Showing posts from January, 2018

4 Things You Need to Know About the Church

We're just going to keep making our way through 1 Corinthians 3 by looking at verses 16-17 today. If the foundational truth is that Jesus is the foundation, then these two verses help describe what he is building. This is not a comprehensive statement about what the Church is but these four truths will help us gain a healthy and biblical view of the Church. 

1. You (y'all) are the temple of God.
Throughout human history God has always found a way to dwell with his people. During the time before the Fall God simply walked with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day. The first two humans enjoyed a relationship with God that we can only dream about until we enter into eternity. During the time of the patriarchs God appeared to his people in various ways, but he didn't really dwell with them in any kind of permanent fashion. Then, as Israel was wandering around in the wilderness God chose to dwell with them in the tabernacle. Though it was nothing more than a portable "tent&q…

Foundational Truths

In this post I want to continue with the notion that the local church is to be a missionary outpost and consider the foundation upon which we are to build that outpost. In 1 Corinthians 3:10-11 Paul writes,

According to God's grace that was given to me, I have laid a foundation as a skilled master builder, and another builds on it. But each one is to be careful how he builds on it. For no one can lay any other foundation that what has been laid down. That foundation is Jesus Christ. 

Risking a pun, it could be said that this truth is "foundational" for the life of each Christian and each local expression of the Body of Christ. After all, Paul is writing to a church, not an individual like he did with Timothy, and the foundation that he laid was that of the local church in Corinth.

Now, we know from the preceding verses that God is the one who is really giving growth to his church. However, it is equally clear that even though God is the source of the growth, in his sover…

Cultural Icon to Missionary Outpost: The Shift We Must Make in How We View the Local Church

There was a time, not so long ago, when Christianity was the dominant religious force in our culture. As you may or may not know, I write from the context of the "Bible Belt" and I believe this shift away from cultural Christianity has happened slower here than in other places in our nation and world. However, even if it has happened almost imperceptibly, it has happened none the less. You see even back when I was a kid (1980's and 90's) there was an overall sense that going to church was what you did on Sunday morning, and it was good and right. Generally speaking the values and morals of the culture were Judeo-Christian values and morals. Society as a whole understood and used the language of the Church, and it could be said that in some, very real ways, America was a "Christian nation," if only in the same way that one could say the Roman Empire was after Constantine. Such is not the case anymore - and this isn't all bad.

Most any survey will tell y…

Milk vs Steak

The church that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to had a problem. Sure, there were divisions among them over which teacher the preferred, or which pastor had baptized them. Some claimed Paul, others Apollos or Cephas; others still simply claimed Christ. However, as Paul points out in the beginning of chapter 3, this was just a symptom of a larger problem - spiritual immaturity. For this reason Paul calls them "babies in Christ" who were only capable of feeding on milk rather than solid food. What would Paul have to say if he were writing 1 Americans today?

First let me make an important point of clarification before digging into this passage. Paul is writing to people he addresses as "brothers and sisters," "those sanctified in Christ Jesus," "called as saints" and so forth. There is no question in the apostle's mind that he is writing to people who have been redeemed. He's writing to Christians! I say that to hopefully ward off any idea that …

How Can I know That I Am Saved?

I’m sure many Christians, and most pastors, have been asked, “How can I know that I’m saved?” Let’s just state up front that this is a monumental question that deserves our utmost attention and care. After all, we’re talking about someone’s everlasting soul here, and there have been volumes written on the subject. What follows is my feeble attempt to answer that question concisely, carefully, and biblically (I care more about the last one than the other two).
Before we go any further I want to answer the precursor question which is also very important, “Can I know that I am saved?” Some would say, no, you cannot know you are saved. Rather, you must simply fling yourself on the mercy and grace of God and hope for the best. I say that is wrong, cruel, a tool of the enemy, and not at all what the Bible teaches. Whenever the Bible speaks about salvation it is always in very concrete, absolute terms. There are no “maybe’s”, or “might’s”, or “perhaps.’” Instead you find the Bible talk about…