Have we gotten over it?

Not every preacher loses out because he went into false doctrine or had a moral breakdown. Some leave their first love in a round of church duties. Perhaps more leave it that way than in any other, for it is so deceptive: they are not aware of getting over it. They work at it harder than ever, but the harder they work, the farther they get from the thing they started out to do. The church at Ephesus was not having bingo instead of prayer-meetings. They were a fundamental, hard-working crowd, getting farther away all the time from the thing that mattered most, their love for Christ. We seem to think that the very momentum of Christian activity will keep us in spiritual trim, but it carries us away from what we started out to do and be. We Christian workers sometimes assume that just because we are in the midst of spiritual labours all the time, that will keep us warm for Christ. But nothing is more dangerous, for familiarity with the things of God, if it does not breed contempt, may breed complacency. We get over it.

Whether church or preacher or layman, we had better watch lest our hands outrun our hearts, lest we let the abounding iniquity of this age make our love wax cold. Some think it a mark of maturity to be unresponsive to revival: it is a mark of that Laodecean lukewarmness that nauseates the Lord. ~ Vance Havner

Happy Mother’s Day

Woman was taken out of man; not out of his head to top him, nor out of his feet to be trampled underfoot; but out of his side to be equal to him, under his arm to be protected, and near his heart to be loved. ~ Matthew Henry

Meaningful Membership Pt 2 Membership Matters

Part one can be found here http://leecreekbaptist.org/wp/?p=52

Some have asked the question “Is church membership even biblical?” The simple one word answer is Yes. However we don’t have a verse like “Thou shalt join a local church” so let us look at some verses that imply church membership.

 
Take Mat 18:17 for example “And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.” Who is the church? If it’s every saved believer how could we tell all of them? Do we tell this problem to every one who sits in our church? These answers are obviously no, but it is implied that the church would know it’s members. In Acts 5:11-14 we find ” And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. 12And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. 13And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. 14And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.)” Verse 13 tells us the people outside the church did not want to join the church. There must have been some way of keeping track of who was a member of the church. In I Cor 5 Paul gives clear instructions on removing a person from the church at Corinth. Verses 12-13 read “For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” Paul uses the the words “without” and “within” to describe those who are members and those who are not. The church has a God given authority to judge those within. These passages of Scripture primarily demonstrate the practical side of church membership. Early churches had members, but there is more to it than just joining a group.

 
The church is also designed to show forth the love of God to a lost and dying world. Listen to our Lord’s prayer in Jn 17:20-23 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” By uniting with and submitting to a local church you are showing the work of God’s grace in your heart to the world around you. By members of a church working together and loving one another the love of God is lived out in a broken world. The church should be a picture of the love we have in Christ.

 
I pray this gives you some basis for a biblical church membership. Since membership does matter, what do we do with those who think their church membership does not matter? I am speaking of those within a church who at one time were active and for what ever reason they had a change of heart and now no longer participate. In part one of this series we laid out five minimums for acceptance into the church. Those same minimums should be maintained through out our time in the church. So let us now look into some areas where people may turn away from these basic tenants.

#1 Believe: In order to join one must be saved by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. This is a matter of the heart and all that we can do is look for the fruits of faith and repentance. Suppose they recant their faith and say they will not believe in Christ any more, what should the church do? The church has one option if they will not repent: removal. Those who have no faith in Christ are not members. If someone claims to be saved but shows no fruit we should remain gracious to them encouraging their growth and honoring their profession.
#2 Baptized: The candidate must be properly baptized. This would come into question if someone who claimed to be saved in the past came to the realization of their true lost condition and was saved after becoming a member. In this case the church rejoices and administers baptism. If a member our church is baptized another church, we remove them and recognize their wishes to join that church.
#3 Agree With Our Doctrine: To be a member one must agree with what the church teaches. There are two directions a person can go from the established doctrine of the church: add to or take away. In every church there will be some minor differences in how one views the Scripture. If a member changes the view he once held Titus 3:10-11 is very clear “A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” The church must try to correct him. If this fails, he must be removed for the protection of the body.
#4 Accept The Leadership: Why would someone’s feeling about the leadership change. If he is doctrinally sound, this change can usually be narrowed down to hurt feelings or rebellion. Hurt feeling arise out of misunderstandings and personality clashes. This can be solved by both parties adhering to Eph 4:2-3 “With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” As for our second cause, rebellion, this should never be tolerated. The process of Mat 18:15-17 should be prayerfully followed.
#5 Attend: Lets put this into two categories: slacking and stopping. In either case the church should seek to resolve the situation. If they are slacking off then encouragement is needed. If they stop seek their return. If they refuse to return after a period of time they will have to be removed from the membership of the church. This obviously excludes the elderly, sick and some military personnel. Patience is the key here.

 
Why enforce these things you ask? God designed it this way. The image of Christ is at stake. This will promote holiness in the body. It unites the church to glorify God. It encourages spiritual growth. It reduces the common hypocrisy associated with the modern church. It ensures that the church remains faithful in her responsibility to equip, educate and encourage her members.

CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS

Crown Him with many crowns, the Lamb upon His throne.
Hark! How the heav*nly anthem drowns all music but its own.
Awake, my soul, and sing of Him who died for thee,
And hail Him as thy matchless king through all eternity.

Crown Him the virgin*s son, the God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won which now His brow adorn;
Fruit of the mystic rose, as of that rose the stem;
The root whence mercy ever flows, the Babe of Bethlehem.

Crown Him the Son of God, before the worlds began,
And ye who tread where He hath trod, crown Him the Son of Man;
Who every grief hath known that wrings the human breast,
And takes and bears them for His own, that all in Him may rest.

Crown Him the Lord of life, who triumphed o*er the grave,
And rose victorious in the strife for those He came to save.
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high,
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die.

Crown Him the Lord of peace, whose power a scepter sways
From pole to pole, that wars may cease, and all be prayer and praise.
His reign shall know no end, and round His pierc*d feet
Fair flowers of paradise extend their fragrance ever sweet.

Crown Him the Lord of love, behold His hands and side,
Those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified.
No angel in the sky can fully bear that sight,
But downward bends his burning eye at mysteries so bright.

Crown Him the Lord of Heav*n, enthroned in worlds above,
Crown Him the king to whom is giv*n the wondrous name of Love.
Crown Him with many crowns, as thrones before Him fall;
Crown Him, ye kings, with many crowns, for He is king of all.

Crown Him the Lord of lords, who over all doth reign,
Who once on earth, the incarnate Word, for ransomed sinners slain,
Now lives in realms of light, where saints with angels sing
Their songs before Him day and night, their God, Redeemer, King.

Crown Him the Lord of years, the potentate of time,
Creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime.
All hail, Redeemer, hail! For Thou has died for me;
Thy praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

Words: Verses 1, 5, 6 & 9: Mat­thew Bridg­es, The Pass­ion of Je­sus, 1852; verses 2, 3 & 4: Godfrey Thring, Hymns and Sac­red Lyr­ics, 1874.

Music: Di­a­de­ma­ta, George J. El­vey, Hymns An­cient and Mo­dern, 1868

Hear the tune at http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/c/r/o/crownhim.htm

Slow to speak, swift to hear… James 1:19

A man, who smelled like a distillery, flopped down on a subway seat next to a priest. The man’s tie was stained, his face was plastered with red lipstick, and a half-empty bottle of gin was sticking out of his torn coat pocket. He opened his newspaper and began reading.
After a few minutes the disheveled man turned to the priest and said, “Say, Father, what causes arthritis?”
“Mister, it’s caused by loose living, being with cheap wicked women, too much alcohol, and a contempt for your fellow man.”
The priest, thinking about what he had said, nudged the man and apologized. “I’m very sorry, I didn’t mean to come on so strong. How long have you had arthritis?”
“I don’t have it, Father. I was just reading that the Pope does.”

Random Quotes #2

God is Creator; Satan is creature. God is sovereign; Satan is subordinate. This is not dualism; this is domination. David Platt
If you hope for happiness in the world, hope for it from God, and not from the world. David Brainerd
Grace is but glory begun, and glory is but grace perfected. Jonathan Edwards
A preacher should have the mind of a scholar, the heart of a child and the hide of a rhinoceros. His biggest problem is how to toughen his hide without hardening his heart. Vance Havner
God is so boundlessly pleased with Jesus that in him he is altogether well pleased with us. C.H.Spurgeon
What a blessed prospect to be delivered from this wretched evil! George Muller
We read of preaching the Word out of season, but we do not read of praying out of season, for that is never out of season. Matthew Henry
There’s also a stir when the circus comes to town. Leonard Ravenhill
Most of those who fail to experience the joy of the Lord have refused to take up a cross! Walter J. Chantry
We must remember that Satan has his miracles, too. John Calvin
The gospel of Satan announces salvation by character, which reverses the order of God’s Word–character by, as the fruit of, salvation. A W Pink
When you get sick, do two things: pray for healing and go to a doctor.
John MacArthur
Let us sing songs and spite the devil! Martin Luther
The grave could not hold Him beyond the appointed time, and it shall not be able to hold us. J. C. Ryle
It is not great talents God blesses so much as great likeness to Jesus. Robert Murray M’Cheyne
There is more mercy in Christ than sin in us. Richard Sibbes
The day is coming when hypocrites will be stripped of their fig-leaves.
Matthew Henry