Sermon of the Week – Crisis of Faith and the Goodness of God by Brian Borgman (Part 2)

Crisis of Faith and the Goodness of God – Part 2 of 4

by Pastor Brian Borgman.

If we haven’t had a Crisis of Faith yet in our walk with God, we will someday. Pastor Brian addresses the heartache and struggles in this encouraging and edifying 4 part sermon series from Psalm 73. Enjoy Part 1 of 4 as this week’s Sermon of the Week.

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Pastor Brian’s Church: Grace Nevada

This Girl Desperately Needs the Gospel, Will You Give it to Her?

This is the picture of a young fourteen year old girl. Most of us would look at her and think she was probably a normal kid without a care in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, she has been charged as having murdered her newborn son shortly after his birth. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, this young girl (I am leaving out her name for obvious reasons) became pregnant, lied about it to her parents, concealed the pregnancy by wearing loosed clothes, then gave birth in her bathroom. Once the 9-1/2 pound baby boy was born, she choked the life out of him and hid him in a shoe box underneath soiled laundry in her room. After a series of events, the child’s body was discovered and the young girl was arrested.

Christians, it might be easy to dismiss this tragic event as one of a handful of terrible events in our country. It might be easy to say that this is not representative of our youth as a whole. Or it might be even easier to lay this at the hands of liberalism in our country, claiming that they have been indoctrinated to believe promiscuity is the norm and that they should never be burdened with the results. A thought made all the easier to believe when one realizes had she gone to an abortionist, she would have never been arrested. But I have to ask you, do we not bear some responsibility here? Haven’t we, as the church, as the salt and light in a dark and dying world, failed young girls like this because we have failed to affect the culture through the preaching of the gospel?

Before this post gets assaulted with the obvious theological implications of personal responsibility for sin, sovereignty of God, and such, please understand I am not saying that the Church is personally responsible for this young girl’s sin. It is her’s and she will be held accountable for it. But what I am referring to here, what I have been getting at for several articles now, is that the Church has a duty to preach the pure and unadulterated gospel throughout the world, including our own back yards. Yet, for some time now, Christians have failed to do this in numerous ways. We have claimed evangelism is a gift instead of a command, thus denying our need to do it. We have shuffled the responsibility to the preacher instead of doing it ourselves. We have settled for seeker-friendlyism, allowing churches to dilute or change scripture to attract the unsaved masses into what is supposed to be gathering of the saints. Or when we attempt to evangelize, we settle for a “God has a wonderful plan for your life” model which is unbiblical and an adulteration of the true gospel. Or worse, have even tried to shut down the true preaching of the gospel as if it is something to be apologized for (as in this picture where a student is apologizing for Pastor Emilio Ramos’ message).

With such obvious efforts to avoid the command to preach the gospel, the church has lost it’s influence over the culture, and the post-modern, secular humanist mindset has filled that void. A mindset that denies that humanity has been made in the image and likeness of God. That denies life is created by God in the womb, but rather is an amalgamation of proteins that washed up on the beach. That exalts personal enjoyment and fulfillment as the highest human achievement, and teaches that any obstacle to that achievement should be done away with. That denies the sinfulness of man and denies that a judgment will one day be applied.

With such a loss of church influence, is it any wonder that the youth in our culture show little restraint in their sinful behavior? They have been told that they are inherently good and that whatever they choose to believe is true. Yet, amazingly, the culture acts shocked and horrified when someone like this young girl takes that mindset to its logical conclusion. In a culture that exalts personal fulfillment, kids are getting a mixed message when they actually take it to it’s full extent.

Christians, we are the ones who have the real answers! We are the ones with the words of God who declares good from evil, right from wrong. We are the ones who can point our culture to the Scriptures and show that people are not good, but wicked from birth. We can declare to them that they are trapped in their sinfulness, bound only to their sins which make them rebels against the Lord. Then, and only then, does the actions that this young girl committed make sense. She is not a good kid that somehow society failed, she is a wicked sinner following her base desires. And, thanks to a sinful culture that celebrates sin, she was able to justify what she did by what she had been taught.

This is why we cannot and must not abdicate the command of our Lord to preach the gospel and to make disciples, because young people like this girl are trapped in their sins and the only answers that they have are given to them by a sin burdened culture. They are the blind leading the blind (Matthew 15:14). Only Christ can remove the scales from their eyes and make them see the ditch they are headed for. Only Christ can expose their hearts for the sin hardened stones that they are. Only Christ can break down the walls of sin and recreate a heart of flesh. Only Christ can make people a new creation. And it is we who were once one of them that Christ has commanded to preach this life saving gospel. What else is there to give this world that can do more? What else should we occupy our time with that has more value that saving young girls like this from hearts that lead to murder of newborn children? Can you honestly look back during the last year and tell yourself you have spent time in pursuits that brought more honor and glory to God than the preaching of the gospel?

I implore my Christian brethren to look at the picture of this young girl again. Might she be the girl you saw standing next to you at the store? Maybe she is a friend of your daughter’s? Or maybe even your own child? Knowing what you know now, would you have taken that extra five minutes to share the gospel with her? Knowing that one day she would murder her child, would you plead with her to repent of the life of sin she was living? Would you pray earnestly for her salvation? Now, I ask you this, what about those whose futures you do not know? You do not know if they will murder a child or if they will become a successful CEO. But you do know this, they are sinners just like you were, and they are bound for Hell, just as you once were. Isn’t that reason enough?

Vaughan Roberts Fighting His Battle without Compromise

The web lit up this evening on Facebook and Gospel Coalition due to this important interview with Vaughan Roberts posted by blogger David Ould. I believe it is an important contribution to the current discussion of the Christian faith and homosexuality. As you’ll see when you read this article, Vaughan Roberts has enter the discussion of same-sex attraction from the INSIDE rather than commenting from the usual faith-based outside position. I was very uneasy in just reading the headline because I have great respect for Roberts as a pastor and theologian. But I must say, I was encouraged by Roberts uncompromising Biblical stance on his own very real battle of which he goes into very personal detail. Be sure to read the full interview by Julian Hardyman at the link below.

From davidould.net”

“In a tremendously brave move Vaughan Roberts, rector of St Ebbe’s, Oxford, and a prominent leader amongst English evangelicals has announced that he experiences same-sex attraction and yet he remains celibate since this is the clear teaching of Scripture.

It’s helpful for background to understand that in the Church of England, in which Vaughan is an ordained minister, we have had increasing interventions by theological liberals over this issue, advocating for the acceptance of homosexuality in general and the blessing of same-sex relationships. Vaughan’s statement and interview ought to be read not least as a contribution to that debate.

Vaughan has issued the following press release,

In the preface to a new edition of my book “Battles Christians Face”, which features eights areas of struggle, including homosexuality, I write that, to a greater or lesser degree, I face them all myself. Close family and friends have known for a considerable time that I experience same sex attraction. None of the issues in the book define me. As a single man I am celibate, because I believe the Bible teaches that the right context for sex is only in marriage between a man and a woman.

My motivation for writing the preface and answering the questions in the interview in “Evangelicals Now” is pastoral. I believe there is value in a greater openness to talk about these issues in evangelical churches. I hope to encourage those who experience same sex attraction and yet believe that fulness of life is to be found in Christ and holding to his teaching. Singleness can be challenging at times, but I have many good friends, and a loving family, and I thank God for the blessings and opportunities it offers.”

Continue reading here: David Ould’s Blog Post

Full interview by Julian Hardyman here with more questions and answers

Book Recommendation – Convert: From Adam to Christ

I was recently given the opportunity to read a copy of the book “Convert: From Adam to Christ” by Pastor Emilio Ramos with the request that I post a review online at Amazon.com. After spending a weekend pouring through this text, I must highly recommend this book to anyone who is striving to understand just what it means to become a born again follower of Jesus Christ. Pastor Ramos does a wonderful job of explaining what it means to be a child of Adam, born into a life of sin and why we can never escape the grip of it on our own accord. Additionally, he takes the reader through the theology of what it means to be born again by the sovereign hand of God into Christ. Through all of this, Pastor Ramos continually reinforces everything he writes with sound and contextual citations from scripture.

What truly surprised me with this book, was how much time and effort Pastor Ramos put into explaining throughout the chapters of just what it means to be “in Christ.” This was not just a theological treatise on how a person gets saved, but what being saved means in the life of a Christian. Not only does he address how we enter the new life through a new birth by the hand of God, but he expounds upon the changed heart and mind of one who has been made into a new creation. He takes the Christian through the theology of our separation from the world, our mission while we still live in this world, our responsibility to the local church and our command from Christ to make disciples throughout the nations.

It is my sincere desire that every Christian take the time to pour through this book and really learn what it means to go from being a wretched, foul sinner in Adam, to being a redeemed and new creation in Christ.

BE STILL: CONTEMPLATIVE OR LISTENING PRAYER 7 PSALM 46:10

By Larry DeBruyn.

Bible Interpretation 101 teaches that every text without a context is pretext. Extracting Psalm 46:10 to be an endorsement of meditative-listening prayer is just such a pretext. Here’s why.

After reading Ephesians 1:15-23 (lectio divina, i.e. Latin for reading sacred things) at the Passion 2012 conference, and while standing on stage with the other keynote speakers beneath a giant screen reading Jesus, speak to me,
Beth Moore tells the audience:
Without any comment please, let’s pause and be still,
and ask Jesus to speak His word to us.
Held in Atlanta, GA, last January 1-3, at the Georgia Dome, and attended by over 42,000 college age youth, one can observe Lecrae (a converted rap and Hip Hop artist), Francis Chan, Louie Giglio and John Piper, along with thousands of youth, participating in the mystical practice of contemplative or “listening” prayer at Moore’s behest, and this despite the fact that Scripture provides no instruction or any illustration for engaging in such a “spiritual” activity.[1] 
“Be still, and know that I am God . . .” (Psalm 46:10)

Those promoting contemplative or “listening” prayer refer to this Scripture as a biblical endorsement for pursuing this spiritual discipline. As a precondition for experiencing Soul-to-soul communication from God, contemplative Christians advocate cultivating quietude for the purpose of creating a spiritual tabula rasa(i.e., Latin for blank slate) in which personal communication from God can be received. Influential Christian leaders and spiritual directors encourage listening prayer (praying without words) as a means to experience ”God’s guidance in everyday life.” At face value, Psalm 46 verse 10 appears to endorse this increasingly popular but ancient and mystical way to pray.

Read the rest of the article here.

It’s Not About the Government, It’s About the Gospel

Yes, this is going to be another article about how Christians should view their involvement in politics. But please, bear with me through this as I attempt to make a few points that I hope may cause you to stop and think a little harder on the issue. I will start off by saying I am not looking to cause you to think about who you should vote for, whether or not you can vote for a person in a theological cult, or whether you should even bother voting at all. It is my sincere hope that by the end of this article, you will have a slightly different perspective on this matter altogether.

The first point I want to make is this: I do not believe Christians are called to “rescue America.” Now before you drag me out into the square and put me in front of a firing squad, I want you to consider some things. In Romans chapter 13, Paul calls Christians to “…be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God,” (Romans 13:1 ESV). Note that Paul does not say that Christians are to rescue Rome by appointing Senators and getting laws passed that are in keeping with the Scriptures. He does not call for Christians to appeal to Caesar to make laws more favorable to religious liberties. Rather he calls Christians to obedience to the governing authorities appointed over them. Also note that Paul does not make a distinction as to whether the government is conservative or liberal, honest or corrupt. He only states that the governments have been established by God who is the one true authority.

And before you tell me that means all governments must therefore submit to biblical principles, I must remind you that it was God who raised up Pharaoh in Egypt for the express purpose of oppressing the Jews so that He would be glorified when He delivered them from Pharaoh’s hand. God raises up good and bad governments for His express purposes. Christians are not called to overturn bad governments, but to obey them. We are called to do this so, “…that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” (1 Peter 2:15, 16 ESV). In other words, when the world sees us obedient to government, it is a testimony to our faith in God. Our obedience indicates our willingness to be obedient to the ultimate authority, God alone.

Now, there are several of you right now who are probably pretty irritated with me. “So you’re saying that we should let the the wicked, sinful government roll right over us, is that it??” Not in the least. I do believe that we are given liberty to stand up for ourselves within the government, which is my second point. In Acts chapter 16, Paul and Silas are wrongly arrested and beaten by the magistrates in Phillipi. When they were to be released the next day, Paul announces that he and Silas are Roman citizens and called upon the magistrates to be held accountable for their actions. Additionally, Paul appeals to have his case heard by Caesar in Acts 25 after false charges are brought against him.

I believe this is clearly a biblical principle which demonstrates that Christians can, and should, work within the legal confines of the government for the express purpose of defending one’s self against unjust government intrusion and false arrests. However, what I do not believe is that is sets a precedent that Christians are called to rescue a broken system and set it right by forcing it to comply to biblical principles. In both cases, Paul legally defended himself against injustice. What he did not do was call upon the Christians to organize the ousting of unjust magistrates or make mass appeals to Caesar to change the judicial system so that false charges could not be made. What I mean is that Christians have the liberty to act within the laws of government to defend themselves against injustice and persecution. But we are not necessarily called to rescue an unjust system. Does that mean I am advocating we should never, ever fight to establish godly laws. No, not at all! But I am saying that the proper biblical, perspective must be maintained. Government is established by God for our benefit, to protect its citizens and punish evildoers. It is not the means by which God will establish His kingdom. That being the case, Christians should not be seeking to win government to God as the sole means of establishing God’s rule on Earth. In fact, there is really but one means by which God has commanded that His kingdom would be established, which brings me to third and final point.

If Christians are called to obey governments and to act within a certain context when it comes to injustice of laws, or the application thereof, then just what are we supposed to do about the mess our country is in? “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’” (Mark 16:15 ESV) That is our command from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To preach the gospel. Why? “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16 ESV) When the gospel is preached, people get saved. When people get saved, the Holy Spirit makes them a new creation (see 2 Corinthians 5:17). People who are new creations, who are led by the Spirit, who desire to obey the commands of God willingly because they love their Savior, do not have to be convinced to change laws and appoint representatives that are in line with biblical truths. They do so of their own accord.

Stop and think about this. Just how much time, energy and effort have Christians poured into the political system in the last several decades? Every election cycle, we are inundated with calls for churches to mobilize and get into the voting booth. Organizations pour countless man hours into tracking voting records, courting candidates and sending out mailers with recommendations on who to vote for. In the end, we end up with two candidates that just about everyone agrees are terrible, but nevertheless, we are encouraged, guilted and practically ordered to vote for the “lesser evil” because at least he’s not as bad as the other guy. And even when the “right guy” wins, or the right measure is voted into law, it doesn’t take long before all that hard work is reversed when the next guy takes office, or when the right lawsuit gets filed. For all our victories, we are left with very little to celebrate. I’m not advocating that Christians not vote, don’t get me wrong. I believe we are blessed with an amazing privilege to have a voice in our government, but like I said before, it has to be in the right context.

Imagine something different now. Imagine if every single, truly born again Christian got as excited and driven about the souls of those in Washington, in their legislatures, in their city councils, or even about their neighbors, as they do about who is going to get elected. Imagine if we spent nearly the amount of time praying, studying and sharing the gospel with them as we do watching news reports, complaining to our co-workers about candidates and attending political rallies. Just imagine if the souls of those who were going to Hell got us as incensed as the increase in our taxes, or the next failed social program being announced. What if, instead of calling our representatives to complain or demand action on an issue, we took the time to care about their eternal destiny and shared the gospel with them. If the amount of time, effort and energy we spent fighting political battles was spent in preaching the gospel to a lost and dying world, what might the end result look like? I’m not advocating that we preach the gospel to get a better country. I am saying that rather than caring more about rescuing the country, we should care more about rescuing souls. And if souls are rescued and captured for Jesus Christ, then all these other issues might not be as big a deal as there are now.

Christians, we are not a political party, though we may align ourselves with one when we get into the voting booth. We were once wretched, vile, God hating sinners who God condescended to save through the perfect life and sacrificial death of His Son. We were the ones who lied, cheated, stole, lusted, hated and blasphemed. We were the ones who deserved nothing but the fires of Hell. We deserved no good thing, especially not a good government and a free society. Yet, God, in His mercy, sent His Son to take on human flesh, to live a perfect life free from sin, to die a bloody death on the cross in our place, and to be risen again to give us a promise of eternal life. He did this so that our old man might be crucified and that we might be created as a new life. He granted that through repentance, the turning away from our sins, and through faith in the Savior alone we might be granted eternal life with Him. What on earth could possibly convince us that “rescuing America” has more value than that? What could possess us to believe that political maneuverings and machinations could do more for the lives of our countrymen than the preaching of the gospel? It simply boggles the mind that we could ever want to do more in the realm of politics than in the proclamation of the greatest news ever told.

Election time is coming and I encourage you to vote. It is your right as a citizen and a liberty as a Christian. But let’s keep it in perspective. Let’s stop pouring so much energy into a world system that can only produce temporal results and let us be driven to share the gospel which has eternal results.

Sermon of the Week – Crisis of Faith and the Goodness of God by Brian Borgman

Crisis of Faith and the Goodness of God – Part 1 of 4

by Pastor Brian Borgman.

If we haven’t had a Crisis of Faith yet in our walk with God, we will someday. Pastor Brian addresses the heartache and struggles in this encouraging and edifying 4 part sermon series from Psalm 73. Enjoy Part 1 of 4 as this week’s Sermon of the Week.

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Pastor Brian’s Church: Grace Nevada