Monday, March 23, 2015

Nonsense, Baloney, Gobbledygook, or “No Stinking Gimmicks, Part 3”

Some time ago, I posted “No Stinking Gimmicks” and “No Stinking Gimmicks, Part 2.” Even though this sermon excerpt does not actually say, “no stinking gimmicks,” it is a fitting conclusion to a three-part series.
Our pastor is very Biblical in His approach. The mission statement of our church is as follows:  Grace Bible Church exists to bring people to Christ and toward Christ-likeness by equipping believers to know, live and defend God's truth. For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel (Ezra 7:10, NKJV). This is carried out by reading the Scriptures, explaining the Scriptures, and applying the Scriptures. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped them to understand the reading (Nehemiah 8:8). Man’s opinions carry no weight. Only the Word of God is, as many have said, our rule of faith and practice.
Following is an excerpt from Pastor Jeff Anderson’s sermon entitled Celebration of Completion, based on Nehemiah 7, which he preached on March 15, 2015. This excerpt falls under the application part of the sermon. The entire sermon can be heard here.
… I want to describe to you the continuity of identity that is the Christian church. Did you know that the Christian church is a matter of faithful people who have served God not just in this generation but for thousands of years in the past? What we find in Ezra 2 and Nehemiah 7 is the same thing you find in Hebrews Chapter 11 … a listing of God’s faithful people – people who have walked by faith. And when you start thinking that you are few and far between and that you are the only believers, remember, God has had His faithful people in every generation, and our identity is found with them.
Here is the truth – the American Christian church has become so arrogant that we think that we need to reinvent the church. We need to protect the church for the coming generation. If we don’t totally reinvent and do everything in a whole newfangled way, well then, we’re going to lose our relevancy and we’ll lose the next generation. You know what I say to that kind of thinking? NONSENSE, BALONEY, GOBBLEDYGOOK – and if you want to add any other strong words in there, I’ll add them, because all of that is a bunch of nonsense.
We’re not here to reinvent the church. We’re not here to revitalize or even protect the church from irrelevancy. What a bunch of nonsense-type of thinking. That’s the kind of nonsense-type thinking that says everything has to be new and cool and hip for a coming generation. We’re going to market our church to Gen X.” We’re going to market our church to this or that or the other. Bunch of baloney; and here’s why it’s baloney – because Jesus said He would build His church and the gates of Hell would not prevail against it. That means it is not my job to build the church. It’s not my job to protect the church. It’s not my job to reinvent the church. It’s my job to, in the fear of God, be faithful to what God has given and be confident that Christ is building His church. And here’s the deal – our church is tied in with an identity of a whole long history behind us and a future in front of us, and that gives us the inspiration to take risks and be faithful and obedient and to walk by faith … A majority of the American church is trying to be new and hip and do their own thing ...
I love the fact that a younger generation has some new music that celebrates the grace of God. There’s nothing wrong with something that’s new, but to think that everything has to be new and to abort the past – that’s a HORRIBLE mistake. The reason we sing ancient hymns that were written hundreds of years ago, the reason we sing ancient songs that were written thousands of years ago, is to remember that we are not new. We’re not reinventing… We are something that’s built on a foundation that goes back millennia. Just as we enjoy those ancient hymns and the depth and the solid foundation that is there, we come to these new choruses or new songs, and we rejoice in them because they are expressions of the same grace and the same faith and the same Savior that goes all of those years back. [Note:  Our church sings plenty of new songs and new choruses, but they are selected very carefully for solid doctrinal content. We avoid the frivolous, shallow songs that are so often used today.]
There is identity, and the identity is that we are part of something that is far bigger than us … We just don’t market and scheme and plan and somehow run it like a business. We are part of what God has been doing among His faithful people for all that time. That gives us identity and it gives us inspiration, and the inspiration says, Just as they have been faithful, brothers and sisters, let us be faithful. Let us sacrifice. Let us take risks. Let us be obedient. Let us walk in the fear of God. Let us be for our generation what a previous generation risked to be for us.
I praise the Lord for giving our church a pastor who is true to the Word of God and who gives God all the glory. If you are ever in Colorado Springs, come and visit Grace Bible Church. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, March 9, 2015

"If you could lose your salvation, you would."

"If you could lose your salvation, you would. You understand that? If you could, you would. If it's possible, it will happen. It has to be. If any part of my eternal salvation depends upon my power and ability and commitment and righteousness, I won't get there. Think about Adam. Adam who had no sinful tendencies, Adam living in a perfect world wouldn't know sin. No sin at all. Adam with no sin at all and no sinful tendencies inside couldn't keep himself in a right relationship of obedience and love to God. How would we think we could in a fallen world with fallen natures? And the more mature you are as a Christian, the more spiritually minded you are, the more righteous you are, the more sanctified you are, the more wretched you know you are, right? The Apostle Paul in Romans 7, 'O wretched man that I am,' that's the statement of a very mature Christian ... Spurgeon said, 'No man can keep himself, he'll surely fail. If left to ourselves, we'll go to hell. Only Jesus can save us from our sins.'"
John MacArthur, "The Saint's Guarantee"