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T4G | Together 4 the Gospel 2012 Main Session Vids/Notes

Here are the notes and videos from the T4G 2012 Main Sessions courtesy of www.t4g.org and Justin Taylor. I would highly recommend taking a few weeks and perusing them.  With permission I have provided a PDF of all Justin’s notes from the main sessions for download.

For His Glory, Pastor James.

T4G 2012 Notes download as PDF, the links next to the titles take you to the specific posts on the blog

John Piper, Glory, Majesty, Dominion, and Authority Keep Us Safe for Everlasting Joy: Notes / Video

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A Few Thoughts on Worship Through the Scripture

 Worship

Worship is one of the wonders of the Christian life creating awe, an opportunity of expression and a sense of overwhelming joy that is unsurpassed.  This joy is fully known because of Jesus Christ, the One and only Son of the living God who created all that exists for His glory.  Jesus, in His glorious and triumphant life, death and resurrection, has secured the eternal forgiveness and life for all who believe.  Because of this great work, God is revealed to the lost sheep that they might be saved.  From the beginning of time, God has established Himself as the object of great worth, praise, adoration and reverence.

Though our current attitude toward worship changes from season to season and generation-to-generation, the scriptures teach us all that is needed in order to understand worship, participate in worship and celebrate Christ who is the object of our worship.  Worship, in a nutshell, is praising something because of its worth.  As the church, we understand that the only one who is worth anything in this universe is the one who created it all, the Lord God Almighty who has made Himself known through His Son, Jesus the Holy Anointed One of God.  These lessons will engage the mind and the heart in the action of worship and allow the learner to look deep into the cavern of their soul and discern what is the greatest joy and affection found.  They will be able to see clearly God’s plan for worship through His creation, His holiness, His worthiness, His character, His justice, His mercy and His love toward His children.

Paul says in the book of Romans chapter 8 that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.[1]  Therefore, we must now take time, to view scripture through two lenses:  a lens of theological truths, and a lens of consequences of worship.  Then we will understand the great God worthy of great worship!

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What John 3:16 Really Says…

We hosted this panel in California and Dr.s Dalcour and Downing give a wonderful exposition on this text.  Please watch and listen several times.  We’ve posted this also on the church site, feel free to share it.

TRANSCRIPT

What John 3:16 Really Says

“Dr. Downing”

A literal translation [click to continue…]

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Are You Born Again? | by JC Ryle | A True Test of New Birth

Are You Born Again?

This is one of life’s most important questions. Jesus Christ said, “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

It is not enough to reply, “I belong to the church; I suppose I’m a Christian.” Thousands of nominal Christians show none of the signs of being born again which the Scriptures have given us—many listed in the First Epistle of John.

No Habitual Sinning

First of all, John wrote: “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin” (1 John 3:9). “Whosoever is born of God sinneth not” (5:18).

A person who has been born again, or regenerated, does not habitually commit sin. He no longer sins with his heart and will and whole inclination. There was probably a time when he did not think about whether his actions were sinful or not, and he did not always feel grieved after doing evil. There was no quarrel between him and sin; they were friends. But the true Christian hates sin, flees from it, fights against it, considers it his greatest plague, resents the burden of its presence, mourns when he falls under its influence, and longs to be completely delivered from it. Sin no longer pleases him; it has become a horrible thing which he hates. However, he cannot eliminate its presence within him.

If he said that he had no sin, he would be lying (1 John 1:8). But he can say that he hates sin and that the great desire of his soul is not to commit sin at all. He cannot prevent bad thoughts from entering his mind, or shortcomings, omissions, and defects from appearing in both his words and his actions. He knows that “in many things we offend all” (James 3:2). But he can truly say, in the sight of God, that these things cause him grief and sorrow, and that his whole nature does not consent to them. What would the apostle say about you? Are you born again? [click to continue…]

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The Prince’s Poison Cup | Ligonier.org

This book is one that moves me to the core with the gospel. It is informative and solid in describing substitutionary atonement to children. I just bought a couple more as it is listed on the $5 Friday.

Get your Ligonier $5 Friday Items

Summary

With The Prince’s Poison Cup, Dr. R. C. Sproul continues his series of books designed to present deep biblical truths to children on their own level. In this work, he focuses in on the atonement to show that Jesus had to endure the curse of sin in order to redeem His people from their spiritual death.

When Ella gets sick and has to take yucky medicine, she wonders why something that will help her get well has to taste so bad. When she puts the question to Grandpa, he tells her the story of a great King and His subjects who enjoyed wonderful times together—until the people rebelled against the King and drank from a forbidden well. To their horror, they found that the beautiful water in the well made their hearts turn to stone. To reclaim His people, the King asks His Son, the Prince, to drink from a well of horrid poison. The poison will surely kill the Prince—but He is willing to drink it to please His Father and help His people.

Richly illustrated, The Prince’s Poison Cup will help children appreciate the great love of God for His people and the awful price Jesus had to pay because of sin. A “For Parents” section provides assistance in unfolding the biblical elements of the story.

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Hitler and Jews vs. Choice and Abortion

I would take the half our and watch this video showing a relationship between the holocaust thinking and justification of Nazi Germany and the current “freedom” and “legal” abortion system in America.

 

Caveat: Please go HERE and contemplate the gospel. We hold to a sovereign grace that enables a man, woman or child to repent and believe. This is not something that man can do on his own, it is by grace, not of works.

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Reformed Perspective of Elders

This was sent to me today by a dear friend who is in the middle of a battle over sin in the local church and the elder’s office and command to deal with sin.  The problem stems from a misunderstanding of “democracy” which only moves under the teaching of scripture, and “rule” that the scripture does holistically.

I pray this article will give some insight on the role and rule of elders in the life of the church.

Of the three special offices in the church, that of the ruling elder represents Christ as king. Nations that have a king customarily speak of him as “His Majesty.” And anyone at all familiar with Holy Scriptures knows that it, too, associates much majesty, dignity, honor and glory with kingship. Small wonder that the glory of the Christian church is reflected brightly in the office of the ruling elder.

Its Momentous Duties

The New Testament has two names for ruling elders. Sometimes they are called presbyters, which simply means older men or elders; at other times they are called bishops, which means overseers. It is significant that these are two names for the same men. Nowadays the term bishop is ordinarily used to denominate a clergyman who stands above other clergyman in both dignity and authority. But such is not at all the Biblical usage of that term. When Paul, on his way to Jerusalem at the conclusion of his third missionary journey, arrived at Miletus, he sent to Ephesus and called the presbyters of the church (Acts 20:17). When they had come, he spoke to them and said: “Take heed unto yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops” (Acts 20:28, ASV). It is clear that according to Scripture every presbyter is a bishop. And that is a way of saying that the work of the elder is to oversee the church.

Usually church members regard ruling elders less highly than ministers. In so doing they are not altogether mistaken, for it is true that a special dignity attaches to the ministerial office in virtue of the fact that the minister, being both a teaching and a ruling elder, holds two offices in one, which two offices take up, or ought to take up, all his time. On the other hand, there is great danger that the dignity of the ruling elder’s office in comparison with that of the minister’s office will be underestimated. Read the rest of the article here.

May God be glorified in His grace for His people!

James

Also: Elders Do Rule the Church

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True Biblical Evangelism

We have been preaching a conference on the true picture of a biblically healthy church. Last night the topic on the table was evangelism. I pray the word of the Lord would shine into your heart. Be blessed.

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Elders Do Rule Over the Church

Due to some churches who are newly introduced to the idea of biblical church leadership, I felt that it would be good to review the role and rule of the elder and consider John MacArthur’s thoughts on the matter to be very truthful and biblically based.

I pray that you might grow in your understanding of God’s desire for the church.

The following is adapted from the Grace Church Distinctive on Biblical Eldership and is posted fully below:

Biblically, the focal point of all church leadership is the elder. An elder is one of a plurality of biblically qualified men who jointly shepherd and oversee a local body of believers. The word translated “elder” is used nearly twenty times in Acts and the epistles in reference to this unique group of leaders who have responsibility for overseeing the people of God.

The Office of Elder

As numerous passages in the New Testament indicate, the words “elder” (presbuteros), “overseer” (episkopos), and “pastor” (poimen) all refer to the same office. In other words, overseers and pastors are not distinct from elders; the terms are simply different ways of identifying the same people. The qualifications for an overseer (episkopos) in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, and those for an elder (presbuteros) in Titus 1:6-9 are unmistakably parallel. In fact, in Titus 1, Paul uses both terms to refer to the same man (presbuteros in v. 5 and episkopos in v. 7).

All three terms are used interchangeably in Acts 20. In verse 17, Paul assembles all the elders (presbuteros) of the church of Ephesus to give them his farewell message. In verse 28 he says, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers [episkopos], to shepherd [poimaino] the church of God.” First Peter 5:1-2 brings all three terms together as well. Peter writes, “Therefore, I exhort the elders [presbuteros] among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd [poimaino] the flock of God among you, exercising oversight [episkopeo] not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God.” The different terms, then, indicate various features of ministry, not varying levels of authority or separate offices, as some churches espouse.

A Plurality of Elders

The consistent pattern throughout the New Testament is that each local body of believers is shepherded by a plurality of God-ordained elders. Simply stated, this is the only pattern for church leadership given in the New Testament. Nowhere in Scripture does one find a local assembly ruled by majority opinion or by a single pastor.

The Apostle Paul left Titus in Crete and instructed him to “appoint elders in every city” (Titus 1:5). James instructed his readers to “call for the elders of the church” to pray for those who are sick (James 5:14). When Paul and Barnabas were in Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, they “appointed elders for them in every church” (Acts 14:23). In Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, the apostle referred to “the elders who rule well” at the church at Ephesus (1 Tim. 5:17; see also Acts 20:17, where Paul addresses “the elders of the church” at Ephesus). The book of Acts indicates that there were “elders” at the church in Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; 15:2, 4; 21:18).

Again and again, reference is made to a plurality of elders in each of the various churches. In fact, every place in the New Testament where the term presbuteros (“elder”) is used it is plural, except where the apostle John uses it of himself in 2 and 3 John and where Peter uses it of himself in 1 Peter 5:1. Nowhere in the New Testament is there a reference to a one-pastor congregation. It may be that each elder in the city had an individual group in which he had specific oversight. But the church was seen as one church, and decisions were made by a collective process and in reference to the whole, not the individual parts.

In other passages, reference is made to a plurality of elders even though the word presbuteros itself is not used. In the opening greeting of his epistle to the Philippians, Paul refers to the “overseers [plural of episkopos] and deacons” at the church of Philippi (Phil. 1:2). In Acts 20:28, Paul warned the elders of the church of Ephesus, “Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which God has made you overseers [plural of episkopos]” (Acts 20:28). The writer of Hebrews called his readers to obey and submit to the “leaders” who kept watch over their souls (Heb. 13:17). Paul exhorted his Thessalonian readers to “appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction” (1 Thess. 5:12)—a clear reference to the overseers in the Thessalonian assembly.
Much can be said for the benefits of leadership made up of a plurality of godly men. Their combined counsel and wisdom helps assure that decisions are not self-willed or self-serving to a single individual (cf. Prov. 11:14). If there is division among the elders in making decisions, all the elders should study, pray, and seek the will of God together until consensus is achieved. In this way, the unity and harmony that the Lord desires for the church will begin with those individuals he has appointed to shepherd His flock.

The Qualifications of Elders

The character and effectiveness of any church is directly related to the quality of its leadership. That’s why Scripture stresses the importance of qualified church leadership and delineates specific standards for evaluating those who would serve in that sacred position.

The qualifications for elders are found in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and Titus 1:6-8. According to these passages, an elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperate, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine, not pugnacious, gentle, uncontentious, free from the love of money, not fond of sordid gain, a good manager of his household, one who has his children under control with dignity, not a new convert, one who has a good reputation outside the church, self-controlled, sensible, able to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict, above reproach as God’s steward, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, loving what is good, just, and devout.

The single, overarching qualification of which the rest are supportive is that he is to be “above reproach.” That is, he must be a leader who cannot be accused of anything sinful because he has a sustained reputation for blamelessness. An elder is to be above reproach in his marital life, his social life, his business life, and his spiritual life. In this way, he is to be a model of godliness so he can legitimately call the congregation to follow his example (Phil. 3:17). All the other qualifications, except perhaps teaching and management skills, only amplify that idea.

In addition, the office of elder is limited to men. First Timothy 2:11-12 says, “Let a woman quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” In the church, women are to be under the authority of the elders, excluded from teaching men or holding positions of authority over them.

The Functions of Elders

As the apostolic era came to a close, the office of elder emerged as the highest level of local church leadership. Thus, it carried a great amount of responsibility. There was no higher court of appeal and no greater resource to understand the mind and heart of God (as revealed in the Scriptures) with regard to issues in the church.

The primary responsibility of an elder is to serve as a manager and caretaker of the church (1 Tim. 3:5). That involves a number of specific duties. As spiritual overseers of the flock, elders are to determine church policy (Acts 15:22); oversee the church (Acts 20:28); ordain others (1 Tim. 4:4); rule, teach, and preach (1 Tim. 5:17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12; 1 Tim. 3:2); exhort and refute (Titus 1:9); and act as shepherds, setting an example for all (1 Pet. 5:1-3). Those responsibilities put elders at the core of the New Testament church’s work.

Because of its heritage of democratic values and its long history of congregational church government, modern American evangelicalism often views the concept of elder rule with suspicion. The clear teaching of Scripture, however, demonstrates that the biblical norm for church leadership is a plurality of God-ordained elders, and only by following this biblical pattern will the church maximize its fruitfulness to the glory of God.

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Blown over by God’s Divine Love

This past weekend, we hosted a conference on Biblical Evangelism sponsored by Christian Soldiers Ministries in Fremont CA.  I have to say that of all the conferences in my life time, this one cuts the cake.  Not only was the fellowship and dialog divinely driven through the Holy Spirit, but the content and measure of God’s divine love was ineffable.

From the lectures on the cannon historically and theologically, to the understanding of God’s divine usage of common Greek during the first century began to paint an even greater picture of His grace than ever before.  It’s not just what God has done but the small details of how He has accomplished salvation for His people.

Join this with glorious proclamation of the gospel, a call to evangelize and some Greek lessons on the atonement you have a reason to burst into tears of joy for God’s immeasurable grace!

I want to encourage you to begin listening to these lectures and informal discussions at your leisure, they are truly inspiring and for His glory ALONE!

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