Conference Announcement

I am excited to announce the G3 Conference for January of 2013!  This conference is for pastors, evangelists, missionaries, and laypersons within the church.  It is our desire to see God and His gospel presented through sound doctrine that will ignite a blaze for His eternal glory to the ends of the earth.  Make your plans to join us for this exciting conference that will be held in the metro Atlanta area – January 2013.

The specific details of the conference along with the registration details will be provided soon.  Please go ahead and mark your calendar for the 2013 G3 Conference!  You will not want to miss it.

More details are to come!  Stay tuned.

Pastor Josh Buice

Special Announcement

Special Announcement:  The first 500 registrants only will be entered into the iPad2 (3?) drawing on Saturday morning during our conference.  Yes, you must be present to win.  Therefore, if you are planning to attend this great conference, we encourage you to register early for two reasons:

1.  Registration is limited to 1,000 and when it fills, registration will close without warning.

2.  The first 500 registrants will be entered in the iPad2 (3?) drawing for Saturday morning.

Most people don’t register for conferences 11 months out, but we encourage you to register early and spread the word to your contacts about this opportunity before it fills up.

The G3 Conference Promo Video:  http://vimeo.com/36365729

The G3 Conference on Twitter:  @G3Conference.com (https://twitter.com/#!/g3conference)

Remember, this conference is designed to encourage and serve the local church and the leaders in those churches.  We hope you will plan to attend the G3 Conference as we consider the message and the mission of God’s gospel!

Blessings in Christ,

Pastor Josh Buice

Paul Washer on Prayer

One of the greatest problems for the Christian is their lack of prayer.  In all of the planning, preaching, and planting of churches, the one thing that is often lacking is prayer.  How can we lead effectively without prayer?  How can we preach with the anointing of the Holy Spirit without prayer?  How can we plant churches in accordance with God’s will without prayer?  How can we grow in our spiritual lives without prayer?

J.C. Ryle, in his commentary on Matthew 9, writes,

“Personal working for souls is good. Giving money is good. But praying is best of all. By prayer we reach Him without whom work and money are alike in vain. We obtain the aid of the Holy Spirit. Money can hire workers. Universities can give learning. Congregations may elect. Bishops may ordain. But the Holy Spirit alone can make ministers of the Gospel, and raise up lay workmen in the spiritual harvest, who need not be ashamed. Never, never may we forget that if we would do good to the world, our first duty is to pray!”

Charles Spurgeon, in his autobiography, writes,

Methinks every true Christian should be exceedingly earnest in prayer concerning the souls of the ungodly; and when they are so, how abundantly God blesses them and how the church prospers (Autobiography, 1:329)!

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in What is an Evangelical? writes,

This element of prayer is essential to the evangelical; it is his life; it is vital to him (58).

Paul Washer will be preaching the final message of our G3 Conference in January.  Today we are announcing that in the final message of the 2013 G3 Conference, Paul Washer will preach on the subject of prayer and the importance of prayer for Christian ministry and mission!

Make your plans to join us in January!  Click here to register (remember this event is limited to 1,000).

Pastor Josh Buice
G3 Conference
www.G3Conference.com
Twitter – @G3Conference

 

God’s Sovereignty Over Global Missions

During the month of May, we held an essay contest on the subject of “God’s Sovereign Purpose in Global Missions.”  Today, we are happy to announce that Aaron Kiefer of Louisville, KY has won the 1st G3 Conference pass for January.  Below you will find his essay as he submitted it.  We hope you enjoy his essay and remember to spread the word and register early for the G3 Conference (January of 2013 and limited to 1,000).

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Essay by Aaron Kiefer

Luke 19:40 proclaims: But he answered and said to them ‘I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.’”

Johnathan Edward’s shows us that the end for which God created the world is that God would be glorified. God created the universe for himself and from himself so that he would be glorified. It is through this magnificent perspective of God that his saints are charged to preach the gospel to further God’s  glory. Thus, we can draw three main conclusions from our pursuit of gospel missions: primarily, it is God’s sovereign work that fuels our missions. Secondarily, it is a command from Christ.  Finally, God’s creation demands that we preach.

Throughout the Bible we see God’s sovereign hand working out events for his glory. In the Old Testament the Psalms display God guiding his sheep through joy and suffering. In the New Testament all the way to the Cross we see him guide his Son to die for the sins of his people. God sovereignly uses this same power displayed throughout the Bible to save sinners through divine preaching of his holy, inspired, and infallible Word. God accomplishes this through sovereignly bringing his people to himself. The gospel of John makes this clear: “All that the Father gives me will come to me” (6:37). Our mission is fueled by an unrelenting trust in God’s sovereignty to bring his people to repentance and to keep his people until the day of resurrection.

It is also a command from Christ. Matthew 28:19 states “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” If God’s Word and our salvation wasn’t enough to make us cry out to the world that hope changes everything, our Lord Jesus commands us to go out into the entire world to preach the glorious gospel of grace to all. Christ laid down his life for these words to be fulfilled; we should expect nothing less than to follow him with joy.

Finally, God’s creation demands that we preach. Paul explains in his letter to the Roman’s that all creation groans for transformation from the curse (8:19-22). Jesus also describes the rocks crying out if his disciples were to remain silent over this universe changing teaching. If we were to stay silent, God’s creation would swallow us up in death through the curse that is already engulfing us. Creation is demanding that it be restored through the preaching of the Gospel. Thankfully, these passages are to be fulfilled in the new heavens and the new earth – the great climax of God’s glory foretold in the Scriptures.

All of this is to be accomplished through missions. God’s saints are empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to preach the transforming power of the gospel with the realization of God’s sovereignty, Christ’s command, and creation’s demand for hope.

 

Limited Seats Remain – G3 Conference

The leaves are already turning color in the Atlanta area and January will be here in a snap!  We are all getting very excited about the G3 Conference and what the Lord has in store for us during our time together.  As we look at the calendar, we want everyone to know the registration schedule so that if you’re planning on registering or encouraging someone else to register, you should be aware of two important realities:

1.  Fee Schedule

The early bird registration is long gone and the final day to register at the $139 rate is November 5th.  Below is the schedule of when the rates will be raised, so it’s important for you (or your friends) to register now!

  • Early Bird Registration = $120 (open until August 31st)
  • OPEN: Registration = $139 (September 1st – November 5th)
  • Registration = $159 (November 6th – 30th)
  • Late Registration $220 (December)
  • Last Chance Registration $300 (January 1st – 23rd)

2.  Limited Seating

We currently have less than 400 seats remaining.  With registration picking up due to the increasing rates listed above, the seats will fill up soon.  It’s essential to register now to secure your seat, because registration will close immediately when the final seat is sold.

To register now and secure your seat – click the red registration button on the top right of your screen to begin the process!

Spread the word now and we look forward to worshipping with you in January!

The G3 Team

 

Salvation by Grace

Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus these words, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 – ESV).  A proper understanding of God’s marvelous grace is needed in our Christian lives and in the message preached from the pulpits of our churches.  Below you will see one of the videos that will be played during the G3 Conference.

 

G3 Conference – Salvation by Grace from Josh Buice on Vimeo.

2014 Theme Announcement

Today we kickoff the G3 2013 and we are praying for the Lord to accomplish His mighty works in our lives this weekend.  We encourage you to view the free simulcast (live feed) during the G3 Conference this weekend.

As conference attendees arrive on campus this afternoon after 3pm to pickup their packets and confirm registration, they will receive a card with the 2014 G3 Conference theme announcement.  The theme will be “The Church – From a Biblical Perspective.”  During next year’s G3 – the focus will be on different issues related to the church such as the Founder, preaching, mission, discipline, and membership.  We would like for you to join us January 23-25 of 2014.

Speakers will include:

  • Conrad Mbewe
  • Steve Lawson
  • & more to be announced soon.

LIMITED TIME DISCOUNT:  Until January 31st of this month you can register for the 2014 G3 online for $79.  If you enter “G313” in the discount code box on the shopping cart, you will receive the discount.

We hope to see you next January!

For the glory of King Jesus!

Pastor Josh Buice

For The Church – For God’s Glory

What greater purpose could we spend and devote our lives to other than God’s glory?  How can we best accomplish this task?  God has ordained that His children spend their lives for His glory through a local church.  A.W. Tozer said, “The highest expression of the will of God in this age is the church which He purchased with His own blood.”  Therefore, the church matters.  It mattered in days of the Apostles and it matters in our present day.  As we think about the church, what comes to your mind?  White steeples?  Brick buildings?  How about that little rhyme you learned in VBS as a child – “Here’s the church, here’s the steeple, open it up and see all of the people.” Don Whitney once said, “When you join a church you make it clear whose side you’re on. You’re telling the family of God that you’re part of the family too, and that you don’t want to be considered on the “outside” (1 Corinthians 5:12-13) any longer.”

As we think about the church, we must focus on several key things:

  • People
  • Preaching
  • Theology
  • Evangelism
  • Discipline
  • Discipleship
  • Polity
  • Gifts

It goes without saying – the health of a church is of massive importance for the community that it dwells in.  The pastors should strive for faithful obedience, spiritual health, evangelistic passion, multiplication of disciples, theological purity, and a government structure that is rooted in the Scripture.  The members of the church should be just as passionate about those same things.

John Flavel once said, “O be not too quick to bury the Church before she is dead.”  Let us labor for God’s glory and ensure that the church is healthy and vibrant in our present evil age.  May God be pleased to call out sinners from darkness to light through the faithful preaching of the gospel in our communities.

Join us in January 2014 as we examine the theme: “The Church: From a Biblical Perspective.”  We pray that God will challenge us, mold us, and revive us as we focus on the subject of the church for an entire weekend.  Will you commit to joining us?  Send this to your friends and secure your seat by registering today.  Remember, just like last year, we are limited to 1,000 seats.  They will fill up quickly.

2014 Theme Information

Speaker List

Registration

Lodging

I look forward to seeing you in January!

Pastor Josh Buice
G3 Conference

2014 G3 Conference

The 2014 G3 Conference is right around the corner and we want you to join us!  Reserve your seat today while seats remain.

Dates:  January 23-25

Theme:  The Doctrine of the Church

Goals:  To learn about the church from the pages of Scripture as opposed to the latest church growth techniques.  The tragedy is that many churches are closing their doors each year, and the answer to that tragedy is not found in a church growth technique.  The answer is found in God’s Word.

Hear two commercials we have circulating on the radio around the US.  Feel free to use these on your own blog or website.  

Behold Your God

One of the greatest needs that people in the church struggle through is their knowledge of God.  Many people spend tireless hours walking through Christian book stores in search of the best book that will lead them to the formula of knowing God.  It was A.W. Tozer who once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”  If he was correct in his assessment, the desire to know God is a worthy pursuit, but where must one begin in this monumental task?

As we consider the pursuit of knowing God, it would be best to start with His attributes.  How can a Christian claim to know God when they know very little about His character?  For instance, I know many athletes because I watch them play football on the television.  However, just because I watch them run or throw a football does not mean that I truly know them.  I may know their name or I may have some knowledge about how they play the game, but on an intimate or personal level I really don’t know them at all.  Isn’t that often how we approach God.  We know His name and some of His actions by hearing the weekly preaching in our church gatherings, but the real question is – do we know God?  Have we been guilty of manufacturing a god that is suitable to us?  For instance, our secular society is perfectly fine with the little baby Jesus on the Christmas cards and in the shopping malls, but they have little idea of who this Jesus really is, what He said, and the claims that he made publicly.  Have we become guilty of that same attitude toward God?

It is my privilege to point you to a great tool in your desire to know God.  A study titled, Behold Your God is a 12-week study on the attributes of God.  The study has a set of DVD lectures, biographies, and commentaries from men such as Paul Washer, Conrad Mbewe, and Richard Owen Roberts.  The study is compiled and led by Dr. John Snyder who is the founding pastor of Christ Church in New Albany, Mississippi.  The study consists of the DVD material for viewing designed for use in conjunction with a workbook for each student.  The workbook is broken into 12-weeks and focuses on one attribute per week.  This approach allows the study to remain organized, focused, and leaves the student with a profound sense of who God is along with His divine attributes.  The workbook is also laced with great quotes from theologians and preachers from modern and historical church history.  While I point out the contribution of these voices of church history, I want to emphasize the use of Scripture as the guide to knowing God.  This study doesn’t seek to study God apart from His Word.  On the contrary, this is a Bible study that seeks to unpack the divine nature and character of God from His special revelation of sacred Scripture.  It is not enough to know about God!  We must seek to know God.  

If you have a small group, Sunday school, women’s or men’s ministry in your church – this study would be a great resource to consider.

Currently – Behold Your God is being offered at a discounted rate (December 3-31).  You can purchase it here.

Additionally, If you are planning to join us for the 2014 G3 Conference in January, Behold Your God will be on campus as one of our conference partners.  You can speak to one of their representatives and place orders during the conference.

J.C. Ryle stated, “Beware of manufacturing a God of your own; a God who is all mercy, but not just…Such a God is an idol of your own.”

 Dr. Josh Buice
G3 Conference
www.G3Conference.com

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G3 2014 Song List

Devon Kauflin along with a group of other musicians provided great leadership as we worshipped God through song during the 2014 G3 Conference.  You can view the detailed song list below in the exact location it was used during the conference.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Thursday, January 23

  1. In Christ Alone
  2. O Church Arise
  3. Behold Our God

   #1 – Josh Buice: The Church is God’s Will for Your Life – Ephesians 4

  1. O Great God
  2. Grace and Peace
  3. Jesus Paid it All (chorus only)

   #2 – Tim Challies: The Radically Normal Life of the Christian – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12

  1. Be Thou My Vision
  2. Jesus Paid it All
  3. Come Thou Fount
  4. Shine Into Our Night
  5. I Will Glory in My Redeemer

   #3 – Conrad Mbewe: The Worshipping Church – John 4:21-24

  1. All Creatures of Our God and King
  2. O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  3. Not in Me
  4. There is a Fountain

   #4 – Steve Lawson: The Church – Chosen and Called by God – Romans 8:29-30

  1. All I Have is Christ
  2. Amazing Grace (verse 1 only)

Friday, January 24

  1. Holy, Holy, Holy
  2. Our Only Hope is You
  3. Jesus, Thank You

   #5 – David Miller: The Founding and Founder of the Church – Matthew 16:13-18

  1. In Christ Alone
  2. My Hope is Built on Nothing Less
  3. Grace and Peace
  4. All I Have is Christ

   #6 – Steve Lawson: The Church’s Call to Biblical Preaching – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

  1. Be Thou My Vision
  2. A Mighty Fortress is Our God
  3. Now Why This Fear

   #7 – John Snyder: Beginning Our Ecclesiology with the Self-Revealed Character of God (selected texts)

  1. Behold Our God
  2. All Creatures of Our God and King
  3. Before the Throne of God Above

   #8 – Conrad Mbewe: Making Disciples vs. Baptizing Goats – The Mission of the Church – Acts 16:11-15

  1. O Great God
  2. Now Why This Fear
  3. There is a Fountain

   #9 – Voddie Baucham: The Modern Church’s Sissified Jesus – A Need for Proper Christology in Our Ecclesiology – Revelation 1:4-6

  1. Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
  2. How Deep the Father’s Love

Saturday, January 25

  1. Come Behold the Wondrous Mystery
  2. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
  3. Jesus, Thank You

   #10 – David Miller: The Excellency of Christ – Hebrews 1

  1. In Christ Alone
  2. Not in Me
  3. All I Have is Christ

   #11 – Voddie Baucham: Faithful Men Disciple and Send Faithful Men – 2 Timothy 2

  1. Behold Our God
  2. All Creatures of Our God and King
  3. There is a Fountain

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For more information on Sovereign Grace Music – visit their website here.

2015 G3 Conference Review

Faces

The whole purpose for our conference this year was based upon the theme – “The Bible is the Word of God.”  It’s no surprise that we live in a world where they kill people who follow Jesus and scorn the Scriptures that reveal the beauty of God’s image (1 John 3:13).  That was promised by Jesus when He said, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” (John 15:18).  John Wycliffe was hated for his translation of the Bible into English.  The world despised William Tyndale and he was burned at the stake for his work to get the Bible into the English language. John Rogers was the first martyr under bloody Mary for his commitment to get the Bible into the common man’s language.  He was burned at the stake.  He literally saw his youngest child for the first time as he was being led to the stake to die.  This bloody attack upon the Word of God points to the reality that Satan has a agenda to silence the Bible.  It has been our goal to focus on the Bible as God’s Word for an entire conference.

Each speaker sought to encourage us with the total inerrancy and full sufficiency of God’s Word.  In my opening sermon, I had a goal to bring us to the point of seeing that we can trust our churches, families, and ultimately our souls to the pure gospel of God’s Word.  We don’t worship the Bible, but we respect it as the authoritative Word of God.  The Bible is trustworthy and from 1 Corinthians 1:18-25, I wanted to remind the conference attendees that the world will always view the Bible and its message as utter folly.  The word used there by Paul in 1 Corinthians 1:18 is “?????” which means foolishness.  It’s from this word that we derive our English word – moron.  The sophisticated urbane population of Corinth with their philosophies and a multiplicity of gods viewed the message of the cross as moronic and the preacher himself as a moron!

We need this reminder as we stand in our present day sophisticated urbane and educated population in America.  To preach the message of the cross is foolishness to the world.  To stand against abortion and lift high the inerrant Word as your source of truth is considered folly.  To lift up a crucified and resurrected Savior to a lost world is crazy talk.  We need this reminder and we must warn our children.  The world will only grow more hostile toward the message of the cross as we press onward.  There is no time for slackness in our commitment upon God’s Word.

What you will see below are some helpful reminders from each of the speakers.  For the full sermons, you can visit the 2015 archives.

Tim Challies

Read Scripture because: it saves, it makes wise, it makes joyful, it gives clarity, it purifies, it is true. Ps.19 ~ Tim Challies

James White

You want direct revelation from God? Then read the Bible! ~ James White

The skeptics have not died and risen again. That gives Jesus a DISTINCT advantage. ~ James White

Richard Owen Roberts

What most Evangelicals today think is faith is exactly what the Devil has. ~ Richard Owen Roberts

It is not enough to make a statement of faith, but rather one must provide credible evidence of regeneration. ~ Richard Owen Roberts

Being a theological master does not make you a Christian. ~ Richard Owen Roberts

Voddie Baucham

The other knight says, “I don’t believe in your sword.”  Well… either he starts believing or you just… Win… ~ Voddie Baucham

Preaching the gospel without talking about sin is like making an omelette without cracking any eggs. ~ Voddie Baucham

The only way to have your “best life now” is if you’re going to hell when you die… ~ Voddie Baucham

Paul Washer

The sovereignty of God tells me that the dead can live! Ezekiel 37 ~ Paul Washer

We need men who carry a burden that would break them if it were not for the Spirit of God strengthening them. ~ Paul Washer

We can’t have a unified message in regards to pro life when we don’t have a unified message on the gospel. ~ Paul Washer

Oh that the evangelical church would throw away their toys of ministry and go out in the strength of the Lord. ~ Paul Washer

We will never accomplish the Great Commission online…the Great Commission is to be incarnational…flesh and blood. ~ Paul Washer

H. B. Charles Jr.

The greatest need of the church is faithful preaching of the Word of God. ~ H. B. Charles Jr.

You cannot be fruitful in ministry if you are preoccupied with the temporary. ~ H. B. Charles Jr.

There is no place for clowns in the pulpit of Jesus Christ. ~ H. B. Charles Jr.

False teachers wouldn’t have a platform if it were not for the itching ears of the church. ~ H. B. Charles Jr.

Steven Lawson

Any departure from Scripture is a departure from God Himself. ~ Steven Lawson

We do not sit in judgment of the Word; the Word sits in judgement of us. ~ Steven Lawson

Satan, the liar: tells Eve God is not good to her: tells God He’s too good to Job. Liar! ~ Steven Lawson

Want a contemporary ministry? Preach the Bible. ~ Steven Lawson

David Miller

God almighty can superintend man’s penmanship until fallible errant man has written down the infallible and inerrant Word of God. ~ David Miller

Breakout Sessions

Anthony Mathenia – “The average church has been ahead of the culture in one area: laying aside the Word of God.”

Chris King – “Do you wish you could have been taught by the same people who taught Spurgeon & Lloyd-Jones? You can. Read the Puritan works.

Chip Thornton – “Beware of people in the church who claim to hear God speaking to them and value that above the written Word of God.”

Resources:

Chris King’s lecture handout on the Puritans can be downloaded here.

Tim Challies’ productivity worksheet can be downloaded here.

May God continue to encourage us to be men and women of the Book – the Bible!  As we live in this God forsaken culture, may we refuse to compromise no matter how bitter the consequences, how painful the rejection, and how lonely our pulpit may become.  Let us be reminded of Luther’s famous words (A Mighty Fortress):

Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
His kingdom is forever.

The Bible is the Word of God!  Soli Deo Gloria,

Pastor Josh Buice

 

Gay Marriage: Focusing on Good Things Is Not Always the Best Thing

Empire-State-Building-Gay-Marriage

The SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, while not unexpected, was dramatic.  The implications of the ruling—for Christians in general and pastors in particular—are more far-reaching than we presently realize.  I must say that, as I sat and watched the coverage unfold, I couldn’t help but think that God has turned over the USA to her fleshly passions in accordance with Romans 1.  How should the church respond?

Focusing On Good Things Is Not Always The Best Thing

As I thought through how we respond to this crisis, I had to think through how we came to this point.  Could it be:  the church focused on “good” things rather than on the “best” thing?  I thought of Martha, Luke 10:40:  Martha was distracted with much serving.  And she went up to Him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone?  Tell her then to help me.” 

All the things that distracted Martha were “good.”  She was serving the Lord.  She was serving for His cause.  She was serving with all of her heart.  All her efforts were “good.”  But, were they the “best” thing?

For the last several decades, the church has focused on “good” things.  Fighting against abortion is a “good” thing.  Fighting against homosexuality is a “good” thing.  But are those two issues the “best” thing?  In our zeal to address those two social issues, it seems that the church took her eyes off the [gospel] ball.

Perhaps we focused too much on “good” causes rather than the “best” cause.  Let me explain.  The 21st century culture knows what the church is “against:”  We are “against” abortion; we are “against” homosexuality.

The 21st century does not know what the church is “for:”  We are “for” protecting the rights of those made in His image.  We are “for” good, healthy, gospel-pictured marriages.  In a phrase, we are “for” the GOSPEL.

My fear is that the church has expended so much time and energy focusing on “good” things that we have neglected the “best” thing:  the GOSPEL.

Focusing On The Best Thing Is Always A Good Thing

Jesus redefined the issue for Martha, Luke 10:41:  “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary.  Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Jesus, in effect, was showing her this:  I AM SUFFICIENT.

The NT church knew Jesus was sufficient.  The Roman government was corrupt, abortion was rampant, and homosexuality was widespread (especially among the leaders of the day).  Yet, the NT church addressed those issues by focusing on the “best” thing:  the GOSPEL!

Jesus’ GOSPEL is sufficient to address same-sex marriage.  We never read of Jesus holding a picket sign, protesting social issues in Rome.  Rather, we read Him say:  Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you (Matt. 28:19-20).  We never read of the NT church speaking to the media, decrying homosexuality.  Rather, we read:  Every day, in the temple and from house to house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ (Acts 5:42).  We never read of the apostle Paul being distracted by the social evils of his society.  Rather, we read him say, We preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and folly to the Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Cor. 1:23ff).  They didn’t let “good” things cloud the “best” thing.

I wonder:  If the church had spent more time and energy making disciples, would we be in this present crisis?  The GOSPEL, and the GOSPEL alone is sufficient!  And the center of that GOSPEL is Jesus Christ, our sufficiency.

Response?

How should the church respond?  I had lunch some years ago with someone who was passionate about one of these social issues.  He asked me, “What are you going to do, as lead pastor, to address the problem?”  My response was simple:  “I’m going to make disciples for Jesus.  Then, I’m going send those disciples into the world to be salt and light for His glory.”  Sadly, that answer seemed insufficient for this person.

Pastors:  Focus on the “best” thing—the GOSPEL—and all the “good” things will fall into place.  Brothers, let me speak candidly:  We are not politicians.  We’re called to protect, preserve, and proclaim the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.  Keep your eye on the [gospel] ball.  The GOSPEL changes hearts, and a GOSPEL-centered heart changes convictions.

Church:  Focus on the “best” thing—JESUS—and all the “good” things will fall into place.  As we live JESUS-centered lives, and lead others to know Him, grow in Him, and go for Him, we will expand His glory and His Kingdom.

Members:  Focus on the “best” thing—MAKING JESUS-DISCIPLES—and all the “good” things will fall into place.  Be “salt” and “light” and penetrate this depraved culture.  Make GOSPEL-centered disciples, and penetrate your workplace, penetrate your local government positions, penetrate your national government positions, penetrate your world by making more disciples for Jesus.

Everyone:  Do not be distracted by “good” things.  Keep your eye on the “best” thing.  The results we leave with God.


by: Dr. Chip Thornton.  Chip serves as the lead pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springville, AL where he and his wife Kerri and their four children reside.  

The Tragic Loss of the Doctrine of Sin

Rainbow-Flag

I started writing this blog post on a flight across the Atlantic. I was disturbed. I left the USA on the same day that the Supreme Court there announced the legality of same-sex marriages. I had intended to write this post about a month ago but it now seems the right time to do so.

At the risk of sounding simplistic, the more I think about it the more I am persuaded that many of the world’s philosophical errors and its failures in practical solutions and resolutions are primarily because of a faulty understanding of the awful thing the Bible calls “sin”.

According to the Bible, sin is not only the wrong that we do but it is also the root cause of the wrong that we do. We seem to have largely lost the second aspect of the definition of sin and are only grappling with the first part. We talk about the shoot but totally forget about the root.

The modern understanding of human beings is that we are essentially good and are only made bad by outside forces, e.g. the abuse of drugs and alcohol or a bad neighbourhood. The more “spiritual” ones add generational curses and demons to the list of corrupting outside forces.

That is certainly not the biblical concept. According to the Bible we are essentially bad. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, were created they were good. However, when they sinned against God in Genesis 3 they became guilty and a moral degradation took place within them. Their hearts became sinful. They became enslaved to a foul power called sin.

There is perhaps no better treatment of the experience of sin as a foul power within us than is found in Romans 7. The apostle Paul said, “For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness” (Romans 7:7-8).

Sin is here pictured as a factory of evil, producing all kinds of covetousness. It makes us desire what we have no legitimate right to. That desire can be overpowering, as overpowering as an addiction is to an addict. This is what made Paul realise that he needed salvation.

This foul power within us not only craves what is wrong but its craving is heightened when it is confronted with a command that forbids what it desires. The apostle Paul wrote, “It was sin, producing death in me through what is good, in order that sin might be shown to be sin, and through the commandment might become sinful beyond measure” (Romans 7:13).

Paul is here referring to what took place within him when he came across the command of God that said, “You shall not covet.” The command is good. However, this foul power filled him with all kinds of covetous desires as soon as he became aware of this command of God.

We learn something else, therefore, about this foul power. It is rebellious. It hates being under authority. It must have its own way. It pushes boundaries. As soon as it hears, “You shall not…” it goes, “I will!” It seizes an opportunity through the commandment to do evil.

This foul power is also present in Christians. The apostle Paul testified in the present tense as a mature believer, “For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me” (Romans 7:15-17).

Paul had explained earlier in Romans 6 that when we become Christians the reign of this foul power is broken. However, he is under no delusion that we are totally free from its influence. It is still present within us, waging war against our renewed humanity (see Romans 7:21-24).

I am very concerned that much of modern evangelicalism has lost this clear biblical teaching. We seem to see the source of sin purely in terms of the devil and the world. We see ourselves as good people who are victims of outside forces. We fail to see that we are born fallen.

This tragic loss of the doctrine of sin has left us unable to explain what is happening in our world today. The argument of Romans 1:18-32 is that where God is truly acknowledged, he puts a restraint upon this foul power of sin. However, where people think they can manage pretty well without God he removes his restraints and this foul power takes full control.

Paul argues that the first pillar that goes down when this foul power is let loose is sexual purity (Romans 1:24-25). The second pillar that goes down is sexual sanity (Romans 1:26-27). So, homosexuality is a fruit of this foul power demanding what is contrary to nature.

Finally, this foul power brings down all the other pillars of morality (Romans 1:28-31). It does not stop with pulling down our pants; it runs amok and pulls down anything and everything in its way. Society becomes filled with every kind of irrational wickedness.

In the goodness of God, he has provided civil government in order to restrain human beings from falling headlong into this abyss of total depravity. However, when civil government gets obsessed with rights rather than responsibilities it becomes complicit in the downward spiral. It gives approval to those who practice obvious irrational wickedness (see Romans 1:32).

This is what is happening with Western civilisation. God was kicked out long ago. Civil government is so drunk with so-called rights that it is even willing to redefine marriage. We are told sex must have no boundaries as long as those involved are two consenting adults. If you try to talk about the elephant in the room you are shouted down as a religious bigot.

In case I am seen to be throwing stones across the Atlantic Ocean, let me quickly add that this is also the Achilles heel of the growing deliverance movement in Africa. It blames all human moral failure on generational curses and demons. If a man is adulterous it is because there is a curse or evil spirit on him that makes him chase after skirts. He needs deliverance.

I was at a meeting yesterday where this was played out. A bishop was praying for Africa and he alluded to the USA Supreme Court’s judgement. “We bind the demon of homosexuality. We refuse this spirit here in Africa,” he prayed. You should have heard the hearty amens!

This popular movement in Africa has lost the biblical doctrine of sin despite being within evangelical circles. There is no effort to explain to people that we are all born fallen creatures with desires that are morally warped. You are born bad. I am born bad. We are all born bad.

What we all need is not deliverance from some external curse or spirit through the prayers of “men of God” but salvation and sanctification through Jesus Christ by the power of his Spirit. Jesus supernaturally subdues this foul power as we submit ourselves to the word of God.

“He breaks the power of cancelled sin,
He sets the prisoner free;
His blood can make the foulest clean,
His blood availed for me.” (Charles Wesley)

It was because the apostles of Christ knew this that they refused to concentrate their efforts on feeding widows. They knew that this foul power in human hearts could only be brought down through preaching Christian truth in the power of the Spirit of God (Acts 6:4).

The modern bane of motivational speaking that has taken over the Christian pulpit, where sin is not even mentioned, is as useless as shooting peas at a charging lion. It will certainly not arrest this foul power within us. We must restore powerful biblical preaching in our pulpits.


by: Dr. Conrad Mbewe. Conrad serves as the pastor of the Kabwata Baptist Church in Lusaka, Zambia where he and his wife Felistas and their family reside.  This article was originally published on Conrad’s blog.

G3 2016

Join us this coming January for the 2016 G3 Conference on the doctrine of the Trinity.  As this essential doctrine continues to be attacked by heretics and misunderstood by the church of Jesus Christ, we will gather for an intensive weekend conference on this valuable subject.

A proper understanding of the Trinity reveals how God the Father, the Son and the Spirit are all three at work in our salvation, engaged in genuine worship, and the source of all true missions.

A misdirected view of the Trinity will lead to a low view of God, a shallow worship life within the church, and often a misguided attempt at world missions.

Join speakers:

  • Bruce Ware
  • Steven J. Lawson
  • James White
  • David Miller
  • Tim Challies
  • R.C. Sproul Jr.
  • H.B. Charles Jr.
  • Josh Buice 
  • Anthony Mathenia
  • Todd Friel

Our weekend will consist of worship through song, preaching, learning in breakout sessions, browsing and gaining resources through the exhibit hall and bookstore, and fellowship over meals.  Mark your calendar now and make your plans to join us.

Seats have filled up at record pace as we approach the 2016 G3 Conference, so seats are limited.

Register your group to reserve seats today.

For registration – click here.