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Archive for June, 2007

Here is the sermon from Sunday morning at Immanuel Baptist Church by Pastor Jeff King.

Ephesians 4
The gospel is not a set of abstract beliefs, it affects everything about you. Every aspect of your life, whether it’s your money, or the way you talk, everything is governed by the gospel.
The gospel also governs relationships.
Eph. 4:1 – Paul moves from all of the theology in chapters 1-3, to application, from explaining the gospel to the difference it makes. (1:4-chosen in Christ, 1:5-predestined, 1:7-redeemed, 1:13-sealed by the Spirit, etc)

There are three things on unity in relationships from verses 1-16 of chapter 4.
Because of salvation,
1. We are called to Unity
2. Within Diversity
3. That produces maturity

1. We are called to Unity. v3.
The church is a people united around the gospel, around Jesus. Paul is urging us here, pleading with us to be unified. Unity is one of the characteristics of the body of Christ, and it demonstrates the power of God. The church is to be like a physical body (3:6, 4:4, 4:12-16, 5:23, 5:30). The human body is amazingly complex, yet it is unified. V15-16-Christ is the one holding this body together (“Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held togethor by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow”)
A big part of this unity, the undergirding reason is because God himself is a perfect unity. For all eternity God has been in perfect unity within himself (3 in 1). This is amazing, always and eternally perfectly unified. When you are saved, you are made like God. You have a new heart, etc. And you are to be unified with the body like Him.
4:22-24.-Here the new man is shown. Christians are recreated in the likeness of God. What character produces this kind of unity? 4:2-Humility, patience, bearing with one another in love. If we were all of these things, how could we help but be unified?

2. Within Diversity
4:7-“but grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. We are individuals.
4:11-12 Not everyone in the church has the same gifts, and we are to celebrate in this diversity. All of the parts of the body are different, and everyone in the church is different. TPeople have different personalities, different pasts, etc. We all have gifts to be given to the church, and we are all called to unity, not uniformity.
Does being a Christian mean you have to have short hair, drive a silver honda, and where preppy clothes? No, it does mean that you love holiness, other Christians, God’s word, and you want to be more like Jesus.
I mean just look around you (at Immanuel), there are white people, black people, asian people, poor people, rich people, pierced people, people with tattoo’s, old people and young people, people dressed in suits and people dressed in shorts and flip flops, people with long hair and people with short hair, and we all love each other.
The gospel makes different people love each other, it makes black people love white people, rich people love poor people, people who wear baggy pants and giant t-shirts love people wearing suits, etc. Not everyone is the “cookie cutter” mold of a “christian,” and they shouldn’t be.
In our context, we must be this way as a church. We are in a city. We want to see unity, within diversity, built around Jesus.

3. That produces maturity. v11-16
Paul wants us to grow up togethor and become mature. Unity in diversity produces maturity.
(Sidenote: Even if you are weak, you can serve people. 1. By letting others serve you. 2. If you are willing, by humbly admitting that you do not know the Bible very well and you want discipleship (Humility 4:2). 3. And do not put on a facade of a super Christian to unbelievers who come in.)
v11-12. God has given the more mature to help the weaker. God has not made you strond to show off, but to build up others and to serve others. If you are strong, do you seek out people to serve?

Practical: The reason we need this, is because we will sin against each other. When you are sinned against, or you sin against someone else….instead of it being a cause for division you have an opportunity to show the gospel by maintaining peace. We were Jesus’ enemies, and he reconciled us to himself. We were dead and he made us alive. We have offended him…BUT GOD (2:4ff). If God has forgiven us, can we not forgive each other?
We all have one love, Christ. And we are diverse, and must be seeking to grow into that head as a unity.

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This video is powerful, and true. And another thing that worries me about the prosperity gospel is that it is often hidden under the framework of God being a ticket out of suffering (hell). People don’t want to go to hell, so they “accept” Jesus, instead of Him being their treasure in life, and death. Jesus is not all we need plus all of the things we have in this life. In the words of Paul Washer, “Jesus is all we have!” Every Christian is a person who has taken up his cross and followed after Christ, and we must be reminded of this. The cross is not fun and games and wealth and comfort, it is suffering, and this suffering is a particular means that God uses to glorify himself in his people.
Romans 5:5 “More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
Romans 8:16-18 “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”
1 Timothy 1:8-9 “Therfore do not be ashamed of the tesitmony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel by the power of God, who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,”

Look at this text
Philippians 3:7-11 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith–that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

After you watch this video, watch the video on the blog IrishCalvinist which fits well with this one. May we examine our hearts and seek to live lives in which God is glorified in our suffering, not because of the pretty lives we have with the pretty things in it, but because we have the most valuable thing there is.

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Our Rock

” “God is a rock” is true, and it conveys meaning that could not have been conveyed by a literal expression. God has made rocks, and He has ordained them from before the foundation of the world to reflect His strength and constancy. The rock is a revelation of God, and it is for that reason that it is a suitable figure.” -John Frame

“I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge.” Psalm 18:1-2

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Ligon Duncan, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, has written a seven part series on the pastor’s life of studying and reading. I am posting these links here because I am under the conviction that not only pastor’s, but all Christians should live lives that have reading and studying as an important and central place. Granted, not all Christians will study as much as others and I am not assuming that all should, but we should be encouraging each other in this endeavor to eat more of the word of God and dwell more on the things of God.
In these essay’s, Duncan goes over such things as the reason for reading, how we are to read, what we are to read, etc. I have found all of these essay’s quite helpful and encouraging and pray God uses them in your lives to spur you on to more reading and studying. So here they are, Enjoy!
1. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 1
2. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 2
3. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 3
4. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 4
5. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 5
6. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 6
7. Ligon Duncan: Studying and Reading-Part 7

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monergism-black-logo-smaller.jpg
For all of my Reformed brothers and sisters reading, check out the new Particular Redemption T-shirt that Monergism has just put out. The back of this shirt has the verse from Revelation 5 which states, “for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.” They also provide a brief exposition of this Revelation 5 text, helping those new to Reformed Theology know what they will be putting on, and showing why they believe Particular Redemption, also known as Limited Atonement, is so critical.
The most helpful sermons that I have heard on the subject of Particular Redemption were the ones entitled Ten Reasons Why the Bible Teaches Definite Atonement deliverd by Steve Lawson late last year at Christ Fellowship. These were delivered on Friday mornings to his men’s group and I encourage you all to click the link above if you are interested in hearing them.
Praise God that his son’s blood was not shed in vain, but that he bought us and that he died effectually for his people.

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I thought it would be helpful, and edifying to those reading to put up my sermon notes each week from the previous Sunday. I attend Immanuel Baptist Church here in Louisville, Kentucky, and every week I have the great opportunity to hear excellent, Spirit-filled, passionate expository preaching. I love my church and pray that you all are encouraged by these sermon notes each week.

This week’s sermon was from Pastor Jeff King, one of the elders at Immanuel. Our regular preaching elder/pastor Ryan Fullerton is on a much needed three week vacation, and will continue preaching the Word upon his return.
Once again, these are merely my notes and therefore are not a complete picture of the sermon, there are things left out/not explained. This is simply to point you to the Savior and encourage you all in Christ.

Hebrews 12:1-4
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (2) looking to Jesus, the founder and perfector of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. (3) Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. (4) In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.”

This book was writted to a church that knew what it was like to feel exhausted.
There is hope that these Christians might be strengthened.
There are three points to this message.
1. What is this race?
2. What hinders us in this race?
3. What will motivate us?

1. What is this race?
What is the finish line? The end of this race is being with Jesus, in heaven. All of creation and every Christian is groaning for heaven. Important to remember – Everyone is running to one of two finish lines. Either heaven and being with God or eternal wrath in hell.
The only way to lay hold of heaven, to run this race, is by faith. Heaven is real. Do you want to be there? Do you want to say goodbye to this world? I don’t want to make any more hospital visits. I don’t want to have to visit so many people in this church who are hurting with tears in their eyes. I don’t want to have to comfort another soul. I don’t want to counsel another person about their problem with sin. I want to be in a place where every tear of every saint is wiped away by Jesus, a place where the sick are healed and the lame walk, a place where the blind can see and there is no more sinsick souls because all will be sinless and covered with the righteousness of Jesus. Do you want to be there? Do you want more of this world or do you want to say goodbye to it.

2. Hindrances to this race.
12:1 – Lay aside every weight and sin.
Sin clings very close, this is a battle that we cannot shake off.
Weights and sins both cling close. Anything that is set against God must be set aside.
There are not only sins, but their are weights. Most of the time we simply ask, “Is this sinful?” But that is not the only question that we ought to ask. But the question should also come, “Is this in my way to getting to God? Is this increasing my affections for Jesus, my love for God, etc? Is this hindering me or helping me?”
Practical Application: Write down the sins or weights that are hinduring you. What are provisions for those things?

3. What will motivate us?
-Hebrews 12:1 – A cloud of witnesses. We see this cloud of witnesses in chapter 11. Moses, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, and Samuel are all part of this group of witnesses. How are these people a motivation? They bear witness to us that the race can be run. It can be finished and finished strong. They hold out their wounds to us, their lives to us and say to us, “RUN!”
-Hebrews 12:2 – Looking to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. God does not just look to us and say, “Do Better!” He lays down his life for us.
-Hebrews 12:2 – “For the joy set before him he endured the cross.” Jesus bore the wrath of God, he was perfect, he knew every detail of what was coming to him, and he ran strong. How did he do it and why? He did it for the joy set before him, it was greater than the pain, the joy was greater than bearing the wrath of his father. He purchased a bride, and his love for his bride and his love for being with the father pressed him on to endure the cross.

Does this motivate you? Are you joyful that you are going to be with Jesus forever. Endure this life and run this race well, looking to Jesus and the joy set before you of being with him forever.

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Good Song Lyrics

Inspired by our dear brother Jonathan Oue, who from time to time gives us examples of bad song lyrics in order to encourage fellow believers to use discretion with “Christian” music, I will now begin to give examples of songs that I believe are indeed good Christian songs. So, here we go.

The one I chose to do first is entitled This World by Caedmon’s Call. This song was written by Aaron Tate, a songwriter and former mentor for the band, and everytime I listen to it I am encouraged to look at my own heart and the way I view this present world and the people in it.

This World

There’s tarnish on the golden rule
And I want to jump from this ship of fools
Show me a place where hope is young
And people who aren’t afraid to love

This world has nothing for me and this world has everything
All that I could want and nothing that I need

This world is making me drunk on the spirits of fear.
So when he says who will go, I am nowhere near.

This world has nothing for me and this world has everything
All that I could want and nothing that I need

And the least of these look like criminals to me
So I leave Christ on the street

This world has held my hand and has led me into intolerance
But now I’m waking up, and now I’m breaking up
And now I’m making up for lost time
———————————–
This song can be found on these three albums.
1. Caedmon’s Call
2. Caedmon’s Call: Chronicles 1992-2004
3. Derek Webb: House Show

Hope you all enjoy and look forward to putting more lyrics up. Check out Jonathan’s blog in order to gain his insight on music as well.

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