Heroes of the Faith

Hebrews 11 is commonly referred to as the roll call of faith and is the most familiar chapter in the book. The first verse of the chapter is seen by many as a great definition for saving faith. Although the verse gives us great information on what saving faith looks like, a definition of faith could never be contained in one verse. Saving faith is a gift from God and the key to our salvation. To get to the heart of what the author of Hebrews is seeking to communicate in this chapter, we need to look at the chapter in the context of the whole letter. He is writing to a group of Hebrew Christians that have been facing some escalating persecution. And in the future, the persecution would only increase. Some would even lose their lives for the sake of Christ. It seems that Hebrew Christians to whom the author had addressed this letter where slipping back into the Judaism. They had faced some difficulty and reverted to their former religious traditions. The writer of Hebrews is urging them to focus on Christ because He is all they need to not only save them from their sins, but to sustain them in the face of persecution. Christ is everything! In chapter 11, the author focused on the kind of faith that is required to stand firm in the face of persecution. It is a type of faith that has Christ and His work as a foundation for future promises. It is a type of faith that has spiritual eyes to see the unseen spiritual realm of God’s power that is working for His glory and the good of the church. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1 ESV) After giving this definition, the writer gives a long list of Old Testament examples that have displayed this type of faith in God. For while they did not fully understand what God would do in the future, they trusted him and His promises and lived faithful lives. Beginning Sunday, November 5, we will look at Hebrews 11 in the morning sermon time. Join us for this series and allow the words of Scripture to strengthen your faith. If you are unable to attend or live in another area, you can catch the sermon through video each week at: https://vimeo.com/anthonylangley

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Connect>1 Evangelism Campaign

Beginning this Sunday, First Baptist Lepanto will seek to mobilize the members of our Sunday School to reach out to the community with the love of Jesus and gospel of redemption.  For those of you that are unfamiliar with the campaign, it is a program developed by Oklahoma Baptists and many churches in Arkansas went through the campaign last fall. Our church was involved in some other activities so we did not participate at that time. The motivation to begin an evangelism campaign is related to loss of commission vision. The New Testament church was very aware that their goal was to make disciples, and while the social and discipleship elements were emphasized in the church, the early believers never lost sight of what God had called them to do … multiply themselves. In our churches today, we have become accustomed to the idea that growth equals Bible study and fellowship. Both of these are essential, but living on mission is what God really requires of us.

I ask you, what have you done in your spiritual life to reproduce yourself. Have you made a difference for the kingdom? I believe most Christians are wasting their lives on things that will not make an eternal impact. We all need to be about the mission of God to make disciples through evangelism. Lepanto is filled with unchurched people without the gospel. We must share the hope we have in Christ!

3151c-1-2The campaign is designed to mobilize church members to be involved in evangelism. The connection of every believer to others with the gospel is greater than the work of one believer. Enter the 3151 challenge. In the month of February, we are challenging all of our Sunday School attendees to pray for 3 lost people, learn 1 gospel presentation, invite 5 people to Sunday School, and share the gospel with at least 1 person. At the beginning of March, we will have a celebration Sunday where we hope to baptize some new believers and challenge our members to keep up the good work of praying for the lost, sharing the gospel and inviting people to church!

All of us should be involved in this task, but if you have fallen out of Sunday School, plan to attend this week and start this campaign with your other class members. We will have a joint meeting of all adult classes in the sanctuary to kick off the campaign at 9:30 am this Sunday! BE THERE!

Finding Our Purpose in the Kingdom

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.

Key Doctrines of the Faith

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

1 John Sermon Series

Beginning this Sunday morning (August 3), I will be preaching a sermon series on the book of 1 John. In his letter, John writes to believers to correct false teaching. In the effort to overcome the false teaching, John explains that the proof of our salvation exists in the outward behavior of the Christian. Do you love others? Do you obey the commands of God? He states very clearly that he has written the words of the book to help believers to have assurance of their salvation. But the main point of his letter seems to be that he wants the readers to have complete joy through the fellowship of the saints and, most importantly, through fellowship with God. We will explore this book over the next several weeks. Make plans to attend Bible Study at 9:30 and Worship at 10:30. And if you have some time, read the book of 1 John before Sunday!

MAN UP

As I look around at today’s culture, I see an alarming trend. Many families seem unconcerned with their spiritual lives. In some cases the wife and mother will be more committed, but seldom do you see the opposite. People will tell you that they are Christians, and yet their lives show little evidence that they want to serve the Lord. Salvation is a free gift, and we do nothing to earn our status as a child of God, Jesus has done everything necessary to secure our righteousness before God. His suffering on the cross and his resurrection from the dead have accomplished redemption for those who believe. However, does that mean we have no responsibilities in the kingdom? Does that mean that we have a free ticket to Heaven without regard to our Christian obligation to live for the Lord as a transforming disciple and a witness to His glory?

In the book of Romans, Paul teaches for the first eleven chapters that Jesus is the only way for salvation for both the Jew and the Gentile. He teaches that all are sinners and desperately need salvation. And we can do NOTHING to save ourselves. Then, when he begins chapter 12 he says, “Therefore i urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” (Romans 12:1 NASB) Because we are saved, we should serve. Because he gave everything, we should give back. Do you wonder why your spiritual life is in the dumps? Do you wonder why God is not speaking to you? Perhaps it is because you are not serving him or spending any time with him. Do you read your BIble? Do you pray? Do you study to learn more about God and his world? It is time for us to evaluate our spiritual lives. It is time for you to get serious about your spiritual growth and the growth of your family!

All of us need to constantly evaluate out spiritual life. Everyone could do better. So make a commitment to grow this year. I am calling on men to take charge of the spiritual lives of their families. I am calling you to first look at your own spiritual life and do what is necessary to promote growth and a renewed relationship with God. And then I am calling you to influence your family. You cannot lead if you don’t put God first in your own life. What does that look like? That is what I will be exploring over the next several weeks in this blog. It is also what we will be discussing at our new men’s breakfast one Saturday per month. It will be called “MAN UP” and we will meet at 8:00 AM. Make a commitment to be at this breakfast. Make a commitment to draw closer to God in your daily walk. And make a commitment to your family.

MAN UP is a monthly men’s breakfast at FBC Lepanto for the purpose of helping men become the man God wants them to be!

The Armor of God

In the month of July on Sunday Mornings, we will be looking at a sermon series called, “The Armor of God.” God calls us to be prepared for the life we live. We must have a strong foundation. God has ultimately won the war through the victory of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection, but we still fight a battle daily. The Bible says that we are in a battle. We must remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood. Although people may come against us, we must remember that our battle is a spiritual battle. We must fight in the strength of the Lord for our battle. If we fight on our own strength, we will fail. We must also fight the battle God’s way, and we must know our enemy. Sermon audio for the first sermon can be found at http://fbclepanto.com/wordpress/archives/1529. Get in the fight. Be prepared. This Sunday we will begin to look at the parts of the armor that God calls us to put on to be ready for battle.