Counseling One Another

Helping you grow in God's all-sufficient truth and grace

Counseling One Another

September 22, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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NUGGETS

Take time this weekend to read these valuable articles…

Your Letter to Your Future Spouse – “Though Titanic is now twenty years old, the same romance-as-savior theme is still present in our culture. But surprisingly, many churches don’t reject this lie. They Christianize it.”

Theophany and Theodicy, Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Practice – “It has been my experience that my personal pain and suffering has been resolved by the caring presence of another person or the caring presence of God.”

Six Benefits of Ordinary Daily Devotions – “Brick upon brick a building is built. Lesson upon lesson a degree is earned. Stroke upon stroke a painting is created. Your devotions may have seemed ordinary today, but God is making something extraordinary through it. Press on. Don’t short-change the process.”

I Want to Be Baptized Even if it Kills Me – A testimony from Honduras.

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September 21, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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4 Ways to Remind Yourself of the Gospel

As we grow older, the more our memory fades. We misplace our car keys or cell phone. We arrive at the bottom of the basement stairs only to forget why we went down there. We start telling others about a movie we saw, or a book we read, and we can’t remember the names of key players or the author. But don’t worry too much. Doctors say this it’s normal and is not necessarily a sign of more serious issues. Forgetfulness is common.

However, since memory loss is common we may wrongly assume it is inevitable…that there is nothing we can do to combat it. But that’s not necessarily true. The brain is capable of producing new brain cells at any age. Significant memory loss is not inevitable. But, as it is with other muscles in the body, we have to use them or we lose them. Stop going to the gym and it will not take long to notice how flabby and weak we have become. Stop challenging your mind with learning, using all your senses, and repeating important information, it will not take long to notice sharpness fading. This can be true spiritually, too.

It was a problem in the church at Corinth. The church had started off with a bang when the apostolic missionaries first brought the gospel to their city. But as time passed, problems developed including divisions, immorality, lawsuits, adultery and divorce, abuse of spiritual gifts, and more unloving behavior.

But there was another problem in the Corinthian church, which was greater than all the others combined—the purity and priority of the gospel were at risk. The gospel was being threatened openly by some who denied the resurrection. But the gospel was also at risk of being threatened in a subtle manner—through forgetfulness, by lack of conscious remembrance. So Paul writes to remind them of the beauty and glory of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is God’s gospel. It is His good news concerning His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the salvation provided through faith in Him as Lord and Sin-bearing Savior. It is the one and only message containing within itself the power to save each of us sinners.

Like all things that are important to remember, the warm truths surrounding the gospel must be rekindled in our hearts and minds, lest we lose our priorities, our focus, and then ultimately our way. Therefore, to strengthen your memory function and prevent yourself from wandering, God wants you to remind yourself of four essential aspects of the gospel mentioned in 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.

Remind yourself of the centrality of the gospel.

The Gospel (Good News) is what Paul brought to them (1 Cor. 15:1-3). He preached it to them and they received it. It was now the gospel in which they stood; their very standing before God was based on the gospel of grace (Rom. 5:1).

By this gospel, the apostle writes, “You are being saved…IF” – two conditions are being met.

  • You hold fast the word. To “hold fast” means to be obedient to it. This, Paul says, is a mark of true salvation which produces a life that is growing in obedience. We’re not talking about perfection, but a change in direction which is part of being a new creature in Christ. Clearly, there were members of the church in Corinth who needed to examine the genuineness of their own faith.
  • Unless you believed in vain. The word “vain” means without due consideration. Vain faith is the non-saving faith that James warned against (James 2:17, 26). Leon Morris wrote in his commentary: “If people profess to believe the gospel, but have not given due consideration to what that implies and what it demands, they do not really trust Christ. Their belief is groundless and empty. They lack saving faith.”

This should press home to us the importance of preaching the gospel thoroughly. Our evangelism should not be hit and miss, carelessly throwing seeds here and there, but thorough in its teaching. We must be careful to not call people to believe in a Christ they do not know enough about, lest we help them to merely believe in vain. To the apostle, the gospel was of first importance. Why? Because it is the message that saved him, and the message God commanded him to preach. The gospel must be central to our faith or we have missed the mark.

Remind yourself of the content of the gospel.

The gospel is not a religious word that everyone has the right to define for themselves. It is God’s gospel and, therefore, contains the content that He alone revealed to us (1 Cor. 3b-4). There are three parts to its content.

  • Jesus Christ died for sin. Jesus Christ the Son of God died in our place, as our substitute, according to the Scriptures (Isa 53:4-6).
  • Jesus Christ was buried. “According to the Scriptures” is assumed (see Isa 53:9, for example).
  • Jesus Christ rose from the grave. This miracle was also “according to the Scriptures” (see Psalm 16:9-10).

The repetition of “according to the Scriptures” demonstrates that the apostle rested the confidence of his faith upon the inerrant Word of God. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ adhere to one another to form a unit concerning the most central event in all of earth history. If any of these three pieces is removed the whole gospel house collapses.

Remind yourself of the confirmation of the gospel.

In 1 Corinthians 15:5-8, Paul went on to mention some of the witnesses who confirmed the resurrection: Cephas (Peter), the twelve, more than 500 believers at one time, James, all the apostles, and Paul who considered himself as a miscarried baby, unable to sustain life. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is the most confirmed miracle in history.

Remind yourself of the call of the gospel.

What I mean when I say, “Remind yourself of the call of the gospel” is that you keep in mind two aspects of the gospel call: The gospel’s call to your heart by the Holy Spirit, and God’s call to you as an ambassador of the gospel. Paul mentions both of these (1 Cor. 15:9-11).

“I am least of the apostles,” Paul believed. That is, the closer Paul got to Christ, the uglier his sinful heart appeared to him and the more he realized how badly he needed the Lord. He was unworthy to be a Christian, no less an apostle, but it was by God’s mercy he was called (1 Tim. 1:12-16), and continually empowered by the grace of God.

Salvation is more than merely intellectual assent to the factual content of the gospel (death, burial, resurrection), but it includes moral submission to God’s diagnosis of your own heart’s need. The extent to which you think you need Christ, and consistently remind yourself of the gospel of grace, the more your love for God will grow.

It’s like the humble woman in Luke 7, who was broken over her sinfulness. In the presence of Jesus, she broke open her expensive jar of perfume and poured it over her Savior’s feet. In contrast, the Pharisee who hosted the dinner was embarrassed for Jesus and angry at the woman. But Jesus was not embarrassed. He was not angry. The woman, Jesus said, loved much because she had been forgiven much. “But the one who is forgiven little,” Jesus said, “loves little.”

  • Are you like that woman? You know you are deeply sinful and, therefore, have never gotten over the love of God for you in the gospel. You love much because you know you’ve been forgiven much.
  • Or, are you like the Pharisee? You think you are not as bad of a sinner as other people. Yes, you need a Savior, but not quite as much as others who have totally messed up their lives with sin. Beware! There’s spiritual pride lurking under the surface. You love God little because—in your heart—you believe you only need a little forgiveness.

What is the condition of your soul memory? Ask God to heal your gospel amnesia. Remind yourself that without Christ you are nothing. Remind yourself that in Christ you are immersed in God’s grace and give Him never-ending praise.

[Adapted from last Sunday’s sermon at Cornerstone Community Church in Mayfield Heights, Ohio.]

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September 13, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on 3 Reasons God Wants You to Pray for President Trump

3 Reasons God Wants You to Pray for President Trump

How do national, state, and local leaders bear up under the enormous pressures they face every day? How does the President of the United States continue to perform his appointed tasks without being crippled by weariness? How do our government leaders maintain composure when they become dartboards for honest critics as well as false accusers? One answer is found in our ministry of prayer. When we commit to praying for our leaders (whether or not we like them or agree with them), God is pleased with our obedience and is pleased to work in hearts according to His will.

In relation to this divinely given duty, one passage in particular contains fundamental principles every believer needs to understand: First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:1–4). In these verses, we hear the apostle’s plea to us to be obedient to God by praying for our leaders.

The Priority

Paul begins his exhortation with a phrase that calls attention to the primacy of prayer in the life of the believer and the local church. “First of all” is a plea to keep first things first. It is an appeal not only to individual Christians, but, since the book was originally written to instruct Timothy concerning local church life (3:15), it is a call to churches and their members to place utmost importance on prayer. As a pastor, Timothy needed to guard against prayer being abandoned by members of his flock or subtly replaced by self-reliance.

The Plea

“I urge” is a strong plea carrying the meaning of “coming alongside in order to exhort.” The same word is used in Romans 12:1: “I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.” Even though Paul possessed apostolic authority to command Timothy, he chose instead to make a strong appeal to him to recognize the irreplaceable priority of prayer. Paul used four different words to paint a balanced picture of prayer. “Entreaties” refers to prayers prompted by the awareness of needs. “Prayers” is a general term referring to approaching God with reverence. “Petitions” are compassionate prayers generated from empathy with others. “Thanksgivings” are specific praises to God for the works that he has done. The apostolic appeal is general at first and then gets specific. With these words, Paul provides a sampling of prayers that should be made on behalf of “all men,” but especially “for kings and all who are in authority” (vv. 1–2).

The Purpose

“[S]o that” is a clear statement of purpose, which reveals 3 reasons God commands us to pray for our government leaders.

  • REASON #1 – Pray for our leaders so that “we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” This refers to an external as well as an inner peace. How does praying for our leaders promote peace? Praying for God to give our leaders wisdom in world affairs may promote peaceful living, as will praying for the writing of good laws which honor biblical principles. According to Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” If we really believe this truth then we will get down on our knees in order to lift our government leaders before God in prayer.
  • REASON #2 – Pray for our government leaders because it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” It pleases God. It’s that simple. Matthew 6:33 calls us to this motive for life: “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things will be added to you.” When we have this overarching philosophy of life, all peripheral matters fall into their proper place in their proper time. “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth” (Col. 3:2). One clear way to please God and set our mind on things above is by faithfully praying for our government leaders.
  • REASON #3 Pray for our government leaders because God “desires all men to be saved.” Conversion takes place when sinners “come to the knowledge of the truth.” Therefore, we must pray for the souls of our civil leaders, that they will come to know Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6). We should pray for the Holy Spirit’s convicting work (John 16:8), for faithful witnesses to be heard (Rom. 10:14), and for the faith-giving power of the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

Our government leaders need us; they need us to pray for them with all diligence. This obedient habit pleases God, but is also a powerful means to making a difference for the sake of righteousness in our world and for the sake of the gospel for all eternity.

[Adapted from my book, Pray About Everything. Also available for Kindle.]

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September 12, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on God, Give Us a Heart for the Lost

God, Give Us a Heart for the Lost

There is a cultural problem in the evangelical church in America. That is, though we claim to believe the gospel is for all people, the natural tendency is still for us to prefer to gather with people who are like us. Whether it be those who are of the same ethnic background, or have the same skin color, or are in the same age group or season of life or income bracket; church for most Americans has become a place to be comfortable being with the people who are most like us.

But this is contrary to God’s intention for the church. The gospel is for all peoples and so is God’s heart and, therefore, our heart should be the same. Evidence of God’s heart for all peoples of the earth permeates Scripture. It is clear God intends to save some from every people group. This is evidenced by the consistency of His ongoing desire for His people to be a gospel light to every nation.

The covenant which God made with Abraham reminds us that the seed that would come through the family of Abraham; that is, the Messiah, would bless all the nations. Our Savior was a Hebrew, a Jewish man, through whom God’s salvation was brought to the world.

  • In Psalm 67:2, the songwriter reveals God’s international heart: “That Your way may be known on the earth, Your salvation among all nations.”
  • Mark’s Gospel exhorts us with these words, “The gospel must be preached to all the nations” (Mark 13:10).
  • John’s revelation from the risen Christ reveals the worship of God in heaven as multi-ethnic: “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb…”

The heart of God for the salvation of all peoples is also evidence by the consistency of His compassion toward them. When Moses asked to see God’s glory, God allowed him to see what Scripture calls His “backside.” Then God said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you, and will proclaim the name of the LORD before you; and I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion” (Exodus 33:19).

God’s glory is most prominently seen in the giving of His Son. In the New Covenant age, we don’t need to ask God to show more of Himself to us. We need to lift up the glory of His Son in whom His glory has already been revealed. Part of the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ is His heart of compassion to bring the lost back into relationship with Himself. Jesus said to the wayward Jews, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”

The ultimate goal of God is to display His glory. Therefore, the heart of God is for the lost, for their salvation, to bring them to the place where they may experience the glory of His grace in redemption.

The lesson of Jonah is that our heart should be the same. Our heart should be filled to overflowing with compassion for the lost. But Jonah’s heart was not filled with compassion. Instead, Jonah’s heart was filled with pride and prejudice. And this pride and prejudice produced a deep, seething anger against the Assyrians, the nation that had taken his people captive.

“These people don’t deserve salvation,” we may imagine Jonah thinking. “They should be judged. They should be condemned. God should destroy them, not save them.” That was the sinful prophet’s attitude. And so Jonah refused to preach to them. But the Sovereign One whipped up a great storm upon the sea, had His rebellious, hard-hearted prophet thrown into the sea and transported back to land by a great fish.

Now, having gone to Ninevah and preached God’s message of repentance, Jonah witnessed the entire city come to repentance. You would think that Jonah would have been thrilled beyond belief. But he was not. Instead he was very angry. He was filled with rage. Why? Because God had spared them. God chose to be gracious to people whom Jonah wished were dead.

What is your heart attitude toward the lost, especially those who are different than you?

[Adapted from the last sermon in the book of Jonah, preached last Sunday: God Rebukes the Self-Centered Prophet.]

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September 8, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on NUGGETS

NUGGETS

A few links you should take time to read this weekend…

What’s Changed in Britain Since Same-Sex Marriage? – Four years ago, amid much uncertainty, 400 British members of parliament voted to redefine marriage in the United Kingdom. Here are some of the tragic consequences that are inevitably entwined.

Lay Leaders Are Not the Shepherding JV Team – Dave Harvey explains some of the reasons I feel so blessed to be part of a shepherding team.

9 Factors to Consider When Choosing Someone to Disciple – Good counsel from Mark Dever.

The Nashville Statement on Sexuality – A new, important document from the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.

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September 6, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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God Is Sovereign Over the Weather

The Lord is lord of all. Whether rain or snow, cold or heat, wind or stagnant air, hurricane or calm, the Lord is the one who continues to uphold all of creation by His mighty power. It is Jesus Christ who “upholds all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3), and God uses all kinds of weather to serve His purposes.

What parts of the environment does God control? Over what does His sovereignty reign? Here are 21 ways God is sovereign over the environment. Let this encourage your heart and strengthen your faith.

  1. He created and controls the seasons (Genesis 1:14; Psalms 74:16-17; 104:19).
  2. He raises the sun every morning (Psalm 104:19).
  3. He created, named, and leads the stars (Psalm 147:4; Job 38:32-33).
  4. He causes the wind to blow (Exodus 14:21; Job 28:25-27; Psalm 78:26; Jonah 1:4; Matthew 8:26-27; Mark 4:39-41; Luke 8:24-25; James 5:17-18).
  5. He created and controls the water cycle (Job 26:8-9; Job 5:10; Psalm 135:7; 147:8; Matthew 5:45; Acts 14:17; Joel 2:23).
  6. He sustains the earth (Job 5:10; Psalm 135:6).
  7. He sends the morning dew (Proverbs 3:19-20).
  8. He causes lunar eclipses (Job 26:8-9).
  9. He provides for the growth of grass and crops (Psalm 147:8).
  10. He sends lightning (Job 37:1-18; Job 1:16).
  11. He sends loud thunderstorms, which I love (Jeremiah 10:13; 1 Samuel 12:17-18).
  12. He sends hail and snow, ice and frost (Psalm 148:8; Job 38:22-30).
  13. He nourishes the earth so that it produces crops and fruit (Leviticus 26:4; Job 36:26-33; Deuteronomy 11:10-15; 28:12; Zechariah 10:1; Psalms 104:13-14).
  14. He brings the spring seed time and fall harvest (Jeremiah 5:24; Genesis 8:22; Deuteronomy 33:13-14).
  15. He paints the rainbow of His promise (Genesis 9:14-16).
  16. He sends earthquakes (Psalms 68:7-9).
  17. He provides plentiful pasture lands for livestock (Isaiah 30:23).
  18. He sends the scorching sun (Genesis 8:22; Jonah 4:8).
  19. He withholds rain, causing drought (1 Kings 8:35-36; 2 Chronicles 6:26-27).
  20. He will destroy the present earth with fire—the ultimate global warming (2 Peter 3:10).
  21. He will create a new heaven and a new earth where He will forever dwell with His redeemed ones (Revelation 21:1-5).

What Is Your Attitude Toward the Weather?

Jerry Bridges, in his book Trusting God, astutely reminds us that our attitude about the weather reveals our attitude toward God.

Complaining about the weather seems to be a favorite American pastime. Sadly, we Christians often get caught up in this ungodly habit of our society. But when we complain about the weather, we are actually complaining against God who sent us our weather. We are, in fact, sinning against God (see Numbers 11:1). Not only do we sin against God when we complain about the weather, we also deprive ourselves of the peace that comes from recognizing our heavenly Father is in control of it.

Recommended Reading: Chapter 6: “God’s Power over Nature” in Jerry Bridges’ Trusting God.

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August 29, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on God Loves U-Turns

God Loves U-Turns

Imagine you are a long road trip to visit your grandmother for Thanksgiving Day. The low-fuel light turns red on your dashboard indicating you have about 30 miles worth of gas left in the tank, and the next exit is not for another 80 miles. At that moment in time, the most frustrating road sign in the whole world is “No U-Turns Allowed.”

Or imagine you are on your way to work and you’re listening to news on the radio. You hear the name of your hometown and become engrossed in the story. When you come back to your senses you realize you are in the far left lane of a 4-lane congested highway and your exit is ¼ mile ahead on the far right. So you blow right by your exit. You glance at the clock on your dash. It’s now 7:54 and you start work at 8:00 a.m., and the next exit is 5 miles further down the road. At that moment in time, the most frustrating road sign in all the whole is “No U-Turns Allowed.”

We live in a world where U-Turns are difficult at the times we need them the most, reserving them only for unusual circumstances (for safety reasons, of course). But living our spiritual lives before God is different. Living authentically with God, and for God, in this world requires innumerable U-Turns.

The good news of the Bible is that we can take U-Turns. In fact, God loves them. In God’s world, U-turns are not only allowed—they are required, encouraged, commanded, and welcomed by the Creator who became our gracious Redeemer. And this offer of redemption is openly made to men and women, boys and girls—all people of all ages, all colors, and all nationalities.

But Jonah refused to believe this; he didn’t joyfully embrace God’s heart for all people who have lost their way. Jews like him deserved a second chance (or third, or fourth), but the sinful people of Ninevah did not. So when God commanded the prophet to go to the pagan city of Ninevah and preach the message of repentance, Jonah refused. He defiantly went in the opposite direction. But God intervened. He whipped up a storm and had Jonah thrown into the raging sea in order to have him picked up by an uber fish to spend some alone-time with God. Now, at the end of Jonah 2, we find the fish has vomited Jonah onto the beach, and he is ready to preach.

In the third chapter, Jonah preached God’s message to the people of Ninevah and they repented. This biblical example reveals what our repentance should look like. So, what does it mean to repent? What does a spiritual U-Turn look like?

To repent means to turn to God with a heart of faith (v. 5a).

“And the people of Ninevah believed God.” Biblical repentance is married to faith. It is not merely an exercise of the will; that is, having enough “will power” to change. The person who is repenting—in the biblical sense—recognizes that he or she cannot make the necessary changes without God’s supernatural help. This is why the doctrine of repentance presents us with another mysterious tension in Scripture. Repentance is both a command from God to men; that is, we must repent (Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47), but Scripture also says it is given to us from God, thus God is the one who enables us to repent (Acts 11:18; Rom. 2:3-5).

Jonah preached the message and God granted the repentance—a repentance which included faith. This is ESSENTIAL to our understanding of repentance because many confuse repentance with penance, a form of self-punishment, or an attempt to make oneself acceptable to God. But biblical repentance is different. Repentance is a spiritual U-Turn; that is, we realize we are heading in the wrong direction, STOP, and turn back to God with a heart of faith.

To repent means to turn to God with godly grief (vv. 5b-8a).

Ninevah responded with a grief that led to repentance, symbolized by them all putting on sackcloth, a course fabric (think old, nasty burlap), which was a sign of grieving and deep humiliation.

But is grief repentance? Does feeling badly or being sorry for our sin equal being repentant? No, but it is a part of repentance. Read 2 Corinthians 7:8-10. Notice there are two kinds of sorrow. There is worldly sorrow, which leads to death (a sorrow that does not lead to life change or transformation) and there is godly sorrow, which leads to repentance (a spiritual U-Turn), that shifts the direction of your life. If our sin does not produce grief in our hearts, which then leads to repentance, then we should ask ourselves if our hearts have become calloused toward God or too comfortable with sin. To repent means to turn to God with a godly grief.

To repent means to turn to God away from evil ways (vv. 8b-10).

When the king repented, he commanded his people to turn from evil (Jonah 3:8-10). If repentance is a spiritual U-Turn of faith and life then two directions are in focus:

  • What you are turning toward.
  • And the evil way that you are turning from

Another way to say it is this: There is no turning to God without a turning away from sin. Repentance is essentially a change of mind but, like faith, it involves the heart of man in its entirety: intellect, emotion, and will. Biblical repentance is more than sorrow, or regret over failing to meet God’s standard (2 Cor. 7:9); rather, it includes a decision to turn from our sin toward a life of righteousness.

Do you need to make a U-Turn?

Is your life driving away from total dedication to God? What sinful ways or unhealthy habits do you need to turn away from in order to follow God with all your heart? Remember this: In God’s world, there are no signs saying, “No U-Turns Allowed.” Instead it is the very opposite. God says, “Turn around anytime. Come back to me. Leave behind your burdens. Give them to me. I will carry them for you.” Jesus says to you, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).

Make a U-Turn today. Turn back to God. Jesus has already paid for your sin. Receive the Savior, His forgiveness, and the gift of a new life He is offering to you.

[Adapted from last Sunday’s sermon, What Does It Mean to Repent?]

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August 24, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on 7 Reasons to Study Theology

7 Reasons to Study Theology

Every person is a theologian. Due to the fact that we’ve been created in the image of God with a conscience stirred by an innate God-consciousness, we all have an interest in theology. Theology is what we think about God, which then determines what we think about ourselves and how we live in relation to God and others. It is the content of our faith, our belief system. Therefore, it is of supreme importance that we commit ourselves to the study of doctrine.

Scottish pastor and theologian John Dick (1764-1833) gave the following reasons in his systematic theology.

  1. To ascertain the character of God in its aspect toward us.
  2. To contemplate the display of his attributes in his works and dispensations.
  3. To discover his designs toward man in his original and his present state.
  4. To know this mighty Being, as far as he may be known, [which] is the noblest aim of the human understanding.
  5. To learn our duty to him, the means of enjoying his favor, the hopes which we are authorized to entertain, and the wonderful expedient by which our fallen race is restored to purity and happiness.
  6. To love him, the most worthy exercise of our affections.
  7. To serve him, the most honorable and delightful purpose to which we can devote our time and talents.

This list is derived from Biblical Doctrine: A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth, John MacArthur and Richard Mayhue, general editors.

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August 23, 2017
by Paul Tautges
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Counseling Conference in Dublin, Ohio

What do you say to your friend, neighbor, or co-worker who shares his or her crisis with you? What insights do you share? Instead of offering condolences or clichés, you can offer something far more significant — real hope!  The Bible gives this amazing promise: “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness” (2 Peter 1:3). We have the sufficiency of God’s word to help impact others for God’s glory.  It alone has the eternal answers we need to not simply exist or “get by,” but to live victoriously!

First Baptist Church of Dublin, Ohio is hosting a weekend of counseling workshops to sharpen your counseling skills. Your participation will be an invaluable investment, as together we look to the timeless Scriptures for the answers to life’s challenges!

CONFERENCE SPEAKERS

  • Deepak Reju, Pastor of biblical counseling and family ministry, Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC) in Washington, DC

Deepak completed his undergraduate studies in biology and psychology at George Washington University in Washington, DC, and then the first half of his medical training as a doctor.  The Lord used a very dark year of burn-out and depression to change his direction, and in 1995 he decided to leave medical training behind for pastoral ministry.  He went on to complete his theological training at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and has ministered on staff at Grace Church (Westfield, NJ) and Clifton Baptist Church (Louisville, KY), prior to his arrival in Washington. 

At CHBC, Deepak serves on staff in counseling, training members to counsel one another,  mentoring other ministry workers, and setting the vision for family ministry.  His heart is for pastoral ministry, counseling one another with God’s Word, and the local church. Deepak and his wife, Sarah, met at CHBC and were married in 2001. They are parents to five children.

Deepak is the author of a children’s book, Great Kings of the Bible: How Jesus is Greater than Saul, David and Solomon (Christian Focus) and several articles and books for adults, including On Guard: Preventing and Responding to Child Abuse at Church (New Growth Press), The Pastor and Counseling: The Basics of Shepherding Members in Need (Crossway), and Preparing for Fatherhood (New Growth Press).  His next book, She’s Got the Wrong Guy: Why Smart Women Settle, is due out early 2018. 

  •   Jim Stevanus

The host pastor is a member of ACBC and teaches high schoolers, adult students, and missionaries in biblical counseling. After graduating from Penn State, he came to Christ while working in accounting in Alaska. He has his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Baptist Bible Seminary in Clarks Summit, PA.

CONFERENCE TOPICS

Friday, September 29, 2017 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

  • Redemptive Strategies for Effective Counseling
  • Encouraging Hurting People

Saturday, September 30, 2017 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

  • Listening, Understanding and Asking Questions
  • Live Demonstration of Counseling (followed by interactive Q&A)
  • Strategic Homework Assignments and When to End Counseling
  • Counseling the Unbeliever

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August 23, 2017
by Paul Tautges
Comments Off on The Root of Idolatry

The Root of Idolatry

In Romans 1:21-23, the apostle Paul demonstrates the fundamental guilt of all mankind because of the failure to glorify God. Regarding these verses, R.C. Sproul writes:

[It] is important to note that Paul does not bring a universal indictment against humanity for the failure to know God. That is not our problem. It is not that we fail to know that God is and who God is; it is that we refuse to believe what we know to be true. Here we face a problem that is not an intellectual problem. It is a moral problem. It is the problem of dishonesty.

All idolatry is rooted in this fundamental dishonesty. Paul describes this in terms of an exchange; which is a dishonest exchange: “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen” (Romans 1:25).

The dishonest exchange that is in view here is the substitution of the creature for the Creator, and exchange that is dishonest precisely because we know better. The late Carl Sagan spoke of the sense of awe and reverence that he felt when he contemplated the intricacies of the cosmos. But Sagan made it clear that this reverence was not for the Author of the cosmos but for the cosmos itself. Sagan’s response to the stars was diametrically opposed to the psalmist’s response [referencing Psalm 8:3-5]. The psalmist was moved to worship the God who created nature and reveals Himself through nature, not to worship nature itself. This reflects the essential differences between godliness and paganism. Pagans confuse the creature and the Creator. They attribute the glory that properly belongs to God to the creature. [Holiness of God]

The root of idolatry—whether subtle or blatant, disguised or on display for all the world to see—is unbelief. It is the fundamental and habitual exaltation of the creature above the Creator. When we sin, this is what we do: We rob God of the glory that He alone deserves; we fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). But God has demonstrated His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, He sent Christ to die in our place (Romans 5:8). Though the wages of sin is death, eternal life belongs to all who turn to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior (Romans 6:23).

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