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Archive for December 2010

Revealing the Truth about Islam

with 6 comments

I highly recommend that you listen to this message on Islam.  As the speaker says “There is no such thing as a moderate Muslim because there is no such thing as a moderate Islam”.

 

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Written by Sean Scott

December 29, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The fellowship of his sufferings – Albert Barnes

with one comment

 

Php 3:10  That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

 

And the fellowship of his sufferings – That I may participate in the same kind of sufferings that he endured; that is, that I may in all things be identified with him. Paul wished to be just like his Saviour. He felt that it was an honor to live as he did; to evince the spirit that he did, and to suffer in the same manner. All that Christ did and suffered was glorious in his view, and he wished in all things to resemble him. He did not desire merely to share his honors and triumphs in heaven, but, regarding his whole work as glorious, he wished to be wholly conformed to that, and, as far as possible, to be just like Christ. Many are willing to reign with Christ, out they would not be willing to suffer with him; many would be willing to wear a crown of glory like him, but not the crown of thorns; many would be willing to put on the robes of splendor which will be worn in heaven, but not the scarlet robe of contempt and mockery.

They would desire to share the glories and triumphs of redemption, but not its poverty, contempt, and persecution. This was not the feeling of Paul. He wished in all things to be just like Christ, and hence he counted it an honor to be permitted to suffer as he did. So Peter says, “Rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings;” 1Pe_4:13. So Paul says Col_1:24 that he rejoiced in his sufferings in behalf of his brethren, and desired “to fill up that which was behind, of the afflictions of Christ,” or that in which he had hitherto come short of the afflictions which Christ endured. The idea is, that it is an honor to suffer as Christ suffered; and that the true Christian will esteem it a privilege to be made just like him, not only in glory, but in trial. To do this, is one evidence of piety; and we may ask ourselves, therefore, whether these are the feelings of our hearts. Are we seeking merely the honors of heaven, or should we esteem it a privilege to be reproached and reviled as Christ was – to have our names cast out as his was – to be made the object of sport and derision as he was – and to be held up to the contempt of a world as he was? If so, it is an evidence that we love him; if not so, and we are merely seeking the crown of glory, we should doubt whether we have ever known anything of the nature of true religion. ~Albert Barnes

Written by Sean Scott

December 27, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Love the Church

with 17 comments

OK..so that’s not the actual banner for a conference that was just recently held (I modified the bottom line to make a point).  The actual banner says “Love the Church – Christ bled for the church. So should you”.  The topics discussed at the conference and the description of it, taken directly from the website, were:
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“At this conference we will cast a vision for church life that is presented in scripture. Our prayer is for a rising number of churches dedicated to the glory of God alone. We will communicate the biblical doctrine of the church, explain her importance, her calling and her destiny. We will show how you and your family fit in to the church of Jesus Christ and how He has called you to love and serve her. We will bring messages on evangelism, missions, church planting, and discipleship through local churches. We will be explaining particularly important church practices such as singing, scripture reading, the Lord’s table, baptism, Sabbath keeping and church discipline. We will explain the importance of the sufficiency of scripture for the government of the church and how to apply the “regulative principle” in church life. We will even bring messages regarding the way that churches should treat their elders and whether or not they should pay them.

We live in a day and age where people seem to be confused about the practices, structure and importance of the church. Christian nomadism, church hopping, neglect, and broken relationships are legendary in the modern church. People often leave their churches without even notifying the leaders or their brothers and sisters. They just disappear and never return. Sometimes this confusion is seen in the neglect of the discipleship program of the church, and the meetings of the church. Is it that we don’t understand the nature of the church? Is it that we don’t understand Christ’s love for the church or His sacrifice? Is it that our love for Christ is low so our love for the church is low? Is it possible that some even despise the church by their nonchalance?” (Emphasis added)

http://www.heartcrymissionary.com/updates/171-love-the-church-conference-coming-soon

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I haven’t been able to find the audios for the conference but when I do I plan to listen to them.   Also, before I make my comments I also want to say that I have been blessed by much of what I’ve heard from Paul Washer and others that are associated with Heart Cry (especially some messages by Charles Lieter).  But what I find is that when many discuss the importance of the church and it’s practices they leave out one of the most foundational practices that Christ gave for the growth of His body – that would be body participation/ministry.  Many of the churches that will go to this conference have a Baptist background or affiliation.  The fact is a lot of Baptist churches already practice most of the topics listed in the conference description.  The ones that I’ve been to do practice singing, scripture reading, the Lord’s table, baptism, sometimes church discipline…etc.  Yet even in this their people are often stunted in their growth and they still do not have a true expression of the body of Christ in their Church life.  Many of these churches will, like the description above, say they believe in “the sufficiency of scripture for church government” and then at the same time deny and forbid the instruction in scripture for what should be allowed to take place when the saints come together.  They want to talk about all the practices that fit into their unbiblical model of church and then not allow the body participation that the scripture says is a command from the Lord…and all the while talking about the sufficiency of scripture for church government and practice.  A basic reading of 1 Corinthians 14 will show that the Lord had in mind a body that was participatory in nature as opposed to spectator in nature.

26How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 27If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God. 29Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 30If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace. 31For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted. 32And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. 34Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. 35And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church. 36What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only? 37If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 38But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

The Corinthian Church was a church that to some degree was in a mess.  They had open fornication in their midst, the Lord’s table was taken in a disorderly manner, and you get the impression that they were using their spiritual gifts in a disorderly manner. Yet even amidst all this mess going on Paul did not do as many churches do today.  Paul did not forbid the exercising of spiritual gifts when the body came together.  Instead he gave guidelines, commands, that were to be followed in the exercising of these gifts in the fellowship.  The above passage speaks of what should take place when the believers come together.  You will notice that the gathering of the saints is to be a gathering in which many members, as led by the Lord, are able to participate in the fellowship and mutual edification of the Saints.  To be sure that this isn’t merely a suggestion Paul says in verse 37 that what he has just written “are the commandments of the Lord”.  Yet today the commandments of the Lord regarding the participation of the saints are totally disregarded and explained away by men who think they know better than the Lord as to what is beneficial for the saints and what should take place in the church.  They do this by disregarding this passage of scripture and setting up a weekly service that is foreign to the word of God.  Instead of allowing the body to function as 1 Cor 14:26 says they have set up their own rules for what should happen when the saints meet.  It primarily involves singing, one or two men rotating preaching, and the saints sitting in pews through the hour and a half service.  And almost always, prophesying and speaking in tongues are forbidden in the fellowship (practices that many explain away with their doctrine and confessions) .  This too goes clearly against what Paul (by the Spirit) says in the concluding verses of Chapter 14.

39Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. 40Let all things be done decently and in order.

If one had never been to a church before and had no idea of what a modern “church” service looks like, and they only read the word of God, they would never come to the conclusion that what goes on in church each Sunday was taken from the bible.  Men today have taken what God has established for the growth of His church and replace it with something that, while appearing holy and spiritual, actually stunts the growth of God’s people.  Sure, people can be edified when the word is preached in a modern “service”.  They can be filled with joy as they sing unto the Lord.  Yet all this falls short of God’s intended  purpose for His people when they come together.  God has not intended the coming together of His people to be a “service” but rather a living, functioning body where believers can exercise their God given spiritual gifts for the edification of all.  This body participation inspires and promotes spiritual growth in believers in a way that simply “watching “& listening” to someone preach can never do. If people were really concerned with “bleeding for the church” as the conference banner says, then they would die to their model that hinders the growth of God’s people.  They would see that their preaching and championing of correct biblical doctrine is NOT enough.  If that was all that was really important then we would not have such clear commands from the Lord as to what should take place when we meet together.  But I have seen how this current system finds its root in people.  Once I was talking to a dear brother in the Lord about this very subject.  His objection to this open/semi-open meeting was that preaching the word is important and those with “teaching” gifts need to have a way, an outlet, to exercise their spiritual gifts (implying that it’s ok to have fellowship meetings where other gifts are not exercised for the sake of teaching).  That is how it all starts – preferring one gift over the others.  Teaching the word of God should have a primary place in the body ministry to the saints.  But it should never come at the expense of the rest of the body of Christ and their being able to exercise the gifts that God has given them.  That’s what many churches do.  They trumpet the preeminence of preaching God’s word and then fail to do the word they preach!  They see the importance of God’s word and therefore reason that the practice of body participation and other giftings should not take place because it might distract from their preaching.  This is a false reverence for God’s word.  It appears to be reverencing God’s word above all things but fails to practice the word they say they so reverence.  And because of this God’s people are stunted in their growth.  They never come to the full expression of “Christ” in His body that God intended to have.

This brings me to one of the statements found in the conference description.  It says;  “People often leave their churches without even notifying the leaders or their brothers and sisters. They just disappear and never return.”  People wonder why that is.  The conference description leaves you to think the cause of this is one of these two:  1) It it because certain things aren’t understood such as, singing, scripture reading, the Lord’s table..etc.  or 2) as the original banner says you haven’t “bled for Christ’s church”.  Meaning you have not given enough for the church of Christ because you either do not understand its importance or simply don’t care.  But I would say that much/most of the time neither of these are the reason people just leave fellowships.  I think the answer to this question can be found in a passage in 1 Cor 12:17:

17If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

And we could just as well say “If the whole body were a mouth, where would the rest of it be”.  The answer to that question would be that, many times, the rest of the body walks right out the door without notifying their leaders or their brothers because they don’t see a body they are part of.  They see some disfigured mess called a body that is lacking most of the parts a normal body would have.  They see a body with a few mouths and many ears.

So where does the solution to this problem lie?  Do we need to teach the body of Christ that they need to “bleed more for the Church”?  Do we need to lay the responsibility on the weekly attenders of the Sunday service and show them their apathy towards Christ’s body?  I’m sure some people need to be shown this.  But I think the real solution for this problem, as found in my modified banner, lies in taking the elders and teaching them the truth. They, above all people, should understand the foundational teachings regarding the body of Christ.  They are the ones that need to repent for stunting the growth of God’s people.  They need to repent for doing what they enjoy instead of what was commanded.  And they need to repent for loving their tradition more than God’s word.  They need to love Christ’s church by allowing it to grow and function in the manner God has prescribed.  Until they do this their church life/expression will always fall short of what God intended, and they will personally be responsible for stunting the growth of Gods people.

May Pauls words in verse 38 cease being the testimony of so many elders today:  38“But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant”.   I’ll end with the thoughts of two well known commentators regarding this verse:

John Gill:

1Co 14:38  But if any man be ignorant,…. Of “these” words, as the Arabic version adds, and does not know and own them to be the commandments of Christ; though he may profess himself to be a prophet, or a spiritual man, he is a very ignorant one, and has not the Spirit of God he pretends to: and if he will not be convinced, but goes on to doubt, and call in question the truth of these things, and obstinately persist in his ignorance,

let him be ignorant: let him be treated and despised as an ignorant man; and let his ignorance be no hinderance to any in receiving these rules and directions as the commandments of Christ; for no regard is to be had, or pity shown, to a man of affected ignorance, and wilful obstinacy; such a man is not to be known and owned, but shunned and rejected.

Albert Barnes:

1Co 14:38  But if any be ignorant … – If anyone affects to be ignorant of my authority, or whether I have a right to command. If he affects to doubt whether I am inspired, and whether what I utter is in accordance with the will of God.
Let him be ignorant – At his own peril, let him remain so, and abide the consequences. I shall not take any further trouble to debate with him. I have stated my authority. I have delivered the commands of God. And now, if he disregards them, and still doubts whether all this is said by divine authority, let him abide the consequences of rejecting the law of God. I have given full proof of my divine commission. I have nothing more to say on that head. And now, if he chooses to remain in ignorance or incredulity, the fault is his own, and he must answer for it to God.

Written by Sean Scott

December 22, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Effects and Strengh of Indwelling Sin…John Owens

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I found this video clip to be very true and something believers should really ponder and meditate on.  In it, John Owens, speaks on the effects of strength of indwelling sin.  He speaks of how easily our hearts can be led astray when we are not watchful over our own souls and fail to use the means of grace God has given us to draw near to Him.  I find that when we (all believers) are led astray or grow cold in our affections and commitment to the Lord there is always a pattern of spiritual neglect that proceeds this condition.  Each persons temptation, sin, and pattern of neglect might be different.  The circumstances that lead one brother into neglect or slothfulness concerning the things of God might not be the circumstances that lead another brother into the same condition.  While I do not endorse a continual looking inward that those who teach sinless perfection often do I do believe it’s of utmost importance to know our own hearts and know the conditions and circumstances that tend to affect us in a negative way and that draw us away from the Lord.  By knowing these things we can diligently guard our souls and give greater care to not fall into patterns that tend to lead us away from maintaining a fervent spirit towards God.

Below is the clip containing excerpts of one of John Owens sermons on the matter.  I did not particularly like the music in the video and found it distracting.  So I turned it off while I listened to it.  Also, I found it helpful to pause the video often so I could really understand what he was saying.  I hope it blesses you and encourages you to be watchful over your own soul.

(Also, I want to make a disclaimer about the Puritans.  While I have been blessed by much of what I’ve read and seen in many of them (their seriousness and commitment to the Lord) I do also find that they too often focus on their sin and unfaithfulness in an unhealthy way.  There is healthy position of knowing our own heart so that we might guard ourselves in the things of the Lord but if we’re not carefully we can fall into continual self condemnation which I see a lot of in Puritan writings.  That is not healthy for the soul and only tends to leave  one in a place of frustration and defeat.  Romans chapter 7 is surrounded by the glorious truth of Romans chapter 6 & 8.   In examining our heart and actions we should, most of all, endeavor to keep our eyes on Christ and His faithfulness to accomplish His will and purposes in our lives in bringing us into His image.)

Written by Sean Scott

December 7, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Posted in Uncategorized