implications 2

two

I’ve been thinking a little more on my last post ‘implications’. I think most of the implications of right theology that I talked about last time had to do with the individual but the implications of biblical theology have so much to do with the local church. I have referenced ‘9 Marks of a Healthy Church’ time and again (I just check my posts and there’s a number of them!) and I believe that a high view of Scripture flows into these 9 marks, although I really wished that they would have included a tenth: a biblical view of prayer. (Maybe one from the nine marks gang will come out with a book on that!) What I want to do today is just mention each point and then have a little blurb.

expositional preaching – When we preach and teach verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, we don’t edit God. There are people who have heard ‘a verse here and a verse there’ preaching all their lives but when it comes to their knowledge of the biblical God and their right response to Him, they come up very short.

[16] All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, [17] that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV)

I need it all, we need it all…for every good work.

biblical theology – This ties in with last one. This is what I talked mostly about last time. When a right view of God is drawn from the Scriptures as well as our proper response to Him, this honours Him. We are more likely to nail shut the coffin of the small cultural god of our past and be more jazzed by the holy, glorious, mighty God of the Bible.

[34] “For who has known the mind of the Lord,
or who has been his counselor?”
[35] “Or who has given a gift to him
that he might be repaid?”
[36] For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.
(Romans 11:34-36)

the gospel – There is a softer gospel, a nicer gospel, a powerless gospel that is being promoted, in every age, as the real deal. The true life-changing gospel is the foundation to our Christian faith but many professing Christians stumble over communicating the gospel clearly. We need to see how deeply sinful and desperate and dead we are to see how glorious and good and redeeming that God is.

conversion – If we get conversion right, we are less likely to have false converts and have less people sitting on the church pews who think they are saved but are not. We will also less likely have people wrongly trusting in a prayer that was once prayed. We will have more looking to the internal witness of the Spirit (Romans 8:16), looking for evidence of conversion (1 John 2:3-4), and looking to the One that we are trusting in right now, today (1 Corinthians 15:1-2) to affirm genuine salvation.

evangelism – If we have a right view of conversion and the gospel, a right view of evangelism will flow from it. Many times we trust in the shiny new methods that are being promoted and forget that the power of someone to be saved lies in the genuine gospel itself (Romans 1:16). We need to simply share it lovingly with accuracy and leave the results with God (1 Corinthians 3:6).

membership – We live in an age where people are flat out dating the church but are afraid to walk the aisle. People get cold feet about membership. Membership is for our benefit to protect us and to comfort us. I/we need to be accountable to our elders because I/we are prone to wander more than I/we care to admit.

church discipline -The purpose of church discipline is not to harm but to help. Church discipline is for the spiritual benefit of the wayward, unrepentant believer and for the health of a congregation. It identifies false believers. It is also primarily for God’s glory. When believers live just like the world and it’s not corrected, this reduces God’s glory. 1 Corinthians 5 is a great test case for this.

discipleship – This is the missing element of many local churches. People need more than a Sunday morning sermon. They also need other sheep from the body who are loving and caring and correcting in a way that backs up what is said in the pulpit. (Matthew 28, Ephesians 4:15)

leadership – All of these marks are crucial but I believe that this one is so vital. If your church leadership is not qualified, they will make bad decisions that are made not in light of Scripture but in light of worldly practices and by the influence of wayward believers and unbelievers (1 Timothy 3:1-13)

I love the church but I believe the one in North America is in a crisis. The nine marks may not be sexy but they are God-breathed. Each one is drawn from His Word. I encourage you to invest in a copy of ‘9 Marks of a Healthy Church’ today, even if you are not a pastor it. Read it, consider it, apply it, and then pass it on to your pastor. If half of the pastors in Canada got this book in their grip and embraced it’s reality I’d suggest that forty years down the road, the North American church would be a much healthier place.

 

 

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