Monthly Archives: February 2006

A Church on the Brink: God’s Election Made Sure

This is a continuation of the sermon I preached on Sunday, February 19 at FBC Liberty. This sermon is the first of a series on 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Enjoy…

II. Healthy Churches Produce Changed Lives. (Verses 4-5)
*2 major ways the missionaries identify regeneration:

  • 1st–The people have responded to the Gospel! Their salvation was not in word alone! It was accompanied with the power of the Holy Spirit!
    o Their lives matched their message…
    o This was not because of fancy preaching! (verse 5)—you know what kind of men we proved to be!
  • 1 Corinthians 2:4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
  • How do you characterize a good sermon? Funny jokes? Brevity? Or are you hungering for someone to teach the Word of God to you?

    o 2nd–The report given by Timothy (3:6) of their faith and love…They were people who were living changed lives!

    o Other signs of the elect:

  • Colossians 3:12 And so, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. 14 And beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.
  • Why do we have problems with unity in churches? Many of the people in the pews are not SAVED!

    *Election takes place before the foundations of the world—Ephesians 1:4– just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love

    *It’s purpose is to produce people who are like Christ—Romans 8:29– For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren;

    *Divine Election is a theme of the Thessalonian Epistles:
    o 1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

    o 2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.
    o Compare with verses 11 and 12– And for this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they might believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness.

    *Note—Verse 4—The people are elected by God…Verse 9—YOU turned to God from your idols!


Next point coming soon!

New Sermon Series: A Church on the Brink…

I am beginning a new series of sermons at my church called A Church on the Brink. This series is a study of 1 and 2 Thessalonians. The major theme in 1 and 2 Thess. is the second coming of Christ (parousia). Many of the people in this church were converted from pagan religions and were now being tempted to return to their old ways by Jews who were skeptical of Paul, Silvanus (Silas) and Timothy. Many of the people had apparently misunderstood the teaching of these missionaries on their initial visit, (that was interrupted and cut short) recorded in Acts 17:1-9. Many were quitting their jobs and depending on the labor of others as a result of the immanent return of Christ. Paul writes, among other reasons, to correct this misunderstanding and to remind the people of some of the practical implications of the Gospel that should be played out in their lives. In way of application, I presented the material as characteristics of a healthy church. I get this from 1 Thess. 3:6 when Timothy’s report of the church is being made known–“your faith and love have been reported. “My main points for verses 1-3 are listed below:

Three Evidences of God’s Work in the Thessalonian Church
  • Verse 1: Salutation: the authors of the letter are revealed: order is probably important.
    –Paul–we know…
    –Silvanus: this is simply the Latin name for Silas…went with Paul and Barnabas to Antioch to deliver the decision of the Jerusalem counsel; chosen by Paul to be his associate on the second missionary journey.
    –Timothy: The son of a Greek father and devout Jewish mother, he was a relative newcomer to the Christian mission. Paul and Silas had drafted him into the ministry roughly a year earlier ins Lystra (Acts 16:1).
    –Both had been instrumental in helping Paul in evangelism in Corinth.
I. Healthy Churches only function through the work of the Holy Spirit. (Verses 2-3)

The missionaries are rejoicing in the fact that the church is bearing fruit!

Their work of faith–This is an interesting use of faith here; it gives the impression that their faith has been made evident through their works! The ministries that were carried out by the church were based in faith (worked by the Holy Spirit)
  • Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
  • James 2:18 But someone may well say, “You have faith, and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”

Their labor of love–this gives forth an image of the people working in the process of knowing Christ and loving each other. (This is a labor intensive, long term endeavor that takes place in the local church!) Could be a reference to their welcome of the missionaries (v.9)

Their steadfastness of hope–This is definitely an eschatological hope–a hope for the 2nd coming of Christ; a restoration of all things! HOPE for the escape of coming wrath!

  • Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

I’ll post the next two points soon.

May God write and apply His Word to our hearts!

New Blog: Reformation Theology

Check out this blog! Just click on the cool picture!

Book Review: Blue Like Jazz

Honestly, I don’t have alot of time to read books that I WANT to read. I’m in seminary and that means I read books that I HAVE to read. Sometimes these two types of books intertwine and sometimes they don’t. I have not read Blue Like Jazz, but Shane Walker reviewed the book on the Nine Marks site and it might be worth a glance to you. Just click on reveiws and you will find it. Have you read it? What do you think? I am interested to read it, but it will have to be after May 6th!

Smutty Billboards; Our Responsibility

Dr. Jim Hamilton has recently blogged about something that I hope you will investigate. Basically, he is speaking out against all the filth that is pasted across the city of Houston on billboards. I hope you will read his blog and the letter that he has written to various parties concerning this issue.

Perhaps you could e-mail or write one of these advertisers expressing your concern as well!

Ross King: “I’m Done!”

Perhaps you are familiar with the music of Ross King. Perhaps you are not. The thing that I want to point you to is the person who is Ross King. The great thing is that there is really not much difference. He is a true brother in Christ and a very wise man. He is not two different people (on stage, at church, at home, across the table). The truth that he speaks in his music and in his writing comes out in his regular conversation as well. Usually all of my conversations with Ross have built me up. I want to direct you to his website and ask that you click on the WRITINGS portion. Read his latest entry entitled “The Freedom to Be Done.”

Let me know what you think. I have been refreshed and convicted by these thoughts on the freedom that we all have in Christ. I am admittedly on the beginning of that journey to live in freedom. I’m thankful for people like Ross who use the Scriptures to guide us on our way. I need to “be done” with so much in my life. May the Lord give me the strength to live as a free man!

When he refers to his church, he is referring to Community Church in College Station, TX. He pastors there with Scot Stolz. These two men are seeking to build biblical community and I am fascinated with the way God has opened their eyes to the beauty of the Church. They are really fun to have lunch with too! You need to get in touch with them and pick their brains. I know that I’m going to be doing that a lot in the near future.

Ross, thanks again for the thoughts!

C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney on Marriage and Romance

Just in time to prepare for Valentine’s Day, the FamilyLife Today radio show is presenting two programs this week titled “Romance Basics for Men and Women,” featuring C.J. and Carolyn Mahaney. On Thursday, February 2, FamilyLife Today is excerpting a recent message from C.J. about how a man should romance his wife. The next day, FamilyLife presents an excerpt from a message Carolyn gave on how a wife should romance her husband. To find out when the programs will air on a station near you—or to listen to the programs online—visit the FamilyLife website.

(Thanks to Sovereign Grace Ministries)

Post-Modern Stop Signs?

Many say that the majority of Americans today embrace a post-modern worldview. To give a definition and brief history:

The Post-Modern period can be classified from 1950 to the present.

The central Figure Friedrich Nietzsche (pictured here)

The starting point is knowledge over and above reality.

Logic is not employed in this worldveiw. (by logic I mean the science and study of reason)

Values are determined by the person…

There is No objective truth

For example, proponents of this view are not after the authorial intent of the writers of the biblical literature, but simply what the writing means to them!

There is No objective morality

  • A Pragmatic Theory of truth is employed. (This simply means that what works, for the individual, is therefore true.)
  • Science is minimized and weight is given to the community to decide truth.
  • The general rule in interpretation of material that claims objective truth (the Bible) is Suspicion .

Now, to the stop signs. My question is…why do people, who espouse a post-modern worldview stop at stop signs? Do you know any post-moderns who decide whether the red octagon with white capital letters reading STOP is meaning stop to them, or some alternate meaning of “stop” which would mean something different? Of course not! Stop signs are a universal symbol that convey a very specific truth. There is no room for interpretation. Truth is truth!

Or what about post-modern doctors? Imagine a surgeon saying to his patient “The MRI shows cancerous tumors, but I think you are going to be just fine!” Does this change the fact that tumors exist in the person? Absolutely not! The doctor is clearly placing his opinion over and above the objective truth of the MRI machine.

I say this to prove that the post-modern mindset is simply a ploy to avoid the clear, objective truth found in the Bible. No one really would use this “logic” in any other area of life, would they? So, be careful the next time you hear someone say…”well, to me God is like….or to me this verse means…” There is truth and there is falsehood. Jesus prayed in John 17:17…”Father, sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth!” Truth is objective and it is only found in the Word of God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Remember that the next time you stop at a stop sign!