Firm Foundations – Lessons 6 & 7

The Lord has been gracious to allow me the privilege of teaching at Yellowstone Baptist Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming. While I have taught through Firm Foundations before, my intent of going through it this time is to do so in conjunction with the truth of the New Testament. Each time I teach, I have been encouraged to see how people respond to things that they maybe have never heard before in their Christian walk.

These two lessons cover God creating woman as well as touching on the institution of marriage which was created by God.

The Tailspin of Civilization

Tailspin – the word is used to describe the motion of an aircraft that is in a diving descent combined with the aircraft spinning around and around. It is a problem that has caused the crash of many aircraft when the pilot cannot recover.

Cambridge English Dictionary defines tailspin as – “A situation in which something starts to fail or lose value and gets more and more out of control.”

Our society and culture is in a tailspin. Our country is in a tailspin. To be honest, I believe that western civilization is in a tailspin.

There are myriads of situations where things have either started to fail or have lost value. This has caused our country to get more and more out of control. Here are a few of the many reasons why this is true.

1) God is no longer considered relevant.

The atheist Voltaire stated (as have others in various forms), ““In the beginning God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.”

The west has long abandoned seeking after God and there is nowhere this is more evident than in so-called evangelical circles. Men and women proclaiming themselves to be messengers of God have twisted the Scriptures to mean whatever they want them to mean. The number of evangelicals who believe the fundamentals of the faith has dropped drastically and even the Scriptures are no longer held up as the authority for all that pertains to life and godliness.

2) The Scriptures are no longer revered.

The Bible is the ONLY book inspired by a holy God. ALL other books that are proclaimed to be “holy” are bogus. They were written by men who had no true love for the almight God of the universe. ONLY the Bible changes lives, and ONLY the Bible offers hope to all of mankind who will come to the foot of the cross and place their faith in Christ alone. PLUS NOTHING and MINUS NOTHING.

3) The laws of God are ignored.

When Jesus Christ (Yeshua) walked this earth, He fulfilled every aspect of the law. During His ministry, He gave two laws that all are to follow or they stand in defiance of God and will remain separated from His holiness.

First, we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and body. Simply stated, if there is anything that you love MORE than you love God, then are willfully, deliberately, and wickedly defying the first command by creating idols of your own choosing.

Second, we are to love our neighbor as we already love ourselves. Our world has twisted this on its head and tells us that we don’t love ourselves enough. The world says we need to think more highly of ourselves before we can care and love others. However, the Bible says that we are NOT to think of ourselves highly, but in lowering ourselves in humility, we are to esteem and raise others up.

4) Morals are no longer considered absolute.

Doris Day sang her way into many homes when she sang “Que Sera Sera.” Loosely translated, it means “Whatever will be, will be.”

Today’s society and culture considers as acceptable everything that is opposed to the holiness of God. They flaunt their wickedness in the faces of true believers by the trampling underfoot of Biblical marriage, the Biblical roles of men and women, the Biblical definition of family, the Biblical definition of government, the Biblical definition of life, etc.

To be clear, per the Word of God:

A) Biblical marriage is between one man and one woman for life. It is NOT between two men, two women, a human and an animal, a human and an inanimate object, etc.

B) Biblical roles are defined by God. This means that if you were born a man that you will die as a man. If you were born a woman then you will die as a woman. NO amount of mutilation or medicine will ever change that.

C) Biblical families are families that consist of one man and one woman having children and raising them to the honor and glory of God.

D) Biblical government is one that recognizes the sovereignty of God and seeks God for wisdom and understanding so that they may know how to govern rightly.

E) Biblical definition of life is that it is given by God for He alone creates life. This means that abortion for ANY reason undermines the sanctity of life as given by God.

Conclusion:

Currently in America, there is much destruction taking place because a black man, sadly, lost his life. We have something due process of law in this country. This means that the court system and jury of their peers will be charged with determining whether the police officers involved were to blame.

However, despite all the destruction, I see NOBODY protesting at the loss of life that takes place due to gang activity every single week in cities like Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit.

Despite all the looting and burning, I see NOBODY protesting at the loss of life that takes place by the tens of thousands every year in predominantly African-American communities when pre-born infants are MURDERED.

The looting, protesting, burning, destruction of property, endangering of the lives of innocent individuals has NOTHING to do with a single individual who lost his life. ALL of this is taking place because of the total depravity of the heart of man.

This has NOTHING to do with race, politics, or whatever reason you want to put in the blank. Man flouts the law of God, corrupt governments let it take place, and the results are being seen on the nightly news.

When morals are whatever you determine them to be, then the strife, hatred, confusion, etc. that we are currently seeing take place in America is justified.

When God is not honored and worshipped, then life is meaningless.

When the laws of Christ are hated, then mankind will use any and all excuses they can to ruin the lives and properties of others. Anarchy will reign supreme and people will live in fear.

When the rules that govern life are devoid of the Bible, then the rules are meaningless and will change daily to suit the whims of those seeking to enforce them.

Those who are true believers need to pray for wisdom. We need to humble ourselves before God and seek forgiveness for ALL the areas in which we have walked contrary to the laws of God. Our churches need to seek forgiveness for failing to uphold the truth of God’s Word and proclaiming that it is good and right for ALL that pertains to life and godliness. We need to pray for revival and seek God’s face.

ONLY then will the world sit up and see that there truly is a difference and a joy that comes from loving and following Jesus.

For Goats or Sheep?

In a previous post entitled, “Spiritual Vertigo”, I addressed three reasons why true believers, particularly in western evangelicalism, have entered a state where they have become disorientated. They struggle from week to week and from one Sunday morning worship to the next. The church has lost its balance and people are sick.

But, why or how does this happen?

Here are the reasons that I gave.

First, we fail to keep sight of the holiness, majesty, and glory of the almighty God. (Part 1 – Found here.)

Second, our vision of eternity is dulled because we become too focused on the world and what it has to offer. (Part 2 – Found here.)

Third, we become disorientated when we work harder to make the church appealing to unbelievers than we do in making the church a place for the sheep to come and find quiet waters and pastures where they can feed without the fear of wolves.

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Let’s get right to a summary of this blogpost.

1. Heaven is NOT for unredeemed sinners.

2. The Bride of Christ is the manifest evidence to a dead world that Jesus Christ is alive and is coming back for that which He redeemed with His precious blood.

3. Church is NOT for the pleasure of the world.

4. Church is a gathering together of believers who meet together for teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread (communion or the Lord’s Table), and prayer.

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Now we will break some of this down.

We live in a day and age of snowflakes. An overwhelming majority of people want to be offended, and there is no lack of intolerance. The worldling wears proverbial chips on the shoulder and just dares anybody, somebody, everybody to breathe in their direction so it will fall off and plummet to the ground.

Wikipedia defines the word “snowflake” as “a 2010s derogatory slang term for a person, implying that they have an inflated sense of uniqueness, an unwarranted sense of entitlement, or are overly-emotional, easily offended, and unable to deal with opposing opinions.”

Many pastors and teachers of the Scriptures today feel they are in a quandary. On one hand, they know that true believers are to obey God rather than man. On the other hand, many have not considered the price of standing for truth whether it causes offense or not. In other words, many are afraid of the faces of the people for a myriad of reasons, some of which may include their paychecks each month.

When being politically correct is more important than preaching truth, the minister who caves into the world is no longer a shepherd. They have become nothing more than a hireling.

For example, the rise of “issues” such as the LGBTQ+ movement is not a reflection of the direction the world is moving. The gross immorality of this movement has been in place for millennium. It will continue to grow more and more depraved, but we MUST expect that for the world runs headlong after all that opposes God and the truth of holiness.

The real issue is that the church bears the necessity of condemnation for its failing to adhere to Sola Scripture (Scripture alone) in all that it believes and practices. Little by little, the world kept pushing the boundaries. Pastors and church leaders kept quiet or used the phrase – “Well, whatever is done in the privacy of their own homes is ok as long as it is not done in the open.”

That was never going to be good enough, so the world continues to push. The church caved even more and now it is hard to find churches that have not openly accepted those who stand in open rebellion against God. Those who practice lawlessness moved their wickedness out of their own homes into the light of day and now have charged militantly into the church.

The militancy of this particular tiny but excessively and aggressively vocal subset of the community continues to try to infiltrate every single aspect of all that is good. What God created to be holy, they have made into degradation including marriage and the family.

Why is this important? Because the downward slide into oblivion will continue. The world will continue to make the church and God seem irrelevant. This means that true believers have just one of two choices on the shelf —

PLEASING GOD or PLEASING SELF!

What makes the situation in church even worse is that the world laughs at the church. They laugh, mock, and belittle true believers. Further, they think they are mocking God and thumbing their noses at Him. Listen to the words of King David from Psalm 2:1-4.

Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us.” He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision.

Truly, there is a dizzying difference between the churches of centuries past and the modern, so-called evangelical churches of today.

The early churches KNEW what it meant to take a stand and to be separate from the world. The world knew they were different. In fact, Acts 5:13 notes of the world, “None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.” The world did NOT consider it a light matter to join themselves to the small bands of Christian believers. They were afraid of the judgment that came from God against those who lied and grieved the Holy Spirit of God.

Today, many churches have little to no requirements for those who want to “join.” The worn-out motto has become “Come as you are, leave as you came!”

Is it any wonder that the church has no power?

Should we, who are bought by the precious blood of Jesus Christ, reduce our inheritance to nothing for the sake that we may be liked by the world? Have we truly forgotten the words of the Lord Jesus Christ that the world will HATE you because it hated me FIRST?

Brothers and sisters, the local body of believers is to be a haven of rest. It is a place where we may go to worship the God of all creation as a collective group. Will unbelievers come in to visit? Yes! Should they be welcomed? Yes!

Should we give the impression that God loves them just as they are and that our lives should be lived in a way that reflects the holiness of God? No, no, a thousand times NO!

Church is for true believers to be edified and built up in their faith. We are then to go OUT into the world to proclaim the truth of Jesus Christ. As new believers are brought to the Savior, then they should be taught and discipled to become more and more like Jesus Christ.

Dear readers, you and I WILL NEVER change the church to look more like the world and find that we have attracted anything other than goats.

The joy of salvation is that the Bible makes a clear distinction between those who are lost (goats) and those who are true believers (sheep). However, the apostle John made it clear that whosoever is thirsty, may come and drink of the water of life. The gospel call goes out to the world to come and dine at the feet of Jesus Christ. Finally, the apostle Paul said that whosoever will may come and be saved.

For the church, judgment must begin with at home. We must stop trying to pacify the world and get back to reflecting the truth that we are the Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ who is making herself ready for the return of the King.

As I concluded in the previous post, if the wonder of eternity remains dulled to us because we prefer to believe that the world holds more allure to us, then we will become a miserable failure because of a dimmed vision.

May our hearts be encouraged with a fresh look at the Savior today. May we be blessed with the recollection of all the heavenly benefits that belong to us.

Christian & a Transgender Dialogue

In these two videos, Ryan Haines engages in a conversation with Seraphim Step. They are good friends. Seraphim identifies as a transgender individual and Ryan is a true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

My purpose in sharing these two videos is because, as Christians, we are called to share the truth of God’s Word. 1 Peter 3:15 reveals that we should be ready to give an answer to anybody who asks us for a reason for the hope that is within us. Peter continues though by clarifying that we are to do so with meekness and fear. Belittling those who live under the judgment of God does not show them the love of Christ. We do not have to love, like, or endorse any actions within the LGBTQ community, but we can and should share that Christ came to the earth to save sinners.

In the first of the two videos, they discuss the terms about what transgenderism is all about, and how Seraphim came to the opinion that he was trapped in a male body and has made the decision to have surgery. This surgery is for the purpose of supposedly completing the transformation from male to female.  Unless your children are older, this may not be an appropriate video for them to see even though the two do not discuss anything explicit.

The second video is an open and Biblical explanation by Ryan sharing lovingly about the God of creation. He tells the viewer why and how God created two genders – male and female, and covers the Biblical mandate for marriage and the sexual relationship that was created for good.

One of the areas that I appreciated hearing from Ryan is the defining of Biblical terms such as “abomination” and what qualifies as an abomination before a holy and just God. If the term abomination is used just to define sexual immorality, the person using the term is not being faithful to Scripture. Ultimately, ALL sin is an abomination before God.

The bottom line is that true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ should be willing to reach out to those who have chosen a path that goes against the holiness of God. We can show friendship toward those who are searching for truth. God does forgive sin and He also brings healing.

Consistent Inconsistency – Part 3 – Divorce

This next problem is one where way too many churches are consistently inconsistent, and I believe it is a shame for several reasons.

  1. This should NOT be a problem within the body of Christ, but it is.
  2. This should NOT be divisive between brothers and sisters, but it is.
  3. This should NOT be what defines congregations, but it is.

The problem I am speaking of is the matter of divorce.

It is imperative that we define marriage and what God commands regarding marriage. Biblical marriage can ONLY be defined as: One man and one woman united together before God in the bonds of matrimony for the rest of their natural lives. As God is the One Who created marriage, it is He and He alone who defines the rules for what makes a marriage. Government has NO RIGHT to try and define what they think marriage is or what it should be.

Stated otherwise, this means: Continue reading

Biology Class Failure

Sadly, this woman obviously failed to attend biology class in high school. She was born a female and she will die a female. No person ever has, nor ever will, give birth as two genders. Even sadder is the judgment from God awaiting all that approve of this level of depravity unless they repent and confess their sin and turn to Christ. The little post will supposedly make me a bigot because I do not believe there is such a thing as being transgender, but so be it. I would rather be right with God and His Word then to seek the praise of men.

Brothers and sisters, do not allow yourself to be fooled by the world. The world hates a sovereign God and thus will do all it can to try and thwart His purposes. They will fail miserably just as Satan will. We, who are true believers, must continue to renew our minds as we become more like the Lord Jesus Christ.

For those who would think that true Christians are merely bigots and unloving and not Christlike, your own judging merely shows the intolerance of the liberal left. God has not changed His mind, nor has His word changed. God created male and female. God created marriage, NOT the government.

These days are wearisome to be sure, but the Lord has not failed to fulfill any of His promises. For those who would wonder, “Where is the promise of His coming?” Do not fear, for our redemption draws nigh.

 

How Necessary is Experience?

We live in a society where people won’t receive advice from those who haven’t “walked in their shoes.” The older I get, the more I realize that experience is not always necessary.

Whether I have been married or not, I know how husbands and wives are to treat each other. Whether or not I ever have children, I know a few things about what works and what doesn’t work in raising children. I also realize that all children are different, so what works for one may not work for another. Basic principles can be the same though.

The Bible has clear guidelines as to how a person is to live. It really doesn’t matter what I would do if I were going through your circumstances. There is still a right way to handle a situation and a wrong way.

I believe part of the reason people get defensive is that they do not want to be judged for bad decisions they are making. If you are living in any way contrary to the Word of God, you are judged already. No one should be unwilling to receive input, regardless of the source.

advice

For many years, I have periodically counseled people on marriage, parenting, and other issues. I often felt unqualified, but people needed help so I prayed and asked God for wisdom. Between Scripture and things I have learned from reading, praying, and watching others, I believe God used me during those times.

Too many times, people use excuses to do what they want to do. They are not interested in what the Bible says; they want to do what feels good in the moment. Because of this, children are hurt by parents divorcing. Selfishness reigns so that there is constant heartache and strife. God gave instructions for a reason. He loves His children and desires them to live a peaceful, holy life that He can bless. There is a reason that he condemns greed, envy, unforgiveness, hatred, etc. Those things cause us to do things that we will live to regret … if we live long enough.

Maybe I haven’t gone through what you are going through, but I know we serve a loving God. I know that His plan for you is good and not evil … IF you follow His ways.

Is Your Wife Your First Ministry?

Is Your Wife Your First Ministry?

At DefCon, we holistically support men who support their families. Men who make discipleship and love a priority for the home. The home is one of the central building blocks for a society, and the marriage is the sun by which everything in the home orbits. Having said this, there are many priorities that pastors, open air preachers, and everyday christian men have that may sometimes burden us. We can become anxious, stressed, and overwhelmed with the multiple obligations that we are to tend to. And yes, wives are included in this list of feelings. And the one thing that is not helpful are Christian cliches like, “Your wife is your first ministry.” It has a nice ring to it, and for the most part it is well meaning, but it does not properly convey the responsibilities and obligations a Christian may face on a day to day basis. It has also been abused by certain preachers that wish to exclude certain men from ministry.

I have attached a blogtalk episode that I and a pastor friend of mine recorded about this topic. My hope is that we would all take into consideration the biblical model of men not just in ministry, but just being men in general. All the material discussed in this episode may or may not reflect all the views of contributing bloggers here at DefCon. Here is the narrative and link of the episode below.

“On this exciting episode of G220 radio, George will be joined by Pastor Tom Shuck from Pilgrim Bible Church. Pastor Shuck is a graduate of Master’s Seminary and Columbia Evangelical Seminary and was a missionary to India for 12 years. He holds both a Masters of Divinity (MDiv.) and a Doctorate of Ministry (DMin.). He has been a pastor of Pilgrim Bible Church for 4 years and helped start a seminary in India as well as planted a church there. He enjoys sports, music, family trips, and George’s personal favorite, linguistics. He has evangelized in cities like Oakland, Orlando, Mumbai, Pune training believers how to evangelize, preach the gospel, and make disciples. His wife is Lisa Shuck and two children.”

“This episode we’ll explore the cliche “Your wife is your first ministry.” Is it Scriptural? Are there other primary biblical responsibilities? Can you make ministry your idol or mistress? What should a man who is called to preach do with this kind of cliche? What about missionaries and evangelists of old that we look up to that sacrificed much, even their marriages, for the gospel? What about Matthew 22:35-40, 1 Corinthians 7:32-34, Ephesians 5:22-33, and 1 Timothy 3:5?”

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/g220radionetwork/2016/05/10/ep-157-is-your-wife-your-first-ministry

-Until we go home

 

God Is Still On the Throne

supreme_court

This past week, the Supreme Court made a decision that has caused many to become worried over the future and the state of America. There is a reason that I don’t watch much news: because I know how easy it can be to become depressed and lose sight of the fact that God is still the same yesterday, today, and forever. The fact is that we have been losing our freedom for a while. This is just another spoke taken out of our wheel. No matter what the world does, however, God hasn’t changed, and there is a reason we are here at this moment. Our job is to find out what our purpose is in this ever-changing, dark world. My Facebook page has been riddled with posts as people express their views on the ruling but the best one I read was from a pastor in California who summed up perfectly how I feel. With his permission, I would like to share it with you:

Wow, what a day can hold. There has been so much conversation and online chatter about the Supreme Court Decision today and it is to be expected. I have had several conversations about it already. Its my privilege as a pastor, and its a blessing. But personally, I find myself so blessed to be doing what I do every Friday: preparing Bible studies so that Gods people might be refreshed, refocused, and that they might continue to disciple one another while engaging our ever-changing culture with the Gospel of Jesus Christ that will never change. Today a monumental decision has been made that will change our culture drastically in the near future. But Christian, what has changed really? The world will always be the world, and the church will always have work to do. In John 9:4-5 Jesus said, “I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Lets pray to understand what it means to be the light of the world and passionately pursue that privilege until the Day comes when we will rest and be rewarded. Do not let your hearts be troubled, my friends, lets continue to be about the Fathers business.

Amen!

Zimzum?

From Wikipedia — “The Tzimtzum (Hebrew צמצום ṣimṣūm “contraction/constriction/condensation”) is a term used in the Lurianic Kabbalah teaching of Isaac Luria, to explain his new doctrine that God began the process of creation by “contracting” his infinite light in order to allow for a “conceptual space” in which finite and seemingly independent realms could exist.”

Rob & Kristin Bell – The Heresy of Zimzum

Yes, folks, the same Rob Bell who does not believe in a literal hell has produced another book that Oprah and her syncophants will love to read. His latest drivel is based on teachings directly from the heresy known as Kabbalah which has followers including Madonna, Ivana Trump, Demi Moore, and Mick Jagger.

robandoprah

However, this was not what caught my attention. It was what takes place at the 29 minute mark of the video found at the above link. For your further disgust, Oprah also speaks to Rob about when she thinks the Church apostate church will open up to fully embrace and accept homosexuality. The answer will not surprise you. If you can manage to watch the video all the way to the end, otherwise, simply forward the video to around the 29 minute mark.

Quote read by Kristin from the book —

“Marriage – gay and straight – is a gift to the world because the world needs more not less love, fidelity, commitment, devotion, and sacrifice.”

And listen to this jewel from the lips of this diligent Bible teacher depraved heretic –

“The church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense.”

Yet, what is even sadder than what Rob & Kristin Bell are promoting is the fact that many within evangelical circles are buying their books thinking it is great theology. May God have mercy and grant forgiveness for pastors who have failed in their work as shepherds and on congregations for believing and following every whim of doctrine.

Marriage or Divorce?

In some ways, I hesitate to write on this topic because I’ve never been married and I worry that some may think me unqualified to share on this subject, but I am so grieved lately, as several people I know have divorced their spouse and quickly found another and, even more appalling to me, they are finding acceptance in the Church. Marriage is no longer sacred. Some people change spouses like they were socks: easy come, easy go. This really breaks my heart.

I know it is not easy living with someone day in and day out. Maybe your wife is a nag or your husband snores or doesn’t clean up after himself. Maybe you’re just tired of looking at him or her but, friends, when God created marriage, He designed it to reflect the relationship between Him and His Church. Now that I think about it, maybe that’s the problem. Just as many in the Church have left their first love, husbands and wives are doing the same thing.

marriagerings

“And this second thing you do. You cover the Lord’s altar with tears, with weeping and groaning because he no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. But you say, ‘Why does he not?’ Because the Lord was witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. Did he not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth. For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless” (Mal. 2:13-16).

When a woman marries a man, she feels secure. She believes that he loves her and she, in turn, loves him. Over time, the “feelings” of love and emotion may wane. This is when a couple will either fall apart or begin to work on keeping their love alive. If you are led by emotion instead of by the Spirit of God, you may choose to give up the mundane for something that seems more exciting but let me remind you that sin seems pleasurable for a time, but it will end in spiritual death. Every decision you make needs to be lined up against the Word of God.

I struggle to write this because I know a lot of people who have been divorced and are on second or third marriages. Some of these people are very good friends of mine. My purpose in writing this is not to heap condemnation on those who have already gone through this. I am also not naive enough to think that everyone who becomes divorced wants the divorce. If a spouse is determined to leave, there is often nothing to do but let him or her go. I do hope, however, that someone will read this, who may be thinking about leaving his or her family, and they will remember that God gave him or her their life partner to have and to hold, to love and to cherish, in good times and bad times, through sickness and health, whether wealthy or poor. There were no stipulations on those vows you made. Love is not a feeling; it is a choice. Maturity comes when you choose to love someone who maybe isn’t always easy to love or live with and yet you know God put this person in your life and you determine to bear with them anyway. You agree to let God continue the work that He’s begun in you so that your whole family can better grow in Him.

Couple holding hands

I hope you can hear my heart. My parents divorced when I was eight, so I know how painful it is when two people who once loved each other decide they can no longer live under the same roof. I am not trying to heap condemnation on anyone. That is not my job anyway. But I do beg those who are in a turbulent marriage: do not leave divorce as an option. If there really is no way you can continue to live with your spouse and you choose to move out, continue to pray for your spouse and ask God to bring reconciliation. That is His heart. I know a lady whose husband moved out to have an affair with another woman. His wife never stopped praying for him and, one day, several years later, he finally came to the place where he was willing to humble himself and repent and go back home. God’s hand is never too short, no matter how hopeless a situation seems.

It seems like there is still a lot of the “If it feels good, do it” mentality going on today, but I want to remind you that everything we do needs to be measured against the Word of God. If the Bible condemns an action, there is nothing you can say to justify it.

Don’t buy into the world’s thinking, that there are better “fish in the sea.” Begin to see your wife as the beautiful person that God put in your life to teach you how to love. Take time to look at your husband and see the man of God that he could be if he had a wife who was willing to love and encourage him in his endeavors. If you have been married a while, you may have developed some very bad habits, such as cutting each other down or being self-serving, but habits can be broken and must be if your marriage is to survive.

In case there is a single person who actually took time to read this and is still hanging in, let me encourage you to make sure that the person you marry is the one that God has for you. Once you say “I do,” you will need to go back to that assurance from time to time when things begin to get rough and your spouse turns out to be harder to live with than you ever dreamed possible when you saw him or her through eyes of love. I also believe that love does not have to wane. God can put a love in your heart which is new every morning. The key is having a servant’s heart. Instead of marrying for what you can get out of the relationship, look for the things you will be able to give. If you stay in that mode, it will go a long way in ensuring a happy marriage.

Machoism: A Sinful Response to Feminism

Feminism and egalitarianism has done major damage to the American culture. Primarily, it has skewed the image of how men are supposed to behave and their roles within a society. Although not every single tenant of feminism and egalitarianism should be viewed with overt hostility, we should, however, be cautious in allowing ourselves to submit to any system’s premise that is unbiblical. For the most part, almost all proponents of modern feminism and egalitarianism seeks to undermine the authority of men, feminize the male persona, elevate the homosexual agenda, and bring the law in subjection to sexual immorality and unattainable equality for all. Nevertheless, even with all that said (now that I have some head nods from males and perhaps some females), men need to be cautious and just as aware in defaulting to the knee jerk reaction against feministic attitudes – machoism.

Also called machismo, machoism may vary its form depending on the culture, generation, business, religion, peer relationship, and home. Generally speaking, machoism presents itself in a way that that is dominating, assertive, or aggressive simply because the person is a man, or feels that they have the right to be so because they are a man. This can be done sexually, physically, or socially. The definition may change depending on who is talking and the research or experience they have had, and the standard of identifying any instance of machoism is pretty subjective, but, nevertheless, machoism is a real problem and a sinful response to any perceived usurping of the authority of the male figure.

The kind of machoism that I have seen within Christendom can sometimes be borderline Islamic. Anywhere from a man stating in front of his wife’s friends, “Submit woman!” to irritability that manifests itself in harsh tones or overbearing gestures, some men treat their wives in such a way that is enough to cause heads to turn. Thankfully I have never witnessed any physical threats, but machoism can also lead to forms of spousal abuse or rape. However it may manifest itself, this kind of thinking is usually rooted in the idea that a women “has her place” and that any form of perceived disrespect is grounds for disciplinary measures (whatever that may be).

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The Hypocrisy of the LGBT Community

A few thoughts to consider for the thoughtful reader of DefCon –

1. Ok, for those who think to the contrary of the Bible, I would like to call your bluff in no uncertain terms. Please provide indisputable PROOF from the scientific and medical communities that people are born transgender or as homosexuals or lesbians, etc. THEORIES or PRESUPPOSITIONS based on psychology does not count. It must be based on DNA, genetics, things that can be proven in a lab or research facility.

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2. For those who think that God “MADE” a mistake when He made you, I would encourage you to read the truth of Scriptures. The same holds true to any who think that ALL or ANY sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage between one man and one woman is acceptable. John 3:36 makes it clear as to God’s perspective on those who willfully abide in their sin and abomination. “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son will not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him.” Those who are children of God will obey the commands of Scripture, but those who choose their own paths are clearly bent on destruction AND the wrath of God does abide on them until salvation takes place. The bottom line is that God does NOT make mistakes and He does not create that which would contradict the principles and truths found in His Word (the Holy Scriptures).

3. I share with those who read that there is no hatred for any who live in a lifestyle that is contrary to God. It is NOT up to me to bring condemnation of eternal punishment. If I am to follow the truth of Scripture, I must learn to 1) love God with all my heart, soul, and mind, and the 2) is to love my neighbor as myself. However, it is NOT loving if I fail to warn you that there is a high price to pay one day for choosing a path or lifestyle that is in contradiction to the character of the Holy God. Some who read might PRESUME upon my character and belief that I hate you and others who do not live like I do. That is unfounded and is based purely on the speculation of how you THINK others should believe and how you THINK others should allow you to practice with no lack of tolerance apart from intolerance towards “bigots” and “hate-mongers” like me. I look forward to seeing your “PROOF.”

4. So, just to clarify, a person can HATE the actions of those who choose to pray aloud to God in school or a public place but that person probably would say nothing if it was a Muslim student doing it. Further, you can hate prayer and find it an affront or grievance to you, but you would have NO problem fully endorsing that same person’s right to speak if they choose to spew filthy, vulgar language or even speak aloud of his or her ability to practice deviant lifestyles. Absolutely amazing! So, you can HATE as long as you get your way, but if I HATE that which is contrary to the Scriptures, I am condemned as a bigot and I am judging others. So, exactly, how does this logic work again???

5. The problem is that the world is trying to dictate new standards of morality based on what suits the depravity of the human heart. You cannot have morals without the God who gave and created the morals to begin with. It is the same God who created one man and one woman and instituted marriage between those two. The reality is that the LGBT agenda is an abomination before God and will always be so. Sadly, a small very vocal minority are trying to bully the world into accepting perverted lifestyles. By the way, Disney has long sought to subtly and now openly promote the homosexual agenda. The homosexual agenda will never be content with “marriage” between two of the same sex. They are after our children. We are headed the way of Rome and will be brought to our knees just as Rome was for her wickedness.

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6. By the way, if homosexuality or lesbianism is “normal” and supposedly created by God, why in each relationship do you have one that acts the part of a male and one a female? God created one man and one woman and commanded them to multiply and fill the earth. Interesting that God did not give the ability to procreate between two men or two women, and biology and science cannot change that. Notice I did not mention “gay” sex. I spoke of the irony of how in any relationship between two men, one will seek to be effeminate (or the wife), while with two lesbians, one will seek to dominate and play a masculine role.

7. God states that ALL AND ANY sex outside of marriage between one man and one woman is an abomination before Him. God also tells us that the hearts of ALL men and women are evil. Romans 3 states that there is nobody who is good, not even one. They have all gone out of the way in their depravity. There does not need to be any additional verses regarding a person who thinks they were born in the wrong type of body. To hold to this is ultimately stating that God makes mistakes. Further, the Bible is clear that it is not a particular sin that will send people to hell, but the one of unbelief. Belief in God resulting in salvation only comes when a person repents and confesses their sin to God and then places their faith in Christ alone for their salvation. That belief then is followed by a willing obedience to the commands of Christ.

8. Despite the fact that many will studiously avoid my thoughts and questions, I will share that God commands all men to repent. The need for repentance is not dependent on one’s choice of sex or lifestyle. It is based solely on the fact that man is separated by his very nature from a holy God. What would God say to a transgender person? He tells them to repent and that today is the day of salvation for all who come in faith in Jesus Christ. The transgender equality issue is one that seeks to erode what God has created. To force those choices upon the general public, particularly within the education system, is foolishness and stupidity at best, and at worst, only further undermines the differences between male and female as created by God.

CARM Takes on Matthew Vines

CARMIf you are not familiar with Matthew Vines, he is a pro homosexual activist who spoke at College Hill United Methodist Church in Kansas. During that speech, Mr. Vines advocated that the Bible does not condemn same sex monogamous relationships. Mr. Vines went to great lengths to redefine the very meaning of scripture as he attempted to explain what God actually meant, by his own assessment, when He inspired the writers of the Bible to pen the words we read today. Unlike many who have taken Christians to task on this issue, Mr. Vines presents himself as a kind and polite person, one with whom you would like to sit down and have a conversation with. He does not attempt to make the vitriolic speech that many who have advocated “gay rights” have used. His demeanor makes his redefining of scripture more acceptable in the eyes of those who have not made the effort to understand what God has truly said on the matter of homosexuality. As a result, Mr. Vines, and the views he espouses, are more easily received, even by those to claim to be followers of Jesus Christ.

Last year I posted an article titled “Christians Are We Ready” where I referenced a series of audio messages prepared by Dr. James White addressing this very speech by Matthew Vines. I continue to heartily recommend those messages to every Christian as they directly dismantle the very arguments made by Mr. Vines. Now I would like to refer our readers to yet another resource that will further equip us. CARM has prepared a section on their apologetics site that continues to expound on this issue. Homosexuality is one of the defining arguments of our day. Christians must be prepared to answer the challenges presented by those who would promote their belief that sexual immorality is acceptable in the eyes of God. Therefore, I ask you to visit the following link at CARM and become equipped to answer when people ask you why you believe homosexuality is a sin. Let us be fully prepared, not so we can prove ourselves morally better, but so that we can graciously and compassionately warn those of the judgment to come for their sin, and that there is yet salvation in Jesus Christ.

http://carm.org/matthew-vines

DOMA Declared Unconstitutional by the Supreme Court

supreme-court-of-the-united-states-logo-gif-1Today, the Supreme Court of the United States handed down its decision on the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court ruled the law was unconstitutional. The decision now opens the door for the federal recognition of same sex marriages. There are going to be lots of commentary of the next several hours, days and weeks, so I will add little here about the merits of the decision. Much smarter folks than I will do a far better job of it. My concern is more about what does this mean for the individual Christian.

My first reaction is to ask those who are in utter shock by this, “did you really expect anything less?” I do not wish to sound trite or accusatory here. But in truth, there have been many, including those of us here at DefCon, who have tried to sound the alarm that trying to win moral victories through questionable alliances with worldly organizations was wrong. For the church to be unequally yolked with government bureaucrats and false religious systems was to deny God had any power or sovereignty over the situation. It was, in essence, a refusal to believe in the power of His word alone. Yet, American churches and Christians around the country have made repeated compromises in hopes of moral victories. With each new fight, we were willing to acquiesce a little ground each time in hopes of gaining at least some victory. Now the ground beneath us has been eroded away. Are you really that surprised?

My second thought is this, for years many Christians have warned about the growth of seeker friendly churches, the acceptance of false teachers into the Christian fold and the erosion of the true gospel message. Repeatedly those Christians have been told to be silent by the Evangelical church at large. We have been accused of being divisive, judgmental and down-right mean. We were told that we needed to accept a wider tent concept of Christianity. “Doctrine divides!” has been the battle cry of those who believed that it was wrong to hold to a biblical standard of how to define what the church actually is. As a result, more goats have invaded the pews and the true message of the gospel has been supplanted with self help messages that only reaffirm the unregenerate sinner’s belief they are actually good at heart. With no message that people are wretched sinners in need of a righteous Savior, are you really surprised at today’s decision?

My final thought is this, Christians, you have been commanded by the Captain of our salvation to proclaim the glorious message of the gospel. Have you been doing this? Or have you believed that such a command did no apply to you? Did you leave it to your pastor alone, or have you been willing to step out in faith to proclaim the truth the Jesus Christ came to save sinners? I ask this because that is the only real answer to the situation we currently face. Our nation is embracing a pagan and sinful ideology that utterly rejects the Lordship of our Savior. No amount of political machinations can change the a human heart bent on this course. As we have seen in a very short time, a political victory established with installment of DOMA has now been ripped from our hands. So, was it ever a real victory? Or was it merely a speed bump that slowed things down for a brief moment in time? I would say it was clearly the latter.

The heart of man is desperately wicked, forever tainted by the stain of sin. Therefore, all efforts to bring man under the submission of moral law, which is a noble effort as society benefits from it, is bound to ultimately fail. Man will always reject the law of God because he is bound in chains to his sinful flesh. He will always reject God’s authority in favor of his own. Thus, while we as Christians can and should seek to establish a nation that is founded on godly principles, we should never place our hope in that. It is only the preaching of the gospel to lost souls, preaching that is covered in serious study of the Word and intense prayer, preaching that trusts in the sovereign, supernatural working of the Holy Spirit, that frees man from the bondage of sin. That is what we are called to today.

Christian, if you are staring at the TV right now, wringing your hands over this decision, remember this, God is still God and He is still on His throne. You have not been called to rescue a nation from bad politics. You have been commanded to preach the gospel to a lost and dying people. There are souls today that are rejoicing over this decision because it frees them to further pursue the sins of the flesh. Other rejoice because they see it as another nail in the coffin of Christian principles. Even more will just see it as a necessary change to everyone’s personal morality. Yet, none fully realize they are in rebellion against their Lord and King. They do not comprehend the wrath and judgment to come. My question to you is, do you care more about this decision because it makes your life more difficult, or because it reveals the heart of a people in desperate need of salvation in Jesus Christ? Let us be busy about our Father’s business. Let us be preaching the gospel.

Dangers of Counseling – Part 2

In our most recent post, we covered a few areas of danger that befall those who offer counsel in any type of setting, but particularly those in a church setting. In this post, I wish to address two main issues.

First, I want to clarify that I do not believe that all counselors are operating contrary to the Scriptures. Neither do I believe that those who seek the counsel of a professional counselor are or should be automatically considered to be in sin against God. Further, I understand that not all pastors or elders are willing to address subjects that they feel is beyond their knowledge in a particular area.

The issue that we are seeking to make clear is that for a believer, the very first recourse should be to the Word of God, not what the latest so-called Christian psychobabble has to say about the problem being addressed. In addition, the first recourse for the pastors or elders should not be the Yellow Pages under the heading of Counseling, but should be the Word of God.

Professional counselors have taken off in popularity and sadly, the role of pastors and elders means that too often they are failing in their God-ordained responsibility to care for the sheep. Pastors and elders, we are commanded to feed the sheep. This does not mean just for 45 minutes on a Sunday morning and maybe an extra 30 minutes on a mid-week Bible study.

It is imperative that we bring ourselves back to the ministries that were found under the leadership of men like Richard Baxter who would spend hours a week discipling his flock either in his own home or in their home. Yes, this is work, but being willing to disciple others is the only way we will know the hurt, the pain, and the straying of our flocks. It is rank foolishness to think that our people are perfectly fine without any attention during the remaining 166 1/2 hours per week that they are in the world. I am saddened when I have heard pastors say, “I didn’t know they were even struggling in that area!”

Granted, while much of the responsibility for this lack is on the shoulders of pastors and elders, there are times that church members do not want us to get that close. However, I am convinced that this is due to a lack of teaching on the importance of continued discipleship. By our actions and by our teaching, we sometimes are guilty of allowing those who are in fellowship to think that worship is what we do on a Sunday morning between 10:30 – 12:00 noon.

So, the heart of the problem facing the church today is not necessarily professional counselors. Although that can and continues to be a problem in many instances, the biggest problem is that believers in our churches are seeking help outside the confines of the local assembly. The church collectively is to be there to assist in bearing the burdens of one another.

Another difficulty comes when the professional counselor is operating outside the confines or strictures of a local church setting. This means that the person who is being counseled is now no longer accountable for their sin and their testimony before their brothers and sisters. They can hide behind an individual with a professional degree who is bound by confidentiality not to divulge any information to others. Thus, when a marriage is breaking down, a daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock, or a child finds themselves dealing with an addiction, the church and leadership can no longer help because they are often completely unaware of the problems.

Let’s now proceed to the second concern.

One person commented about the pitfalls of online or social media and asked for further thoughts. Just as it is wrong to think that worship is only what we do on Sunday, it is also wrong to think that there is only a danger in counseling if we are face to face with an individual.

A standard definition of counseling is – The provision of assistance and guidance in resolving personal, social, or psychological problems and difficulties.

Counseling is not black and white and neither are the settings in which counseling can be accomplished. This can take place in person, at a coffee shop in an informal type setting, over the phone, through text messaging, emails, or even Instant Messaging via a social media like Facebook.

Pastors, it is true that many in our congregations are probably using a wide variety of social medias in order to communicate with one another. While this post is not meant to belabor the futility of solving problems on Twitter, MySpace, or text messages, there is something to be said for the deplorable conditions that dictate to us that we can somehow accomplish much counsel or disciple through the means of 140 characters or less at a time.

Further, I am not decrying the use of social media formats for connecting with friends and family, there is a pitfall that has taken far too many down the path of ruin. It is a path and a pitfall that could have been avoided had the individuals who found themselves trapped been more careful to begin with.

Before I elaborate, let me reiterate what we say we already believe about marriage. Marriage is designed by God to be a complete covenant that focuses on God and is solely between one man and one woman. Men/pastors/elders/teachers/leaders, this means that every area of our life should be like an open book to our spouse. Too many are walking a very thin line that delineates between what is hers, what is his, and what is theirs together. This is a wrong and dangerous answer.

Let me make this very plain and simple. My wife and I have identical passwords to all of our computers and have the same passwords for each of the online social media formats with which we engage during the week. We have made a deliberate decision that each one of us cannot seek to hide contacts or messages from one another. If I have to fear what my wife would think about my online conversations, then I am breaking my marriage vows to have her in my heart and no other til death us do part.

If there is a reason that I find myself having to communicate with a female via email (as an example), my wife is fully involved. This not only protects the person to whom I am writing, but also protects us. There are times when I have been asked for pastoral counsel or advice, but just as I refuse to counsel a woman alone in my office, I have the same standards even when not face to face. This means that I also have made a point not to spend time alone using Instant Messenger with a woman who is not my wife.

Brothers, I cannot stress this enough, YOU MUST GUARD YOUR HEART! You must protect the wife of your youth. How can we possibly express concern over our children failing to guard their thought life if they see us spending time with somebody to whom we are not married. Men, we cannot fall into the trap of being willing to share confidences with another woman for it will eventually steal part of your heart away.

Sisters, I implore you as well to be careful with social media. It can prove easy to spend time sharing thoughts and concerns with a friend, but far harder to to keep from eventually sharing your heart. There is no part of your marriage problems that I need to be personally aware of if I am required to keep that information from my wife.

While I am covering this area, I believe it is not just Twitter, Facebook, or MySpace that is the problem. Areas that involve RPG’s (role playing games) or MPG’s (multi-player games) are detrimental to both your time as well as the well-being of your heart. You will be forced to interact in a fantasy world that will require you to share things that come from your own personal situation.

Sadly, more and more marriages are ending in divorce because men and women have foolishly failed to see the dangers of spending time alone with someone of the opposite sex. This is true whether face-to-face or in a chat room or any other social media format. If you do not guard your heart from all attacks, then do not be surprised if you end up losing the battle.

Pastors and elders, while social media can be used to further the message of the gospel, we must seek to warn our brothers and sisters of the dangers lurking in the electronic world in which we live. The dangers are very real and cannot be avoided. May the Lord help us to stand firm and resolute in a world that cares not one little bit whether our marriages or ministries survive.

Gay Is Not the New Black

Voddie Baucham has written a though provoking article (just read some of the more than 300 comments that follow it!) about the current cultural battle over the covenant of marriage. Here is a small excerpt, here is a link to the entire article.

It’s hard to deny that homosexual marriage appears to be a foregone conclusion in America. This is a frightening prospect not only for those of us who understand marriage to be a testimony of the relationship between Christ and his bride, the church, but also for all who value the family and its contribution to the well-being of society and human thriving. And while it’s difficult to watch a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy undermine thousands of years of human history, it’s especially disconcerting to witness the use of the civil rights struggle as the vehicle for the strategy.

The idea that same-sex “marriage” is the next leg in the civil rights race is ubiquitous. One of the clearest examples of the conflation of homosexual “marriage” and civil rights is Michael Gross’s article in The Advocate, in which he coins the now-popular phrase “Gay is the new black.”1 Gross is not alone in his conflation of the two issues, however. At a 2005 banquet, Julian Bond, former head of the NAACP, said, “Sexual disposition parallels race. I was born this way. I have no choice. I wouldn’t change it if I could. Sexuality is unchangeable.”2

Christians Are We Ready?

Maybe I am overstating the obvious here, but the Christian church has lost a lot of ground with regards to homosexuality. I’m not talking about on the legislative or protest front, I’m talking about in our preaching and teaching of the gospel. We are losing and the culture is looking at us as old, fuddy-duddies who simply haven’t got a clue.

In truth, I have to admit, when it came to discussing homosexuality, this was an area I just stayed out of. I simply believed I was going to get steam rolled if I ever tried to talk about it, so it just didn’t seem worth it. And it’s not like there isn’t evidence to support this. How many videos have we seen of Christians being escorted by police away from homosexual events or neighborhoods. The animosity from the homosexual community toward Christians is pretty well documented. So honestly, I felt justified in staying away from the matter.

But I realize now that I have done a disservice to the gospel. In fact, I would wager that I have sinned by unilaterally deciding to never deal with the issue. I say this because I never bothered to dig into scripture and learn how to defend what God teaches on this matter. I never learned how to explain how homosexuality was still wrong while eating shrimp was fine. I never learned how to preach the gospel compassionately and lovingly to a person who was struggling to understand how their attractions could be an affront to the God who created him. I simply just didn’t want to do it.

Now, all one has to do is peruse social media and blogging sites to see the prevailing attitude among our culture. Young people have no clue what the Bible says about homosexuality. And what little they think they know is grossly wrenched out of context. But the sad truth is that many Christians know less about this issue, biblically speaking, than those whose voices are being the agent of change in our culture. We simply don’t know how to defend the faith, and we look like fools when we try. So the culture throws the out of context verses at us, along with emotionally charged rhetoric, and we either respond with half thought answers, or we fold under the pressure. The result is that immorality grows unabated and the church loses more influence everyday.

So how do we address this? Well, it certainly isn’t going to be through protests, legislation and lawsuits. Just watch the evening news to see how well that battle is going. What’s worse, because there is no gospel centeredness in such efforts, all we appear to be are hate mongering jerks who want everyone to do things our way.

I believe that we as a church must first start by educating ourselves in the scriptures. And this means doing a lot of hermeneutical homework. We have to understand the passages of scripture, and their contexts, with regard to homosexuality. We also have to understand the passages the world loves to use to point out the so called hypocrisy in what we obey (such as the prohibitions to the Jews to wearing blended fabrics or eating shellfish). We have to understand for ourselves the differences between moral and civil laws and know what it is Christ really said about marriage. If we don’t take the time to do this individually, we will be ill prepared for any conversation that comes up. Incidentally, a good resource on this, which has prompted me to reconsider my involvement, is Dr. James White’s response to Matthew Vines (a young homosexual who spoke at a church regarding homosexuality not being sinful). Dr. White spent five hours on his webcast dissecting Mr. Vines’ speech and addressing the very issues we see being brought up today. He has made this response available as a download. You can find it on the main page at www.aomin.org. Please consider downloading and listening to this resource.

Once we have spent the time learning what the Bible really says, we need to start taking this out into the world to share. And I don’t mean go on some holy crusade to lash out at people on websites or get into arguments with people at protest rallies. I simply mean that as we talk with people, as we share the gospel, be prepared to answer this matter biblically. When the subject comes up with friends, relatives and co-workers (trust me, it will), give loving and compassionate answers straight from God’s word. Also, let us discuss this matter within our own homes. Face it, our husbands, wives and children are being exposed to this everyday. All you have to do is turn on the evening news and it’s right there. We have to raise them up in the scriptures so that they too will have a firm foundation to stand on.

Finally, let us be about our Father’s business of preaching the gospel at every single opportunity we have. Let us do so with great love and compassion, knowing that we too are sinners, but have been saved by the grace of Christ alone. While it is very easy to look at the agenda of the homosexual lobby and become angry, let us never forget that those lobbies contain hundreds and thousands of lost souls desperately in need of the gospel.

We have lost so much ground because, as a church, we have not invested the time to learn the right answers. We have lashed out angrily, we have given weak answers that toppled with a mere shove, or we have cowered into our philosophical corners and let the issue march right by. Yet, we serve a great and powerful God! His gospel is the power of salvation to all mankind! Let us not retreat in fear, let us not strike out in anger, but let us proclaim the truth to all mankind in love so that sinners might be saved. In doing, we might just change the attitude of our culture because people will be getting saved and led by the Spirit. Let us engage the culture and let us stand on God’s word alone.

Sermon of the Week: “Marriage” by Voddie Baucham.

Regarding the highly visible tragic failure and death of Joe Paterno, having been disqualified by his actions and those of his subordinates, Baucham asks if Paterno would have been disqualified if he had been an adulterer or abusive husband or derelict father.  No profession in our culture disqualifies a man for his failure as a husband or father – except that of the church elder.

The man of God, called to serve His church as an undershepherd, is held to a higher standard than any other man. Further – the elders of a church must also be exemplary in these roles to be qualified! Not perfect – such a false human standard cannot relate with compassion with sinful people.

We learn from Ephesians 5 that family is important because of its portrayal of Christ and His people. To live a life worthy of the gospel, we must be faithful husbands and fathers before we can be faithful preachers and pastors.

You must listen to whole thing – it’s only 40 minutes. The message really takes off around 16 minutes in. Some humor with a hammer wrapped in love.  Voddie gives a glorious word picture of the covenant of marriage, and the provision for how we do this. MP3 download here.