Archive for July, 2015


Unchurched Christians, Minotaurs, and Other Mythical Beasts:

January 10, 2015 by John Aloisi

From time to time I’ve met professing Christians who for one reason or another claim that they do not need to be part of a local church. In most cases, they seem to believe that because God has placed them in the universal Church, they can worship God just fine apart from a local body of believers. I’d like to suggest that such a view is not only mistaken but is also harmful to the unchurched person and dishonoring to God.

Everywhere one looks in the NT, one sees believers actively participating in a local body. In fact, the NT knows nothing of a perpetually disconnected Christian. The apostle Paul says roughly as much about healthy unchurched Christians as he does about minotaurs, unicorns, and leprechauns. From the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) to the seven churches addressed in Revelation 2 and 3, everywhere the NT assumes that those who profess faith in Christ in this dispensation are part of a local body of believers. Much of the NT was originally written to specific local churches and addressed questions about how the local church should conduct itself. The professing believer who attempts to live apart from a local church will not be able to obey a significant portion of the NT (1 Tim 3:15). Although I’m thankful for access to good books and sermons produced by believers all over the world, it is first and foremost within the context of a local church that believers are to be instructed in the Word and exhorted by fellow believers (Eph 4:11–13; 1 Tim 4:11–16; 2 Tim 4:2; Titus 3:1–2). Those who profess Christ but remain disconnected from a local church need to realize that they have turned away from one of God’s clearly intended means of spiritual growth: the leadership and fellowship of a local assembly.

More importantly, those believers who choose to live apart from a local church dishonor the head of the Church. Both the Church universal and the church localized are God’s idea, not man’s (Matt 16:18; Acts 2:41–47). God’s Word never depicts local church involvement as optional for the believer. And God certainly didn’t intend for there to be two kinds of Christians, those who worship him within a local church and those who just do their own thing. Those who profess to follow Christ while remaining disconnected from a local church are really saying that they know better than God.

The local church is one of God’s gifts to his people. It is a means by which they can be taught, encouraged, and exhorted to follow Christ. And ultimately, local church involvement is an essential part of a genuine Christian profession. Apart from such involvement, the profession itself can only be incomplete and highly suspect.

 


Searching for God!

posted by FBC Elder
Jul 1

Searching For God

February, 2015 / Anthony Delucia

Have you ever played the Google Search Game? It’s where you start typing a phrase into Google and take a look at the search recommendations it gives back to you. The suggestions are based on actual searches done by others. For instance, if you go to Google and type in “Why do babies” into the search box; Google will suggest that you might be searching for, “Why do babies cry” or “Why do babies sleep so much” or “Why do babies drool”. Likewise, if you entered the phrase “Why do women”, then you’ll see more varied suggestions; from very serious ones like, “Why do women cheat” and “Why do women stay in abusive relationships” to more humorous ones like “Why do women play Peter Pan”.

But when you type in the phrase “Why does God”, then the suggestions are rather telling. Here are the suggestions Google recommended:

“Why does God allow suffering?”

“Why does God let bad things happen?”

“Why does God hate me?”

These questions pretty much sum up the entire collective depraved human heart as it exists in every nonbeliever right now. They show that people have no idea who God really is. They’ve been blinded to truth, and the gospel is but a word to them. But let’s see if we can give them some answers.

Why does God allow suffering?

Right at the outset, the question is flawed because it implies that God’s role is a passive one. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is active, not passive. In fact, God is the only one who is completely independent from everything else. God was not created, He is the Creator. From every star and every galaxy, to every atom and subatomic particle, as well as the forces that hold it all together; God created and maintains it all.

Jeremiah 10:12-13

He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His direction. When He utters His voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens: “And He causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning for the rain, He brings the wind out of His treasuries.”

John 1:3

All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.

God is always at work. Jesus Himself tells us this when He spoke to the Jews saying, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). Nothing happens outside of God’s sovereign will. God is active, and God is acting, and God’s actions have purpose. That would mean that God does not allow suffering, He has a purpose for it. The better question would be, ‘What is God’s purpose for suffering?’. Next question…

Why does God let bad things happen?

The first thing you would have to ask here is, what do you consider a bad thing? How do you distinguish it from good things, and what is your standard for doing so? Another way you might find this question phrased is, ‘Why does God let bad things happen to good people?’. And again, I would ask how do you decide which things are good, and which things are bad? The Rich Young Ruler came to Jesus saying “Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?” (Mark 10:17), but Jesus answered him saying, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Mark 10:18). Paul reminds us of this in the book of Romans:

Romans 3:10-12

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no not one.”

It would seem clear that the standard is God. God is good. There are no good or innocent people to be found on earth. All of us have turned away from God. Just as we’re told later in the book of Romans, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23). It’s sin that has come into the world; that has also corrupted all of creation. The sin of Adam, which has been carried all the way down to each and every one of us, is the source of all bad and evil things. All pain, all disease, all treachery, all hatred, all lust,.. all of these things are a result of our sin. And sin is what separates us from God, and so all our acts that are not done in faith are sin, and so, are also bad. That’s how you define ‘bad’. To ask why God allows bad things to happen is to ask why God doesn’t wipe us all from the face of the earth for continuing to disobey and turn away from Him with such spitefulness? Last question…

Why does God hate me?

There are many who would answer this question by saying, ‘God doesn’t hate you,.. He loves you!’. But we have to be very careful not to go outside what is defined for us in scripture. In fact, although the love of God is talked about in many ways; in most translations of scripture the phrase, ‘God loves you’ is nowhere to be found.

Many people would stop me here and bring up very popular verses like John 3:16:

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

But what is this verse saying? ‘God so loved the world’; “the world” doesn’t mean “all people”. We know that because we have the rest of the verse to explain “that whoever believes in Him should not perish”; which would mean that all those who do not believe in Him will perish in hell. It’s almost like me saying that I love baseball. That doesn’t mean that I love all teams and all players. Actually, if I were to say the phrase ‘I love baseball’, then the next question I’d likely be asked is, ‘What is your favorite team’?

God loves the world He created, but the world as He created it was a world without death or sin. It wasn’t until Adam and Eve broke God’s command that the curse of death came into it. But continue the verse, ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son,’. God didn’t love the world to let those who live in it do whatever they want. He didn’t love the world, and so decide to forgive everyone of their sins. God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus Christ here, so that He could give His life, and take upon Himself the wrath that God had stored up for us. And why did God do this? “That whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Romans 5:8

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

But read those verses carefully. “Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8), “whoever believes in Him” (John 3:16). Christ didn’t die to save everyone, but He sacrificed Himself so that “everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and [He] will raise [them] up on the last day” (John 6:40). Christ made it clear when He said “I am the good shepherd; and I know my sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep” (John 10:14 & 15). So who are Christ’s sheep? Whoever repents of his sins and trusts in the name Jesus as the only way to salvation; those are His sheep.

Acts 17:30

Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent.

If God hates you, it’s because you do not believe in Him. You have turned away from Him and have disobeyed His commands. You hate Him. But if you’re reading this right now, and you know that I’m describing you, then God still commands you. Repent, and put your trust in Jesus. If you do that, you will be saved. If you will not believe, and reject the gospel, and reject Jesus, then you are condemned already.

Acts 17:31

Because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.

Romans 2:5-8

But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who “will render to each one according to his deeds”: eternal life to those who by patient continuance in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self-seeking and do not obey truth, but obey unrighteousness – indignation and wrath

So what are you searching for? If it’s another excuse to disbelieve the promises of Him who is unchanging and unshakable; then I’m sure you’ll come up with something. But if you are truly seeking truth, and salvation, then look no further than Christ on the cross. Yes, there is death there, but there is life too. The question is, is it your death, or the death of Christ that leads to life everlasting? I’ll be praying for you.

John 11:25

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

Amen!!