MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.

Steps to Growth – Prioritization

June 8th, 2018 Viewed 19 times, 1 so far today

What kind of priority do we see Christ emphasizing in the Scriptures? This has to be our goal if we’re going to fulfill the Biblical mandate.

A PRIORITY FOR EVERYONE

To quote the Great Commission of Matthew 28, while you are going, make disciples. This was the command of every single disciple and apostle of Christ. It was not given to just certain disciples under certain circumstances, and it is not a call to share the gospel with strangers and end it there. The command would be more clearly written, “As you are going, preach the gospel, baptize them, and then teach them to observe or obey the truths that you have been taught.” It is a call for discipleship, and it is incumbent on everyone to be doing it.

While God has given us pastors, teachers, evangelists, etc. to teach believers the work of the ministry, it is implied that all believers would be performing this work. 1 Corinthians 12 talks about one body, many members, but that mean that some members are to be sharing the Gospel and others are to be discipling, for these things are commanded to all disciples.

In this truth is both something we need to confess, and the secret of our strength. I would posit that only a small percentage of the believers at First Baptist are actively sharing the Gospel and Discipling. I would guess that the number of those doing discipling is greater than sharing the Gospel, but even this I would suggest is not 100% or still would have room for growth.

It is therefore imperative for us to help believers to know where they are in terms of this Scriptural command and to be able to take the next steps in faith to move from where they are to a closer communion with God by fulfilling the command to tell the Good News and make disciples where they are.

photo by: jessdone8

The Cold Civil War and the Future of America

June 7th, 2018 Viewed 103 times, 1 so far today

In an article in the Federalist, Ryan Williams suggests that we are currently in a cold civil war in America.

Both elites and the public have expressed much recent anxiety about increasing political “polarization.” The moderate “center” that used to be the basis for compromise on all manner of policy has been disappearing for at least the last three decades, as the distance between the most liberal Republican in Congress and the most conservative Democrat continues to grow.

The two parties trade national congressional majorities and the presidency, but gridlock is the rule rather than the exception. Even the occasional policy victory, like Obamacare or the recent tax cut, is passed on strictly partisan lines and subject to reversal after the next narrow electoral victory by the other side.

Our political divisions and policy instability are symptoms of a growing conflict of visions over America’s past and future. At both elite and popular levels, Americans have become partisans of one or the other of what my colleague Charles Kesler calls our “two constitutions.” The stakes could not be higher: this is a fight over what kind of national political life we will choose for ourselves and the next generation. So we find ourselves in the midst of what another colleague, Angelo Codevilla, has labeled a “cold civil war.”

photo by: familymwr

Steps to Growth – Confession

June 6th, 2018 Viewed 20 times, 1 so far today

Growth is the default behavior of the body of Christ. This does not necessarily mean that if a church body shrinks numerically that it is under divine judgement, but the start of every revival or growth of the body of Christ has begun with an understanding of the sin that may affect the body, confession of that sin, and a renewed desire to follow Christ to the exclusion of all others.

PRECEDENT

In Daniel 9, Daniel the prophet and those with him had not forsaken God, they were steadfast and true to the point of seeing themselves saved from the fiery furnace and the mouths of lions, yet we still find that Daniel prays for himself and his people as if they are the gravest of sinners. He begs the Lord that for His own glory that He would save His people and return them to Judah—even though he was well aware that God had promised to do just that.

In Ezra 9 and 10, there were a relatively small number of people that had intermarried with the people of the land, and Ezra knew this was the reason that there was difficulty in the land. He sought out the Lord’s advice, and had them separate from their wives and children—no small thing.

Throughout the Old Testament and in the book of Acts and Revelation we see that the children of Israel and the churches only see the growth that God can provide when sin has been confessed and repentance is sought. While leadership can plead with the Lord, much like Job pleaded for his children, we will only see growth spiritually or numerically when we realize how far we are from what we need to be in God.

photo by: jessdone8

Motivations for Church Growth

June 5th, 2018 Viewed 17 times, 1 so far today

There’s no question that the trajectory that God expects from the people that he has left on this Earth is for growth. It is literally the last thing that he told His disciples to do, and while growth doesn’t always mean numerical growth for a local body of believers, it does mean that every believer should be growing in godliness. Jesus’ allusion to being the true vine shows that God empowers the believer to bring forth fruit, but if there is no fruit then there is a serious issue.

The first thing that we need to analyze before even beginning to think through how to grow the local body of Christ is the question of why we are doing it. There are many poor reasons for pursuing church growth:

  • Remembering the glory days
  • Looking to continue to do the things we used to do
  • Feeling of loss

There are also many others . The pure motives for church growth fit along the line of wanting to see disciples grow in their faith, wanting to see lives changed, victory over sin, and the Word of God proclaimed.

If these things are the destination, then everything that we do—every program, every outreach, every endeavor must be evaluated based on these criteria.

photo by: jessdone8

Marital Intimacy – I Corinthians 6:12-7:5, 7:25-38 – Singleness, Marriage and Sex

June 4th, 2018 Viewed 22 times, 2 so far today

Where Does Paul Derive His Instruction about the topic of intimacy in marriage?

First, from Adam and Eve—the two became one flesh. This is the key to why sexual immorality it prohibited by Paul and lays the foundation for the arguments against it. Second, from the Gospels in which we learned that Jesus said that compared to the love of family we should love God above all else. This is foundational to the ideas that Paul is going to have about why you should not marry if you can help it.

What are the commands in this passage?

  • Sexual Immorality is harmful because it is the joining of two people into one.
  • The husband’s and wife’s bodies are not their own, they are to be physically intimate.
  • Stay as you are, if you are able.

For What Purpose does Paul Say it is Better Not to be Married?

photo by: bsabarnowl

Are You Innocent?

June 1st, 2018 Viewed 14 times, 3 so far today

In Acts 20:26 Paul declared himself to be innocent of the blood of all men in Ephesus (cf. comments on Acts 18:6). He preached to “all men” (cf. “all the Jews and Greeks … in the province of Asia,” 19:10). And the content of His preaching was all of God’s will (boulēn, “purpose, plan”; cf. 2:23; 4:28; 13:36; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 6:17).

Can the same be said of us? Are we innocent?

Paul didn’t discriminate among who he witnessed and proclaimed the message. Do we?

This was a reference to Ezekiel 33:9. God compared a watchman for the children of Israel with Ezekiel himself. He told Ezekiel that it was his duty to tell Israel what he was told, and that if he did, then he would be innocent of the blood of the people, but if he did not, he would be guilty.

How about us?

We know the truth of the fact that people are dying and going to Hell today. Are we innocent of the blood of our family? Are we innocent of the blood of our friends? Coworkers? Are we innocent of the blood of those people that we see on a regular basis?

Conclusion

I’ve gone through a lot of requests that haven’t been made of us that are more severe than what has been requested of us.

We know what God requires of us.  We know what it takes to be innocent.  What are we willing to do about it?

Who Do You See in the Mirror?

May 31st, 2018 Viewed 23 times, 2 so far today

James 1:22-25 Tells us that those that hear the Word but do not do it are like people that look at the mirror but forget what they saw.

None of us look in the mirror, see a huge glob of toothpaste there, or see that we need to shave and then go away not having done it, tet many of us hear the Word or know the Word but do not put in the time to do what we know to do.

Maybe it’s worse than that…

Maybe you’ve gotten to the point in your life where you know the Word, but you just do not care. If the Holy Spirit is not prodding you or prompting you, it’s time to get on your knees and seek His face.

photo by: Claudio 

What Does God Request of Us?

May 30th, 2018 Viewed 23 times, 1 so far today

God is Always at Work

God has been working since Creation.

Though He rested at the end of Creation, the Bible records for us that He was at work the entire life of the children of Israel and Jesus leaves us with the impression that the work continues after He left. God has a plan for the entire life of the planet Earth, and that plan is going on regardless of whether we get involved.

Part of the amazing part of the Gospel is that God asks us to join Him in His work, and gives us tasks that we can accomplish.

Matthew 25:14-30 – We are the servants in this passage Having been entrusted with talents to different degrees, the master returns and the only person that is judged is the one that chose to do nothing.

What are you doing with your life?

What if He Asked You To Preach to Your Worst Enemy? (Jonah)

May 29th, 2018 Viewed 51 times, 1 so far today

Jonah 1:1-3 – Jonah was asked to go to the enemy of the Israelites to preach a message that would call them to repentance

In this famous story, we all know that Jonah didn’t want to go. He went the furthest he could in the opposite direction. God brought Jonah back through the most inconceivable way possible– via the belly of a fish.

Jonah did not want to see them repent. He wanted them punished for who they were. He believed he had righteous indignation against these opponents of the chosen people.

God wanted to show mercy.

What would you do?

We are probably more like Jonah. It’s easy to tell people that we like about the Gospel. It’s hard to tell our enemies that Jesus loves them and that they need salvation. God wants us to tell the world of His love, and more often than not, it’s the weak of this world that hear and follow than those that have confidence in themselves.

And there are plenty of modern day Jonah’s waging holy war against those they believe have the wrong view on all sorts of issues. They believe that if God won’t take care of it, then they certainly will take the fight to them. And yet God saved the people of Ninevah, and He cares about that person online or in person that you disagree with. His call is to repent, turn from sin and get right with Him.

photo by: Chris Yarzab

The Couples of Acts – Ananias & Sapphira, Aquila & Pricilla, and Timothy’s Mom

May 28th, 2018 Viewed 59 times, 1 so far today

Whose plan was it and why did they do it? (Acts 5:1-2)

There was much praise heaped upon Barnabas for selling his land and buying it. Therefore, Ananias figured that he could get praise for doing the same—except he didn’t want to give it all, but figured that he wouldn’t get as much praise unless it was for the total amount. So they decided to lie and thought that no one would know the difference.

Sapphira decides to do the same thing, why?

It would seem that it would not make sense. Certainly they would know that they were a married couple and that Sapphira knew the plan means that he would have already claimed that it was the entire proceeds, this makes one wonder what she was trying to do or prove? In either case, she was given a chance to go against her husband (for she did not know that he was dead at the time) and be honest, and yet she did not.

What’s significant about Timothy’s parents? (Acts 16:1-2)

His mom was a Jew and was a Christian. His dad was a Greek, and unsaved. Yet Timothy was a disciple of Christ. This spoke to him learning the truth from his mother.

What is Aquila and Pricilla’s background? (Acts 18:1-4)

They were part of the Jews that were exiled from Rome because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. They cross paths with Paul in Corith. They were tent-makers just like Paul. This shows that Paul was not silent about his faith even while at work.

How do we know that they got close to Paul? (Acts 18:18)

They traveled with him, and in many of the Epistles Paul makes mention that greetings are coming from them or that they are present with him.

How did they minister to Apollos? (Acts 18:24-26)

Apollos was a great speaker and many were coming to Christ because of him. Yet he only knew of John’s baptism. Aquila and Priscilla took him along side and educated him in the truth. This wasn’t something they did in public, but they both shared in that ministry to Apollos.

Do we see any couple in Acts being separate in their decisions?

No. While there are many men that are referenced, we know that it was possible to have saved and unsaved being together, but ministry happened together.

photo by: holl7510

MInTheGap

Standing in the Gap in a Society that's Warring with God.