The Need For Church Discipline

It has been over two years since a story went national concerning a church in Jacksonville, FL exercising Biblical church discipline.  The individual that was being disciplined was upset and decided to take the situation to the local media.  The church staff refused to discuss the situation with the media and the result was a one sided report that made the church look real bad.

Here are the facts concerning that situation.  A woman mentioned to another woman that she was having an affair with a non-Christian man.  They were basically living together.  The other woman took her aside and pointed out God’s view of such relationships and that as a Christian she shouldn’t be involved in that kind of a relationship.  When the woman did not respond with repentance, she then discussed the situation with the pastor so that the next steps would be handled Biblically.  The pastor attempted to contact the woman and she refused to talk to him.  So the next step in church discipline was commenced.  The woman became defensive and claims that she was ambushed and this is when she went to the media.

Since the church leadership did not share their side of the story we do not have an accurate picture of what happened.  We only have her side of the story which may or may not be completely factual.  We do know that all the steps of church discipline were conducted which means that the woman did not repent.  Instead, she left the church and started attending another church that does not practice church discipline.  This means that she found a church that does not believe in the authority of the Bible over the local church.

Church discipline was given to us by Jesus.  The apostle Paul wrote about it in one of his epistles.  The purpose of it is to keep the church pure.  The church will ultimately be the bride of Christ so the purity of the church is critical.  The problem we have in today’s church is that too many of the local churches have adopted the seeker sensitive approach to Sunday worship.  If we are making non-Christians comfortable in our worship services then we are not preaching the true Word of God.  We cannot practice church discipline if we are inviting the world into our worship services.  Worship is only for believers.  The Bible makes it clear that God rejects the worship of non-believers.  The Bible also makes it clear that the purpose of church discipline is to lovingly restore a brother or sister in Christ to a proper relationship with God.  If they reject these attempts then they must love their sin more than Christ and should be removed from the church.  Then we should try to evangelize and present them with the true gospel.

If the woman felt ambushed, it is possible that this step wasn’t handled correctly.  If more than two witnesses were on hand or they spoke in a condemning manner I could understand feeling ambushed.  They are there to make sure that the process is followed correctly.  They are not there to condemn.

It is always a shame when someone is removed from the fellowship.  But it is far worse to ignore the sin and thus condone it.  This church did the right thing by going through the process.  I just wish they had taken the opportunity to communicate to the media the purpose of church discipline so that the reports weren’t so one sided.  They were right not to discuss this woman’s situation, but the process should have been discussed as presented in the Bible.

We need more churches to value the Word of God the way this church in Jacksonville did.

A Willing Slave of Christ,

KJ

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The Truth About Love

I was sitting in church this morning listening to the preacher talk about a verse in the first chapter of Colossians.  He was talking about faith and how love for other Christians is a natural outpouring of true saving faith.  He is absolutely correct.  The verse in Colossians uses the phrase “all the saints” as the object of our love to mean that we should love every Christian we encounter.  Even those Christians that we have trouble getting along with.

Love is a difficult topic in today’s society.  Hollywood has successfully changed the meaning of love to most people.  If you go out on the street and ask for a definition you will get all kinds of responses.  Most of them will be a partial definition of love.  What people no longer understand is that love is an action word.  It is not a feeling.  Yes, in the case of romantic love there can be some feelings involved but love itself is not the feeling. 

The Bible instructs husbands to love their wives.  It is not telling them to develop some sort of feeling.  The Bible is telling husbands to DO something.  To take an action that will be interpreted by others as love.  Demonstrate your commitment and loyalty to your spouse.  Love is action that will say you are the most important person in the world to me.  Apart from God of course.

This world has such a messed up view of love.  This is why homosexuality is now an accepted form of relationship.  This is why sex outside of traditional marriage is considered the norm and promoted by Hollywood.  Having sex with someone is now considered loving them.  This is so incorrect.  Sex was given to us by God as a wedding gift so that a man and a woman can become one unit in the eyes of God.  A working living organism designed to support and complement each other.

Love for other Christians is similar.  It is still an action.  When we are there to help another Christian in financial difficulty or to help them though the death of a spouse we are showing them our love.  When we do little things to help like watching their children or helping them fix their car, we are displaying our love.  Even when we are there to lend an ear we are displaying love for them.  Too often we stay to ourselves and don’t get involved.  This is a sign that we do not love our fellow Christians. 

The church has done a poor job of correcting the world on the definition of love.  Instead, there are a lot of preachers that will twist the love verses to say that if we are not giving sacrificially to feed the starving kids in India, we are not following God’s command to love one another.  This is hogwash.  We are encouraged to help the less fortunate so that we can share the Gospel with them.  But we are commanded to love the saints.  This is what sets Christians apart from the world.  Let’s face it, even atheists will give money to those organizations that help feed the hungry.

The truth about love is important.  If we do not demonstrate true love and communicate the true meaning of love, then the world will never understand what it means to be truly saved.  God’s love was demonstrated on the cross when Jesus willingly chose to die so that we could live.  Love is an action that should be evident in every true Christian’s life.  If you do not love other Christians the way the Bible tells you to, then you may not be truly saved.  Think about it and pray about it.  It’s too important to ignore.

KJ – A Willing Slave of Christ

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Discerning the Non-existent Gap

A few months ago I heard an expert on the gifts of the spirit mention the gift of discernment.  I am not sure where he got this from but I don’t necessarily disagree with him.  In fact, looking back at my life since I was saved I believe that it is possible that I have this gift.  I have always felt the need to check the context of every verse I have heard used.  Especially when listening to the normal topical preacher.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with topical preaching.  I have found, though, that preachers that do expository preaching tend to be truer to the Biblical meaning than preachers that use select verses in support of a topic. 

I remember going through one of Rick Warrens 40 days of something series.  I was appalled at his blatant misuse of scripture.  He even modified certain verses to make them support his point.  This is a clear indicator of false teaching. 

Rick Warren isn’t the only preacher guilty of misinterpretation.  Any preacher that puts a 2000 year gap in the seventy weeks of Daniel is also guilty of misinterpretation.  This even includes John MacArthur.  He is very rarely wrong when it comes to Biblical exposition but when it comes to end times theology he tends to throw his usual exposition out the window. 

I was reading some old notes I had printed from an article on the internet several years ago that presented several logical reasons why the seventy-week prophesy in Daniel had already been fulfilled.  I remember presenting these arguments to my Sunday school class and leaving everyone dumbfounded.  I had Bible verses to back my position and I had recorded history to back me up.  No one could defend the “gap” position.

This brings me back to discernment.  No matter who the preacher is, don’t assume that they are presenting or using the Bible correctly.  It is difficult for me to disagree with Dr. MacArthur.  He is the best expositor alive today.  I am certainly no theologian so who am I to disagree with him?  But, due to my spiritual gift of discernment, I have no choice but to disagree.  Plus, the more I study the topic the more convinced I get that my position on the topic is correct.

Fortunately, a person’s position on the seventy-week interpretation is not a major concern.  A person can be saved and hold any of the various positions.  We need to keep this in mind when discussing various interpretations.  Some of the topics do matter and some do not.  For example, a person’s position concerning the deity of Jesus is major and can indicate an idolater.

The best way to not be led astray is to consistently study the Word of God.  Learn it, research it, meditate on it, present it, and live it.  The deeper you get into the Word the better you will get at discerning false teaching and even minor misinterpretation.  God wants us to know Him better.  The only way we can truly get closer to God is to devour His Word.

So pick up your Bible and start reading.  Use the internet, Bible commentaries, and listen to various preachers.  Learn about the history behind the section you are studying.  Understand the motivation of the author of the section.  These things will help you come to the correct interpretation and help you to discern which preachers are presenting the Word truthfully.

KJ – A Willing Slave of Christ

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Calming The Storm

I was listening to a podcast recently, where R.C. Sproul was discussing the Bible passage where Jesus was asleep in a boat during a raging storm.  I have heard many different lectures, discussions, and sermons on this passage.  I didn’t disagree with anything that Dr. Sproul said in his podcast.  But, I do have a thought on the passage that I have yet to hear any preacher address.

The disciples where frantic and scared that the storm was going to destroy the boat and they would all drown.  This is an understandable reaction based upon the description of the storm in the passage.  What I don’t really understand is why they woke up Jesus and asked him why He doesn’t care that they are about to perish.  Waking Jesus up this way would indicate to me that they did believe that He could do something to save them from the storm.  But, not one preacher approaches the passage from this angle.

The preachers take a different angle because of the reaction of the disciples after Jesus calms the storm.  But, even if you believe that God can do something isn’t it often the case that we are still amazed or surprised at how God went about resolving the issue?  Could the reaction be a result of how quickly the storm responded to the command of Jesus or that Jesus was able to calm the storm with his voice?  Maybe they expected Jesus to save them differently and the reaction was due to His approach more than a sign of their unbelief of Him as the Messiah.

I am not trying to say that the common interpretation of the great preachers is wrong.  I am just wondering if there could be a different explanation because of the way they woke up Jesus. 

Just food for thought

KJ – A Willing Slave of Christ

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Christians Don’t Celebrate Easter

Christians should not spend time promoting Easter bunnies or eggs.  In fact, Christians should not even refer to this time of year as Easter.  This is a time to remember the sacrifice of Christ on the cross and to celebrate Resurrection Sunday.

As Christians, we have been commanded by Jesus to spread the gospel throughout the world.  Here in the U.S. this is one of the two best times of the year to communicate the gospel to the lost.  Since we have official country holiday’s designed to celebrate the birth of Christ and the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus we can more easily talk to the lost about the reasons for these seasons.

Resurrection Sunday is the reason why Christianity exists.  Without the resurrection of Jesus there is no point to Christianity.  The apostle Paul made this same argument.  If God did not raise Jesus from the dead then Christianity has no point.  We are worshipping a God who is alive.    

The apostle Paul wrote that there were over 500 witnesses that interacted with Jesus after He rose from the dead.  Paul wrote this when most of them were still alive to verify what Paul was claiming.  This is the type of proof that would be considered indisputable in a U.S. court of law.  Jesus rose from the dead to authenticate His message.  By rising from the dead, Jesus’ claim that He is the only way to Heaven was verified by God.  Everything Jesus did and said can be called truth.  Therefore, to deny anything that He said or did is calling God a liar.

Christians possess the only verifiable supernatural truth.  They need to proclaim it loud and clear.  This time of year is the perfect time to start.  The lost need to know why there is a celebration this time of year.  They need to know why Jesus had to suffer, die and rise from the dead.  They need to know that He is the only door to Heaven.

Go out and proclaim the gospel.  Proclaim the truth about Resurrection Sunday.  Proclaim the true good news.

KJ – A Willing Slave of Chri

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The Arrogance of Universalism

Lately I have read about and heard a lot of talk concerning Rob Bell’s new book.  I don’t know what the title is and I will never read it.  Rob Bell has proven himself to be a heretic according to the Biblical definition so there is no need for me to expose myself to his nonsense.  But I did want to talk about the fact that he is basically a Universalist.  I believe I heard that he will deny being one but when he discusses the afterlife, everyone ends up in Heaven so that makes him a Universalist.  Jesus spoke of eternal punishment.  The apostles wrote about eternal punishment.  Therefore, eternal punishment exists.  Jesus said the path to Heaven is narrow and hard to find which means that a small percentage of people will end up in Heaven.  Therefore, Rob Bell is claiming that he knows more about the afterlife than Jesus.  This is quite a claim.

I find it fascinating that so many people are out there writing books, giving speeches, sermons and interviews where they are promoting non-biblical ideas as if they know more than God.  God inspired men to write the truth that is contained in the Bible.  It is the only verifiably supernatural work in existence.  Yet, people like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren go out of their way to deny large portions of the Bible.  Who made them God?  How did they come to know more truth than what is in the Bible?

You see the real issue is whether or not the Bible is true.  There is no proof that currently exists that proves anything in the Bible to be false.  The Bible claims to be the Word of God.  So anything that contradicts the Bible is false.  Therefore, Rob Bell and company are wrong.  They are guilty of creating a God to fit their own liking.  That is nothing more than pure arrogance.  It is idolatry according to God and He will punish those people that promote idolatry. 

What makes matters even worse is that the Bible makes it clear that God will hold teachers and preachers to a higher standard.  The fact that these men are leading other people down a path that leads away from God means that their punishment will be even worse.  Human logic and human imagination are no match for God’s revealed truth.  These men present a different God, a different Jesus, and a different truth.  They are false teachers and should be ignored. 

Any person that presents anything that does not agree with the Bible is being arrogant.  They are claiming that they know more than the God who is responsible for writing the Bible.  They are claiming that they know more than the God who created them and the Universe that we live in.  This is pride, idolatry and arrogance. 

Don’t buy Rob Bell’s book.  Don’t encourage him by watching his You Tube videos or his interviews.  The true church needs to put a stop to this kind of heresy.  Let’s proclaim the truth as it has been presented to us by the true God.  Yes, Hell is a real place and so is Heaven.  God told us how to get to Heaven and how to end up in Hell.  Therefore Universalism is false.  Read and follow the Bible not people like Rob Bell.

KJ – A Willing Slave of Christ

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Earthquakes and Global Warming

I heard this morning on one of the news programs that some Europeans are saying that the earthquake in Japan was caused by global warming.  Give me a break.  Science does not support global warming.  The earthquake was not caused by humans.  Anyone that believes this nonsense can be officially considered to be a moron. 

Any true Christian can tell you that the earthquake was caused by God.  It is part of God’s plan for nature and this earth.  It may or may not be related to some sort of judgment by God.  It would be irresponsible of me to claim that God is punishing the Japanese for something.  I have no way of knowing whether that is the case.

I get so frustrated with these global warming people.  These people have an agenda that involves controlling the actions of the people in this world.  Therefore, with every natural phenomenon they try to instill fear into people by claiming that their actions made the event take place or made the event worse.  This is garbage.  The earth’s core temperature is going down not up. 

Our production of pollution is having an effect on the human race.  It is causing certain cancers and is making other diseases worse.  Therefore, we should be more responsible with our environment.  But this does not mean that we need to over legislate our daily lives.  We need to act more responsibly as individuals with what we buy, how much we drive, and how we use various chemicals.  But lets’ be smart about it.  We do not need to all live in caves and eliminate the use of airplanes and cars.

The Bible states that the closer we get to the return of Christ, that there will be an increase in the frequency of natural disasters.  There has been an increase in the number and severity of earthquakes.  There has been an increase in the number of Tsunami’s.  There has been an increase in the number of hurricanes even though they haven’t been hitting land as often.  This is not because of global warming.  It is because we are getting closer to the return of Christ.

We need to dismiss these nuts.  We need to laugh at them and ignore them.  But we also need to make sure that our leaders are doing the same.   Do not let your representatives create any legislation that will infringe upon our freedoms because of this none existent global warming.  Christ is in control and no matter what we do these natural disasters will continue until His return.  So let’s be smart and responsible but not get overly fanatic about the situation.  As long as God is in control, we can do nothing to change the global climate.  

KJ – A Willing Slave of Christ

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