Archive for April, 2009
This coming Lord’s day, Lord willing, I will present a biblical vision for family discipleship at High Pointe. Through various circumstances, not least of which is the fact that we are presently searching for a student minister, I am being led to get a clearer understanding of how parents discipling their children and student ministry function together.
Virtually everyone with an interest in students (parents, teachers, volunteers, professors, pastors, etc.) agrees that youth/student ministry has been a massive failure. By some accounts, Southern Baptist student ministries have as high as a 70% to 88% failure rate. In other words, according to some studies as many as 70% to 88% of students who grew up in a Southern Baptist church and go off to school abandon the church when they leave home (See Voddie Baucham, Family Driven Faith, 10-11).
Further, most with an interest in students also agree that the primary persons responsible for the discipleship of students is the parent. However, that is where agreement ends. Some, like Voddie Baucham, who embrace a strong “Family Integrated Church” (FCI) model believe student ministry is unbiblical and point to such statistics to bolster their case.
Of course, there are those who would retain the status quo, for their livelihood depends on it.
Yet, there are those who would agree with the first group that discipleship of students must take place in the home AND that the church has a supportive role in this process. That is where I fall. Still, questions remain: what does the church’s role in discipleship look like? How will those students who do not have believing parents be reached and discipled? What is our role in reaching the 30,000 plus students that live within 5 miles from our building?
These and other questions have led me to seek to address this issue in Sunday morning’s message. Please join me in prayer as I spend time in God’s Word and review materials related to this topic. I would also welcome any comments and/or suggestions of other materials to read this week. Below is a brief list of some of the items I am currently working through.
9 Marks eJournal, September/October 2008, Vol. 5, Issue 5
Family and Parenting
*This eJournal has a very helpful and insightful review of Baucham’s Family Driven Faith.
reThink: Decide for Yourself, Is Student Ministry Working
by Steve Wright with Chris Graves
It was a joy to attend The 2009 Gospel Coalition Conference. Since I was in Chicago, I was unable to post to the blog all last week, but several folks were busy at work getting the information out. Here is a round up from some sources regarding the conference and The Gospel Coalition.
Who is The Gospel Coalition?
The Gospel Coalition site has a list of the council members.
The TGC site offers hundreds of resources from its council members.
What does The Gospel Coalition Stand for?
Three Foundation Documents
Who can join The Gospel Coalition?
Anyone who has a heart for the gospel may join The Gospel Coalition Network.
This morning I went to the Desiring God blog and read a very helpful blog post by John Piper in which he shares what he told his staff/leaders regarding maintaining unity amidst differences. Since this is such an important reminder, I emailed it to our staff and elders.
Nevertheless, I think it’s an important reminder for us all!
Grace and peace,
I came across this video of Kathy Ireland sharing her story about coming to faith in Christ, and I thought many could benefit from it. What I found heartening was her sadness over being a “baby” Christian for so long. As she shared, however, it is evident that the Lord is doing a marvelous work of grace in her life.
(ht: Justin Taylor)
High Pointe Baptist Church
Saturday, April 18
“Malatya is a documentary about the first martyrs of the Turkish Church. On April 18th, 2007, Necati Aydin, Uğur Yüksel, and Tillmann Geske were brutally killed in Malatya, Turkey for proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the King of kings and Lord of lords. Necati and Uğur are the first known modern Turkish converts from Islam to Christianity to be killed for their faith.”
I always delight in gathering with God’s people at High Pointe, and our Good Friday service was no different. Tonight we considered Christ, our Passover (1 Corinthians 5:7).
What does it mean that Christ is our Passover (lamb) who has already been sacrificed?
The main theme of Passover is deliverance. The context of the original Passover was Israel’s deliverance from bondage in Egypt. Leon Morris (Atonement, 89) notes, “The Israelites were in bitter bondage in Egypt. Nine plagues had come and gone on the Egyptians but none of them had procured the release the oppressed people looked for so longingly. God had repeatedly sent the message to Pharaoh, ‘Let my people go’ (Ex. 5:1; 8:1, 20; 9:1, 13; 10:3), but Pharaoh had not let them go.”
It was the tenth plague that moved Pharaoh’s heart to release the people. However, the people would only be delivered by faith in the God who instructed them to observe the Passover. Their obedience would evidence their faith (Exodus 12:1-13). They were delivered through the blood of the Passover lamb (Exodus 12:21-23). Thus, the Passover marked the birth of a nation, the people of God.
In the New Covenant, Christ is our Passover who delivers His people from bondage to sin’s power and penalty (death). The Bible describes us as in bondage to sin: both it’s power and penalty (death) (Romans 6:20-23). Our experience in this world reminds us of the enslaving and devastating effects of sin.
Jesus is the Lamb who through His blood delivers us from the bondage of sin (John 1:29). To highlight this reality, Jesus chose to die during the Passover as the gospels record. Because of Christ’s sacrifice, we are Passed over in judgment (Isaiah 53:4-11) and delivered from sin’s bondage (Romans 6:5-7).
We too must receive Christ as our Passover by faith. Thus, Christ, our Passover, marks the birth of a new creation, the people of God from all nations.
What should be our response to this provision?
In a word, commemoration. To commemorate means to call to remembrance, to observe or keep. So, then, how do we commemorate Christ, our Passover? Let me just mention two ways:
1. Live as who you truly are: those free from sin’s power and penalty (Romans 6:15-19). We are to live as those who have been cleansed from the leaven of evil and wickedness and are truly in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth (1 Corinthians 5:6-8).
2. Remember: The Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:23-26).
Observing the Lord’s Supper reminds us of what Christ, our Passover, has accomplished for us on the cross. It also helps us look forward to that day when we will dine with the Lamb at the marriage supper.
Lest we think our remembering and reminding one another about the blood of Christ that allows God’s judgment to pass over us who believe take place only during the present age, take note that throughout all eternity we will be singing about the Lamb who was slain and who rescued a people by His blood (Revelation 5:6-14).
Grace and peace,
In The Cross and Christian Ministry, Don Carson states the following about the importance of understanding inaugurated eschatology:
So in one sense Christians are oriented to the future and are awaiting the kingdom. This stance we may designate futurist eschatology. In another sense, Christians have already been transferred out of the kingdom of darkness and into the kingdom of God’s Son. We are already in the kingdom. This stance is sometimes referred to as realized or inaugurated eschatology. And it is very important to get the balance between these two right.
In order better to understand inaugurated eschatology, you may want to begin by looking at the following resources:
1. The Presence of the Future by George Eldon Ladd
2. The Bible and the Future by Anthony A. Hoekema
On Sunday, April 5, we studied 1 Corinthians 4:6-13, and found that the Corinthians had an overrealized eschatology that was in part responsible for their errors. In order better to understand these issues, I introduced the concept of inaugurated eschatology. For the benefit of the body, let me review those items here.
First, we noted that the Jews were expecting the messiah to come and establish the kingdom here on earth immediately (Isaiah 11 – just one example). The Jewish Messiah entered Jerusalem in great triumph on what we now call Palm Sunday (Matthew 21).
The New Testament reminds us that in His first coming Jesus inaugurated the kingdom. The coronation of Christ as king had to come through His death on the cross and His resurrection from the dead. Now, exalted to the right hand of the Father, Jesus reigns as king and lord until all his enemies are placed under His feet. Once Christ has conquered every enemy, then He will deliver the kingdom to His Father (1 Corinthians 15:20-28).
Consequently, we now find ourselves in the last days. The kingdom has already been inaugurated, but it has not yet been consummated. That means we are living in the tension between the already and the not yet.
A proper understanding of this tension provides a healthy view:
1. Of ourselves, one another and the church (Colossians 3:1-17).
2. Of this world and culture (Genesis 1:26-28; 1 John 2:15-17; Matthew 6:19-33).
3. Of suffering (Matthew 5:11-12; 1 Peter 4:12-16; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and death (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
4. Of Christ’s return (2 Peter 3:1-13).
So then, how are we to live in the last days as we await the return of Jesus Christ, the coming king? Though much more could be said, I highlighted three options.
Option 1, is popular in our culture – You may be so earthly minded that you are no heavenly good.
This option is manifested in at least two ways – the worldliness of our consumer society that is consumed with the things of this world and the anxiety that tempts us to despair when circumstances do not go according to our plans (i. e., the present economic “crisis”).
Option 2, was popular in the Corinthian church – You may be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good (1 Corinthians 4:6-8).
The dangers of such an overrealized eschatology are that it leads to an elitist attitude (I’ve arrived); it tempts us to have an escapist mentality (a neglect of the things of this world – we are to be in the world but not of it); it may lead to hedonism (if you highlight the spiritual over the material and believe it doesn’t matter what you do with the body – 1 Corinthians 5-6); or it can lead to asceticism (if you highlight the spiritual over the material and believe you should deny the body- 1 Corinthians 7).
Option 3, is the biblical view – You are to be so heavenly minded that you are of great earthly good (1 Corinthians 4:9-13).
This is what it means to live in light of the cross, embracing the wisdom of God: i. e., the gospel (which is foolish to this world), the strength of God (which is weakness to this world), and the humility of Christ (which is dishonorable in this world).
So, while this world longs to be “filled” with the foods of this world, we will hunger and thirst for righteousness; while this world longs to be “richly” clothed with fame, fortune and fashion, we will be content to go in the rags of this world that we may be clothed in the righteousness of Christ; while this world longs for the “power” that comes with position and wealth; we will long to be God’s farmers, brick builders, stewards – humble servants for the true king – now, until Christ returns to consummate the kingdom and makes us kings with Him.
May we not grow weary in doing good, living a life worthy of the calling of the gospel in order that we may serve our king and one day hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Grace and peace,
I am currently reading through Matthew’s gospel, and yesterday I read through Jesus’ sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7). This is a passage of Jesus’ concentrated teaching, and its interpretation at various points is greatly contested. For these reasons (and the fact that some of our ladies are presently doing an inductive study of the Sermon on the Mount), I wanted to list a few resources that are helpful and accessible.
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: An His Confrontation with the World
by D. A. Carson (top recommendation)
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount
by Martyn Lloyd-Jones
The Message of the Sermon on the Mount
by John Stott
The Sermon on the Mount
by Sinclair Ferguson
I will also be presenting the gospel message that evening, so we encourage you to join us and bring your unchurched family, friends, neighbors and co-workers if you live in the Austin area.
Also, if you enjoy the music of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend, then you will want to listen to some presentations they provided at Southern Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. I am currently listening to them and benefiting greatly.