Why is the Glory of God Important?

The bible says a lot about the Glory of God.  It is especially clear that God’s glory should be important to us.  In fact, there are at least 29 reasons why we must capture a vision of the Glory of God:

  1. so that we will fear the Lord (Acts 12:23, Rev 14:7)
  2. so that we will know God (Jn 1:14, Heb 1:3)
  3. so that we will be saved (2 Cor 4:4-6)
  4. so that we will believe (Jn 2:11)
  5. so that we will repent (Rev 16:9)
  6. so that we will be a part of his Kingdom (Dan 7:13-14, Mt 16:27)
  7. so that we will not be punished (Jer 13:16, Lk 9:26, Rev 16:9)
  8. so that we will work for God’s purpose (Isa 48:11)
  9. so that we will fulfill our purpose (Isa 43:7)
  10. so that we will trust the bible (1 Pt 1:11)
  11. so that we will worship (Ps 106:20, Rom 1:23)
  12. so that we will treasure Christ (Mt 13:44, Rev 4:11)
  13. so that we will be glorified (2 Cor 3:18)
  14. so that we will be humble (Rom 3:23)
  15. so that we will be just (James 2:1)
  16. so that we will suffer well (1 Pt 4:13-14)
  17. so that we will endure (1 Pt 1:7, Col 3:4, Rom 8:18, 2 Cor 4:17)
  18. so that we will be strong (1 Pt 5:10, Eph 3:16)
  19. so that we will walk in newness of life (Rom 6:4)
  20. so that we will be thankful (2 Ch 7:3)
  21. so that we will love another (Rom 15:7)
  22. so that we will share the gospel (Col 1:27)
  23. so that we will see others saves (1 Ch 16:10,24)
  24. so that we will serve others (2 Tim 2:10)
  25. so that we will sing praise (Ps 66:2)
  26. so that we will pray (Ps 79:9)
  27. so that we will speak truth (Jn 7:18)
  28. so that we will love God more than man (Jn 12:43)
  29. so that we will understand nature (Ps 19:1)

What is God’s Glory?

John MacArthur:

Let me give you simply this, to begin with. The glory of the Lord is the expression of God’s person. It is any manifestation of God’s character, any manifestation of His attributes in the world, in the universe is His glory. In other words, the glory is to God what the brightness is to the sun. The glory is to God what wet is to water. The glory is what heat is to fire. In other words, it is the emanation, it is the effulgence, it is the brightness, it is the product of His presence, it is the revelation of Himself. Anytime God discloses Himself, it is the manifestation of His glory. That really refers to His presence.

Full Sermon Available HERE

Is Church Membership in the Bible?

Last Sunday we welcomed in a new batch of church members.  This was a joyous day, but there is always that question of whether or not church membership is actually in the bible.  In short, I answered this objection by saying that the procedures individual churches use may not be in the bible (filling out a form, etc.) but the practice of formally attaching your self to the church most definitely is in the bible.

You can listen to the sermon  in full here: Sermon Audio

Here is my outline (you’ll have to look up the references yourself):

  • What is Church Membership?
    • It’s a Formal Affirmation with Christ
      • Affirmation of the Disciple of Christ
        • Mt 18:15-18 & 16:19 – It’s the church’s job to examine & validate an individuals claim to faith in Christ.
        • ILL: German Embassy recognizes, not make U.S. citizens
        • This prevents false assurance – 1 John 2:19
        • This prevents unbelievers from speaking for Jesus.
      • Affirmation of the Body of Christ
        • Jesus’s love for the church is not fickle – Eph 5:25-32
        • A way for Christians to affirm & love the body like Christ – 1 Jn 2:10
    • It’s a Formal Attachment to Christ
      • Attachment for Shepherding from Christ
        • God intends for you to grow through shepherding (Jer 3:15; Eph 4:11-12)
        • Christians don’t get what God intends for them w/o formal attachment
        • If you’re not attached how are you disciplined? (Matt 18:15ff)
        • If you’re not attached how are you shepherded? (Heb 13:17) 
        • ILL: Drifter on side of road represents Christian not attached to church.
      • Attachment for Service to Christ
        • Church membership is a way to formally support the church
        • Must see the church as a place to serve rather than a service provider. 
        •   When the going gets tough the drifter get going, & members stay to serve.
  • Why is Church Membership Important? 
    • It’s important because it’s Biblical 
      • Biblical Examples of church membership
        • Letters of Formal Affirmation (Acts 28:21)
        • Lists (Acts 1:15 [lit. names], 2:41, etc.; Rev 20:15)  
        • Someone excluded from membership (3 John 9)
      • Biblical Principles that require membership
        • Pastors must give account for someone (Heb 13:17)
        • Various images for the church
          • A Building – A Christian not formally attached to church is a lone brick
          • A Family – Like an child who wants to live down the street from family.
          • A Body – A Christian not attached to a church is like a rouge elbow.
    • It’s important because it’s Beneficial 
      • Spiritually Beneficial to Individuals
        • for Discipleship & kingdom preparation (Heb 10:24-25)
        • for spiritual gifts b/c you don’t have them all (1 Cor 12:4-7)
        • for spiritual accountability & covering blind spots (Prov 27:6)
        • for spiritual perseverance (Eph 6:18 & ILL: Navy SEAL buddy stop Marty from quitting)
      • Corporately Beneficial to Churches
        • for corporate unity by enforcing standards of belief (Acts 4:32)
        • for corporate purity by enforcing standards of practice (Acts 5:10-13)
        • for corporate effectiveness by implementing your gifts(1 Cor 12:4-5)
        • for corporate evangelism (John 13:35, the example of Acts)

The Most Interesting Man in the World

Last week I had a cross country flight from Philadelphia to L.A. The trip was a mid-week ministry trip that required me to be prepared to teach when I landed & prepared to fulfill my normal teach responsibilities at home on Sunday.  In other words, it was the kind of flight that you want to get some work done during.  That did not happen!

Sometimes (most of the time) I can’t keep my mouth shut.  So, when a gentleman sat down in the middle seat next to mine I couldn’t help myself.  I knew I had a lot to get done.  I knew the most productive thing to do was put my headphones on and get to work (and next to opening my mouth be productive is my second favorite thing).  But I just couldn’t help myself.  I introduced myself to the guys next to me; the guy I had noticed talking everyone’s ear off in the line.

As I introduced myself there was a spiritual part of me, all be it very small, that began praying for the chance to share the Gospel.  There other 95% of me was hoping to abruptly end the conversation that I started so that I could get to work.  Immediately it became clear that the latter was not going to happen.  The fellow next to me was more than happy to tell me any story I wanted to hear with as much detail as he could muster.  Now, before you cringe and empathize with my pain let me say that I really didn’t mind.  In fact, this guy was one of the most interesting individuals I have ever met.

He began to tell me about his current business in the oil industry which was fascinating.  Then he recalled his days as a Naval Aviator followed by the story of adopting children and then, well this is where it got really interesting.  Come to find out this guy was a Navy Seal & had combat experience in Vietnam.  This was becoming one of the most interesting flight I had even had.

Unfortunately the stories had to come to a temporary end when he had to excuse himself to the bathroom.  At that point I seized my opportunity, grabbed my iPad, and got to work on sermon prep.  When he returned I figured I would just quietly continue working and finally get something done (notice my prayers for gospel opportunities have stopped).  When my co-passenger returned he wasn’t ready to put an end to our conversation & made that known with a serious of questions about my iPad.  Always ready to show off my favorite gadget I immediately began showing him how productively I can be with my iPad (at least normally).  That’s when the conversation turned.

As I swiped from one app to another he halted my progress and asked me to go back.  I figured that he wanted to see a feature I had shown him, but that’s not what caught his eye.  What caught his eye was the sermon I preached last weekend (yep, I use my iPad to preach).  The sermon was titled ‘Dunkin’ Christians.’ Get it? Baptism… Dunkin… Anyway, he thought it was funny and wanted to know what it meant.  At this point my Nehemiah prayers have returned (they never should have left) & I gave him a 90 second overview of the sermon on baptism.  When that wasn’t enough for him I opened up the doc and went point by point re-preaching the sermon for him (the lady next to us covered her ears!).

After my sermon was done my neighbor informed me that his parent raised him as a Catholic Jew (that is not a typo).  As a result he essentially rejected both religions and created another form of works salvation to follow.  He asked me if what he believed was true & as a pastor what I believed.  There is a term for this kind of situation, it’s called a “slow pitch right down the middle.”  I was not going to miss this pitch either.

I went on to tell him that his system was not what the bible teaches & asked if I could explain what the bible does teach.  Over the next hour or so I explained salvation by grace through faith.  We even, at his request, talked about imputation.  Near the end of our conversation he asked one final question, “what’s a guy like me gotta do to be saved?”  I told him what Jesus told people when he was on earth, “repent and believe for the kingdom of God is at hand.” (Mark 1:15)

I don’t know whether my co-passenger will choose to follow Jesus.  But I know that I will be praying for him, like I should have been doing from the beginning of the conversation.  I also was reminded that God did not leave us here to “get things done.” Sometimes we do have to get things done.  But, primarily God left us here to tell people about Jesus in preparation for the Kingdom.  Thankfully, despite my unfaithfulness, I had the opportunity.  I was able tell one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met about the MOST interesting man w

The Meaning of Baptism

Outline

__________________________________________
I.  Baptism proclaims that we are with Christ.

a)     by acknowledging faith in Christ

b)     by acting in obedience to Christ

c)      by announcing ambassadorship for Christ

II.Baptism is a proclamation that Christ is with us.

a)     by portraying Christ’s work in us

b)     by pointing to Christ’s death for us

c)      by picturing Christ’s life for us   

__________________________

Notes

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I. Baptism proclaims that we are with Christ.

  • First, baptism proclaims that we are with Christ.
    • Through baptism an individual attaching himself to Christ & How does baptism proclaim that we are with Christ?

a. by acknowledging faith in Christ

  • One way baptism proclaims we are with Christ is by acknowledging faith in Christ.
    • Baptism is a declaration of faith on the part of an individual
    • Baptism is an acknowledgment on the part of an individual that they are no longer depending on themselves for salvation, but instead they have placed their faith in Christ.
    • Baptism is a visible sign that through faith you are with Christ.

b. by acting in obedience to Christ

  • Another way baptism proclaims we are with Christ is by acting in obedience to Christ
    • Christ commanded that all his followers be baptized (Mt 28:19ff)
    • By obeying this first command a Christian is indicating that he is now under the Lordship of Christ.
    • MT 6:24 says no one can serve two masters, in baptism a Christian is declaring that his master is Christ.
    • Baptism is the 1st step in submitting to Jesus as Lord  (Rom 10:9-10)
    • When one is baptized they are saying that they are following Jesus now.

c. by announcing ambassadorship for Christ

  • Baptism also proclaims that we are with Christ by announcing ambassadorship for Christ.
    • Every Christian is meant to be an ambassador for Christ (2 Cor 5:20)
    • We are left here to help prepare individuals for that Kingdom by declaring gospel.
    • Baptism is public announcement of ambassadorship.

II. Baptism proclaims that Christ is with us.

a. by portraying Christ’s work in us

  • One of the ways it proclaims that Christ is with us is by portraying Christ work in us.
  • Baptism it is a visible portrayal of the spiritual work Christ initiates within a Christian through the Spirit’s work of regeneration ( Lk 3:16,1 Cor 12:13,John 3:1-8)

b. by pointing to Christ’s death for us

 

  • Baptism also proclaims that Christ is with us, is by pointing to Christ’s death for us.
  • We can’t respond to God because of our sin, but it’s worse than that.
  • Baptism visibly points to what Christ did for us through his death (Rom 6:3-4a)
  • Immersion reminds us of Christ’s death and burial

c. by picturing Christ’s resurrection for us

  • Baptism also proclaims that Christ is with us by picturing Christ’s resurrection for us.
  • Jesus did not remain in the grace, on the third day he rose from the dead.
  • Just as being “dunked” is a reminder of being buried with Christ, so too being lifted out of the water is a reminder that we are also raised with Christ.  (Rom 6:4a)

“How Should the Congregation Treat a Disciplined Member?”

It is important that the congregation submit to the leadership of the elders throughout the discipline process, and that they know how to treat an individual who has been put out of the church.  If the individual members of the church do not practically support the leadership, or if they unwittingly undermine the discipline process then the unrepentant individual could be even more emboldened in his sin.

It is during the third step of the discipline process that the entire congregation must become active in ministering to their unrepentant brother.  At this stage the entire congregation must make every effort to confront the individual of his sin, and plead with them to repent and return to the full fellowship of the church.  Calls, visits, emails, cards, and letters are all appropriate ways to communicate with the disciplined brother.  In this communication the individuals should be treated as a fellow believer who’s unrepentant sin has placed him in grave spiritual danger.  He is in need of firm warning, rebuke, and correction.

If the efforts of the church during the third stage of discipline prove unsuccessful in bringing the disciplined individual to repentance, then the fourth step must be carried out by the elders of the church.  At this stage the congregation must treat the disciplined individual differently.

Specifically…

  1. The congregation must treat this individual as an individual who has rejected the Gospel. (Matthew 18:17) He is not to be viewed as simply an unbeliever, but rather an unbeliever who is dangerous to the church (Jude 23b)
  2. The congregation must withhold fellowship with such an individual (1 Cor 5:9-13). They are not to violate scripture by being unloving, but they must love this individual at a distance.
  3. The congregation, when contact is made, has a responsibility not to avoid the issue of discipline, but rather to call this individual to repentance.
  4. The congregations must show love to this individual by not gossiping about the discipline, having an attitude of forgiveness toward this individual, and in some cases actively loving his family members who have remained in the congregation.

You Can’t CSI God

For God to be God he cannot be accessible to ordinary human investigation; if we are to know him he must come forward out of his hiddenness, in some way make himself perceivable, and hence reveal himself.

We need revelation to know God and to understand ourselves and our situation before God in this world.

Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics Abridged in One Volume, 63.