The Answer is in the Bible – II Timothy 3:16-4:2

Today is Friday, April 3, 2020, and you are listening to COVID-19 Connection Series # 15

Welcome and thank you for allowing me into your home.

Today in the News:

  • Number of confirmed cases have topped 1 million worldwide. 25% in the United States.
  • President Trump is now encouraging people to wear face covering in public to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
  • Yesterday we heard 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. Today the number has reached 10 million.
  • Gas prices dropping. In Spirit Lake the price is $ 1.89. In Oklahoma City the price for a gallon of gas is .98 cents. (Cheap gas but no place to go). This is worrying OPEC members and countries like Russia and Saudi Arabia.
  • Experts have reported that social distancing has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles and Seattle.

   Mask 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!

Pause for Prayer:

  • We received news that a nephew living in Colorado has tested positive (Josh), and is at home self-quarantined. He is a father of three children.
  • That Christians would STOP fighting the commonsense steps of stopping the spread of the Coronavirus. It’s not about the economy right now – it’s about saving lives!
  • Health workers, first responders, essential workers.
  • Shut-in’s – Lowana, Virginia, Marilyn, and others.
  • Easter Sunday – wisdom that we do things right.

Our WORD from the LORD today is found in II Timothy 3:16-42. We read,

   16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. 4 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

   I want to have a word with you about: The Answer is in the Bible 

   Everything that we need to know about the Church, and how the Church is to live in this present world is found in God’s Word. The Bible is so central to everything about Christianity.

   Everything we know about God and his will comes from God’s own Revelation. Consider:

  • The Good News of Jesus Christ came from Revelation. (Revealed truth).
  • Man’s redemption / New life – John 17:20
  The whole salvation of mankind is depended on God’s clear revelation to man.
  • Acts 10:44 – While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
  • Acts 11:14 – who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.
  • Romans 10:17 – Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.

   The declared (preached) Word creates life – it also sustains and grows it. The Bible is our lifeline, and feast. Go back and reread II Timothy 3:16-4:2.

   I’m sharing this Facebook Live with the idea that we might understand and recover the faithfulness of God’s Word. Scripture is essential for salvation, but it is also necessary for obedience – what a local church is to be in to do. What we believe determines how we live.

   The Scriptures teaches us about all of life in doctrine, including how we should assemble for corporate worship and how we are to organize our corporate life together. It doesn’t teach us everything, but neither does it teach us nothing.

   I. What should churches do?
  • Abraham – Genesis 12:1-3 God called him, and told to believe a promise (covenant).
  • New Testament – Matthew 28:19-20 – God called us, and told what to do.

   Scripture tells Christians and preachers and local churches how to live: we are to go, make disciples, baptize, and teach disciples to obey, God’s word has to do with life.

   The apostle Paul established churches and taught them by his example and his letters – how to live –

   Colossians 4:16 – Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. 

   God’s word by direct command, example, implication, or principles, tells us everything we need to know about every aspect of following him in life from dating to marriage, from working to grieving, from evangelizing to eating. What should churches do? The answers in the Bible.

   II. What should churches believe?

   The answer to that question is also found in the Bible.

   Churches believe the Bible – Genesis to Revelation. My pastor used to say, “From Genesis to the Maps”. Believers understand that it is the word of God.    

They seek to obey the commands of Jesus Christ, in obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Churches believe in the Gospel. What is the Gospel? The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Spend some time in I Corinthians 15:1-4,

    1 Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. 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,

   You cannot be at church if you do not accept the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. These are key doctrines of the local church. This is why Paul was so hard on the Galatians when they began to be tempted by other gospels (Galatians 1:6-9).

   What we believe should come from the Bible.

   III. How should churches worship?

   Same answer – we turn to the Bible.

   God tells us how we should approach him in public worship. What are the steps of worship?

  • We read the Bible
  • We sing the Bible
  • We preach the Bible
  • We pray the Bible
  • We see the Bible – baptism and the Lord’s supper
  • We respond to the Bible

   The church is not just a group of people who have invited Jesus Christ to be their savior, and who live under the full control of the Holy Spirit, no, we are a group of people who come together on a regular basis to worship God, in Jesus’ words, “In spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).

   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.

   By the way – you and I are having a worship service right now. A quarantine doesn’t stop WORSHIP of God. Persecuted Christians have been quarantined for decades, and yet they still WORSHIP God.

           Scriptural Ways in which we Approach God
  • We begin with a scriptural call to worship so that we formally begin our time by hearing God address us in his word.
  • We may corporately recite various summary statement of what the Bible teaches, just as Romans 10:9 calls Christians to confess what they believe with their mouth’s.
  • We sing hymns, Psalms, and worship songs because we are commanded to (Romans 15:11; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; James 5:13).
  • We pray and praise (Hebrews 13:15), and we pray intercession for others as we have been instructed to (James 5:13-18; Ephesians 6:18).
  • We read God’s word to one another (Revelation 1:3; I Timothy 4:13).
  • We confess our sin (I John 1:9), and then we remind ourselves from some passages of scripture that God fully forgives our sins through Jesus Christ.
  • We give financially as God instructed (Galatians 6:6; II Timothy 2:6), and as exampled in I Corinthians 16:2 (cf. the example of the Philippians in supporting Paul’s ministry in Philippians 4:15-16).
  • We attend to preaching as God commanded (II Timothy 4:2), and as exampled throughout the book of Acts.
  • We baptize as Jesus commanded (Matthew 28:18-20), and we celebrate the Lord supper as he instructed (Luke 22:19)
   IV. How should churches live together?

   Biblically!

   How we choose to live together gets to the matter of church polity an organization.

   What is the organizational structure of the church? Again the answer is found in the Bible. However, we have many types of church polity and organizational structure, so which is right? Should churches be self-governed, such as SLBC? Or should churches be ruled by Elders, as some other churches in our region?

   We know the scripture speak of the church, which are all those who have received Jesus Christ into their heart as Savior and Lord. The Bible also speaks of church leaders, shepherds or pastors, and deacons, servants. And we’ve already taken a look at how the church is to worship when it gathers to meet with God.

   In Bible college I was taught the following principal when studying scripture. The principle is this: When the plain sense makes commonsense sense seek no other sense. 

   I believe a key to church polity and organization is unity within the fellowship. If we will seek unity, the Spirit of God will reveal to us revelation to guide us in our polity and organizational structure. 

I want to conclude by sharing with you Two Confessions of Faith

The New Hampshire’s Confession of Faith 

   A visible church of Christ is a congregation of baptize believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the Gospel; observing the ordinances of Christ; governed by His laws; and exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by his word; that it’s only scriptural officers are Bishop or Pastors, and Deacons, whose qualifications, claims, and duties are defined in the Epistles to Timothy and Titus. 

The Westminster Confession of Faith

   The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men (WCF 1:6; cf. II Timothy 3:15-17; Galatians 1:8-9; II Thessalonians 2:2).

Thought for today: Revelation provides Inspiration for Transformation.
 
Material from: The Church by Mark Dever

It’s Thursday, April 2, 2020. Welcome to our COVID-19 Connection Series # 14

  It is always wonderful to have a listening audience. I count it a privilege that you allow me to come into your home on a daily basis.

   How are you handling your emotions through all of this? I am hearing that some are stressed, some are worrying, some are scared, and some are living as if life is normal. You may experience a wide variety of emotions. It’s okay! God knows that we are human. Can I remind you however that if you are walking through some negative emotions that are affecting your daily activities that you give those emotions over to God in prayer? He told us through His Word,

   “Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we might find mercy and find grace to find help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16).  

In The News Today: 

America is running out of supplies – Government’s emergency stockpile of medical supplies are nearly depleted because of the Coronavirus.

Los Angeles officials urged residents to cover their faces in public to prevent further transmission of COVID-19. This is a reversal of guidelines set by the CDC, but remember these are changing times we are living in.

6.6 million Americans have filed for unemployment. Doubling the record the week before.

In France the government is trying an experiment of paying companies not to lay people off.

A million N95 masks are being flown in from China.

Pause for Prayer: Psalm 5:2-3“Give heed to the voice of my cry, My King and my God, For to You I will pray. My voice You shall hear in the morning, O LORD.” 

  • Church family and emotional stress
  • Shut-in’s
  • Cup of Grace & Senior center meals to those in need
  • Wisdom for every SLBC family – navigate during these days
  • Ministries of SLBC – Women’s Online Bible Study, Daily Devotions on Facebook, Church office staff
  • Local police – Kevin Ward
  • Spirit Lake Citizens
  • Miller’s grocery store
  • People in essential employment – protection
  • 6 million Americans who filed for unemployment benefits
  • Direction for our National leaders

Our WORD from the Lord today is taken from Matthew 16:18. It reads,

   And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. 

The Foundation of the Church 

   Notice what Jesus stated in this verse. He said very emphatically, 

   I will build My church. 

   Please hear this – the church is NOT built on Peter; nor is it build on a religious institution. The Church is built on Jesus Christ alone.

I am going to start something a little different, and together we are going to walk through a book by Pastor Mark Dever entitled: The Church. What we are going to be doing is taking a look three areas of the church:

  1. What does the Bible say? About the Church.
  2. What has the Church Believed? About the Ordinances and Organization.
  3. How does it all fit together? Why different types of ChurchesThe Utter Importance of the Church

   Christian Author and Pastor John Stott said, “The church lies at the very center of the eternal purpose of God. It is not a divine afterthought. It is not an accident of history.”

   The church should be regarded as important to Christian’s because of its importance to Christ:

  • Christ founded at the church – Matthew 16:18 

   And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.

  • Christ purchased it with his own blood – Acts 20:28

   Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 

  • Christ intimately identifies himself with it – Acts 9:4

   Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?”

 What do we KNOW about the Church?

         1. The church is the body of Christ – I Corinthians 12:12-27; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:12; 5:20-30; Colossians 1:18-24; 3:15
 
   2. The church is the dwelling Place of his Holy Spirit – I Corinthians 3:16-17; Ephesians 2:18,22; 4:4
 
   3. The church is the chief instrument for glorifying God in the world – Ezekiel 36:22-38; Ephesians 3:10
 
   4. The church is God’s instrument for bringing both the gospel to the nations and a great host of the redeemed humanity to himself – Luke 24:46-48; Revelation 5:9

Jan Hus (John Huss), the fifteenth-century Bohemian reformer, put it this way: “Every earthly pilgrim ought faithfully… to love Jesus Christ, the Lord, the bridegroom of that church, and also the church herself, his bride.”

What we must watch out for as a Church?

  1. Shifting currents of pragmatism – what works now.
  2. Thinking success is the immediate response of non-Christians.
  3. The disowning of Christianity in our current culture.
  4. Evangelism being characterized as intolerant.
  5. Biblical doctrine classified as hate speech.
  6. Man’s felt needs replacing the message of the gospel.
  7. Numerical growth as primary indicator of church health.
  8. Compromise of biblical truth.

   Churches must remain true to the message of the gospel no matter what – PERIOD! (See Romans 1:16; I Corinthians 15:3-4; Galatians 1:6-10)

   William Carey (The Father of Modern Missions) served faithfully in India and Adoniram Judson persevered and Burma not because they met immediate success or advertise themselves as “relevant”.

  William Carey didn’t see his first convert until after seven years of preaching the Gospel. He spent 41 years in India. After 41 years only 700 converts could be found.

   William Carey was a plodder for Christ. He just kept doing what He was commissioned to do – preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

   William Carey was instrumental in others going to the mission fields of the world.

   Here is one of my favorite quotes of William Carey,

   “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!” 

   Church – don’t EVER criticize the Church founded by Jesus, the Church purchased by His blood, and the Church that He identifies with.