Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Banner of Truth 2007 -- Introduction and Session #1


Today started with breakfast at Fay's Country Kitchen (at least I think that was the name). The food there was great, and the portions were large. If you are ever in Carlisle PA and looking for a good breakfast try Fay's.

After breakfast we headed out to Cumberland Valley Bibles and Books. That is a store I could spend hours in. They have an excellent selection of theological books and biographies. After more than an hour and a half and more that $100 is purchases, I and the two men traveling with me headed to Messiah College in Grantham. It is a fairly short trip, and although this was my first time driving it without someone who knew where they were going, we arrived without getting off course even once.

After registering and unpacking we went for lunch at Brothers, a restaurant fairly near the campus. By 2 we were back, and I took a while to rest and read. One has to do that when they purchase new books.

The first session started at 3:30PM and the speaker was Ben Short.

Ian Hamilton introduced him, and reminded all of us that the theme of the conference is “Holiness, Our Greatest Need”

We opened out time together singing “Hallelujah Praise Jehovah” a song I have not sung for many years, and upon singing it realized how much I missed it.

Here are the lyrics:
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Put no confidence in princes,
Nor for help on man depend;
He shall die, to dust returning,
And his purposes shall end.
Happy is the man that chooses
Israel’s God to be his aid;
He is blessed whose hope of blessing
On the Lord his God is stayed.
Heaven and earth the Lord created,
Seas and all that they contain;
He delivers from oppression,
Righteousness He will maintain.
Food He daily gives the hungry,
Sets the mourning prisoner free,
Raises those bowed down with anguish,
Makes the sightless eyes to see.
Well Jehovah loves the righteous,
And the stranger He befriends,
Helps the fatherless and the widow,
Judgment on the wicked sends.
Hallelujah, praise Jehovah,
O my soul, Jehovah praise;
I will sing the glorious praises
Of my God through all my days.
Over all God reigns forever,
Through all ages He is King;
Unto Him, thy God, O Zion,
Joyful hallelujahs sing.
You can find the tune at http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/p/hpraisj1.htm

Then following prayer we read Philippians 1. The text that was being considered was Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” The title of the talk was, “Antidote to Discouragement”

The message opened looking at the reality of discouragement in pastoral ministry. There is much to discourage us.

First we have the society around us. It is filled with things that are manifestations of sin. Things like individualism, subjectivism, anti-authoritarian mind sets, post modernism and more.

But it is not as is the church is immune to this. It can also be seen among people of the church, and its influence felt everywhere. It effects how people hear/listen, so we often wonder do they really hear at all. We have backsliding individuals who seem to loose all hunger for word of God and whose hearts harden. Not to mention all the other things.

With discouragement comes grave dangers. If it is not faced it can lead to depression, heartless labor, professionalism, lax sermon preparation, lack of prayer, jealousness of others and even regarding the congregation one serves as an enemy.

Paul himself knew of discouragement. What we find today is not anything new because the heart of man does not change. They faced much the the same thing then. Paul faced attacks from the devil, moral failures in churches, theological failures in churches, and twisting of the gospel in churches. There was also the hatred and animosity of the world both Jews and Gentiles. He was whipped, beaten, imprisoned and more. He faced the dangers of natural events in storms, ship wrecks, and more. There were Dangers from from false brothers, weariness, hunger, cold, nakedness, and the list goes on.

Would that not overwhelm any man? We don't usually face that today, but in his life Paul faced possibility of death every day. But, he was prepared to die for Christ. Paul said, "I die daily for Christ" (1 Cor 15:31)

We see it here in Philippians. Here we find what Paul was facing, some preached Christ for good reasons but others out of animosity seeking to make things worse for Paul. This could have brought him down. But, what we find here is that it did not. Instead Paul rejoiced.

Why could Paul do this? He gives the answer. It was because Christ is preached. Christ's name is being made known in Rome, and that was what Paul cared about. He was confident that in nothing he would be shamed. Instead whatever happened, Christ would be magnified in his body. What all that tells us is that to live is Christ and to die is gain is the explanation of Paul's endurance. This was what provided what he needed to overcome the situation/circumstances he faced.

Think of Jesus words for a moment. If anyone would come after me, he must take up his cross and follow me he who lose life will save it"
-this is what lay behind Paul's words
-Christ was everything to Paul
-all his thought life was affected
-new aims,goals,heart
-when a man is confronted by Christ
-everything changes
-if we say we are Christ's and that has not changed us
-not marked us off from the world
-something is wrong
-Paul could call people to follow his example
-but there is a demand that we be examples as believers
-especially as elder sand pastors
-to live is Christ
-to deny self because of Christ
-can I say that
-could I say that to the congregation I serve
-would they believe it
-would they think it was more than pious words
-Christ is our example of this
-his food was to follow Father
-to do works of father
-speak words of father
--he was not doing his own thing
-he took up his cross
-Christ was Paul's example
-he was bondslave of Jesus Christ
-lived and breathed Christ centeredness
-what does this mean
-his burning desire was have Christ glorified in his body
-in all he does
-Christ in him kept him going
-to rejoice and endure because of Christ
-to preach the foolish gospel of Christ crucified
-focus on Christ was above all

-to live is Christ means he belongs to Christ
-so his life lived in his body
-belongs to Christ
-his response on the Damascus road was "what do you want me to do?"
-he abandoned himself to and for Christ
-always serving Christ
-suffering for Christ
-sharing in the fellowship of Christ's sufferings
-put glory in all he did and suffered for Christ
-we will be put to the test
-it is the proof of our boast in how we react to our suffering
-it is not a response of easy living
-not the ease of our family
-are we willing to forgo our advancement for Christ
-are we willing to say, whatever you want me to do I will do
-whatever I have to give up for you I will give up
-where ever you want me to go I will go
-to live is Christ means we do not belong to this world
-no longer part of its thinking, living, acting
-all parts of life included
-this should be an antidote to discouagement
-because when people speak evil of us
-to live is Christ
-when I get jealous
-to live is Christ
-when people don't listen
to live is Christ
-when church politics attack and hurt
-to live Gilchrist
-we are not doing all we do for ourselves
-but for Christ
-Paul's motive was his obsession with Christ
-Paul loved Christ
-more than just duty
-duty will wear thin
-but love is firmer and stronger than duty
-this is mutual
-we love him because he first loved us
-Christ loves you
-can you think of any reason why
-considering that
-will move us to further love him
-because he first loved us
-so we can rejoice in being worthy to suffer for his name
-doing it because you love Christ
-keep sights upon him
-let for me to live is Christ undergird and motivate all your labors
-but Paul does not stop there
-to die is gain
-seems crazy
-dying is gain!
-how can that be
-this also is a powerful antidote to discouragement
-his vision was not limited to the present
-to what he could see and feel
-looking beyond circumstances to eternity
-pressed on toward the goal
-of the upward call of God
-because that is where his life was
-to live is fruitful labor
-but to die is to be with Christ
-for a Christ obsessed man like Paul
-dying is gain
-to die is to have glory revealed in us
-what it is about this life that makes dying preferable
-what is gain for us who believe in Jesus
1-we shall see him face to face
-what we dimly see now in mirror of scripture
-will be completely clear
-we will behold him as he is
-the same Jesus who walked this earth, died on the cross facing our punishment, laid in tomb, and rose on the third day, ascended to heave
-we will see him as he is
-even not seeing him we love him
-shown him
-come to know him in the written word
-but we will see him face to face
-we will see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ
-all his perfections
-mercy, justice, grace,righteousness, splendor, and all the rest
-is it any wonder that Paul said death gain
-surely that should encourage
-3-we shall be like him
-god's redemptive purpose will be fulfilled
-the purpose of the restoration of all creation
-of humanity back to complete image bearers of Christ
-JOhn17 Jesus gave glory father gave him to his followers
-we shall be like him in glory
-the radience of his glory will shine out from us
-restored in the image of god in a fuller, richer,more wonderful way than Adam ever was
-not more sin in us
4wewill be holy as he is holy
-that is the desire/command of god
-we will be what god chose us to be
-we know so little of holiness now
-we struggle with sin
-sin is so much with us
-so much a part of us
-word we speak
-actions we do
-thoughts we think
-we battle sin all the time
-but then we WILL BE HOLY
-and pure
-like Jesus
-no more unholy thoughts, desires, speech, remorse shame guilt at giving in to sin
-sin will be impossible for us
-we will have no desire to sin
-or love of sin
-we will live and breath and move to God with all our being
-to died is gain
-and glory will be revealed in us that will make all the sufferings of this life like nothing
-death is not the end
-it is the entrance into the fullness of life
' into Christlikeness
-into real life
-our failings are real
-Paul failed
-hardships are real
-Satan's attacks are reality
-there are times we are tempted to despair
-the antidote is to live in Christ
-and look to the glory that is to come
-as long as we are here we will keep laboring for Christ
-that in our bodies he might be glorified
-so keep going
do it for Christ
-not reputation
-not for advancement
-not for comfort
-but all for Christ who loved you
-that will keep you from discouragement
443 Faith of Our Fathers


Annette said...

oh man... i wish I had been there... if only to here all those men sing that hymn. It would have been so cool to listen to. it's a grand hymn and I can almost here you men singing it. :)

Rileysowner said...

The singing of a couple of hundred men is really quite stirring. The singing is one of the things I very much enjoy about this conference as well.

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