Sermon of the Week – Crisis of Faith and the Goodness of God by Brian Borgman

Crisis of Faith and the Goodness of God – Part 1 of 4

by Pastor Brian Borgman.

If we haven’t had a Crisis of Faith yet in our walk with God, we will someday. Pastor Brian addresses the heartache and struggles in this encouraging and edifying 4 part sermon series from Psalm 73. Enjoy Part 1 of 4 as this week’s Sermon of the Week.

Play MP3 for Crisis of Faith – Part 1 of 4

Download MP3

Pastor Brian’s Church: Grace Nevada

The Mormon Moment? Religious Conviction and the 2012 Election

To vote or not to vote…that is the question. At least it has been the question at Defending. Contending. for many months now. We have all discussed whether a Christian should or can vote for a Mormon candidate…or if we should or can vote for a pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage candidate, or if we should just stay home and not vote at all. Previous articles: Mormon President?, Vote for Mormon?

I don’t have a solution for the good readers of DefCon, as this is split along many different lines of conviction. However, I do offer this interesting video of a round table discussion at Southern Seminary this week. The title tells the story:

“The Mormon Moment? Religious Conviction and the 2012 Election”

The roundtable discussion features Albert Mohler, Russell Moore, Greg Gilbert, and Mark Coppenger. This video contributes to the conversation and helps each of us think through the issue from several angles. The panel discusses what Mormonism is, where they have appeal to our society, how it is a false gospel, and what impact a Mormon President of the USA might have on the world stage.

 

(you may have to press “play” twice)

**** This video is in no way an endorsement for either candidate or an endorsement for not voting, but a contribution to the discussion.****

Southern Seminary Resources Website

Panel Discussion MP3 Download

The Ultimate Act of Submission

Submission is a common theme in the Bible. At times it is interpreted improperly, causing a reaction of repulsion in many. Does the title of this article make your stomach turn a little? This is a theme we must explore.

Is submission only about wives submitting to husbands as Paul commands in Chapter 5 of his letter to the Ephesians? Do you immediately see that domineering husband pounding his fist on the table calling his wife to submit? I hope you’ll readily agree that there is so much more to submission than just wives submitting to husbands, but often this is the only picture non-Christians have of Biblical submission. I want to propose to you that there is a form of submission – the ultimate act of submission – that makes Christians unique in the world.

Even the words “submit” and “submission” have such a negative connotation in the world today. They carry a negative connotation because the concept (or misconception) stomps on our self-centered independent spirit. We don’t WANT to submit, because we are self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-righteous, self-centered, selfish…it is all about us – me, myself, and I. We reject the idea of submitting to another, even if we don’t admit it, the reaction is tucked deep into our hearts.  How can I submit to another when my focus is locked like a tractor beam on ME!?! I don’t have to submit to anyone else, some might say. I am free and independent.

Are we free and independent? Or are we to submit to something greater? So, what is the ULTIMATE act of submission for all of mankind?

We know we are to submit to the Government and authorities that God has put over us (1 Pet 2:13-17, Rom 13:1-7). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Children are to submit to their parents (Eph 6:1-3). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Slaves are to submit to masters…or more realistic today, employees are to submit to employers (Eph 6:5-8). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Wives are to submit to their own husbands (Eph 5:22-23). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

As believers, we are all to submit to each other (Eph 5:20-21). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

Husbands are to submit to Christ (Eph 5:23-33). This is beautiful and gospel centered, but not the ultimate act of submission.

We must do all these. Its not negotiable. But there is still something greater. If all these Biblical commands are not the ULTIMATE act of submission, what is?

Prayer.

Man giving into dependency on his creator is the ULTIMATE act of submission. Simply praying.

Prayer is the ultimate act of submission for mankind because it forces us to look away from self and look to another in dependency. We must set our self-sufficiency and self-reliance down in the hallway before entering the prayer room to face our maker and find sufficiency in HIM and reliance on Him and dependence on HIM.

Jesus tells us: “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” (Matthew 6:6 ESV)

You get no fame when praying in secret. You get no accolades from those who hear when praying in public like the Pharisees. It can’t be an act. I’m not talking about public prayer, which is often a time when we show off and pray so men can hear us. I’m talking about the secret really prayer. It must be true submission to our God. We find yourself face-to-face with God in the Throne Room of Heaven and faced with the decision to submit to Him or to treat Him as our cosmic vending machine. Do we face Him and pray for what we want and then expect God provide because He is submissive to US? Or do we fall on our face in desperate reliance on the one who holds the stars in the sky (Heb 1:1-3)?

What does it look like for you? Is prayer for you just a chore or a laundry list of wants delivered as fast as possible? Or is prayer a time when you fall on your Abba, Father in complete reliance, dependency, worship, joy, and conversation. Is prayer cold and distant? Brief and lacking passion? Or are your regularly moved to tears and daily plead with God for His mercy and grace? What does it look like for you?

Paul and the other writers of the New Testament bring prayer to the forefront often with the following commands:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people… (1 Timothy 2:1 ESV)

Rom 12:12 – be in constant prayer
1 Cor 7:5 – devote yourself to prayer
2 Cor 1:11 – help us by prayer
Eph 6:18 – praying at all times in the spirit
Phil 4:6 – don’t be anxious…but in everything by prayer
Col 4:2 – continue steadfastly in prayer
1 Thes 5:17 – pray without ceasing
2 Thes 3:1 – pray for us
Heb 13:18 – pray for us
Jam 5:13 – if anyone is suffering…let them pray
Jude 1:20 – building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit
Rev 5:8 and 8:3 – we see the prayers of the saints in heaven

And from the Gospels:

Mat 6:5 – and when you pray you must not be like the hypocrites
Mat 6:9 – Pray like this…our Father
Mat 21:22 – and whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive
Luke 6:28 – pray for those that abuse you
Luke 10:2 – therefore pray earnestly to the lord of the harvest to send out laborers
Luke 22:40 – pray that you will not enter into temptation

Obviously Jesus, who was obedient and submissive to the Father, prayed in secret as our example. Jesus made prayer a priority:

Mathew 14:23 – And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray.
Mark 1:35 – And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Mark 6:45-46 – Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
Mark 14:32 – And they went to a place called Gethsemane. And he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
Luke 6:12 – In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.

Prayer is the air that the Christian must breath. If we come with a laundry list of wants and desires and not with a heart of true and complete submission, are we even praying at all? If we come self-reliant and self-sufficient, have we really come at all? I doubt it. How can we enter the Throne Room of Heaven with anything less than hearts on fire?

If we were faced with what Isaiah saw in his vision of the Lord on the throne in Isaiah 6, would we pray the same way we pray every day? Or would we respond as Isaiah did, “Woe is me, for I am a man of unclean lips!”  We need to get on our knees and prostrate in full submission and hear from our LORD.

Prayer is the ultimate act of submission for mankind, and I say mankind because there was another form of submission that has already been fulfilled. It is the true one and only holy and righteous act of submission that was fulfilled by Jesus Christ on the cross. God himself, in the form of man, equal to God but stripped of his majesty and glory was submissive to the Father to the point of death on the cross (Phil 2:5-8) having been made to be the sins of the elect adopted children of God (2 Cor 5:21). The Son of God submitted to the full punishment and death for all the sins of his adopted siblings. This can never be duplicated and will never be repeated because it is finished. Finished in Christ, who submitted for us once and for all.

Are we able to submit to our God in the truest sense? To submit to Him through prayer? Or will we hold onto our self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-centered disbelief?

Quotes (944)

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There is, then, available in this world a sure message from God, tried and true, unfailing and unchanging, and it needs to be proclaimed so that all may know it. The messenger who delivers it will have the dignity of being God’s spokesman and ambassador. Nor self-aggrandizement or self-advertisement is involved, for the messenger neither invents his message nor asks for attention in his own name. He is a minister – that is, a servant – of God, of Christ, and of the Word. He is a steward of God’s revealed mysteries, called not to be brilliant and original but diligent and faithful (1 Cor 4:1-2). Yet to be God’s messenger – to run His errands, act as His courier, and spend one’s strength making Him known – is the highest honor that any human being ever enjoys. The servant’s dignity derives fro the dignity of his employer, and the work he is set to do.

– James Inell Packer

Sermon of the Week: Retracted

In the desire to keep Christ the center of what we do here at DefCon, the Sermon of the week has been retracted by the Author due to concerns regarding the character of the man who preached it.

How Dare You Keep Me Accountable to That!

ACCOUNTABILITY
Accountability is a funny thing. When we become Christians we eventually come around to knowing that we need accountability. More often, however, we make it our priority to get really good at holding others accountable. We are very serious and committed to the accountability of others regarding their faith, their witness, and their obedience. From time to time our friends will come to us and return the favor and it is very difficult to accept. It is never easy to be on the receiving end of the accountability stick.

In all our efforts to ensure our loved ones (and acquaintances…and total strangers) are toeing the proverbial Christian line, I believe that we routinely miss the 2 most important Christ-like behaviors. In all our zeal and good intentions, there are 2 areas to which we never call others to account. I want to focus on these 2 traits that Christ exhibited that truly require our utmost attention in holding ourselves and others accountable. Bear with me as I put the microscope on each of us (author included) and shoot very close to home here. I expect this to sting a bit because it stung greatly as it was revealed to me. We are very quick to call others to account, but are we holding them accountable for what is really important?

**Disclaimer – this article is directed towards our efforts in the accountability of others and not targeting our personal convictions. Many may hold strong convictions in the areas listed below, which I do not intend to criticize in any way. My concern is strictly with what we are missing in our accountability. **

As we sit back and ponder the ways to which we can leave our mark on the accountability factor for all those we know, we must think of the most Christ-like traits…several come to mind immediately:

1. Accountability to how we dress and modest feminine clothing.
2. Accountability to what we watch on TV and the music we listen to.
3. Accountability to having a TV at all!
4. Accountability to what preachers we listen to…or who that preacher has associated with at one time.
5. Accountability to proper doctrine!
6. Accountability toward homeschooling, women in the workplace, who we vote for, holidays we do or don’t celebrate, how much we give and where we give.
7. You name it and we will keep you accountable to it!

We are so good at calling these out when we see it. Are we definitely getting towards Christ-likeness with these? Are these common topics bringing the beauty of Christ to mind? I must say, they do not. Do these things really jump out as the Christ-like traits? They do not. Are these the behaviors that really resemble Christ? Are these the behaviors that our sanctification is leading to? Sanctification is the process of squeezing us through the meat grinder so that when we come out the other side we look more like Christ. Is this what it looks like? I think not. Each of these may require accountability as will drugs, alcohol, sexual impurity, and lying. But we are still missing 2 huge ones that are vital to our witness.

CHRIST-LIKENESS
So, what are we missing? We are so quick to hold others accountable, yet we miss these. I propose that the 2 traits most Christ-like requiring an increase in attention for accountability are:

1. Demonstrating humility.
2. Loving one another.

1. Humility: Was Christ humble? Yes – infinitely so! In Philippians 2:5-9 we see that Christ humbled Himself by leaving his glory in Heaven and emptying Himself to be in the form of a servant – a human. He had to be come nothing to be like us. He was humble to the point of obedience in death on the cross. Christ was infinitely humble. In Zechariah 9:9 it was prophesied that He was to come humble, on a donkey. He didn’t come like the king that He is, with an entourage, trumpets, majestic horses, and great fanfare. He came on a donkey, lowly and humble, a man of no reputation.This is a Christ-like trait that we should be demonstrating as Christians. We should be known as humble. Is that our reputation? Is this one of the things that people say of you?

Now, with focusing on humility, I don’t mean that we need to be humble when we come to hold others accountable on the laundry list above. I mean we need to HOLD others accountable to being humble! We need to come to our brothers and sisters and encourage them to be like Christ – lowly, humble, gentle, and kind in all things…even in our strong and bold defense of the gospel.

Paul, James, and Peter get in the act as well in 1 Corinthians 10:1, James 4:6-10, and 1 Peter 3:8, 5:5-6, where we are told to humble ourselves, be tenderhearted, like Christ who was meek and gentle. “A bruised reed He will not break, and a faintly burning wick He will not extinguish.” (Isaiah 42:3)

Are we urging each other to be humble? Are we stirring each other up towards humility? Are we seeking a humble spirit? Christ was humble and we should be humble. We need help being humble since it is contrary to the sinful pride and arrogance buried deep in our hearts.

2. Love: Was Christ Loving? Yes, of course, infinitely so! This is a touchy subject, however, because talking about Christ and His love can quickly brand you as a liberal with no backbone. I address this below. One of our tenants is “I love you enough to tell you the truth.” This is admirable in many many cases and horrendously unloving in many others. Do we sense the balance and do we see the line enough to not cross over it like a bull in a china shop? The line – the distinction – is defined by trait number 1. If we approach others with humility and true love for that person then it will be profitable. If we approach them in pride and arrogance then we are just hiding behind the word LOVE while we feed the self-righteous monster inside us. Do we truly demonstrate the Christ-like love we are called to?

Again, I’m not speaking of holding others accountable to the laundry list above in a loving way, I’m talking about HOLDING others accountable to love one another. We must love one another as followers of Christ.

All the laws and commandments are boiled down to two: Love God will all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself (Mat 22:34-40). The commandments come down to truly loving our neighbor. In John’s first epistle, he summarizes a long passage about love by stating that this is what we were commanded: “believe in the Lord Jesus and love one-another.” (1 John 3:22-24). We are commanded to love one another. Why is this overarching commandment the one least discussed? I suggest a reason below.

Are we seeking a spirit of love towards one another? Are we stepping out of our obsession with ourselves long enough to actually love one another? Are we calling each other to love? Are we holding each other accountable: a) in love, and b) to love? Are we placing love for one another as the primary commandment and law between mankind where it belongs?  We should be. We need helping in loving one-another. We have to stop loving ourselves if we are to love one-another.

YOU LIBERAL
How dare you hold me accountable to that! Shouldn’t we be bold with the truth? Yes, if you can do it in a Christ-like manner with love and humility. Don’t we have a responsibility to call out the unrepentant sin, false doctrine, and immodesty? Yes, if we can do it in a Christ-like manner with love and humility. I can hear some shouting and the computer screen, “That’s weak! That is classic liberal, touchy feeling, God is love, ecumenical, mumbo jumbo!” Or, maybe you aren’t vocalizing it but if we are honest, those of us in the fundamental and reformed camp must admit that we cringe at the “God is love” crowd and the “peace and love” crowd. Isn’t this all for the hippy Jesus freaks and the ecumenical crowd? If we are honest, our impulse is to recoil from the suggestion that we must hold each other accountable to Humility and Love as the utmost importance.

But, let’s not recoil. Instead let’s make our greatest desire to be Christ-like. Let’s give into the sanctification process and let our attitudes be conformed into the image of Christ who was infinitely humble and infinitely loving. He commanded us to love. These concepts aren’t owned by the emergent church and Rob Bell. Love and humility is owned by Christ! He is the founder of such things. Take it back. Let us be known as those who are truly humble and truly love one-another…even our enemies and those who disagree with us.

If we want to be like Christ, we must humble ourselves in the form of a servant and to the point of death, while loving one another preemptively and sacrificially to the point of death.

We need to help each other in this.

Let’s together hold each other accountable to be more like Jesus.

Sermon of the Week: “Why Every Pastor Should Be a Biblical Theologian” by Michael Lawrence

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This week’s sermon comes from Pastor Michael Lawrence who is formerly of Capital Hill Baptist (Mark Dever’s Washington DC church) and now pastor at Hinson Baptist Church in Portland, OR. This sermon comes from the 2012 Together For the Gospel Conference and is a direct plea to pastors, elders, Sunday school teachers and all Christians to not be professionals in the area of ministry; not to be about numbers, seating, programs, and the like, but to be BIBLICAL THEOLOGIANS. Biblical Theology is different from systematic theology in that if we compare theology to a tree, Systematic Theology would be the study of the full grown tree and its fruit while Biblical Theology is the study of the tree from a seed and watching it grow progressively over time and how its growth progresses from one stage to another. Biblical Theology, therefore, requires the Christian, pastor, teacher, or elder to be a person of the Word of God…to be fully drenched and saturated in the Word of God, and not systems or frameworks or theology books. Enjoy Michael’s interesting message here:

Why Every Pastor Should Be a Biblical Theologian

T4G Website with Link

Hinson Baptist Church Website for more information.