Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Liveblogging: Georgia Baptist Convention Pastors' Conference

Hebron Baptist Church: Dacula, GA.

Initial observations: awesome, God-glorifying time of worship in song from various choirs/ praise and worship teams.
I'm sitting between my Dad and James H. Cook, Jr., two of my favorite men on the planet.

Johnny Hunt: Revelation 3:7-13.

3 commendations to the church of Philadelphia:

1. That they have little power;
2. That they have kept Christ's word;
3. That they have not denied Christ's name.

When addressing the churches, Jesus would begin with His "resume'," in this case: 1. "He who is holy (separate from sin);" 2. "He who is true" (separate from falsehood). Jesus is right in character and conduct. 3. "He who holds the key of David:" He determines who will enter the Davidic kingdom; this speaks to the exclusivity of Christ. This implies the necessity of sharing the gospel.

Jesus moves from His "resume'" to "revelation." Jesus reveals that He has opened a door for the church in Philadelphia. 1 Corinthians 16:9, "most of us want an open door without a comma," in other words we want an open door without adversity. Colossians 4:3, an open door is not about us (our own betterment or position), but about an opportunity to preach the gospel.

[Dr. Hunt paused to talk about the open door before the Southern Baptist Convention, and to promote the Lottie Moon offering, which may seem to be a rabbit trail, but I would argue was entirely appropriate in context.]

We will be held accountable for what we have done with our time.

3 commendations, further notes:
1. Notice that He commends their feebleness: not their strength, but their weakness (2 Cor 12:10). It is not about how many show up to your church, but Who shows up. "Little is much/ when God is in it." Notice that He rebukes the church that says their rich.
2. When a pastor asks, "What should I do when I go to a new church?" The correct answer is, "Preach the word!"
3. We have examples today (particularly in the Middle East) of preachers who refuse to deny Jesus' name, even in the face of torture or death. We don't have enough troubles in America: remember the short-lived influx of church attenders following 9/11. More people come to faith in Christ in areas of great poverty or great persecution: think of the reports of what is happening in places like China or Cuba.

Romans 2:28. What is said about the false Jews in Rev 3:9 may be applied to false Christians.

"Let no man steal your crown:" stay faithful to Me; I'll stay faithful to you.

Kevin Miller: 2 Chronicles 14-16.

During a time of general repentance, Asa had to defend his kingdom, and he called out to God in trust due to desperation. Then, in a time of peace, Asa once again had to defend his kingdom, and he tried to defend his kingdom without calling out to God.

We may reduce our Christianity to a routine, without crying out to God in desperation, and our relationship to God will suffer. We have to trust Him: don't think that you can live life on your own, because you can't. We must remember who we are in Christ.

Depend on God: fully commit to Him again. Only the fully committed persevere in the commission we have been given.

Recognition of the Georgia Citizen Action Project: time of prayer for Ray Newman, who is suffering from grave illness.

David Mills: Mark 11:7-11.

Who was responsible for the death of Jesus?

I. Provocation: Jesus shifted strategy to active engagement with religious authorities, so as to provoke their sensitivities, though in godly way. He provokes them through His:

A. Actions
1. Triumphal Entry: shifting attention from the religious authorities
2. Cursing the Fig Tree: symbolically condemning apostate Israel
3. Cleansing the Temple

B. Answers
1. Instruction About Prayer: as God had instructed Israel about prayer
2. Refusal to Answer
3. Controversial Teaching on Taxes
4. Assertion That the Religious Leaders Did Not Know Scripture or God's Power
5. Teaching About the Greatest Commandment Undermined the Scribal System

C. Teaching
1. His Death
2. His Deity
3. "Beware of the Scribes"
4. His Teaching About Giving
5. His Teaching About the Temple
6. His Teaching About the Day of the Lord

II. Permission

A. Permission to Judas
1. Jesus knows who will betray Him.
2. What would have happened if Jesus had identified Judas? (Remember: Peter had a sword.)

B. Permission to Those Who Arrest Him and Bring Him to Trial
1. Jesus does not assert His rights during His trials.
2. The one time Jesus speaks, He gives His accusers incriminating evidence (from their point of view).
3. Jesus does not assert His rights even when He is repeatedly declared, "Not guilty," by Pilate.

John 10:18; Acts 4:27-28.

As Jesus accepted a cross for us, we are to accept a cross for us.

We do not have to make a cross for ourselves: as we follow Christ, God will find crosses for us, such as:
A. The Cross of Culture:
1. Our cultural model is not any present culture;
2. Our cultural model is one in which Christ is the absolute center.
B. The Cross of Missions: we must sacrificially give.
C. The Cross of Government: government gets its proper boundaries wrong.
D. The Cross of Theology: the Bible is sufficient.
E. The Cross of Evangelism: we cannot wait for the "perfect opportunity" to witness.

C.S. Lewis, "If you're looking for a comfortable religion, I don't suggest the Christian faith."

We must be faithful unto death to Him who will give you the crown of life.
"If everyone likes you, and if everyone agrees with you, it may be because you're NOT following Jesus."

Don Wilton: John 2:13-25.

3 fundamentally critical issues in the Southern Baptist Convention today:
1. Absolute Truth;
2. Personal Conviction;
3. Personal Preference.
These must be kept in right order in our lives and in our Convention.

Our churches in America are in a state of crisis.

To whom should we go as an authority on the Church?
Should we go to the Pope? To Billy Graham? To denominational leaders?

Surely, if we had lived in Jesus' day, we would have went to Nicodemus as an expert on spiritual matters.

We must go to Absolute Truth rather than to the opinions of men.

3 things Jesus rejects in His Church:
1. Business; we must not come to God with our own agenda, but receive our agenda through Him;
2. Sacrifices (outside of the shed blood of the Lamb); salvation is by grace alone through faith alone:
3. Tradition
[It seems that Dr. Wilton specifically intended to focus on traditions based on personal preferences, which keep people from God.]

3 things Jesus wants in His Church:
1. Discipline;
2. Cross-centeredness;
3. Scripture.

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