Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Marriage is a gospel issue redux

The head-long, cultural rush to accept same-sex "marriage" keeps accelerating.

We have witnessed it just in the last week. A conservative Republican senator (Rob Portman), a potential Democratic presidential candidate (Hillary Clinton) and a popular -- yet not particularly biblically faithful -- preacher (Rob Bell) have endorsed marriage for people of the same sex. Though its findings have been challenged, a new poll shows 58 percent of Americans support same-sex "marriage" -- a reversal from only seven years ago, when 58 percent opposed and only 36 percent approved it.

It is a huge issue that will test the convictions and courage of Christians. The advocates for same-sex "marriage" seemingly will accept nothing less than total acceptance of their belief system. For those of us who accept the authority of Scripture, there can be no doubt where we stand -- and where we should continue to stand.

As the church of Christ, we would do well while our beliefs are under siege to remind ourselves marriage is a gospel issue. I explained in a blog post in February 2012 some reasons marriage is a gospel issue. I think it is a good time to remind ourselves of these truths. Here is an excerpt from that post:
Marriage is a gospel issue because we, the church, exist as the adulteress God the Son came to purchase off the slave block of sin to transform into a beautiful bride.

Marriage is a gospel issue because we, the church, should defend, promote and teach the truth that this covenantal relationship between a man and a woman is -- at its most meaningful -- an earthly portrait of that most valuable message -- Christ came to redeem a bride for Himself.

Marriage is a gospel issue because we, the church, have been commissioned to take the good news of Jesus and His all-sufficient work to children, young people and adults who have been devastated by broken marriages and betrayed by society's wicked siren song about sexuality.

Marriage is a gospel issue because we, the married couples within the church, are to model the gospel before children, young people and adults in order to help them think biblically about marriage and trust God and His good design for it.

As the church, may we believe Jesus and His gospel -- and attest to the power and beauty of the gospel by our lives -- in order that God would be glorified, Christ would be exalted, and the good news would be made known to and believed by others.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Corporate worship: Some important reminders

'St Ebbes 11:45 Service' photo (c) 2011, Jimmy and Sasha Reade - license: am providing a one-sentence review of each of the six posts I offered last year titled "Worshiping as a church" as the first entry in my return to blogging. God has created us to worship Him. Corporate worship is primary in church life. It is vital we think about it biblically. These truths -- which I believe are based on Scripture -- are important for Covenant Community Church to consider, and I long for us increasingly to understand and apply them as we gather each Sunday. After each point, there is a link to the original post that fleshes out the summary message.

Here are the six review statements:

1. Corporate worship as part of a local church is indispensable for Christians and has both God-ward and human-ward aspects. (Full post is here.)

2. Corporate worship is a priority for disciples of Jesus from the start to finish of their church's weekly gathering, and their presence provides numerous benefits, including the opportunity to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ. (Full post is here.)

3. Corporate worship calls for physical, mental and spiritual preparation that demonstrates its importance in the lives of Christian disciples. (Full post is here.)

4. Corporate worship is to be God-centered from the start and consists of the revelation of God and His work from Scripture, as well as His worshipers' response to that revelation. (Full post is here.)

5. Corporate worship is more than music, as important as it is, and includes a variety of activities during the church's time together. (Full post is here.)

6. Corporate worship calls for singing by the church as an activity that has multiple purposes. (Full post is here.)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Back to blogging

I blogged last in early January and said I would take a couple of weeks to determine what form this blog would take in the future. Well, it has been a couple of months, and I am just now getting back to the blog. So, first, I apologize for not abiding by the time frame I established. I have struggled with exactly what to do. I want to blog frequently to help our spiritual family, Covenant Community Church, but I finally have recognized I just don't have time in my schedule. There are other priorities -- especially time with my wife, time in sermon preparation and time with God's people -- that take precedence. Upon recognizing this and surveying people in our church for their interest in reading this blog, I have decided on the following plan for now:

I will blog once a week, mostly on Wednesday, on a topic I consider to be important to our church. I will make this post available as a hard copy on the information table when we gather for worship on the following Sunday.

In doing so, I hope to reach as many people as possible in our fellowship. I want those outside Covenant Community Church to read this blog. I think what I post will be helpful to brothers and sisters in other congregations. When I blog, however, it is with the dear saints of Covenant Community Church in mind.

My desire in this is that God be glorified, Christ be exalted, the gospel be made known, the church be built up and disciples be produced.