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Archive for the ‘faithfulness’ Category

Coming Home

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The story is told of a missionary couple returning home after fifty years on a foreign field. They had faithfully served the Lord, raised their children, and made disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, but now it was time to return from the field.

As they disembarked from the ocean liner after their journey across the ocean, they noticed thousands upon thousands of people waiting at the dock. It turned out that a well-known celebrity had made the trip with them, and was greeted by throngs of adoring fans.

The missionary husband saw the welcome the celebrity received and said to his wife, “It’d sure be nice if we got that kind of reception when we got home.” Aware of the disappointment in his voice, his wife said, “Honey, we’re not home yet.”

No, they weren’t home yet. Neither are we. They, like we as believers in Jesus Christ, will be home when we hear the Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Jesus told His disciples, “Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:3).

Home is to be in the presence of the Triune God forever, and the reception will be out of this world!

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on Philippians 1:6. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: God always finishes what He starts – we can be absolutely convinced of it!

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One of the most precious, and possibly memorized, passages in all of Scripture is Proverbs 3:5-6 – “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths.”

The positive command is to trust God, and that with all of our mind, affections, will, and our bodies. In other words, we trust God with everything we are, our whole being. This is the main point of these two verses.

The other side of the coin – the negative command – is not to trust ourselves. The point is that we can either trust (lean on) ourselves or we can trust (lean on) God. In our sinfulness and fallenness, we don’t have all the facts and we don’t know what we don’t know.

The commands of verse 5 are followed by the promise of verse 6. If we acknowledge God as we trust Him, He promises to direct our paths. He’ll give us wisdom if we trust Him rather than ourselves.

In His Word, God gives us a number of negative examples, like Abram. Genesis 12:10-20 records Abram (before God changed his name to Abraham) going to Egypt with his wife Sarai to escape a famine. To keep themselves safe, they came up with a scheme: they’d tell everyone they were brother and sister, not husband and wife. They leaned on their own understanding, didn’t trust God, and didn’t acknowledge Him (until the end). They thought their plan was better. It clearly wasn’t. Abram and Sarai sinned in their lying and deception. Yes, God used it in His providence, but they sinned by not trusting God with their circumstances.

God’s promise remains firm and reliable – He will direct our paths and give us wisdom in any and every situation we face. God’s command remains firm and reliable, too – Trust Him with all your heart, not yourself, and acknowledge Him. We need to look no further than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who exemplified Proverbs 3:5-6, for ourselves and for the church. We trust God for His glory and our good!

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Popular author Jen Hatmaker is, and has been, on a trajectory toward unbelief and apostasy for some time. Her interview with Religion News Service has brought it out into the open for everyone to see. You can read it here. I’m not judging what’s in her heart, but in her statements and beliefs, she’s left orthodox, biblical Christianity.

Denny Burk has a well-thought out response here.

As a result, Lifeway announced that Hatmaker’s publications can be no longer be purchased in their stores or online. Baptist Press has the story here. Lifeway published several of Hatmaker’s books and resources.

The trajectory of unbelief is not hard to spot in most cases. It usually begins with a rejection (either a “soft” rejection or a “hard” rejection) of the authority of God’s Word, the Bible. After that, doctrines clearly taught in Scripture and held by the church for two millennia begin  to fall like so many dominoes. When emotions and feelings (which characterize our times) are added to the recipe, the movement of the trajectory goes to warp speed.

Pray for Jen. Pray for yourself and your church and the church in general. May our trajectory be one of faithfulness and belief.

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I had the privilege this morning of preaching on John 17:20-26. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: The Lord Jesus prays for unity, presence with Him in heaven, and faithfulness to His mission for His church.

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This morning I had the privilege of preaching on John 16:25-33. Here is a summary of my sermon in the space of one sentence: The Lord Jesus Christ gives us everything we need be faithful to Him in a hostile world – the Holy Spirit, the Word of God, access to God in prayer, and assurance that the battle has already been won.

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I had the privilege of preaching on John 16:1-4 this morning. Here is a summary of my sermon in one sentence: Jesus warns His disciples that they will be persecuted in order to prevent apostasy, instill courage, give explanation, and to remind us of His faithfulness and truth.

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