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A Gathered Church – Hebrews 10:25

It’s Monday, April 20, 2020, and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 29.

Welcome, so glad that you have joined me today.

How are you all doing?

Announcements:

  • Download sermon from Sunday – Daniel 6 at YouTube, or SLBC2u.com
  • SLBC Church App.
  • Resources available at SLBC2u.com
  • I’m praying that we can gather as a Church by the first Sunday, or at least by Mother’s Day, May 10th.

Today in the News:

  • CBS News: Yesterday in Canada a shooting left 16 people dead. Worst attack in the country’s history. Gunman dressed as a police officer.
  • CNN Politics reports: Democrats and the White House said they’re close to reaching a deal to replenish a fund for small-business loans. The initial $350 billion ran out amid reports it was being misused.
  • Apple News: Will warmer temps bring a Coronavirus reprieve? It’s complicated. Many scientists predict reduced spread in warm months, but can’t say by how much.

Church Bulletin Bloopers: Sent in by Deacon Jeff Floyd

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals. 
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The sermon this morning: Jesus Walks on the Water. 
The sermon tonight: Searching for Jesus. 
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands. 
————————- 
Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help. 
————————– 
Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation. 
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs . 
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get. 
————————– 
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days. 

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs – Home, treatment on Tuesday.
  • Tom Spann – cancer treatment
  • SLBC family
  • National response to COVID-19

Our Word from the LORD is taken from Hebrews 10:25,

   not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Today I want to have a word with you about, A Gathered Church: Putting Together the Membership of the Church

What does a True Church look like?

  • A biblical faithful church is a gathered church.

It is voluntarily assembled congregation that is not bound together by nationality, ethnicity, or family alone. No mere circumstance of birth should determine the membership of a biblically faithful church. Rather, a profession of faith in Christ and the act of submitting to the teaching and discipline of a particular church should regulate a congregation’s membership. Christians choose to gather together and regularly out of obedience to God’s word.

Church history: Doctrinal Reform

  • Magisterial Reformers: used the office of the state to bring about doctrinal reform in the church.
  • Non-magisterial Reformers – outside the state (underground, unsanctioned churches) also sought to bring about doctrinal reform in churches.

These reformers preached sermons that exhorted the gathered to examine themselves to make their own calling and election sure. We read in 2 Peter 1:10,

   Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble

The local church is more than a congregation, a gathering, but it is never less.

Congregationalism understands that each gathering that has preaching and the administration of baptism and the Lord supper has been given the keys of authority by Christ and should therefore have its own leadership, accountable under God only to the gathered church.

The word “ekklesia” in the New Testament means “assembly.”

Diversity in the Body of Christ

One fact we know about the church is that it is made up of every group of people found on planet earth – Revelation 5:9,

   And they sang a new song, saying:

“You are worthy to take the scroll,

And to open its seals;

For You were slain,

And have redeemed us to God by Your blood

Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation,

Reasons for establishing a Church

Division should not likely be introduced into a local church. Language, distance, and even size are legitimate reasons to establish separate congregations. But then each separate congregation must uniquely represent the unity of Christ’s end-time assembly, and nothing should be encouraged which should obscure that witness – a witness of holiness and love, yes, but also of actual togetherness across lines of income, ethnicity, class, and more.

Churches shouldn’t TARGET certain group

As churches have reduced worship to evangelism, they have begun to risk introducing divisions amongst these kinds of groups. They have adopted actions appropriate for evangelism (like targeting certain groups such as the old or young, the upper class or the artsy class, the rock music or country music listeners) as an excuse to “narrow” their congregations by dividing them along worldly lines. Yet these are the kinds of divisions which we must not introduce to Christ body, just as it would not be right to try representing their reconciling gospel of Jesus Christ with services that are only for non- Jews or Caucasians.
 
Churches must be careful about creating subgroups acting as complete congregations that divide the church wrongly. In the New Testament Jewish and Gentile believers were not to have separate congregations. Indeed, their togetherness helped to display the gospel they proclaimed (Ephesians 2:11-22). The same is true today.

Churches that submerge differences of age, race, status, background, or employment give witness to the power of the gospel. Neither youth group meetings nor denomination scattered across the whole continent are in a strictly biblical sense a church. Nor are the leaders considered alone. A biblically ordered church regularly gathers the whole congregation.

Other Aspects of the church

  • It’s Christlike love
  • Its service in corporate worship and outreach

   In Ephesians 4:12-13 we read,

“So that the body of Christ being built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ” 

Weekly Gatherings are another aspect of the Church

God created a weekly rhythm – The Sabbath Day – Seven days.

  • Is your week Monday through Sunday?
  • Is your week Sunday through Saturday?

Christians have always gathered together weekly, even in the scriptures. It is not surprising that the New Testament churches apparently met at least weekly if not more and even began referring to Sunday as the Lord’s day (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2; Revelation 1:10; Acts 2:46).

  • Preaching in the Bible presumes a gathered audience
  • Partaking of the Lord Supper requires a gathered audience
  • Church discipline requires a gathered audience – Matthew 18; 2 Corinthians 2

Hebrews 10:25 exhorts us,

   not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

 Non-Christian Roman Official Pliny (AD 112), The Didache (Second century), Justin Martyr (middle of the second century) all spoke of Christians gathering together on the Lord’s day.

Christians came together for the following reasons:

  • Hear God’s Word
  • Baptism
  • Lord’s Supper
  • Prayer
  • Singing together
  • Taking an offering up
  • Teaching
  • Encouraging each other
  • Share in each other’s burdens
  • Know each other

The Church is a gathered people. A solid belief, and a participation.

The Church also recognized the need to maintain a truly saved membership. Born-again believers – Grace through Faith plus nothing.
 
Remember I’m in touch so you be in touch. Stay connected as a congregation.

And as always, Walk with the King today and be a blessing.” Dr. Robert Cook.



Jesus is Better – Hebrews 1-13

It’s Saturday, April 18, 2020, and I’m Pastor Kim, and this is COVID-19 Connection Series # 28

Welcome to today’s broadcast. I am so very glad that you have joined me today. You are in for a special treat.

How in the World are you today?

Announcement: 

  • Church Web App
  • Masking Contest
  • Worship Service tomorrow 10:00 A.M. on Facebook

Dad Jokes:

I should have been sad when my flashlight batteries died.

I was delighted instead.

……………………………………………..

I hope I passed history

As those who fail history are doomed to repeat it.

……………………………………………..

I knew a guy who collected candy canes.

They were all in mint condition.

 …………………………………..

Today in the News:

Fishing season remains open in Idaho – You can still go fishing during COVID-19 restrictions. So get out and enjoy.

Lions take over empty road that normally would be filled with tourists. (See Photos).

Several hundred people marched across the Sandpoint Long bridge yesterday holding signs that read:  

  • Let my people go
  • We will not comply
  • Freedom is Essential
  • Stop using fear to steal our Freedom
  • End Tyranny NOW!!
  • Impeach Chicken Little
  • Open Up Idaho
  • Honk for Freedom
  • We have Rights

I’ve attached a YouTube video of the event if you are interested in watching: https://youtu.be/5HBjvKauYqU

Masks seen in Public: Here are some Unique Masks from various places

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs is having a tube inserted in his chest today to drain water off his lungs. Pray for him. He hopes to come home today as well.
  • Pray that the COVID-19 will pass soon.
  • Christians to have the proper response (Rebellion, Fear, Faith).
  • Online Worship to reach millions at home (Really Pray).
  • National leaders, governors, and local leaders – for wisdom.
  • Our entire SLBC family.

Our WORD from the Lord today is taken from the book of Hebrews. What I want to do is provide an outline for the book of Hebrews which clearly show us that Jesus is Better.

   “Better” is a key word that occurs thirteen times in this book, emphasizing the central thesis of Hebrews that the way of Jesus Christ is so much better!

  1. Jesus is better than the Prophets and the Angels – Heb. 1
  2. Jesus is better than Moses – Heb. 3
  3. Jesus is better than Joshua – Heb. 4
  4. Jesus is better than Aaron, the High Priest – Heb. 5
  5. Jesus is better than the Priesthood – Heb. 7
  6. Jesus is better than Old Testament Tabernacle – Heb. 9
  7. Jesus is a better Sacrifice – Heb. 10
  8. Jesus is the author a better Salvation – Heb. 11:1-13:25

Today I want to take a break from our study on The Church, and I want to do something different. Today I want to have a word with you about – Jesus is Better. But allow me to give you the back story as to why I am sharing this today.

   Most nights I wake up several times. At my age you get up to use the restroom, water closet, bathroom, or whatever you call it. I usually get back into bed, and for whatever reason I can’t seem to fall back to sleep. So, sometimes I pray, but a lot of time I will put in one air pod and listen to Christian music. I seem to fall back to sleep pretty quickly. Well the other night I woke up around 2:20 A.M. and I heard the following reading (or song?). It was so good that I actually took a screen shot on my cell phone so that I would remember the name of the reading (or song). The reading (or song) is titled: Jesus Is Better by Caleb and Sol.

   I really think you are going to like this, but more importantly I hope that you are challenged by it. So here it is…

Jesus is Better – I’ve got 5 minutes to convince you of one thing.

Altogether, it’s 13 letters, 3 words, and 1complete sentence.

And I hope you never forget it.

In fact, I hope it haunts you.

I hope you always remember these 13 letters, these 3 words, and this one complete sentence. Jesus is better.

You say… Better than what? I say… Better than everything else.

He’s better than any passing dream you might be chasing after.

He’s better than any worldly ambition that may have captured your devotion. He’s better than anything that could distract you from doing what you were created to do. Jesus is better.

He’s better than a 6-figure salary.

He’s better than a 3-story home.

He’s better than a trophy wife, a job promotion, and a Caribbean cruise. Jesus is better.

He’s better than a starting position on the football team.

He’s better than a lead role in the spring musical.

He’s better than a 4.0 GPA, a college scholarship, and a nomination to homecoming court. Jesus is better.

He’s better than money, cars, clothes, sex, entertainment, achievement, and popularity.

He’s better than anything this world can offer you. Jesus is better.

He’s better than any person that has ever walked this earth.

He’s wiser than Gandhi and smarter than Einstein.

He’s more holy than Mohammed and more spiritual than Buddha.

He’s more eloquent than Shakespeare and more creative than Mozart.

He’s more powerful than Napoleon and more compassionate than Mother Theresa. Jesus is better.

The Bible says… He’s better than Adam, better than Abraham, better than Moses, David, and Mary.

He’s better than the angels, better than the demons, and better than any prophet, priest, or saint. Jesus is better!

And there will be times when it’s hard to believe: times when it doesn’t feel like Jesus is better.

The world will hate you.

Your flesh will fight you.

And the devil will lie to you.

Storms… will… come.

You’re gonna face disappointment, deception, betrayal, rejection, regret, sickness, and death.

You’re gonna feel tired, empty, broken-hearted, scared, and alone. But don’t forget in the darkness what you learned in the light. Jesus is better.

He’s the King of kings and the Lord of lords.

He is the Prince of Peace and the light of the world

He is the friend of sinners and the enemy of Satan.

He is the alpha and the omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. He is the way and the truth and the life. Jesus is better.

And if you really, truly believe it, it’s gonna cost you.

You’re gonna deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow him.

You’re gonna help the poor, swallow your pride, and love your enemies.

You’re gonna read your Bible when you’d rather watch TV.

You’re gonna pray when you’d rather sleep.

You’re gonna serve when you’d rather be served.

You’re gonna speak up when you’d rather be silent.

But when it’s all said and done, you won’t regret it. You’ll say, “It was worth it. Jesus is better.”

“I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ…” Jesus is better.

So my hope for you isn’t that you’re safe, successful, and well-liked.

Sometimes those are the very things that get in the way of you learning the one thing you can’t afford to ignore; that Jesus is better.

So, if being unsafe, unsuccessful, and unliked is what it’s gonna take for you to see that Jesus is better, well then I’ll pray that your life is filled with danger, failure, and persecution.

Whatever it takes; I want you to know that Jesus… is… better.

13 letters, 3 words, 1 sentence, and no question about it. Jesus… is better.

I am going to post the lyrics of this reading (song), and also a version of it that you can listen to on YouTube. Click link to hear the original soundtrack:

https://open.spotify.com/track/7hjly7NYTN3esr1YShN4Q4?si=D1j7td7kSjCa0T3KfF2PpQ

Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

And as always, as Dr. Robert Cook from the King’s College used to say as he brought his daily devotional program to a close – “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”



A Protestant Church: Putting together the Marks of the Church – Acts 2:40-47

    It’s Friday, April 17, 2020, and I’m Pastor Kim, and this is COVID-19 Connection Series # 27.

   Welcome to today’s broadcast. I’m so glad that you are joining me. Make sure you grab your Bible, a pen, ad some paper. You’ll want to jot down some notes today.

   How in the world are you today? Doing well I trust.

Announcements:

 Do you have our SLBC Church App? Get it today.

  • Women Uncensored Podcast – Listen today.
  • Resurrection Sunday – I need your help. Camera didn’t record the service. If you took any video Sunday, please send it my way. Thanks.
  • Please design your mask, and send me a picture.
  • The History of Pandemics   (Download it)

 Dad Jokes:

 Q.: Daddy! I’m hungry!

A: Hi, I’m daddy.

Q: Did you hear the joke about the guy with the broken hearing aid?

A: Neither did he.

I know a chemistry joke.

But it won’t get a reaction.

 Today in the News:

 Washington Post: President Trump leaves reopening up to governors.

 

  • Decrease of COVID-19 cases for 14 days.
  • Hospitals should be able to treat all patients without crisis care.
  • Have a robust testing system in place for at-risk heath are workers.

When we do go out in public these are the guidelines:

  • Social distancing of still 6 feet.
  • Wear mask (So create your mask and send me a picture).
  • Restaurants may want to provide less seating area.
  • If sick, or around sick people stay home.

 CNN reports: China raised its death toll in Wuhan by 50% and its national fatalities by more than a third, prompting fresh questions about its outbreak. Meanwhile, new data shows its economy shrank for the first time since records began.

 Reuters reports: The entire crew of the Navy ship where a captain was fired for sounding the alarm on its outbreak is being tested – and so far, 60% of those infected have no symptoms.

 An article I read was entitled: 17 Totally Normal Things to Feel Right Now, according to Therapists. Tagline read: There is no “right” way to handle this.

Really? There is always a “right” way to handle one’s feelings. It’s called pro-active, and taking the correct steps. My pastor, Royal Blue used to say from the pulpit, “Feeling come and feeling go, and feeling are deceiving.” We shouldn’t always trust our feelings. Feelings are normal, but we must learn how to manage them – they should not control us.

Here are the emotional feelings the article spoke about…

  • Burn-out
  • Angry
  • Anxious
  • Fear
  • Overwhelmed
  • Disappointed (canceled events)
  • Hopelessness
  • Aloneness
  • Guilt (you are safe, others not)
  • Grieving
  • Inadequate
  • Stupid (trying to educate your kids)
  • Numb

My suggestions is that you take this list and find Scripture provides the proper way to manage these emotional feelings. Here is an example: Isaiah 26:3 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

 This verse is the answer to the feeling of being anxious, or overwhelmed. 

 Pause for Prayer:

  • Tom Spann and Bob Ahsmuhs – cancer treatment
  • Church family
  • Wise use of the stimulus money
  • Coronavirus to be used to bring about Revival in America
  • God to use his church to make a difference in our community
  • Wisdom for our church leaders
  • Those who are still working every day – travel, safety
  • 22 million Americans out of work right now
  • Sunday service

 Our WORD from the LORD come from Acts 2:40-47

 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

Today I want to have a word with you about: A Protestant Church: Putting together the Marks of the Church

Question: What does a biblical faithful church look like?

  • It believes in the sufficiency of scripture.
  • It believes in participating in the ordinances – baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
  • It believes in the voluntary and consensual nature of a regenerate (born-again) membership.
  • It believes in a gathered church – regularly meets together.
  • It believes in a congregational form of government.
  • It believes In Christ command to baptize only those who believe and are obedient to Scripture.

   In this session together I want to talk with you about two very important areas of Church life. One is the centrality of preaching. The second is the visibility of the Church. Let’s take a look at these two areas.

   I. The Centrality of Preaching

   It is important as a church that we make sure that it is the word of God that is central and preached at its regular meetings.

   By the 16th century the word Of God had long been displaced by the sacraments. This is in reference to the Catholic Church.

   During the Protestant Reformation the reformers correctly returned to scripture defined a Canon, or rule, against which to measure the Roman church is current teaching.

   In 1539, Luther wrote, “God’s Word cannot be without God’s people, and Conversely, God’s people cannot be without God’s Word.”

   The central role played by the word in the New Testament church – Acts 2:40-47; 2 Timothy 4:2) Was recovered in the teaching and lives of the Protestant reformers.

   We must understanding the importance of the Apostles teaching. All of us as the people of God have been and are being shaped by the writings of the Apostles.

   Holding study to the Apostles teaching is a principle mark of the authenticity of the church. If the scriptures are “the word of life” (Philippians 2:16), they should both generate and regulate the church’s life. People come to Christ through the preaching of the Word, and they live in obedience to the Word of Life. It should govern how we do Church life together.

   Roman 10:17 – “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

   What kind of preaching should be done in a local church? Expositional preaching – Preaching in which the point of the passage of scripture is the point of the message.

   II. The Visibility of the Church

   What was the spark for the Protestant Reformation? It was when Martin Luther read, Romans 1:17, “the just shall live by faith.” When he understood this truth he said, “The doors of paradise were swung open, and I walked through.” Salvation is NOT found in religion, but in a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

   It was this great doctrine of justification by faith that allowed reformers to reclaim the biblical gospel – that salvation is by grace through faith, plus nothing.

   Protestant congregations replaced sacramental ritualism with gospel preaching, and the sacraments or ordinances themselves took on another purpose, or really their original biblical purpose is making out the church from the world and providing a visible picture of the gospel message accepted by faith.

   As a result of justification by faith the church became defined not by individuals who were baptized and who witnessed the mass but by individuals who personally believed the promises set forth in baptism and the Lord supper and who therefore participated in those rituals. They were saved first, and then were baptized and partook of the Lord’s supper.

     Saving Faith became the essence of what separated the church from the world. This Saving faith was given visible form in the ordinances. Thus the church is, as James Bannermen described it, “An outward and public witness for God on the earth.” Isn’t that Good? This is what the church is supposed to be.

   Faith plays a distinguishing mark in the visible church – I trust Jesus Christ alone for my Salvation. Next, faith shows itself in the believer’s submission to baptism, and thirdly, in his or her participation in the Lord’s supper. Christianity is all about faith. This is why James says, “Faith without works is dead.”

  Protestant churches were marked by adherents who expressed personal faith in Christ, apart which baptism in the Lord supper would be useless.

  The Protestant impulse to place faith at the center of the ordinances has shown itself in many ways, from the presence of numerous Baptist movements, to American colonial minister Jonathan Edwards adoption of believers only communion.

   Christianity requires a conscious belief in the gospel.

   When God’s word is preached and taught it must be believed and trusted. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.” (John17:17).

  • Faith is what distinguishes God’s people
  • Baptism is what distinguishes God’s people
  • Participation in the Lord’s Supper is what distinguishes God’s people

   Believer through the ages have held that Scripture alone provides everything necessary for Faith and Practice. Do you believe this?

  1. Are you saved? Have you placed Faith in what Jesus Christ did for you?
  2. Have you followed Him in obedience to believer’s baptism?
  3. Are you regularly partaking of the Lord’s Supper? Jesus told us to “Do this in remembrance of Him.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

   Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.

   As Robert King from the King’s College used to say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”

 



The History and Organization of the Church – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

It’s Thursday, April 16, 2020, and I’m Pastor Kim, and this is COVID-19 Connection Series # 26.

Welcome to today’s broadcast. I’m so glad that you are joining me. Make sure you grab your Bible, a pen, ad some paper. You’ll want to jot down some notes today.

How in the world are you today? Doing well I trust.

Philippians 4:4 reminds us, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

Announcements:

  • Do you have our SLBC Church App? Get it today.
  • Women Uncensored Podcast – Listen today.
  • Resurrection Sunday – I need your help. Camera didn’t record the service. If you took any video Sunday, please send it my way. Thanks.

Dad Jokes:

Question: Why do birds fly south during winter?

Answer: Because it takes too long to drive.

Question: What has two wings, a tail, and breathes fire?

Answer: A chicken with heartburn.

Today in the News:

  • People started receiving their stimulus checks – direct deposit in the bank. $ 1200.00 a person, and $ 500.00 for each child. Did you received yours?
  • NY Times Reports – President trump is expected to release guidelines today for relaxing social-distancing. This has sparked concern from health officials. Not enough testing being done to allow Americans to safely return to work.
  • Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama all have endorsed Joe Biden. Can you believe it? 
  • How far will it go? A British woman in a long-term relationship with a 92-year-old German chandelier has been told that her attraction to historic light fitting is not considered to be a protected sexual orientation. This woman identifies as an “objectum sexual” (That’s a new to me). Earlier she had a sexual attraction to the Statue of Liberty.Hey, Good News. My wife and daughter were at Costco yesterday, and she was able to pick up toilet paper!

Pause for Prayer:

  • Tom Spann and Bob Ahsmuhs – cancer treatment
  • Church family
  • Wise use of the stimulus money
  • Coronavirus to be used to bring about Revival in America
  • God to use his church to make a difference in our community
  • Wisdom for our church leaders
  • Those who are still working every day – travel, safety
  • 22 million Americans out of work right now

Our WORD from the LORD come from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

   Those two verses were considered a Creed of the early Church. Around AD 32-38.

Today I want to have a word with you about: The History and Organization of the Church. Material is taken from The Church by Pastor Mark Dever.

The History of the Organization of the Church

Other than the role of the ordinances, the main church disputes throughout the history of Christianity have occurred over matters of church organization. In particular three areas have drawn much of the disagreement: membership, government, and discipline.

   I. Church Membership

Baptist Practice

Given that the New Testament restricts baptism to believers, Baptist have concluded the church membership is restricted to individuals who have made a credible profession of faith. The profession of faith should include submitting to believer’s baptism and making oneself accountable to a particular congregation with whom the professing believers regularly communes.

Church Covenants and their Use

Christians began to make pledges to one another before the 16th century, but the situation brought about by the Protestant Reformation created a fresh need for such pledges.

Charles Deweesee defined a church covenant as “a series of written pledges based on the Bible which church members voluntarily make to God and to one another regarding their basic moral and spiritual commitments and the practice of their faith.”

By the seventeenth-century church covenants continued in use not only among independent congregations in England and America but also among Baptist who adopted their usage, especially Particular Baptist.  From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, church covenants, often accompanied by a statement of faith, acted as the most basic document of a Baptist congregation.

Over the last century, however church covenants have had a little role in the life of most Baptist congregations. I personally have noticed how certain aspects of church covenants have be revised to accommodate certain behaviors and practices.

Confessions and Their Use

The Church covenant represents the agenda (things to be done) of a local congregation, statements of faith or confessions represent their credenda (things to be believed).

From the earliest times Christians have practice summarizing the content of their faith. Here at Spirit Lake Baptist Church we have our doctoral position and it is available to all who ask for it.

Peter made the first Christian declaration of Faith when he said, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29).

One of the earliest creeds found in the writings of the apostle Paul is 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. This was the doctrinal statement of the early church.

We have all heard of the following Creeds:

  • The Apostles Creed (used when dealing with baptismal candidates).
  • The Nicene Creed (AD 325/381).
  • The Definition of Faith at Chalcedon (451).

The Protestant Reformation spawned numerous confessions:

  • The Augsburg confession (Lutheran).
  • The Thirty-nine Articles (Church of England).
  • The Belgic Confession (Reformed).
  • The Westminster Confession of Faith (Presbyterian).

Note: Baptist also produce confessions of faith. In fact, Baptist produced more than any other group because of the decentralized, congregational polity. Most Baptist churches are autonomous – they are not controlled by outside entities or organizations.

   II. Polity: Forms of Church Government

A second aspect of the church’s life that has developed over its history has been its policy or organization. Every group must determine how it will be governed.

  • Who is a member and who is not?
  • Who is the final jurisdiction under God to give leadership?
  • Who settles controversies and so forth?

To these questions several different answers have been given:

  1. Bishops

One of the earliest answers to the question of who should govern was “the bishop.”

The word “bishop” in the New Testament can be used interchangeably with the words: elder, Pastor, overseer (Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:2).

By the second century the pastors of leading cities and towns had accrued increased authority, sometimes including over churches in nearby, newly evangelized areas.

From the second through the fourth century, the diocese (taken from the Latin word for a district in Roman civil administration) developed as an ecclesiastical area with a single bishop as its head.

Though their duties and responsibilities very, bishops in this sense are recognized by most churches, including the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches Anglican Churches, and Methodist Churches. The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches regard this office is divinely established.

Many Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist Churches, recognize the office of a bishop as useful, but have recently democratized their structure, even submitting bishops to the decisions made by representative bodies of clergy and laity.

However on the other hand we have denominations today like Pentecostals and charismatics that have begun to recognize extra congregational authority for some bishops. And we have such things as “apostolic networks, growing up around particular ministries and individuals.

  1. The Pope
The Roman Catholic Church is distinguished from other Christian communions by its submission to and dependence on the Bishop of Rome.

For many the Bishop of Rome became the supreme authority of the church.

The Eastern and Western churches broke communion in 1054 over the western churches (and especially Gregory the VII’s) insistent that the Bishop of Rome be recognized as the supreme head of the universal church.

The West maintained (and maintains) that Christ declared Peter the first among equals and the chief of the apostles upon Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:16-19.) Peter then became the first Bishop of Rome, and those who succeeded him inherited his authority as well. Thus the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the Pope as the vicar of Christ, the head of the church on earth, with authority to ratify and so define tradition.

  1. Presbyterianism

With the Protestant Reformation there arose fresh interest in Bible teaching and structure of the church. The New Testament evidence for plurality of elders was rediscovered. In groups of ministers (called consistories) were put forward as appropriate replacements for bishops in the Swiss cantons that were reforming in the early-and-mid-16th century.

Heinrich Bullinger in Zürich and John Calvin in Geneva, others begin to organize according to a Presbyterian system.

  • Reformed congregations sprung up in the Netherlands, Scotland, Hungary, Germany, Poland, and France.
  • In Scotland, John Knox took the challenge of reforming the established church of an entire nation along the lines of the system that he felt to be biblical.
  • The nationwide General assembly became the final arbiter recognized in The Church of Scotland.
  • Thomas Cartwright at Cambridge begin teaching Presbyterianism in 1570 in his lectures on the book of Acts.
  • Presbyterian structures came to North America with the European settlers from Scotland and the Netherlands, where they have flourished.
  • In the United States the (national) general assembly of any Presbyterian body usually functions as the final arbiter in ecclesiastical matters, with regional synods and/or presbyteries ruling beneath them and with sessions (board of elders) of the local congregation below them.
  • Some independent churches are Presbyterian in the sense that they are ruled by a board of elders, but they have no court of appeal outside of the congregations on elders.
  1. Congregationalism’s Development

At the time of the Reformation churches, which were not gathered by a ruler or magistrate but by the shared convictions of individual Christians, began to organize, recognizing themselves as their own final earthly authority in religious matters.

Martin Luther strongly advocate at recognizing the congregation’s responsibility to determine who would preach God’s word to them regularly.

In England advocates of a congregational polity arose in the 1580’s.

John cotton, John Owens, and Thomas Goodwin advocate at the Congregational way.”

In 1658 the Savory Declaration (an adaptation of the Westminster Confession) laid out congregational principles of church government.

By the time the American revolution, two out of every five Christians in American colonies were in some kind of congregational church, whether Congregationalist or Baptist.

Today many independent churches are congregational and structure. Baptist churches are also congregational.

The Rights and Responsibilities of Congregations

Local congregations are responsible for discipline and doctrine. Disputes between members (Matthew 18:15-17), as well as matters of doctrine (Galatians 1:8; 2 timothy 4:3), church discipline (1 Corinthians 5), and membership (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) are all recognized as congregational matters.

   III. Church Discipline
For 1200 years between Constantine and the Protestant Reformation, church discipline, whether by individual excommunication or indirect (withholding) the sacraments from the population of a political entity, was often used more to protect the church’s corporate interests against the claims of the state then to reclaim Christians from sin and protect the gospel’s witness. (Wrong Use of Discipline).

When the leaders of the Protestant Reformation begin to recover a more biblical understanding of preaching and administering the sacraments as the two marks of a true church, the recovery of church discipline as a consequent mark followed. (Right Use of Discipline).

The twenty-ninth article of the Belgic Confession (1561) stated:

   “The marks by which the true church is known are these: If the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin; in short, if all things are managed according to the pure word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only head of the Church.”

In our own day Edmund Clowney has summarize these marks as “true preaching of the word; proper observance of the sacraments; and faithful exercise of church discipline.”

Throughout church history Baptist have been committed to a regenerate membership in the visible church, and were vigorous practitioners of church discipline.

Greg Will’s research shows that in Georgia, pre-Civil War “Southern Baptist excommunicated nearly 2% of their membership every year,” and yet at the same time the membership in Baptist churches grew at twice the rate of the general population.

The point of church discipline is to maintain purity within the church.  (Please read: 1 John 3:3).

John Dagg put it provocatively: “When discipline leaves a church, Christ goes with it.”

It appears as the surrounding culture has become more overtly immoral, twenty-first-century churches show some signs of recovering practices that promote the purity of the church, including the practice of corrective church discipline.

The church of Jesus Christ will survive. Jesus said, “the gates of Hades will not overcome [the church]” (Matthew 16:18).

May God find us faithful in the area of membership, organizational structure, and church discipline.
Remember, I’m in touch, so you be in touch. Contact other members of SLBC. Pray for and pray with them.

As Robert Cook use to say from the King’s College, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.” Go and make it a great day.



The History and Organization of the Church – 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

It’s Thursday, April 16, 2020, and I’m Pastor Kim, and this is COVID-19 Connection Series # 26.

Welcome to today’s broadcast. I’m so glad that you are joining me. Make sure you grab your Bible, a pen, ad some paper. You’ll want to jot down some notes today.

How in the world are you today? Doing well I trust.

Philippians 4:4 reminds us, “Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”

Announcements:

  • Do you have our SLBC Church App? Get it today.
  • Women Uncensored Podcast – Listen today.
  • Resurrection Sunday – I need your help. Camera didn’t record the service. If you took any video Sunday, please send it my way. Thanks.

Dad Jokes:

Question: Why do birds fly south during winter?

Answer: Because it takes too long to drive.

Question: What has two wings, a tail, and breathes fire?

Answer: A chicken with heartburn.

Today in the News:

  • People started receiving their stimulus checks – direct deposit in the bank. $ 1200.00 a person, and $ 500.00 for each child. Did you received yours?
  • NY Times Reports – President trump is expected to release guidelines today for relaxing social-distancing. This has sparked concern from health officials. Not enough testing being done to allow Americans to safely return to work.
  • Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Barack Obama all have endorsed Joe Biden. Can you believe it? 
  • How far will it go? A British woman in a long-term relationship with a 92-year-old German chandelier has been told that her attraction to historic light fitting is not considered to be a protected sexual orientation. This woman identifies as an “objectum sexual” (That’s a new to me). Earlier she had a sexual attraction to the Statue of Liberty.Hey, Good News. My wife and daughter were at Costco yesterday, and she was able to pick up toilet paper!

Pause for Prayer:

  • Tom Spann and Bob Ahsmuhs – cancer treatment
  • Church family
  • Wise use of the stimulus money
  • Coronavirus to be used to bring about Revival in America
  • God to use his church to make a difference in our community
  • Wisdom for our church leaders
  • Those who are still working every day – travel, safety
  • 22 million Americans out of work right now

Our WORD from the LORD come from 1 Corinthians 15:3-4,

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,

   Those two verses were considered a Creed of the early Church. Around AD 32-38.

Today I want to have a word with you about: The History and Organization of the Church. Material is taken from The Church by Pastor Mark Dever.

The History of the Organization of the Church

Other than the role of the ordinances, the main church disputes throughout the history of Christianity have occurred over matters of church organization. In particular three areas have drawn much of the disagreement: membership, government, and discipline.

   I. Church Membership

Baptist Practice

Given that the New Testament restricts baptism to believers, Baptist have concluded the church membership is restricted to individuals who have made a credible profession of faith. The profession of faith should include submitting to believer’s baptism and making oneself accountable to a particular congregation with whom the professing believers regularly communes.

Church Covenants and their Use

Christians began to make pledges to one another before the 16th century, but the situation brought about by the Protestant Reformation created a fresh need for such pledges.

Charles Deweesee defined a church covenant as “a series of written pledges based on the Bible which church members voluntarily make to God and to one another regarding their basic moral and spiritual commitments and the practice of their faith.”

By the seventeenth-century church covenants continued in use not only among independent congregations in England and America but also among Baptist who adopted their usage, especially Particular Baptist.  From the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries, church covenants, often accompanied by a statement of faith, acted as the most basic document of a Baptist congregation.

Over the last century, however church covenants have had a little role in the life of most Baptist congregations. I personally have noticed how certain aspects of church covenants have be revised to accommodate certain behaviors and practices.

Confessions and Their Use

The Church covenant represents the agenda (things to be done) of a local congregation, statements of faith or confessions represent their credenda (things to be believed).

From the earliest times Christians have practice summarizing the content of their faith. Here at Spirit Lake Baptist Church we have our doctoral position and it is available to all who ask for it.

Peter made the first Christian declaration of Faith when he said, “You are the Christ” (Mark 8:29).

One of the earliest creeds found in the writings of the apostle Paul is 1 Corinthians 15:3-5. This was the doctrinal statement of the early church.

We have all heard of the following Creeds:

  • The Apostles Creed (used when dealing with baptismal candidates).
  • The Nicene Creed (AD 325/381).
  • The Definition of Faith at Chalcedon (451).

The Protestant Reformation spawned numerous confessions:

  • The Augsburg confession (Lutheran).
  • The Thirty-nine Articles (Church of England).
  • The Belgic Confession (Reformed).
  • The Westminster Confession of Faith (Presbyterian).

Note: Baptist also produce confessions of faith. In fact, Baptist produced more than any other group because of the decentralized, congregational polity. Most Baptist churches are autonomous – they are not controlled by outside entities or organizations.

   II. Polity: Forms of Church Government

A second aspect of the church’s life that has developed over its history has been its policy or organization. Every group must determine how it will be governed.

  • Who is a member and who is not?
  • Who is the final jurisdiction under God to give leadership?
  • Who settles controversies and so forth?

To these questions several different answers have been given:

  1. Bishops

One of the earliest answers to the question of who should govern was “the bishop.”

The word “bishop” in the New Testament can be used interchangeably with the words: elder, Pastor, overseer (Hebrews 13:7, 17; 1 Peter 5:2).

By the second century the pastors of leading cities and towns had accrued increased authority, sometimes including over churches in nearby, newly evangelized areas.

From the second through the fourth century, the diocese (taken from the Latin word for a district in Roman civil administration) developed as an ecclesiastical area with a single bishop as its head.

Though their duties and responsibilities very, bishops in this sense are recognized by most churches, including the Eastern Orthodox Churches, the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Churches Anglican Churches, and Methodist Churches. The Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches regard this office is divinely established.

Many Lutheran, Anglican, and Methodist Churches, recognize the office of a bishop as useful, but have recently democratized their structure, even submitting bishops to the decisions made by representative bodies of clergy and laity.

However on the other hand we have denominations today like Pentecostals and charismatics that have begun to recognize extra congregational authority for some bishops. And we have such things as “apostolic networks, growing up around particular ministries and individuals.

  1. The Pope
The Roman Catholic Church is distinguished from other Christian communions by its submission to and dependence on the Bishop of Rome.

For many the Bishop of Rome became the supreme authority of the church.

The Eastern and Western churches broke communion in 1054 over the western churches (and especially Gregory the VII’s) insistent that the Bishop of Rome be recognized as the supreme head of the universal church.

The West maintained (and maintains) that Christ declared Peter the first among equals and the chief of the apostles upon Peter’s confession (Matthew 16:16-19.) Peter then became the first Bishop of Rome, and those who succeeded him inherited his authority as well. Thus the Roman Catholic Church recognizes the Pope as the vicar of Christ, the head of the church on earth, with authority to ratify and so define tradition.

  1. Presbyterianism

With the Protestant Reformation there arose fresh interest in Bible teaching and structure of the church. The New Testament evidence for plurality of elders was rediscovered. In groups of ministers (called consistories) were put forward as appropriate replacements for bishops in the Swiss cantons that were reforming in the early-and-mid-16th century.

Heinrich Bullinger in Zürich and John Calvin in Geneva, others begin to organize according to a Presbyterian system.

  • Reformed congregations sprung up in the Netherlands, Scotland, Hungary, Germany, Poland, and France.
  • In Scotland, John Knox took the challenge of reforming the established church of an entire nation along the lines of the system that he felt to be biblical.
  • The nationwide General assembly became the final arbiter recognized in The Church of Scotland.
  • Thomas Cartwright at Cambridge begin teaching Presbyterianism in 1570 in his lectures on the book of Acts.
  • Presbyterian structures came to North America with the European settlers from Scotland and the Netherlands, where they have flourished.
  • In the United States the (national) general assembly of any Presbyterian body usually functions as the final arbiter in ecclesiastical matters, with regional synods and/or presbyteries ruling beneath them and with sessions (board of elders) of the local congregation below them.
  • Some independent churches are Presbyterian in the sense that they are ruled by a board of elders, but they have no court of appeal outside of the congregations on elders.
  1. Congregationalism’s Development

At the time of the Reformation churches, which were not gathered by a ruler or magistrate but by the shared convictions of individual Christians, began to organize, recognizing themselves as their own final earthly authority in religious matters.

Martin Luther strongly advocate at recognizing the congregation’s responsibility to determine who would preach God’s word to them regularly.

In England advocates of a congregational polity arose in the 1580’s.

John cotton, John Owens, and Thomas Goodwin advocate at the Congregational way.”

In 1658 the Savory Declaration (an adaptation of the Westminster Confession) laid out congregational principles of church government.

By the time the American revolution, two out of every five Christians in American colonies were in some kind of congregational church, whether Congregationalist or Baptist.

Today many independent churches are congregational and structure. Baptist churches are also congregational.

The Rights and Responsibilities of Congregations

Local congregations are responsible for discipline and doctrine. Disputes between members (Matthew 18:15-17), as well as matters of doctrine (Galatians 1:8; 2 timothy 4:3), church discipline (1 Corinthians 5), and membership (2 Corinthians 2:6-8) are all recognized as congregational matters.

   III. Church Discipline
For 1200 years between Constantine and the Protestant Reformation, church discipline, whether by individual excommunication or indirect (withholding) the sacraments from the population of a political entity, was often used more to protect the church’s corporate interests against the claims of the state then to reclaim Christians from sin and protect the gospel’s witness. (Wrong Use of Discipline).

When the leaders of the Protestant Reformation begin to recover a more biblical understanding of preaching and administering the sacraments as the two marks of a true church, the recovery of church discipline as a consequent mark followed. (Right Use of Discipline).

The twenty-ninth article of the Belgic Confession (1561) stated:

   “The marks by which the true church is known are these: If the pure doctrine of the gospel is preached therein; if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin; in short, if all things are managed according to the pure word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only head of the Church.”

In our own day Edmund Clowney has summarize these marks as “true preaching of the word; proper observance of the sacraments; and faithful exercise of church discipline.”

Throughout church history Baptist have been committed to a regenerate membership in the visible church, and were vigorous practitioners of church discipline.

Greg Will’s research shows that in Georgia, pre-Civil War “Southern Baptist excommunicated nearly 2% of their membership every year,” and yet at the same time the membership in Baptist churches grew at twice the rate of the general population.

The point of church discipline is to maintain purity within the church.  (Please read: 1 John 3:3).

John Dagg put it provocatively: “When discipline leaves a church, Christ goes with it.”

It appears as the surrounding culture has become more overtly immoral, twenty-first-century churches show some signs of recovering practices that promote the purity of the church, including the practice of corrective church discipline.

The church of Jesus Christ will survive. Jesus said, “the gates of Hades will not overcome [the church]” (Matthew 16:18).

May God find us faithful in the area of membership, organizational structure, and church discipline.
Remember, I’m in touch, so you be in touch. Contact other members of SLBC. Pray for and pray with them.

As Robert Cook use to say from the King’s College, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.” Go and make it a great day.



The History of the Ordinances of the Church – 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

It’s Wednesday, April 15, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 # 25.

Welcome!

Good News! It’s NOT TAX day for the first time I can remember in my lifetime. You do not have to file your taxes today. It has been scheduled for July 15th.

Joke: What do you call a pretty pig? HAMsome!

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Today in the News:

Trump says he’s freezing WHO funding. He is saying that WHO pandered to China and mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. The move drew sharp criticism from health experts.

New York’s COVID-19 death roll surpassed 10,000 after officials included undiagnosed victims who are presumed to have died from the disease.

Early data shows that Americans are spending their stimulus checks to buy basics like food and gas.

Gas prices in Spirit Lake, Idaho have dropped to $ 1.63 a gallon.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Bob Ahsmuhs in the hospital with blood clots in lungs. Draining water today. Pray for him.
  • SLBC family
  • Wisdom for national leaders when to open up business.
  • Shut-in’s

Our WORD from the Lord comes from 1 Corinthians 11:23-26,

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

Today I want to have a word with you about: The History of the Ordinances of the Church

The History of the Ordinances of the Church

Which Ordinances – Baptism, Lord’s Supper?

Christians are commanded to share commonly – acknowledge “one baptism” (Ephesians 4;5) and celebrate the Lords supper together (1 Corinthians 11:18, 21, 33).

These ordinances have been the focus of much dispute and division in church history. Disputes of centered on both the number and the nature of the ordinance has to be practiced by the church.

Roman Catholic Church – sacraments as a means of grace.

From the fifth century to the 12th century there was not an agreed on a number of sacraments. Numbers ranged from two all the way to 30 or more.

Since the 19th century the Roman Catholic Church has it acknowledged seven sacraments.

  1. Baptism
  2. Eucharist
  3. Confirmation
  4. Confession and penance
  5. Marriage
  6. Ordination of the priesthood
  7. Extreme unction (last rites)

Quakers and Salvationist (The Salvation Army)

These groups maintain that no ritual ordinance should be observed today, not even baptism in the Lord supper. They teach that these actions were meant for the first believers only and we’re never intended as continuing observances for the church.

Rufus Jones wrote the following about George Fox, founder of the Quakers:

“His house of worship was bare of everything but seats. It had no shrine, for the Shekinah was to be in the hearts of those who worshipped. It had no altar, for God need no appeasing, seeing that he himself had made the sacrifice for sin. It had no baptismal font, for baptism was in his belief nothing short of immersion into the life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – a going down into the significance of Christ death and a coming up in the newness of life with him. There was no communion table, because he believed that the true communion consistent in partaking directly of the soul’s spiritual bread – the living Christ.”

Some Baptist: Foot Washing

Some Christians have maintained the foot washing should be regarded as a third ordinance. Among these are a number of Old Regular and Regular Baptist, Primitive Baptist, Grace brethren, and a few other groups. Citing evidence from John 13:13 to 15, they construe Jesus example not just as a lesson about humility; instead, they have taken this to mean that Jesus intended the ritual to be continued by Christians. No historical evidence exists for the practice of foot washing by the early church.

Contemporary Evangelical Indifference

Discussions like these are far removed from the concerns of evangelical churches today. Christ’s command in to baptize is either ignored or minimized in the teachings of many churches. The participation in the Lords supper seldom celebrated in many congregations.

But surely if Christ has commanded something, his followers have no authority to alter his command – either by adding to it or by ignoring it.

Baptism

Historically Baptist were never in danger of ignoring Christ ordinances. Rather, the baptism of infants has caused many of the debates and divisions in the history of Christian churches.

The Rise and Development of Infant Baptism

Proponents of infant baptism argue that first century Christians performed infant baptism, but they must admit the New Testament evidence is not present.

In the writings of the Didache, Letter of Barnabas, and The Shepherd of Hermes, second century documents that all reflect church practice in that time, know nothing of infant baptism.

Church history does show that infants were being baptized by the time of her Tertullian.

In the latter half of the third century, Origin believed the baptism of infants to be an apostolic practice.
The rise of infant baptism was thought to secure forgiveness of sins for the baptizee without fail.

By the Council of Carthage in 418, anyone who taught against infant baptism was anathematized.

In the sixth century the Emperor Justinian made infant baptism mandatory throughout the Roman Empire.

Historical significance of the recovery of believer’s baptism

The recovery of baptizing only believers did not take place until the 16th century, when some people, particularly the evangelical in Anabaptist, began to reject the validity of infant baptism.

The reformation lead to a re-appreciation of the radical nature of Christian conversion. Conversion did not result from a right of infancy or from membership within a particular political entity. It resulted from a self-conscious profession of faith in God’s justifying work in Christ.

The reaffirmation of the authority of scripture in the clarity of the gospel lead to a surprisingly wide rejection of the bishop of Rome’s authority.

As the gospel of justification by faith alone spread, the impossibility of justification without faith quietly challenge the practice of indiscriminately administering baptism in the Lord supper to everyone belonged to a particular political entity, whether city, nation, or parish.

The doctrine of the visible church composed of only baptized regenerate is the hallmark of Baptist.

In what sense baptism as a means of grace

The Roman catholic church teaches the baptism conveys God’s grace in and of itself, remitting all sin, both original and actual.

Lutheran as catechism said, “Baptism works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives eternal salvation to all who believe this, as the words and promises of God declare.

Calvin, echoing Augustine, called baptism “the visible word.”

The Council of Trent (1545-63) anathematized anyone who taught the baptism confirmed grace only to those who had faith.

The Presbyterian and reformed understanding has treated baptism as a sign and seal of God’s grace.

Among Baptist, baptism has never been treated as an essential conduit for God’s grace. Rather, they have regarded it as a command given to new believers and therefore the normal means for marking and celebrating their salvation.

Baptism is a visible sermon, informed by the word, and entirely dependent on God’s Spirit to create the spiritual reality it depicts.

Baptism is only an outward sign of an invisible change that takes place in the heart and life of a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the son of God and that he died in their place.

The Lords Supper

Baptism has not been the only ordinance beset by controversy in the history of the church. The Lord supper and its nature in effects have been variously construed. These various interpretations help us to understand how the Lord supper has brought controversy to the church.

  1. Transubstantiation

This doctrine was fully developed and conformed by Thomas Aquinas at the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), the doctrine of Transubstantiation describes the Lord Supper as a re-presentation of the sacrifice of Christ.

Aquinas argue the substance of the bread and the celebration of the Eucharist changes into Christ physical body, while the substance of the wine changes into his physical blood.

The Eucharist is understood to be a real and effective “unbloody sacrifice.” All who partake of it, aside from those who have committed a mortal sin, receive God’s grace.

Catholics believe that merely witnessing a Mass counts as a participatory act worthy of that grace.

  1. Consubstantiation

Consubstantiation denies the literal and essential transformation of the bread and wine into Christ essence, but it proposes the body and blood of Christ join together with (“con” being the Latin prefix for “with” ) the substance of the bread and the wine at the Lords table.

Lutheran theologians have described the body in the blood of Christ as “in, with an under” the physical bread and wine.

As Luther’s small catechism teaches, “What is the sacrament of the Altar? It is the true body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, under the bread and wine, for us Christians to eat and drink, instituted by Christ himself.”

This doctrine of consubstantiation continues to be the teaching of Lutheran theologians.\

  1. Spiritual Presence

John Calvin taught that Christ really is present in the supper, but his presence is not physical, as the Roman Catholics and Lutherans taught, but spiritual. This spiritual presence is perceived and profited from by faith, not by the physical senses.

Apart from faith the supper is not effective.

As the Westminster Confession puts it, Christ body and blood are “really, but spiritually, present in the faith of believers.”

  1. Memorial

Of the four views of the Lord’s Supper detailed here, only the Supper as memorial is universally accepted. Advocates for the other three positions go beyond the Supper as a memorial, but no one denies that this is the aspect of the Lord supper.

Paul wrote, “whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes” (1 Corinthians 11:26).

Zwingli taught that the Lord supper is a representation of Christ sacrifice but only in the symbolic sense of proclaiming it again.

Read: 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the Lord Jesus on the same night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “Take, eat; this is My body which is broken for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.

There appears to me to be no hint sacramentalism found in the Lord supper.

In what Sense is the Supper means of Grace?

Among Baptist, the Lord supper has not been regarded as an essential conduit for God’s grace. Rather, it has been regarded as a command given to new believers, and therefore the normal means of marking out those who have been separated from the world and given fellowship with Christ. Like baptism, the Lord Supper presents a visible sermon, and is entirely dependent on God Spirit to create spiritual communion between God and believers that it depicts.

Charles Spurgeon mid-nineteenth-century catechism well represents this view. In answer to Question 80, “What is the Lords Supper?” Spurgeon wrote:

“The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of the New Testament instituted by Jesus Christ; wherein, by giving and receiving bread and wine, according to his appointment, his death is shown forth, (1 Corinthians 11:23-26) and the worthy receivers are, not after a corporeal and carnal manner, but by faith, made partakers of his body and blood, with all his benefits, to their spiritual nourishment, and growth in grace.”

Communion: Closed, Close, or Open?

Baptist have disagreed about what faithfulness to Paul’s exhortation in first Corinthians 11:27-31 employees.

Three positions have arose:

  1. Closed Communion (also called strict Communion)

   This first view was held by many Baptists, particularly in the 17th and 18th centuries, and among Landmarkists in the 19th and 20th centuries. They taught that only members of the local congregation celebrating the Lord supper should be allowed to participate in the supper when celebrated by the church.

  1. “Close” Communion.

   This view was a position advocated throughout Baptist history – but advocated more widely in the late 18thand early 19th centuries in the wake of the evangelical revivals – they would say that all of those believers have been baptized as believers are welcome to the Lords table.

         3. Open Communion.
 
   This position has also been advocated throughout Baptist history (Example by John Bunyan). Becoming a dominant view in the 20th century, advocates that all who know themselves to be trusting in Christ for salvation, regardless of whether they have been baptized as believers, are welcome to the Lords table.

   As always, I’m in touch, so you say in touch.

   Robert Cook (former President of the King’s College) would always say, “Walk with the King today and be a blessing.”



The History of the idea of the Church – Ephesians 5:22-33

   It’s Tuesday, April 14, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 # 24.

   Welcome and thank you for joining me for today’s shows.

   So, how are you? Hope you are doing well.

Announcements:

  1. You Can trust God to write your story – Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
  2. How to Pray – R.A. Torrey
  3. Moring with Tozer – A.W. Tozer
  • Devotional challenge – Are you in the Word daily? If so, where are you reading, and what is God teaching you?

Today in the News:

  • NPR – Governors team up to reopen – NY, Calif, and their surrounding neighbors announced they will coordinate how and when to ease restrictions.
  • Antibody tests need to be in place for 2nd coronavirus wave, CDC director says. They are saying that we might be hit with a second wave in the Fall.
  • A volunteer firefighter in Indiana recently had the surprise of a lifetime. Charles Calvin, of New Chicago, Ind., told WGN 9 he withdrew $200 from his checking account at an ATM last weekend.

He glanced down on his receipt and noticed a few more zeroes than usual. He told the station his bank account balance was $8.2 million.

Calvin was supposed to receive $1,700 from the stimulus payments going out to Americans to help assist those impacted by the coronavirus.

The volunteer firefighter said he ran his card through the ATM again to make sure it was accurate, and there it was: he was a millionaire.

Calvin told the station that he immediately called his bank to report his new-found wealth, but by the time they investigated, the money was gone.

Pause for Prayer:

  • Praise – our Easter service at the Ranch
  • Bob Ahsmuhs to be admitted to hospital. Pray for Theresa.
  • Pray for Tom Spann and wife, Sharon.
  • Shut-in’s
  • Emergency workers
  • Kevin Ward and local SL police dept.
  • National leaders’ response to reopening society

Our WORD from the Lord is found in Ephesians 5:22-33,

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 28 So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

Today I want to have a word with you about: The History of the Idea of the Church (Let’s talk about the Church).

  • In the fourth century the focus was upon the Nature of the Church
  • In the Middle Ages the struggle over the bishop of Rome helped separate East and West, and later caused great struggles among theologians in the West.
  • Later Jan Hus, John Wycliffe, and other medieval non-conformists pressed the doctrine of the invisible church in which Christ, not the pope, was head.

   Throughout the history of the church there have been questions that have risen about the Church.

   I. Is the church visible or invisible?

   What are examples of visible churches?

  • Churches mentioned in the New Testament are examples of visible churches – Ephesus, Philippi, Thessalonica, Rome.

   Why do we need visible churches? For the world to see Christ in God’s people. Living testimonies of changed lives.

  • Is the visible church the only way a church can be defined?

   Can we not also speak of the invisible church? The church that God sees. The invisible church is comprised of all true believers, whether or not they are in the visible church, and excluding those in the visible church who are not genuinely converted. Many people are in churches (visible) but are not truly converted.

   Protestants have championed the distinction between the invisible and visible church.

  • Used to explain why the visible church does not share the unity prayed for by Christ (John 17). The visible church is sadly mixed and divided.
  • By nature the invisible church is united.

   The idea of the invisible church was actually before the Protestant Reformation with men like Wycliffe, Hus, and even Augustine.

   The idea is not that there are two churches, but that there are two aspects of the true church.

   II. Is the church local or universal?

   This was another discussion that was significant in church history. A lot of discussion centered in on the distinction between the local church and the universal church. That church which is composed of all Christians throughout history is the universal church. On the other hand the local church is simply the local assembly of Christians.

  1. Christians have historically accepted that both of these usages are found in the New Testament. Two significant disputes, however, have raged concerning this dichotomy.

   For all the churches around the world – are there prescribed order and polity for the universal church, as there is for the local church?

  • Roman Catholic Church maintains a universal order exists.
  • Greek Orthodox and many protestants groups maintain that structures have developed which are allowed and useful though not mandated in Scripture (national assemblies, conventions, archbishops).
  • Congregationalists, like Baptists, have maintained that the New Testament prescribes no structure for the universal church. Although they do not have problems in cooperating with churches that are like-minded.
  1. Can one legitimately refer to something as a church if an order or structure for it has not been set down in Scripture? This controversary was known as “landmarkism,” named after Proverbs 22:28: “remove not the ancient landmark which your fathers have set” (KJV). This became a movement and exercised great influence among Baptists in certain parts of the United States.
 
   III. Is the church Militant or Triumphant?
  • The church militant refers to Christians alive now, who therefore remain engaged in battling the world, the flesh, and the devil – Ephesians 6:10-18.
  • The church Triumphant refers to Christians now in heaven, removed from the combat of spiritual warfare and fully victorious – 2 Corinthians 5:8; Hebrews 12:1. 
   IV. Can you distinguish the true or false church?

   How to distinguish the true from the false led to a clearer definition of the true.

  • The Catholic church argued that it was the true, visible church according to Petrine succession through the bishop of Rome [pope], based on Jesus’ words to peter in Matthew 16:17-19. Jesus said, On this ROCK (pointing to himself) I will build My Church.
  • The Protestant Reformation stated, “Not the pretended chair of peter, but the teaching of Peter was the real mark of apostolicity.” The Reformation made the gospel, not ecclesiastical organization, the test of the true church.
  • John Calvin criticized Rome’s claims to be a true church on the basis of apostolic succession.
  • The Reformation introduced the notae ecclesiae, the marks of the church: the right preaching of God’s Word and the right administration of the ordinances.
  • Beginning with the Reformation, then, Protestants have believed that an individual, local congregation should be regarded as a true church when the Word of God is rightly preached and the ordnances of Christ are rightly followed. If both were present the true church had been found.
   V. Is the church organizational or Organic?

   In the early church Christians presented their unity as a bulwark against heretics and schismatics. Stand together against wrong teaching.

   Issues arose however that rent the visible unity of the church – Nestorianism, Monophysitism, and papal supremacy.

   Much division arose over the understanding of the gospel.

   VI. Is the church found in Denominations?

   Denominations arose around the 17th century, although their roots are earlier.

  • Arose out of false doctrine.
  • Arose from understanding of the Scriptures.

   Most of the denomination popularly known in America today initially grew up in the United Kingdom, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and a belief in believer’s baptism are all derived from Queen Elizabeth I’s England (1558-1603).

   English government did not tolerate any congregations outside the established church until the late seventeenth century.

   The three old denominations as they were called, were the Presbyterians, the Congregationalists, and the Baptists. These three joined the established Episcopalians.

   In the 18th century the Methodists were born.  John Wesley a Revivalist within the Church of England. (Desire to use new methods in reaching lost people).

   Dutch and French Reformed Churches or German and Scandinavian Lutheran groups.

   America because the primary laboratory for scores of denominations of Christian churches coexisting.

   These groupings of churches largely retained their doctrinal and practical distinctives, and new ones have emerged since then.

   Why new denominations today? Why can’t we all come together? Why have denominations?

  • Doctrinal purity/issues
  • Church government
  • Sexuality
  • Modern unbelief in mainline denomination

   Promise Keepers Movement – Bring down the walls. It was my walls they wanted to bring down. Not the walls of those leading the conference.

   Well remember that I am in touch, so you be in touch. Reach out to another member of SLBC. Pray for them, or send out a post card.

   And as always, Walk with the King today, and be a blessing.



The Hope of the Church – Acts 1:9-11

   It’s Monday, April 13, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 23

   Welcome and the top of the morning to you. I do hope this broadcast find you all doing well.  It’s a beautiful day here in North Idaho.

   Did you enjoy our Resurrection Sunday out at the Buffalo Ranch? Over 96 cars and trucks. Our Worship team sounded great. We heard a great sermon from 2 Corinthians 5:1-21 I so appreciated all of our volunteers that were serving our SLBC family. Thank you to everyone and for sharing your giftedness.

Announcements:

Hope to get our Easter Service laded later today, or tomorrow. Great Ariel footage. You’ll like it. Here is a sample.

Download our SLBC app at Apple Store (The ShareFaith App), and on Google Play Store.

Take some time to visit our church website – slbc2u.com

Today in the News:

CNN reports that for the First time in history all 50 States are under federal disaster declaration simultaneously.

Los Angeles Time reports that the coronavirus may have been in California earlier than anyone thought. Maybe even as early as December.

National Geographic reports that coronavirus has reached the indigenous people in the Amazon. (They added: whose territories are illegally infiltrated by missionaries and gold miners).

On Easter in Rio the Christ on the Redeemer statue was lit up as a doctor, in tribute to healthcare workers fighting coronavirus. Note: Jesus is the great physician and healer.

With people gone, Yosemite’s Wildlife is taking back the Park. See video clip – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_gj9z_1NkU

Pause for Prayer:

  • Tom Spann and Bob Ahsmuhs
  • COVID-19 Pandemic
  • National Revival
  • Safety for those going to work daily.

   Our WORD from the Lord is found in Acts 1:9-11

Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11 who also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.”

   Today I want to have a word with you about: The Hope of the Church.

   I. Called to put forth Hope

   The Bible calls individual Christians to live a life of justice and generosity towards others. Organically, Christian disciples scattered and represented Christ powerfully and in ways the Bible does not call the institutional church to act.

   It has been believers that started – Parachurch organizations. The church (god’s people) going out and making a difference where God has placed them:
  • Hospitals
  • Orphanages
  • Schools
  • missions
  • Cup of Grace

   A member of a church follows Christ in all sorts of ways that are not tied to the work that God has entrusted to the local church in an institutional fashion. But the individual’s membership should affect how he does everything outside the gathered church.

  • Clubs
  • Camps
  • Retreats

Neighborhood outreaches

  • Sports

   Individually, people are made for God and are to be devoted to him supremely (Colossians 1:18). Christians should have hearts of compassion for all people, not merely because they are part of creation but especially because they are made in Gods image (Proverbs 14:31), and because we ourselves have known such undeserved generosity from God (Luke 6:32-36; 2 Corinthians 8:8-9; James 2:13).

   We as believers need to see with God’s eyes. “For God so loved the world…” (John 3:16). God wishes that all people be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).

   Christian should desire to see non-Christians know the common blessings of God’s kindness in Providence: Every good gift comes down from the Father of lights in whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. God cares for all of his creation, and he provides for all of his creation. Such as:
  • Food
  • Water
  • Family
  • Jobs
  • good government

   Christians are called to do all things unto the Lord – Colossians 3:17

In Times of Crisis – The Church Deplored

   At the same time crisis give the church a unique institutional mandate to preach, display, model, and express the good news of Jesus Christ. COVID-19 is a rare opportunity for the church to actually impact the world.

   Southern Baptist Disaster Relief has all kinds of opportunities.

   What all this means is that congregations may take action in the cause of this worldly justice, but they are not required to. Certainly Christians are called to live lives of love towards others. And scriptures in no way denies the right or ability of a congregation to care for the physical needs of non-Christians in the area. But neither does scripture require the local congregation to organize as a whole to alleviate the physical needs of non-Christians in the community.

   II. Freedom to extend Hope to the World

   Each local church has the freedom to choose particular actions for serving the welfare of its community in order to witness to the community directly, or a church is free to do this more remotely by cooperating with other congregations and Christians by farming denominations, educational institutions, and a great variety of boards, charities, and other organizations. Churches should expect their members to be involved in a wide variety of good works – Proverbs 19:17; 21:3; Luke 10:25-27; Acts 9:36; Hebrews 13:1-3; James 1:27.

   Here are a few examples of ministries that Christians can be involved in:

  • Soup kitchens
  • medical clinics
  • food pantries
  • advocacy ministries
  • addictions
  • homelessness
  • family ministries

    These ministries must never be mistaken for evangelism but a means for evangelism.

   Preaching God’s word to a local church helps members to understand and express God’s character of justice and mercy appropriately in the world.  

   A non-Christians greatest need is to hear the gospel. The proclamation of the gospel address is the greatest part of human suffering caused by the fall. It is central to fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). And it is central to fulfilling the Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31 and Galatians 6:2). For the Christian these commandments must lie at the heart of any cultural mandate (Genesis 1:28).

   Someone once said, “The Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a Great Church.” I like that statement. Let us be that type of a Church.

  • What is the churches ministry to the world?

   The Christian congregation is not required to take institutional responsibility for the physical needs in the unbelieving community. The Scriptures do make Christian responsible to care for the needs of the members of their own churches – Matthew 25:34-40; Acts 6:1-6; Galatians 6:2, 10; James 2:15-16; 1John 3:17-19.

   The church is to care for widows – 1 Timothy 5:3 -16. Yet such care was given only when there was a lack of family support.

   Congregations must carefully prioritize the responsibilities unique to the church. It is proper for Christians to be concerned with education, politics, and mercy ministry, but the church itself is not the structure established by God for addressing such concerns. Such matters are the proper concern of Christians in schools, governments, and other structures of society. In fact, churches must be careful not to let such concerns distract them from their main unique responsibility, that of embodying and proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ.

   III. The Consummation – The End of the Age

   Suffering is an inevitable part of this fallen world. How many of us know a little about what it means to suffer? In this world we will have tribulation and troubles (John 16:33). We will face everything from a toothache to cancer, and divorce to death. This life can throw some terrible things our way. None are exempt.

   Here are some of the terrible things we see in our world (all of these are a result of the Fall).

  • Poverty
  • War
  • Famine
  • Death
  • Disease

   As believers we know that none of these things will escape us save the physical and visible Return of Jesus Christ – Mark 14:7; John 12:8; Revelation 6:1-11. Some of the last word in the book of Revelation read, “Surely, I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 22:20).

   If human culture can ever be said to be redeemed, it will be God doing it, not us. We can help elevate suffering, but only God can redeem.

   The gospels main thrust is not to renew the fallen structures of this world but rather to create a new community of those purchased by the blood of the lamb (Revelation 5:6-12) and washed with his word (Ephesians 5:26-27).  Only through the fulfillment of God’s promise to forgive sin are all of God’s other promises fulfilled.

   Scripture presents no hope that society will be broadly and permanently transformed by the preaching of the gospel (Matthew 24:21-22,29), which is not to deny that great good will be done through the church’s faithful stewardship of the gospel. Individual conversions will have profound effects for good on people, not only in eternity but in this life.

   Evangelicals (those who believe the Bible) tend to have some of the greatest impacts on this world.

   The church is called to preach the gospel not to Herald a vision of a world utopia.

The New Jerusalem

   The heavenly city in Scripture, though bearing some continuity with our own age, is presented as arriving only after a radical disjunction with our current history, including the judgment of the wicked (Revelation 19). The material world is to be restored only after going through a change as significant as death (2 Peter 3:7). This is why Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world … but now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36). Christ kingdom will come to this place (Acts 1:6-8), though when he comes, he will renew this place (Romans 8:21).

   In the Bible, God’s people are given great hope. Dr. Adrian Rogers used to say, “The believers hope is not a hope so hope, but a know so hope.” Isn’t that good?

   Gods people began in a garden (Eden) – Genesis 2-3

   Gods people will end in the city (The New Jerusalem) – Revelation 21-22

   God’s people were placed in a perfect environment, and had everything they needed. Unbroken fellowship with God. It was so good!

   Sin destroyed that fellowship between God, man, and creation (Genesis 3). But the destruction made way for an even grander display of God’s glory in the church – His Son Jesus Christ.

   In another garden Christ faced Adams choice – to follow his own will to the will of his heavenly Father. In God’s mercy and grace, Christ, the last Adam, chose to follow God’s will and to take him at his word. What followed was the most terrible suffering by the only person ever underserving of such suffering. Christ took our sin, died in our place, was buried in a tomb we deserved. After God’s wrath had been appeased, Christ was raised in victory over sin and death. He then poured out his Sprit and created the church.

   From there, God’s people spread around the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ. The mission of the church will succeed. Jesus promised his disciples that the gates of Hades would not prevail against his church (Matthew 16:18). Christians may wonder at Gods patience with the church and fear for our own poor stewardship of the church, but we cannot be anything other than confident about the church. It will succeed. The church is god’s plan and purpose.

   Please hear this: The Church is God’s Plan A. He doesn’t have a Plan B.

   The Christian hope is secure in Christ, and his fulfillment is found in Revelation 21 and 22. There will be a New Heavens and a New Earth. God’s people will be with him in glory. This is our hope. This is our promise. This what we keep our eyes focus upon – His Kingdom Come



The Purpose of the Church – John 4:24

   Today is Saturday, April 11, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection series # 21

   Welcome. I am so glad that you could join me.

   Hope that you are all doing well.

  • Drive-in Worship Service – Tomorrow is Resurrection Sunday! Drive in Church out at the Buffalo Ranch 564 Roberts Lane, Blanchard Idaho. Come join us. Bonner County Sheriff’s approval. All precautions will be taken to keep people safe. NO ONE will be allowed to leave their cars. If you cannot follow the rules – PLEASE don’t come.
  • Mask Making ContestMask Making Contest – I want to create a contest beginning today for the creation of the most unique face covering. Design it, create it, wear it, post a picture of you wearing it at my email – grace2u4@gmail.com. I will find a prize for the most creative face covering! Presently we have two entries.
  • Shout out to Women Uncensored Podcast. My wife, Debbie and my daughter, Meghan interview Jocelyn Stenstrom, a nurse in Perce County, Washington about the Covid-19 Coronavirus and what our response should be. It is a good listen. The link will be in the show notes today: https://open.spotify.com/show/4rtra9FVk1c6P2g3Rp3tr8?si=xPvewT1XSrWyOh6a-7XiDg

   Today in the News

American now has more deaths from coronavirus than any other country. 19,563. (Please remember that our country has 330 million people – we are five times larger than Italy 60 million people).

Buzzfeed – Article about Parents and What a Quarantine with Kids is like.

   What did people do before toilet paper? Interesting article (It’s a little dirty) Click link below:
 

   Pause for Prayer – Jeremiah 33:3 (God’s telephone number).

  • SLBC Family
  • Resurrection Drive in Worship Service
  • Tom Spann & Bob Ahsmuhs – Cancer treatment
  • Hospital workers and first responders
  • Domestic disputes in Spirit Lake – Policer Kevin Ward shared with me that he is having all kinds of calls for families not getting along.
  • God to use COVID-19 to bring about REVIVAL and Spiritual awareness
  • Open the eyes of God’s people to love the lost
  • Pray for all those who lost loved ones to the Coronavirus (19,553 deaths. It doesn’t matter what you might think – these are real deaths, and these people had families).

   Our WORD from the Lord today comes from John 4:24,

God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

   Today I want to have a word with you about The Purpose of the Church. Please remember that we are going through a book entitled: The Church by Pastor Mark Dever. Much of what I will share with you are direct quotes.

   The church’s purpose lies at the heart of its nature, attributes, and marks and right practices of membership, polity, and discipline serve those purposes. The proper ends for a local congregation’s life and actions are the worship of God, the edification of the church, and the evangelization of the world. These three purposes in turn serve the glory of God.

   SLBC Purpose Statement reads: SLBC exists for the purpose of developing fully equipped followers of Jesus Christ.

   I. Preaching and Worship

   The collective worship of God occurs in the context of the assembled congregation while individual worship of God occurs in the context of one’s daily life.

   Corporate Worship: Elements

   Scripture should direct a church’s corporate worship.

   Ligon Duncan summarized what element should be included in corporate worship with the motto, “read the Bible, preach the Bible, pray that Bible, sing the Bible and see the Bible.” By seeing the Bible, Duncan referred to the celebration of baptism in the Lord supper, which depict the gospel.

  1. Christians are commanded to read the Bible – I Timothy 4:13

   Until I come, give your attention to public reading, exhortation, and teaching.

   Along with reading the Bible there must be an explanation in an application for the word of God. We clearly see this taking place in the Old Testament book of Nehemiah when Ezra stood up and shared God’s word with the people (Nehemiah 8).

   Scripture must be explained with Precision and passion – II Timothy 4:2

  Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.

  1. Christians are to worship God through music and song – Ephesians 5:19-20

   After communion the disciples sing a hymn – Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26

   The Ephesians congregation spoke to another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – Ephesians     5:19-20

   Our praise down here on earth foreshadows the praise which will be offered in heaven – Revelation 5:9-14

  1. Christians are commanded to pray – Matthew 6:9-14
  • It shows our reliance on God
  • It demonstrates our obedience to the command pray
  • It reminds us of the faithfulness of God and answering our prayers
  • It also shows that we were are relying on the kindness of God by asking still more

   In a church worship service we should have corporate prayer.

   A secret about prayer – In public keep your prayers short, but in private, keep your prayers long.

The book of acts is also full of prayer – Acts 2:42

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.

  1. The sufficiency of scripture –

   Christians believe that the Bible reveals everything God’s people need for salvation, perfect trust, and perfect obedience. The sufficiency of scriptures has many applications, including the conviction that Scripture should regulate the way God’s people should approach God and worship.

   As we read the Bible, we discover that God has revealed all the basic components that are a part of worship and that are acceptable to God.

   The Reformers cry was sola scriptura (Scripture Alone).

   The Symbol to Worship: Circumstances

   The time and place for assembled Christian worship are not clearly laid out in the New Testament. Both public places like the Temple or the Riverside, and private spaces like homes were commonly gathering places – Acts 2:46, Acts 4:31; 5:42; 16:13; Romans 16:5

   There are a lot of things about worship that the Bible is silent about – for instance there are no Bible verses about the use of microphones, or projectors and screens, nor does the Bible say anything about air conditioning or heating units – both add a lot to worship at various times of the year.

Why does the church meet on Sunday?

  • It was the day that Jesus rose from the dead – Matthew 28:1-2
  • The risen Christ first met the disciples on a Sunday – Matthew 28:8-10
  • The pattern of the first Christians in the New Testament points towards Sunday is the weekly time for worship gathering – Acts 20:7
  • This pattern was quickly enshrined in the language with references to Sunday as the Lord’s day – Revelation 1:10

      Offerings To God

   Christians throughout history have deemed it appropriate to give the first fruits of the week to God in order to acknowledge his ownership of the whole, just as they do with income – Proverbs 3:9-10; Psalm 24:1

   Individual Worship – Elements

   Not only should the church promote corporate worship, but it should also encourage individual worship to God.

   Worship does not only occur in public services and assemblies. It should occur in the Christians daily life – Romans 12:1

   Therefore, brothers and sisters, in view of the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship.

It should include Bible reading, singing unto the Lord, and prayer.

   Walking in the knowledge of God’s truth – not just giving it lip service. Theology lived out is also an act of worshiping God.

   Obedience to the commands of Scripture are also a means of worshiping God – Colossians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 10:31

   The chief end of man is to love God and to enjoy Him forever. This is done through worship. In Revelation 22, John received a visit from an angel, and he feel down on his knees to worship the angel, and the angel said to him,

   Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”(Revelation 22:9)

   II. The Church as Means of Grace

   In addition to looking up, the church exists in order to look across. Put another way, the church’s vertical purpose is to worship God mandates its horizontal purpose: working to evangelize the lost and had to find the church.

   When we look up, we are worshiping God

   When we look out and evangelize, we are worshiping God

   Edification: Individual Discipleship and Growth

   The purpose of the church, in part, is to encourage individual Christians in their faith and relationship with Christ – Ephesians 4:15-16

   Remember what I shared a few days ago: Bring them in – Build them up – Train them for – Send them out.

   When the author of Hebrews encouraged God’s people to regularly assemble together, he pointed to the purpose of giving mutual encouragement – Hebrews 10:24-25

   And let us watch out for one another to provoke love and good works,not neglecting to gather together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day approaching.

   Edification: Constructing Community

   The whole congregation’s life together should aim at corporate edification, and idea that has its roots in the Old Testament people of God. God created a people in the Old Testament to be specifically blessed by his presence, promises, and power. His goal for them was to display his faithfulness to his promises, his character by following his laws, and his lordship by looking to the promised day of his coming. The nation was to be a people marked by holiness.

   In the New Testament the people of God are the church. In a local congregation the fellowship as a whole is to display the holiness of God through its holiness. God’s love is to be reflected in the love they show to one another. The unity of God is to be reflected in their own unity. The fellowship of believers in the congregation should be a partnership in laboring for mutual edification and for faithfulness in evangelism.

   Evangelism

   Another purpose of the local congregations to bring God’s word to those outside the church – Matthew 28:18-20

Go – Make Disciples – Baptism them –

Teach them all things – Observe them

   Jesus taught that forgiveness of sin would be preached in his name “beginning at Jerusalem.”  – Luke 24:47

   Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

   The gospel of Jesus Christ must be preached:

  • In our neighborhood
  • In our cities
  • Everywhere our congregational members live
  • Wherever we might assemble as a church

   Being On Mission – Reaching the Lost with the Gospel Message

   Theologian Buzz Lightyear put it this way: To infinity and Beyond.

   We not only take the gospel across the street, but we carry the gospel around the world. The church must get out of its comfort zone. None of us are exempt from sharing Jesus with people. Three practical ways:

  • Live it
  • Speak it
  • Show it
   Thank God for people like Roy and Jane Moore who in their 70’s is On Mission, and going to Africa to carry the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lost. Pray for them, support them.

  What does this mean for SLBC? We are a mission minded church.

  • Vietnam
  • Hong Kong
  • China
  • Thailand
  • Russia
  • Brazil
  • Costa Rica
  • Mexico
  • Kentucky
  • Cuba
  • Belize
  • Montana
  • Canada
  • Honduras
  • Do all for the glory of God

   The final and most important, aspect of the church is purpose is to glory of God. We must run everything we do through the filter –  does this glorify God?

   In the old testament, God created a People for the glory of his name – Ezekiel 36:22-23; Isaiah 48:8-11

   The same is true in the New Testament. The church ultimately exists for the glory of God. With her pursuing missions or evangelism; edifying one another through prayer and Bible study; encouraging growth and holiness; or assembling for public praise, prayer, and instruction, this one purpose prevails. The church is the unique instrument for bringing God such glory.

   Charles Bridges expressed it like this (I paraphrase him), “The church is the mirror, that reflects the whole radiant splendor of the divine character. It is the grand scene, in which the perfections of Jehovah are displayed to the universe.”
 
   Remember, I am in touch, so you be in touch.
 
   Walk with the King today and be a blessing. 


The Discipline of the Church – Exodus 33:14-16

   Today is Friday, April 10, 2020 and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection series # 21

   Welcome. I am so glad that you could join me.

   Today is Good Friday! Why is it Good Friday? It is Good Friday because Jesus Christ died for our sin in our place, so that we could be reconciled to God. Question: Is today a Good Friday in your life? Have you been reconciled to God by His Son, Jesus Christ?

   We read in 2 Corinthians 5:21, He made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

  Hope that you are all doing well.
  • Download the SLBC app. The Sharefaith App. Type in Spirit Lake Baptist Church. It will turn into the SLBC App.
  • Drive-in Worship Service – Resurrection Sunday! Drive in Church out at the Buffalo Ranch 564 Roberts Lane, Blanchard Idaho. Come join us. Bonner County Sheriff’s approval. All precautions will be taken to keep people safe. NO ONE will be allowed to leave their cars. If you cannot follow the rules – PLEASE don’t come.
  • Mask Making ContestMask Making Contest – I want to create a contest beginning today for the creation of the most unique face covering. Design it, create it, wear it, post a picture of you wearing it at my email – grace2u4@gmail.com. I will find a prize for the most creative face covering! Presently we have two entries.
  • Shout out to Women Uncensored Podcast. My wife, Debbie and my daughter, Meghan interview Jocelyn Stenstrom, a nurse in Perce County, Washington about the Covid-19 Coronavirus and what our response should be. It is a good listen. The link will be in the show notes today: https://open.spotify.com/show/4rtra9FVk1c6P2g3Rp3tr8?si=xPvewT1XSrWyOh6a-7XiDg
  • Donate to Cup of Grace – Money or food.

Today in the News

John Hopkins reports that U.S. Coronavirus cases top 467,000; death toll passes 16,700.

People in India can see Himalayas for the first time in “decades,” as lockdown eases air pollution.

Buzzfeed reports of 16 Casts and Dogs who are sick of their owners being home all the time.

New reports that some churches are defying the Stay-Home Stay-Safe guidelines. And some churches are doing Drive-in Church. In some regions even Drive-In Church service are not permitted.

Washington Post Reports that for the first time ever, DoubleTree has released its iconic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Every year DoubleTree uses 1,200,000 pounds of Chocolate chips to make their treats, and more than 483,000,000 have been handed out to date.

Pause for Prayer

  • SLBC Family
  • Tyler is home safe. 
  • Tom Spann & Bob Ahsmuhs – Cancer treatment
  • Praise – Diana Garrido son didn’t have to be sent to New York. He is a medical doctor in the military.
  • Hospital workers and first responders
  • Domestic disputes – Policer Kevin Ward shared with me that he is having all kinds of calls for families not getting along.
  • God to use COVID-19 to bring about REVIVAL and Spiritual awareness
  • Open the eyes of God’s people to love the lost
  • Pray for all those who lost loved ones to the Coronavirus.
  • That God’s people will stand “steadfast, unmovable, and always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that you labor is not in vain in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)

   Our WORD from the Lord today comes from Exodus 33:14-16,

   14 And he replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

    15 “If your presence does not go,” Moses responded to him, “don’t make us go up from here. 16 How will it be known that I and your people have found favor with you unless you go with us? I and your people will be distinguished by this from all the other people on the face of the earth.”

Today I want to have a word with you about The Discipline of the Church. We will first take a look at Old Testament Discipline, and then we will turn to the New Testament and see what is taught by Jesus and others about church discipline.

  I. Old Testament Discipline

   God called Abraham and his descendants to be a very special people. He wanted them to be a holy people (set apart unto Him).

   God’s presence among his people required a special holiness on their part. Go back and take a look at Exodus 33:14-16. Don’t miss what is being taught in these verses – God’s people are to be distinguished from all other people.

   Their holiness should reflect God’s holiness.

   Between the times of Moses and Ezra, Israel existed as a testimony of God’s faithfulness to the promises to Abraham. Individuals are excluded from the company by means of the Levitical code if their lights became too polluted.

   Gordon Wenham summarized the purpose of the Levitical code,

   “The unclean in the holy are two states which must never coming to contact with each other.”

    Why were people excluded from God’s people?

  • Separated from God people for a number of actions – Leviticus 11:15,18
  • Serious sins let the capital punishment – Leviticus 17:10; 20:3-5

   Divided and then Off into Captivity

   Ultimately, the nation’s sin became too great for God to tolerate, so he judged the whole nation. First, the nation was divided. Then, after more centuries of disobedience, the northern tribes fell to Assyria, and later the southern tribes fell to Babylon. If his people would not live distinctively from the nations – if instead they adopt the immorality and idolatry of the nations – then his people would be dispersed among them.

   The Prophet Ezekiel describes the faithfulness of God and the faithlessness of Israel – Ezekiel 20:13-24

   13 “ ‘But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness. They did not follow my statutes and they rejected my ordinances—the person who does them will live by them. They also completely profaned my Sabbaths. So I considered pouring out my wrath on them in the wilderness to put an end to them. 14 But I acted for the sake of my name, so that it would not be profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I had brought them out. 15 However, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would not bring them into the land I had given them—the most beautiful of all lands, flowing with milk and honey—16 because they rejected my ordinances, profaned my Sabbaths, and did not follow my statutes. For their hearts went after their idols. 17 Yet I spared them from destruction and did not bring them to an end in the wilderness.  18 “ ‘Then I said to their children in the wilderness, “Don’t follow the statutes of your fathers, defile yourselves with their idols, or keep their ordinances. 19 I am the Lord your God. Follow my statutes, keep my ordinances, and practice them. 20 Keep my Sabbaths holy, and they will be a sign between me and you, so you may know that I am the Lord your God.” 21 “ ‘But the children rebelled against me. They did not follow my statutes or carefully keep my ordinances—the person who does them will live by them. They also profaned my Sabbaths. So I considered pouring out my wrath on them and exhausting my anger against them in the wilderness. 22 But I withheld my hand and acted for the sake of my name, so that it would not be profaned in the eyes of the nations in whose sight I brought them out. 23 However, I swore to them in the wilderness that I would disperse them among the nations and scatter them among the countries. 24 For they did not practice my ordinances but rejected my statutes and profaned my Sabbaths, and their eyes were fixed on their fathers’ idols.

   II. New Testament Discipline

   The church is also to exercise discipline because in expectation of holiness remains on God’s people – 1 Peter 1:14-16

   14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

   The church was founded by Christ (Matthew 16:18), and its success is promised and ensured by him (Matthew 16:17-19). He commits to form holiness in his people through his Spirit. Question: Do we really desire to be holy?

   Christ Spirit uses the local body of believers to form and maintain the special holiness of God’s people, in part through the exercise of church discipline. Consider the following passages of Scripture:

  • Hebrews 12:1-4
  • Galatians 6:1-2
  • 2 Thessalonians 3:6,14-15
  • 1 Timothy 1:20; 5:19-20
  • Titus 3:10

Matthew 18 – The Biblical Way to Handle Church Discipline

   Scripture: Matthew 18:15-20

   Goal: It is always restoration.

   The Process – Three steps

  1. Private confrontation – you and the offender.
  2. Small group confrontation – you, another person, and the offender.
  3. Congregational confrontation – you, the congregation, and the offender.

   Should the person repent of their sins you have won a brother, however, if the person refuses to listen to the church, then he should be treated as “a pagan or a tax collector.” This person is demonstrated that he does not belong in the church because he is not characterized by holy repentance.

1 Corinthians 5 – Example of the immoral sin within the Corinthian Church

  • Paul told the congregation “expel the wicked man from among you” (v. 13).
  • The offender should be expelled from his community, similar to Jesus command in Matthew 18:17 for the unrepentant sin or to be treated as a pagan or tax collector.
  • The offender claimed to be a Christian, his claim held no credence given his evident lack of repentance.
  • Such judging inside the church is actually a part of the work of the church – 1 Corinthians 5:12

   Terms used in Church Discipline

  • Excommunication, which typically means excluding the parties in question from communion or the Lords supper.
  • In the case in 1 Corinthians 5 it was removal from church membership.

   Someone once said that sins committed publicly should be dealt with publicly, and sins committed privately should be dealt with privately. I am in agreement with that statement.

   When a person’s testimony is no longer supportive of their claim to be walking with Jesus Christ, then that person needs spiritual discipline. The last thing a church wants is for the testimony of Christ to fall into disrepute. The church does not want the world to have a deeply distorted picture of what a Christian is.

   The Christian church must be very careful that it not becomes inactive when it comes to church discipline. When church discipline is needed, then the leadership of the church must fulfill the responsibilities before the church.

   Church discipline done correctly might bring a sinner to repentance, but it will always faithfully represents the gospel in the surrounding community.

   Finally, church discipline should be practiced in order to bring a sinner to repentance, a warning to other church members, health to the whole congregation, a distinct corporate witness to the world, and ultimately, glory to God, as people display his character of holy love – Matthew 5:16; 1 Peter 2:12

   Remember, I am in touch, so you stay in touch.

   As always, Walk with the King today and be a blessing.