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It is always helpful to me to see the continuity that runs through the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Brother David Bernstein's teaching yesterday demonstrated that well. Praise the Lord! 
 
God's purpose of redemption is seen in the Passover commemorating the Lord's promise to the Israelites, "when I see the blood, I will pass over you" (Ex 12:13), leaving the obedient Israelites free from the righteous judgment of God, the terrible 10th plague in which the firstborn of every household (even including both man and beast) was killed. This plague led to Pharaoh's decision to let the Israelites go free, setting the stage for the miracle of deliverance at the Red Sea. 
 
In the New Covenant (Testament), Christ is referred to as "the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29). In 1 Corinthians 5:7, Paul identified Christ as "our passover" who "is sacrificed for us." Clearly, the Passover Seder as it continues even to this day among the Jews, points to the ultimate Passover Lamb of God--our Lord Jesus! When the blood of Jesus is applied to a sinner, the judgment of God passes over us! Praise the Lord!
 
As we approach Palm Sunday and Good Friday and Resurrection Day, let us truly contemplate Christ our passover. 
 
This coming Lord's Day is Palm Sunday, commemorating our Lord's "triumphant entry" into Jerusalem. Lynn Tracy will be supervising the children as they demonstrate the way the people used branches of palm trees to welcome the Lord. This will take place instead of our usual Sword School. See Lynn on Sunday morning if you would like your children to participate.
 
Pastor Scott Miller, formerly the pastor at FBC Cedar City, UT, will be preaching for us. Please welcome Scott and Rebecca and their family. My family and I will be gone, as I've been asked to give a report on the work here to the Calhoun Baptist Association, where I served prior to moving to St. George. This will also give us the opportunity to see my parents and Hope's parents. Please pray for my Dad, as he is not in good health due to a leaking heart valve. We will miss you, but love the opportunity to tell folk who have contributed financially and prayerfully to the work of planting DRBC.
 
On this coming Sunday evening at 6pm, there will be a Connect 180 Youth Ministry meeting at JT Snow Park. After a time of devotion and prayer, the group plans to walk across the street to Fiesta Fun Park for some bowling. Contact Jimmy D'Anella for more info.
 
On Thursday evening, April 2 at 7 pm, we will hold a brief service of Scripture and prayer, and come to the Lord's Table to proclaim His death as we observe the Lord's Supper together. There is a proper reverence that accompanies this observance, but let us not forget the joy that comes from the result of Christ's suffering--our salvation! So, let's focus on the Lord's terrible payment on our behalf, demonstrating appropriate reverence for the weightiness of the atonement, but let us celebrate the joy that is ours because of our Lord's death, burial, and resurrection!
 
On Friday evening, April 3, we have the opportunity to attend the drama, "Victory at the Cross" presented by FSBC St. George at the Dixie Center.There are 2 presentations, one at 5 pm and the other at 7 pm. This is a free event. May the Lord use this effort to make the gospel clear for the salvation of sinners and ultimately for His glory!
 
On Resurrection Sunday, April 5, we will celebrate our Lord's victory over death, hell, and the grave! We will also celebrate the 2nd Anniversary of the formal constitution of Desert Ridge Baptist Church! Soli Deo Gloria! We will have our worship service at the regular time of 10:30 am, and afterwards, we will enjoy fellowship and lunch together. DRBC will provide the meat, and we will fill in the side dishes, desserts, and beverages. There will be a sign-up sheet this coming Lord's Day so we don't all bring the same thing. I look forward to this great day of celebration!
 
Remember that we have the opportunity to represent DRBC at the Relay for Life event on April 24 and 25, both on a relay team, and in the luminaria ceremony. This is an opportunity for our gospel community to have an impact on the wider community in which we live. Relay for Life is an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society. See Julie D'Anella or Hope Waldrop for more info.
 
Soli Deo Gloria!
I write this in an effort to help us think seriously about the importance of preparing our hearts and our homes for the high point of each week, the worship assembly of the saints on the Lord's Day!
 
What a blessing it is each week to gather with you, to experience fellowship around and under the authority of the Word of God. I want to encourage you in Family/Household Worship and in Corporate Worship when we gather together on the Lord's Day.
 
For this coming Sunday, the Sword School questions will be #s 21-22 (click here for the entire catechism):
 
21. In what condition did God make Adam and Eve? He made them holy and happy.
(Genesis 1:26-28; Psalm 8:4-8)
 
22. Did Adam and Eve stay holy and happy? No. They sinned against God.
(Genesis 3:1-7; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Hosea 6:7)
 
One way we can improve our sword school is for us to make sure we are teaching the students that the answers to the questions are summaries of what we find in the Bible, not just the opinion of some pastor or theologian somewhere! So, I suggest that we get in the habit of memorizing one of the verses each week. I won't put anyone on the spot, but will soon ask if any of our students have memorized any of the verses and then let them quote the verse. Let's teach our children the Word of God!
 
Concerning this week's sermon text, it will again be Romans 8:1-17. While last week we looked at the "means" of a Spirit-controlled life in Christ, this week we will look at the "marks" of a Spirit-controlled life in Christ. We will look at what, according to this passage, is the result of God's work to save us--results that are true for every believer right now!
 
Here are some truths about born again believers: You have been given freedom instead of bondage (8:2, 12, 15). You have been granted a position of righteousness rather than condemnation (8:1, 4, 8). You have been given life instead of death (8:6, 10, 13). You now enjoy peace with God instead of warfare or hostility (8:6-8). You are God's children rather than being none of His (8:15-17). Read this passage, chew on it, pray for understanding of it, teach it in your household (to yourself if single, to your wife, children, roommates, whoever is there!), and get ready to hear it and celebrate it this coming Lord's Day! Let's get ready for a supernatural encounter with the Lord of heaven and earth in which we praise Him and we hear from Him through the preaching of His Word! Pray for the service, that God will be pleased with our assembly. Use the group meetings this week as an opportunity to move forward to the high point of the week--the assembly of the saints on the Lord's Day for His glory and our blessing! Soli Deo Gloria!
 
 
ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS
I got an email a bit earlier that had good suggestions in it. So, I asked if I could pass it along. . .
 
 
 
"One of the activities that helps me to "till up the soil of my heart" is to read the chapter / section of whatever I'm studying in a number of translations.


It works great as you can:

1.) Read off your phone while waiting in line at the store
2.) Read first thing in the morning and last thing at night - IF you keep your phone near your book like I do :-)
3.) Allows different family members to read the different translations from their phones as you sit together. This is great because some of the different ways that verses get translated provide a springboard to deeper investigation, conversation and if need be - it makes the father have to go hit the books so to speak, to get a clearer answer when he doesn't know why one group translated a certain way vs. another translator or group of translators.

In other words - it helps to see different ways a verse has been and POSSIBLY can be translated.

An example is the way the ending of Hebrews 1:2 is translated by different committees or groups.

It says - "and through whom He made...
(1) the world - NASB
(2) the worlds - KJV
(3) the universe - NIV
(4) the ages - YLT

There are some presuppositions that one has to have - and cautions to have in place when doing this - but I won't elaborate on that in this email.

Anyway, all one has to do is to go to their phone and:

1.) On their phone Internet browser, type in PASSAGE and TRANSLATION abbreviation (as an example - Romans 8:1-17 ESV)
Note - for some reason it doesn't come up with the complete cha
2.) Click on the first occurrence of a result from www.biblegateway.com
3.) You should get the section that is in the translation you wanted.
4.) THEN - after you've read the passage in whatever translation you started with, there's a little box you can click to change the translation to another one - and up it pops - then you read that one - and then pick another one.

I do this repeatedly during the day - and it is GREAT!"

 

Soli Deo Gloria!

On Feb 26-28, I was able to participate in the Soli Deo Gloria Conference at FBC, Provo, UT. It was a great conference! David and Aurora Bernstein and Will Rhoden were also representing DRBC at this meeting. It was great to think seriously about what the Bible says about the greatness of our God, and how worthy He is of our praise and worship, in our attitudes as individuals, in family worship, and in corporate worship in local churches. May our hearts, homes, and our congregation at DRBC pursue God's glory as the highest ambition possible! Thank you, David, Aurora, and Will for your fellowship in attending this event!
 
Here are reminders of things that are coming up:
 
This coming Lord's Day, March 8, we will hear a brief report from George Hjorth with the Gideons International ministry, a group devoted to Bible distribution. It is likely that you have seen a Gideon Bible in a hotel/motel room or hospital. We are planning to receive a love offering for the Gideons at the end of our service this Sunday. 
 
In the coming weeks, we will have some meetings during the hour before our Sunday worship service. On March 15, we will offer the Membership class at 9:15 AM, with plans to go over the DRBC Statement of Faith. If you are interested in becoming a member of DRBC, please plan to attend this session. As always, everyone is welcome, including current members!
 
On March 22, we will have another meeting for parents/youth/children. This meeting will have 3 purposes: (1) To provide instruction for family worship; (2) To discuss plans for a Baby/Child Dedication Sunday (very exciting!). A Baby/Child Dedication involves a commitment on the part of the parents to bring up the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord AND a commitment on the part of the congregation to make sure that DRBC is a resource for Christian parenting; and (3) To discuss further plans for DRBC ministry/activity to supplement the parents efforts to instruct their children. 
 
On April 5, we will celebrate both Resurrection Sunday and the DRBC 2nd Anniversary! The actual anniversary date is March 31, but we actually constituted as a church on Resurrection Day, 2013, so close enough. Since we started on a Resurrection Sunday, it is awesome when the calendar lines up so that it is appropriate to celebrate our anniversary on the same. Stay tuned for more info on details of our celebration. Praise the Lord! Stay tuned for more info regarding the days leading up to Resurrection Day.
 
On April 12 at 9:15 am, we have scheduled the 2nd session of the Membership class to cover our Constitution/By-laws. Everyone interested in becoming a member should mark this date. Of course, everyone is welcome to attend, even if you are already a member! It helps me to remind myself of how we have agreed to make decisions together.
 
Jimmy and Julie D'Anella are organizing a team from DRBC to walk in the Relay for Life event April 24-25 at DSU's Hansen Stadium. This event raises support for the fight against cancer. Also, we have the opportunity to lead in the luminaria ceremony, giving us an opportunity to choose songs, singers, prayers, and pray-ers that are gospel-focused. Contact Jimmy and Julie for more info.
 
If you aren't in one of our small groups . . . get in one! Contact David and Aurora Bernstein for information regarding the groups, or you can contact the leaders of the other groups directly: Michael Klos and Joe Howson; and Rodger Tracy and Jay Taylor.
 
I have been greatly blessed by participating in the men's group that meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 am at the building. It's true that I've not been particularly "blessed" by the alarm going off so early on Tuesday mornings, but I've always been edified and challenged by being at the meeting! Hope also informs me that the Ladies's group meetings have been very helpful as well. This group meets at 10:30 am on Tuesdays at the building. Plug in and be challenged and blessed! Thank you David and Aurora for your leadership in these respective groups!
 
If you are interested in ministry at the Dixie Area Detention Center, you need to fill out the background check form (available at DRBC) and contact me. We have opportunities on Thursdays and Sundays for this ministry.
 
A word about the material on the tables at the building: Please check with me before placing any materials on the table. There are Acts & Facts, Voice of the Martyrs, and Table Talk magazinces there generally. Please note that not everything in those magazines would line up with our Statement of Faith perfectly, but those resources do provide generally good, gospel-based, Christ-exalting information. Please remember to refer to the DRBC Statement of Faith for questions about our doctrinal positions.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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I am increasingly convinced of the importance of preparing ourselves for worship before we meet together on the Lord's Day. This preparation can make a huge difference in the fruit of the Sunday meeting. Parents, you are teaching your children about the significance of worship and of gathering with fellow believers. And I did mean that as it reads: "you are teaching your children." This is especially true if we have given no thought to preparation for the worship meeting. I must confess that my responsibilities as the primary preacher at our meetings can tempt me to overlook the most crucial flock that I serve: my own home.
 
With that in mind, I want to provide in this email a some thoughts to help you prepare for our next corporate worship meeting. First, a quote from Richard Baxter, 17th century English Puritan churchman, from his work, Christian Directory, in the section titled, "Directions for Profitably Hearing the Word Preached," 1. III. and 3. VI. :
 
"Come not to hear with careless heart, as if you were to hear a matter that little concerned you, but come with a sense of the unspeakable weight, necessity, and consequence of the holy Word which you are to hear; and when you understand how much you are concerned in it, it will greatly help your understanding of every particular truth . . . Make it our work with diligence to apply the Word as you are hearing it . . . Cast not all upon the minister, as those that will go no further than they are carried as by force . . . You have work to do as well as the preacher, and should all the time by as busy as he . . .you must open your mouths, and digest it, and digest it, for another cannot digest it for you . . . therefore be all the while at work, and abhor an idle heart in hearing, as well as an idle minister." *I don't endorse every theological position of Baxter, but this is helpful!
 
 
Let us anticipate instruction from the Lord when we gather to hear His Word proclaimed on the Lord's Day. Parents, let's take the responsibility to anticipate the divine appointment of meeting with the saints to worship the Great I Am. Let us not treat it as another appointment to be kept among many. Let us not lead our children that way, the way that devalues the Way of Salvation. Talk about Sunday on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday! Especially as the Lord's Day draws near. 
 
Consider Ecclesiastes 5:1-2: "1 Guard your steps when you go to the house of God. To draw near to listen is better than to offer the sacrifice of fools, for they do not know that they are doing evil. 2 Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few."
We don't have to go to a location such as the temple in Jerusalem to enter God's presence, because by God's grace we are the temple (1 Cor 3:16). However, as we assemble for worship, we do well to heed this warning. Let us draw near to listen!
 
With preparing to listen to the Word of God in mind, I want to give you the sermon text for this coming Lord's Day. Read it. Meditate on it. And prepare yourself for the supernatural event of the people of God hearing the Word of God preached by a man of God by the power of God for the glory of God!
 
This coming Lord's Day (and the next one as well), I plan to preach from Romans 8:1-17 on the topic of the Means of a Spirit-Controlled Life in Christ. Lord-willing, next Sunday I plan to preach from the same text on the Marks of a Spirit-Controlled Life in Christ. This distinction will help us to see the grace of God in our righteous standing before God in Christ, and in our practical growth in sanctification as we glorify God in our lives in the practical pursuit of and growth in holiness.
 
As you prepare for Sunday then, look at Romans 8:1-17 to discover all that God has done for you in the process of saving you. Note that Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are involved. Note the particular role of the Holy Spirit in applying the work of the Son and the will of the Father to the believer such that the believer's life is characterized by obedient submission to God. Note that God has condemned sin in the flesh rather than His people in the flesh (praise God!). Note that the purpose of God as expressed in 8:4 connects to Paul's claim that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel (1:17).
 
Let's prayerfully prepare to meet God in corporate worship this coming Lord's Day!

DRBCers and Friends,

I hope you all enjoyed winter yesterday! I praise the Lord for the beauty of the snow, and, being from Mississippi where you don't get used to driving in it, I praise the Lord for the safety of its absence! Our family enjoyed it, for sure.
 
Thanks to Jimmy D'Anella, Phil and Tami Walker, and John Sullivan for taking DRBC youth up to the Winter Wakening Ski Weekend. Praise the Lord for the safety He provided! No emergency room trips=a good ski trip, at least on one very important level!
 
And thanks to Michael and Marcy Klos for helping us get some tables and chairs that came available due to a private school closing. The Lord is providing resources for the present and the future! Thank you, Kerry Johnson, for helping me put one of the little tables together.
 
Also, thanks to Leslie Ann Anderson and Hope Waldrop, as they met together this past week and worked on organizing the sound system cables. It looks a lot better! Thanks.
 
Thanks to Jay Taylor for work at the building, and thanks to . . . there is no way I can mention everyone who needs to be thanked. Several of you have helped by cleaning the building and various other areas of service. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
 
And most of all . . . Thank you, Lord, for sending such wonderful brothers and sisters to DRBC!
 
I am excited to see the Lord gathering us each week to celebrate Him and the Truth of His Word! What an encouragement to worship the Lord with His people who want to know Him more and to hear from Him through the Bible. May the Lord work in us so that we are "doers of the Word and not hearers only" (James 1:22). I rejoice that I see that happening in our congregation!
 
Tomorrow is a big day. First, we have a great outreach opportunity that Zach Wilson has worked to set up for us. We have the opportunity to distribute some gospel DVDs on/adjacent to the DSU campus called "The Biggest Question." These DVDs contain a clear gospel presentation. We need to distribute them, and also to take some video/photos of our distribution to send into Wretched Radio, the group that has provided the DVDs. If you can help us with this, be at the DRBC building tomorrow (Wednesday, Feb 25) morning at 10:30 am. We will organize to give them out at that time. It shouldn't take more than an hour or two. May the Lord be glorified as we give out these gospel DVDs!
 
Also tomorrow, Feb 25, we will have a church wide potluck fellowship dinner at the DRBC building starting at 6:30 pm. I look forward to gathering with my church family (and enjoying some good food, too)!
 
On February 27, Marcy Klos will host a Ladies Fellowship at her home beginning at 7 pm. Info cards are available on the front table at the building.
 
February 28 is the Hope Pregnancy Care Center Banquet at the Dixie Center. There is info on the table by the door at the building. Contact Cindy Voorhis for more info.
 
Sunday evening, March 1, DRBC will host the Connect 180 Youth Fellowship at 6:30 pm. This is an interchurch activity involving DRBC, First Southern Baptist Church St. George, The Narrows Church, and First Southern Baptist Church of Hurricane. Pray that this event will point young people to the grace and purity of the gospel. If you would like to contribute some snacks for this meeting, bring them on Sunday morning, or you can bring them by on Sunday evening around 6:15 pm.
 
Jimmy and Julie D'Anella are organizing a team from DRBC to walk in the Relay for Life event April 24-25 at DSU's Hansen Stadium. This event raises support for the fight against cancer. Also, we have the opportunity to lead in the luminaria ceremony, giving us an opportunity to choose songs, singers, prayers, and pray-ers that are gospel-focused. Contact Jimmy and Julie for more info.
 
In the coming weeks, we will have some meetings during the hour before our Sunday worship service. On March 15, we will offer the Membership class at 9:15 AM, with plans to go over the DRBC Statement of Faith. If you are interested in becoming a member of DRBC, please plan to attend this session. As always, everyone is welcome, including current members!
 
On March 22, we will have another meeting for parents/youth/children. This meeting will have 3 purposes: (1) To provide instruction for family worship; (2) To discuss plans for a Baby/Child Dedication Sunday (very exciting!). A Baby/Child Dedication involves a commitment on the part of the parents to bring up the child in the nurture and admonition of the Lord AND a commitment on the part of the congregation to make sure that DRBC is a resource for Christian parenting; and (3) To discuss further plans for DRBC ministry/activity to supplement the parents efforts to instruct their children. 
 
On April 5, we will celebrate both Resurrection Sunday and the DRBC 2nd Anniversary! The actual anniversary date is March 31, but we actually constituted as a church on Resurrection Day, 2013, so close enough. Since we started on a Resurrection Sunday, it is awesome when the calendar lines up so that it is appropriate to celebrate our anniversary on the same. Stay tuned for more info on details of our celebration. Praise the Lord!
 
On April 12 at 9:15 am, we have scheduled the 2nd session of the Membership class to cover our Constitution/By-laws. Everyone interested in becoming a member should mark this date. Of course, everyone is welcome to attend, even if you are already a member! It helps me to remind myself of how we have agreed to make decisions together.
 
If you aren't in one of our small groups . . . get in one! Contact David and Aurora Bernstein for information regarding the groups, or you can contact the leaders of the other groups directly: Michael Klos and Joe Howson; and Rodger Tracy and Jay Taylor.
 
I have been greatly blessed by participating in the men's group that meets on Tuesdays at 6:30 am at the building. It's true that I've not been particularly "blessed" by the alarm going off so early on Tuesday mornings, but I've always been edified and challenged by being at the meeting! Hope also informs me that the Ladies's group meetings have been very helpful as well. This group meets at 10:30 am on Tuesdays at the building. Plug in and be challenged and blessed! Thank you David and Aurora for your leadership in these respective groups!
 
If you are interested in ministry at the Dixie Area Detention Center, you need to fill out the background check form (available at DRBC) and contact me. We have opportunities on Thursdays and Sundays for this ministry.
 
Let's remember to pray for one another! Let's serve one another in our worship meetings by keeping our children under supervision, being mindful of sometimes limited seating, and making sure everyone is greeted and welcomed in the name of Christ. I thank my Lord for a church family that loves the Lord, His Word, His Work, and His Church!
 
Soli Deo Gloria! 
 
In Christ,
Michael W. Waldrop

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Recently, I was reading about an ecumenical group here in the city that includes LDS, Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant Christians. Certainly, everyone who lives in the St. George area should be good neighbors to each other, as we have much in common due to proximity.

What struck me about the article however, were a couple of quotes by those involved in this ecumenical group. One retired American Baptist pastor related that during his time as a pastor in St. George (1961 to 1991 according to the article I read in The Spectrum--not sure what the date was as it was cut out and given to me), "I could go in and worship at any church and feel at home." 

The other quote was by a Jewish lady who participates in the ecumenical group. About this group, she said, "We're not interested in who believes in what but what we can do as a group for our community. That's the focus." Was that the focus of the Lord Jesus during His public ministry? Was that the focus of the Apostles as they were imprisoned, beaten, and most of them martyred for their refusal to stop preaching the gospel of God's grace in Christ Jesus?

At DRBC, we are very interested in who believes in what, precisely because we want the best for everyone in our community! What we believe is directly related to our eternal destination: in glory with God forever or the lake of fire/. Here are a few verses from God's Word that demonstrate that the Lord is interested in who believes in what, and that knowing, trusting, believing God is what ultimately matters . . .

 

And he [Abraham] believed the LORD, and he [the LORD] counted it to him as righteousness (Genesis 15:6 ESV).

Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God (John 3:18 ESV).

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him (John 3:36).

God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24).

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ (Romans 10:14-17 ESV).

 

These verses are clear that the message of the gospel ("the word of Christ") must be explained so that people can understand. Since the church has been given the Great Commission to "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them . . . and teaching them . . .," it matters what people believe. It is not the duty of the church to simply vaguely serve the community, apart from any concern of what people believe! Our primary concern is that people have a saving relationship with God by grace through faith in Christ (His perfect righteousness, death, burial, and resurrection as our substitute).

One other verse that really places the importance of faith versus the works of the law in priority for us . . .

 

For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law (Romans 3:28).

 

The desire of DRBC is that sinners (that's everybody) be declared just (righteous) by God. The Bible throughout teaches that this happens through faith, not good work in a church or family or workplace or community. DRBC is primarily interested in who believes in what for the glory of God and the salvation of sinners! 

Soli Deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

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David Bernstein sent me (and some others) this list of "one anothers" in Scripture, and I thought it would be great to post here. Thanks, David!

 

Here is a partial list of the "one anothers" and "each others" in scripture.

Jesus sums up all the law into two commands: Love God and love others. To Love is to fulfill the whole law. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Gal. 5:14) 

The following  passages help us to understand how much emphasis the Scriptures place on our obligation as Christians to love and care for one another.

 

Leviticus 19:11   "Do not steal. Do not lie. Do not deceive one another." 

John 13:14          Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another's feet. [meaning to humbly serve one another] 

John 13:34          "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 

John 13:35          By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." 

Romans 12:10    Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.

 Romans 12:16    Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 

Romans 13:8      Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Romans 14:13    Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. 

Romans 15:7      Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. 

Romans 15:14    I myself am convinced, my brothers, that you yourselves are full of goodness, complete in knowledge and competent to instruct one another.

1 Cor. 1:10          I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. 

Galatians 5:13    You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. 

Ephesians 4:2     Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 

Ephesians 4:32   Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. 

Ephesians 5:19   Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs 

Ephesians 5:21   Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 

1 Thess. 5:11      Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 

Hebrews 3:13     But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness. 

Hebrews 10:24   And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 

Hebrews 10:25   Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-- and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 

James 4:11          Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. 

1 Peter 3:8          Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. 

1 Peter 4:9          Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 

1 Peter 5:5          Young men, in the same way be submissive to those who are older. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another , because, "God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. 

1 John 1:7            But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

1 John 3:11         This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another. 

1 John 3:23         And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. 

1 John 4:7            Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 

1 John 4:11         Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

1 John 4:12         No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. 

1 Peter 4:8          Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 

James 5:16          Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. 

James 5:9            Don't grumble against each other, brothers, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 

Hebrews 13:1     Keep on loving each other as brothers. 2 Thessalonians 1:3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing. 

1 Thess. 5:15      Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. 

1 Thess. 4:9         Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. 

Colossians 3:13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

Colossians 3:9    Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices. 

Galatians 5:26    Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. 

Galatians 6:2      Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 

Galatians 5:15    If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 

Ephesians 4:16   From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. 

Philippians 2:3-5  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.

 

Again, thanks to David for sending this list!

In Christ,

Michael W. Waldrop

The week of Sunday, January 11 will bring the beginning of a new ministry at DRBC: small groups. I am very excited about how the Lord is going to work in our lives as we live life together! This is something that has been on my heart, well, really since soon after we started thinking about who we should be and what we should do in this new church plant.

When we first started meeting back in August 2011, our entire congregation was basically a small group! There was an intimacy that is not possible in a large group corporate worship service. Since we've grown to more than triple our membership since March of 2013--and I certainly praise the Lord for the growth--the corporate meetings can no longer provide the kind of personal, relational challenge and encouragement that each of us need.

This morning, David Bernstein, one of our small group leaders, sent me a link to a blog article that states very well the reason and the need for small group ministry. I hope that you will take the time to read this article--especially if you are not sure about small groups and the changes that we are making. Here is the link to this excellent article . . . http://www.benreed.net/the-why-before-the-what/ . Soli Deo Gloria!

My family and I love living in St. George, Utah. It is a beautiful place to live, and we have great neighbors. I am convinced that one of the major reasons that our neighbors are so polite and helpful is that many of them are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The behavior that is in accord with the teaching of their religion helps to make them great neighbors. In light of all that glowing praise for my LDS friends and neighbors in St. George, it is reasonable that I explain why Desert Ridge Baptist Church would host a conference the purpose of which is to present the reasonable questions that evangelical Christians have regarding the truth of LDS doctrine.

The meat of it is that the Bible teaches that being right with God is not possible through good works. So, while I am glad to affirm what wonderful neighbors my LDS friends are, that is an entirely different subject than how to be right with God.

What does the Bible say about being reconciled to God, or being right with God or justified before God? It is clear that living a good life does not make us right with God. Isaiah wrote, "We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment" (Isaiah 64:6a). Paul wrote, "Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for 'The righteous shall live by faith.' But the law is not of faith, rather 'The one who does them shall live by them'" (Galatians 3:11-12, quoting first Habakkuk 2:4, then Leviticus 18:5). Paul acknowledges that keeping the law makes one right before God, if one keeps them all perfectly. The problem is that none of us does that.

Paul, again, wrote, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). James explained, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it" (James 2:10). There are many verses that could be quoted here, but these two establish our problem: none of us have kept the law perfectly; we have sinned. And the terrible consequence is found in Ezekiel 18:4--"Behold all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine: the soul who sins shall die." The death of the soul is described in Revelation 21:8 as "the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death."

So this is THE problem for all humans. None of us is perfect. God requires perfection. Our sinful failure means that, because of God's perfect justice, we are all condemned to the lake of fire. But . . .

GOOD NEWS! God has done for us what we could not do for ourselves. Jesus the Messiah, God the Son, has become our substitute and on the behalf of His people, He has been and is perfectly obedient to the law of God, and has taken in the place of His people, the wrath of God that justly should be applied to all sinners. This is the message of the Bible, the Word of God.

The exclusivity of this good news for salvation is reflected in Paul's statement, "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law" (Romans 3:28). Jesus Christ is the only way to be right with God. Jesus + nothing = salvation. Those who have repented of their sins and put all of their trust into Christ alone for salvation are in fact saved from the wrath of God against sin.

1 Corinthians 15:3 is a summary of the facts of the gospel: "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scritpures."

When this atoning work is applied, an individual is born again by the power of the Holy Spirit (John 1:12-13; 3:1-21). Then, the regenerate person, who has been saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, is spiritually alive and serves the Lord through good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

This is the message of the Bible, the Word of God.

Some quotes from LDS sources demonstrate that there have been at least some LDS leaders that do not agree with the biblical plan of salvation listed above. Here are three examples:

"For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do." -- 2 Nephi 25:23 (italics mine).

"One of the most pernicious doctrines ever advocated by man, is the doctrine of 'justification by faith alone,' which has entered into the hearts of millions since the days of the so-called 'reformation.'" --Joseph Fielding Smith, 10th President of the LDS Church, in The Restoration of All Things, The Deseret News Press, 1964, page 192.

"But it [the doctrine of justification of faith alone] is repulsive to reason, absurd to the understanding, and contrary to the teachings of primitive Christianity." --B.H. Roberts [one of the Seventies], Defense of the Faith and the Saints, 1992, 1:318.

REMINDER! Romans 3:28 says, "For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law." The law of non-contradiction demands that we recognize the great difference in what we find in Romans 3:28 (and throughout the New Testament) and the views represented by these 3 LDS quotes.

In addition, Galatians 1:6-10 states:

6I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Thus, we do not evaluate the message based on the messenger, for both Paul himself and an angel from heaven would be quite impressive messengers. Yet, Paul says here that if the message ever differs from what his hearers had already heard, that is, from "the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints," (Jude 3), then that messenger was to be accursed, which means eternally condemned.

All of the objective evidence demonstrates that the Bible is the absolutely trustworthy revelation of that faith. So, no matter how impressive anybody might be, the message evaluates the messenger!

Bottom line, I am participating in this conference, in which I will point out inconsistencies in LDS claims according to the Bible, because I love God and I love people. I want God's Truth known, and I want my neighbors to know it so that they, like me, can be saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone! I want the best for them, and dear reader, for you. That is why I am participating in this conference. Soli Deo Gloria.

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I recently received an email with a request for some help in understanding the relationship between Jesus and Satan (Lucifer). The LDS view is that Jesus and Lucifer are spirit brothers. Actually, according to LDS doctrine as I undertand it, all members of the human race on this planet are spiritual brothers and sisters, since we are all the spiritual offspring of the sexual union of Heavenly Father and a Heavenly Mother, just like Jesus and Lucifer. The following is my response. It is not exhaustive by any means, but I hope it states clearly and gives good evidence that Jesus is not Lucifer's brother, but rather Jesus is Lucifer's Creator! Here it is . . .

 

The question is whether one will choose to believe the Bible or the "prophets" and general authorities of the Mormon Church. There is a mountain of evidence in both the writings of LDS leaders and the Bible to show that what each teaches is in direct conflict with the other. So, if your co-worker wants the Mormon sources, a great help is a compilation of the writings of LDS leaders called In Their Own Words, edited by Bill McKeever. This has been very helpful to me. It's not a book that tries to explain what Mormons believe written by a non-Mormon. It's just a book of quotes from Mormon leaders compiled according to topics. Here is an example on the LDS explanation of the Virgin Birth of Jesus . . .

 

"Begotten means begotten; it means Christ's mortal body was procreated by an Eternal Sire; it means God is the Father of Christ, 'after the manner of the flesh' (1 Ne. 11:18)." --Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary 3:141.  Cited in In Their Own Words, page 174.  What McConkie is claiming (among many, many other Mormon leaders) is that the Father both spiritually and physically begot Jesus through a sexual union with a female, in other words, the Father himself came to earth and had sex with Mary, and Jesus was the product of this physical union. In the eyes of biblical Christianity, this is blasphemy.

 

Concerning the question of Jesus' relationship to Satan, the Mormon position is stated clearly on the pro-LDS website fairmormon.org. On the page dealing with the question, "Do Latter-day Saints consider Jesus to be the brother of Satan?" is the following partial quote . . .

 

"Jesus, Satan, and all humanity share God the Father as their spiritual sire. However, moral agency led Jesus to obey God the Father perfectly and share fully in the Father's divine nature and power. The same agency led Satan to renounce God, fight Jesus, and doom himself to eternal damnation. The remainder of God's children—all of us—have the choice to follow the route chosen by Satan, or the path to which Christ invites us and shows the way.

Divine parenthood gives all children of God potential; Christ maximized that potential, and Satan squandered it."

The link for this page is . . . http://en.fairmormon.org/Jesus_Christ/Brother_of_Satan.

 

The essence of the message of Christianity is at stake. If we are all "spiritual children" produced by a sexual union between the Father and some Heavenly goddess Mother, including Jesus and Lucifer, then the Bible cannot possibly be true. The Bible presents Jesus as existing eternally as the second person of the Godhead, and in the Incarnation (His coming to earth as a human), both fully God and fully human. The following attributes and characteristics are taught in Scripture about Jesus . . .

He was with God in the beginning (John 1:1-2)

He was God in the beginning (John 1:1)

He created everything that has ever been created, including Satan (John 1:2-3; Colossians 1:16), when God claims to have created everything by Himself  (Isaiah 44:24)

He is eternal as evidenced by His presence during the days of Abraham and the meaning of His Name, I AM (John 8:52-59)

He is the fullness of Deity (Colossians 1:19; 2:9)

He is the before all things, and the One by whom all things hold together (Colossians 1:17)

He is worshiped by the Apostle Thomas as Lord and God (John 20:28)

He is glorified by God the Father as God (John 8:54) when the Bible is clear God will not share His glory with another (Isaiah 42:8; 48:11)

He is called God by the Apostle Paul (Titus 3:5)

He is called God by the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 1:1)

He was rejected by the Jewish religious leaders because they understood that He was claiming to be God, not just a god (John 5:18; 10:33)

Here is a link to a great web site to help with this topic . . . http://www.alwaysbeready.com/index.php/deity-of-christ/94

 

There are many other passages that could be listed that clearly teach that Jesus is the eternal, uncreated God, the 2nd person of the Trinity, the Agent of Creation Who created everything that has ever been created. The only possible way that Jesus can be both God and the Son of God is the reality of the Trinity. That is, God exists as one God in Three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God, but He is distinct in personality and personhood from the Father and from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God, but He is distinct in personality and personhood from the Father and from the Son.

That's Who Jesus is. Lucifer is a fallen angel, a created being, absolutely different and distinct from Jesus in essence. Jesus is God the Creator. Lucifer is a rebellious created being. They do not share the same essence. One is Creator, the other is creature.

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Today, September 11, 2013, is the anniversary of the infamous terrorist attacks that killed so many Americans, mostly in the twin towers of the World Trace Center in New York. What a terrible day. It was a day that is unfortunately always possible in any of our lives due to the fact that we live in a fallen, sinful world, and each of us is a sinner by nature. Days like September 11, 2013 cause many desperate questions like, "Why?" and "Where is justice?"

The Bible has an answer to these questions. While we aren't told about the reasons behind the specific events that happen in God's universe, we do know that the general reason for evil in the world is . . . us. Sin. Sinners. Us. Romans 3:23 tells us "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Ecclesiastes 7:20 declares, "Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins." Very few people try to deny this claim. Romans 3:10-12, quoting from Psalms 14 and 53 says, "None is righteous, no, not one . . . no one does good, not even one." This doesn't mean that no person ever does anything with any goodness at all, but rather that everything that everyone does is tainted by the fact that everyone is a sinner by nature. That is the identity of all of the sons of Adam. Sinners. Some people may live morally better lives than others when measured by external consequences. However, James 2:10 instructs us, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." We are either perfect or imperfect. Righteous or unrighteous. There are only 2 categories. God makes up one, the sons of Adam are in the other.

This is the situation for everyone who is a son of Adam. Remember, Jesus is not in that category, as His conception was miraculous, and He is the sinless Son of God. For all other humans, we are sinners. This includes Muslim terrorists who fly airplanes into buildings in order to kill large numbers of people, as well as emergency personnel whose job it is to rescue victims of terrorist attacks and other disasters.

What makes this bad news worse is that God has already pronounced judgment on sinners! Ezekiel 18:4 says, "Behold all souls are Mine [God's] . . . the soul that sins shall die." A few months ago, I had some discussion with a nice lady who believes that this means that the souls of those who die in their sins will be exterminated, or, annihilated, i.e., they will cease to exist. But the terrible truth of the meaning of this verse, when taken with the message of the entirety of Scripture, is that the death of the soul includes the end of physical life on this earth as we know it now, but actually refers to an everlasting state of destruction. Luke 16:19-31 (Jesus' story of the rich man and Lazarus), Revelation 14:11, and Revelation 20:10 describe the state of the wicked as an everlasting torment, without end.

Even more telling is a study of the word used for "destroy" in Matthew 10:28b, which says, "fear Him Who can destroy both soul and body in hell [gehenna]." The word for "destroy" in the original koine Greek, is apolesai from the root apollumi. In the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), edited by Gerhard Kittel, the definition for the New Testament use of the verb apollumi concludes that the meaning indicates "definitive destruction, not merely in the sense of the extinction of physical existence, but rather of an eternal plunge into Hades and a hopeless destiny of death." In addition, the noun form, apoleia, (see "destruction" in Rev. 17:8, 11 e.g.), indicates the same. The TDNT concludes, "What is meant here is not a simple extinction of existence, but an everlasting state of torment and death."

For the definition and the use of Greek words, TDNT is recognized as a scholarly authority. In light of the meaning of the verb apollumi and its noun form apoleia, and verses like Matthew 25:46, "these [wicked] will go away into eternal punishment [kolasis], but the righteous into eternal life," we conclude a terrible truth. Those who die in their sin, are sentenced by the perfect Judge of all creation to spend eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15; 21:8).

The GOOD NEWS! is that God has acted! God the Son has suffered the wrath of God as a substitute for all those who place their faith and trust in Him. Justice is a reality from the perfect Judge of creation. Either sinners will answer for their own sinfulness, or Christ as the substitute has paid the sin debt demanded by God's perfect justice! Dear reader, will you face eternal destruction for your sins, or will you flee to Christ, beg for mercy, give yourself to Him, and receive forgiveness? The reality of the punishment of sinners demanded by God's justice is terrible, but the reality of the gospel [good news] is great!  Whether you are a terrorist or a law-abiding citizen, you are a sinner needing to be saved from the justice of God. Come to Christ!

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While contemplating Matthew 5, I read portions of a sermon by Charles H. Spurgeon, called by many the "prince of preachers." At the end of his sermon, "A Call to Holy Living," preached at the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London, England on January 14, 1872, he offered a brief prayer that sums up what is needed for the Christian life. [Link to sermon: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/1029.htm]

Great and true and essential doctrines of Christianity are present in this prayer: the sovereignty of God, the substitutionary, penal atoning work of Christ that provides expiation and propitiation for our sins, and the necessity of the spiritual new birth by which believers are empowered to live for God according to the same power that raised our Lord from the grave! I add my "Amen" to this prayer:

"God bring us to Christ, and nail our sins to his cross, and give us life in our Savior's life. Amen."

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Often we are tempted to pray most specifically and with the most intensity when we are praying for deliverance from some suffering or difficulty. In the preface to the updated and expanded edition of his book, Brothers, We Are Not Professionals, John Piper articulated a prayer for pastors that is most certainly Bible-driven and God-centered. I wanted to share it here . . .

"Banish professionalism from our midst, O God, and in its place put passionate prayer, poverty of spirit, hunger for God, rigorous study of holy things, white-hot devotion to Jesus Christ, utter indifference to all material gain, and unremitting labor to rescue the perishing, perfect the saints, and glorify our sovereign Lord. In Jesus' great and powerful name. Amen."

To that, I only add my own "Amen."

One of the ways in which Satan attacks the Truth of God's Word is through skepticism of the veracity and trustworthiness of the Bible. In fact, when Satan first appears in Scripture in Genesis 3 in the person of the serpent, his first words are "Indeed, has God said . . . ?" So the first effort that Satan made to incite humanity to rebel against God was an attack on God's Word. There is much confusion that comes from poor interpretation of the words of the Bible, but I want to write a bit today about another charge against the Bible originating from the enemy: that the Bible we have today does not contain the text of the biblical books as they were originally written. A note: there are indeed many Bible versions, but I am referring to the original languages in which the Bible was written, namely Hebrew, Greek, and a bit of Aramaic. Today's Bible versions that are truly translations and not paraphrases are based upon the original languages.

The particular attempted indictment on the authenticity of the Bible comes from many camps, some claiming to be withinthe realm of Christian believers, and some who declare themselves to be unbelievers. The problem for their cause is that there is overwhelming objective evidence that we have the Bible as it was originally written. This information is easily accessed with internet search tools. The manuscript evidence for the Bible far surpasses that for any other comparable ancient document. There are thousands of biblical manuscripts from the ancient world that survive--making the issue simple. We can compare the Bible of today with the ancient manuscripts. Even though we have no original manuscript copies, the gap between the original manuscripts and the earliest surviving copies is so small that the accuracy is virtually certain. The result by any objective unbiased measure is that we have the biblical books as they were originally written.

What I want to consider in this blog entry are implications of Jude 3, which reads in the New American Standard (updated ed.), "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints." Jude makes a claim here that cannot be ignored. His clear claim is that the faith revealed in the ministry of the Lord Jesus and explained in the ministry of His Apostles has been delivered "once for all." The Bible is a testimony to this faith from two perspectives in time: the Old Testament looks forward and prophesies about the objective accomplishment of the foundation of this faith in the person and work of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus; the New Testament records and explains the person and work of the Lord Jesus after the events of His life. The very center of all of this is the perfect righteousness and the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus as the substitute for sinners, both in taking the due penalty for sin and living on behalf of His people a perfect life of obedience (see Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Jeremiah 23:6; Mark 10:45; Romans 3:21-26; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 15:3-4; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Jude 3 announces that the Christian faith, that is, it's doctrinal content regarding the objective accomplishment of the Lord Jesus, has been given once for all. In other words, there is no more revelation regarding true Christian faith yet to come. God is no longer giving us new information, rather He guides us according to the Truth that has already been revealed.

A historical example of this is the religious reform brought about during the reign of King Josiah in Judah in ca. 640-609 B.C. This is recorded in 2 Chronicles 34. The reason for the return to God from idolatry was that the Word of God was rediscovered in the Temple, after having fallen into disuse. The people of Judah had ceased the reading of God's Word and fallen into evil practices. The reason for the revival was a rediscovery of the Truth of God's Word (during renovations at the temple, a scroll was found; possibly they found a portion or the whole of the book of Deuteronomy). They read it and began to obey it again. While this is not a perfect example because the fullness of the gospel had not yet been revealed at that point in history, it is the correct model for us regarding how we can be right with God: Hear and heed God's Word, the Bible.

A clear implication from Jude 3 is that there is no more revelation to be given. So, in order to be right with God, we need to seek to understand what has already been revealed. We do not need further revelation. What God has to say to us regarding salvation has already been revealed.

Another implication from Jude 3 when coupled with the theological truth of God's omnipotence (He is all-powerful) is that He is able to preserve His Word. When we consider that we still have the Bible, and that the clear objective evidence is that we have the biblical books as they were originally written, we should then rejoice that we have the revelation that God has always intended for us to have. Rather than looking for additional revelation, we should focus on understanding the Bible, the only sufficient written Word of God!

So, anyone who wants to be right with God can with confidence look to the 66 books which make up the Bible. There is no more revelation needed. God has spoken. He has revealed "the faith once for all handed down to the saints" (Jude 3). The question is . . . Do you believe God?

What a wonderful day it has been! While every day of life as a Christian is a testimony to the power of the living Lord, today is a special day to think specifically about the glory of the resurrection. But for DRBC, it also represents both the end of lots of preparation, and the beginning of an era of ministry.

Since, April 2011, I have been here, and along with others, have been working toward this day when a church would be started. Today, 15 charter members voted to constitute as a church! We are on record, believing that our King, the Lord Jesus, has called us into being as a local church here in St. George, UT. We had 20 people at our service in our new building at 1088 E Tabernacle Street. It was a joy to recite the old, old story once again, preaching from 2 Corinthians 5:21--"For our sake He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God."

We look forward to serving our King as a church that belongs to Him. May the Lord grant that every Lord's Day from now until He returns, DRBC will meet for worship, edification, and preaching of the Word of God, making the gospel of God's grace clear! Soli Deo Gloria!

In light of the tragic massacre that occurred recently at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, an oft debated question of theology comes to mind: if God is good and all-powerful, why is there evil in the world? It is difficult to think about such murderous actions as what happened in Newtown, especially since so many of the victims were children. The sadness becomes weightier when one considers that these kinds of tragedies occur virtually daily, just not as publicized and usually on a much smaller scale. Truly, the world is a dangerous place in which injustice, poverty, and cruelty are far too common, and as we were reminded by the Newtown massacre, these terrible things sometimes are so outlandish that they demand our attention. They often cause us to think of the question of the problem of evil.

The Bible actually records the origin of evil among the human race, as well as the solution to the problem of evil. The truth of this will not make the pain and grief vanish. However, it is a tremendous help to realize that God has in fact accomplished what was necessary for the absolute defeat of evil, which will some day be a tangible reality at the consummation of the Kingdom of God. But the victory has already been won!

The problem started with the rebellion of Lucifer against God (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:11-19). The essence of Lucifer's rebellion against God, his Creator, was pride. He wanted to be like the Most High (Is. 14:14), and for this blasphemy he is condemned, and will one day be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 20:10). Until then, he roams about among God's human creatures like a roaring lion, seeking whom he might devour (1 Peter 5:8).

The first instance of the devil's deception among men was in the Garden of Eden. All he did was to entice Adam and Eve to share his own prideful, idolatrous, blasphemous desire to be like God. He said to Eve, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden?'" (Genesis 3:1). When Eve explained that God actually said that she and Adam could eat of any tree except the tree of life, lest they die, Satan--in the form of a serpent--said, "You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil" (Genesis 3:4b-5). There was some truth in what the devil told Eve, twisted though it was, but it is easy to see his rebellion and his desire to incite the same in Adam and Eve's hearts. You likely know the rest of that account. Eve, and then Adam ate from the tree of life, thereby disobeying God's explicit instructions. Sin entered the world. Everything changed.

Before the rebellion by Adam and Eve in the Garden, there was no sin and therefore no death for humans to fear. The Bible teaches that the sin in the garden brought death into the world, for death is the punishment for sin (Romans 5:12; 6:23). Also, every human born from our first parents Adam and Eve have inherited a nature that is corrupt, by nature sinful, and thus condemned (Romans 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible is explicit that this sinful nature defines every one of us who have come after Adam and Eve (except Jesus--we will get to that!), that we are all sinners and that there is not one of us who is good (Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:10-12; 3:23). Lest we think to ourselves that, while we might not be perfect, compared to others, we are likely good enough for God's standards, James 2:10 says, "For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it." Thus, the Bible teaches that man sins because that is his fallen nature. So, we should not be surprised to find all manner of sin in the world. God warned Adam and Eve most clearly that they must not sin against Him by eating the fruit of the tree of life. But God is the One Who put the tree in the garden, and He is the One Who did not stop Adam and Eve from their disobedience.

Instead of preventing their rebellion, though He most certainly could have, God allowed it, and has ever since been explaining to us the seriousness and the eternal consequence of our sinfulness. He is a perfect judge, and claimed in Exodus 34:7b that He will "by no means clear the guilty." In the same passage, He also announced that He is "a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin" (Ex. 34:6-7a). How can both of these claims be true?

The only way that God's justice can be upheld is if He metes out justice for every iniquity, every transgression, every sin. The only way that He can be merciful and gracious is if He does not give us what we deserve for our sins, but instead gives us His love and fellowship. So how can both be accomplished? Only through the God-Man, Jesus, taking on human flesh and becoming our substitute to take on Himself the wrath of God against our sin. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, "For He made Him Who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (NKJV)." Jesus was perfect. He was not the product of 2 human parents, but was conceived in the Virgin Mary's womb by the power of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20-23; Luke 1:34-35). So, he did not inherit a sinful nature from Adam. He is truly human, and so can relate to us and our struggles, but He is without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He is truly God (Daniel 7:13-14; John 1:1, 14; John 20:26-29); Titus 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1). All of this is validated by His resurrection from the dead (Matthew 28:1-10; 1 Corinthians 15).

In summary, every person is sinful. The world is full of sinners. Thus, tragedies like the one at Newtown are always potentially lurking. The problem of evil has been solved. Jesus came into the world to take upon Himself the sins of the world. During this Christmas season, let us rejoice that "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). Even though God alone knows all of the details regarding the "whys" and "hows" and "whens" of His purposes, He has solved the problem of evil! One day, all evil will be eradicated forever (Revelation 21:1-4; 22:3-5)! Merry Christmas! Praise the Lord!

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Yesterday, James Hazelton (The Narrows Church), John Fields (FSBC, St. G) and I were involved in a discussion about an upcoming dialogue to be held at Dixie State College including adherents of various religious faith groups. I consider such an event healthy, if indeed, the participants speak with honesty and clarity. I always rejoice at the thought of the biblical gospel being presented, even when in dialogue with other religious systems. There is nothing to hide in biblical Christianity, in fact, we are commanded to "preach the Word" and to "make disciples of all the nations" in Scripture (2 Tim 4:2; Matt 28:18-20). Paul went to the center of dialogue in the known world in order to proclaim the gospel--the Areopagus at Athens (Acts 17:15-34).

In response to the discussion yesterday, apparently someone was not very impressed with our stated desire for Christianity (and the other positions) to be represented accurately. The issue seems to be, as usual, the exclusivity of Christ as Lord and only Savior. I received an anonymous email after that discussion in which it was made plain that our insistence on the exclusivity of the gospel was considered a danger to open dialogue and a means by which people are intimidated.

I was unable to respond with an email because the email address from which the message originated apparently had been disabled. I can't help but see the irony in someone defending the value of open dialogue through an anonymous email, to which a response cannot be sent! Not a very good example of dialogue!

In Scripture, we are also told that when we make the gospel clear, we will be hated by the world. Jesus said, "If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you" (John 15:20). So, we should not be surprised when people don't like it when we make the gospel clear. This email is a very, very mild form of persecution, in light of the many brothers and sisters who are even now in chains or are being killed for the sake of the Lord and His gospel around the world. But who knows how long before those who promote tolerance while being absolutely intolerant of the biblical gospel will begin to take more direct action against the followers of Jesus in this country?

My (attempted) response to the email follows. I hope that the original emailer will read it. I would cherish the opportunity to dialogue about it . . .

 

Anonymous,
First, if the person receiving this is not the person who originally emailed me, forgive me. But please feel free to read what I have written and interact with me about it! Now . . .

I certainly agree that my Lord does not approve of the use of sabotage in obeying the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20. I have no plans to sabotage anything. Honest dialogue between parties who disagree on any subject is generally good. I do think the value of any dialogue is directly related to the honesty and clarity of the participants. To censor the message of one of the participants is to declare the dialogue over!

So, as a Christian, I am interested when "Christianity" is going to be presented within a dialogue among adherents of various religious faiths. If Christ is not allowed to define Christianity, then it is not really Christianity, whatever it is. Basically, trading the Truth about God for anything else is called idolatry. However, let me say, as a member of the St. George community, I have other means for the spread of the gospel rather than "sabotaging" an academic discussion of different cultures/faiths. Besides, how academic can a discussion of Christianity be if the biblical, objective, message of Christ Himself is disallowed on the mere basis that the participants are uncomfortable with hearing it?

I am not surprised that, for example, Chechnyan Muslims don't agree with me on the Person and Work of Christ. I've had conversations with them in which they explained what they believed, and I explained what I believed. All in a civil manner. And neither party censored the statements of the other party! That's the point of dialogue! Besides, it's impossible to scare a person into becoming a Christian, since that is a supernatural act of God (John 3:1-21).

My Lord Jesus certainly stirred up the religious establishment with His claims of being God, the Messiah. There was no tolerance for His message, thus the religious, social, and political forces came together to kill Him. In doing so, they only fulfilled God's plan from eternity past, that is, to supply a substitute to suffer the penalty for sinners (everyone in the world is a sinner by nature--we are all united in Adam). See 2 Corinthians 5:21, or Acts 4:12. That this sacrifice satisfied God's justice is clearly seen in the vindication of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus! See 1 Corinthians 15:1-26. This explains why the biblical Christian message is called, "gospel," which literally in the koine Greek means, "good news!" Being right with God is not about my performance in religion or ethics, it is about my following Jesus whose perfect righteousness and sacrificial death make all of His followers right with God.

It has become fashionable to disregard all exclusive truth claims, even while citing or even claiming to venerate Jesus! Amazing! He is the most exclusive, unique figure in history! Consider that He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me" (John 14:6). And, "I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live" (John 11:25). he infuriated the religious leaders when He identified Himself as I AM, that is, God (John 8:58-59).

And, at his appearance before the high priest on the eve of His crucifixion, it was His own testimony that the high priest and the rulers found intolerable to the point of seeking His death. Mark 14:61-64 says, " 61 But ihe remained silent and made no answer. jAgain the high priest asked him, “Are you kthe Christ, the Son of lthe Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am, and myou will see the Son of Man nseated at the right hand of Power, and mcoming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest otore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? 64 You have heard phis blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they qall condemned him as rdeserving death." This was a reference to Daniel 7:13-14, which the high priest understood well. Jesus was claiming to be the Son of Man, the Messiah, God! They hated him. And He is my Lord and my Savior. The Lord was clear that those who hate Him will also hate those who follow Him (Matthew 10, John 15:18-23). So, the more accurately I proclaim the message of Christ, the more likely it is that I will be disliked, or even hated. This is no surprise to me.

I feel no shame in trying to make the gospel message clear. I would feel shame in not doing so, since, as a follower of Jesus, I am commanded to do so (Matt 28:18-20; Luke 24:44-47; Acts 1:8; 2 Tim 4:2; et al). Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15). I love Him, so I strive to do what His Word instructs me to do. I believe the Lord has sent me to St. George for the purpose of making clear the good news of forgiveness of sins. So, I would welcome the opportunity to talk further with you about this. It is my joy to serve Jesus. I am not a confrontational person, so I want you to know that I never intended to offend you. However, I realize that the message of biblical Christianity is offensive and most non-Christians are offended by the exclusive claims of Christ and would prefer that the message be silenced. I urge you to consider the claims of Christ. If you have questions about the historicity of the Bible, I would be more than happy to show you the many reasons for accepting the veracity of the Bible. May the Lord draw you to Truth--Himself!

We are all sinners--including you and me (Rom 3:23). We cannot be perfect (Eccl 7:20). God is a perfect judge and has ruled that sinners will be punished by eternal death (Ezekiel 18:4; Luke 16:19-31; Rom 6:23; Rev 21:8). But God the Son has come into the world to pay the penalty for sins (Mark 10:45; 2 Cor 5:21), through His perfect obedience to God's Law and His death, burial, and resurrection (1 Cor 15:1-4). All who become followers of Jesus Christ, that is, who are born again, are forgiven of their sin and receive eternal life (Genesis 15:6; John 1:12; Rom 3:21-26; Eph 2:8-10). This is the good news--the gospel! Repent of your sin! Run from the wrath of God into the arms of His grace and enjoy life eternal, rejoicing in the glory of the Lord!

In the love of Christ,
Michael W. Waldrop

During our last two DRBC worship meetings, we studied 2 Timothy 2:14-26. In this passage, it is clear that the Truth is essential, and that false teaching and false teachers lead only to destruction. This is why I spend so much time and energy both making sure that my own teaching/preaching accurately represents what God has said, and encouraging our core group members to build a foundation that ensures that DRBC will always be a congregation that is committed to propagating the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth, as revealed in the Bible.

Nine Marks is a ministry associated with Dr. Mark Dever, Pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. This ministry claims that one of the nine marks of a healthy (meaning true or biblical) church is Biblical Theology. This means that the preaching and teaching, as well as faith and practice, in a church leads to the correct conclusion: love for God and the Truth that He has revealed in His Word, the Bible,  centering on the gospel message of salvation through grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. Here is a link to the IX Marks website where the necessity of Biblical Theology is explained . . . IX Marks on Biblical Theology.

Since Jesus declared, "I am . . . the Truth . . . ." in John 14:6, surely if we love Him, we will want to know the Truth, since He is Truth! And, since he also prayed to God the Father, "Your Word is Truth," in John 17:17, if we trust the Lord Jesus, we will want to understand God's Word, the Bible. So, let's commit ourselves to learning, knowing, and proclaiming Truth!

In Christ,

MWW

Dr. Albert Mohler posted a blog today about the influence of the megachurch on Evangelical Christianity. In it he wonders if the megachurches of Evangelicalism will lead into biblical faithfulness or theological liberalism. The most concerning part of his article deals with a recent message from Baptist megachurch pastor Andy Stanley. You can read Mohler's blog at the following link. http://www.albertmohler.com/2012/05/01/is-the-megachurch-the-new-liberalism/

It is my prayer that Christians, especially pastors, will aim at our only meaningful opportunity for relevancy that makes a difference in a fallen world, and that is, to practice the truth that Scripture (the 66 books of the Christian Bible) alone is our rule for faith and practice. As such, we are not called to mull over our reactions to sin in any form. We must accept what God says and lovingly submit to His will. In the case of homosexuality, it is a sin. A sin from which sinners can be saved through the biblical, Christian Gospel. So, let us hold to Scripture Alone as our authority (Sola Scriptura) in order to be relevant in today's society.

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Jay Taylor wrote the following paper for a college course. He and his wife Amanda are members of First Baptist Church, Keller, TX, which is the primary sponsoring church for DRBC. What do you think about his evaluation of much of modern American Christianity?

 

Shopping for Jesus

Wanted: Looking for a fun, entertaining, emotionally driven, and not so needy type of church where I can pop my head in a few times a month and feel good about myself for a while. Oh, and nothing too serious, I’m not much for commitment. Sound absurd? Well, it shouldn’t. Although you are not likely to see an ad like this in real life, it is however, how many Americans inwardly employ the means to find a “church”. In a culture where everything is tailored to fit our needs, desires, and personal preferences, it seems the church is no exception. With the incessant demands of Americans for newer, faster, and easier in all that we do, it comes as no surprise that consumerism has breached the doors of the evangelical church. Accompanying this infringement is the baggage of secularism, and unfortunately this baggage carries eternal consequences. With the church accommodating the desires of seeking consumers, it has compromised the biblical foundation and theological truths in which the church was founded over two thousand years ago.

Consumerism in America has reached an all time high. Steeped in modernity, our society continues to develop new gadgets, services, and technology that promise to make our lives more comfortable and hip. In a media driven culture, our desires for the latest and greatest are not only expected, but demanded. We find ourselves upgrading to the newest car or phone in two year cycles, only to end up disheartened as we view the latest model roll across the television screen. Without a doubt, modern advertising infiltrates the minds of consumers, tantalizing them into a state of anhedonia-like behavior. We see it every day and there appears to be no end in sight. This marketing strategy has proven to not only be successful, but also contagious. Scores of corporations have profited greatly from these strategies, but none more surprising than the evangelical church. One would normally hesitate to classify the church as a corporation, but after witnessing many of these tactics dramatically increase Sunday morning attendees, it is safe to say this assessment is accurate.

Over the past thirty years, there has been an increase of this consumer dynamic in the life of the church. With Americans increasingly shopping for products and services that curb discomfort and give pleasure, it makes sense that they would eventually request the same when shopping for a church. It seems dissatisfaction can no longer be an option when it comes to worshiping God. Instead of filling out “How can we pray for you?” cards, we are more likely to find customer satisfaction surveys on the backs of the pews. A recent interview with First Baptist Keller intern Chad Ray buttresses these obvious infractions. Ray asserts, “What we are finding is that many families come to church with wrong ideals and attitudes. There are some who come into worship services only to treat it like a shopping list, not just to mark off something they’ve done for the week, but also to see if the church has everything they’re looking for” (Ray).

Consumerism has saturated the modern day evangelical church, period. A quick drive around North Fort Worth will testify that the megachurch movement is thriving on this very stigma. Billboards and marquees advertising the latest how- to series clutter up the roadsides, not to mention expensive direct mail flyers promising an experience you won’t soon forget. One can easily see that the modern day church has earned every bit of its seeker friendly reputation. With relevant sermon series on weight loss, parenting, and various disorders, these corporation type churches have attracted a culture that has no idea what the church truly represents. On this subject Ray notes, “If we entice the culture into God’s house promising to fix their problems, they will continually expect the church to solve everything. Once we don’t meet their expectations it’s on to some other congregation that will” (Ray).

The symbolism between many of these seeker friendly churches and a shopping experience is truly remarkable. The Irish author and social critic Os Guinness makes his observations known within this particular church movement. Guinness retorts, “Modern megachurches have been built on the philosophical and structural pattern of America’s recent shopping malls, which, in turn, have long been described as cathedrals of consumption” (Guinness 12). The megachurch is the church shopper’s dream come true. Starbucks, JumboTrons, Rock n Roll music, a lack of intimacy, and a heaping spoon of individualism, somehow pass for worshiping a holy God. With the appeasement of the general public, we are consequently causing shame to what God deems precious, the church.

The reason the seeker friendly movement is becoming such an epidemic is that churches are compromising God’s Word to placate our insatiable culture. The power of the gospel has been nullified by the power of advertisement. Theology has been replaced by entertainment and consolation. Consumerism runs rampant within the walls of God’s house and only a select few are moved to stand up and reprove this modern form of idolatry. Congregants are more concerned with what they can get out of church rather than what they can put into it. Instead of clothing the poor and feeding the hungry, we contemplate whether we want a caramel macchiato or chai latte before we head into the sanctuary. Unfortunately, there will come a day when many churchgoers will come to terms with the reality of God’s holiness and truth. It is on that sad day that the words, “Well done good and faithful servant” might be replaced with, “Depart from me I never knew you.”

Works Cited

Guinness, Os. Introduction. Dining with the Devil: The Megachurch Movement Flirts with

Modernity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1993. 12. Print.

Ray, Chad. Personal Interview. March 2012.