Monday, September 13, 2021

A Foundation for Discipleship

  


Check out the sermon here for the full explanation of the principles below:

This passage contains some great foundational discipleship principles.


1. Pursue Discipleship

• Who are you discipling?

• Who is discipling you?

The joy that comes from being in one or both of these relationships is indescribable


2. Remember the Gospel

Build reminders into your daily rhythm & routine

The more you rehearse the gospel, the easier it will be to share. 


3. Pursue Relationships

You can’t just come Sunday mornings and think you’re on the path of discipleship. True discipleship requires deepening relationships. One of the best ways to pursue relationships here at Fellowship is Home Groups

There’s something about gathering in someone’s home that doesn’t happen in any other setting.

The pursuit of Jesus in the company of friends 


4. Get a Leaf Blower/Stoke the Fire

You can’t kindle the fire without:

• church - gathering to worship

• the Word - saturating yourself more and more

relationships - deepening friendships

The fire of passion for Jesus needs to be stoked. 

You’re not intended to do it alone.



To Do TODAY:

• Identify a potential relationship 

whether someone to help you grow - or someone to help grow

connect with them ASAP.

• Sign up for a Home Group

We’re all busy. Almost no one has extra time for one more thing, but we really do need (not want, but actually need) to pursue relationships and do everything we can to foster them. 

• Write down a Stoke the Fire” Plan

If you’re a believer, there’s a fire in you that came in when you were saved.

What will you do this week to Stoke the fire?

James 1: 22become doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.


We must aggressively pursue the path of humble discipleship. 

It starts with the foundation laid out in these verses. Join us at Fellowship Baptist Church next Sunday (in person or online) to continue with us in this study…


Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Rob



















Sunday, August 22, 2021

God's Word on Pastors & Plurality


Say this out loud:

As a Christian, the goal is MY Sanctification


In response to that, I would tell you: As a pastor MY goal is YOUR Sanctification.


Between 1 & 2 Timothy, we’re turning to Titus 1:1-9 to lay the foundation for the Bible’s teaching on Elders.


Two questions:

1. What does the Bible say about Elders?

2. What does that mean practically?


1. What does the Bible say about Elders?

The terms: elder, pastor (or shepherd), overseer, are interchangeable.

1 Peter 5:1-2 – I exhort the elders among you..

shepherd the flock of God

overseeing not under compulsion, but willingly

3 nor yet as lording it over those allotted to you, but being examples to the flock.

Acts 20:17, 28 – talking to the elders (v. 17) the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd (pastor) the church


The Consistent Pattern in the New Testament is a plurality of pastors.

Acts 11:30, James 5:14-15, Acts 15 & 21, 

Acts 14:20, Acts 20:17, Philippians 1:11, Thessalonians 5:12, Hebrews 13:17, Titus 1:5, 1 Peter 1:1 & 5:1


Alexander Strauch: “[We] don’t challenge the plurality of deacons in an effort to create a singular deacon, yet many challenge the plurality of elders. It is odd that most Christians have no problem accepting a plurality of deacons but are almost irrationally frightened by a plurality of elders that is far more evident in the New Testament.”


There’s an abundance of instruction both about and to elders all through the New Testament. 


More than anything 

Pastors are Shepherds

First and foremost, God is our Shepherd:

Isaiah 40:11, Psalm 80:1, 95:6-7, 23

Jesus is our good Shepherd

John 11 “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.


Pastors are actually Jesus’ undershepherds



Four primary tasks of a pastor:


1. Know

Pastors are people people — they desire to know those in their care.

John 10:14I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me,

1 Peter 5:2 – shepherd the flock of God among you,

Pastors pursue their sheep - attentive to them. Knowing their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs so that they can serve, care for, and minister to needs. 


2. Feed

Sheep rely on their shepherd for healthy food. 

John 21:15-17, 2 Timothy 2:15, 4:2

A steady diet of God’s Word is absolutely essential to your spiritual growth. 

Jeremiah 3:15 I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding.


The pastor’s duty is to feed the sheep in his care with the Word of God

2 Timothy 2:15, 3:16-17


3. Lead

1 Timothy 5:17 - lead well means to lead faithfully

1 Timothy 3:1 -office of overseer is an office of leadership

1 Peter 5:2-3shepherd the flock…, overseeing (an official responsibility)


4. Protect

Sheep need protection - there are wolves out there. They have no natural ability to protect. 

The New Testament contains many warnings about false teaching:

Galatians 1:6, Acts 20:28-30, 2 Timothy 4:3


Pulling it all together:

Ephesians 4[Jesus] gave gifts to men.

Which includes

Some as pastors and teachers,

And He gives us these gifts:

for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ,

so that we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there… being joined and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the properly measured working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.



Benjamin Merkle, 40 Questions about Pastors and Deacons lays out several practical benefits of a plurality of pastors:


Biblical accountability. Godly fellow elders are a great means for holding the pastor accountable to live, teach, and lead faithfully. In addition, sharing authority among a number of men can keep one man from wrongly lording it over the congregation

Wisdom. There is more wisdom to be found in a multitude of counselors (Prov. 11:14; 24:6).

Balance. No one man has all the gifts that are necessary to build up the church. Having a plurality of elders serves the church by bringing men with different gifts into the church’s leadership who can complement the pastor’s strengths.

Burden sharing. Caring for the whole church is a burden God does not intend one man to bear alone. Even the most faithful, gifted pastor needs help from other godly men in order to pay careful attention to himself and to all the flock (Acts 20:28).

Sets an example for the church. Having a plurality of elders demonstrates that the work of ministry is not reserved for a select few. Rather, it provides an example of maturity for every man, particularly when some of the elders are men who work ordinary jobs and are not paid by the church.


Final thought:

1 Timothy 3 if any man aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a good work.

If we’re not looking for elders… meaning if we don’t have a context in which someone aspiring can pursue that at Fellowship - we’re missing out and we’re doing one another a disservice.


If someone aspires, is examined, and is qualified - he should be affirmed and assigned to the role. 


Remember: Elders are to be practical examples of what it looks like to pursue sanctification. 

If you are truly in pursuit of sanctification, you should seek out and welcome help from those designed and gifted by God for that task.


Since elders are God’s gifts to the church, they should be received as such. There’s no perfect number, but we should seek a true plurality in our leadership team. 


Send me your questions and I’ll address them next week in Part 2.


Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Rob


Monday, August 2, 2021

Lessons in Sanctification

 


1 Timothy 4:7train yourself for the purpose of godliness,

Sanctification is to be the primary pursuit of the Christian life. Everything else flows out of that.


1 Timothy 6:2 Timothy’s instructions regarding what we find in Chapter 6 Teach and exhort these things


The first three lessons:

1. Sanctification in our Work

Wherever you work, from a factory floor worker to a fortune 500 executive, you are to regard your boss (supervisor, manager, etc.) as worthy of ALL honor. If he or she is a believer - even more so.

If your boss was asked “who’s your best employee?” Would your name come up?

If your co-workers were asked, who’s your favorite co-worker?” Would they mention you?


John MacArthur says, Your work is either praise or blasphemy.


If you’re not at least in the running to be best employee… If you’re not a joy to work with to all your co-workers…

What needs to change?

What do you need to do before showing up for work tomorrow?

What do you need to do different this week?

Your job is a significant part of your life and a factor in your sanctification. 


The next two things woven together here.

2. The Jewel of Contentment

verse 6 stands out in a very compelling way

It’s right alongside what Paul says in 

Philippians 2:14-15Do all things without grumbling or disputing, 15 so that you will be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

 

Contentment, the opposite of grumbling, disputing, complaining, criticizing, murmuring, etc. is a means of great gain. When we live contented lives we shine as lights in the world and we bring glory to God

It adds weight and authenticity to the gospel we claim to believe


Rather than murmuring, which the Bible calls rebellion, we need to remember that we’re children of the King of Heaven, 

who has literally every resource at His disposal. Who owns the cattle on 1,000 hills, but who is also the One in whom ALL wisdom resides

The One who is the very definition of love


When we are discontent, we’re complaining against God and His plan. 

We question His wisdom, 

Doubt His power, 

And deny His mercy


Contentment, however is worship

Highlighting the power of grace in affliction

Preparing the soul to receive mercy

Turning our hearts away from our own selfish desires and points us to what God has so richly provided.


3. Defcon 1

We must always be prepared for the assault that false teaching brings. The false prosperity gospel appeals to our flesh. It strokes the lure of materialism that we all struggle with. 

With the prosperity “gospel,” Jesus becomes some sort of genie in a bottle and God is turned into a cosmic slot machine.

But the gospel is not about the physical or the material. The gospel doesn’t save you from, poverty, sickness, or adversity.

The gospel saves you from sin.


Here’s the question:

(Be ready for me to call you this week & ask)

How are you growing theologically?

What are you doing, on a regular basis, to increase your foundation of theological knowledge? 


How are you growing in understanding the Bible?

Are you increasing in your comprehension of the breadth, length, height, and depth of what Jesus did?
Ephesians 3 tells us that to be filled with all of God’s fullness, it begins with knowledge.

_________________________________________


What is the NEXT step do you need to take:

1. At Work 

It’s part of your sanctification - an opportunity to honor the Lord by truly honoring the person who has been placed in authority over you. 

What step do you need to take at work?


2. In Contentment

What is it that causes you to be discontent?

How can you take the next step, and pursue trusting God more? He is in control of the situation. He’s sovereign. He ordained it.


3. In Theology?

How do you need to pursue deeper knowledge?

Read the Bible more?

Join a discipleship group?

Read a good theological book? (Call me, I’d love to help you find a good one)


Bottom Line:

Where are you at in your understanding of the gospel?

If you don’t embrace that you need to know the gospel more and better and deeper, you’re in a place of pride that you need to be pushed out of.


Seek to grow this week:

1. At Work

2. In Contentment

3. In Knowlege/Theology


I”m praying that we all grow in these areas of sanctification this week.


Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Rob


Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Light Bulb Question

Q: How many Charismatic does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Ten. One to change the bulb and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.


Q: How many Pentecostals does it take to change a light bulb?

A: Only 1. The hands are already in the air.


Q: How many Calvinists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: None. God has predestined when the lights will be on.


Q: How many Amish does it take?
A: What’s a light bulb?


Q: How many Baptists does it take to change a light bulb?

A: CHANGE???????


When some sort of change is coming, here’s a helpful grid to determine how tightly you should hold on to “but this how we’ve always done it” vs. “Let’s do this ‘new’ thing!”


(Right-click and save this graphic to refer to later)


We need to hold tightly to the Biblical and loosely to the other three (which are variations of the same thing). The problem is that everyone’s tendency is to hold on tightly to B, C, and D while holding loosely to A, which is exactly backward. 

The next time change comes along - or even when you come across something you don’t like, or that frustrates you - run it through this grid. Always go back to the ultimate bottom line question: What does the Bible say? Chapter and verse! 


Let’s always be ready to Take the Next Step as together we strive to be radically obedient to a passionate pursuit of knowing God and making Him known. 


Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Rob

Monday, July 19, 2021

FAMILY!

 

Two things in this passage:

1. Church Relationships - Interactions

2. Obligations to one another & to Widows



There are any ideas the Bible uses to describe the church:

Holy Nation - we’re fellow citizens

Kingdom - we serve the same King

Priesthood - we are ministers of His grace

Vine - emphasizes the vital connection to 

Christ and to one another.

Temple - we owe Him our worship

Body - dependence on one another. 

Differences in role, purpose, function

Assembly - we gather. The distinct “together”

Flock - we need to be led and fed

Finally:

1. Family

Verses 1-2

• describes how we are to relate to each other

• how we confront/exhort one another

• what our interactions should look like…


There’s a Connection between Matthew 18 & 1 Timothy 5

The goal of show him his fault is to win your brother is to deepen the relationship. 

It’s a discipleship and spiritual growth issue.

How we treat and care for one another


The Church is a Family

This passage helps us to answer that and to grow in our understanding.

Treat one another as family:

• Older men: fathers

• Treat them with respect - honor them

• Look up to them - lean into their wisdom

• Seek their advice - learn from them

• Older women: mothers 

How you know you should treat your mom

• How you want someone else to treat her

• How you should treat all the older women

• Proverbs stresses over and over that we 

should honor our mothers & fathers.
Listen to them and learn from them.

• Younger men: brothers

• You’re peers, equals, not superior

Younger women: sisters

• in all purity

• Protect them

• protect their honor

• Stay pure

The Cross creates US – the church

Ephesians 1:3-14 - one of the most gospel-rich passages in the Bible lays out the US alongside much rich gospel truth:

• Jesus blessed US with every spiritual blessing

• by predestining US to adoption as sons

WE have redemption

• forgiveness of OUR transgressions

• His grace abounds to US

• in Him WE have an inheritance


The church is a family.

We have a task, a purpose, a mission

We’re all in this together. 

We pursue this goal together. 


One of the things a family does is care for one another. 


2. Caring for & Serving Widows

While the church is a family and we are to think of one another as brother and sister, there is still a distinction between the church family and the family family. The household.


God very much cares about women - especially widows.

Psalm 146:9Yahweh keeps the sojourners;

He helps up the orphan and the widow,

Psalm 68:6 – A father of the fatherless and a judge (protector) for the widows


The first line of resource is the family. 

Whether that’s a husband who made sure his wife was taken care of after he’s gone, or children/grandchildren who take a widow in.

This is so obvious to everyone, even unbelievers, that if you won’t do this - you’re worse than an unbelieving pagan. WOW!

There’s a very clear principle:

Take care of your family.


Verses 9-15 - The List 

God has called every one of us to a specific ministry in the church.

This “list” in verse 9 is more about the list of widows that have the great joy and privilege of being prayer warriors for their church.


John Calvin says of these widows, who give great strength to their church: prayer by day and night is the special privilege of widows and the childless, for they are free from the things that very properly hinder those who rule a family from doing the same.


We all need to stop and think here.

What is my situation?

What kind of resources do you have?

How am I investing them for the Kingdom?

Everyone has different:

time

bandwith

focus

money

skills

energy level

abilities

passions/intereste/hobbies

etc.

Use them to maximum effort and invest them in the kingdom of God.


Rather than squandering them, 

Verses 12thus incurring condemnation…

There’s a downward trend when not pursuing knowing God and making Him known in, with, and through everything God has blessed you with.


verse 16 If any believing woman has widows, she must assist them and the church must not be burdened, so that it may assist those who are widows indeed.


Two clear principles:

1. If family can help - the family must help

it’s the command of the Lord

There’s no “out” here

2. Husbands - your wife’s family is your family

Her mother is your mother

Her grandmother is your grandmother


THE BOTTOM LINE FOR EVERYONE

We need to live in such a way - 

both in our household, 

and as a church family

that anyone who observes anything we do:

~from the Sunday morning worship gathering down to a meeting of a couple of members over coffee ~

Looks at that and says: What’s the deal? What’s going on here? ow is it y’all so clearly love one another so much? Loving, serving, and honoring one another?


And we can reply: It’s The Gospel of Jesus Christ. It saves us, transforms us, and brings us together - Making a group of rag-tag humans into brothers & sisters who are all children of the King. We have the same Father.


You too can step into this family we call our church. How can you do that? By turning from your sins and trusting in Jesus Christ alone.

What does that mean? Here’s the answer in one minute - 164 words:

The one and only God, creator of everything, who is holy, made us in His image to Know Him and glorify Him.


But we sinned, we rebelled. We did our own thing and cut ourselves off from Him. There’s nothing we could ever do or would ever do to earn our way back to Him or even begin to fix the problem.


BUTIn His great love, God became a man in Jesus, lived a perfect life, and died on the cross, taking on himself the punishment for the sins of all those who would ever turn to and believe in Him. He rose again from the dead, showing that God accepted Christ’s sacrifice and that God’s wrath against us has been satisfied.


He now calls us to repent of our sins and to trust in Christ alone for our forgiveness.

If we repent of our sins and trust in Christ, we are born again into a new life, an eternal life with God.

And THAT is good news!


Soli Deo Gloria!

Pastor Rob

















Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Pursuits of a Wise Father

 


What things should a godly man, husband, and father pursue?


1. Pursue God

Know God

Be Saturated in God’s Word

The Environment in which you pursue God:

The Church. The relationships that God has placed you in the midst of. 

2 Peter 3:18, Ephesians 4:15-16

This is something we do together.

Pursuit Requires Discipline


2. Pursue your Wife

The condition of any marriage is primarily a product of the spiritual walk of the husband


Proverbs gives us wisdom in how to love our wives:

1. A Wise Husband Listens

Proverbs 12:15


2. Don’t Be Quarrlesome

Proverbs 20:3

3. Hold Back

Proverbs 29:11

4. Learn from Your Mistakes

Proverbs 26:11

5. Discipline Your Children

Proverbs 13:24

6. Love Sacrificially

Read Ephesians 5:25-33 on the day you were married every month.

Saturate yourself in that passage as you strive to love your wife.

Love your wife as Christ loved the church.

You will never arrive, but that is the goal for which you must strive. 


3. Pursue your Children

The perfect pattern for raising your children is found in Ephesians 6:4 – Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.


Discipline and instruction begins with the heart 

(Proverbs 4:23, Luke 6:45).

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 provides guidance in how to do this:

Teach them:

• About God: The Lord our God

• To Love God

   with all your heart soul, might

To Obey God: a product of knowing & loving

Teach them by showing them.

They need to see you love God with your heart, soul, 

and might.

Teach them by telling them. 

Don’t just show them - you just also tell them.



Bottom Line:

How will you take the next step to:

1. Pursue God

2. Pursue Your Wife

3. Pursue Your Children


Two suggestions:

• Read a Chapter of Proverbs Daily

search for the wisdom

find one passage that stands out to you

write it out on a post-it note or card

meditate on it throughout the day

• Dig into your role as a Father

Get one of the books on the list below and read through it. Use one of the devotional books to lead your family in regular devotions. 



BOOK LIST:

Books on being a Godly Man/Father

In a day when the church needs men to be men, these books lay a biblical foundation on the role of men in the family, the church, and society.

1. The Masculine Mandate: God's Calling to Men

    by Richard Phillips  ($12 on Amazon)

2. Family Shepherds

    by Voddie Baucham  ($15 on Amazon)

3. Being a Dad Who Leads

    by John MacArthur


Family Devotional Guide Books

One thing you’ll hear consistently is that men need to lead their family in “family devotions.” These books are easy guides to help you do that. Gather your family around, open up the book, and walk through these family devotions together. You’ll be glad you did.

1. Wise Up 

    by Marty Machowski ($15 on Amazon)

2. A Guide to Family Worship -

    by Ryan Bush ($6.00 at mediagratiae.org)

3. Long Story Short & The Gospel Story Bible

    by Marty Machowski ($20 each on Amazon)

4. Jesus Storybook Bible

    by Sally Loyd-Jones ($11 on Amazon)