Friday, February 25, 2011

Why Should Every Christian Join a Church

According to Scripture, why should every Christian join a church?

Every Christian should join a church because Scripture requires it. Granted, there is no direct command in Scripture that says, “Every Christian must join a local church,” but two factors in Scripture indicate that every Christian should be a member of a local church.

Jesus established the church to be a public, earthly institution that would mark out, affirm, and oversee those who profess to believe in him (Matt. 16:18-19, 18:15-20). Jesus established the church to publicly declare those who belong to him in order to give the world a display of the good news about himself (John 17:21, 23; see also Eph. 3:10). Jesus wants the world to know who belongs to him and who doesn’t. And how is the world to know who belongs to him and who doesn’t? They are to see which people publicly identify themselves with his people in the visible, public institution he established for this very purpose. They’re to look at the members of his church. And if some people claim to be part of the universal church even though they belong to no local church, they reject Jesus’ plan for them and his church. Jesus intends for his people to be marked out as a visible, public group, which means joining together in local churches.

Scripture repeatedly commands Christians to submit to their leaders (Heb. 13:17; 1 Thess. 5:12-13). The only way to do that is by publicly committing to be members of their flock, and saying in effect, “I commit to listening to your teaching, following your direction, and to submitting to your leadership.” There’s no way to obey the scriptural commands to submit to your leaders if you never actually submit to them by joining a local church.

(taken from 9Marks Ministry)

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism 3-4

Q. 3. Whence knowest thou thy misery?

A. Out of the law of God (a)

(a) Rom 3:20

Q. 4. What does the law of God require of us?

A. Christ teaches us that briefly, Matt 22:37-40,"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and the great commandment; and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism 2

Q. 2. How many things are necessary for thee to know, that thou, enjoying this comfort, mayest live and die happily?

A. Three; (a) the first, how great my sins and miseries are; (b) the second, how I may be delivered from all my sins and miseries; (c) the third, how I shall express my gratitude to God for such deliverance. (d)

(a) Matt 11:28-30; Luke 24:46-48; 1 Cor 6:11; Titus 3:3-7
(b) John 9:41; John 15:22
(c) John 17:3; Acts 4:12; Acts 10:43
(d) Eph 5:8-11; 1 Pet 2:9,10; Rom 6:1,2,12,13

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism 1

Heidelberg Catechism

Q. 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

A. That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)

(a) Rom 14:7,8
(b) 1 Cor 6:19
(c) 1 Cor 3:23; Titus 2:14
(d) 1 Pet 1:18,19; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 2:2,12
(e) Heb 2:14; 1 John 3:8; John 8:34-36
(f) John 6:39; John 10:28; 2 Thess 3:3; 1 Pet 1:5
(g) Matt 10:29-31; Luke 21:18
(h) Rom 8:28
(i) 2 Cor 1:20-22; 2 Cor 5:5; Eph 1:13,14; Rom 8:16
(j) Rom 8:14; 1 John 3:3

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Man Shall Not Live By Facebook Alone

I just finished reading John Piper's blog. I thought I would pass it on to you.

Beware: The Bible Is About to Threaten Your Smartphone Focus
February 21, 2011 | John Piper | Category: Commentary

Are apps a threat to God-focus? Yes. But it works both ways. Fight fire with fire.

If you are reading your Bible on your computer or your smartphone or your iPad, the presence of the email app and the news apps and the Facebook app threaten every moment to drag your attention away from the word of God.

True. Fight that. If your finger offends you, cut it off. Or use any other virtuous violence (Matthew 11:12) that sets you free to rivet your soul on God.

But don’t take mainly a defensive posture. Fight fire with fire.

Why should we think of the Facebook app threatening the Bible app? Why not the Bible app threatening the Facebook app, and the email app, and the RSS feeder, and the news?

Resolve that today you will press the Bible app three times during the day. No five times. Ten times! Maybe you will lose control and become addicted to Bible! Again and again get a two-minute dose of life-giving Food. Man shall not live by Facebook alone.

I’m serious. Never has the God’s voice been so easily accessible. The ESV app is free. The OliveTree BibleReader app is free. And so are lots of others. Let the Bible threaten your focus. Or better: Let the Bible bring you back to reality over and over during the day.

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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Written Word of God

Article 3: The Written Word of God

We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of men, but that holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit, as Peter says.

Afterwards our God-- because of the special care he has for us and our salvation-- commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit this revealed Word to writing. He himself wrote with his own finger the two tables of the law.

Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Means By Which We Know God

Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God

We know him by two means:

First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20.1

All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse.

Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own.

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