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Author Archives: Pastor Chas

Take a Look – 4/5

“Take a Look” is a new addition to the Grace in Truth blog. Each week links will be posted from different sources to engage your mind and encourage your heart. Take a look at the links below.

No, the Church Didn’t Create the Bible

In this TGC podcast, Don Carson and Michael Kruger have a brief discussion on the Canon. Only 6 minutes and 45 seconds long, it is a quick listen that is worth your time.

7 Evidences of a Spirit-Led Life

James Williams gives a list from Martyn Lloyd-Jones’s commentary on Romans 8:5-17. “What comes to mind when someone says they are Spirit-led?” Lloyd-Jones’s responses to the question are invaluable to the believer. If you don’t have time to read it, check out the audio linked at the bottom of his post and subscribe to his podcast.

10 Reasons Why the Bible Regards Women Higher than All Other Systems

Eric Davis does an exceptional job of sharing truths our current culture does not consider. What does the Bible say about the value of women? Eric’s list is an edifying read for men an women.

10 Serious Problems with Jesus Calling

When we read a book, we should read it with discernment and listen to what others are saying about the book. Jesus Calling has swept through the evangelical church, and many have accepted it with open arms. As a pastor, I continuously hear praises from Sarah Young’s readers. I appreciate the thought and care that Tim Challies put into this book review. It is worth your time and thought.

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2019 in Take a Look

 

The Forgotten Ordinance

He entered my office full of doubts and sorrow.  Raised in the church, he was now facing the conviction and guilt from years of indulging the flesh.  The choices he made never lacked conviction, but as he continued to pursue the sinful desires of his heart, a callous slowly formed that quieted the internal battle. Recent events in his life ripped away the callous and the conviction kept at bay for years was now meeting his mind and heart at full force.

“He” is a person that I have met many times as a pastor. The looming culture of the Bible belt is one of secularism that disguises itself as Christianity. Obesity from the things of the world has become prevalent, and the “belt” no longer fits.  Subjected to this atmosphere many in the church have walked an aisle, prayed a prayer, and been baptized thinking that was the end of the story.

Therefore, when “he” shows up at the church and walks the aisle again, that person is looking for a “do over.”  Most of the time they feel as though something was wrong the first time, and they may be correct.  Sometimes they will tell me they did not understand the decision they previously made and desire to pray and be baptized – again.  

Allow me a bit of liberty at this moment.  This person may very well be saved, or not.  It is not my desire to give anyone a method for determining the salvation of another, but I do want to bring attention to a gift from God that it seems many churches have forgotten.  In his or her “return” to the faith, the person often desires to be baptized again – even when they believe their first baptism was legitimate – they are confused.  Baptism may be the last act of faith they remember and the only expression they recognize.

So, what is our response?  In the current area in which I serve, the answer is often a second, third, or fourth baptism.  As I sit in meetings with other pastors, the stories become more frequent, and the response seems always to be the same.  Have we forgotten the other ordinance?  

What is Baptism?

Baptism seems to be a well-communicated topic.  It is something in which the church rejoices and for a good reason.  I would even “step out on a limb” and say the understanding of baptism and its celebration play a significant role in why people come for baptism again and the church tends to embrace the practice.

However, in Scripture, we see baptism displayed as an initial act of faith.  Yes, there are those that contest this idea and suggest there are other acts that precede baptism and they may be correct.  However, when I state that it is an initial act of faith, I mean it was designed to be at the beginning of a person’s public journey in faith, and there is no record in Scripture to support the repetition of the physical act of baptism.  It seems to commence the outward expressions of a life of faith – there is no evidence that baptism is an act of rededication.  However, there is another public proclamation, or ordinance, that commands repetition.

The Lord’s Supper

Called by a few names in the local churches that surround me, the Lord’s Supper and Communion seem to be the most common labels.  Most people recognize it as one of the four times a year (if the church leaders remember it) a plate is passed with stale mini-crackers and then followed by the dish filled with little cups of grape juice that everyone dreads the thought of spilling.  

I have learned over the years that few people understand the significance of observing the Lord’s Supper.  They easily quote a version of Luke 22:19-20:

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’ “ (ESV)

However, there is little understanding of the declaration they are making as they participate in this ordinance.  Perhaps churches have not forgotten the activity of the Lord’s Supper, but the church has forgotten what it means and the power of its observance.

A Call to Remember

  At the church in Corinth the practice of the Lord’s Supper, though observed, had lost its meaning.  I do not suggest that no one knew the meaning of this ordinance, but that some in the church had forgotten the rich gift they were declaring each time the partook of the bread and cup.  Read what Paul wrote to this church:    

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, ‘This is my body, which is for[f] you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (ESV)

What does Paul tell them about the statement they are individually and collective making as they take of the bread and cup?  He says they are proclaiming the death of Christ!

Every time they met together and participated in this ordinance, they were proclaiming the atonement of Christ.  As Paul writes of the death of Christ, he does not mean it to be understood apart from the completed work of Christ.  As we meet together and participate in the Lord’s Supper, we are making a declaration of the forgiveness of sin, and a restoration of fellowship with God and each other – all because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  This truth should change the way we respond to the person that comes to us, struggling and looking for a declaration of a “fresh start.”  Instead of baptism, we ought to point them toward the Lord’s Supper.

A Call to Remind

When was the last time your church participated in the Lord’s Supper?  Are the meaning and declaration taught to the congregation, or was there merely a regurgitation of Luke 22:19-20?

Each time you partake of the Lord’s Supper, you are making a declaration that the atoning work of Christ has been and is applied to your life.  As a church, you are declaring the unity of the body of Christ, proclaiming to one another a bond through the blood of Christ.  For those struggling with sin, it is a moment of repentance and restoration. When taught and understood, it is a powerful experience.  It seems we have forgotten this truth.  Therefore, it is something of which we must remind one another.

The most moving services in which I have participated observed the Lord’s Supper after the sermon.  It offers a chance for the congregation to respond to God’s Word in an impactful manner with acts that provide a remembrance of Christ’s gift of salvation.  When people come looking for “rededication” or find themselves amid struggle, we must not forget the Lord’s Supper and the act of remembrance set forth by our Savior, Jesus Christ.

I pray that the next time your church participates in the Lord’s Supper, it will have a deeper meaning for you and your church.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2019 in Church Life

 

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A Reflection on the Valley of Elah

The stage was set long before a shepherd boy set foot in this valley with a sling, a staff, and five smooth stones from the stream bed (1 Sam 17). Israel stood before an enemy that defied the people of God and thereby defied God himself. It was Israel’s disobedience that brought them to this place – their lack of faith when it came to driving out the inhabitants of the land during the period of the conquest. However, the disobedience did not start with Israel. It was a result of a heart stained by iniquity that has plagued man since the time of Genesis 3.

The Philistines were a thorn in Israel’s side. Saul failed in his attempts to subdue this enemy just as Adam and Eve failed in their encounter with the Serpent. However, at the battle in this valley, David would have victory over the external enemy. Though the success would lead to victory over the Philistines, iniquity would still reign in the heart of man – sinfulness as seen in David’s adulterous pursuit of Bathsheba and the murder of her husband.

As the Israelites stood listening to the condemnation and blasphemy of Goliath, there was one who would battle for their freedom. However, this battle was not the end. This fight was not the moment when the seed of the woman would crush the head of the serpent. The shepherd boy born in Bethlehem that would become king was but a foreshadow of the Eternal King that would become flesh as a baby in the town of Bethlehem.

It was Jesus, God incarnate, that would not only crush the head of the serpent, but also remove the iniquity of his people through the blood he shed on the cross. Christ would defeat death through death, and grant his people freedom from guilt and condemnation.

The battle at Elah was not the beginning of the fight, and it was not the end of the war. The account of David and Goliath point forward to the victory of Jesus Christ.

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2019 in Israel 2019, Just a Thought

 

8th Day in Israel

It has been a great trip. I am sitting at the gate of the airport, waiting to board the plane. Here are some pictures from today, before we traveled to the airport.

This picture is the Valley of Elah; the site of the battle between David and Goliath (1 Sam 17).
The picture above is the Garden Tomb. Two places in Jerusalem are believed to be the tomb of Jesus. This picutre is one of the sites.
After Jesus’ arrest and before he stood before Pontius Pilate, he was kept through the night in this dungeon beneath the house of Caiaphas.
These are the southern steps leading up to the Temple Mount. Common people used this entrance. It would have been the place where Jesus taught and the entrance he would have used.

The next stop on our journey is Miami, Florida.

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2019 in Israel 2019

 

7th Day in Israel

Yesterday was cloudy and cold, but today was a beautiful day. We spent the entire day in the region of Samaria and had a delicious meal on the mountain of Ahab and Jezebel’s palace. I enjoy the food in Israel, and there has been no deficiency in the amounts we are given to eat. There has only been one dish that I did not enjoy. It was a small dessert at the hotel. I do not know the name of the dessert, but there are plenty of choices to help me avoid it.

On a fun trek through the City of David, we walked down to Hezekiah’s tunnel that was dug to secure water before the Assyrian invasion. You can walk through this tunnel, but we walked through the Canaanite tunnel instead. The picture above is of the entrance where the water tunnel begins, directing the waters of the Gihon Spring. (2 Chronicles 32:30).
I had the privilege of reading Scripture at this location today, John 9:1-25. Jesus healed a blind man in this location, the Pool of Siloam.
Visiting Shiloh was my favorite part of the day. After the Israelites entered the Promised Land, they established the Tabernacle at this location. It was here that Hannah prayed for a child and God blessed here. At this site, Samuel was raised by the High Priest, Eli.
Jesus was tired and sent his disciples into Sychar, in Samaria, to get food. While they were away, a woman came to the well to draw water. (John 4) This picture is of Jacob’s well which sits beneath the altar of Jacob’s Well Church.

Tomorrow, we open the day touring in Jerusalem and then we will travel to Tel Aviv for a late flight. This trip is fantastic, and I am thankful for this wonderful opportunity.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2019 in Israel 2019