Scott and Deborah Brown with Joel and Mary Beeke
Doug and Beall Phillips
Scott and Deborah Brown with Joel and Mary Beeke
Doug and Beall Phillips
Family-integrated churches are wonderful, and assembling ourselves together with other believers is truly a blessing from God. But in the midst of these blessings, let us never fall into the trap of neglecting the Great Commission Christ gave to His church, to go into all the world, preaching the gospel, baptizing, and disciplining the nations. In this breakout session, Craig Houston spoke from Matthew 28:18-19, exhorting his audience to never to neglect the Great Commission, but instead to earnestly seek to do our part. The Word of God has transformed our lives. Are we passionate to see the lives of those around the world transformed also? Craig Houston gave three points of application on how we may fulfill the Great Commission.
1. We will never fulfill this mission without love. First we must love God with all our hearts and our neighbor as ourselves.
2. We must fervently pray to the Lord that he would send forth laborers to the harvest. (Luke 10:1-2)
3. We must be willing to suffer for the name of Christ. Do we expect other Christians around the world to suffer for Christ when we ourselves are not willing to do so?
Christ has given His church the Great Commission. It is a mission greater than ourselves because it is a mission about the glory of God. May the church obey Christ and faithfully fulfill it!
Building on Thursday’s keynote on the nature of conversion, Paul Washer addressed the topic of how we can know if we’ve been truly converted. Rather than relying on a past decision or comparing ourselves to others, we should look only to the reliable tests found in the Word of God. Turning to 1 John, a book written “that we may know that we have eternal life,” Paul Washer expounded on the first five tests that indicate if we are saved.
Does your life pass these tests? Examine yourself and see whether your life bears the fruits of true conversion. Your eternal destiny depends on it.
The Kendall family blessed the conference with a soul-touching medley of “Channels Only” and “There Is a Redeemer,” as well as “I Love the Church.”
Ever since the Garden of Eden, when God commanded Adam not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the battle has raged between following God’s commands or man’s ideas. In this message, Scott Brown identified syncretism, mingling man’s ideas with God’s law, as the most dangerous threat to the Church of Jesus Christ. The greatest protection we are given against this danger is the doctrine of sola Scriptura. Scripture is sufficient for all of our needs and it alone ought to regulate our worship. As Deuteronomy 5:32 states, “Therefore you shall be careful to do as the LORD your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Syncretism, however, rarely takes on the form of wholesale rejection of God. Instead, we find the church adopting practices and terminology not in accord with Scripture. We take away sin, lust, and self-focus, and replace them with more palatable terms like insecurity, low self-esteem, etc. Furthermore, we have traded the biblical model of parents walking with their children and instructing them, and replaced it with age-segregated Sunday school and youth ministry. Rather, we should be willing to be limited by God’s Word and let the mind of Christ be in us. He loves His Church and speaks to her in His Word that she may be a submissive bride through whom He may be glorified from one generation to another.
Jeff Pollard brought a key message on the Church’s relationship with Christ. The Church’s union with Christ is a greatly misunderstood and neglected doctrine in the church today. This is unfortunate because it is the foundation of our salvation and the source of our spiritual blessings. In this passionate and powerful message, Jeff Pollard explained the definition, nature, and importance of our union with Christ. This subject is very practical because it affects how we think about ourselves. Union with Christ is a transforming reality, and we cannot apply this doctrine to our life and remain unchanged. It is the very essence of Christianity.
In the second hour of breakout sessions, issues such as church planting, excommunication, and youth evangelism and discipleship were addressed.
Tony Konvalian spoke on the purpose of church planting. How one views the purpose behind planting a church will not only greatly affect one’s efforts, it will greatly affect whether the church is one that magnifies Christ, its head, or glorifies man. We need to clearly understand the purpose of the church, His bride, if we are to start churches that glorify Christ.
In “The Keys to the Kingdom,” Joe Morecraft showed that keys are symbols of authority, Revelation 1:12, and therefore in giving the church the keys of the kingdom, He was giving to it the authority and prerogative of self-government. No one else could impose their authority over the church. It could elect its own officers, enforce its own constitution, and determine its own membership. That church authority is defined and limited by the Word of God. Therefore, the keys of the kingdom are really the Word of God. That all-sufficient Word is all the church needs to govern itself. The Westminster Confession of Faith says, “The Lord Jesus appointed a government, in the hand of church officers, distinct from the civil magistrate.” (30.1) This means that, although church and state are equally accountable to Christ and His Word, nevertheless, we can speak of the institutional, functional and jurisdictional separation of church and state. At the same time, we must also speak of a friendly and cooperative relationship between church and state, each having responsibilities towards the other without any blending of the two institutions.
Stephen Hopkins presented an important message on the issue of excommunication: “How Christians are to treat Excommunicants.” Though it was not an exhaustive exposition of the doctrine of excommunication, this message provided a look at the way in which Christians are commanded in Scripture to treat those who have been cast out of the church. When we fail to treat excommunicated persons the way Christ commands they be treated in Scripture, we do harm to His church and are actually working against God’s program for the good of the excommunicant. When, on the other hand, the faithful treat those cast out of the church according to the command of Christ, the health, peace and harmony of the church is promoted, as well as God’s program designed to restore the impenitent soul to the fold.
Addressing the dangers which lurk within the halls of family-integrated churches, Boyd Dellinger showed that amidst the great blessing and refreshment of the family-integrated church structure, a FIC is still not without its own potential struggles. This session revealed this subtle danger and how we as families can avoid it.
Andy Davis gave the conclusion to his message on the figures of the church. Building on the biblical images for the church discussed in the keynote address, he took each of those rich images and drew out some practical applications for how we can better love and serve the church.
Paul Washer tackled the issue of youth evangelism and discipleship. There are many inherent dangers in modern youth ministry, however there are just as many dangers in any attempt at reformation. We must be sure that we are not simply replacing one man-made strategy for another that may be more cleaver or even effective, but is no more biblical. Before any manner of reformation is attempted, we must recommit our lives to the sufficiency of Scripture and fight to conform all our ministerial practices to the indispensable doctrine of sola Scriptura. We must ask ourselves the following questions: What does the Bible teach with regard to the church’s responsibility toward the young souls among us? What is the underlying doctrinal foundation and practical expression of a biblical ministry to the youth?
Josue Raimundo delivered a second Spanish message to our Spanish speaking friends, “Ame la Iglesia – Jesus el Rey es su Rey.”
Attendees filled the seven breakout rooms, hearing a variety of messages from local church leaders and nationally known speakers.
Jason Dohm’s message on the office of Deacon showed how the church can give careful attention to critical, sensitive needs in the church, without elders having to abandon their God-given task of continual devotion to prayer and the ministry of the word.
Dan Horn, an elder at Hope Baptist Church, spoke on the Lord’s Supper. This vital symbol is to be central to the meeting of the church. Paul rebukes the church at Corinth because when they gathered, it was not to eat the Lord’s Supper – yet too often it is put aside today. In this message, Dan Horn discussed the importance of using God’s means to proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes and the great rejoicing that the people of God should have by coming to His table. God gives us an opportunity to testify that He has indeed made a people who were not a people the people of God.
Joel Beeke spoke on being a faithful church member. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 4:10–16 that membership in the church is all about Jesus Christ. His address focused attention on five areas that reflect faithful church membership: Christ’s Word, His person, His people, His cause, and His image. He examined what it means to be a faithful member of Christ’s body in each of these areas in their personal, public, and practical dimensions. He also considered fifteen characteristics of a faithful church member for the benefit of personal examination.
John Latham’s “The Bridegroom of the Church: Jesus Christ” presented the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Church as described in the most intimate of human relationships: a husband and wife. What does this teach us about the role of the Son of God in relation to the Church? How should it affect our priorities and passions? How does this apply to our marriages and the marriages of our children? By the grace of God, we will come to a greater love for and obedience to our beloved Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.
Don Hart spoke on “The Church and the Family: Guardians of Religious Liberty.” God’s Word describes the Church as the “pillar and ground of the truth,” yet many churches forsake this call. Don addressed such questions as, How can churches prepare members to stand on their biblical convictions and render to Caesar only that which belongs to Caesar? How can churches be ready and prepare their flocks for persecutions from lawsuits and criminal prosecutions? Can churches help members conscientiously object to forced vaccinations, mandatory health insurance, women in the military, and other offensive government edicts?
“Why Love the Church? Because of Her Nature.” Josue Raimundo delivered a stirring message on the church of Jesus Christ. The church is the pinnacle of all creation, not man. Creation as a whole finds its true purpose for being in the church. Genesis 1:31 explains that God saw that all He had created was very good. The goodness or usefulness of something is seen in the purpose for which it was designed and created. In this case, all has been designed and created to give us the church, the Bride of Christ. The church is the pinnacle of beauty, perfection and all good things that this creation can offer. Love her, for she is the purpose of creation.
Paul Washer delivered the first Spanish language message of the Love the Church Conference, “El Hombre y Su Esposa.”
God’s guiding hand in our lives is a demonstration of His power and performed solely for His glory. In his message, “The Nature of Conversion,” Paul Washer made the point that there isn’t a more jaw-dropping manifestation of God’s holiness and power than the Spirit’s transforming work in a sinner’s soul.
Man’s unconverted heart, born with a love for evil, cannot respond with affection and awe toward a loving and righteous Savior until the Lord gives him a new heart, one which responds to the work of the Spirit. One of the first signs of conversion is the Spirit of God working in our hearts to separate us from the world and make us holy like Him. So what is holiness? “Holiness means primarily that God is separate from everything… there is no comparison to Him. He is God and there is no other.”
God alone has saved us, and to be holy like Him is the goal of our sanctification. When we reflect God’s holiness to the world, He is exalted among the nations. Is this a reality in your life? Is there a passion for Christ in you? Examine yourself. Do you know Christ? Does He know you?
Andy Davis, Pastor of First Baptist Church, Durham, NC, presented a message covering the various figures and metaphors used in the Scriptures to define the church. Christ has given us many metaphors to describe the church so that we may understand what the church should be today and what her glorious future state will be. Understanding these metaphors will help us love the church more fully and serve her better. As Dr. Davis said, “To love the Church is to love what God is doing in the world. To hate the Church is to hate what God is doing in the world. To be indifferent to the Church is to be indifferent to what God is doing in the world.” In its description of the church, the Bible uses seven key metaphors. In part one of his message on this topic, Andy Davis outlined the first three:
National Metaphors: The Church is the people of God, called out by Him and united by a common king, spiritual focus, and view of history. As part of Christ’s kingdom, we are required to follow the customs of this kingdom: perfect holiness.
Religious Metaphors: The Church is a holy priesthood to God. May we daily remember our priestly role in the church and sacrifice ourselves for her, pray for her instead of criticizing her, and praise God for His love for her.
Family Metaphors: The Church is God’s household. We are His servants, called by Him to give cheerful and sacrificial service to Him. We are His adopted sons and daughters, and should live with fervent love for our brothers and sisters in Christ. And finally, we are the bride of Christ. Oh what a beautiful and intimate picture this is! As Christ’s bride, we are called to have a close and loving relationship with Him. May we always love the church with the same passion Christ has for her!
In part two of this message, Andy Davis will speak on the Biological, Architectural, Possessive, and Display metaphors of the Church.
Scott Brown leads the audience in joyful praise as the second day of the conference gets under way.
Let all things their Creator bless,
And worship Him in humbleness,
O praise Him! Alleluia!
Praise, praise the Father, praise the Son,
And praise the Spirit, Three in One!
As Joel Beeke explained in this message, the church is not a “voluntary society.” But do we view it as such, and live our lives removed from the body of Christ? Are we obeying Him in nurturing this blessed community of believers? Illustrating the multifaceted beauty of the church and challenging us to fulfill our role as a member of it, Joel Beeke examined three main components of Christ’s church: her glorious status, her glorious substance, and her glorious success. Belonging to Christ, the church has the highest status possible. Christ’s power and love bind individuals together into a family that keeps growing through and in Him. Built upon the foundation of the apostles, which rests on Christ the chief cornerstone, we are the living stones which make up the new Jerusalem.