New Sermon audio: 1 John 2.15-17 – Why We Must Not Love Worldly Things

Sermon audio: 1 John 2.15-17 – Why We Must Not Love Worldly Things – Preached at First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower in the morning service, 12/17/14. (mp3)

Text of 1 John 2.15-17 (CSB):

15 Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. 16 For everything that belongs to the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s lifestyle—is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 And the world with its lust is passing away, but the one who does God’s will remains forever.

In his book Losing Our Virtue David Wells described worldliness as

 

that system of values, in any given age, which has at its center our fallen human perspective, which displaces God and his truth from the world, and which makes sin look normal and righteousness seem strange. It thus gives great plausibility to what is morally wrong and, for that reason, makes what is wrong seem normal. (p. 4)

Main Point – Understand why you must not love the world so that it’s allure is broken.

Outline: Do Not Love the World Because…

1. …Because you have been given eternal life that is maturing in you (vv. 12-14 – review)

2. …Because you love the Father (vv. 15-16)

3. …Because you will live forever (v. 17)

 

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New Sermon audio: Mark 1.16-20 – The King’s Call

Sermon audio: Mark 1.16-20 – The King’s Call – Preached at First Southern Baptist Church of Bellflower in the morning service, 12/17/14. (mp3)

Text of Mark 1.16-20 (CSB):

16 As He was passing along by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew, Simon’s brother. They were casting a net into the sea, since they were fishermen.

17 “Follow Me,” Jesus told them, “and I will make you fish for people!” 18 Immediately they left their nets and followed Him. 19 Going on a little farther, He saw James the son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in their boat mending their nets. 20 Immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.

Main point: We need to obey the King’s call so we can be transformed by the King’s reign and rule.

Outline: 3 things about the King’s Call

1. The King Calls you to Ultimate Allegiance

2. The King Calls you with an Unstoppable Promise

3. The King Calls you to Undistracted Focus

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Old CrossView Sermons – One On Forgiveness and one on Christmas

Jesus Saves – the Message of Christmas” by PJ Tibayan preached at CrossView Church LA Christmas 2013.

Psalm 32, The Celebration of God’s Grace” by PJ  Tibayan.

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A sermon on 1 Corinthians 10.31-11.1 – Glorify God

A sermon on 1 Corinthians 10.31-11.1 – Glorify God preached at First Southern Baptist Church, Bellflower on 11/3/14.

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A Church without Corrective Discipline or Meaningful Membership is Like a…

security-gate

“A good illustration of this is when we were driving around in Northwest DC and there was this beautiful home on the right (I don’t know if you remember this), but the walk came down from it, and there was this nice gate, and I think it was white painted, and there may have been flowery stuff around it, whatever—there’s a nice gate, and we noticed that there was no fence on either side of the gate. There was just no fence. And I don’t remember which one of us said it, but it struck me what a picture that was of so many churches. There’s a way in, you have to fulfill some sort of membership requirements (whether its attending a class or being baptized or being confirmed or something, some way in), but once you get in there’s no distinction between the church and the world (the yard and the sidewalk), there’s just no distinction. People can live in the church in whatever way they want, regardless of how scandalous it was. So American Christianity may look healthy statistically, but I think that there are some real problems with it.” – Mark Dever

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A Response JD Greear’s Biblical Argument for Multi-site Churches

JD Greear argues that multi-site churches can be biblical. His two thoughts in response to the critique of multi-site churches are:

(1) The question—our primary point of disagreement with ‘single service only’ advocates—is whether the New Testament mandates that we must all assemble in the same place, at the same time, every week; and

(2) We continue to maintain that the essence of the local church is covenant, and assembly a necessary function of a church.

Here’s my comment response posted on his blog that has not yet been approved. If he posts a response to these questions for clarification I’ll repost it here.

Thanks for the post JD. I appreciate it and appreciate your ministry brother.

A few questions that may help clarify your position (and I don’t mean to be argumentative but to further understand your understanding of the ecclesiological issues):

1. “Assembly is an indispensable function of the church, but covenant is its essence.” So could multi-site churches that NEVER meet all together be considered “biblically sound”? I’m guessing your answer is “no” because they are not fulfilling the “necessary function” of the church. If so, then where do you draw the line in exhorting multi-site churches to obey “biblically sound” ecclesiology? Maybe once a year? Maybe once every few years? “If God” requires (necessitates) the “function” for his church to meet all together at least sometimes has he “made that abundantly clear”? Are the other multi-site practitioners just not hearing what he has made abundantly clear?

2. When one tells “the church” of an unrepentant member (Matthew 18.17), do all the members in all the campuses know? And are all the covenant members on all the campuses responsible to call this brother/sister to repentance since the brother/sister needs to “listen to the church” before being excommunicated?

3. Why does the Summit Church gather all together annually? Is it only to experience a powerful encouragement to the body and compelling testimony to the world and to meet the bare minimum frequency of “assembly” to be a faithful New Testament Church? I understand the reasons Greear gives for multi-site, but I’m not sure I understand his compelling reasons for assembling. It might be seen as primarily a hoop to jump through or box to check off that they’re keeping the New Testament and it just happens to be powerfully encouraging.

In Christ,
PJ

UPDATE: 10/24/14 response by JD

PJ, excellent questions. Let me answer questions 1 and 3 together. It seems that you are looking for a “rule” about how often to assemble (and I don’t mean to be pejorative by that), but the NT simply doesn’t give one. That’s the crux of my argument–single-service-advocates have added a rule about meeting weekly that isn’t found in the NT. It appears, and again I don’t mean to be pejorative, to be a “hedge about the law” of the NT description of churches as assemblies. They can provide no chapter and verse for that shade of the rule, and, as I’ve noted, we seem find as much biblical evidence supporting churches not assembling all together weekly as we do them assembling all together. My question is why feel the need to go farther than the Scriptures? Why not emphasize that assembly is an important function of church, and let individual churches work that out, knowing they will answer to God for how they do it?

What is clear is that churches do assemble. So, each person in a 100 person church can’t stay home each week and say they are united by covenant so therefore they don’t need to assemble (as Leeman charges would be consistent with our model). Furthermore, it seems healthy, by implication, that a church should all assemble together periodically. That’s less a rule and more an inference from the church’s nature, but I think it’s a valid one. “Once a year” is not the magic number. The point is that healthy churches assemble often, and it makes sense that from time to time the whole body comes together. If you have 6 grown kids, how often do you come together for a family reunion? I can’t give you a “rule” on that, but I can tell you that if your family never comes together for a family reunion, you likely don’t have a healthy family. That analogy will break down eventually, but hopefully you get the point that this is less about rule and more about healthy expression of church.

Your second question, about discipline, is one created for us more by being a large church than a multi-site one. Discipline in a larger church can be complicated, even bringing in legal ramifications. We believe that discipline must be public, but that me announcing each week a list of people we need to discipline the majority of people have never met is not healthy or edifying. So we make the circle of discipline as wide as that person’s relationships. Sometimes that is on the campus level; sometimes it is a circle of small groups. It is the congregation that disciplines, but elders act as congregational representatives in this.

The exception is elders. We believe, as Paul says, a more public office demands a more public rebuke.

This is an issue we continue to wrestle with, and have a lot to learn about. But, again, it is more a function of being a large church than a multi-site one.

Thanks again.

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How can I lead my church toward meaningful membership? Help from Mark Dever

How can I lead my church toward meaningful membershipMark Dever addressed this at an SEBTS 9Marks conference (30:23). So I listened to that section and used this web page to expand what I learned.

1. Proclaim the gospel. Preach about God’s holiness, man’s sinfulness, Christ’s substitutionary atonement and resurrection, and our need to repent of our sins and trust in him. And make it clear that those who are not committed to one another in love have no reason to think that they have committed to God in love (1 John 4:20-21).

2. Use a statement of faith and church covenant. Require members to affirm a statement of faith (what a church believes) and a church covenant (how members will live together). Mark Dever said in Africa in 2007 http://andynaselli.com/mark-dever-on-the-function-of-statements-of-faith:

Have and use a congregationally agreed-upon statement of faith and church      covenant.

Now I’m aware we’re from different polities at this minister’s conference, and that’s      great. If you have a denominational statement, depending on your structure you can take your denominational statement and use that. If you’re a congregational independent church, you can come up with one yourself or use one that other churches before you have used. But with membership in the congregation comes responsibility, and the statements of what the congregation together believes (and in our church we call that our statement of faith) and of how we will live (we call that our church covenant) are very useful tools. They are a clear ground of unity, a tool of teaching, [and] a fence from error and from the worldly who would erase such distinctions or [from] the divisive who want to see them more narrow. We can point to the fact that, “Well actually, this is what we’ve agreed on.”

So, for example, I’ll give you something else provocative. Our church’s statement of faith talks about the second coming of Christ, and it basically says, “He will come back; he will raise the dead; he will judge them; and they will go some to eternal felicity with God and some to eternal torment in hell.” That’s it! “But Mark, what about the rapture? What about the nation of Israel? What about the seven-year tribulation? What about the millennium?” You know, praise God, our statement of faith was written in the 1830s, so Christians hadn’t thought of all that stuff yet. They were just about to get divisive about that in the late nineteenth century, but our statement of faith is so old we only have this really clearly biblical stuff about the return of Christ. And then we can disagree—we can argue with each other—as best we see implications of these other precious truths.

So every Christian in the church should believe a lot more than what’s in your statement of faith, but what you’re trying to define in your statement of faith is “What do we need to have agreement upon in order to be a church together?” And I think we need to know that Jesus is coming back and that he told his disciples that he could be coming back at any time, so they need to be ready. Beyond that, well, you and I can argue about it. We can [dis]agree. We can read and write books.

3. Require a membership class. Help prospective members know what will be expected of them, and what they can expect from the church. Use this opportunity to teach through the statement of faith and the church covenant, the importance of membership, the history of Christianity and your own congregation, and the practical nuts and bolts of how your church works.

Thom RainerKeep the initial orientation brief. Some churches have new members’ classes that last multiple hours over multiple days. These orientations are counterproductive. They engender information overload and have little impact. If there is much information you need to share, do so over a longer period of time, but not in the initial new members’ class. The new members’ class works best if it is two to three hours in one setting.

I prefer the Capitol Hill Baptist Church’s 6 session orientation or something like it rather than a shorter 2-3 hour one time class recommended by Rainer. CHBC offers a 3 hour Friday night and 3 hour Saturday weekend to get it done and also has one session every Sunday during Sunday School hour every week all year long.

4. Require an interview with a pastor-elder. In the interview ask the individual to share the gospel and provide an account of their conversion and their discipleship since then. Have they seen change in their lives? Get their feedback on the church and programs and tell them their basic responsibilities (attend Sunday gatherings, Lord’s Supper, Members’ Meetings; get to know others and be known; pray for others, give).
Require this conversation before you recommend them to the congregation but after the membership classes. This is what Baptists have done historically before other members, pastors, or even the whole congregation.

5. Stop baptizing and admitting children into formal membership. A young child can certainly become a Christian. But a church can’t necessarily discern whether or not a child has become a Christian. Children should be given the opportunity to mature and have occasion to resist the pull of the world. So don’t create confusion by baptizing those whose professions of faith the church cannot reliably assess.

6. Require congregational approval of new members. Admission into and exclusion from church membership is an act of the congregation (this is an implication of 2 Cor. 2:6). So lead your church to explicitly affirm every member the church receives in and sees off.

7. Regularly publish an accurate membership directory. Encourage the members to use this as a prayer list. Name, picture, physical address, email, phone number, Facebook, twitter. Have them pray for members and they will eventually get to know many of them.

8. Give active pastoral oversight to members. Try to make sure that every member is in regular conversation with an elder or a mature Christian in the congregation. Take initiative in getting to know what’s going on in the members’ lives.

9. Cultivate a culture of discipleship. Encourage younger Christians to become disciples of older, more mature Christians. Encourage more mature Christians to take less mature Christians under their wing. Encourage every member of the church to be in multiple spiritually beneficial relationships.

10. Limit certain activities and areas of service to members. Churches should consider the possibility of restricting its business meetings, public service, and small groups (except for evangelistic ones) to members only.

11. Revive the practice of corrective discipline. Only after you have established a culture of meaningful membership, begin to lead your congregation to excommunicate those who persist in serious unrepentant sin.

12. Recover something of the grandness of God’s plan Pray for other congregations by name in your Sunday morning gatherings. Don’t just be about your local church but for every gospel church everywhere. Remind them of the story that is much greater than our local church. Remind them of the pastor’s serious accountability that they’ll have to answer to God. Remind the church that they affirm the salvation of each member.

What single bit of counsel has made the most significant difference in your leadership?

John Brown in a letter of paternal counsels to one of his pupils newly ordained over a small congregation:

“I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.”
(This material (1-11) has been adapted from Mark Dever’s chapter “Regaining Meaningful Church Membership” in Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches, ed. Thomas White, Jason B. Duesing, and Malcomb B. Yarnell, III, pages 57-60)

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