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The Wednesday Word: Built on the Rock

It is a Biblical fact that the true Church is founded and built upon the Lord Jesus.” “Oh, but,” says someone, “the Church was built upon Peter, for Jesus said, ‘Thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build My Church’ (Matthew 16:18).

Christ’s Church built upon Peter? Hardly!

Peter above all? Bah Humbug!

Peter was doubtless a decent man but look at his performance. He was the very opposite of a steady rock. A foundation built on that dear brother would be worse than shaky, it would be quite inept and useless.

Three times in scripture the Holy Spirit records Peter’s fallings.

1. He fell in Matthew 16:21-23. Peter would have kept the Lord Jesus from the cross and because of this Jesus called Peter ‘Satan’ and an offense. That’s hardly material to build the church upon.

2. He fell in Matthew 26:74 where we read, “Then began he (Peter) to curse and swear saying, “I know not the man (Jesus).”

3. He fell in Galatians 2:11-14. There we read that Paul had to rebuke Peter because he was not ‘walking according to the truth of the gospel.’

Yet some people insist that the true church is indeed built on Peter and those of us who disagree are outside of and without salvation.

Apart from that, to hold that Peter is the foundation stone of the Church is to twist Matthew 16:18. For a moment, let´s look at the context of Christ´s declaration. Jesus and the disciples had come to the district of Caesarea Philippi, (Matthew 16:13) and He asked them, “Whom do men say that I the Son of Man am?” Some replied one thing, and some another; but, to bring the matter close to home, Jesus asked His disciples, “But who do you say that I am.” Simon Peter immediately and emphatically responded, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God;”

Now see what follows.

Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it unto you, but My Father which is in heaven.’ The revelation was that Jesus was the Christ, (the anointed, promised one) the Son of the living God.

By the way, in scripture, Jesus is not called God the Son but rather the Son of God. In fact, the expression “son of God” is applied to Christ more than 40 times in the New Testament, but the designation God the Son is nowhere to be discovered.

Don’t worry, Christ, of course, was and is the Mighty God, (Isaiah 9:6), God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16), the eternal Word made flesh (John 1:14) and the I am (John 8:58). The term, Son of God points, however, to His identity as God in human flesh.

Notice what Jesus said to Peter. He said, you are a Petros, (in the Greek language that means a pebble), and upon this Petra (in the Greek language Petra is a large rock). So, Jesus was saying that upon this large rock He would build His church.

So, what is the rock on which the church is built? It is the revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the anointed, promised one, the God-Man. As the anointed one, He is Prophet, Priest and King. The True Church is built on Jesus, His person, work and offices. He is both God and man, our only saviour and hope.

Scripture does not contradict itself. Listen to what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:11. “Other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Jesus Christ and in Psalm 18:31 God Himself is identified as the Rock

Instability and impulsiveness were Peter’s great defects. A Church built on him would be no church at all. It would have a very sandy foundation. The true Church, however, is built upon Christ, the Rock of Ages, the God-Man, the Son of the living God.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

The Wednesday Word: Is the Gospel a Mere Doorway?

December 29, 2021 Leave a comment

Yes indeed! For many professing Christians the gospel is merely a doorway into the kingdom of God. There, however, are others who seem to think it is not even that!

Take Sunday services for example. To get sinners saved, a good church, they argue, must provide a comfortable environment and have music from a contemporary band. A spotlight would be just the thing on the preacher and above all, they contend, our services must be upbeat, enjoyable and entertaining. The right kind of church service has now replaced the gospel as the power of God for salvation. May the Lord rescue us!

The following is attributed to Spurgeon.

“The devil has seldom done a cleverer thing than hinting to the church that part of their mission is to provide entertainment for the people, with a view to winning them. From speaking out the gospel, the church has gradually toned down her testimony as she excuses the frivolities of the day. Then she tolerated them in her borders. Now she has adopted them under the plea of reaching the masses!”

“My first contention is that providing amusement for the people is nowhere spoken of in the Scriptures as a function of the church. If it is a Christian work why did Christ not speak of it? “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature and provide amusement for those who do not relish the gospel.”

“Where do entertainers come in? The Holy Spirit is silent concerning them. Were the prophets persecuted because they amused the people, or because they confronted them? Again, providing amusement is in direct antagonism to the teaching and life of Christ and all his apostles.”

“Had Jesus introduced more of the bright and pleasant elements into his teaching, He would have been more popular. When “many people turned back and no longer followed him”, I do not hear him say, “Run after these people, Peter, and tell them we will have a different style of service tomorrow; something short and attractive with little preaching. We will have a pleasant evening for the people. Tell them they will be sure to enjoy it! Be quick, Peter, we must get the people somehow!”

Just as the gospel is the only way to save sinners it is also the only way to save saints. If we, as believers, are ever to enjoy the full extent of sonship, we must be bathed in the gospel. The gospel saves us in the beginning, middle and end of our Christian life.

Christ Jesus is the Alpha and Omega of salvation. As He is the beginning, He is also the end … but we have forgotten that He is also everything in between. As we run this race, this Christian life, we are to look unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2). This means that we must look away from ourselves and behold the excellencies and glory of God in the face of Jesus the Christ.

But someone may reply, “Isn’t how we live the important thing to teach in our churches?” Yes indeed, how we live is of vital concern, but unless the gospel of Christ is central in the church, then real godliness will not come!

Why not? Because the power for real godliness comes through the gospel of Christ (Romans 1:16). The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The word used here for power is the Greek word ‘dunamis’ from which we get such English words as ‘dynamite.’

In other words, the gospel of Christ is explosive! Full salvation will come no other way than by the gospel. When a pastor is not gospel-centred and the person of Christ and His completed saving and perfect work are not expounded his people are not growing in salvation. How can they? For there is no power for salvation in his message.

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com   

Of the Civil Magistrate

by Tom Nettles

Chapter 24: Second London Confession

Baptist Protestantism

Embracing a full and enthusiastic consent to the leading doctrines of the Reformation, particularly in its English Puritan form, Baptists made their most formative contribution in ecclesiology and their consequent understanding of the relation of the church to the state. The preface explained the desire of the compilers of this confession to express their doctrines , as much as possible, in the same words as those of the Westminster Divines and the Savoy Declaration. They agreed in the ”fundamental articles of the Christian religion” with both but also “with many others whose orthodox confessions have been published to the World, on behalf of the protestants in diverse nations and cities.”

They diverged clearly on the New Testament practice and doctrine of baptism, affirming that both in command and in example it was to be given to believers only. This meant that using infant baptism as a glue for national religion was impossible, and so the emerging Baptists of the 17th century formed their churches, not on the state-church parish system, but from believers only. As a result, they would argue for massive changes in the entire concept of society and politics in all of so-called Christendom. Since the church should be formed only of those who were convinced of the gospel’s truth, there could be no forced professions of Christianity or inherited religious persuasion. Liberty of conscience was demanded for political entities if the government was to function in its lawful sphere and if the church was to be formed by New Testament principles. Separation of church and state, the freedom of the individual conscience in matters of worship,……

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part IX – 1 Corinthians 15-16

February 15, 2017 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

The Pauline Epistles, Part VI – 1 Corinthians 1-10

The Pauline Epistles, Part VII – 1 Corinthians 11

The Pauline Epistles, Part VIII – 1 Corinthians 12-14

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Every year around April, an onslaught of news stories are published claiming to have discovered Jesus’ pinky toe, and the like. Where these “scientists” got the original, authoritative labs to determine a DNA match is never disclosed. Rather, we are expected to grant more credence to these “scientists” than to 500 eyewitness contemporaries of the resurrection itself, because we have become an elitist culture: a culture that lives in the shallow end of the intellectual pool and defers whenever possible to the “elites” among us.

The Centrality of the Resurrection

Paul doesn’t leave the matter of Christ’s resurrection up to the religious and political elites of his day. Rather, he points to those who knew Christ best. He challenges his contemporaries to do the intellectual leg-work (like Luke; cf. Lk. 1:3) and thoroughly search out the matter of the resurrection. He not only submits the resurrection to the hard scrutiny of his first century contemporaries, but he also declares the resurrection to be of first importance.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part VIII – 1 Corinthians 12-14

William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

The Pauline Epistles, Part VI – 1 Corinthians 1-10

The Pauline Epistles, Part VII – 1 Corinthians 11

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We often place a divide between ecclesiology and public theology but, depending on where we draw that line, we can often be in error. What we do within the church walls can potentially reap major consequences outside the church walls. If the world looks upon the church and sees that she is behaving in an unloving, disunified, or disordered manner, it very well could be that we are setting up unnecessary, though unintended, divisions between us and the culture. If we are more concerned with putting on a show for the world than speaking forth the word of conviction to the world, the world may join in, but they will have no incentive to submit to Christ’s discipleship. Rather, we will inevitably be expected to bow to their customs, preferences, and cultural mandates. Christ’s disciples will be guilted, coerced, or seduced into becoming disciples of the culture.

Preliminary Considerations

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul begins a discussion that follows through to 1 Corinthians 14. Many, both cessationists and continuationists, erroneously believe that chapters 12-14 center on the topic of tongues. Not only do people in both of these camps believe that tongues is the central theme here, but they falsely interpret tongues as an ecstatic utterance of an unlearned language.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part VII – 1 Corinthians 11

theroadofgrace

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – 1 Corinthians 1-10

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As mentioned in the previous blog, Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian church in order to address several issues within the Church. We now move into a section in which Paul address an issue that directly intersects with our society today: gender and sexuality. Within the Church, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 has been discussed extensively and the text has been central to numerous debates (such as the egalitarian/complementarian debate and the debate regarding head coverings). However, this passage has much to teach us regarding the meaning of gender and the relationship between the sexes.

The Foundational Analogy

We begin with v. 2-3

“Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:2-3, NASB)

We begin with the first statement that Christ is the head of every man. This affirms the truth that since Christ is the Creator and Preserver of all men, he must therefore be the head (or master and ruler) of mankind. Christ is the head of all men in that all gifts are derived from him and as the….

 

 

 

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A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part VI – 1 Corinthians 1-10

William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

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When discussing Paul’s letters to the church at Corinth, we must recognize that Paul did not merely write to address one single issue, but several. Corinth had asked several very valid questions of Paul. There were also some concerns about which Paul wanted them to know there was no question, because the answer was so clear. There were also reports that were brought to Paul about matters on which the Corinthian church was settled, but they had settled on the wrong side. In the following article, we will address several of these concerns, because many of them are still concerns for us today. Given the theme of our series, we will primarily be dealing with those concerns that touch the issue of public theology and, sadly, we will not have time to address all of the issues as thoroughly as we might desire.

To the Saints

First, let us recognize the endearment that Paul assigns to this church. He calls them saints: “To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling,” (1Cor. 1:2a; NASB). Yes, this church had some major failings. However, he recognizes that they are beloved of God and, even as an apostle, he does not have the right to rail against Christ’s bride. He will go on to rebuke her, but he desires that she see that his rebukes come from a heart of love, not self-righteousness.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part V – Galatians

theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

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Paul, in writing to the Galatian churches, explores some of the same themes as in his letter to the Romans. Paul had noticed in his travels that there were certain very insidious teachings that had seeped in as Jewish believers and Gentile believers began to worship together. He penned his letter to the Galatians to address one such teaching.

Another Gospel

Now, it must be noted on the outset that Paul’s introduction to the letter to the Galatian churches is by far his shortest, shorter even than that of his letter to the Colossians, whom he had not likely ever seen in person (Col. 2:1). The matter about which Paul was writing was of grave importance, and he wanted his readers to feel the urgency of it. Some who had come in among them were teaching a different gospel.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part IV – Romans 13

September 28, 2016 Leave a comment

theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

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As we round out our discussion of Romans note that, in our last three articles, we highlighted Paul’s desire to preach the gospel to the church at Rome. Paul’s mention of his desire in Romans 1:15-17 functions as the thesis statement of the letter:

“So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith,’ (Romans 1:15-17; NASB).

In the first two articles on Romans, we noted four themes in this thesis statement: a gospel for the church, the gospel as God’s power unto salvation, salvation to all without distinction and how, in this way, God will save all His chosen people. These four major themes help us to understand why Paul takes both the first eight chapters of Romans explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ and the following three chapters explaining the relationship between Israel and the church. Since the thesis statement of Romans 1:15-17 sets the framework for all that follows, we are in our present study using it as the lens through which we examine the rest of the book of Romans. In our last article and this one, we are focusing on the theme from faith to faith. Last article, we examined what chapters 12 and 14-16 taught on the matter. This article will focus exclusively on on how the theme is addressed in Romans 13.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III

You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:

An Introduction

Augustine’s Two Cities

Two Kingdoms in Luther

The Reformed Confessions (Part I)

The Reformed Confessions (Part II)

The Reformed Confessions (Part III)

Sphere Sovereignty in Kuyper

Redemption and Creation in Kuyper

John the Baptist

The Prophet Amos

The Incarnate Lord (Part I)

The Incarnate Lord (Part II)

The Incarnate Lord (Part III)

Introduction to the Book of Acts

The Ministry of Peter and John in Acts

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part I

The Ministry of Paul in Acts, Part II

The Pauline Epistles, Part I – Romans 1-8

The Pauline Epistles, Part II – Romans 9-11

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As we observed in our last two articles, Paul’s desire to preach the gospel to the church at Rome provided him the necessary motivation to write his letter to the Romans. In fact, Paul’s mention of his desire in Romans 1:15-17 functions as the thesis statement of the letter:

“So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith,’” (Romans 1:15-17; NASB).

In the first two articles on Romans, we considered four themes found in this thesis statement: the gospel preached to the church, the gospel as the power of God unto salvation, God’s salvation to all without distinction and, in this way, God will save all His chosen people. These four major themes help us to understand why Paul spends the first eight chapters of Romans explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ and the following three chapters describing the relationship between Israel and the church. Since the thesis statement of Romans 1:15-17 sets the framework for all that follows, we are in our present study using it as the lens through which we examine the rest of the book of Romans. In this offering, we will focus on principles found in these verses that help us to understand why Paul teaches what he teaches in chapters 12, and 14-16.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.