We need Church.

One of the many reasons we,as hypocritical sinners, should attend Church, is so we can obey Christ, in being sanctified through learning to humbly love other hypocritical sinners. Remember, if you find the perfect Church, run because you will ruin it by joining. There is no such thing as a, “perfect Church” All local bodies are made up of wretched worms, who have gathered to worship the only true and living, good and merciful, God who saves.  If your excuse is that the Church is full of hypocrites, then it is invalid.  You yourself are also guilty of hypocritically judging.  Please take a look, and a listen to these resources available at Wretched.org

 

 

Now it seems it is time to persevere.

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Keep in mind, what I am going to be writing about is not a prophecy, nor did I get a, “word from God.”  This is just my own personal observations, and thoughts.  I have been thinking lately, that we have had an unusual time of learning, and growing for the last decade or so.  There have been good teachers, and plentiful resources.  Even though there has been persecution around the world, and oppression in other parts of the world, we have been pretty safe here in the USA.  We have had a lack of tribulation.  We have had plenty of time to mature in Christ.  We have been sitting in relative comfort.

I think this time is coming to a close.  I think many Pastors, and teachers are headed for a fall.  The world system, and the enemy are going to be putting Christians, their faith, and knowledge of Christ to the test.  Our sins will seem to come at us with a vengeance, and destructive force that we are not accustomed to.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Will we buckle under the temptation?  Will we resort to being greedy, selfish, unkind, mean, arrogant, prideful, lustful, adulterous, covetous, abusive, addicted, or fill in the black with whatever sin has been eating at your assurance over the past years, some besetting sin, that you’ve as of yet not had victory over?(1 Peter 1:7, Heb 10:32-36)

We’ve already seen some Pastors/Preaching Elders fall into heterodoxy, or outright apostasy.  We have seen marriages end, and abuses happen.  I think these are just the beginning of what is to come.  We’ve had time to prepare, grow, and learn to fight sin.  I think the time has come, and God is going to put us through trials, and tribulations.  I’m not talking eschatologically here.  It seems the season is here for our good, the Churches good, and sanctification.  Those who are left standing after the fire, will be the ones who have persevered.  We need workmen who have shown them selves approved. (2 Tim 2:15, 1 Cor 9:24-27, James 1:2-4)

Don’t fret or worry.  Rest assured in the God who saves, and sanctifies.  He will also glorify.  When you fall to sin, repent immediately.  Accept Church discipline.  It is for your good, and the Churches good.  Don’t resist out of pride.  Don’t go to another Church, or movement.  Don’t utilize a loophole like that to escape what will bring you back to spiritual health in Christ.  It is the means He has ordained. (Rom 5:3-4)

Let’s do our due diligence, and submit to our Savior fully, and with all the zeal due Him.  Study His word, apply it, discipline your mind and body, make war against sin!  Rest in His righteousness, and utilize the weapons, and protections He has given us. (Eph 6:10-18, Heb 12:1-3)

Biblical Church Growth

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Q. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

There are four means that God has ordained to grow His Church. They are, Evangelism (sharing the gospel), Discipleship (training and teaching the new believer) Service, (Helping the hurting and dying world) and persecution. People only become converted from hearing and responding to the gospel. They grow closer to God, and get to know Him by reading His word, and learning His truth. The new heart and nature of a convert is on display in the world humbly serving the lost and dying, displaying the glory of God. Persecution weeds out the false converts, and demonstrates another truth, the world hated Christ, and they will hate you also for His namesake. The exclusivity of the cross is offensive to the world. Remember persecution comes from outside the Church.

Who goes to Church, and why? This is important to figure out, if you are concerned that your congregation is dying. One category of people is false converts. Some of them know they are not Christian, some believe they are Christians. Lost people have a few reasons why they go to Church. Of those reasons, none of them are the right ones. They go to Church to get a pep talk, a self-help speech, they go for professional and social networking, they go to feel good about themselves, (self-righteousness) they go to be entertained by a slick, “praise/worship band. We can agree that these are not the right reasons to go to Church. So what are?

If you are a true convert, you know your purpose in life is to bring glory to the Lord of salvation. You’ve been brought to new life by grace, through faith. You were dead in your trespasses and sins. You know you were purchased at a price, and the Lord of Creation suffered humiliation and death on a cross, in your place because of your sins. Christ became sin for you. You come to Church because it is God’s will. From your new nature you want to do God’s will. After all, He is changing your desires and affections by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the reading of His word. Our minds are being renewed so we can prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. You come to be with brothers and sisters in Christ, to hear the word of God expositorily preached, to sing praises to God, to worship Him in prayer, and song, to be baptized, and have communion, and to be sanctified by God in learning to live in community with other sinners, and by granting them grace, to live out the gospel for the glory of the Lord.

Who is church for, the goats or the sheep? Church is ultimately for the glory of God, and that glory is for our good. God says, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Church is for the sheep. They are the ones who really want to go for the right reasons. When God says in Matthew 16, “…I will build my Church…” we also see the means He has ordained for the growth. He is going to use us to preach the gospel to the lost and dying world, because the gospel is the power of God unto salvation.

Salvation is of the Lord. It originates with Him. It is provided by Him. Jonathan Edwards once said, “You contribute nothing to your salvation except the sin that made it necessary.” Even persecution is given for the growth of the Church. If there are false converts in the local body, when persecution comes, they will flee, and deny Christ. The truly converted will stay, and proclaim the gospel, and make disciples even during persecution.

What is the gospel? Simply put, “Repent of your sins, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.” We have to unpack that for sure. It shouldn’t be a daunting task for us. It should be something that overflows from the heart of a believer, as they have experienced the love and grace of Jesus. While we were yet sinners Christ died for us. Most people don’t share it, because they are woefully ignorant of what it is.

Here is a simple analogy. Imagine you are a telling a class full of students who want to become mechanics that you are a mechanic, but you leave out the fact that you don’t understand how an engine works. Then when the students ask you how the engine works you mumble and string together things you’ve heard mechanics say. You wouldn’t feel very comfortable or sure of yourself would you?

Believers should feel confident and comfortable sharing the gospel. It is imperative that they learn how to do so, and that they do it. People are entering eternity without Christ. They will rise to eternal torment and burning, having the very wrath of God poured out on them. How can we say we have love, if we refuse to give them the gospel?

Ask some of your congregation “imagine I just was stabbed, and only have moments to live. I am afraid of dying and going to Hell, and I say, “What must I do to be saved?” You can’t tell them to be a good person, they are dying. You can’t tell them it is by baptism, they only have moments to live. What can you tell them? You can preach the gospel to them. You can say, “You are afraid of hell, and rightfully so. You are a sinner. Just like me, you have broken God’s laws, and deserve His just wrath, but being rich in mercy, God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to live a perfect, sinless, life that we couldn’t live. Jesus was and is righteous. He humbly offered Himself up on the cross, He submitted to death on the cross according to the will of the Father, where the wrath of God was poured out on Him in our place, so that the justice of God could be satisfied. When He was finished atoning for our sin, He said, “It is finished.” He died, was buried and resurrected on the third day. If you’ll repent, or turn from your sins, forsake them, hate them, and ask God to forgive you based on the work of Jesus, He will save you from your sins, for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Will you confess your sins to God and trust in Jesus?”

Friendship evangelism is impractical. The Christian should have a fervent urgency to share the gospel with the lost so they can be saved. Friendship evangelism is slow, and you can only befriend so many people at a time. The need is great, and the workers are few. The command is not to preach to a few, but to all, and we need to get busy.

Remember the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. It is offensive because they are confronted with the righteousness, and exclusivity of Christ. Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. John 15:18-25 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not have sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would not have sin; but now they have both seen and hated Me and My Father as well. 25 But they have done this to fulfill the word that is written in their Law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’”

Don’t compromise on the gospel. If we soften the gospel to make it more appealing to the lost, we rob it of its effectiveness. If it were readily acceptable to the reprobate sinner, it is because it doesn’t require rebirth for him to believe it. The only way to grow the true church is by the means that God has ordained evangelism, discipleship, service, and persecution.

What needs to happen so we can do this? Free up Elders who are gifted and able to preach and teach the gospel to the laymen, and to teach them how to evangelize. Organize them, to go out and evangelize. When people are converted they will look for a Church. It doesn’t matter if you put more people in the seats at your Church. We don’t do this to grow our kingdoms, but rather the kingdom of God. New converts will come in. When they do, be ready to teach them from God’s word. Don’t feed them cotton candy theology, sermonettes, or topical sermons that are more self-help than the word of God. Take your position in the pulpit seriously. Get them grounded in God’s word because when persecution comes they will need to know the hows and whys of it. Get them out there serving the lost and dying world out of the new love they have in their hearts.  Equip them to go out and share the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ever Wanted to Ask a Lutheran Some Questions? Now’s Your Chance.

Daniel Landin

Hello everyone, I’d like to introduce you all to Daniel Landin. He is a Pastor of a Lutheran Church. I’ve asked him to participate in some question and answer format interactions for the purpose of learning more about each other’s respective Churches, and theological positions, as well as for his insight into some particularly Lutheran things. Feel free to send me your questions.  I will select a some to ask Daniel in a future article.  Before we get started, Daniel could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Q. Where did you grow up?

A. I was born in Pittsburgh, PA and grew up on a small family farm in the awesome little town of Sugar Grove, PA, right on the NY-PA border.

Q. Were you raised in a Christian home?

A. Yes. God has blessed me beyond belief to have been born into a family with a rich Christian heritage. My family on my father’s side immigrated from Sweden in the 1870s and brought with them their huge family Bible which resides in my parents’ dining room to this day. Faith in Jesus Christ has played a huge role in my family’s life and continues to do so.

Q. Could you share your testimony with us?

A. I truly cannot remember a time when I did not have faith in and a love for Jesus Christ. As I stated in the previous answer, I was born into a Christian home and was blessed to be raised by two loving Christian parents. I did pray many various “prayers of salvation” during my childhood and adolescent years, so I won’t pinpoint a specific day of conversion on any of those. I believe that I have had faith in Christ from before the time that I have any memories of something different.

I’ve always had a strong interest in the Bible and learning more and more about who God is and how God has interacted with people from the very beginning. My grandfather and great uncle were both the same way and loved discussing various doctrines, theologies, and passages from scripture and I would try my best to interject and converse with them, even when I was around eight or nine years old. I’ve also always had a strong interest in history, so that interest coupled with a love for Christ and the Bible drew me into many times of deep study. My love for Christ and his Word led me to get my college degree in biblical studies and I was blessed to also be able to go through seminary as well.

I did go through a rough time during high school meeting many crises of faith including the death of my grandmother from lung cancer and my own fall into sexual sin with my girlfriend at the time. I dealt with some serious depression because of all the negatives from that year and because I bought into Satan’s lie that, since I had fallen into that specific sin, I had ruined all chances of ever being married to a Godly Christian woman. Due to my depression, which I hid from everyone I knew, I contemplated suicide many times until the day I held a revolver in my hand. By the grace of God, I felt a rush of God’s love at that moment and, whether it was audible or only in my spirit, I heard God saying, “Stop! I love you. You have so much more to live for. Trust in me!” From that point on, I thank God for not only saving me from death and hell, but also saving my life at that point.

There have been many people who have been influential in my life and in my walk of faith. Most important over the past thirteen years has been my wife Stephanie. Her own faith and her love and encouragement have had a large impact on me. A large part of that was experienced the day I confessed my past transgressions and she immediately said, “I forgive you, because Jesus has already forgiven you!” That was an amazing moment for the two of us, but especially for me to experience the love of Christ through her selfless forgiveness. It has been a special thing to live this life of faith with her.

Q. How did you meet your Wife?

A. We met in high school choir of all places! I was a senior and she was a sophomore. We started dating that year and maintained a long-distance relationship during the next three years while she finished high school and did a year of community college before joining me at Roberts Wesleyan College.

Q. How long have you been married?

A. We got married the summer after I graduated from Roberts Wesleyan College in 2009 and we just celebrated our 8th wedding anniversary this week on August 1st. We have been blessed with three boys aged 4, 2, and 1 and we have a fourth waiting for us in heaven.

Q. What changes have you undergone in your faith since your conversion?

A. Quite a few I would say! I grew up in the Evangelical Covenant Church, the denomination my family has been a part of for over a hundred years. One of the main emphases of that denomination is on the supremacy of scripture. We were taught that the Bible is the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct and to ask the question, “Where is it written?” while working through various issues in life and faith. I went to a Free Methodist college and met people from many different faith traditions and that opened up my view of the church quite a bit. There were many issues I saw as closed issues, but as I read and studied throughout my college and seminary years, I have shifted on some theological issues which now separate me from the church of my childhood and youth. Some of the issues, without delving into the changes at the moment, were on creation, the sacraments, and eschatology. One thing that has never changed, though, is my dependence on Jesus Christ in all things. I’ve clung to Proverbs 3:5-6 from that depressing phase of life in high school even up to this day. My hope is in Jesus Christ!

Q. How long have you been a Pastor?

A. I have been a pastor now for over five years. My first call into pastoral ministry was in the United Methodist Church. I served there for just a few days short of three and a half years and now serve in a Lutheran Church. Looking back on my life and my journey of becoming a pastor, I can say that I would have never chosen the path that God has led me on. I knew that God was calling me to be a pastor from a very young age and had plans to be a pastor in the denomination that I grew up in, but that was not what God had planned for me. I am thankful to be where I am and to know that it is right where the Holy Spirit desires for me to be!

Q. How long have you been a Lutheran Pastor?

A. I have been a Lutheran Pastor for a year and seven months so far!

Hollywood is Programming your Boys to be Weaklings and Perverts.

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Hollywood is acting as a tool of satan.  We need to be like Elijah against the false prophets, the servants of baal.

Modern TV shows, commercials, and movies are programming young boys and girls to be confused about their gender roles. There are no masculine role models for boys. The only heroes in the movies are comic book superheroes. If they happen to be a moral hero, they are often portrayed as being weak due to their, “goody two shoes” ideals. Male characters in shows are now portrayed as cowering in fear as the 90 pound girl comes in to save him. Interesting to note, the male actors chosen, are small pretty boys.

There’s no more John Wayne, Charles Bronson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chuck Norris, or Stallone types. Oh no, we can’t have that! Men that look like the everyday man, men who don’t look like a pretty little girl, men who go out and do things men are supposed to do, like defend women and children, protect the innocent, seek justice, provide for the needy and so on.

Nope, the modern movie man is a simpering idiot, a slave to his infantile fleshly desires. All he is good for is smoking pot, making excrement jokes, eating cheetos, and seeking to fornicate with whoever he can be they male or female. That is the role model hollyweird wants your boys to be raised on.

They want to raise generations of degeneration, slaves to their lusts. I remember when they first started putting girls kissing girls on TV and tried to make everyone think it was, “hot.” I told my friends and coworkers, “Don’t be fooled! First this, then men with men, then a free for all. All kinds of perversion will follow. You are encouraging homosexuality by watching girls kissing girls!” They all laughed at me. Well now look where we are! Don’t for a minute think it is going to stop there.

I feel sorry for young men growing up in this. We have to be their role models. We have to turn the programming off! We have to stand up and show them how godly men are to handle temptation, adversity, pain, emotional distress, prolonged suffering, toil filled work and labor, strength in submission to God ordained authority, how, why, and when to fight physically against others, dogged determination, independence, reliance on God, and what He has gifted you with. If you are an older man, stop telling war stories or tall tales. Tell these young men about real situations and how you handled them, how you should have handled them, and perhaps show them the next time you are in a tough situation. Don’t take the easy way out. They are watching us. Point them to God.

Godly women, I am asking you to adorn yourselves inwardly with a gentle spirit. I implore you to not go along with Hollyweird in allowing them to portray girls as naked play things, and claim that is liberation. The eyes that are closed to the gospel of Jesus only see the outward allure of an ever increasing nakedness. The desire is to deny what shame we should properly feel for being naked. When Adam and Eve sinned against God by breaking the one and only command He gave them, God cursed all creation. When they ate of the fruit of knowledge between good and evil, they knew they were naked, and tried to cover themselves. God took away their bad attempt to cover themselves and their sin with leaves, and made for them a better covering, one that required death, and the blood of a sacrifice. The hides that he covered them with, and subsequently our clothing is to remind us of the shame of our sins, and the sacrifice of Christ to atone for them.

People from the beginning looked forward to His coming. We look backward to His crucifixion and forward to His return. Don’t sell yourselves, don’t buy the lies. Liberation is not sexual liberty! Liberation is freedom from sin in Christ Jesus! Older women, be the women of virtue for the younger women to emulate and learn from. You can be a Proverbs 31 woman today in this day and age, even despite and against the lie of neo-feminism. The Proverbs 31 women did all kinds of things the neo-feminist says women are being stopped from doing by the Christian religion.

They say the patriarchy is bad. Well, i got news for theme, God set it up and said it was good. He is our Father in Heaven, Christ is His Son, and the Holy Spirit is referred to as a male. If Jesus can submit to death on a cross, to condescend to save vile, sinful, creatures, you can submit to your husbands and demonstrate the kind of sacrificial, non-self-seeking, gentle, merciful, grace-full, love that Jesus displayed.

There is no such thing as a perfect husband, except the Bridegroom of the Church, Christ Jesus. So let’s all pray that Hollyweird would go on strike. Let’s pray that they all are replaced with Christian writers, and actors. Let’s pray for the ones who stay to be saved by God. Turn off the programming. If anyone should be programming the kids it should be the God, His word, and His Church.

Traditionalists of the Southern Baptist Convention, (SBC and their Attacks on Calvinism.


As of late, you may have noticed some personal attacks on Calvinists, and on Calvinism in general coming from men within the SBC.  These men are calling themselves, “Traditionalists.”  I wonder whose traditions they are identifying with?  I wonder if they know the real history of the SBC?  I wonder if they understand that their roots are in Calvinism?  I wonder, when they accuse us of following traditions of men, if they ever look at themselves and their own traditions?  The following two sections of scripture are about the Pharisees and their hypocritical keeping of traditions.  It is identified as wrong, and not to be emulated.

Colossians 2:8 (NASB) 8  See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.

Mark 7:8-9 (NASB) 8 Neglecting the commandment of God, you hold to the tradition of men.”
9 He was also saying to them, “You are experts at setting aside the commandment of God in order to keep your tradition.

This section of scripture is about imitating Paul as he imitates Christ.  This tradition is good, and to be kept.

1 Corinthians 11:1-2 (NASB) 1  Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.
2 Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.

So call yourself a traditionalist if you like.  I don’t care.  Hate the doctrines of grace, if that is how you think.  Chase all of us evil Calvinists out of the SBC, but I’ve got news for you, we’ve been the theologically conservative salt in your denomination.  When we leave, you will fly headlong down the road to liberalism and eventual irrelevance.

Do You Want to be a Happy Old Married Couple?

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I often overhear people say things like, “Oh what a cute old couple.” or “I want to be like them when we get old. They look so happy.” They say these things when they see a happy old couple. I don’t know if they think about what it takes to get there. First, you have to be a married couple. You can’t do it if you are just shacking up, or getting married and divorced every few years. You also have to be happy. Not just momentary happiness, but the kind of contentment, and joy, that can still smile, and talk with a young person even when their arthritis is causing them so much pain it would put most people in tears. So a long lasting marriage gives the two time to get to really, and truly know each other. It gives them time to put that knowledge into expressing love to them as they would love themselves. This knowledge doesn’t come easy most times. When you put two sinners together in a marriage, sin is going to happen. It is an opportunity for the one who is sinned against to demonstrate the gospel by giving grace to the other. Remember, grace is unmerited favor.  While we were yet sinners Christ died for us.  Not only that, He bore our sins, and the punishment for those sins.  While your spouse is wrong, and may have hurt your feelings, die to yourself and submit to Christ the way He submitted to the cross.  This long lasting marriage is ordained by God. It is a covenant between Him, and the Husband, and Wife. This should not be taken lightly. If you truly want to be a happy old married couple, trust and obey God. Read His word and pray together. Be humbled together and convicted together. When the kids are grown and you are alone with each other, you will be forced to confront the successes and failures you’ve made over the years. Accept and appreciate God’s sanctifying work in your marriage for your own personal growth and use it to love others well.