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What Should The Church Do With Luke 22?

February 27, 2013
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Luke 22:36 is a phrase that’s most often ignored by Churches in general, and pastors in particular. Could it be that most faithful believers know not what to do with this verse, or are they afraid of the connotations that could be drawn from it? One may never know the real answer. Here’s the verse – “Then He said to them, “But now, whoever has a money-bag should take it, and also a traveling bag. And whoever doesn’t have a sword should sell his robe and buy one.”

I can hear someone saying, “well what about turning the other cheek?” Or I hear some reciting the famous Fred Hammond song as some sort of defensive shield that surrounds them after uttering “no weapon formed against me shall prosper.” But if someone’s in front of you with a weapon waiting to bludgeon you, “it won’t work” is probably what they’re thinking after hearing your utterance.

First, let’s set the context. Luke 22 tells of Judas’ plot against Jesus, the instituting of the Lord’s Supper, and Jesus telling Peter about his denying Him three times. So Jesus is speaking to the 11 disciples present since Judas has already left to go get his 30 pieces of silver for the betrayal. It’s safe to say that Judas just become a silver-naire. Jesus knew a mutiny was headed his way for the sole purpose of Scripture being fulfilled.

Second, let’s understand the words. The word ‘sword’ is used and many have wondered if Jesus is only saying to his disciples that they need swords. Let’s entertain that for a minute, because if that’s what Jesus is saying, ultimately He’s telling them to go arm themselves in order to defend themselves. He goes so far to say if they don’t have a weapon for self-defense, go sell something in order to attain it. Now why isn’t that ever preached on Sundays? Others have said that Jesus gave the OK for guns, knives, or anything else to defend themselves. Let’s entertain that for a minute – so what if He did? What if Jesus advocated the proto-2nd Amendment right to bear arms there at the table? Then we, the Church, shouldn’t be bashful nor ashamed about buying weapons. Nor should we take the high (nose up in the air) road about not owning a weapon but simply trusting in Jesus for our safety.

What would be a great thing is that we savor this verse along with the rest of this chapter and understand that Jesus called his disciples to protect themselves, and that extends to the rest of God’s people, aka us. We should be very leery of only reading one well-known passage or taking such a dogmatic position on something without having read the other inspired and authoritative parts of Jesus’ words.  Let us push to be faithful in this area as well.


Coming Out

February 27, 2013
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“I’m coming out….I want the world to know….got to let it show.” The phrase ‘coming out’ now has a different connotation in America. It’s now something that should be heard wherever and by all people in a respectful manner. I’ve seen news outlets cover several forms of people ‘coming out’ because it is deemed newsworthy and important for our society. I have also seen pastors and confessing Christians ‘outed’ and even ousted from speaking platforms for ‘coming out’ against those who identify with the homosexual group. Something’s wrong here….

If I come out and tell people at a high school pep rally or Grammy’s that I’m gay, and it’s recorded, the video ticker will get tired very quickly and someone’s going to locate it and give me free publicity while defending my every right to speak up knowing how hard it obviously had to be for me. BUT if I come out at those venues letting people know that I’m a Bible-believing Christian, and it’s recorded, slander and even anger both come my way and can stem from my speaking up regardless of how hard it obviously was for me. No news outlet is defending my right. That recording isn’t being shown on morning, afternoon, and late night news channels.

When will the people of God stop being afraid to ‘come out’ before a watching world? Will we wait for the times when it’s safe and acceptable? Will we wait for the times when our society loves Jesus and cheers on those who follow him? What exactly are we waiting for? If we’re waiting on either of those two scenarios to happen, we may as well hold our breath at the same time and see what happens. And I can assure you that death will come first, hands down.

I encourage all believers who have yet to stand up and say it loud, I’m a Christian and I’m proud! Stop letting the evils and sewage spewed from the mouth of society deter us from being as bold as those coming out the closet, or those riding around the city streets on their bikes wearing suits. We’ve got to let the Sword of the Spirit be our defensive weapon AND our offensive weapon/foundation. Even though the Bible is the most published book in the world, that doesn’t mean that folks are reading it! Let’s give them reasons to start


Black History and Abortion

February 25, 2013
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Every year in February, the USA celebrates Black History Month. Daily facts are posted to educate the masses of Americans that are unapologetically ignorant of Black history. Town hall meetings and roundtables are had to discuss the plight of Black people, who are called African-American even during Black history month, in America. Ideas are brought forth to put an end to things that fatally harm Black communities around the US, like obesity, unhealthy eating, lack of doctor visits, and gang violence. On the flip side, education and the UNCF (United Negro College Fund) are bolstered to the public via media with a greater emphasis on college grants given to the “urban” potential students. CNN even has a show titled “Who’s Black in America” as if there are certain criteria one must meet in order to qualify for said status.

One thing that I almost never hear about is the astronomical rate of abortions attributed to a people group that make up 11-12% of the US population. In addition to the assumed thinking of Blacks, African-American studies programs, and urban advocates, Black people are deemed very religious and faithful churchgoers, to which I offer a hearty ‘I doubt that very much.’

Just one day, I’d like to hear about the day when abortion became history during Black History Month


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Sola Scriptura & Worship

February 19, 2013
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A powerful Latin phrase like Sola Scriptura is a permeating phrase. It’s more than just a definition of scripture alone. It’s more than just a pillar and creed of a local church. Some churches even decree to return to a sola scriptura stance within the Church as it relates to their position on the validity of Scripture.

But I wonder if local churches go far enough. Do we see all of Christian life and the life of the local church stemming from sola scriptura? bible

The Westminster Confession of Faith defines sola scriptura this way: All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Sola Scriptura doesn’t overlook church tradition nor the history of the church. It simply serves as the final arbiter of truth to where Scripture interprets Scripture in every area of the Christian’s life. This is far-reaching than we may be willing to admit. The language “matters of faith and practice” is often used to describe the implications of this powerful phrase. This means the way believers worship corporately and individually tie into and stem from sola scriptura.

Scripture dictates how we worship and determines how we read the Bible. If we as Evangelicals and Protestants are to hold to Sola Scriptura, we need to be thorough in our holding of this doctrine. So the Bible tells us how we are to worship; how we are to understand the Godhead; how we are to treat our marriage and kids; how we are to treat the body of Christ; how we are to look forward to Christ returning. Sola Scriptura means we are to take our primary and final cues from Scripture. Let’s formulate our worship practices based upon the Scripture.


Could You Be A Hyper-Calvinist?

February 12, 2013
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For far too many years the church climate has been infatuated with labels and reputation. Individually, the scenery is worst. Most like to speak on what they are while others shout what they aren’t, and the remainders simply tout their apathy like a proud boy/girl scout at an awards banquet. The hottest ongoing discussion in churches revolve around theology and caring for the poor. The poor is a big issue because our governments don’t seem to care much; theology is a big issue because what you believe about the best way to aid the poor as a Christian stems from your understanding of the Bible that is no doubt mixed with subjective feelings.

So where does hyper-calvinism come into play with this discussion? I’m glad you asked.

If you think your theology leads you to care for the poor any way you can, because you think they need to see the love of Christ more than any other group, yet you refrain from and often never get around to sharing the gospel with them, you could be a hyper-calvinist! Here’s the flip side of this coin – if your theology leads you to the same endpoint with other lost groups in and around your residence, then you too could be a hyper-calvinist. Thinking God should find another means to saving some people is where the guilt lies.

But what is hyper-calvinism? It’s a belief that God will save his people his own way on his own time, and doesn’t really need your help. Now immediately I can sense many becoming defensive saying ‘no, not me, that’s not how I am.’ But I wonder how naive we all can be about this. If we find groups of people that we could care less to see saved, I’d argue that’s the heart and intent of hyper-calvinism. We think things like ‘if God wants to save them, then He’ll have to do it without me.’ Often our focus settles on if a person ever evangelizes…and I’m not 100% sure about this, but I do think that’s the wrong place to focus upon. I do think hyper-calvinist have evangelized people before; it’s just that their mantra is they don’t have to because God will save his people. But I’ve been in churches that are boldly Calvinistic and boldly non-Calvinistic that are just as guilty as the hyper-Calvinists in regards to evangelism.

This is not an indictment. This is an inquiry. Are we guilty of having the heart motive of hyper-calvinism in thinking that we won’t and don’t want to evangelize a group of people…we’d rather sit that one out and let God find another means to accomplish it.


Ordinances Optional?

February 11, 2013
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As a Southern Baptist believer, I have a belief that the ordinances (or sacraments) of the church follow in sequence. I’d like to think that other Southern Baptist churches and Protestant churches would agree, but I’ve been wrong before. I have a deep love for the church, but not in some vaguely expressed manner. I sincerely want the church to follow what the Bible instructs, nothing more.

So what does it say about the churches and the ordinances? It’s simple: be about baptizing new converts and observe the Lord’s supper. My SBC brethren are heavy  about baptism, but not so much the supper. I don’t say that to critique us; I simply mean that in the sense that statistics are not kept showing how many times the church practices the supper, while they keep track of the number of baptisms. We need to place importance on both ordinances.

We are commanded to baptize. It’s right there in the Great Commission. As many times as I’ve heard church after church proclaim this commission, I’ve also heard them get ‘cold feet’ when holding born-again believers to the standard set forth in Scripture. Now that bothers me! I mean it gets beneath my melanin! How can a church champion the clear call of obeying Jesus by making disciples, baptizing and teaching them the Word, and yet be so wavering on whether converts must be baptized before joining the church? Let alone allowing them to serve in various capacities amongst the body they’ve yet to identify with through the first ordinance, baptism.

The other thing that boggles my mind is how churches allow unbaptized members to partake of the Lord’s supper. So allowing members to hold off on obeying one ordinance yet allowing them to observe the other is okay? May it never be is what Paul would say to that. Christians cannot postpone the main ordinance, that follows after being made a disciple per Jesus, that identifies them with the local body of which they wish to join, while desiring and being allowed to observe the second ordinance that’s designed for the covenant local body to obey. Neither can churches. We must resolve to be more faithful.

Nowhere in the pages of the New Testament do we find new converts who haven’t been baptized, outside of Acts 19. It’s rightly assumed as it’s commanded that they be baptized. It’s such a norm in the church that we find instances of people asking to be baptized at the first sight of water! We must not gloss over that in our daily reading and family worship time. Baptism is so symbolically important that the entire chapter of Romans 6 is about how baptism is tied to the glorious gifts of salvation. It’s not optional.

Nor is observing the Lord’s supper. Now I must admit that most of my SBC brethren only observe it a few times out of the year, which I find as absolute weak sauce with all due respect. It’s not about the ordinance, it’s about the person. And if we cannot find good reasons to celebrate what our God and Savior did for us in a corporate manner more than 4-12 times a year, then that’s some kind of commentary on our desire and love for him.

Do you see the connection between both ordinances? All baptized believers are part of the covenant local body that meets to observe the supper. Those who choose not to identify with Christ and his people via baptism shall not be received into his covenant body, nor do they desire to observe what Christ did for them. Why? We can’t determine how Jesus allows us into his body – he’s already done that. His commands were to get baptized and observe the supper. Falter on one, and the other falls out of importance.

So we’re left with the authority of the Bible as local churches consent to be faithful. What Jesus commanded his bride to do also goes for the many members of that one body. His ordinances are not optional! What he commanded can never be optional. The church needs to be concrete on the matters which the Bible is consistently concrete on. Let’s not waver, brethren.

 


Christian Zombies

February 3, 2013
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I’m sure this sounds like a joke, but I assure you it’s not. Have you seen them? Are you able to spot them? Are you one of them?

A Christian zombie is someone who believes in Jesus but walks around looking like they’re dead.

So a born-again believer who is a new creature walks around the lost, spiritually dead people looking just like them.

These people need to repent and remember who they are in Christ.