The Importance of Family Prayer



Fathers are commanded to read the Word of God to their families, and to instruct them in it. If they are to read the Word of God to their families, then they must pray with them as well. It is critical that families pray together, and Thomas Doolittle in this article titled, “The Word of God and Family Prayer,” shows why families must pray together if they are commanded to read the Word of God together.

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Church Discipline in History



In the modern times, church discipline is looked upon as unloving. Has this been the view throughout church history? The answer is: No. Throughout church history, church discipline has been viewed as a vitally important part of a biblical church.  

 

Come and hear Dan Ford at the Church Discipline Conference, who will be walking us through church history to give us a glimpse of how the church has handled this issue. If you would like more information, or would like to register, please go to the events page for the Church Discipline ConferenceI hope to see you there!

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Al Mohler on Age and Affinity Segregation in the Church



During a Baptist21 panel discussion at the Southern Baptist Convention, Dr. Albert Mohler speaks on an important matter of church structure and programming when fielding a question on whether we should have special groups for recovering homosexuals in the same way that there are groups for people who have been divorced or experiencing excessive self indulgence with alcohol and other matters. This clip is in between the 19:08-23:02 time markers.

Here are Mohler’s comments:

Yeah, I think that is an incredibly important insight and I just want to affirm what Russ just said. I just had the honor of preaching at the 100th anniversary of my home church as a teenager, and I realized that as I was there, many of us came from all over the country, it would be the last time before we’d see a lot of people. I think there were some elderly people just kind of living long enough to make it to that service where they get to see some people.

You know, here’s what struck me: Here’s what my church experience as a young person, how it contrasted with what a lot of young people have today: I wasn’t just surrounded by young people. I mean I was looking at elderly people, who as middle-aged people I thought were elderly then, had made an impact in my life and then I think about what we do now and its just what Russ was saying.

I mean just think about this, you take a bunch of youth and you put them together, like that’s really going to help. You look at a college men’s guys accountability group and they get together. Oh my goodness! What they need is somebody to say: you guys need to get a job!

This is too self-referential, and the divorce group is excellent in that, and that’s my great fear. Number one, I am not saying don’t do it, I am just saying that’s not what the church looks like. The church does not look like, to use set theory, a bunch of little sets that meet together for an hour as one big set. If that’s the picture of the church we’re in big trouble.

It’s a people who worship together, ninety-year-olds and nine-year-olds singing the same songs, hearing the same Word. How much more powerful would it be for a sixty-year-old dealing with sixty-year-old temptations to be next to a sixteen-year-old dealing with sixteen-year-old temptations, and frankly sharing sixteen-year-old joys and learning sixteen-year-old patterns, and growing to love one another and encourage one another in Christ. We have bought into a marketing strategy of the world that’s more insidious inside the church than outside. 

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The Sodomite “Marriage” Debate is Not About Marriage

As we grapple with how to respond to the recent shifts regarding homosexuality in our nation and around the world, there is something that we need to recognize about this issue and why it is being put forward.

We cannot understand the heart of the matter unless we recognize that the homosexual marriage advocates are not really interested in marriage. They want freedom to do what they want to do and they are using the word “marriage” to hide their motive. In reality, they only want to legitimize unbridled impulses disguised as “sexual preferences.” 

They don’t care about faithfulness. They don’t care about morality. They really do not care about monogamous marriage. All they want is any and every form of immorality they feel like committing. It’s about sexual preference for absolutely anything. 

The problem with definitions

Definitions are constraining and that’s the problem. Changing the definition of marriage is helpful to homosexuals because it opens the door for every manner of sexual promiscuity. 

Destruction of boundaries

When you alter the biblical definition of marriage you destroy all relational boundaries. This is what the homosexual lobby is looking for. No boundaries. In the Biblical definition of marriage, God there are boundaries. 

The obstacle of biblical boundaries

In the biblical scheme, marriage and sexual relationships have boundaries There are two ways that these boundaries are established.  

First, there are relational boundaries communicated in various places in the Bible. Second, the very nature of marriage as a covenant fixes boundaries. It is a covenant that keeps a marriage together and sustains it. Without the boundary lines of commands and a covenant, then people can do whatever they want to do. 

The Bible communicates these boundary lines and covenantal protections in many places such as Gen. 2:24; Ex. 20:14; Lev. 18;  Matt. 5:28; Rom. 1:16-18; Rom. 1:24-27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Cor. 6:18; Gal. 5:18-21; Col. 3:5; 1 Thess. 4:3; 1 Tim. 1:10; Heb. 13:4; 1 Pet. 2:11; Jude 1:7.

Homosexuals care very little about preserving relational ties through faithfulness. They do not like boundaries and that is why they do not like covenants. 

Covenants preserve relationships. Sexual preferences do not. 

The attacks against marriage, are about attacking biblical morality. 

But even more important than biblical morality, the homosexual proposition attacks the message of the gospel itself. The good news of Jesus Christ, is that a husband (a male) rescues a bride and marries her (a female) and the two become one. The marriage of a man and a woman, is the earthly representation of Christ and His Church (Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-8; Ephesians 5:22-33). This is how we can also say, the gay marriage debate is not really about marriage. It is about the rejection of the gospel itself.

For information about the debate, the persecution and the biblical arguments, see defendingmarriage.com

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Please Pray for Me at China Bridge



Please pray for Jeff Pollard and I as we spend the next three days speaking at China Bridge, where we will be addressing a Chinese Church in the Los Angeles area, and then the messages will be translated and broadcasted for Churches in China. Our friends Sam Waldron and Paul Washer have done this as well. We will be preaching on Friday night, Saturday afternoon and evening, and Sunday afternoon and evening at:

Christ Gospel Church
7732 East Emerson Place
Rosemead, CA

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Gospel-Centered Marriages



With the Supreme Court’s decision on sodomite marriage, will the church stand strong on the truth of God’s Word, or will it cave the pressures from the culture? One of the most important ways that we defend marriage is by having marriages according to Gods design.

A couple of years ago, we hosted a conference titled, “Gospel-Centered Marriages for a Glorious Church.” Here are a couple of my messages from that conference. You can also download all the messages from the conference for free in the NCFIC store.

Gospel-Centered Marriages for a Glorious Church, Part 1 – (1:03:43)
Gospel-Centered Marriages for a Glorious Church, Part 2 - (59:21)

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God’s Effectual Call



The next chapter in the confession is titled, “Of Effectual Calling,” and it is a logical sequel to the last chapter on free will. If you remember, we learned in the last chapter that man in his unregenerate state has totally lost, as a result of Adam’s fall in the garden of Eden, the ability to will to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. 

With that in mind, the question then becomes, “Then how are men to be saved, if they cannot come to Christ on their own initiative?” The answer lies in this chapter: God’s effectual call. Not only Has God chosen whom He will save, but He has also appointed the exact moment when He will, by His Word and Spirit, call them to Himself (Rom. 8:29-30). 

When talking about calls, we need to make the distinction between: general call and effectual call. The general call is a call by the ordinary ministry of the Word. In other words, when the Gospel is preached and a call is made to perishing sinners to repent of their sins and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, a general call has been made. 

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Article XII – The Biblical Revelation Is Sufficient for Worship and Discipleship

We affirm that the biblical doctrine, principles and precepts that God has revealed in His Word for corporate, family, and individual worship and discipleship are sufficient for knowing how to worship God in a manner acceptable to Him and for the effective edification of the saints. (1 Cor. 11:1-12; 14:34; Gal. 1:8-9; Eph. 5:22-33; 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 2 Tim. 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:3-4).

We deny/reject that the church should invent and institute her own principles and methods for corporate worship and discipleship that disregard or replace the explicit teaching of Scripture.

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Is it Wrong to Emphasize Holiness?



Here is a short clip from Dr. Richard D. Phillips titled, “Holiness & Self-Righteousness?” It is often said in modern Christendom that to focus on holiness and obedience to God leads to self-righteousness. Dr. Phillips shows that this is far from the truth. 

 

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Why Don’t Churches Practice Church Discipline?



Why don’t churches practice church discipline? Chuck Lawless gives twelve reasons he has noticed why they don’t. Here’s the article:

Some years ago, I conducted a study and wrote a book on membership classes in local churches. Many of those churches included teaching church covenants in their membership class, but they talked very little about church discipline. That is, they established expectations but did not always talk about accountability. Since then, I’ve conducted an ongoing informal survey to see why churches don’t do discipline. Here are the primary findings, in no particular order.

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Does Man Have a Free Will?



The Four States of Man’s Free Will

This has been the subject of much debate throughout church history. Heresies have been crafted and proclaimed on the basis of a wrong view of this critical doctrine. It would be an understatement to say, “This is an important doctrine.” No, this is a really important doctrine, and it is important that we are grounded in a biblical view of free will.

Man’s free will is often looked at in four states. The first one, which is discussed in paragraph 2 of the confession, is free will in the state of innocence. Man in that state (before the Fall) was able to will and obey God. Yet the confession affirms that it “was unstable, so that he might fall from it.” In other words, man was not only able to will and to do God’s will, but was also able to will and to disobey what God had commanded, which they did. 

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Article XI – The Church is a Family of Believers that Includes Families

We affirm that local churches are spiritual households of faith, and that congregations of the visible church include individuals and family units that should be cared for and strengthened by the church to fulfill their God ordained roles, not only as individuals but also as families (Eph. 4:1-32; 5:22-33; 6:1-4; 1 Tim. 3:15; 1 Peter 3:1-7).

We deny/reject the current trend in churches that ignores the family unit, is blind to strengthening it, systematically segregates it, and does not properly equip her members to be faithful family members.

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Andrew Fuller on Church Discipline


David Prince has extracted some important sections from The Complete Works of Andrew Fuller: Expositions—Miscellaneous. These quotations reflect the various conflicts and difficulties that always follow church discipline situations. I highly recommend this article, Gospel-Centered Church Discipline – Andrew Fuller (1754-1815).

Here is the article:

I have added the headings below to help arrange and organize the material. The quotations are from a message Andrew Fuller (1754-1815) gave in 1799 titled The Discipline of Primitive Churches Illustrated and Enforced. It is full of clear and concise on a Gospel-centered application of church discipline.

Must Not Promote a Party Spirit

If uniformity be required in such a degree as that every difference in judgment or practice shall occasion a separation, the churches may be always dividing into parties, which we are persuaded was never encouraged by the apostles of our Lord, and cannot be justified in trivial or ordinary cases. A contrary practice is expressly taught us in the Epistle to the Romans (chap. 14); and the cases in which it is to be exercised are there pointed out. An object of forbearance, however, must be one that may exist without being an occasion of dispute and wrangling in the church; it must “not be to doubtful disputations,” ver. 1. It must also respect things which do not enter into the essence of God’s kingdom, the leading principles of which are “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,” ver. 16, 17.

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A Network of Very Unusual Churches



The NCFIC maintains an online network called the, “FIC Network.” In order to be listed, these churches must indicate that they fully or substantially embrace the “Declaration for the Complementary Roles of Church and Family.” The churches which have identified with the NCFIC on the network are very unusual in the American landscape. I have been traveling and meeting leaders of these churches face to face over the past several months at “regional leaders meetings.” Thus far, I have traveled to: Orlando, FL; Birmingham, AL; Atlanta, GA; St. Louis, MO; Davenport, IA; Winston-Salem, NC; Chesapeake, VA; Boise, ID; Phoenix, AZ; and Bremerton, WA.

Following are twenty characteristics of these churches. I have shared some of these things at the meetings we’ve had. As you read through this list, ask yourself: “What percentage of churches in America share these qualities?”

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How to Persevere Laboring with Little Results


Here is a beautiful article by Don Whitney on, “The fields ARE white for harvest, even when you see few conversions”:

When you see few, if any, conversions in your place of ministry, it can be hard to believe that what Jesus said in John 4:35 is true.

In that verse He said to His disciples, “Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, then comes the harvest’? Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest.”

It’s important to realize that He said this in Samaria—a place where Jews (like Jesus and His disciples) weren’t welcome and where Jesus had seen only one convert, and that one just a few minutes earlier

In other words, the twelve apostles did not consider Samaria a place where there had been, or likely ever would be, many conversions.

And yet Jesus said it was—and by extension the places where we serve Him now are—fields white for harvest.

But most of us know too well the grim reality that you can labor faithfully for a long time and see few, if any conversions. Hosea prophesied God’s Word for seventy years. Isaiah preached faithfully for fifty. But both of them had reason to pray the prayer of Isaiah, “Who has believed what they heard from us? And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (Isaiah 53:1).

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