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Finding Deep Joy in a Sad, Shallow World (A Study of Philippians) Part 8 JOY and the Community of God

As we continue the theme of JOY as expressed in the epistle to the Philippians, we come to Paul’s fifth use of the term It is found in chapter 2 where we read —

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?

Is your JOY complete? Increasing? Negatively or positively impacted by the lives of other believers around you?

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2019 in joy

 

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Why Should We Believe Anything at All? (Part 4)

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).

“Want to join me in building my church?” (Jesus)

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!

 

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2019 in doctrine

 

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Church as a Rusted-Out Bus? A Metaphor . . .


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).

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2018 in the church

 

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The Church as a Dilapidated Old House — Some Observations . . .


I am not looking to be particularly critical of the church. But this picture tells me there’s much work to do — in the local church!

Starting at the top left, the local church is often “greatly in need of repair.” Changes in leadership, in programs, in priorities might need to be seriously considered.

There are “plenty of windows,” but there appears to be no one home! How is the local church looking at the world, at its immediate neighborhood?

This house “looks dangerous — for all the wrong reasons.” One can get seriously hurt in this house with its many broken parts. There is, however, a good kind of danger in the local church, right?

There are “probably a lot of leaks (gossip?)” in this house. Gossip is lethal. Gossip is hearing something you like about someone you don’t. And it has no place in the local church!

What’s the “junk cluttering up the front porch” of the church? Pet doctrines? Overly indulged preferences? Cliques?

Did you notice that there seems to be “no people/no one living there’? When our numbers begin to dwindle in the local church, we should not be surprised that outsiders aren’t interested in joining us.

There appears to be a “fence to keep people out.” Fences can be good (especially regarding orthodox and heterodox doctrine). But there are things we do in our local churches that essentially put out a NOT WELCOME mat!

This house “needs a serious painting.” Not a whitewash. But some color, some protection from the elements, some scraping away of whatever contributes to its ugliness.

Well, that is my perspective. But don’t miss the note at the bottom: “there’s still hope! (no condemnation sign posted)”!

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2018 in the church

 

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The Theology of Jesus: Part 9 Ecclesiology

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?

Two primary texts from the Lord Jesus teach about the church.  Let’s notice what He says:

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)

 

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2018 in the theology of Jesus

 

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Time for a Great Commercial: Identification!

Identifying with other members of the family of God might be challenging at times!  Your comments?

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2018 in identification

 

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Time for a Great Commercial: Identifying with the People of God!

Here’s a great Southwest Airlines commercial.

Every Sunday morning an old man walked several blocks to the church in his neighborhood. He was deaf, so he couldn’t hear the sermon, the music of the choir, or the congregational singing. “Why do you spend your Sundays in that church when you can’t hear a word?” a neighbor asked. “I want people around here to know which side I’m on,” he replied. (George W. Knight)

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2017 in the church

 

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