Archive for March, 2010

Few Pastors and their churches have the relationship John Piper and Bethlehem Baptist have. But this letter reveals what they have and in some sense why they have it.


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On Mortifying Sin

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones says,

I do not know of a single scripture—and I speak advisedly—which tells me to take my sin, the particular thing that gets me down, to God in prayer and ask him to deliver me from it and then trust in faith that he will.

Now that teaching is also often put like this: you must say to a man who is constantly defeated by a particular sin, “I think your only hope is to take it to Christ and Christ will take it from you.” But what does Scripture say in Ephesians 4:28 to the man who finds himself constantly guilty of stealing, to a man who sees something he likes and takes it? What am I to tell such a man? Am I to say, “Take that sin to Christ and ask him to deliver you?” No, what the apostle Paul tells him is this: “Let him that stole, steal no more.” Just that. Stop doing it. And if it is fornication or adultery or lustful thoughts, again: Stop doing it, says Paul. He does not say, “Go and pray to Christ to deliver you.” No. You stop doing that, he says, as becomes children of God.

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Just pondering some questions this a.m. and thought I would share them with you.

Question 1: How can a prominant SBC seminary president endorse a book that includes the following statement,

“The young-earth solution to reconciling the order of creation with natural history makes good exegetical and theological sense. Indeed, the overwhelming consensus of theologians up through the Reformation held to this view. I myself would adopt it in a heartbeat except that nature seems to present such strong evidence against it” (pg 55 in William Dembski’s latest book, The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. Dembski is the Research Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth).

The seminary president is endorsing a book in which the author elevates natural science above divine revelation. If he is consistent, wouldn’t he have to deny the resurrection based upon “natural” science as well? It’s interesting, if not ironic, that this same seminary president was so instrumental in the inerrancy fight 20-25 years ago.

Question #2 – Why do people feel as though the use of profanity is a mark of being “real” and “authentic”. I can think of other ways that don’t violate Scriptural commands.

“But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from your mouth.” – Colossians 3:8

“. . .and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks.” – Ephesians 5:4

Question #3 – Is it me or does the idea of living “confessional” lives (the propensity toward wearing our sins on our sleeves for all to see) seem somewhat egocentric? What is couched as being humble seems to be nothing more than celebrating our struggle with the flesh. It would be one thing if sins were being identified as that which need to be mortified. But unfortunately, the trend is to identify them and wear them as ribbons or medals in an attempt to outdo one another as winners of “The Most Authentic Award”.

Question #4 – Isn’t it sad when inclement weather causes a church to cancel it’s worship services and the pastor expresses his belief that it caused a “lack of opportunity in relationship to decisions for Christ” (as if people can only be saved on Sunday morning and that weather is actually going to hinder God’s sovereign work of grace in salvation) and a “financial challenge that is mountainous to overcome” (as if the Creator of the weather cannot overcome a perceived deficit and provide the resources needed to accomplish His divine plan for that church)?

Question #5 – In the big scheme of things, are these questions even worth asking or answering?

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This is why I’m not a closet Christian Rap fan anymore. I don’t simply tolerate it, I like it!

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Pulling into my driveway yesterday, I was met by the tulips beginning to emerge from their wintry dormancy. This the day after I heard the long awaited “Play Ball!” reverberating from behind the plate of my two sons’ first high school baseball game of the year. Spring has arrived.

Spring is of course associated with new life or new birth. But for me, it’s also a time of rememberance and celebration. It’s hard to believe, but what began as an idea in January of ’06, has now been a reality for 4 years. Yes, Legacy Baptist Church was four years old yesterday (March 7th). As a way of remembering, celebrating, and honoring our church, I thought I would answer the question, “Why Legacy?”

Well, the word “legacy” is defined by the Encarta Dictionary as “something that is handed down or remains from a previous generation.” A synonym would be the word “heritage” which is defined by the same dictionary as “something such as a way of life or traditional culture that passes from one generation to the next in a social group.” For those of us who are a part of this wonderful church, the legacy or that “something” is specific and it’s passing has a past, present and future tense to it. I’ll begin with the past tense.

Jude 3 says, “Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints.” The faith to which Jude is referring is the content of doctrine or the objective truth of the Gospel, or everything that pertains to the salvation that he says they held in common. It’s the content referred to as the “apostle’s teaching” to which those in the early church in Acts were devoted. It’s the content of truth that Paul told the Galatians shouldn’t be distorted or mixed with any error. It’s the content of truth that had been handed down to them once for all. In other words, it’s the content we know to be the Bible, God’s inspired Word. It’s the content of faith John says we are to abide in. He says, “Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.”

So by choosing the name Legacy we are acknowledging our belief in, our affirmation of, and our commitment to abide in the Scriptures, both Old and New Testament, in what is considered Orthodox Christianity, in that which has been handed down to us by God, His Son, the Apostles, the Reformers, and the reformed-minded, preaching-centered, evangelistically-driven Baptists of the 19th and 20th centuries. That’s the past tense of our legacy.

The present tense of our legacy involves a living out of that faith that has been handed down to us. It involves applying the truth to life, walking in a manner worthy of the Lord and pleasing Him in all respects. It involves practicing those things fitting for sound doctrine. It involves working out our salvation with fear and trembling. It involves life transformation, servanthood, and exuding the fruit of the Spirit. It involves works that are fruit of our faith.

Finally, the future tense of our legacy involves leaving the faith that has been handed down to us to others. It means entrusting and teaching the faith, our faith, to those around us. And we will do that in five ways. First, we have been and will continue to be committed to expository preaching and teaching. That means we will continue to unashamedly, unapologetically, and boldly seek to discover the meaning of the Word as the Spirit-inspired authors intended and then relay how it applies to us today Second, we have been and will be committed to contending for the faith. We will continue to defend the faith because the faith and we ourselves will continually be under attack for holding to the truth. Third, we have been and will be committed to the family. The family and the church are not exclusive. They work in tandem. The family is to be the primary contributor and the church is to follow as an undergirder that equips, supports and reinforces the family in its attempt to accomplish its God-given responsibility. Fourth, we have been and will be committed to evangelism. We will continue to go to the highways and byways to share the truth of the Gospel to those both near and far. We will share the whole truth that our deepest need is spiritual life, and that knew life only comes by repenting of our sins and believing and trusting in Jesus. We will present the gospel openly, and leave the converting to God. Fifth, we have been and will be committed to discipleship. We will continue strive to replicate ourselves. We are to pass on the baton we’ve received and we need to pass it on to faithful people who will be able to pass the baton themselves.

Legacy Baptist Church has a legacy of the past that’s been passed to us and that we will learn. It has a legacy of the present that we will live. It has a legacy of the future that we will leave. Legacy Baptist Church will abide in, apply, and entrust the Word of God which is the Word of our faith.

It has been such a pleasure serving and serving alongside each and every one of you who are a part of the Legacy these last 4 years. I thank God for each of you and the incredible privilege it is to be a part of such a vibrant, committed body of believers.

“The LORD bless you, and keep you; (25) The LORD make His face shine on you, And be gracious to you; (26) The LORD lift up His countenance on you, And give you peace.” — Numbers 6:24-26

Soli Deo Gloria

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Every 8 weeks, on the first Sunday of every other month, our elders will rotate our leadership positions in worship. This week Chuck will preach, Jeremy will preside over the Lord’s Table and I will be leading in Worship. In May, Rusty will be preaching, I will preside over the Lord’s Table, and Jeremy will lead in worship. It is our hope that the congregation will have the opportunity to see and hear from all of our Elders throughout 2010.

That said, I have a couple of songs that I would like to introduce to you that we will sing this weekend. The first is an older song (2004) but one that we have not sung, and the other is an older hymn that has been rearranged. Please listen to these songs to familiarize yourself with them prior to our gathering Sunday. Blessings to you all.

For You Are Holy

O God, there’s none like You
In all the earth, in all the earth
O God, who can compare
To You, to You
Only You have no beginning
Only You could make the skies
Only You are truth unending
Only You are always wise
Lord, there is none like You

For You are holy
You are holy
For You are holy
Lord You are holy

O God, there’s none like you
In all the earth, in all the earth
O God, who can compare
To You, to You
Only You are never sinning
Only You have never lied
Only You cannot be tempted
Only You can never die
Lord, there is none like You

Words and music by Zach Jones © 2004 Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

Come Now Almighty King

Come now almighty King
Help us Your name to sing
We will declare Your praise
Righteous in all Your ways
Father, all glorious
O’er all victorious
Come and reign over us
Ancient of Days

Come now incarnate Word
Take up Your mighty sword
Our humble prayers attend
Faithful unto the end
Come and Your people bless
And give Your Word success
Lord of all righteousness
On us descend

Come Holy Spirit come
Your perfect will be done
Brighten our darkened hearts
Your precious life impart
Guide us into Your truth
So we might bear more fruit
Fill us with more of You
Spirit of power

To the great one in three
Eternal praises be
Timeless, unchanging Lord
Now and forevermore
Your sovereign majesty
May we in glory see
And to eternity
Love and adore

Original Lyrics by Martin Maddam (1726-1790) Alternate lyrics by Bob Kauflin
Music by Bob Kauflin and John Spiro
© 2001 Sovereign Grace Praise (BMI)/Sovereign Grace Worship (ASCAP).

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