Roundup that Matters

I haven’t written any new blogs lately, as some may have noticed, because I was out of town preaching in Texas at a friend’s church plant outside of Dallas. We are hoping I receive a call from this church very soon, and moving to Texas in the near future. If you are so inclined, please lift us up in prayer before the Father, that His will be done. It will be truly a delight working with Elliott and the members of the congregation. It is obvious to us that the Holy Spirit is really moving in this new congregation and they are seeking the Lord’s will for the church. It was a delight to be able to preach for them this past Sunday.

It was also a joy hearing more of Elliott’s philosophy of the church. He truly does get it right when it comes to the nature of the body of Christ. As he pointed out to me, so many get it wrong when it comes to worship. We tend to worship, hoping that through worship, we will be united into fellowship. This is backwards. We must first be united by Christ as a family through His redeeming blood. Then we worship. Worship comes out of who we are, and is not something to be used to make us into who we want to be. Redemption comes first, then worship. (I’m probably not giving this justice, but you get the idea).

In view of that, there are a few things I want you to take note of since I have not had time to write lately. Here is my round up to remedy the matter.

Sex is like duct tape.

Neil has an excellent post on the problem of having multiple sexual partners and the problems that it brings to marriage. So many have been conditioned into thinking that many sexual partners has no long lasting effect in our lives. This could not be further from the truth. Sin always has an effect in our lives, even though we may be forgiven by the Father for that sin. The consequences of that sin last until we are called home to glory, especially sexual sins. God designed sex to be between a man and woman for life. When we have sex with someone, we are not just uniting with them physically, but spiritually as well (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). Therefore the more we have sex with different people, the more it affects our spiritual lives and our ability to be bound to our spouse.

We should teach our children that sex is God’s gift to married couples. Sowing our wild oats, as Neil points out, is not some harmless act of youth, but something that will bear long-lasting consequences in our lives. While the world chases after the lust of the flesh, we need to strive to keep our minds and bodies pure and holy unto the Lord.

Dominion Theology: A Trojan Horse in The Church

Brannon Howse has a good presentation on Dominion Theology. This is the concept that when Adam and Eve were given dominion over the earth, they were done so with the idea that the earth was transferred to them legally. Therefore all things belong to the church. This is not true. The earth belongs to the Lord and we are mere stewards of it. The other aspect of this theology that is dangerous is that many involved in it are trying to unite with other religions for the betterment of society. Richard Land, who is part of the Southern Baptist Church, Rick Warren and the emergent types are all involved in this movement at the expense of the gospel. In other words, let us set aside the gospel, so we can unite with Islam for the betterment of society.

Do you see a problem with this? What do light and darkness have to do with one another? We are not to unite ourselves with the world, nor or we do ignore the gospel for the betterment of the world. This premise that these people are putting forward is absolute absurdity. You cannot improve the conditions of men without the gospel. To leave the gospel out of any improvement program is nothing more than a band aid on a corpse bound for hell. It may make you feel good for the time being, but in the long run, nothing of the eternal nature has been change. We must reject Dominion Theology as heresy and all those who teach it as heretics. They may have the dressings of the church, but they lack the power of the gospel. Watch the video at Brannon’s web page. Link above.

How To Recognize a Good Pastor.

Don Green, with The Grace Life Pulpit, gives an excellent sermon on the things to look for in finding a pastor. This one is dear to my heart since I want to be a pastor true to my calling, and I’m praying for the pastor that Grace Presbyterian here in Jackson, TN eventually calls. Anyone who is looking for a good church or involved with a search committee should listen to Green’s sermon. After searching for a call for so many years, I do get the impression that what many are looking for in a pastor is just not biblical at all. Green gives the following requirements, along with those that are already listed for elders:

  1. Does the pastor truly love Christ? You would think that this would be obvious, but it is not. He says do not ask the man, but listen to his sermons over the course of many months. If the man truly loves Christ, then that love will come through in His preaching. It will be obvious over time.
  2. He needs to be a man of the canon. In other words, he needs to be the man of the Bible. Many stand in pulpits today that hold the Bible in their hands and use it to catapult themselves off into their favorite topics, such as social justice, etc., but they never preach and teach the Bible. The Bible must be at the center of this man’s preaching. Otherwise, he needs to be removed from the pulpit. There are six ways to tell if the pastor is a man of the canon:
    1. When does the man in the pulpit teach you about the holiness and wrath of God? If not, then he is not a man of the word. This is why I have such a problem with Joel Osteen and men like him. He says he is a man of the word, but just teaches some hazy concept of God’s love for us. If we do not understand God’s holiness and wrath, we will never understand God’s love for us.
    2. When does he teach about eternal judgment and hell? Again, if these concepts are ignore, is the man in the pulpit being faithful to his calling?
    3. When does he teach and preach about sin and repentance?
    4. When does he teach and preach about justification by faith alone?
    5. When does he teach and preach about the substitutionary atonement of Christ?
    6. When does he teach and preach about our responsibility to follow Christ?
  3. He needs to be a man of the church.  The pastor’s primary responsibility is to feed and minister to the flock of Christ. It is NOT to reach the lost, but minister to those who have been and are redeemed by Christ. It is the responsibility of the church to reach the lost (Ephesians 4:7ff).
  4. He needs to be a man of character. 1 Timothy 3:5 asks the question that if a man cannot take care of his own household, then how is it that he can take care of the household of God. This is why elders need to be true family men. Their characters truly come out in their children and families. Otherwise, if they are not good stewards of what is given to them up close, how can they truly be good stewards of the people of God?

Go listen to Green’s sermon here. It’s worth the effort.

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The Downslide of Christianity

(Note from Timothy: Originally published June 16, 2006)
In a poll taken by Scrips Howard/ University of Ohio, only 36 percent of Americans believe in a bodily resurrection to come. (See the story here). This stands at odds with the basic tenants of Christianity. If we do not believe in the resurrection, both of Christ and ourselves, then we can hardly call ourselves Christians.

The reason this is a problem is that it reflects what is being taught, or not being taught from our pulpits. If the pastors in our pulpits are not teaching this spiritual reality, then the people will not believe in it. This is a sad truth. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Since this truth is not believed, then we can safely assume that it is not preached and those in the pulpits do not believe it. The resurrection is only believed when it is preached.

This is a symptom of a greater problem, that of not preaching the word of God. Men have been so busy trying to build little kingdoms for themselves, a.k.a. mega churches, that they have punted spiritual truth for psychological truth… Preachers are no longer the men who proclaim the truth of God, but the truth of what our culture wants to hear. They have given themselves over to our felt needs and this has resulted in a loss of truth.

How completely sad. We have more resources in the world for knowing and proclaiming the truth, yet men decide that they would rather tickle our ears… thereby missing the most precious of messages… namely the gospel.

I also know that many say they do preach the gospel. But what they really do is give them a gospel presentation… i.e. the four spiritual laws. That is not the gospel. Christ is the gospel and the gospel can be found on every page of the Bible. It all points to Him. Yet because men don’t truly believe the word of God is infallible and sufficient for every aspect of life, they give them quick little tidbits of the Bible, along with pleasing stories to make us feel good, never preaching what is found in those blessed pages.

Paul writes to Timothy, in what are known as the pastoral epistles, to preach the word. Nothing else, but the word, which points back to Christ. Some might claim that they are preaching relevant messages when they use psycho babble, but that is not relevant. What is relevant is God’s word, because it is God’s word. It always remains relevant… even thousands of years after He gave it to us.

What can you do?
Make sure you don’t attend a church where the Bible is not held up as the only authority. Also, ask you pastor: do you believe in the resurrection of the body? Do you believe it enough to preach on it on a regular basis? Do you practice expository preaching? If the answer is no to any of these questions, then move on a find a church where these things are true. Your eternal future depends upon it.