August 09, 2017

The Sermon on The Mount is Not About Evangelism!

I'd like to point out a critical piece of insight regarding the Sermon on The Mount.  You made have heard me say it before, but evangelism is not the purpose of the Church; it's a mandate!  That's a big difference.  It's not the difference between good and bad, it's just a matter of staying on Track with the purpose God has given us.

It's interesting that in Revelation, none of the Churches are commended or chastised ofr anything having to do with Evangelism. In Ephesians 4, only one of Christ's many gifts to the Church (His Bride) are for evangelism.  The purpose for that and, and all the other gifts, is not evangelism in itself though.  It is something much bigger and separate!

Back to that in a second.  Jesus gave His Sermon to a large group of His Disciples and everything in it challenges them to think contrary to their previous religious system and to the World.

1Corinthians 2:6-14 tells us that the unspiritual mind will never understand spiritual truths.
Romans 1:15-32 tells us that the unrighteous will suppress the truth and approve of wickedness.
Matthew 7:12-14; 24:3-14 tells us that the unrighteous will always outnumber the righteous and that the righteous will suffer at their hands.

The Sermon Jesus gives to His Disciples is a guide for them on how to live in the Church so that others whom God has called to redemption will see it and be drawn to it.  Not to be a light to the Lost!!  Now back to the purpose of the Church.

God's Purpose as given in Ephesians 4 is so that the Body all together will be raised up in maturity and unity of faith and able to minister.  Evangelism is part of that, but it is a gift to enable that, not the purpose.  This is huge for us today, because the purpose of the Church summarized is to become the mature Bride that will be presented to the Groom when He returns to her.  

The Sermon on The Mount is a sermon about how to live within the Church to reach maturity.  We need to hear this today because many of our local bodies are so focused on reaching out and looking great, that they are not being faithful to God's purposes for them.  We need to get back to the internal attention of sanctification talked about in Jesus' sermon so that we are preparing the Bride to meet Him.  If we're honest, here in the West, we typically have Fit Minds and Fat Bodies (puffed up with knowledge without true humility and Christ likeness is our personal private lives) or we have Fit Bodies and Fat Minds (lazy minds that are hidden by programs and business that don't prepare us in maturity and faith to meet our Savior).

Lets get back to work building a Mature Bride...(that's not the same thing as having a bunch of people who have all the answers to all the Bible questions because they attend all the studies.)  Are we a mile wide and an inch deep, or a mile deep and possibly wide?  Be encouraged, but be honest for others sake.

With you for His glory,


July 18, 2017

The Best We Can Hope For?

This week in worship we took a look at a couple aspects of brokenness in God's design for marriage.  For most of us, even our best is a far cry from God's intended purposes for the Image Bearing Oneness that marriage provides.

We looked at how Satan attacks us from without.  He's doing the same stuff he has been since the beginning.  We also looked at how our own sin affects us and our spouse, as well as how their sin affects us.

It provides a pretty sad picture from  a big-picture perspective.  With all the threats against marriage even from before we hit the ground running, the best any of us can do without the redeeming work of Christ in our marriage is a romantic marriage, a committed marriage, or a passionate marriage.  If you don't understand why any of those are not all there is, read Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Dr.'s Les & Leslie Parrot, or listen to the sermon here.

The truth is that many of us have less than truly remarkable marriages, especially considering the fact that God created it to be one of the most incredible and fulfilling experiences in life!

But Marriages can be redeemed just like individual souls can.  We don't have to settle for the best this world has to offer, because, in reality, the only true marriage (in purity of purpose and function) is one redeemed by Christ for His purposes.

Ever thought about your marriage as having a purpose for God?  Ever considered that only in that purpose being met can you experience the most fulfilling and enjoyable marriage possible?

It starts by knowing how and why He created it though.  Once we understand that, we have to understand how broken the idea of marriage is in today's world and how low the bar has been set.  Listen to our series so far and join us next week to hear about God's redeeming work in our marriages and what we should expect when we talk about Christian marriage today.  God Bless!


With you for His glory,


July 15, 2017

A Higher Marriage Series

This month we are looking at the story of marriage in the Bible.  It may surprise many to see what God's book reveals about marriage.

For instance:  Did you know that Marriage was not a separate institution apart from the creation of man and woman?   It's very clearly there in Genesis 1, 2, and again in 6 and 9.  Think about the implications of that for a moment.  God did not create man and woman apart from the implied design of marriage.

We're learning a lot together (I hope!!) about marriage this month at Word of God Bible Church.  I have learned a lot just preparing for it.  In turn, I have had some great conversations with my Bride and we have shared some great prayer time together as well.

On another note  - did you know that the average cost of a wedding in America is $26,720.00 in 2017?
That's down from 35, 329.00 in 2016!  Wow!, I think a total of $500.00 dollars went into a very pleasant and beautiful wedding for my bride and I on January 15th 2005.

But many couples who experience trouble will not spend the time or money that amounts to an average of $800 -$1000.00 to seek hope-filled, Christ-centered counseling to restore their marriage.  Many will simply walk away.  Why?  Because God's design is broken.  And we've learned some bad things over time within that broken system.

That's what we're talking about this week in worship service.  The Brokenness of marriage.  Is that constructive?  Well, the way we're doing it is.  Please tune in to listen online at www.wordofgodbiblechurch.com/sermons or ... see you there.  

With you for His glory,

June 19, 2017

Comforting Others As You Have Been Comforted (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

It happens often that I hear a story that I am asked to pray over, or I am given the details of something  that I feel compelled to pray for.  My life experiences have blessed me with the ability to connect with a lot of pain and empathize with a lot of situations I encounter in others' lives.

But recently, as occasionally happens, I heard a story from a friend about a life situation I couldn't relate to.  I could definitely hurt for the person and relate to loss and struggle, but not to the specifics that were probably tearing the person up in their mind and heart.  The beautiful thing is, I had only heard of one other person in my life having gone through a similar situation - and that person happened to be in my congregation.

Can I tell you what an incredible joy it is to see God, not just use me, but use other people in our church as well to do unique ministry!  To be able to call a friend and say, "Hey can you please lift this up in prayer as only you can, because I know someone else is hurting through a very similar situation right now, and your intercession will probably be much more poignant than mine alone."  I asked for permission to share it first of course.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 says that we are blessed to experience trials by which we also experience God's comfort.  But the powerful part of these verses is that it gives a purpose to our condition.  It says that we are thus able to go out and comfort others with the same comfort that He gave us in similar trials.

Just another way that God uses us as Image Bearers.  He makes us to reflect His glory; then He allows us to experience His comfort so that our brothers and sisters in the Human Race can experience the same comfort through us.  HE is still involved of course, but He is building an army every time he allows us to experience trials/His comfort through it.  An Army that can do what only Image Bearers of a perfect loving God can do.  What a ministry!  What a privilege!  What a good God we serve!

Think about your trials and the comfort you have received from God (possibly through another Image Bearer)!  You are part of a ministry army now.  Be ready to comfort!

With you for His glory,

 

June 04, 2017

What is Pastor Tony Saying?

If you missed todays sermon, you can listen to it HERE.

Today was a special day as I talked about the philosophy that is behind everything I teach and preach.  It's the way I read the Bible and the way that I interpret what is in the Bible.

I spent a significant amount of time today on the point of repentance, but I want to make sure one thing is understood.  The message is moot if you have not heard God's call on your life.  You can't choose to follow God on your own.  He has to call you to it.

I am never going to stand and argue that you just need to make up your mind and do it (follow Christ).  I can't convince you of your spiritual need.

None of us can be convinced.  Not by human cunning or wisdom.  We can only be reached by God's call.  His hand reaching into  us and bringing to life, what is dead.

If God has called you, my message is for you.  You can accept your need for salvation, yet, not fully surrender to the reality that you need to respond differently than you have to anything else.  I want you to know that you need to respond fully to the call God has on your life.  Not that you will lose your salvation, but that you will not experience the fullness of all He has made you to be and to experience - including His love and mercy, the way He intends you to.

If you have heard that call , and have given an initial response by proclaiming Christ as Lord and Savior, but gone no further in growing in your faith, you are who I am talking to in today's sermon.  There is no guilt in this.  The only way to perceive guilt is if you know the message is true about you and you don't like the insinuation that you are not being who you were made to be - still.

This is a brother calling to another brother or sister to let go and stop pretending.  Stop ignoring the fact that there is more to it than mental assent.

Jesus Loves you.  He wants you.  If you have heard the call, give Him everything, not a portion, and see what happens.  If you don't know what "everything" is, begin by reading Ephesians and Colossians.  You have everything you need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1).  No more excuses.  You are blessed to be a blessing.  Don't squander your purpose!


With you for His glory,