Tag Archives: the church
Friends: If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know that my friend Frank (in New Jersey) and I have been doing an email Bible study for over a year. We read the same chapter every day for a week — and then send a brief email of encouragement to each other. We’ve completed most of the epistles of the New Testament — and it’s been a great discipline for both of us.
We’re now finishing the book of I Corinthians. We started reading I Corinthians 15 on Easter Sunday! As we conclude I Corinthians, this will be my last outline for chapter 16.
Thankful for God’s People! (A Study of I Corinthians 16)
I. Emotional Support for Timothy (vv. 10-11)
>>> Note the words “fear,” “contempt,” and “peace.”
II. Guidance Wisdom for Apollos (v. 12).
>>> Note the words “strongly urged him . . .”
III. Submissive Devotion to the Household of Stephanas (vv. 15-16).
>>> Such devotion deserves submission!
IV. Honoring Refreshment from Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (vv. 17-18)
>>> Recognizing those who “refresh” our spirits!
V. Warm Greetings from the Church at Aquila and Priscilla’s House (v. 19).
>>> A house church that cares about other believers.
VI. Greetings from all the brothers & sisters here (v. 20)
>>> Mutual affection in the family.
VII. Greet one another with a holy kiss (v. 20)
>>> Emphasis on a “holy” kiss!
Today’s Challenge: How important are God’s people to you? Important enough to give thanks for, encourage, esteem, support, submit to, warmly greet? Get specific today and thank God for His family and those who labor hard for the gospel!
Friends: Due to the Coronavirus I am not allowed to meet face-to-face with my Kirkland cohort (many are lifers) for the rest of the semester. I’m providing a couple of videos for them to watch. And you might like what I’ve done! This one is about 15 minutes long. Let me know what you think! Dr. D.
IF – is a big word, though only two letters long. These posts have been inspired by the very helpful books of Paul Little: Know WHAT You Believe and Know WHY You Believe. We’re asking the question not about what or why we believe, but IF we indeed believe.
We have asked IF we truly believe what the Bible teaches about Truth, Sin, God, Jesus Christ, and Salvation. But WHAT do we believe about the CHURCH — and do really, really believe it?
Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of hell would not prevail against it. He is only building one thing — His church. The writer Dorothy Sayers once said that “God underwent three great humiliations in his efforts to rescue the human race. The first was the Incarnation, when he took on the confines of a physical body. The second was the Cross, when he suffered the ignominy of public execution. The third humiliation is the church.”
How do we bring humiliation to the Lord? Let me suggest several attitudes that reflect a poor view of the church:
(1) “I’ll serve — but only if I have the time. Afterall, don’t we pay the pastor and the staff to do the work around here?”
(2) “I really don’t care for the music. Maybe we should start looking for another church.”
(3) “You want me to witness to my friends?! But what if they won’t be my friends anymore?”The early church in the book of Acts practiced four priorities: They worked hard at teaching the doctrines of the faith. Truth mattered to them. They practiced genuine fellowship with one another. They recognized the fact that when Jesus saved them, He put them in a Body. They worshiped together. They knew that their God was worthy of praise and adoration — and so they gave it willingly. They actually prayed with and for one another.
Here are a few questions to consider IF you and I really believe in the CHURCH:
2. How dependent are you and I on other believers — for their encouragement, service, fellowship?
3. When you or I leave a “worship” service, is our breath taken away by what we have learned about our God?
4. Do people in your church or mine ever actually pray for each other? Do you see that happening in the foyer or the parking lot?
This is our last post on our study of I Timothy 3. We are looking forward to our trip to New Jersey, September 28 to October 7. For our Sunday School on October 6 we will be looking at the 2nd half of I Timothy 3. Let’s look at our passage one last time —
Verse 16 concludes this chapter and Paul’s instructions about overseers, deacons, deaconesses, and behavior in the “household of God.” And what a marvelous concluding verse it is! Here’s what we read:
“Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great: He appeared in the flesh, was vindicated by the Spirit, was seen by angels, was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world, was taken up in glory.”
If that doesn’t sound like an early Christian creed, I don’t know what would be! The editors of the NIV (and other translations) center the 2nd half of this verse, indicating that it was perhaps a commonly-used statement of faith which believers recited! Here’s my suggestion concerning these six great affirmations:
Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 8 JOY and the Community of God
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
Here we learn that we impact one another’s JOY! Paul appeals to these believers to be of one mind and to serve Christ in humility. In that way, he says, they will “make my JOY complete.” Is it not true that all of us have, in a sense, a kind of incomplete JOY? It is JOY in process. It is hopefully growing and expanding and increasing.
What, then, is the role of other believers in our own personal JOY? According to Paul, it ought to matter to us how they are doing in the Christian life. Are they finding their deepest needs met in Christ? Are they working toward a unity and oneness in their service for Him?
In our Western culture it seems our individualism has affected how we view the Christian community. We may think of JOY as strictly personal. But there is a corporate side to one’s JOY. We ought to care deeply how other believers are doing in their lives, recognizing that their growth has an effect (or should have an effect) on our JOY.
Friends: I’m looking forward to preaching at Cedarcroft Bible Chapel on January 27 and February 3. My topic will be —
Of course, we all believe many things! But when it comes to God and man and sin and forgiveness, of the four sources for one’s beliefs that are typical (REASON, EXPERIENCE, ECCLESIASTICAL TRADITION, and SUPERNATURAL REVELATION), we believe we should allow the Scriptures, God’s Holy Word, to be our final authority.
The doctrines of the Bible are typically divided into ten areas of study. Those ten areas are:
INTRODUCTORY MATTERS BIBLIOLOGY THEOLOGY PROPER CHRISTOLOGY PNEUMATOLOGY ANTHROPOLOGY HAMARTIOLOGY SOTERIOLOGY ECCLESIOLOGY and ESCHATOLOGY
We drew several conclusions about the first five areas of doctrine IF the Bible is true! Let’s think about the second set of five areas. If God’s Word, the Bible, is true (and I am allowing it to be my final authority in my life), then —
1. In the area of ANTHROPOLOGY (the doctrine of man), the Bible is right that man is of value, has been made in the image of God, and exists to glorify and serve His Creator!
2. In the area of HAMARTIOLOGY (the doctrine of sin), the Bible tells us the truth about man’s fall away from God. Temptation and sin are real. There are no small sins against a holy God. And all of us are in a lot of trouble with the God who is holy.
3. In the area of SOTERIOLOGY, the Bible teaches that God has done something about our sin. Free forgiveness is an act of God’s mercy because of Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross to pay the debt of our sins. The one who repents and believes in Jesus begins the process of sanctification (becoming holy like the Lord).
4. In the area of ECCLESIOLOGY, the church is the one thing that Jesus Himself is actively building! And I am to join Him in His building project. The Bible spells out the church’s mission, priorities, leadership, ordinances, discipline, gifts, and other issues that help it to be a light in the world!
5. Lastly, in the area of ESCHATOLOGY (the study of final things), the Bible says that God will wrap up history through several climatic events, judge all men (those “in Christ” and those “not in Christ”), and that Christ will rule for 1000 years on the earth. The Bible then teaches that all people will either live with God in the New Heavens and New Earth (if they are redeemed) or exist separated from Him forever in the Lake of Fire (if they are not redeemed).
So, why believe anything at all? We have every reason to believe all that the Bible tells us, for it alone is the Word of God! And its instructions are very specific — about the cruciality of faith, the character and works of God, the truth of God’s revelation to man, the Person of the Lord Jesus, the reality of the Holy Spirit, the value and nature of man, the problem of sin, the merciful provision of salvation, the importance of the church, and the specfics about the end of history!
We are not picking on the church, but when I took this picture of this old bus, I thought that some aspects of this picture suggest areas of the church that can improve. I’ll re-post this picture in a couple of days with my thoughts. (You might consider printing out this picture and having your Bible study or small group think about the needs and challenges of the local church).
We are making serious progress in our thinking about the theology of the Lord Jesus. Granted, He never left us a systematic theology textbook, but that’s okay. Most of them are boring and tough to read.
Typically, systematic theology (which organizes the data of Scripture on a logical basis) covers ten areas. We are now in our ninth area — the doctrine of the church. What did the Lord Jesus teach about the church?
Much of what we know about the New Testament church is left to the Holy Spirit’s guiding the Apostles into all truth. We learn of offices in the church (Titus 1, I Timothy 3), the ordinances (I Corinthians 11), and spiritual gifts (Romans 12, I Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4, I Peter 4).
The Lord knew that the first-century church, filled with imperfect disciples, would have the problems we later find in the book of I Corinthians. He knew that the tendency for Jewish converts to go back to Judaism would be real (as we see in the book of Galatians). But He is still building His church!
Christians sometimes say, “I wish we were more like the First-Century Church!” Make a list of some of the characteristics (both positive and negative) of the early church from Acts 2 and I Corinthians. (to be continued)