Archives for September 2015

Introduction to our Culture of Grace!

The goal is to share with you the Gospel of Jesus and include you in the culture of grace that we strive for here at Friendship Baptist Church. The Gospel, and the culture of grace are in many ways one in the same. For us to live in a culture of grace is to be continually aware of the Gospel.  So what does that look like?

First is Humility.  Each one of us is aware that we are sinful and selfish.  We know that even when we try not to be, there are parts of our life where we are motivated by the old saying, ‘looking out for number one.’  The problem is that when we say that we usually have the wrong number one.  God is first all the time and in all things.  Anytime we put ourselves, or our priorities ahead of God, we have not loved Him the way He deserves.
Second is Grace.  God knows we don’t deserve His Love, His presence, or even life itself.  But He gives it all to us.  Our sin has separated us from God.  Sin is when we behave as described above, putting our desires ahead of His.  This puts us in a state of rebellion against God Himself.  But due to His great love for His people, He intervened on our behalf.  God sends His Son, Jesus Christ (aka, God the Son) to take and become our sin and transform us into righteous children of God.  That is what the cross is about.  Jesus literally takes our sin on himself and suffers and dies in our place.  He did no wrong to deserve this, but did it because He loved us and knew it was the only way to save us from eternity in Hell.  From there, He rose from the grave and is alive today calling us to trust in Him.
Third is Mercy.  It is knowledge that we didn’t deserve His grace, rather we deserved His wrath, but He had mercy on us.  God loved us so much that while we were still sinners (rebels agains Him) Christ died for us. (see Romans 5:8).  He did not wait for us to come to Him and promise to be good.  Quite the opposite, He came to us first.  This is how God showed His love for us and how we are to show our love for one another.
Fourth is Love.  Jesus taught us that we are to Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  And to love our neighbor as ourselves.  Love is more than a feeling.  It is action.  God took action to show you His love for you when Jesus came into this world (Christmas) and as Jesus died and rose again to give you life (Easter).  Now that His love is shown, we are to love Him with all that we have, and we are to love those around us as though they were our very own selves.
Because of these things, we seek to treat one another the way Christ has treated us.  Receive one another regardless of wrongs done or past events.  Include each other in our family of faith because Jesus has included us.  Forgive without waiting for apologies or ‘righting of wrongs’ in our personal view.  And love others.  Love with reckless abandon to all that might stand in our way.  Love in feeling and in action.  Love because He first loves us.

Doctrine is good!

1 Timothy 1:3, 1 Timothy 4:13-16, Titus 1:9

We teach in order to maintain good doctrine.  Not everyone believes this.  It is popular to say things like, “don’t worry about doctrine, just teach the Bible.”  Of course along with that comes the ever dangerous question, “What does this text mean to you?” Both are problematic and we need never to buy into them. The author of every passage, along side the Holy Spirit who inspired them, when writing any and ever part of scripture had a defined point and intent that He was and is communicating.  The author was not confused thinking, well maybe I mean this or maybe I mean that, but it sounds good, so I’ll let someone else figure out what I mean.  No.  Every text in the bible has a specific meaning.

So our doctrine is not a matter of how we prefer to understand scripture. Rather as we read scripture and understand the context, we seek to identify exactly what the author was conveying and that point, that intent, is the truth that we seek to observe, practice and obey.

Now we see doctrine is a good thing.  Here are some examples:

  • Doctrine is the difference between Jesus is God and Jesus became like God.
    • One is Christian, the other is the foundation for the cults.
  • Doctrine is the difference between you pray to God or you pray to someone else.
    • One biblical, the other is superstition.
  • Doctrine is the difference between Justification by Grace alone through faith alone, and believe in Jesus and if you do enough good things you will be allowed in as a child of God.
    • One is the Salvation of God, the other is trust in your own works.
    • So, as Paul tells timothy to prevent the teaching of strange doctrine, we too work to that end.

So as Paul tells Timothy to prevent the teaching of strange doctrine and to pay close attention to his own understanding of doctrine, so wee too must work to that end.  This is how we value and respect the scriptures.

Why does God let bad things happen to good people?

She messaged me a short simple question.  “Why does God let bad things happen to good people?”  And that is question.  It’s the primary question that all of us face.  Why don’t people believe in God?  The answer is because suffering exists.  We live and act and expect that if God is real and if He is good, He would never allow anything bad to befall us.  But God was honest, He told humanity what would happen if we turned against Him.  It was very simple.  If we (humanity) decided to do things our way rather than His, we would embrace a way of life that led to suffering and death.  We decided on our way, and we still do.

Now we want to ask God why we face hard things, difficult things, bad things.  We face bad things because we are all now affected by our bad decisions.  Those bad decisions are actually rebellion against God Himself.  We may not have looked at it way when we made those decisions, but ever decision we have ever made that was selfish or self-serving without being rooted in a deep love for God and people has been what God calls sin.  So our original question, is no longer really the question.  The question changed when we opted to follow our desires over His.    The question now is not ‘why does God allow bad things to happen to good people?’ but why would God allow us (sinful, rebellious, selfish people) into His presence or His kingdom?  Why would God allow what is bad to enter and receive what is good?

The answer is because He is merciful. He is good. We wonder why bad things happen, but we chose those on our own.  God knows you experience bad things.  The worst this world has to offer is death, and that is what He dealt with first: on the cross.

So instead of asking why God allows bad things to happen to good people, we need to thank Him that we still have good things and in Him we have the promise of a good future.


Here is the part of the actual response I gave when asked:

The bottom line is that the “bad things” you speak of are the consequences of sin in the world. Sometimes due to our own bad decisions, sometimes due to the decisions of others. Sin brought suffering and death into the world. Sin is anything that is rebellion against God or His law. Now when we understand that to its fullest extent we really know that we are none good. We are not good people. We are just thankful that God has mercy on us as we sin. He forgives us of that sin. But until we are with Him (through our death and entrance into His kingdom or His return to finalize the restoration of His kingdom on this earth…) we face a world full of the consequences of sin that has been mounting for thousands of years.