Posts Tagged With: pursue

Demystifying Church Discipline

I was away this week, sharing a precious memorial service for my dearly beloved mom with my family. Consequently, I have selected one of the MOST IMPORTANT podcasts that we have recorded in our Jesus in HD series.

In this Encore PODCAST, as we continue in our chronological study of the life and ministry of Jesus, we come to Matthew 18:15-17 — one of the most seriously significant passages in all of the New Testament, the so-called “Church Discipline” passage.

Church Discipline, a teaching in many local churches that really rose into prominence in the late 1970’s and became quite the trend.

I can remember attending church leadership conferences back then and hearing pastors — I’ll use word “boast.” — of the fact that they recently removed individuals from their congregations, thereby “preserving the purity of their churches.” Others would then oooh and ahhh at the boldness of these pastors in confronting the sin in his church and taking decisive action in order to preserve the purity of his church by the process of Church Discipline as outline by Jesus here in Matthew 18.

Today, one of this nation’s leading Church Discipline proponents insists that church discipline, as outlined in Matthew 18, is one of the marks of a healthy church. He writes this on his website, clearly articulating the prevailing view of Church Discipline, and indeed includes this as one of his main talking points as he addresses pastors’ conferences throughout the country, encouraging them to do the same:

“Church discipline is the act of correcting sin in the life of the body, including the possible final step of excluding a professing Christian from membership in the church and participation in the Lord’s Supper because of serious unrepentant sin.”

Consequently, it has become standard practice to “exclude” or remove or excommunicate (you choose the term) unrepentant sinners from their local churches. This notion of Church Discipline is certainly included in many if not most of our evangelical churches’ bylaws.

Well, in light of the above definition — More importantly, in light of Jesus’ words in Matthew 18 — I must ask, Is that really what Jesus taught to His disciples and to us?

Let’s discover the answer together.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you as you listen.

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What Does It Feel Like to be God? (Here’s His SURPRISING Answer)

We are, as you well know, engaged in a fascinating election cycle — one that I have been following with great interest.

Last week, one prominent commentator told of the time when, shortly after the swearing-in of a relatively recent President, he asked him,

“What does it feel like to be President?”

His answer, in case you are interested, was this:

“I suddenly realized that everything I say will profoundly affect something somewhere in the world.”

As you will hear in this PODCAST, that question, “What does it feel like to be President?” piqued my curiosity. Truth be told, there have been times when I have curiously wondered how God would respond if we were to ask Him,

“What does it feel like to be God?”

The thing is, God has already answered that question.

God has told us exactly what it feels like to be God.

Fact is, His answer might honestly surprise you. Surprise you in a profoundly emotional way. It sure does me!

Now, in considering His answer that question, “What does it feel like to be God?” we have to start with this.

Jesus said this in John 4:24, “God is spirit.” God is, in that sense, ineffable. Meaning, inexpressible, indescribable, like nothing we’ve ever known before.

As God Himself said to Isaiah, in chapter 55,

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”

God is, by His own definition, utterly incomprehensible. So in an effort to help us relate to Him at least on some level, God chose to describe Himself to us using word pictures. Very meaningful word pictures.

Remember how I’ve told you Bible is picture book? Remember how I’ve told you that after stating a proposition, a good rabbi will always paint the picture?

For instance, the biblical writer states the proposition, “God is love” (1 John 4:8). He then follows this proposition by painting word pictures which describe what God’s love looks like.

So through the quills of the biblical writers, God was forever providing Scriptural snapshots what He is like, of which there are several throughout pages of Bible.

The Lord is my shepherd, He shelters us under His wings, He is our rock, mountain, fortress. So, so many.

The technical term for these portraits is anthropomorphisms, morphe (form), anthropos (human, man) — God describing Himself in forms, images, pictures we humans can understand.

OK, now watch this: Of all of the pictures that God painted (anthropomorphisms each), there are basically two iconic images of God in the Bible. As if to say,

Of all of the pictures that I have drawn of Myself for you, there are two predominant portraits of Me that I want you never to forget. Shepherd, Bird, Rock, Mountain, Fortress, so many others — these are great, accurate, and most helpful. But if you are going to remember only two, and forever cherish these two in your hearts, these are the two I want you never to forget: One in the Old Testament, and one in the New Testament.

If you think about it, God chose the two most intimate, precious, personal, and cherished of all human relationships.

You are in for quite a treat, and a stunning surprise as you listen.

Please remember that depending upon your web browser and connection speed, it may take up to 60 seconds for this podcast to begin to play.

God bless you richly as you listen.

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