Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Picture of the Main Thing

As you WBC folks know, I wrapped up a 8 week long series on marriage and family. The title of the series was called "Marriage and Family: A Picture of the Main Thing." The purpose of the title was to (hopefully) communicate over and over and over that getting a spouse is not the most important thing in all of life and having kids is not the most important thing in all of life. God is the most important Being in all of life. He is ultimate. Everything else (including marriage and family) is a means to making much of Him in all we do. If we are pursuing a spouse we are to look for one that will aid in our pointing people to the majesty and glory and goodness of God. If we are blessed with children, we are to do so with the goal of seeing them grow in Christlikeness, love God supremely, and give their lives so that others will do the same. I hope and pray that this was the message communicated this summer.
As a recap, the 8 sermons went as follows:

(1) "Marriage is Not the Main Thing" Matthew 22:23-33
Jesus said that in the resurrection there will neither be marriage nor given in marriage. Thus, marriage will not last for eternity. Our relationship with Christ, however, will.

(2) "Marriage is a Picture of the Main Thing" Genesis 2:18-25; Ephesians 5:22-33
God said to Adam, "It is not good for man to be alone." He didn't say it because God was insufficient for man. He didn't say it because Adam needed something more than God. God said it in the middle of when He is going public with His glory (Genesis 1-2) and expressed that it would be best for His glory to be displayed by creating a help mate suitable for Adam. That display would be a demonstration of how Christ and the church operate toward one another. Thus, marriage is a picture of the relationship between Christ and the church.

(3) "Meaningful Marriage Happens When We Focus on the Main Thing"
Various Scriptures
The purpose of this sermon was to stress the importance of each spouse seeing the other through the lens of the cross. If each spouse is born again and forgiven and free by repentance and faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then they are right before God. Spouses MUST remember that their spouse is made right with God by the blood of Jesus Christ.

(4) "Husbands: Love Like Christ"
Ephesians 5:23, 25-30, 33
Husbands are to lead their wives by sacrificially loving them for their spiritual good and the good of themselves. When your wife is thriving, husbands, so are you!

(5) "Wives: Submit Like the Church"
Ephesians 5:22-24; 1 Peter 3:1-6
Wives are to bring themselves under the authority of her husband by following his lead out of trust in him and/or hope in God. If the husband is laying his life down for the good of his wife, then out of trust in him and in God, she is to follow his lead and submit to his authority.

*God ordained these roles to be as they are. Couples are to exude this picture in their marriages so as to be a video to the world of how Christ and the church operate. It was not good for Adam to be alone because by himself he could not display that picture as adequately as God desired.

(6) "The Key to a Great and Successful Family"
Matthew 20:20-28
The purpose of this message was to show that parents should desire greatness for their children. Greatness from God's viewpoint. Not greatness as the world sees it. Greatness according to God is a heart that is so in love with Him and so enthralled by Him that he or she is willing to lay their life down so that others can see and know and have God. So, the key to a great and successful family is to provide an atmosphere at home where the primary objective is to see the children grow in love for God and people.

(7) "Preparing Your Child for Greatness"
Ephesians 6:4

(8) "Obedience that Leads to Greatness"
Ephesians 6:1-3

These final two messages examined what Paul had to say to both Christian children and Christian parents in how to best provide that environment to grow up to be great in the eyes of God. Again, it is all about a picture that God designed. Parents (especially fathers!) you are to show your children what God is like. This is done by knowing them and loving them intimately and disciplining them the way God does His children and educating them about who He is. Children, you are to respond to your parents the way God's children respond to Him. We learn obedience to God in how we obey mom and dad. The picture? God relating to His children is to be modeled in the way parents relate to their children.

Just this week I have come across three articles that give evidence to the importance of the family. Two are written by Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. One is written by John Piper, pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN. The two The articles by Dr. Mohler reveal the importance of a family in shaping one's view about God and how churches are benefitting from solid families. You can find those articles here and here. The article written by Dr. Piper discusses the importance of children and youth knowing right biblical doctrine and how that shapes their behavior. You can read that very insightful article here.

God created the family the way He did for a reason. The purpose is to display Him and know Him and love Him and glorify Him. He is the main thing!

Friday, August 3, 2007

An Incredible Presentation of the Gospel

I dare say that there is no more important thing than getting the Gospel right. Knowing it rightly. Communicating it rightly. Urging people to respond to it rightly. It is what Christian people are about.
I am going to link you to a message I heard while running not long ago that I think communicates the Gospel in one of the best ways I have ever heard it communicated. It was delivered by pastor John Piper to a group of men in October of 2006 at a Men's Conference. The title of the message is: "Jesus Died to Bring You to God."
In it Pastor Piper gives explanations as to why Jesus came and His connection with the Old Testament and how the Old Testament works with the New Testament. He shares the elements of the Gospel that are vitally important. He exhorts his hearers to respond to the Gospel and put all hope in the Person of Jesus Christ. On and on I could go, but I will stop so that you can go and listen to it.
Listen so you will understand the Gospel better.
Listen so you will understand how the Bible fits together better.
Listen with a lost friend so that they can understand the Gospel better.
Listen with a lost friend so that they can know Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives.
Listen so that you will love and cherish and adore Jesus better.
The longer I am a pastor and a Christian and a dad and a husband I see the importance of not only knowing the Gospel, but knowing it rightly and allowing it to consume every part of my life.
You can download and listen to the the message here. Enjoy!