Guest Post: Going Forward by Going Backward by R P Amos

arrow signsPeter wrote to the Christians, “To stir you up by putting you in remembrance.” Many times we are encouraged by the Lord to go back to what He has already said and done to guide us in our walk forward toward the kingdom of heaven. We’re in a day when new ideas are being introduced continually to the church so she can be considered relevant and progressive. But is it time to go back to His Word alone in order to go on faithfully for the Lord? Following are seven examples of knowing and the valuing past.

1. Israel Ready to Enter the Promise Land. “And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness … that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD …” (Deut. 8:2,3). Israel’s success in the Promised Land would come by following the Word of God, which, – they were to remember back – had guided them successfully through the wilderness.

2. Josiah’s Revival. “And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the passover unto the LORD your God, as it is written in the book of this covenant” (2 Kings 23:21). King Josiah led the people back to observe again the old-time feast of Passover as it was written in the Word.

3. Hezekiah’s Revival. “He appointed … the set feasts, as it is written in the law of the LORD” (2 Chron. 31:3). Similarly, Hezekiah went backward – to what was written in the book of the Lord. He restored the nation back to God, and back to His heart and ways.

4. Rebuilding of the Second Temple. “And builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God” (Ezra 3:2). Unlike their forefathers who built their own altars all over the place and introduced a new “great altar,” they now went back to God’s way – worshipping at THE altar of the Lord.

5. The Lord’s Supper. “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26). As we wait for the Lord Jesus’ coming (looking forward), we do so by remembering His historical death for us to save us (looking backward).

6. The Thessalonian Christians. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle [written instruction]” (2 Thess. 2:14,15). As they focused on the coming Lord and glory, they were to hold (not let go) what they were already instructed.

7. The Church at Sardis.Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent” (Rev. 3:3). The church that was considered dead by the Lord was exhorted to look back in remembrance to what they had first heard and received in the beginning. This reminder John was to “write in a book” to the 7 churches (Rev. 1:11). The church also has a book (the Bible) in which we are to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

We do not to need to find some new truth to make the church more appealing in modern times. We simply need to trust and obey what has been once revealed and delivered to us by the Lord and His chosen apostles. Paul said, “The things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.” So – “if it’s new, it’s not true, and if it’s true, it’s not new.”

 

Editorial Note: This is a guest post written by Brother Randy Amos. He maintains the Thinking 7 website. You can also find Randy’s ministry on the Voices For Christ website here.

 

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Wonderful Reminders of What it Means to Break Bread

Rethinking what church growth means. Is small the new big?Shane Johnson has an excellent post over at the assemblyHUB blog today entitled “How NOT to Break Bread.” If you have not seen his post yet, I suggest heading over there and checking it out.

In his post Shane beautifully expresses why the Lord’s Supper is precious to both himself and the Lord Jesus Christ. Shane writes:

The Lord’s Supper is precious – both to the Lord and to the believer. Most of what I have learned about the person of Christ, His peerless character, and priestly work on the cross I have learned during that joyous hour we call the breaking of bread.

 

The bread and cup re-fix my eyes on the Lord better than any sermon can ever do, re-anchoring my heart on the hope-filled empty tomb.

Shane also reminds us that the Breaking of Bread is not about us:

Whenever I attend a wedding, it also helps me appreciate the meaning of the breaking of bread in a greater way. The best man’s speech is always focused on the groom, never on anyone or anything else. The best man speaks of the groom’s qualities – his loyalty, his selflessness, his humility, etc. The best man does not speak about what he has done for the groom.

 

To center our attention directly on the groom is the best man’s job, to heighten our appreciation and evaluation of him, and to reveal things about him that we may not have known or have forgotten. The best man does not speak about other interesting things, facts about history, or his own personal interests, which only serve to take the focus off the all-important groom, but solely on the bridegroom’s glory. After all, it’s his day not ours.

The Breaking of Bread is really all about Him… The Lord Jesus Christ…

We should filter our thoughts. Only those thoughts that reveal, remember or refine our understanding of His character and work should receive “air time” at the meeting. All other thoughts should be kept to ourselves. The Holy Spirit seeks to glorify Christ (John 16:14) not us.

 

When we speak at the Lord’s Supper, we influence and direct the worship of the entire congregation and should be careful not to disrupt the incense of adoration being raised up to the Lord. Before we share we should ask ourselves: does this reveal something about His character? Does this cause us to remember or revisit what He did for us? How does this refine our understanding of Him?

I encourage you to check out the entire post over at assemlbyHUB.

Link: How NOT to Break Bread

 

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Sermon Audio: NT Principles of Gathering – Part 2

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“…Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified”

 

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

 

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

 

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

 

Acts 2:36-47 ESV

 


This sermon was originally recorded February 2, 2014 at Seven Points Christian Assembly, Sunbury, PA.

 

Link: NT Principles of Gathering – Part 1

 

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Sermon Audio: NT Principles of Gathering – Part 1

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“…Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified”

 

Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

 

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

 

And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

 

Acts 2:36-47 ESV

 


This sermon was originally recorded February 2, 2014 at Seven Points Christian Assembly, Sunbury, PA.

 

Link: NT Principles of Gathering – Part 2

 

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Should Local Assemblies Have Recognized Elders?

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Brother Gary McBride has an excellent post today on the assemblyHUB blog entitled Should We Have Elders Today? In his article brother Gary outlines why he believes local assemblies (churches) should have elders. He supports his position by looking at relevant scriptures passages and by exploring a few real life considerations.

While this topic may seem strange– most Protestant church groups practice some form of eldership and the New Testament seems to clearly teach eldership– there are some groups who hold to the teaching that elders are not for today.

Gary writes in part:

The premise of this article is that the office was introduced at the beginning of this age and is applicable for the whole period. In the epistles there are at least six references to elders. The references are as follows: Philippians 1:1, 1Timothy 3:1-7; 5:17-20; Titus 1:5-9; James 5:14; and 1Peter 5:1-4. To these could be added Acts 20:17 and 28, though Acts is narrative and not necessarily normative. Paul is giving a discourse that includes doctrine. There are also four verses that reference those who rule or who are in authority: 1 Thessalonians 5:12, 13; and Hebrews 13:7, 17.

and…

A plurality in leadership, elders or overseers is the most likely expectation of the reader of the New Testament. Most individuals reading through the Bible would assume that the pattern seen and the topic spread thoughout the New Testament would be visible today. It may be true that the church in the Western world is far from the simplicity and spirituality of the early church, but that is not necessarily true in the entire world. In addition, there is no scripture either stated or implied that indicates the office of elder is to cease.

and…

Experientially I have found that with or without recognition someone has to take leadership. Regardless of the size of the assembly and the mechanics of decision making, someone or a plurality has to take the lead. In assemblies without designated elders either the majority of the men take leadership or only certain men are invited to be in leadership. It seems to me that in many ways it is merely a matter of semantics – there are men in leadership but the word “elders” is not used.

I encourage you to read Gary’s full article here.

 

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Full disclosure: I am a member of the assemblyHUB.com leadership team.
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Jottings – A Letter Of Commendation

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The epistle to Philemon is a wonderful example of a letter of commendation.

 

Mike Attwood, Lessons from 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon Series of Addresses at Greenwood Hills Second Family Conference, July 26 – August 2, 2014.

 

 

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Events: Shepherding Conference 2014


 
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One of the greatest needs in the assemblies today is for gifted shepherds (pastors – Ephesians 4:11) to do the hard work of an elder (1 Timothy 3:1, 5:17). So many today desire a “position,” however very few are actively doing the work.

The Shepherding Conference will be held, Lord willing, September 18-20 to encourage and equip brethren to do the work of a shepherd. In past years the conference has been well attended by concerned brethren and very well received.

Teachers: Brian Gunning (ON), Bruce Hulshizer (PA), Keith Keyser (PA), Joe Reese (ON)
When: September 18-20, 2014
Where: Greenwood Hills Bible Conference & Camp, 7062 Lincoln Way East, Fayetteville, PA 17222
Who: Men of all ages
Details: Here

 

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Related Digital Sojourner posts:
Which Church? New Testament Churches Were Guided By Overseers
Titus 1:6-9 A Closer Look At Elders
Titus 1:10-11 Why Such High Standards For Elders?

 

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The Headcovering – Redux

I’m pleasantly surprised that my recent post concerning headship and it’s symbolic practice generated some buzz on various social media sites– which translated into a greater than usual number of page views.

 

 

If you are interested in this topic here are some resources that I have found helpful….

As always, be a good Berean!

 

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The Headcovering – It’s Not Just An Assembly Thing [updated]


 

 

If you were to visit my church on a Sunday morning one of the first things you would probably notice is that the sisters have their heads covered, and the brothers have their heads uncovered. If you are not accustomed to this practice you would probably wonder why.

One might think it is simply based on longstanding tradition and not on God’s Word. The practice, however, is based on 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 and other related passages that deal with the subject of headship.

I find it interesting that as many assemblies move away from the symbolic practice of headship there is a growing rediscovery of this truth and practice in other congregations.

By way of example I have posted the above video. The accompanying sermon notes can be found here.

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Video credit:
Published on May 13, 2014
Dr. Carlton C. McLeod, Senior Founding Pastor
Calvary Revival Church Chesapeake
740 Great Bridge Blvd., Chesapeake, VA 23323
www.crcchesapeake.org

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6.6.2014 13:12 EST update

This is a follow up video from Dr. Carlton C. McLeod:

 

 

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Like this post? See a follow up post: The Headcovering – Redux

 

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Jottings – Worship and Relationship

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On Matthew 23:5-12 – “The New People of God have one Teacher, the Christ; one level, all are brethren; one Father before whom all bow, the Father in heaven; and one measure of greatness, that of being servants who humble themselves in service. This is a remarkable outline of worship and relationship in the ekklēsia, among those called by Christ to be His disciples.”

 

Myron S. Augsburger, Matthew, The Preacher’s Commentary Series, Vol. 24, ed. Lloyd J. Ogilvie. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1982), p. n/a.

 

Thanks Keith!

 

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