In my last newsletter I mentioned that my wife and I had been experiencing difficulty finding a church that fits our needs here in the Boise Idaho area. I received several e-mails from pastors who are upset with my newsletter. Basically, they said that I should not have said that some pastors are not preaching meat and that I should be encouraging people to attend churches. Let me set the record straight.
I believe that Christians should attend church. I believe that they should support the Pastor and the elders and that they should tithe regularly. No church is perfect and we should not complain about minor things. Christians need to be very supportive in their churches both financially and prayerfully. I do not recommend that people stop attending a church... unless the pastors teaching something that is false.
On the other hand, I received many e-mails from people saying that they are having the same problem I am. Several people said that they are looking for more of the truth of God's word and that the desire to hear to strength and power of the Word preached. Many people told me that they are tired of seeker sensitive churches. While I believe that we should be sensitive to those who are seeking, I also believe that the preaching of the word of God should not be compromised in any way and that its power should be unleashed. Speak the truth. When I hear a sermon, I want to hear from God.
Nevertheless, there are countless pastors who are very godly, who wrestle with how to present the word of God to as many people as possible in such a way as to point them to Christ. This is a very difficult thing to do and I commend those pastors who labor over their sermons, pray over their people, and seek to deliver the word of God truthfully. It is not easy and the congregations need to lift their pastors in supportive prayer.
Anyway, I am now leading a small home church gathering. It is a blessing to meet with a few families that attend each Sunday. We sing praise songs to the Lord and then I teach out of God's word, verse by verse. This Sunday we are continuing through Philippians and will begin chapter 2. It is a marvelous chapter and I will be able to present the message of God's incarnation, His humiliation, and His love to us. Praise God for His marvelous word.
ONLINE SCHOOLS OF APOLOGETICS AND THEOLOGY
I mentioned in the last newsletter that the apologetics school has been released on CARM. I'm pleased to say that many people have signed up for it already and I've received e-mails stating that they enjoy it greatly. Unfortunately, the scripting for the credit card admission system is not working properly. Paypal, however, works perfectly well. If you are interested in subscribing to the school please go to www.carm.org/online.htm and check it out. All the information you need is there.
There are a few verses in the Bible that have a way of confronting me when I read them. Philippians 2:3 is one of them. Its command is to do nothing from selfish motives. When I read this I am instantly convicted because I know that there are many things I that are motivated from selfishness and conceit. When I read that God desires us to be humble in our minds, I am instantly reminded of my natural desire to boast in my knowledge and I realize that I am not humble of mind. And then, the verse says to regard one another as more important than ourselves. Though there are times when I can honestly say I have done this, the truth is I have not done this nearly enough. Generally, I am far more concerned with my own exaltation, my own well-being, my own safety and my own importance and that of others. I hate to admit it, but it is true.
I'm forced to admit this because I know my own heart and it is exposed when I read the truth of God's word. I can make no excuses for my sinful and selfish behavior. I can only confess my sin and ask the Lord Jesus to work in to my heart more compassion, more love, more humility, and more of Him. After all, what I need and what you need moreover, is Jesus.
What verses do you know that when you read them they are like lights upon your soul exposing things that you might not want to admit are there? Can you think of one? Or, can you think of more than one? If you can't, then I recommend you read Philippians 2:1-8; Colossians 3:1-17, and 1 Cor. 13.
When you read them, take note of what verses stand out to you and which verses confront you with your own sanctification. But please don't become depressed because you aren't as perfect as Jesus. You do not need to gilt whip yourself. What you need to do is thank the Lord for pointing out areas in your life that need improvement. Then ask Him for forgiveness in those areas where you have sinned and then seek to live according to the Word of God.
And finally, please remember that we are not saved because of how well we adhere to the Scriptures. We are saved because of the blood of Christ and because we have trusted in what Christ has done. He has bought us with a great price and we belong to him. We do not become more or less saved because we do or do not keep God's word very well. We are saved because what Christ has done. His call to us to be sanctified, and the holy, is the righteous necessity of having the Lord dwelling your hearts. And, because the Lord lives in the us he will revealed to us those areas of our lives that need to be improved. Rejoice in the fact that the life living in you is holy and calls you to holiness.
2 Thess. 1:11-12,
"To this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power; 12 in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.."