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An Introduction to Church Doctrine Study February 10, 2007

Posted by mjtilley in church, Jesus Christ.
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A couple of weeks ago, before we actually started our study of Ephesians, Matthew offered some thoughts on the church, based on Gamaliel’s discourse in Acts 5:34-40.  The observations made by the Pharisee (that’d be Gamaliel … not Matthew, at least as far as the passage is concerned) indicate several fundamental truths about the church.

  1. Anything can be called a “church.”  The word “church” is simply a label put on people who gather together.  The English word is translated from the Greek “eklesia” which means “a called out assembly.” In Acts 5, Gamaliel rightly notes that Theudas and Judas essentially lead “churches,” yet their followers were met with ruin.
  2. The true test of a church is its foundation.  To see what the apostles (particularly Peter, who is under scrutiny here) were depending on as their foundation, look at Acts 3 and Acts 5:29-32.  It’s obvious, their foundation was Christ; their message was Christ-centered!  In Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus notes that the foundation of the church was the fact that He was God, the Christ.  Therefore, Freedom Baptist Church will only be a true, real and useful church if it is the church of Jesus Christ.
  3. Only a true, God-founded church will succeed.  Gamaliel says, “if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it” (Acts 5:39).  And Jesus says in Matthew 16:18: “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  No matter what I do (or don’t do) … no matter what the world and the devil tries: a church founded on Jesus will be triumphant!
  4. But that success comes from God alone.  In the Matthew 16 passage, before noting that the church will succeed, Jesus notes that He was the one who would build it.  Looking at I Corinthians 3:17, Paul — under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit — notes that for all our labors, it is God who gives the increase.
  5. Yet God has offered me the privilege of laboring with Him.  Notice I Corinthians 3:11-20.  Paul makes it clear that the perfect foundation is Jesus and that God is the one who causes success and growth.  However, Paul also uses the image of a building and a garden to show that we have the responsibility and opportunity to co-operate, to be a co-laborer with God.  What a privilege!

You can listen to or download the entire lesson from archives.org.

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Jesus, My Victorious Ruler October 6, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ.
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A recording of the 10/1/2006 lesson about Jesus’ role as our King: http://www.archive.org/download/Jesus1_2/Jesus2.WMA.

A Sympathetic Priest October 6, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ.
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A recording of the 9/24/2006 lesson about Jesus’ role as priest: http://www.archive.org/download/Jesus1_2/Jesus1.WMA.

The Best Prophet Ever September 17, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Jesus Christ.
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“God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” Hebrews 1:1-4

Today, Brian addressed the prophetic role of Jesus Christ.  In the lesson, Brian took extra effort to prove out that it’s no empty saying that Jesus was a prophet.  Instead, we found that Jesus meets and exceeds every qualification for a prophet.

Knowing that, the aforementioned passage in Hebrews (quickly becoming one of my favorite passages in the New Testament) has even more power.  Yes, Jesus came to earth fulfilled both the foretelling (telling of future events) and forthtelling (relaying direct messages from God) aspects of prophetic ministry.  But unlike the prophets of the Old Testament (even Moses, who was a “superior” prophet), Jesus was:

  1. God’s divine prophet.  At best, the Old Testament prophets were human intermediaries for men.  They would speak God’s mind, as He would deliver it, but they were always nothing more than human beings.  Jesus Christ was the only prophet that was more than a mere man; He was flesh, but He was God Himself.  Jesus provided a direct revelation of God as the second person of the Trinity.      
  2. God’s last prophet.  Jesus Christ was the final Word.  Once God spoke in the form of His Son, He had communicated in the most perfect and final form.  There was and is no way to communicate God’s mind any better than through someone who is the brightness God’s glory and the express image of God.
  3. God’s perfect prophet.  While God chose to deliver His message in many different ways throughout history, only Jesus was the perfect messenger.  Not only did Jesus accurate relay the information (the same is said of the prophets on the Old Testament), Jesus actually showed God’s message in His own life (to some extent, also true of Old Testament prophets) and provided to sacrifice necessary to give the message life.  Jesus didn’t just communicate God’s love toward us… He made our relatinship possible.

Jesus Christ seen in the Old Testament September 12, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ, salvation, The Old Testament.
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On Sunday, Brian continued with the lessons on the Doctrine of Jesus Christ.  What’s striking to me is how central this doctrine (and thereby, these 5 lessons) are to our faith, to our salvation, to the church.  That is not to say any one of the other lessons or doctrines aren’t important — try and take one away or tweak it a bit and you’ll find out just how important they are to everything — but it is to say that Christ is the central figure of it all.

That concept is very prominently seen in a study of the Old Testment, done in light of the revelation we have of Jesus in the New Testament — the topic of Brian’s lesson.

I think it is important to know that without Jesus actually coming and without the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, Jesus in the Old Testament is not such an obvious thing.  Certainly passages like Isaiah 53 are teaching, foreshadowing the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.  But now that we have the light shed by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, we can plainly see that Jesus was who was being foretold.

Ultimately, what that means to me is this: Jesus dying on the cross, the mystery of the church, my salvation itself are all acts of God planned before the world was ever Created.  This was no “fall-back,” plan B … this was the God-honoring, Father-glorifying plan of redemption.  The seeds (some more obvious and others less, but all purposeful) of information about that plan show that God was never once taken by surprise, never struck his forehead with his palm in astonishment.  No — my God put the plan into action from the first act of the Bible and of time (Genesis 1:1).  And He continued implementing His plan according to His timing. 

I take away two assurances from that:

1) My God chose me!  Only because of His love and His grace, I can say that I am accepted by God, that I have a position of right-standing with God, that I am a friend of God.

2) My God will always make sure His plan is accomplished!  No matter what, with our without my consent … it will happen.  May I be always be willing to submit. 

Jesus: The God-Man September 7, 2006

Posted by mjtilley in Bible Doctrines, Jesus Christ, salvation.
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This past Sunday, Brian covered one of the more important, yet more mind-boggling aspects of Jesus — the fact that He was 100%, totally God while being 100%, totally human.  This is called Jesus’ Deity and Humanity

I am so glad that Jesus is not some lesser deity, some smallish god sent to do the dirty work of the more potent gods.  No!  He was and is God holding on to every attribute and characteristic of God, claiming and owning equality with the Father.  Anything less and His sacrifice on the cross would have been as effective as the death of the theives beside of Him. 

I am also so glad that Jesus had the humility to take on this dirty humanity, to walk among us, to teach us, to model perfection to us and to suffer the agonies of the flesh.  Anything less and He would have been unable to suffer, to bleed, to die for me on the cross … to suffer the ultimate separation from God by taking on the sins of the world!  And beyond His redemptive capabilites, Jesus can be so sympathetic to me and my suffering and sin.  He is a loving and sympathetic High Priest.  Finally, what a lesson in humility: Jesus, who was and is equal with The Father, nonetheless obeyed the direction of the Father and became even lower than the created angels … an all because He loved me!

Lord … May I be ever mindful of the sacrifice that You both required and gave to reconcile my depraved humanity with Your holy righteousness,  Thank you ever so much for the ultimate expression of love, humility and righteousness that Your Son dying on the cross of Calvary represents.  I pray that You forgive us for ever thinking we can do anything in our own power and ever being so bold as to ignore or shun the efficacious shedding of blood.  I beg that You use us to lift up Christ and in so doing, allow us to be co-laborers with You in drawing men to yourself.