Friday, May 9, 2008
Paul, writing to The Ephesians said, ''Giving thanks always for all things unti God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.'' What a high standard this is. Yet we should prayerfully and constantly strive after it. It is both for His Glory, and our good, that we do so, for there is a wonderful power in praise, to lift the heart ABOVE the disappointments and trials, of this earthly life. One reason, why God's people dwell so much in Meshech is because they do so little praising.... A Individual asked me recently, what was the best way, to overcome a cold heart and a 'bound' spirit, when praying. I told him to begin praising the Lord, as soon as he dropped on his knees, that he was not already in Hell. ''Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ'' [Ephesians 5;20]. An example of obedience to this precept is found in Daniel 6;10-''Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his own house; and his windows being opened in his chamber towards Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, AS HE DID AFORETIME.'' HOW this manifests the supernatural character, of divine grace.... It takes more than an effort of will [the best a poor natural man knows of] to act THUS.... Compare also Acts 16;25.... You may be whispering, ''But Brother Foltz, we can no more bring ourselves to praise God, no more beget in ourselves the spirit of real thanksgiving, than we can make the sky pour down rain on the parched land.'' That is quite true, but to dwell on our impotency gets us nowhere, nor does it produce any fruit to God's glory. LISTEN; I can no more impart good health to my body, than I can create a tree. True, but  I can damage and undermine the health, I already have.  I can use those means, which, under God's blessing, are conducive to good health. So it is spiritually. I can dwell upon my aches and pains, worries ans woes, till the spirit of praise is STIFLED.... WHY NOT DWELL UPON GOD'S MERCIES AND BLESSINGS IN EPHESIANS/
King Solomon, in the Book of Proverbs, Chapter 3 exhorts; ''In all thy ways acknowledge him.'' First, I '' acknowledge Him'' as my Sovereign Lord, as the One, Who has unquestioned right to entire submission from me. Second, I ''acknowledge Him'' as the One, upon Whom I am completely dependent for all things, without Whose blessing, nothing I do, will prosper. Third, I ''acknowledge Him'' as the One, Whom I desire to honor and glorify, seeking to please Him, in every detail of my life. It can't be expected, that those who repudiate His Sovereign Supremacy, should have this attitude toward Him. No, they are free-will agents, deciders of their own destiny, and therefore, lords over themselves. Hence SELF governs all their thinking, planning, and actions. But It should be far otherwise with those, who, by distinguishing mercy, have had their eyes opened to see God upon His Throne. Their daily prayer must be that God would bring them under the power of this truth, that by acknowledging the Lord in all things, they may conduct themselves, as submissive and loyal subjects of This Sovereign..
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
From Acts 2;42, another characteristic of A Sovereign Grace Baptist Church is that; A Sovereign Grace Baptist Church is a fellowship of believers, united to Christ, and united to one another in Christ. It is more than a group of people, with their names on the same church roll. It is a fellowship of believers, committed to one another, committed to the furtherance of the gospel, committed to the glory of God and the will of God, and committed to the building of God's Church and kingdom, the salvation of God's Elect, because they are committed to Christ. ''Fellowship'' as the word, is used in Acts 2;42, is commitment to one another. It is such a total commitment, that it caused those earthly believers to hold all their possessions in common, none considering that the things they possessed, were their own. No wonder God used them, so greatly. 3rd, A SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH IS A CHURCH, WHICH LIVES, IN THE REMEMBRANCE AND EXPECTATION, OF THE lORD JESUS CHRIST. Every time the church came together in the Book of Acts, they observed The Lord's Supper. They ate the unleavened bread and drank the wine in remembrance of Christ's Incarnation, obedience, and death, as their Substitute, and in expectation of His promised return. However, the constant observance of this blessed ordinance was much more, than a religious ritual to them. Those saints observed the ordinance, as a representation of their heart's attitude regarding these things. A Sovereign Grace, Gospel Church, is a church, whose very existence is the remembrance and expectation of Christ. Then, next, A SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH IS A WORSHIPPING CHURCH. There are many who seem always to live in the past. They fight the battles of the past. They hold to creeds, of the past. They glory in past revivals. We live in, minister to, and serve the present, by prayer, that is to say, in the worship of God, our Saviour. A Sovereign Gospel Church, is a church of Worshippers, who continue ''in prayers,'' who continue in the worship of God. They worship God, after the due order, prescribed in God's Word, relating to all matters of public worship. They worship God continually. When you find such a church, if you are a believer, unite with it. Devote yourself to it. Spend your life, and the energies of your life building it, for Christ's Glory, and your own good. No value can be put to such a privilege. No cost can be compared to it. -END-
Last time, we said one of the 4 characteristics of which characterize a sovereign grace church is that it adheres to ''the doctrines of the apostles.'' That The Doctrines of Grace are these doctrines are shown by these Scripture references. 1. God Almighty is absolutely sovereign in all things, specifically in predestination, creation, providence, and salvation [Romans 8;28-30; 11;33-36]. 2. Everything that comes to pass in time was predestined by God in eternity and is brought to pass by God in providence for the salvation of His elect [Romans 8;28- 30; Ephesians 1;11]. 3. God sovereignly chose some of Adam's fallen race to eternal life in Christ, before the world began [Ephesians 1;3-6; 2 Thessalonians 2;13-14]. 4. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for and redeemed those sinners, chosen to salvation, in eternity, and called to life and faith in Him in time [Hebrews 9;12; Revelation 5;9]. 5. God The Holy Spirit regenerates and calls every chosen, redeemed sinner to life and faith in Christ by the irresistible power of His grace through the preaching of the Gospel [Romans 1;16-17; 10;13-17; I Corinthians 1;21-23; James 1;18; I Peter 1;23-25]. 6. Every Sinner born again by God's free, sovereign, irresistible grace, is kept in life and faith in Christ, by the same grace, unto eternal glory, being sealed in Christ, by The Holy Spirit [Ephesians 1;13-14]. 7. All Who are born of God, being redeemed by Christ, are forever and entirely free from the law [Romans 6;14-15; 7;4; 10;4]. Yet, There is much more to A Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, than adherence to these points of orthodox doctrine. We hold to, adore, and preach these doctrines, as the works, and grace, and blessings of God in Christ. WE RECOGNIZE THAT, THE GOSPEL IS NOT A THEORY, BUT A PERSON, AND THAT PERSON IS OUR GLORIOUS SAVIOUR, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. To preach The Word of God is to preach the gospel [I Peter 1;25]; and to preach the gospel is to preach Christ [Acts 20;17; I Corinthians 2;2]. This is What it is, to continue steadfastly in the Apostles' doctrine. It is to continue steadfastly in the preaching and worship of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is set forth in the Apostles' Doctrine. 37 times in the Book of Acts, you will find the words, ''preach, '' ''preaching,'' ''Preached'' used. Every time, the subject is Jesus Christ. THAT IS NOT GOSPEL PREACHING, OR APOSTOLIC, OR BIBLICAL PREACHING, WHICH DOES NOT HAVE CHRIST, FOR ITS SUBJECT.
Whenever and Wherever I go to preach, or teach God's Word, the question is ultimately asked, ''What is A Sovereign Grace Baptist Church/ This comes about, when people hear me teach or preach, for they realize immediately, that I am not associated with a free will Arminian Church, or, a legalized reformed congregation. They understand quickly, that I am a Baptist, but not like any, they have ever met. The first question, they ask about my church association is; ''What kind of Church, are you a member of/'' I reply, ''A Sovereign Grace Baptist Church. ''What is that/,'' they ask. I answer, ''IT IS A LOCAL CHURCH, WHICH ADHERES TO THE WORD OF GOD ALONE, AS ITS STANDARD AND RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE.'' At Grace Baptist Church, in Ponce De Leon, Fl, We are not at all bashful about identifying our doctrine, and confessing it before men, and proclaiming it from the housetops. Our church is not ruled, or governed, or obligated, in any way, to any creed, or confession of faith, of less inspiration than, ''Thus saith The Word of The Lord.'' Every doctrine we preach, every ordinance we practice, and every part of out public worship, is demanded by the plain statements of Holy Scripture. Having said that A Sovereign Grace Baptist Church adheres to The Word of God, we turn to Acts 4;42, where The Holy Spirit describes the characteristics of the first assembly of believers, after our Lord's ascension. There, We are told, ''And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.'' There are 4 things, mentioned in this verse, which characterize a Gospel Church, a Sovereign Grace Church. A Sovereign Grace Church adheres to ''the apostles' doctrine.'' That is, to say,We believe and incessantly preach the Doctrine of the Apostles, exactly as they did. The doctrine of the Apostles included all those glorious God hon0ring, Christ exalting, flesh abasing doctrines, referred to as Calvinism, or The Doctrines of Grace. No one has a right to the name, ''Christian,'' as it is used in the New Testament, who does not believe these doctrines; and no man is a Gospel Preacher, who does not preach them. I won't try to defend them but I will give you Some Scripture references, which show, that these doctrines, are the doctrines of the Apostles, in our next post.