Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Ancient Landmarks - Perpetual Truths!

When Ancient Israel settled by their tribes and families into their territories each family established land-marks or boundaries for their property. They would have used large stones or posts to mark their proper-ty borders. This would protect a family’s holdings and provide protection against deceit, error, or confusion. It would assure the family’s posterity for generations as a homestead.

Proverbs 23:10, 11 provided the widow whose husband passed away to have her own place assured because of those landmarks. Sometimes dishonest neighbors would take advantage of a widow and her children by moving the landmark to increase the size of their own land. To prevent being noticed, thieves would move the landmark a little at a time. Over time they would steal the land. “Do not remove the ancient landmark which your fathers have set.” Proverbs 22:28

Landmarks helped the people to know where the boundaries were. When God sets a landmark in His word, there will be some limitations and restrictions attached to it. We have rights and privileges to move within certain areas of God’s word, but we cannot change what God has set. I have liberty to move with-in the area of boundaries that are set by God.

We will be speaking for the next few Sundays on the tenets of faith and landmark beliefs of the church. The Bible says that “we must hold fast the faithful word as we have been taught, that we may be able by sound doctrine, exhort and convict those who contradict us.” (Titus 1:9)

We must continually examine our message to see if we are cleaving to and holding firm to the faithful word of God. We are permitted to disagree over trivials and minors when it comes to our faith and belief. But we cannot be divided over major objective truths of scripture. The question is, do we have a firm grasp on objective truths in scripture so as to be able to exhort and convict those who contradict us.

The first landmark that we will focus upon which is the basis for all objective truth is the authority, infallibility, and inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. We believe that the Bible in its original writing, is the final court of appeal in all matters of faith and conduct. It was written by holy men of old as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. The Bible contains the words of Satan and men, as well as of God, and contains the record of sin as well as righteousness.

References:
2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Matthew 5:18
John 5:39; 10:35

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Our Tenets of Faith

There were ancient landmarks in the Old Testament that were the boundary markers which were set in place by the previous generations. These established an area of real estate controlled by each particular family.

God said that no one was to ever cheat their neighbor by moving or removing those ancient markers. (Deuteronomy 19:14) Then in Proverbs 23:10 it warned the people “not to remove the ancient landmark.”

Landmarks were identification points by which ancient families could be sure that the heritage and posterity in their families could be secure for generations to come.

TENETS — Every church and congregation is built with some kind of tenets of their faith. Tenet is defined as “a principle, doctrine, or belief that is held as a truth.” There are foundational beliefs that are held by every church or group.

Full Gospel Church also has tenets of faith that we consider to be landmarks that are givens as truth that must not be moved or removed. We hold to these truths as timeless and unchangeable and want each of you to know and understand them.

For the next several weeks we will study a few important tenets of faith that this church holds that have stood and will continue to stand the test of time and change. These tenets are markers that God has established as permanent stones to support the foundations upon which we have been established.

From time to time it is important for all of us to re-examine our message to see if we are continuing to “hold fast the faithful word as we have been taught, that we may be able by sound doctrine, to exhort and convict those who contradict us.” Titus 1:9

The church today is faced with many pressures concerning what to preach from the pulpit. We live in an era that is being called post-Christian. That means that we as a nation which was founded upon such landmark beliefs from the Bible such as prayer to a Sovereign Deity, and the Ten Commandments, labeled us a Christian nation. Post-Christian means that period in time is now behind us and that public sentiment now rejects the notion that we are a Christian nation. That same sentiment also rejects claims of absolute certainty, or objective truth. Simply put, the ruling society denies the authority of Scripture.

It is important for us then to review some landmarks of our faith that are unchangeable in a post-Christian era. For the next several Sundays we will share our messages on some of those important landmarks. Don’t miss them!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Let's Go!

As we wrap up the Let's Go series this week, I have a thought to share before you "go."

I turn towards the story of Nehemiah. You can read the book of Nehemiah in one long sitting. In fact, take the time to do that! Here is an Israelite man who was in exile. His job was to serve the King wine. But his heart was set on home. His heart broke for the desolation of his home city, and he was so shaken by his remorse that he lost his composure before King Arteserxes and exclaims, "Long live the king! And why shouldn’t I be depressed when the city, the city where all my family is buried, is in ruins and the city gates have been reduced to cinders?”

Before Nehemiah was sent, before he went out of exile and back to his city, before he led the people, rebuilt the walls, and established order in Jerusalem, his heart broke for the despair and the need of his people. He repented for the sins of his city, because what he saw and what he knew was God's will was so different.

When you look around your world, do you see any areas that don't look the way it would look if God was in it? Do you see broken homes, struggling marriages, confused children, wandering young adults? What is it that God has given you eyes to see? Don't get comfortable in that plush palace in Persia, serving the King his wine, when your people are lying in ruins!

We've been talking about Let's Go - a call to missional action. Before you go, do you know where you are going? What do you see that touches your core to the point where you'd lose your composure in front of someone if they asked you why you seemed troubled?

The first step in doing something is seeing the need. My prayer for each one of us is that we may see past ourselves to see the needs that Jesus wants to meet through us. Then, Let's Go!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

GRACE

With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was with them all.” (Acts 4:33)

The meaning of grace. The most common understanding of the word “grace” is “God’s unmerited favor.” In other words, even though we were sinners, deserving of judgment, God looked upon us in love and forgave us. This, however, is only half its meaning. It also means “God’s enabling power.”

“May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who loved us and by His grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” (2 Thes. 2:16, 17)

Not only does His grace make us accepted into the family of God, but it also provides the power we need to live out the Christian life. Two scriptures indicate the 2 aspects of God’s grace in every believer.

1. God’s unmerited favor - “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—and not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8, 9)

2. God’s enabling power - “...In love He predestined us to be His sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will—to the praise of His glorious grace [enabling power], which He has freely given us in the one He loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)

In salvation, not only is God’s unmerited favor expressed (in that we receive forgiveness and restored relationship with Him even though we don’t deserve it), but so also is God’s enabling power—for it is only by His power that we can be transformed. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation, the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

This principle truth of grace continues throughout our walk with God. In every area of our Christian lives, it is God’s grace that causes us to grow and be strong—God’s enabling power given to us without any merit on our part. “Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 3:8)

In our relationship with God - as we walk with Him each day - we constantly meet situations that would try to overwhelm us. Our response to God is to trust His word. We express our trust through obedience. This proves we believe what God’s word says despite what the circumstances might indicate. God’s response to our faith is His grace - His enabling power, which causes us to triumph in every situation.

God promises: “He is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)    

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

THE BIBLE: Its Sufficiency and Supremacy!

An obscure Irish preacher in the 19th century wrote a pamphlet entitled The Bible: Its Sufficiency and Supremacy. Not many have heard of C. H. Mackintosh, but way back then he saw, in germinating form, Messiah’s gravely infirmed Body of today. He saw the church even back then infected by and succumbing to the philosophies and compromises of man; carelessly permitting the erosion of Scripture as the bedrock of our faith.

The heart of his message must be made an unavoidable issue in every generation—we need to courageously promote the Scriptures and combat its assailants, now more than ever.

The ravenous manner in which we indiscriminately consume information and opinions suggests that what Mackinstosh maintains is true: be it politics or academics, the media and entertainment, the bowels of an egocentric internet, or the high places of spiritual celebrity, every surrounding force is bent on persuading us that “we need other guidance than that which [the Bible’s] precious pages supply.”

Rather than each one of us taking personal responsibility to turn to God and His word for every answer and every directive, we instead deceive ourselves and default to those deemed more experienced, more educated, or more enlightened. Mackintosh’s point in his writings asserted and championed the single fundamental belief that “men must either deny that the Bible is the word of God, or admit its sufficiency and supremacy.” There is no middle ground. The Scriptures must be either complete and outright foolishness, or the unrivaled pronouncement of God’s revealed wisdom and truth.

Personally I have always upheld the Scriptures with the belief that they are the solely authoritative, written revelation of God’s word. My faith rests on the glorious, foundational truth that “every scripture”  - from Genesis to Revelation is - “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16); that God inspired men to infallibly and inerrantly code His divine word into the stuff of human language and thought.

It is so evident that faithlessness will abound, the fabric of society’s morals will unravel, and humanity will give way to unthinkable depravity when there is no supreme rule of authority to follow. My passion is for proclaiming the perfection of the word of God, and the message of its sufficiency and supremacy for all.

There remains a very crucial issue for this age and for every age: Will we surrender our wills and trust our lives solely to the word of God? Are we willing to commit to the fostering of a generation that will disregard all other influences, and pledge its life - without compromise - to uphold the sufficiency and supremacy of the Bible?