Beginning November 13, First Baptist is going to focus on our role and purpose in the Kingdom of God. This two-part sermon series is called “Finding Our Purpose in the Kingdom.” In the series, we will focus on understanding who we are as God’s people and what we are called to do. This will be an important series for our church as we seek to refocus our efforts on reaching the lost for Christ in Lepanto. Each of us has been called out of sin and darkness to the light. As citizens of the Kingdom, we are all called to grow in the faith and understanding of who God is, who we are, and how we should live in light of our transformation. We are also called to be “on mission” for Him, sharing the gospel and helping others to grow in the family of God. Let us all refocus our spiritual lives on the task and responsibilities that God has given us, and live as He commands. Spread the word! This series will help our church family reach this community for Christ more effectively.
Beginning on Sunday night September 13, I will begin a new sermon series on the Key Doctrines of the Faith. We live in, what I would call, a post-Christian world. More and more people are not identifying as Christians. In fact, many people that we encounter may be from an entirely different faith. Jesus taught that he is the way the truth and the life and that no one can come to God except through Him. (John 14:6). All people are sinners and deserve to be punished for their sin. But Jesus died on the cross to take the penalty for sin of those who believe. That means that those who do not accept Christ will face eternal punishment in Hell. If we truly believe the gospel, then we realize that the most loving thing that we an do for the lost is share the gospel with them. Without it, they will suffer eternally. We must share our faith. But how can we share what we believe if we don’t understand it? And how can we be confident in our witness if we don’t know why we believe what we believe? For this reason, we will begin a study of the key doctrines of the faith for the purpose of equipping the believers at FBC Lepanto to understand these doctrines and be able to articulate their beliefs when sharing the gospel with others. Share your faith and be ready to make a defense for the hope that is in you!
But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as Holy, always being ready to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15
If you are reading this blog on the internet, once published, these sermons will be available at www.fbclepanto.com/wordpress
After the sermon I preached last night a thought kept coming back to my mind over and over again. Our world has clearly changed in the last twenty years. The environment that I was raised in is vastly different from the one that my girls are experiencing. When I was a kid, everyone called sin, sin. We had little question about what was right and what was wrong. There were those that ascribed to a wild and loose life, but they understood that they had made a choice to live in sin. These days, we scarcely hear the word sin anywhere but church, and that word is absent from the vocabulary of most churches.
I could go on about the condition of our world, but look around. Everyone can see what it has become. The thing that kept going through my mind was the question, “How should we respond?” In Acts 21:37-22:29, Paul had an opportunity to address the crowd at Jerusalem after they had beaten him and called for his death. He was being led away to the barracks by the commander of the Roman cohort at Jerusalem. This crowd had been vicious to him, and yet Paul did not respond with hatred! He did not respond with a shrug of the shoulders and indifference. He did not find ways to lash out at his accusers. After all, they were his own people, the Jews, and he loved them. He desired for them to be saved. When he has given permission to address his accusers atop the steps of the barracks, instead of a verbal beatdown and a scolding, he gave them the gospel. Instead of a tongue lashing, he gave them a testimony. He had a right to be angry. He had a right to want justice, for they tried to kill him. But he was more concerned about their souls. I am convinced that many in the church are more concerned with our rights than they are with the souls of the lost. I am the first to say that we as a church have dropped the ball and have laid down while the world has gone to pot around us. I also believe that we should use every resource we can to see laws changed so that they favor life and morality. But I also believe that we do more harm than good when we angrily demand our rights.
Our commission has never changed since Jesus gave it. We are called to change lives. We are called to win souls to Christ and disciple them to be obedience. We are called to be salt and light in the world, and the way we do it is one soul at a time. We will never see revival in the land until we see more and more people saved. It’s time that the church understood that our mission is the gospel, not social reform or national patriotism. (And I am a patriot!) Share your faith! Tell someone what Christ has done in your life! And invite someone to church this Sunday! That is our mission! That is our goal! And that is our response!
One of the greatest joys in my life has been fathering my five amazing children. As parents we are given a limited amount of time to train our children to be productive members of society and to pass on a spiritual legacy. We have been intentional about fostering both dependence and independence in our children and teaching them to think for themselves. As your children grow, you must find the right balance between sheltering them from the dangers of the world and allowing them the freedom to make choices and even fail. My prayer has always been that each child will find God’s path for their lives. I want them to be exactly what God created them to be. I have enjoyed watching my sons grow into fine young men and can wait to see the spiritual impact they will have for Christ.
My oldest son, Zack has been married to a wonderful and godly woman for two years now and tomorrow she will give birth to my first grandchild, Evan. Tonight I find myself praying for Zack and Hannah. I know the journey they have ahead of them. I know the hardships, and I have experienced the joys.
I pray for Zack that he will be a godly and present husband. Hannah needs a man who is there for her. She needs a man who leads like Christ leads the church. I pray that Zack will be the example of integrity that engenders respect in the life of his son. I pray that he seeks God’s will for his family and prays with and for his wife and son.
I pray for Hannah that she is the wife to her husband that provides the strong support he needs to be the man of God that he has been called to be. I pray that she be the godly example that nurtures her son into maturity through deep motherly love. I pray that her example is one of honor and love.
I pray that Zack and Hannah will continue down the path that they have begun and continue to put God first. I pray they grow into their roles. That they work together to make proper decisions about discipline and care for their son. Most of all I pray that they enjoy every minute of their lives because it’s here one day and gone the next. You blink and your children are grown. And that they put God first, each other second, and only then can they love their children the way God intended.
What a day tomorrow will be when this father will become a grandfather. But more important, what a day it will be when and young man and woman take up the mantle as parents responsible for their own precious life. Enjoy the ride! It’s incredible. I am also told that being a grandfather is awesome!! More on that later…