Dan Williams, single-handedly put the "Saint" back into Valentine's Day by sending candy and a Valentine to ALL 1,076 ladies at Edmund Memorial High School in Oklahoma. Prepare to cry a little, ladies. It's a beautiful and clean story. 

And it doesn't surprise me that this young man is from The Sooner State. I lived in Oklahoma City while I attended Mid-America Bible College (now Mid-America Christian University).  They are a great people. As I've said for a long time, "Great is the God of the Oklahomans."

Monday, February 9, 2015

Criticism in the Ministry is Inevitable

Aesop (circa 620 BC–564 BC) was a Greek story teller who provided fables to teach morals.  There is one such fable that encourages me in ministry:

The Man, the Boy and the Donkey 
A Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: "You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?" 
So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon theypassed a group of men, one of whom said: "See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides." 
So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn't gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: "Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along." 
Well, the Man didn't know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son?"
The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey's feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned. 
"That will teach you," said an old man who had followed them:   
"Please all, and you will please none."

I would phrase the moral of the story in another way: Christian worker, you will be criticized no matter what you do, so never fulfil your ministry to please people.  Only minister to please God.
For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 ESV)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Guidance for Baptism

Because my church is hosting its first baptism since I assumed the pastorate I thought it helpful to write this short instructional for our new converts.  We are of the Anabaptist/credobaptist/Believer's Baptism tradition:

Congratulations! You have repented of your sins and found forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. Baptism is a public confession of your decision to become a follower of King Jesus. Baptism is a symbol of what happened when God “washed away” your sins through the blood (sacrifice) of Jesus. Also, it is a symbolic enactment of you being crucified with Jesus on his cross, buried with him in his tomb and being raised to new life with him in his resurrection. Baptism is a rite that we say is, “an outward sign of an inner faith.”

First, on the day of your baptism wear dark and heavy clothing. Pastor Larry will be wearing a blue-jean shirt and jeans under his Geneva robe that morning! Water causes clothes to cling to the body and become translucent so we wear dark clothing to prevent anything embarrassing from happening. :-)

Second, bring a towel, change of clothes and anything you will need after your baptism. We here at First Church baptize by immersion—we dunk you totally under water—which we believe is the normal/regular mode of baptism in the New Testament.

Third, when Pastor prompts you come in the water slowly. This allows the water to seep into your clothing. Also, while our baptistery is heated the water will get cooler the deeper you go. This is normal.

Fourth, Pastor Larry will makes some remarks. He will then ask you two questions, taken directly from the Bible:
...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9 ESV)

Pastor Larry will ask you:
  1. Do you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord?
  2. Do you believe in your heart that God raised Jesus from the dead?

You will answer “Yes,” to each of these two questions.

You are not “getting saved” in that moment. You already are saved. This is just an opportunity to witness to the crowd that you are publicly proclaiming yourself a Christian.

Fifth, after a short prayer Pastor Larry will say something like, “And we baptize this our sister/brother in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

Sixth, relax and pinch your nose closed. You are in safe hands; let Pastor Larry and his helper hold you as they lean you back into the water, submerge you briefly, then pull you from the water. They will do all the work.

Seventh, walk carefully up the stairs. Someone will be there to help you get to where you need to be to change.

Finally, enjoy yourself! This is a great day of celebration for you and the whole church!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

6 The Herald of the King (Part 2)

What is the fate of any person who refuses to bow the knee in total surrender to King Jesus?

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Todd Friel to a Modern "Christian"

This lady's response is exactly why so much of Christianity in America is, well, sad. So many American "Christians" are spiritually naive, theologically starved and unable to form biblical lines of reasoning. We haven't taught them the Bible: the unvarnished and unadulterated Bible. I suppose if you showed her where those "hard" Scriptures were in her Bible she would be surprised.
This is one reason I am preaching straight through the Gospel According to St. Matthew. I want people to accept or reject King Jesus based on his own words and actions and not based on some caricature of what people want him to be or believe he is.
Will no-holds-barred preaching win everyone? No. As Paul said, 
"What then? Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect obtained it, but the rest were hardened," (Romans 11:7 ESV). 
I am preaching for the sake of the elect/chosen, the ones who will believe. 
Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. (2 Timothy 2:10 ESV)

Monday, January 26, 2015

5 The Herald of the King (Part 1)

John the Baptist came preaching in the Judean desert to Israel, encouraging them to confess their sins and repent before the King (Messiah) arrived. He also warned those who would not.

Monday, January 19, 2015

My Official Installation Service at First Church of God

On January 11, 2015 I officially was installed as senior pastor of the First Church of God in Princeton, WV. It was a special day of great blessing to me. Mayor Tim Ealy graciously gave me the Key to the City. Several ministers participated, among them Jack A. C. Lawrence of Abney Street Church of God who preached the sermon and my father, Larry McCallister, Sr.  of Browns Creek Church of God who read the pastoral and congregational charge. (Regrettably we had to exclude the music from the service due to copyright restrictions.)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Martyn Lloyd-Jones Interviewed by Joan Bakewell

Brilliant. Simply brilliant. My favorite preacher, Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899—1981) explains why a true Christian will look out-of-step with the world around him. Even though this interview occurred in 1970 it is just as fresh and prophetic in 2015. He speaks on tolerance/intolerance and the sorry state of the world.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

'Pray in the 391."

Outside of the sanctuary of my pastorate at First Church of God in Princeton, WV is a sign:

In other words, the fire marshal wouldn't even break a sweat with us unless we hit 391 in attendance.  However, we Americans have a substantial comfort zone of personal space and we are told that if a congregation is 70-80% filled to capacity it is full.  So, we at First Church would have to add another Sunday morning worship service long before we hit 391 in attendance.  I'm ready to preach twice on Sunday morning.

Tonight I shared a Scripture with the saints.  It comes in the form of King Jesus reassuring the Apostle Paul that he would be safe during his time as a church planter in Corinth:
And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, "Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people." And he stayed a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. (Acts 18:9-11 ESV)
What is so fascinating about this vision is that Christ tells Paul of "many" in Corinth who were the Lord's but didn't know it yet.  In other words, Jesus assures Paul that many will get saved because of Paul's ministry.

Every Bible-believing and Christ-exalting church can take courage in this passage because of "Remnant Theology."  In short, God always has a people.  In the midst of a sinful world God will always have a group unto himself who will be a faithful witness of Christ.  
I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? "Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life." But what is God's reply to him? "I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal." So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:1-6 ESV)
How does this help the modern church?  In different ways:

1. No church is in competition with another congregation because there will always be plenty of sinners to go around.
2. No church needs worry about God's will to save.  God will save his Remnant through any Bible-believing and Christ-exalting church if she will remain faithful to Christ and his Word.

"Pray in the 391."

"Pray in the 391," is code for, "Church, let's pray and get to work.  God has chosen people who don't know it yet who are ready to be saved.  Let's introduce them to Christ and we will grow."

Do I believe a local church can grow?  Absolutely.  The Old Testament/New Testament theology is clear.  The question is, "Will we be the ones to participate in God's Remnant?"  

Let's pray and get to work.  Let's grow.  Pray in the 391.

4 The Exile & Exodus of the King

Herod the Great tried to assassinate God's Messiah because he saw him as a rival to the throne. Do you consider God your rival to the throne of your life?

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3 Wise Men Seek the King

The birth of the King of the Jews evoked mixed emotions in different people: respect, apathy and hostility.  How do you react to Jesus Christ?

Monday, January 12, 2015

2 The Birth of the King

When Mary told her engaged husband-to-be Joseph she was pregnant by the power of God he didn't believe her.  Who would?  But God intervened and Joseph took her as his wife.  The will of God isn't always easy.