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As you prepare your hearts for Christmas, here are some sermons from Matthew’s gospel that may help you consider and meditate on Christ’s first coming.  May these sermons serve to focus attention on the promised king from David’s line.

Matthew

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If you are in town this Christmas, be sure to join us for our Christmas eve service. This is a great opportunity to bring unchurched family and friends.

May you have a blessed Christmas and new year!

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Categories : Church, High Pointe, Sermons
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Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28, ESV).

This past Thursday, our pastoral staff got away for a one day retreat to remind ourselves why High Pointe exists.  Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into a mode in which we merely exist for ourselves—to increase attendance, grow our staff, increase offerings.  As High Pointe has grown, so have our offerings and our staff.  However, we want to ensure that such growth and increase be seen as the result of faithful and fruitful ministry, which God has blessed, not the end goal, which we have produced.

I hope to move this conversation beyond the pastoral staff, lest we forget our purpose and mission.  In order to see our reason for existence, I will ask what I think are the key questions YOU need to be asking.  I hope the answers will be clear in and of themselves.

What is the goal of our ministry at High Pointe?

At the end of time, when all is said and done and the elders stand before the Lord to give an account for High Pointe’s ministry (1 Corinthians 3:10-15), what will we have hoped to accomplish?  Our goal as elders is stated by the apostle Paul in Colossians 1:28—to present everyone mature in Christ.  Our ministry (teaching, preaching, praying) to High Pointe is all to the end that we might present you as whole-hearted followers of Jesus on that final day.  This is the end for which we toil and labor (Colossians 1:29).

How will we seek to communicate this goal, our mission?

Our ministry goal falls in line with Jesus’ commission to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:18-20).  Simply stated, High Pointe exists to see all peoples become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ.  All this is to the glory of the Triune God, and we seek to communicate this mission in all our gatherings, beginning with our membership classes.

How will we accomplish this goal, our mission?

The primary means that God has given the pastors/elders of His flock is the ministry of the Word and prayer (Acts 6:2-4; Eph 4:11-16).  Therefore, we will seek to see people come to faith and maturity in Christ through the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Col 1:4-6, 25, 28; Acts 6:7; 12:24; 19:20; 1 Cor 1:18-2:5).

OUR STRATEGY is found within the great commission.  We will make disciples of all nations by (1) reaching unbelievers of every ethnicity with the gospel of Jesus Christ, (2) incorporating such new believers into the body of Christ (as manifested in a local church) by baptizing them in the name of the Triune God, (3) and teaching them to obey everything that Jesus has commanded.

What might High Pointe look like if we were whole-hearted followers of Jesus?

While we are on this earth as pilgrims, this picture will be imperfect.  Nevertheless, we hope that by grace through faith, with new hearts and God’s Spirit dwelling in us, that we would represent our king Jesus as faithful ambassadors and glorify Him as we live together in this place where God has called us together.

Such a church, I think, would look very similar to the first church in Acts 2:42-47: a church founded on and devoted to the apostolic faith (gospel); a church devoted to a common life rooted in the gospel; a church that responds appropriately, in the power of the Spirit to everything God is for us in Christ, both individually and corporately, formally and informally.  Such a church will display a powerful witness of unity and love, which magnifies the Father’s glorious wisdom in salvation.  May God work in us all that we might be such a church.

Categories : Austin, Church, High Pointe
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Join us at High Pointe beginning this Sunday morning at 10:30. 

May 20
Title: Gospel Parenting and The Father’s Love
Text: Hosea 11

May 27
Title: Gospel Parenting and Parental Example
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-15

June 3
Title: Gospel Parenting and Biblical Instruction
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-17

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This year Good Friday will be on April 6.  High Pointe will offer a Good Friday service at 6:00 p.m., but I would encourage all of us to prepare our hearts before then.  One helpful way to prepare is to read through John Piper’s Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Came to DieIt’s available in a free PDF.

If you are in Austin and you don’t attend church, we would also invite you to our Easter Sunday service at 10:30 a.m.

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The book of Exodus ends with the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. Leviticus begins with “And the Lord called Moses and spoke to him from the tent of meeting.” Now that the Lord had filled the place of His presence, the people needed to know how to approach Him. The book of Leviticus answers the question, “How can a sinful and rebellious people approach a holy God?”

We began our study of Leviticus on October 23. Though I had originally planned to be finished with Leviticus by now, the Lord has allowed us to slow down and consider several parts of this book for further application. I pray that you have been as blessed and challenged during this study as I have. I pray that you will faithfully join us as we continue to see God’s answer to the problem of our sin. Below you will see a tentative preaching schedule that will take us through the rest of Leviticus. I am providing this schedule to help you look ahead and prepare yourself for our Sunday morning gatherings.

As you will also note below, I have already begun preparing for our next study in Matthew’s gospel. Feel free to begin working your way through the gospel of Matthew. I think it will be a helpful follow up study to Leviticus as we see how Jesus applied the Law of Moses in His day. Until our study of Matthew, I look forward to growing with you as we finish Leviticus together. May the Lord grant us much grace, and may the Holy Spirit be our teacher

 

2012 Sunday Morning Preaching Schedule

Mar 11: Leviticus 22:1-15 | Holy Sacrifices Acceptable to God

Mar 18: Leviticus 22:16-33 | Holy Sacrifices Acceptable to God, part 2

Mar 25: Leviticus 23 | Holy Days or Holidays?

Apr 1: Leviticus 24 | An Eye for an Eye

Apr 8 (EASTER): Leviticus 25 | The Year of Jubilee

Apr 15: Leviticus 26 | The Curse of the Law

Apr 22: BEN WRIGHT PREACHING

Apr 29: Leviticus 27 | Let Your Yes be a Yes!

Beginning in May: The Gospel According to Matthew

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Categories : High Pointe, Resources
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Feb
24

Elders: Shepherds of God’s Flock

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Who leads Christ’s church?  The answer is clearly stated in the question isn’t it?  If it’s Christ’s church, then Christ is its leader.  That is precisely what the Bible declares when it refers to Jesus as the head of the church (Colossians 1:18).  The Bible also declares that Jesus is the shepherd of the church; He is both the good shepherd (John 10) and the chief shepherd (1 Peter 5:4).

But how does Jesus Christ lead His church now since He has ascended to the right hand of the Father?  Again, the Bible is clear.  In Ephesians 4:11-13, we are told that the ascended Christ has granted gifts to His church in ministers of the Word (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers) for the purpose of equipping the church for the work of ministry in order to build it up until spiritual maturity is attained.  In other words, the ascended Christ leads His church through these ministers of the Word called pastors (elders) who teach God’s Word.  That Christ leads His church through human shepherds is confirmed in 1 Peter 5:1-5 when the elders are exhorted to shepherd the flock of God under their care faithfully . . . and when the chief Shepherd (Jesus) appears they will be rewarded.  But who are these elders, and how does the church recognize them?

Who can be an elder (pastor)?

Men.  It sounds chauvinistic in our enlightened and gender-liberated culture to say that only men can be elders (pastors), but the biblical prescription is both clear and logical (1 Timothy 2:12-15).  The Bible roots male/female equality in the fact that both bear God’s image (Genesis 1:26-28).  Nevertheless, the man and the woman have distinct roles (Genesis 2:15-25).  The man is to lead, protect and provide, and the woman is to follow the man’s leadership and help him, thereby fulfilling their God-given vocations (Genesis 2:18).  It is not accidental that this very pattern of male leadership, protection and provision is called for in the church.  The practice of male elders/pastors in the church serves to instruct and model God’s pattern of manhood and womanhood ordained in creation.

Men who are above reproach.  But it’s not just any man who is to serve.  The Bible instructs us that only those men who are above reproach qualify for service as elders/pastors.  Clearly, no one is perfect except Christ Himself.  However, Christ-followers are expected to be growing in the grace and knowledge of Christ and to be characterized by certain fruit: righteousness, love for the brethren, love for truth (see 1 John).  It is such men who qualify for the office of elder/pastor.

Personally, I take “above reproach” to be the one, primary qualification of an elder/pastor.  In this light, the Bible exhorts us in 1 Timothy 3 (and Titus 1), to consider various areas in which an elder/pastor must be above reproach.  An elder/pastor must be above reproach in his personal life (character—3:2-3), his home life (how he loves his wife if married—3:2; how he manages his children if he has any—3:4-5), his spiritual and doctrinal life (able to teach, not a new convert—3:2, 6), and his public life (a man of good reputation—3:7).

How does the church recognize elders/pastors?

At High Pointe, we believe that elder/pastor candidates should undergo a period of testing and observation (1 Timothy 5:24-25).  This happens both informally (as we get to know one another and observe brothers in ministry) and formally (through an elder candidate process).  Those men who are seen to qualify for the office are presented to the congregation for affirmation (1 Timothy 5:22).  In affirming its elders, the congregation communicates that it wants to be led by such men.

How should the congregation relate to the elders? 

By all means, the congregation holds the elders accountable (1 Timothy 5:20-21), but the congregation is also to pray for the elders/pastors, protect them from false charges (1 Timothy 5:19) and follow their leadership (Hebrews 13:17).

Where to begin?

Where may churches begin their journey toward faithful, biblical church leadership?  If you need to be convinced of the church’s need for elders, then read Why Elders? A Biblical and Practical Guide for Church Members by Benjamin L. Merkle.

If you have lots of questions about what the Bible says about church leadership, then read 40 Questions about Elders and Deacons, again by Merkle.

If you are convinced and need to lead your congregation through the process of moving toward biblical church leadership, then Phil A. Newton’s Elders in Congregational Life: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership will be of immense help.

If you are convinced and the church is ready to move forward toward installing biblical church leaders, then you will want to read Thabiti Anyabwile’s newest book, Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons.

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Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . (Matthew 28:19, ESV)

In his book on missions, titled, Let the Nations Be Glad: The Supremacy of God in Missions, John Piper suggests that, “Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church.  Worship is.  Missions exists because worship doesn’t.  Worship is ultimate, not missions, because God is ultimate, not man.  When this age is over, and the countless millions of the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, missions will be no more.  It is a temporary necessity.  But worship abides forever.  Worship, therefore, is the fuel and goal of missions.”

At first this idea that missions (and evangelism) is not the ultimate goal of the church may shock some; yet, I suggest that we cannot understand the necessity of missions and evangelism until we understand the priority of worship.  Once we understand that worship is the ultimate priority of every believer and every believing community, then we will see that worship is the goal and fuel of evangelism and missions, and we will gain a genuine passion for both.  Let me explain.

Essentially, we were created to worship.  The Bible teaches that we were created in the image and likeness of God to reflect God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-27)—this is worship.  However, Adam’s sin marred God’s image in us, for every one of us participated in Adam’s sin with the consequence that we too bear Adam’s guilt (Romans 5:12).  So, we are no longer able to truly and faithfully reflect God’s glory, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).  The activities of our culture testify to human sinfulness because instead of worshiping the one, true and living God, we prefer to worship those things which He created (Romans 1:18-32).

The good news of the gospel is that the Father is seeking genuine worshipers, those who will worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:23-24).  To worship in spirit means to worship God out of the overflow of the Holy Spirit in your life.  To worship in truth is to worship God on the basis of the truth concerning Jesus Christ.  Thus, spirit and truth worship engages both hearts and minds that have been transformed by the Spirit of God.

Here’s the point!  There are people in this world who presently do not worship God through Christ.  Their hearts and minds are geared toward self-worship.  Since the Father is seeking genuine worshipers to worship Him, then we must join the Father on this mission.  And since the people who presently do not worship God can only become genuine worshipers by a transformation of heart and mind that comes by the Grace of God, through faith in Christ, then our mission is to declare the truth about Christ to a world that does not worship Christ.  So, missions is really joining God in the gathering of worshipers who have been transformed by the truth of Jesus Christ for the glory of God.

You see, the ultimate goal of the church is worship, and the worship of the living God on the basis of the truth of Christ is what should fuel and drive our missions and evangelism efforts.  This is truly our mission at High Pointe; we long to see all peoples become whole-hearted followers of Jesus Christ by reaching unbelievers, gathering worshipers, and making disciples to the glory of God.  As we begin a new year together, we hope you will join us in this effort to see those who presently do not worship Christ become true worshipers.  To what end?  Worship!

“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10).

Categories : Church, High Pointe, Missions
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