The Kind of Churches The NCFIC is Praying For

The mission of the NCFIC is to proclaim the sufficiency of Scripture for church and family life.  We believe that the a progressive returning to Biblical order in both of these spheres is critical for the health of both church and family. We pray for Biblically ordered churches with the following characteristics: 

I. Biblical purpose
Churches where the first purpose is to glorify God by obeying His Word and spreading the gospel until Christ comes again.

II. Sufficiency of Scripture
Churches where Scripture is the sole guide for church and family life.

III. Biblical preaching 
Churches which embrace that God leads His church through the faithful preaching the Word.      

IV. Prayer
Churches where everything is by prayer and supplication.

V. Regenerate church membership
Churches composed of the regenerate who have entered into covenant with one another.

VI. Biblically ordered church life
Churches embracing that only God is qualified to order church life and all activities must be regulated by His express commands.

VII. The Great Commission
Churches which evangelize and plant churches throughout the world.

VIII. Confessional foundations
Churches of doctrinal soundness according to historic confessions.

IX. Family reformation
Churches where Biblical family life, fatherhood and motherhood promoted and preserved.

X. Church as a body and family
Churches which are relational communities of brothers and sisters.

XI. Church discipline
Churches which maintain perseverance in the constant work of purification, fear and excommunication according to Biblical standards.

XII. Biblical Church Leadership – Elders and Deacons
Churches devoted to the appointing of Biblically qualified Elders and Deacons.

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Laboratory of Infallible medicines

Here is a quote from Thomas Guthrie on the relevancy of the Bible:

“The Bible is an armory of heavenly weapons, a laboratory of infallible medicines, a mine of exhaustless wealth. It is a guidebook for every road, a chart for every sea, a medicine for every malady, and a balm for every wound. Rob us of our Bible and our sky has lost its sun.”

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Fear of God Devotional: A Wrong View of the Fear of God

Paul Washer shows how we often misunderstand the fear of God. The fear of God is different compared to fear of man. We don’t fear a wrathful man the way we fear God. God is different, so our fear is different… Godly fear is mingled with love and joy and awe. This is why the fear of God is a healthy thing, while fear of a wrathful man is very different. God is good and that makes Him worthy of our fear. 

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of God in the Church

How is the fear of God manifested within the church?

Paul Washer explains in this video that as a church grows in the fear of the Lord, many things happen. For one, a church will begin to see the seriousness of worship in the sense that we don’t worship God according to how we like, but we worship Him according to what He has commanded. The fear of God also leads to a natural exaltation of the Word of God and a realization that we need to conform our lives to it.

One of the greatest manifestations of the fear of God in the body of Christ is a love for one another. We will look at a fellow Christian that we dislike or struggle to get along with and realize that God sent His Son to shed His blood on Calvary for this person. To mistreat, ignore, or gossip about them is a sin against God and would hurt an individual that Christ died for.

The fear of God doesn’t result in a rigid, strict following of His commandments, but rather an outpouring of love. If there is no love, we become almost like monsters. But that isn’t true Christianity. Instead, the fear of the Lord is manifested in love, humility, and sacrificial service towards others.

Philippians 2:3-8 (NKJV) “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

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Joel Beeke Just Published John Bunyan on the Fear of God

Here is how Joel Beeke describes this book:

“Old friends can be full of surprises. Have you ever visited with a dear friend whom you have known for years, only to discover something new about him that makes you admire him all the more? I grew up with John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, and though of course I never met Bunyan, I count him a dear friend whose writings have long nourished my soul. Yet after co-authoring a book with Paul Smalley on Bunyan and the fear of God, my admiration and gratitude for the tinker-theologian has deepened.  

As a seminary professor, I never cease to be astounded by Bunyan. He had little formal education, but he received a Ph.D. from the School of Suffering with Christ. His persecutors thought they had confined this preacher to jail, but in reality Bunyan lived in the Bible—and the word of God cannot be bound. To read Bunyan’s voluminous writings is to be immersed in the text of Holy Scripture.

That’s why I find Bunyan’s perspective on the fear of God so valuable. This topic is clouded with much confusion today. It seems that most people think that the fear of God annihilates faith in God’s grace, and vice versa. Some preachers distort the love of God in a manner that would take God off His throne and make Him our spiritual buddy. Other preachers fixate on God’s law and wrath to the neglect of the gospel so that people cower in degradation or run away from the Lord. 

Bunyan, however, discovered in the Bible that God’s grace ignites the fear of God in us. God puts His fear in those whom He loves and intends to bless forever. Many of God’s best promises are to the people who fear Him and hope in His faithful love. While it is true that some fear is bad, Bunyan teaches us how to discern between healthy and unhealthy fear toward God. We need not fear the true fear of God, for it is our best friend as we travel by grace along our pilgrimage toward His glory. In fact, God’s very grace is fearful, for it is the grace of God. Our distaste for the fear of the Lord shows how poorly we know God. 

So I commend the book to you in the hope that, by learning from Bunyan, you will learn more about God and will delight to fear His name.”

(Right now, RHB is selling John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God at a discounted price of only $8.00, over 45% off its retail price.)

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Fear of God Devotional: When Pastors Struggle with Fear of Man

What happens when pastors struggle with the fear of man?

Paul Thompson shares an example from his own life where, because of his obedience to God, certain things occurred that negatively impacted his reputation within the community.

Through this experience, God showed him that he was concerned more about his reputation rather than being grateful for God’s blessings. God was feeding, clothing, and providing everything he needed. God alone was sufficient. God also revealed how foolish it was to try to be a protector of his own reputation. Instead of seeking to protect his reputation, he ought to have proclaimed the truths of Scripture no matter the consequences, even if his reputation suffered as a result.

Though it was a humbling experience, he realized how futile it was to try to take it into his own hands to protect his own reputation, and was thankful for God mercifully steering him back to the truth.

Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) – “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

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Utterly Worthless

In the first three verses of 1 Cor 13:1-3, Paul makes it clear that without love you are nothing. You can have the most biblical church and its worth nothing. You can embrace sound doctrine and defend it to the death and its worth nothing. You can be the most gifted person in town and its worth nothing. You can have the best missions program and its worth nothing. You can have the best outreach and its worth nothing. You can go to an abortion clinic, a rest home, and draw hundreds and even thousands and its worth nothing. You can evangelize and street preach and drive home your point and preach a true gospel, and its worth nothing.

We can think well of ourselves because of what we do, and these words in 1 Cor 13:1-3 are standing in the way to say, “wait a minute… but do you love?

Our Lord Jesus came for love – to make a father, a loving father; a worker, a loving worker; a church member a loving church member…

Here’s the problem: loving people and using people can look the same on the outside. Doing righteous things out of love, and doing them without love can look the same on the outside. Do you have love?

Here is the bottom line: ordinary love, is more important than extraordinary gifts. Giftedness without love is worthless. And, external gifts do not prove inward grace. Giftedness does not prove salvation. This is why Jonathan Edwards says good works are like a beautiful garment you put on that does not change you, but only alters your appearance.

But, love is more excellent.

Without love we are nothing.

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of God in Purchasing Cars

How does the fear of God apply to various aspects of everyday life?

Craig Houston explains in this video that the fear of God should influence all aspects of our life, even our vehicle purchases. When making such a purchase, one who fears God must determine how to be a wise steward of the money that God has given him.

In contrast, a person who fears man would only consider what his friends would think instead of pondering what God would have him to do. Fearing man can paralyze us. We fear men so much that whatever we wear, speak, and do, we do it all in the name of pleasing men and live in constant worry, wondering if we’re living up to their varying standards. This “fear” is misplaced – instead of wondering what your friends would say or think, prayerfully seek to always please God in all things.

Ephesians 5:15-17 (NKJV) – “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

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Fear of God Devotional: Is Lack of Giving Connected with Lack of the Fear of God?

How can we increase in the fear of the Lord?

In this video, Gary Powers explains that one way we can increase our fear of God is through our giving to a local church, the returning of a tithe to the Lord. It was implemented to teach God’s people to fear Him always. In America today, there sadly is a lack of individuals who tithe – could it be connected with a similar lack of the fear of God?

We ought to view tithing as giving to a sovereign God, returning that which is His, as a way of demonstrating our gratitude to Him. Tithing is a recognition that everything we receive from God is from Him alone, a gracious and merciful Priest and King.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NKJV) – “Honor the Lord with your possessions, And with the firstfruits of all your increase; So your barns will be filled with plenty, And your vats will overflow with new wine.”

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Fear of God Devotional: When Church Leaders Do Not Fear God

What happens when leaders of the church do not fear God as they ought?

Mala Chindongo explains in this video that one problem in the church is that often, church leaders start with an inward focus and wrongly believe that everything is all about themselves. Instead of fearing God, they have no fear of God and instead, pursue the things that build themselves up.

Yet, when the whole ministry becomes about the pastor, anyone who stands in the way is seen as a threat. Thus, the entire church is tainted by this prideful church leader. So many negative consequences result because the pastor was looking at the church as his “project” instead of realizing it that it is God’s church and fearing Him.

James 4:6 (NKJV) – “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of God and Understanding the Bible

How can one grow in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding?

Craig Houston explains in this video that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. In contrast, fools despise wisdom and instruction (Proverbs 1:9). This fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, the beginning of having an understanding of the truth of God’s Word. We should all strive to increase our love and our study of God’s Word – it is better than silver or gold.

In chapter 9 of Proverbs, there is a similar passage – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10, NKJV). From this verse, we see that knowledge, wisdom, and understanding are each rooted in that fear of God. Isn’t that all the more reason to fear God, the Creator of the universe, the almighty, omnipotent God?

Proverbs 1:5 (NKJV) – “A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel”

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How the Love of God Is Perfected in You

Its often easy to tell where people are from based on how they talk. John is making a very similar point in 1 John 2:3-8. Jesus makes a different kind of person. God teaches His children to think differently, talk differently, walk differently, react differently. It is tangible. It shows where they are from. John is making it clear that the greatest earthly blessing that human beings can experience is to be delivered from ourselves, and become a person who is quite unlike us. This is what God does. He calls us out of ourselves and into Him. And when this happens, He begins to perfect us in love. He brings us a superior life. He blesses us with better promises. He brings a better covenant. He calls us to live by better commands. To exist in this state is what it means to know Him and be in Him and to abide in Him – truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him – the love of God is being perfected.

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Fear of God Devotional: Why We Fear God

How do we grow in our fear of God?

Jason Dohm explains that most people don’t choose the things they fear – rather, fear is normally a response to something. Similarly, the fear of God is also a natural response that comes about when we understand who God is. We grow in our knowledge and understanding of God from reading the Bible and learning what He is like.

We are ignorant of what God is like until we go to His revealed Word and He shows us what He is like. Once He does, the fear of God naturally results. The more we grow in our knowledge of God, the more we fear Him. Put simply, we can’t increase our fear of God without increasing our knowledge of God. This fear of God is stimulated when we understand who God truly is.

Romans 11:33 (NKJV) – “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”

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Fear of God Devotional: The Fear of the Lord in Culture

How was the fear of God present in early America?

Carlton McLeod explains that the fear of the Lord impacts culture. It did at one point in America. The fear of the Lord produced a society that honored God’s name, that honored pastors, elders, the home. These characteristics were present even in non-church goers.

By and large, the church was very home and family-centered. God’s Word was honored. There was more respect for elders. There was a certain decorum in dress. The fear of the Lord was embedded in the culture at large. However, we have since lost the blessing of having a culture that acknowledged that there is a God that will one day judge them for their actions.

Revelation 15:4 (NKJV) – “Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.”

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Fear of God Devotional: When Pastors Fear Man

What does it look like when a pastor fears man more than he fears God?

Clarence Simmons explains that this kind of pastor will shun away from certain truths. He will only preach certain things to appease his congregation. He will never preach something that would upset an influential member of the congregation. Why do they do this? No one likes controversy and we all want to be liked. No one wants to be hated.

Yet, when we preach, our focus cannot be on our congregation. Rather, it must be on God alone. No matter how the congregation reacts, we cannot cater our message to them at the expense of compromising Scriptural truths. If we do that, the fear of man becomes the moving instrument in one’s ministry and not the fear of God. We are to preach the Word of God regardless of what men might say because it is God’s Word.

Proverbs 29:25 (NKJV) “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe.”

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