Podcasts Now Available!

September 30, 2009 at 11:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

          Pastor Glenn’s sermons at Village Baptist Church are now available for download or listening on line.  Now available are most all the sermons in the current study of Acts and a few popular past messages, including the most-requested “Rebekah: Finding God’s Best,” “A Sabbath Fireside Chat,” and “What is the Will of God?”  There are some sound issues with a few of them, due to past sound system problems.  The Technology Team at Village has done a great job improving these recordings and fixing the sound system problems.  As future messages are added, the sound quality will improve dramatically.

          Thanks Village Tech Team!

Go to the Village Baptist website and click on the “Worship” tab.

Happy Listening!

Two Songs of Grace

September 29, 2009 at 9:01 am | Posted in God's Love, Security and Assurance, Theology, Worship | Leave a comment

         Here are some links Stephen Pegler (http://peglermusings.blogspot.com) sent me with some videos of hymns that I didn’t know.  These are powerful, amazing songs of grace.  The first is an older hymn; in the video it is sung by the Stoneleigh Band, led by Stewart Townend — co-author of my all-time favorite “In Christ Alone” and author of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.”  This is a song as powerful as those.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_GB_N_79-Q

The words were written in 1863 by Charitie Bancroft.  I love the second verse, since we all face the temptation to despair and the “guilt within.”

Before the throne of God above
I have a strong and perfect plea.
A great high Priest whose Name is Love
Who ever lives and pleads for me.
My name is graven on His hands,
My name is written on His heart.
I know that while in Heaven He stands
No tongue can bid me thence depart.

When Satan tempts me to despair
And tells me of the guilt within,
Upward I look and see Him there
Who made an end of all my sin.
Because the sinless Savior died
My sinful soul is counted free.
For God the just is satisfied
To look on Him and pardon me.

Behold Him there the risen Lamb,
My perfect spotless righteousness,
The great unchangeable I AM,
The King of glory and of grace,
One in Himself I cannot die.
My soul is purchased by His blood,
My life is hid with Christ on high,
With Christ my Savior and my God!

 

          The second song is a newer one called “The Power of the Cross.”  In the video, it is sung by Kristyn Getty.  Her husband Keith is the other co-author of “In Christ Alone” and, I believe, is playing the piano.  This is also a song he wrote.  Their ministry is to introduce the modern church to new hymns with great theological depth.  Most of their words are amazing.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ms-gxEOtLA&feature=related

The words can be found on the Getty’s site:  http://www.gettymusic.com/hymns.aspx

          Speaking of Keith and Kristyn Getty, here is their version of “In Christ Alone.”  I love her Irish accent and the way they present the third verse.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oZuIyrwSqHY&feature=related

 Happy listening!  Thanks Stephen!

Purses and Prayer Requests

September 22, 2009 at 9:18 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts, Prayer | Leave a comment

My wife mentioned the other day that her Sunday School class had a discussion about the prayer requests we make in churches today, that most all of them are for temporal rather than eternal matters.  The next morning I read the following verse in my devotions, “Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.’” (Luke 12:13)  I laughed when I read it, because it is exactly like us, asking God to intervene in a matter of temporal importance, while ignoring the eternal.  Now there’s nothing wrong with prayer requests of a temporal nature; Jesus taught us to ask for our daily bread, and he answered requests for physical healing, food, and even wine.  The problem is that most of us live our lives there, and never get beyond the temporal.  When Jesus fed the 5,000 he used it as a lesson in eternal matters (see John 6:26-69 and Mark 8:14-21).  He operated on both levels with an emphasis on the eternal; we tend to operate on only the temporal level, or we operate on both but emphasize the temporal.  In the follow up to the demand to arbitrate the inheritance, Jesus mentioned many things about the eternal.  To the man who made the demand, Jesus responded, “A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (v15)  He then told a story of a man who built bigger barns for his abundant crop and decided to “eat, drink, and be merry.”  (Did you know that famous phrase came from Jesus’ lips?)  God took the man’s life away that night, and Jesus concluded, “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself, but is not rich toward God.” (v21)  After a command not to worry about temporal things, Jesus added “Seek his kingdom and all these things will be given to you as well” (v31)  And finally he concludes the entire section with “Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (33-34)  Along with our constant pursuit of the temporal, let’s seek purses that will not wear out, let’s seek God’s kingdom first.

Sola Fida in Acts

September 16, 2009 at 11:21 am | Posted in False teaching, Grace and Faith, Theology | Leave a comment

I have written that Acts 2:38 doesn’t teach baptism as necessary for salvation.  Now I want to demonstrate that all of Acts argues for salvation by grace alone through faith alone.  I will use faith and repentance in this article interchangeably, though they are not exactly the same thing.  Repentance is turning away from something one used to trust; faith is turning to something else and putting one’s trust there.  Genuine, biblical faith, faith that results in salvation, involves both aspects. It is not real saving faith in Jesus, if someone hasn’t turned completely away from his previous trusts.  To be saved one must trust Jesus alone; he cannot just add Jesus to his other lifelines.  So when the Bible talks about faith necessary for salvation or repentance necessary for salvation, it may be emphasizing one aspect of genuine faith over another, but it is not giving two completely different requirements.

After Pentecost, Peter’s very next sermon was about the healing of the lame man in the temple and includes the words “It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing.”  Of course that doesn’t say anything about salvation, but it does say something about the importance of faith in Jesus.  However, plenty of other passages offer support to this argument as well.  Peter speaks to the Sanhedrin and offers this conclusion, “God exalted (Jesus) to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might give repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel.” (5:31)  There is no mention of anything connected to forgiveness other than repentance.  Then in Peter’s sermon to Cornelius and his family, Peter spells out the requirements for these Gentiles; “everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (10:43)  It is interesting that the Holy Spirit came into their lives right at that moment.  The audience had been eagerly waiting about four days to hear what Peter would say, and as soon as he said “believe,” they did.  Baptism wasn’t necessary, though it followed immediately after.  These first Gentile believers were saved before they were baptized, and before they did anything else for that matter!  When Peter was questioned about spending time with Gentiles, he told his story, and “when they heard this, they had no further objections and praised God saying, ‘So then, God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.’” (11:18)

We see the same teaching in the sermons of Paul.  His first one parallels Peter’s first in many ways.  But his application to this mostly Jewish audience is “Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the Law of Moses.” (13:38-39)  Again there is no mention of any requirement on our part but faith.  When the Philippian jailer asked point blank, “What must I do to be saved?”  Paul gave the direct answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.” (16:29-31)  His farewell address to the Ephesian elders states, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus.”  (20:21; see also 26:15-18)

However, I believe the key passage in this matter is found in Acts 15.  The Apostles and elders of the Jerusalem church met to discuss the matter of the Gentile believers coming into the church in huge numbers.  They were particularly interested in the question of circumcision – whether or not the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved – but their conclusion impacts our question as well.  Peter reminded the Council of his dream from God and of Cornelius’ salvation.   Then he concludes, “He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.   .  .  .  we believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (15:9-11)  The conclusion of the question about circumcision was that God saves by his grace through faith – and nothing else.

No Temptation

September 10, 2009 at 9:09 am | Posted in Devotional thoughts | Leave a comment

1 Corinthians 10:1-13  The last verse of this section is certainly well known and loved by many.  “No temptation has overtaken you …” but I never considered the context.  The verse immediately preceding this famous saying is, “if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!”  And the context of that statement is the history of the Israelites in the wilderness.  Though they had seen the miracles and passed through the Red Sea, though they ate the manna and drank water from the rock, God was not pleased with them, and they died without seeing the Promised Land.  This chapter contains a list of the sins they were guilty of, and thus reminds us that we can stumble over the same temptations.  They were guilty of idolatry, sexual immorality, testing the Lord, and grumbling.  This list sounds like some of the same things we see rampant in the church today.  We too are idolaters who “set our hearts on evil things;” we see rampant sexual sin, even in the church; we grumble all the time, even the church leaders (and pastors); and we test the Lord by living on the edge of what we believe we can get away with.  Yet what happened to Israel happened as an example and a warning to us (said twice in the passage, verses 6, 11).  And God tell us, “No temptation has overtaken you … God is faithful … and, with the temptation, will provide a way of escape.”  The forgiveness of these sins is through God’s faithfulness and grace; so also the escape from these temptations is through God’s faithfulness and grace.  We face temptations no different than those faced by generations of God’s people.  The temptations haven’t changed.  Neither has God, he is still faithful!

It’s All About God — Acts edition

September 1, 2009 at 2:36 pm | Posted in It's All About God, Theology | 1 Comment

            The reformed position on grace and election doesn’t come from Paul alone, as some might say it is a distorted understanding of Paul’s epistles; rather it comes from an understanding of the scriptures as a whole.  Luke, who actually wrote more pages of the New Testament than Paul, brings this teaching to us in many ways through the book of Acts.  Here are some examples:

            When the apostles decided to replace Judas, they prayed that God would show to them the one he had already chosen for that ministry (1:24).  Peter viewed himself and the other apostles that way also, as he said to Cornelius, “God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen – not by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen – by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.” (10:40-41)  That shouldn’t surprise us, because throughout these early chapters, the apostles understood, finally, that Jesus’ death was God’s plan predetermined from the beginning.  They say things like, “this man was handed over to you by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge;” “this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold though the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer;” and “they did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen.” (2:23; 3:18; 4:28)

            In the beginning of his famous Pentecost sermon, Peter quotes from Amos, including the words “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (2:21)  But he ends his sermon with “Repent and be baptized  .  .  .  and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  .  .  .  This promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.” (2:38-39)  Did you notice the surprise turn around?  The promise to call on the Lord is for all whom he will call.  It seems to be God’s initiative.  The upshot of this whole matter was “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”  Again, it’s his initiative.

            When Peter spoke to the people who had witnessed the healing of the cripple in the temple, possibly just a few days later, he included these words, “By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong.  It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing.” (3:16)  Yes, he was healed by his faith in Jesus, but that faith came through Jesus.  Even the faith to believe was a gift of God’s grace!  By the way, that is the correct grammatical understanding of Ephesians 2:8-9 – “by grace you have been saved through faith, and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God” – “it” in the passage refers to faith, not salvation.  We don’t generate our own faith, it comes from God.  That’s why the believers in Jerusalem heard the story of Cornelius and praised God saying, “So then God has granted even the Gentiles repentance unto life.” (11:17)  And the believers in Antioch rejoiced that God “had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.”  (14:27)  In each case God is the initiator.

            On Paul’s first missionary journey, Luke would say of those in Pisidian Antioch, “all who were appointed for eternal life believed.” (13:48 – a phrase for which I can’t imagine any Arminian response)  And on the second journey, when Paul came to this hemisphere, the first western convert was Lydia, a business woman in Philippi.  Luke tells us “the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message.” (16:14)  While Paul was in Corinth, the Lord said to him, “Do not be afraid; keep on speaking,  .  .  .  because I have many people in this city,” (18:10) so he stayed there a year and a half.

            Finally, who could ever say that Paul decided on his own to believe in Jesus?  He was hell-bent on destroying the followers of Jesus, yet he was God’s chosen instrument to take the Gospel to the Gentiles, even before his conversion (9:15; 22:10; 22:14; 26:16-18; see also Galatians 1:13-17).  Luke shows us, beyond any doubt, that salvation is all about God; it is his grace and his initiative that saved Paul; it is his grace and his initiative that saves us.

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