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Russell Moore’s comments to the Vatican Assembly

In the late hours of yesterday I anxiously anticipated what may come of a gathering of leaders at the Vatican in order to discuss how marriage may be “examined” and “proposed” changes be implemented in order to strengthen and make beautiful its reality.  My thoughts on the matter are still mixed with grief and some confusion for various reasons I stated yesterday.

Today, Dr. Moore provided his words to the witnesses of the gathering.  I have placed them below for you to read.  More thoughts to come as I meet with fellow elders on the matter.  I will say that I appreciate Moore’s pointed expression of the gospel.

[click to continue…]

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Interfaith Collaboration on Marriage

Catholic Colloquium

In an attempt to be focused and maintain a biblical standard through which I speak, I want to make certain of my purpose in this writing.  I want to disclose the futility of worldly means to a biblical end in relation to marriage, suffering, joy and affection.  Today, the “Humanum” convened at the Vatican, “The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.” This gathering of leaders appears to be an attempt to collectively establish a sense of beauty and awe for the “biblical” picture of marriage between a man and a woman.  While these efforts are commendable in one respect, the nature of these “Inter-faith” dialog has me somewhat concerned. (OK, more like a lot).  I readily counter however that I trust in the awesome and sovereign power of God, who before the world began had intentions for such a meeting.  So my faith isn’t discharged or waning by my record here, but rather, my record is for the sake of the body of Christ to have pause to consider the implications.

So that I am not guilty of assuming what is not supported with evidence I will elect to do several things:  First, I will not endorse or rebuke any member or attendee of the colloquium for each participant in his own conscience will be held to the judge of all men.  Second, I am not negating the necessity of a good dialog on marriage and the nature of why so many young women today (referencing today’s speeches from Latin America) are nearly in complete despair that there is any hope of a life-long marriage with a good man.  Third, I do not want to appear insensitive to people of other faiths or theologies, but I am speaking from a strictly Christian (Biblical) perspective on this topic.  Fourth, I am only going to use what is provided in source from the colloquium’s pages rather than make inference from what may seem “ideal” and “obvious” information.  Fifth, I hope to engage my readers in their journey of celebrating the gospel of Jesus Christ, not tear down the efforts to support marriage.  Sixth, my aim is remove myself and my congregation from any support for such a dialog in the name of “religion” or “Christ” or the “Church” or “people of faith”, “community of faith,” or the like.  Seventh, I will make obvious statements for recollection and do my best to keep commentary from the writing.  However, when pressed, I will preach.

On the about page of the Colloquium one can find the sponsorship or organizers listed very clearly.  The site states:

The Colloquium is sponsored by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and co-sponsored by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and
 the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

At first glance one may glaze over this, but let me point out a few things that the church should consider:

  1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in short is the same “official” group that founded the inquisition.  The contemporary purpose of the group is to, “spread sound doctrine and defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines.”
  2. The Pontifical “Councils” for family, interreligious dialogue and promotion of Christian unity are all councils of the office of the Pope or “Pontiff”.  The history of the Papal office reveals that the office of Vicar (replacement of Christ) is the Pontiff (bridge builder.)  This means that the one overseeing the mission of these councils considers himself the representative or bridge between God and man.
  3. Family, interfaith dialog and Christian unity are all very good things, but one must readily ask, “does my understanding of scripture allow for a human mediator to man and is that a matter of faith that I can be in unity with?”

Now I want to look at the mission of the meetings.

The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium is a gathering of leaders and scholars from many religions across the globe, to examine and propose anew the beauty of the relationship between the man and the woman, in order to support and reinvigorate marriage and family life for the flourishing of human society.

  1. What do “religions” have to do with marriage? As Christians we are readily and with great precision taught that the marriage is the first institution created by God to portray the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Do all faiths believe this?  Do all faiths follow the Apostolic teaching of Ephesians 5 when Paul clearly teaches that marriage points to “Christ and the church?”  What “leaders” have any thoughts that would align with biblical authority on this matter as it relates to the points in discussion in “examining” and “proposing” [anew] the beauty of “marriage” (the relationship between the man and the woman.)
  2. Does this language of “relationship between” actually indicate marriage or is this an attempt to avoid marital discussion at all?  Does the scripture not declare enough doctrine about these things in Ephesians, Colossians, 1 Corinthians etc.?  Is this conference really about marriage or an attempt to appease the heat given to Francis on his views on marriage?
  3. When did marriage need “support” from world leaders, religions and the like?  The support of marriage is only found in Christ who fulfills the purpose and presence of marriage to begin with.  When did the gospel become unable to “reinvigorate marriage?”
  4. Is family life successful through the reinvigorating of marriage so that human society can flourish?  IF so, then how can these discussions “propose anew” that which is already been examined by God who created it?  Is there anything but the gospel that will reveal the power of God in marriage, family and society?  Would the “plurality” of these discussion find “unity” when there is obviously not unity?

Now some thoughts.  I pray that these words find you understanding that this is not a slap at the intent, but as the adage goes, “the road to hell is paved” with the intents of good men.  (meh.)  While marriage has been preached is it practiced by the church?  I think that if it was, there would be no need to invite “protestant” leaders to such talks as these.  So, in the first place of a batting lineup, let’s make sure that the church “Holds marriage in high honor” (Hebrew 13:4) in both sanctity and picture.  No discussion of this manner is going to make a difference and I pray that maybe one of God’s warriors will proclaim the word of Christ on this matter and God would herald this throughout.  Either way, God’s will be done and His word will go forth for His purpose.  Now some thoughts:

  • Although I respect every man’s desires, I think there is something grave at work when “leaders” share a stage who are not in unity where the purpose is to find unity.
  • Although many can be unified on the matter’s of marriage and its beauty from a world’s point of view, the church knows the purpose and power of God’s provision in marriage, so heretical views on the gospel create heretical world views on marriage and vice versa.
  • Although opportunity could present itself for discussion and gospel-powered rebuke and correction on doctrine (inclusive of marriage), this colloquium is presented in mass media style with marketing to boot.  So it is far short of any personal dialog.
  • Although I appreciate good debate and discourse, I believe the reformers would flip over in their graves to see such a thing, being they gave their lives to combat such blending of beliefs for the sake of any common good.
  • Although the desire to see marriage built, it won’t be by making it pretty again internationally, it will only be by preaching the one true gospel which by design condemns ANY other gospel.

Now to the how.  The site details in quick prose what will happen:

Witnesses will draw from
 the wisdom of their religious tradition and cultural experience as they attest to the power and vitality of the complementary union of man and woman. It is hoped that the colloquium be a catalyst for creative language and projects, as well as for global solidarity, in the work
 of strengthening the nuptial relationship, both for the good of the spouses themselves and for the good of all who depend upon them.

Let’s take a look at the design.  First, notice that the speakers are called witnesses, I make this point so that if you look on the site you will understand.  In some sense, I shudder to think why that word is used and because I do not know for certain, I will not assume.  I believe a witness however, is one who proclaims what is seen.  So, I would personally consider a witness (speaker) one who proclaims in “unity” what is being said among them.  It most likely asserts the “wisdom” and “experience” of each witness and they impart such to the group who will “examine” and then “propose.”  In like manner, here are some things that the church of Jesus Christ should consider:

  1. Wisdom does not come from religious tradition.  The scripture says that Jesus Christ is our wisdom (1 Cor 1:24) which is the reality that birthed my blogging in the first place (Being Wise and More Stupid) in 2006.  So, is there anything good to come out of what even the most sound theologian could offer in wisdom for the picture and beauty of marriage?  The same would go for cultural experience.  Even the weakest of debaters know that appealing to these measures is surely fallacious.
  2. The previous experience and wisdom is stated to allow these witnesses to “attest to the power and vitality” of marriage.  If marriage (man and woman) is so powerful and vital, then why is it under examination as a problem?  I just don’t understand this.  Is this attestation just personal experience with their own marriage?  What if it is failed?  What if it isn’t?  How does this make for global change on the matter without the gospel as the core of the purpose of marriage in the first place?
  3. Being a catalyst is good if the means are coming to an end that is profitable.  For the sake of argument, what if this gathering produced “langage” and “projects” that just turned the world on its head for the sake of biblical marriage (not on the table btw) and everyone never divorced and anything but biblical marriage disappeared.  So what?  What good is making something look better than it really is? What good is a society who considers itself righteous on this issue when in reality it is the suffering marriages that endure through the covenant of God’s grace that matter.  It isn’t about happy-go-lucky utopic unity.  It’s about truth whose name is Jesus Christ and that is really what is at stake here.
  4. Strengthening the nuptial relationship is not possible without knowing what the nuptial relationship is.  It is a microscopic picture of a microcosmic reality of Christ and His church!  What can come out of hearing all of these witnesses who will proclaim everything from one end of the spectrum to the other except further divorce from the true faith?
  5. Please remember my initial statements. I am not being insensitive here.  But those who depend on good marriages would be whom?  Each other, the children, the family, the neighbors?  What does that look like?  What does that even mean?  I ask sincerely with no sarcasm.  I cannot imagine something more drawn from the heart of the purpose of marriage than to put the focus of marriage on the happiness of the ones engaged and related to it.  Marriage is about dying for the good of another who doesn’t deserve it. (See Banner of Truth Article Here)

Much should be said in this matter, but to close I share my thoughts in question as to what this all means for many of us:

  • From these discussions may come some good truth, but will this be seen in the light of truth vs. error or “everyone’s together.”  If it is the latter, we, the church, is in trouble.
  • What do we do when leaders from Evangelical churches who have surely rebuked Francis’ doctrinal errors sit in assembly with him and others who malign Christ and the Word of God?
  • Will this cause further unrest among Baptists especially?  What about Jews? What about the Mormons on the panel? What about the Buddhists?  Yes, all these and more are represented among this convention, so what will come of it?
  • Should conviction arise, do churches write letters, remove themselves from the missions arm of associations, or just implode?
  • What takes place when the world looks at this and then becomes bewildered even more?  Are we to just say, “the god of this world has blinded their eyes?”
  • Isn’t there more important areas to put our time and talent?  More areas of interest on holy things and the things of salvation and the souls of the lost?
  • Will this conversation be used as a ploy to break down truth or a plow to create a harvest?

I have hundreds more questions and I am seriously praying and waiting to see what it is that God has called for in such a gathering.  I readily admit that it disturbs me and more so that some of my peers are there.  I look forward to hearing what they have to say and by God’s grace I pray I will not enforce my back seat ministry upon their convictions, however, I do say that the church of Jesus Christ should be separate from apostasy.

In the end, marriage is only about Christ, not us, not society and it is not for us to consider and propose.  It is not for the state to mandate, it is not for the government to approve.  It is the picture of God’s election of His chosen people who are the bride of His one and only Son, Jesus Christ.  May God have mercy upon mercy upon mercy… and He does.  Hold fast church, pray with me and let’s see just what next steps may need to be.  I pray that the church would be in unity, sadly some brothers would rather go to the Vatican among cults than fellowship locally due to doctrine. (That’s personal)

For His Glory By His Grace,

Pastor James

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Is Assumption a Sin? | A Rant…

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: (Luke 18:9 ESV)Assumption Rant

I am absolutely convinced that assumption in the heart of a Christian is one of the largest sins he or she could allow to invade their lives.  The center of assumption in the heart is bearing false witness within one’s self about another.  We all do it, we’ve all done it and many of us will do it again in the future.  So what makes it a sin and how do we combat it?  I’m glad you asked.  Assumption normally comes from what the mind “feels”.  Even when based on some evidence of words or actions, it is necessary to have wisdom in making judgments on a person or situation.  Failing to be wise, especially in truth, is either highly prideful as if we know all things or highly wicked as if we don’t care about truth.  While assumptions are normative in our lives as human beings for like things about weather, society, etc., when we assume others are a certain “way” based on external similarities we are indeed murderers at heart.  Murderer?  Well, if our assumptions are that certain people are evil, wrong, misled, devilish, untrustworthy, unable to change etc., then yes, we are murderers.  Especially when we haven’t obeyed scripture in the slightest to talk, pray and reason together.

Enough of the vague rambling, let me get to the point.  In the circles of theology and doctrine it is very easy for the self-righteous and the guardian of truth to find fault with everyone else.  And it’s equally easy for that same person, who has several forests in their eyes, to “think” they see a speck of dust in another’s eye that they can’t even see for the hedges in front of them.  (Even if they did see the speck or the log, they ahve a responsibility to help remove it.)  The point being that everyone of us knows a person, a pastor or a so-called friend who makes accusations about a conversation or worse, makes a judgment based on conclusions instead of seeking truth.  If we peeked through the lens of Christendom we would find what many would call erroneous doctrine in every circle.  Calvin believed that paedo-baptism was good and biblical; A.W. Pink was apostate by  disobeying God’s command to “not forsake the gathering”; Spurgeon smoked like a train and suffered from depression to the point of self-pity; and the list goes on and on.  So, the perfect “Christians” of this world feel it necessary to point out all the bad things in so many people to the point that they themselves have become like god… sound familiar? (See the fall of satan.)

In the end, the essence of such thinking eliminates the gospel all together.  Let’s put the voice in the right perspective: If we think that we have the end runs on biblical understanding we are deceived.  If we think that we are more careful than others in our holiness, then we are deceived.  If we think we are better off without the body of Christ, we are deceived.  If we think we have the authority to personally divorce ourselves from each other, then we are deceived.  If we are deceived on all of these things, then how in Heaven are we not deceived about everything?  Well, here’s a kicker: when we are right in our interests, our studies, and even in our wisdom and are not investing these things into the body of Christ, we are rebellious and ultimately have no hope in the gospel that we claim has saved us.  When we think that the family is superior in its temporal reflection of the church’s eternal glory we have lost sight of the cross. (Until death do us part… not the church brethren.)  When we think that we should not invest our time and learning into the life of the church for her good and growth, we are deceived.  When we continually find ourselves in fear, paranoia and panic over the infestation of error, we are deceived and according to Hebrews 6, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.  (What??? Yes, the sin of assumption, doubt, fear and the like are just like the sins of unbelief because that what they are.)

The final outcome of this aggravated rant is to expose my own futile and sinful dogmas that leech the very life out of my soul when I worry.  God’s people, His true people will work through the darkest of days and be PATIENT… those who just leave, divorce themselves from the fabric of the body of Christ, the living Christ, the salvation of Christ and the hope of Christ.  “Well, I don’t need the church to be saved…” one has recently said to me.  “You’re right… you are the church if you are saved… so be her and live as she WILL live.”  Spending hours each week in the letter of Jude has been refreshing and uplifting as well as empowering and convicting.  Sometimes I believe that those who “have crept in unnoticed” are not those with wild heretical doctrines, but those with SUBTLE LYING practices that deny the power of the gospel in their lives.  Primarily with the continued personal discussions, blog posts, videos, cards, letters and emails that proclaim all the evil of the world when the so-called devil they point to is not even aware.  If a redeemed soul really loves Jesus Christ, then he would certainly want to make disciples of those who have been misled.  No, but instead he would rather assume.  He would rather make up his own mind and allow the lie to be the banner rather than the cross.  He would rather be known as the heralder of caution than the heralder of hope.  He would rather gather himself a following of graceless goats than get dirty with Jesus who bled and suffered for the sheep.  Do not be deceived, all who cause division among the body will be corrected; either by the body in grace and forgiveness or by Christ who will cast them into the lake of fire.  I am glad to know that no sin can place me into the depths of hell and more glad to know that Christ has empowered us all to walk in Him, against the flesh which is dead.

Love demands giving and growing for the sake of another.  So where is the body of Christ?  Let’s see…. Here’s a thought: Do YOU speak of others the way Jesus speaks of you to God the Father?  What if HE spoke of you the way you think of others?  It would be a different story for you and your eternity.  After all, JESUS knows the real you.

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James

 

Caveat: If you think this rant is about you, you may very well be one who has been deceived.  Stop thinking so much about your feelings.  However, if you are guilty of such things, let the grace of God abound to you as you come bold before His throne.  While there are many many circumstances and individuals who could pave this over their own issues in life and ministry, this comes from the direct study of God’s word in Jude and is expounded from continued persecution toward the body of Christ by many who profess to be the same.  Just rest in God’s grace beloved as we fight the good fight until we receive the crown of righteousness.

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Dunces R Us? | Just a Thought.

dunce-cap

In the Explanation and Defense of All the Articles, Martin Luther exclaims, “It seems I must have liars and villains for opponents. I am not worthy in the sight of God that a godly and honorable person should discuss these matters with me in a Christian way. This is my greatest lament.”

When considering his statement, it precisely expounds upon my heart in recent years, when, so-called well meaning brethren have made it their intent to disarm the people of God and His gospel by slander, murder and remorseless counsel. (James 4:11)  While much attention has been given to speculation, lies and the like, little attention has been given to the care and affection of God’s people, His holiness, and the Gospel of His Son and certainly no argument has been given for the sake of correction and unity of the faith. (Titus 1)

I want to encourage the Body of Christ to listen to His word, see it and quit being slaves to fodder, pundits, and the puke of offense given from the mouths of sinful men, but rather exult in the lovingness of God and His mercy in our souls.  (1 John 4) Let us all arise to the occasion to place holy things and God’s affection toward the lost as the utmost of our existence and let us be known for our humility, truth, biblical fortitude, true worship and most of all, the glory of the name of our Father from our lives.

Remember we are either the body, or we are cancer among the body.  Which is it? Beware the sounding bells of seemingly Godly men. Be a lover of truth, not an idiot of words.

Peter’s words summarize a familiar REALITY of God’s children. Test yourself as I test myself and carry the burden of the call to test everyone who speaks in the name of Christ by His measure: His holy word.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins. Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to confirm your calling and election, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall. For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:3-11 ESV)

Be blessed in His glory of His amazing grace!

Pastor James Tippins

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Husbands and Wives | A Paradox

Biblical Husband and Wife

During our adventure through Ephesians, these four sermons on husbands and wives out of Ephesians 5 hit the hallmark of the picture of the gospel in marriage.  Due to request, I have placed these four sermons here for easy location and listening.  May God be praised.

 



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Complaining and Grumbling in All Things

Complaining

Do all things without grumbling or disputing, [15] that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, [16] holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. (Philippians 2:14-16 ESV)

This text is one of our favorites at home.  I think this is so because it is so delightfully easy to apply when someone in the house decides to rant about anything in particular with debate or aggravation.  The funny thing with this text is that most of the time when we apply it to others we do so in the spirit of not applying to ourselves.  What I mean is that it is often so easy to say, “hey, ALL THINGS without complaining” while we stand there complaining about the complaining.  In this line of thinking I have come to conclude several areas of hypocritical application of this verse in my own life.  Maybe some of you can agree. (About yourselves…. :))

  • Complaining about people’s attitudes.
  • Being frustrated about traffic.
  • Finding fault with others. (Inside my head.)
  • Realizing annoyance that others don’t consider me in regards to their “noise.”
  • Dirty clothes on the floor.
  • Mud on the carpet.
  • Dusty bibles.
  • Smelly anythings.
  • Those darn false teachers.
  • Those darn false teachings.
  • Those darn falsely taught. (Don’t be a grammar police.)
  • Bible Questions
  • Bible Answers
  • Bible Idiots
  • Translations
  • Transmissions
  • All things electronic.
  • All things non-electronic.
  • Politicians and leaders.
  • Lack of peace at times.
  • Lack of humility.
  • Mumbling or shouting.
  • The length of things.
  • The brevity of others.
  • Silly thinking.
  • Weak Faith.
  • What ever else gets in the way of me.

OK, I hope you get the point.  Some of the ideas popping in my head are not going to be expounded upon but the brief list will get each of us thinking I pray, about our long list of never-ending complaints, grumbles, disputes etc.  In reality the peace of Christ should rule our hearts to such a degree that when things that should upset, even rightly, are not stumbling blocks for us or others.  One of the greatest measures of the faithful is the joy of the Lord and I believe this comes equally with humility.  So, to be certain of God’s work in us, let’s pause a minute and ask ourselves the last time we had a complaint, even in our own minds and then see if it fits into the category of “ALL THINGS.”

Why does it matter?  Because the rule of Christ in our lives pulls us out of fleshly understanding and allows us to see with clarity the hand of God in ALL THINGS, especially the EGR issues and people.  (EGR = Extra Grace Required.)  This text says that IF WE complain and grumble and dispute that we bring BLAME and GUILT to our lives before others.  We FIT IN to a crooked and twisted generation rather than stand out in holiness in comparison.  We cover the light of Christ in our community rather than shine in the darkness. We let GO OF Christ in those moments because we feel that our take and “talk” on such matters is more vital than God’s purpose.  Paul argues here that he is being “poured out” as a drink offering for the sake of the Christians in Philippi and that their peaceful, hopeful, humble, content resolve will prove that he did not pour himself out for nothing.  In the same way beloved, let us rise with all the power of the Gospel as we hold fast to the One who bought us with His blood.

The church should be a light of hope, not a light of annoyance as she complains about everything.

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James Tippins

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There is a question in my heart today that wonders where the solidity of community has gone among the people of God.  The church today is easy to beat up for her worldliness, lack of heart, lack of focus on spiritual things, poor teaching, poor hearing, complacency toward holy things, a lack of concern for the word of God, being devoid of prayer, being too mixed up in matters of the world, debates, debauchery and many more things that could adorn this list of “fusses.”  With all that in mind it is time that the one issue that should govern the churches “look” is the issue of biblical community.  Everything found in scripture for the church to be striving toward is clear and in many cases congregations have these things as “key” or “core” values, but in the end, the “church group” at hand forgets that the body of Christ is to strive for these things as ONE, not many.

The unity of the church is clearly an issue and while some can argue that unity should be on hating things, the scripture reveals that the unity should be on believing things that result in true worship and true life transformation by the power of God’s word through the gospel.  I have to now say that I have a major problem of wanting to deal with every possible issue, thought, philosophy etc., so for the sake of keeping my own mind sane, I want to offer a few areas where the body of Christ should walk in unity and some application that may help us all evaluate our own lives and congregations.

  1. Prayer – The people of God are people of prayer at the foundation of their souls. Without prayer, even the best laid plans are futile and God makes sure of it.  Even when the “event” goes as planned, it isn’t spiritually fruitful.  Prayer is dependence upon God in a state of worship, so we must all be praying as the bible instructs us and the entire church should be a praying people.
  2. Scripture – All protestants walk the pavement of the Reformation and one of the five pillars of the reformation is “sola scriptura” that teaches that the word of God alone is the standard of measure, standard of knowledge, means of revelation and knowledge of salvation etc.  This means that no one comes to know Christ without God’s word and that the church, her offices, her purpose and function are only found within.  Sola Scriptura needs to be revived among the body of Christ and unity in the word starts with the authority of it.
  3. Doctrine – There is much teaching in scripture at every point and comma, and in the necessary things, doctrine must be unified.  Sadly, many who approach heresies are able to sway many from the truth and so many more who avoid teaching truth, sway people to apathy.  If the body of Christ is not learning Christ, they are not the body of Christ.  Unity among the body means that the word of God is taught, not in pragmatism, but in power.
  4. Obedience – Walking holy is the outcome of true salvation.  Not perfectly, but triumphantly! The church should be known for her quiet beauty as she radiates the nature and character of her Bride Groom, Jesus Christ. So, sin must be something that is battled, together, with the whole of the church, not just individual homes, congregations, groups or ministries.
  5. Affection – Scripture is clear that the heart is revealed by the mouth, the mind and the motion of any individual.  The same is true for the church at large. Her affections must be for holiness, Christ, and all things related to His glory.  The body of Christ in unity will walk in the world of darkness as light.  It’s time that the church be presented to the world as she will be presented to her Lord; in splendor and beauty.
  6. Worship – Jesus says in John 4 that the Father is only looking for worshippers and that true worshippers worship in Spirit and in Truth. This means that the church in unity will worship the same God, the same Messiah, not the world’s or the culture’s. The church can worship together the One True God whose name is Jesus because He has made them alive with His Spirit through His Word.
  7. Evangelism (by the church) – Paul says in Ephesians that the church is to be taught by the word of God to do the “work of the ministry.” So, as one body, how is it that so many congregations are never concerned with the mandate to the “ONE” body but rather is only concerned about their own numbers, seats, money and monuments?  Reaching the lost with the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the work of God and His people, those truly called by His name, are indeed about this business.  Let’s see the church unified in this effort as each believer does the work, in his or her ability and giftedness by the grace of God.
  8. Purpose & Mission – While there are countless books, seminars, trainings, conferences, videos and podcasts on mission and vision, the word of God alone gives a clear and precise, if not myopic, vision and mission for the church.  She is to be about praising God for His glorious grace in Christ Jesus and teaching ALL NATIONS to obey ALL that Christ has taught from Genesis to Maps… SO, what is the vision of the church? If every congregation were biblical in this point, the CHURCH would live out her faith together in the community instead of being divided and individualistic.
  9. Concern & Burden – This is surely a repeat of some of the points above, but in the end the body of Christ will have a burden for all that burdens God: namely, His glory. It is easy to say that she is doing all things for His glory, but when measured by the true Rod of Scripture, the body falls short. Praying and learning together would afford the reality of knowing the burdens and seeing them aligned from smallest to largest.
  10. Discipline – While many consider this word punitive, scripture says that there is “no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  So, discipline according to Hebrews is the evidence of true adoption by God. Discipline allows for the correction of sin and a “lying” lifestyle that stands against the glory of the cross of Christ.  All congregations should be united in discipline for the sake of holiness. That way, the apostate one from one group cannot hide in the folds of another to be used by the devil to do his deeds. (see 2 Timothy.) This command in scripture relates to sinful “civil” actions, not just actions within the church walls.  So, a crook in the office is corrected by the church.
  11. Action & Activity – While there is 3,200 more points that could be expressed, this one may group many together. Good doctrine produces good devotion.  What goes into the heart of the body comes out, so the actions and activity of the local church should depict the major actions and activities commanded, not just implied by the narrative of scripture.  “You will know them by their fruits” Jesus says, so then the simple question remains, “What is the fruit of the CHURCH of Evans County?”
  12. Career – Unity is fleshed out when the body of Christ moves out of “church” things into the “life” things. Every Christian is a minister of the Gospel and every Christian is equipped by the Spirit of God to do what God commands because He has put His spirit in His people. So, no matter what a believer may do for a “living”, he or she is a light to the dark world.  The church should be in unity seeing this lived out for the glory of Christ!

Consider the reality of what the body of Christ is and what she has been ordained and equipped to do.  For more information on these topics, visit GraceTruth.org

For His Glory by His Grace,

Pastor James Tippins

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Regeneration of Death to Death

finney bust

The title may be a little confusing, but one can clearly see the trend in the last one hundred years as countless numbers of individuals have come to faith in something other than Christ and called themselves Christian.  James Adams presents some points on this matter in practice, theory and theology and remarks that many people are indeed being led astray by such things.  A few weeks ago, I preached a sermon on the idolatry of “salvation experiences” and I would implore all to consider the gospel and the implications of the gospel by such practices.  The following is the complete article by James Adams on the matter posted from here.

 

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Foxes Martyr Fire Pictures

In the last month I have spent hours pouring through the pages of Foxe’s Acts and Monuments.  The stories are more than just a glimpse into church history and the faith of the persecuted before us, but an opportunity to dig deep into the reality of God’s gracious breath of perseverance for His people who laid not in fear but stood in the faithfulness of Christ while they burned, drowned and had their heads removed.  These writings are very difficult to find in print but Still Waters Revival Books has placed much of them as audio files on SermonAudio.com.  Here is that listing, please enjoy. You can read for free the entire collection at www.johnfoxe.org
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