CrossView Sermon: God’s Story is Our Story

I preached in 2013 a sermon on the story of the Church and how that fit into the story of our local church, CrossView Church LA.

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Delighting in the Trinity

Here’s a topical sermon on the Doctrine of the Trinity entitled, “Delighting in the Trinity” preached at CrossView Church LA in January, 2013.

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Change My Heart Oh God

Change my heart oh God, 
Make it ever true.

Change my heart oh God, 
May I be like You.

You are the potter, I am the clay,

Mold me and make me,
 This is what I pray.

(1st verse by Eddie Espinosa)

 

Search my heart oh God, convict me of my sin.

break my heart oh God, change me from within

You are the Spirit who takes the Word

Grow me expose me impure faith must burn

 

Speak your Word oh God, and give me ears to hear

Help me obey your Word, help me to love and fear

You are the Judge Lord, you know our ways

One day you’ll make us answer for our days

 

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Convert. Commit. Grow. Go.

This is God’s calling you. He calls you to convert to Christ from sin. He calls you to commit to a local church. He calls you to grow as a Christian. He calls you to go as a disciple-maker.

This is the gospel growth process for those we serve: Convert. Commit. Grow. Go.

Hear the sermon: Convert. Commit. Grow. Go. Preached at CrossView Church in 2013.

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Which Gospel Presentation is more faithful to the Bible’s teaching?

Jonathan Leeman writes:

Which “gospel” do you believe in?

Your answer to that question will have a direct bearing on what you think about church discipline. Therefore, it’s worth making sure we are talking about the same gospel before we talk about anything else.

Here are two subtly different versions of the gospel. The first one will probably shut down any talk about church discipline. The second one will start the conversation.

Gospel 1: God is holy. We have all sinned, separating us from God. But God sent his Son to die on the cross and rise again so that we might be forgiven. Everyone who believes in Jesus can have eternal life. We’re not justified by works. We’re justified by faith alone. The gospel therefore calls all people to “just believe!” An unconditionally loving God will take you as you are.

Gospel 2: God is holy. We have all sinned, separating us from God. But God sent his Son to die on the cross and rise again so that we might be forgiven and begin to follow the Son as King and Lord. Anyone who repents and believes can have eternal life, a life which begins today and stretches into eternity. We’re not justified by works. We’re justified by faith alone, but the faith which works is never alone. The gospel therefore calls all people to “repent and believe.” A contraconditionally loving God will take you contrary to what you deserve, and then enable you by the power of the Spirit to become holy and obedient like his Son. By reconciling you to himself, God also reconciles you to his family, the church, and enables you as his people to represent together his own holy character and triune glory.

So what do you think? Which of these two gospels better characterizes what you believe the Bible teaches?

The first version emphasizes Christ as Savior. The second version emphasizes Christ as Savior and Lord.

The first version points to Christ’s new covenant work of forgiveness. The second version includes both this and the Spirit’s new covenant work of regeneration.

The first version points to the new status that Christians have as children of God. The second version includes both the new status and the new job description that Christians are given as citizens of Christ’s kingdom.

The first version points to a Christian’s reconciliation with Christ. The second version points to a Christian’s reconciliation with Christ and Christ’s people.

If your understanding of the gospel stops with the first version, you will not have much use for the topic of church discipline, or for this book. But if you embrace the second one, then there is a longer conversation to have. Aside from being an explicit biblical mandate, church discipline is an implication of the second version.

Everything affirmed in the first version is true, but there’s more to say. Left to itself it tends to yield a belief in cheap grace. The second version, I believe, is a more robust account of the biblical gospel, and is more likely to lead to an understanding of the kind of grace that calls Christians to take up their crosses and follow Jesus in holy mission.

—Jonathan Leeman, Church Discipline: How the Church Protects the Name of Jesus (Crossway, 2012), 11-13.

So what do you think? Please leave a comment.

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¿What is Marriage? An argument from philosophy and social science, not tradition or religion

Watch it. Read it. This is a key question in the so called “Same-Sex Marriage” discussion and debate.

You can watch Ryan Anderson’s presentation at Stanford University and the Q&A session.

You can read Ryan Anderson’s Article entitled, “Marriage: What It Is, Why It Matters, and the Consequences of Redefining It” (html | pdf). I copied the abstract and outline below, but I’d encourage you to read the whole article.

Abstract

Marriage is based on the truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the reality that children need a mother and a father. Redefining marriage does not simply expand the existing understanding of marriage; it rejects these truths. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. By encouraging the norms of marriage—monogamy, sexual exclusivity, and permanence—the state strengthens civil society and reduces its own role. The future of this country depends on the future of marriage. The future of marriage depends on citizens understanding what it is and why it matters and demanding that government policies support, not undermine, true marriage. 

What Is Marriage?

  1. Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife to be father and mother to any children their union produces.

  2. Marriage is based on the anthropological truth that men and women are complementary, the biological fact that reproduction depends on a man and a woman, and the social reality that children need a mother and a father.

  3. Marriage as the union of man and woman is true across cultures, religions, and time. The government recognizes but does not create marriage.

  4. Marriage has been weakened by a revisionist view of marriage that is more about adults’ desires than children’s needs.

Why Marriage Matters for Policy

  1. Government recognizes marriage because it is an institution that benefits society in a way that no other relationship does.

  2. Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. Marital breakdown weakens civil society and limited government.

  3. Marital breakdown costs taxpayers.

  4. Government can treat people equally—and leave them free to live and love as they choose—without redefining marriage.

  5. We reap the civil society benefits of marriage only if policy gets marriage right.

The Consequences of Redefining Marriage

  1. Redefining marriage would further distance marriage from the needs of children and deny the importance of mothers and fathers.

  2. Redefining marriage would put into the law the new principle that marriage is whatever emotional bond the government says it is.

  3. Redefining marriage would weaken monogamy, exclusivity, and permanency—the norms through which marriage benefits society.

  4. Redefining marriage threatens religious liberty.

—Ryan T. Anderson is William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and a Free Society in the Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at The Heritage Foundation.

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Not Eating with Excommunicated former Church Members who still Claim to be Christian

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5.9-13, “I wrote to you in a letter not to associate with sexually immoral people. 10 I did not mean the immoral people of this world or the greedy and swindlers or idolaters; otherwise you would have to leave the world. 11 But now I am writing you not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer who is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or verbally abusive, a drunkard or a swindler. Do not even eat with such a person. 12 For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Don’t you judge those who are inside? 13 But God judges outsiders. Put away the evil person from among yourselves.

So we are not to associate (v. 11) with those who claim to be believers and yet are excommunicated from the church. We are not to eat with them (v. 11). In this way we are putting “away the evil person from among yourselves” (v. 13).

We have excommunicated 3 members in 6 years and all 3 to my knowledge still claim to be Christians. One is family. So do I really have to obey the Lord’s commands here? Since this family member doesn’t live in my house I believe I and all Christians not living with him should dis-associate, not eat with, and put him away from among them as long as he says he’s a Christian. I wasn’t sure that I would have the resolve to do this at a family party. But after reading 1 Kings 13 today, I have fresh resolve. I copied the section relevant to me obeying God today.

1  Kings 13.7-30

Then the king declared to the man of God, “Come home with me, refresh yourself, and I’ll give you a reward.”

But the man of God replied, “If you were to give me half your house, I still wouldn’t go with you, and I wouldn’t eat bread or drink water in this place, for this is what I was commanded by the word of theLord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or go back the way you came.’” So he went another way; he did not go back by the way he had come to Bethel.

Now a certain old prophet was living in Bethel. His son came and told him all the deeds that the man of God had done that day in Bethel. His sons also told their father the words that he had spoken to the king. Then their father said to them, “Which way did he go?” His sons had seen the way taken by the man of God who had come from Judah. Then he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” So they saddled the donkey for him, and he got on it. He followed the man of God and found him sitting under an oak tree. He asked him, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?”

“I am,” he said.

Then he said to him, “Come home with me and eat bread.”

But he answered, “I cannot go back with you, eat bread, or drink water with you in this place, for a message came to me by the word of the Lord: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or go back by the way you came.’”

He said to him, “I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the Lord: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.’” The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate bread in his house, and drank water.

While they were sitting at the table, the word of the Lord came to the prophet who had brought him back, and the prophet cried out to the man of God who had come from Judah, “This is what the Lordsays: ‘Because you rebelled against the command of the Lord and did not keep the command that the Lord your God commanded you— but you went back and ate bread and drank water in the place that He said to you, “Do not eat bread and do not drink water”— your corpse will never reach the grave of your fathers.’”

So after he had eaten bread and after he had drunk, the old prophet saddled the donkey for the prophet he had brought back. When he left, a lion attacked him along the way and killed him. His corpse was thrown on the road, and the donkey was standing beside it; the lion was standing beside the corpse too.

There were men passing by who saw the corpse thrown on the road and the lion standing beside it, and they went and spoke about it in the city where the old prophet lived. When the prophet who had brought him back from his way heard about it, he said, “He is the man of God who disobeyed the command of the Lord. The Lord has given him to the lion, and it has mauled and killed him, according to the word of the Lord that He spoke to him.”

Then the old prophet instructed his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” They saddled it, and he went and found the corpse of the man of God thrown on the road with the donkey and the lion standing beside the corpse. The lion had not eaten the corpse or mauled the donkey. So the prophet lifted the corpse of the man of God and laid it on the donkey and brought it back. The old prophet came into the city to mourn and bury him. Then he laid the corpse in his own grave, and they mourned over him: “Oh, my brother!”

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