Sermon of the Week: “The Subtlety of Satan ” by Jim Murphy.

In this week’s sermon, The Subtlety of Satan, Pastor Murphy gives a scathing indictment on what today’s version of a “Christian” is:

“(Today’s Christian is) someone who has made the decision to be an emotionally well-adjusted, self-actualized risk-taking leader who knows his purpose, lives a no regret life of significance, has overcome his fears, enjoys a healthy marriage, is an attentive parent celebrating recovery from all their hurts, their habits, their hang-ups, and that practices biblical stress relief techniques, is financially free from consumer debt, fosters emotionally healthy relationships with his peers, attends a weekly life group, volunteers regularly at church, tithes off his gross, and has taken at least one humanitarian aid trip to a third world nation. . . . Never once do you read in that modern contextualized interpretation that a Christian is one who sees their sin, confesses their sin, repents of their sin, and receives the gift of salvation in Christ alone. That’s how far we’ve come. So Christianity now is dictated and defined by culture.”

Pastor Murphy also exhorts his congregation to “connect the dots,” between the many dangers we are warned about repeatedly in Scripture and what is being taught under our noses in many churches and by many Christian authors and leaders today.

‎”The mood is that if you have a reformed soteriology you get a pass on everything else.”  -John MacArthur

What Mac says is so true – Calvinistic preachers are assumed to be orthodox because they have one doctrine correct. Yet those who serve as elders in the local church are to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word. This will humble any man and cause the sheep to be less dependent on the preacher and more on the Lord.

As we’ve pointed out in other posts, here and here, for example, the Bible has plenty of warnings about being deceived and misled by men. No man is above having his teaching tested against Scripture, because only the God Man Jesus was and is without error – and He is the Word of God!

HT: Sola Sisters

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.

What Discernment Actually Looks Like

A few days ago I posted a link from Phil Johnson on the Pyromanics blog regarding Mark Driscoll’s self-proclaimed “gift of discernment”, which sounded more like a man with a dirty mind talking offensively to the sheep under his care. In the post on Driscoll’s madness found HERE , I call attention to why I believe Driscoll has fallen away from the basic pillars and  qualifications of an elder/overseer of the church (I am assuming that he had these qualifications at one point). He is speaking on discernment while demonstrating the lack of discernment in what is appropriate for discussion from the pulpit…or, sadly, the stage as it is in his case.

I now want follow up on this story by sharing what real discernment looks like.

John MacArthur was asked in this video what he thinks may come about in the church in the years to come and MacArthur is quick to comment on the essential component missing from so many churches and pastors today in the reformed faith. In part one he talks about how having reformed soteriology doesn’t give you a pass in regard to the role as a shepherd or with the way you conduct yourself.

Part 1 – Reversal of the Reformed Revival

In part 2 of this interview, MacArthur again challenges us in a wonderful way. Are our pastors involved in the life of the church? Are you attending a church that has a video screen playing the sermon, which MacArthur calls “Flat Screen Preaching”? How can you tell if this man is qualified to be an elder and above reproach if he only exists on a video screen? What sort of church is that? We should not allow a rock-n-roll event on Sunday morning replace the  shepherding care of our souls.

Part 2 – Reversal of the Reformed Revival

Let us not forget how Paul instructs Timothy regarding overseers of the church in his first letter to Timothy. These words are tragically ignored, forgotten, pushed aside, and downplayed way too much today:

1 Timothy 3:1-7

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.