Bethel Baptist Church ~ El Sobrante, CA

Understanding the Will of God

by admin ~ October 20th, 2018

There are three concepts of the will of God that everyone needs to consider. The first is the sovereign will of God. God allows or causes everything, so everything that occurs is His sovereign will. He could have stopped it, so He had some purpose for allowing it to continue, or He caused it. This all relates to His ultimate plan, accomplishing that because He is sovereign. A second concept is the moral will of God, which is essentially what God wants from men as He communicated in His Word, the Bible. God wants men to know, understand, and obey scripture. That is His will, which is the moral will. Someone is out of the will of God, when he doesn’t submit to scripture, its principles or its precepts, in deed, word, attitude, or motive. This one is mainly what we talk about when we say, “the will of God.” In the model prayer, when we pray that God’s will would be done on earth like it is in heaven, we are talking about God’s moral will. When 2 Peter 3:9 says that God is not willing that anyone should perish, that is His moral will. The last concept is the individual will of God, which is what God desires for individuals. This is who you’re going to marry, where perhaps go to college, which job to get, where you’re going to live. This is the application of biblical principles and Christian liberty. God gives parameters in His Word for choices that we make. A good way to view this is, wisdom. We pray for wisdom, which is the right application of knowledge, making the best decisions for our individual lives. We might have liberty to do something, but we make a better choice than that.

A Protective Bubble

by admin ~ October 13th, 2018

Preparing for a Nazi invasion of England, families built bomb shelters to live through the attack. During the Cold War, people in the United States built underground bunkers to survive a nuclear bomb. True Christians, genuine believers, live in a protective bubble of God’s grace, accepted in the Beloved. With the flurry of all that is around us today, everything is safe in Jesus Christ. We have a shelter, we have our bunker. We have a secure position. No one can pluck us out of the hand of either the Father or the Son. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. There is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. We are kept by the power of God. With whatever happens around us, we have our way through to the other side. He has gone to prepare a place for us and He will come again and receive us unto Himself. In a practical way, none of our labor is in vain in the Lord. That doesn’t mean that we will see a lot of people saved through our effort or our preaching, but God’s purpose will be fulfilled with whatever happens. We also know that we will conform to the image of the Son of God. We know that when we see Him we will be like Him, but even before that He will be conformed by God into Jesus Christ until that work is consummated in our ultimate glorification. We may not see earthly success, but it is temporal anyway and will be forgotten. The key to joy is to live in the realm or reality of the protective bubble. We think about it, live like it is true, and we have joy. We have joy knowing that God has guaranteed our future.

Roles God Designed

by admin ~ October 6th, 2018

The roles of men and women are a very basic in scripture. God created male and female, He created them different, they have different designs, and He detailed for them distinct roles all over scripture. When men and women operate outside of God’s created order and design and distinctions, many things go awry. Problems manifest themselves everywhere, very serious ones, that result in death and destruction. When people do not fulfill those roles, they are disobeying God. Continuous disobedience of God, sin, is a manifestation of unbelief. I’m saying that this relates to this life and this world, but also to eternity. Not fulfilling God-given roles reveals a rebellious heart against God. That should not be devalued. It is vital. If God’s creation and these roles are not recognized and then followed, society breaks down. The biggest reason the roles are perverted is the curse of sin. The sinful nature results in conflict, primarily seen in the man abdicating his role and the woman wanting the man’s role. A woman under the curse of sin desires headship. She’s not designed for it. God doesn’t intend it, but she still wants it. It’s not natural to her, but she will still try to have it or get it. She’s not meant to lead men, but she still fights for it in a way that she can. Men then cooperate with it, sometimes as a means, they think, of getting favor with women. Men do not want to be disliked by women. They want a relationship with a woman. Very often today, men abdicate headship to take something from women they don’t think they can get without doing so.

Distraction

by admin ~ September 29th, 2018

I want us to consider the word “distraction.” Don’t be distracted as you do. You’ve perhaps heard the little phrase, “take your eye off the ball,” which is used in numerous sports that use a ball. Not much is at stake in a sport, if you take your eye off the ball, but it is about not being distracted. We found a little note, written by our daughter Julia for her friends, that had a list of important information, the first of which she numbered, stay focus. “Stay focus” relates to distraction. A large part of Satan’s plan is to use the world system for distraction. He keeps you distracted with temporal things, what are almost meaningless, turning them into more important things than eternal things. It is a kind of faithlessness, not believing what God says in His Word about what is important. Instead, we go according to our feelings or just whatever gets our attention. Not being distracted from the eternal must be a purposeful, determined disposition. That is a matter of faith. Do we believe God or not? Do we believe God’s Word of not? We’ve got to ask ourselves those questions. If we do believe God, then we choose not to be distracted. What are the distractions? Today there are more than ever, which explains why there is great apostasy in the world and growing in the United States. Churches are getting further and further from the point and purpose. Today it is television, social media, the internet, sports, recreation, and family. We could justify some of these, which make them more dangerous. Distraction could be idolatry, because the distraction becomes more important than God.

It’s Going to Be Hard

by admin ~ September 22nd, 2018

What good does it do to tell someone that something is going to be easy, when it’s going to be hard? I know before I came to California, I was given the impression it was going to be easy. I heard I would succeed and that people would be hungering for what I would give them. This was about the furthest from the truth. Some people are told something before they receive Christ to characterize what their life will be like after they receive Him. Churches then become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy, attempting to make the Christian life easy for everyone. Rather than stand for the truth and preach the gospel, churches compromise or water down the truth, so that people won’t have to stand for the truth, as well as turn preaching into inviting someone to a fun event that they might want to attend. When unsaved folks get to church, the church makes it as comfortable as possible and turns almost every aspect of worship into something that will be fun. Rather than give someone the wrong impression that being a Christian is easy, tell him the truth. Tell him it will be hard, but Christianity is the truth, so that God will give him what he needs to make his way through. Someone who decides about Christianity isn’t deciding about something easy. He’s deciding about something hard. Some of the lie that is told is enough of a lie that someone isn’t even receiving the truth of Christianity, the message falling short of a saving gospel. The gospel is good news, but it is still the truth, truth that will sustain someone into the future as he endures hardship.

Unity in the Church

by admin ~ September 15th, 2018

Unity in the church has been perverted in definition to allow for tolerance of false doctrine and practice. Unity has become getting along, despite differences. This is not the unity in scripture. They had the same doctrine and practice and not just “major doctrines.” The standard was scripture, everything God said. With this new unity, the false one, the better person, the elevated person, is the person who tolerates the most error. He sees something wrong and he embraces it. Not disagreeing or agreeing to disagree is the highest value in the false new way. This is not biblical unity, but it is what men are left with, and it has become accepted in churches.

I understand that not everyone will agree on everything all the time. However, that is the standard, and anything less should be rejected. For certain, where the Bible doesn’t speak either explicitly or implicitly, there is liberty. Discord shouldn’t come from areas where someone has liberty. However, where God speaks, there needs to be same mind. The Bible itself is plain. It can be understood, even by children. Acceptance of anything less than the truth is not in accordance with God. He is the standard. Not only has He told us what He wants to believe and do, but He’s given us the grace and strength to do it. Let us rather help one another and bring each together according to the Word of God. This is the sanctification that Jesus prayed for in John 17. Jesus Himself was the perfect example by always submitting to the Father and then praying for us to be sanctified in the same way.

Tension in Scripture

by admin ~ September 8th, 2018

Sometimes I talk about tension in scripture. It isn’t tension to God, only for us. We don’t know everything like God does. It complements the idea of the paradox, an example being, when I am weak, then am I strong, or he that humbles himself shall be exalted but he that exalts himself shall be abased. The tension of which I’m thinking is represented by two theological words: quietism and pietism. I’m going to explain them rather than define them. Quietism is a dependence on God that rests in Him. You can’t save anyone, so you have to wait for their response. You can’t cause salvation to happen. Many spiritual accomplishments are like this. It is God who is doing the work. So why should we do anything? What we do is under the category of pietism. God is going to save who He is going to save, but we need to be a part of the process, that is, evangelism. We should be preaching the gospel. Another tension is between God’s transcendence and His condescension. This shows up in how we operate or function in a church service. We center on God, so we want to be sober and solemn, as scripture prescribes. At the same time, we want to show friendliness and kindness, show that we really do care. We try to relate with people some in a service, even though the main point of the time together is to honor God. The tenor of the service should be in line with His nature. At the same time, I will be lighthearted with the church in a way to relate. The relationship aspect is God’s condescension. His sacredness and separateness is His transcendence.

Doing What He Said

by admin ~ September 2nd, 2018

“He didn’t do what I said.” There are various degrees of problem with someone not doing what someone said. The biggest problem is if this is God saying this. Disobedience to what God said is as serious as any of the degrees of problem. I think it isn’t taken as seriously as other ones, but it is the worst of all. It means you are disobeying scripture. Next, it’s a child, and “I” is a parent, mother or father. We would first want to assume that a parent is telling his child something that is scriptural. If he didn’t do an unscriptural command or request, this is different. If it is a child still at home, this is serious. If it is one outside of the home, it is still serious, but not quite as serious. Are your children doing what you tell them? At home, it must occur. Outside of the home, it should be expected, but it won’t have the same repercussions as if he were still in the home, but it is still serious. If this is an employer speaking about his employee, this is serious, again as long as it is a scriptural. When the boss says to do something, the employee should do it. I would understand, however, if what the boss said could be cataclysmic for the company, because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Sometimes decisions are made in the hierarchy of authority, that are best for the whole company, but not best for a particular authority. Let’s say this is a wife, making this statement. Does a husband have to do what his wife says? No. He can do it, but he isn’t required to do it. He’s not under her authority. He might still do it, because this is a loving thing to do.

Free Speech and Christianity in the U. S.

by admin ~ August 24th, 2018

The first amendment of the Constitution of the United States, which is also the first of what is called, “the Bill of Rights,” limits the power of the government by guaranteeing individuals, several freedoms, including the freedom of speech. The Supreme Court of United States has interpreted this right in several rulings, giving precedent to its meaning. For instance, in our country we can’t yell “fire” in a crowded building. Defamation, libel and slander, are not protected by that right. It’s similar to Christian liberty in that way, because liberty doesn’t give us freedom to sin among several other actions. We seem to be losing the freedom of speech. Overall, we have the freedom, but more and more speech is being categorized as “hate speech,” some of which overlaps with actual biblical speech, preaching against certain sins. You could be prosecuted for hate speech, because it is said to be actually injurious to people. If I tried to “convert” a “homosexual,” that could be interpreted as causing personal harm, as if I had assualted him. If I tweeted opposition to the homosexual actions as sin, that could be said to be hate speech that is deserving of censor. A social network company, which would allow for all sorts of offensive kind of speech and behavior, might censor Christian speech that it deems “hate speech.” Christian speech, even said in a loving way, would be prohibited. I think we have lost these rights. What does this mean? We are not required to to social network. We can offer the gospel still to homosexuals, but it is limiting biblical speech.

Witnesses

by admin ~ August 18th, 2018

I went to a website to see rules for witnesses, since we are witnesses. Not all of them apply to witnessing for the Lord, such as “answer the question,” because we’re not answering questions as witnesses for Christ. First, tell the truth. We can tell the truth and we should. We need to know the truth, but tell it, which leads to the second rule. Do not guess. If you do not know something or cannot recall a fact, “I do not recall” is the correct answer. Third, be only as specific as your memory allows. Be certain it is clear to everyone that you are paraphrasing, when you are paraphrasing. Be certain it is clear to everyone that you are quoting, when you are quoting. Four, if you are interrupted, let the person who interrupted you finish the interruption. Firmly but courteously state that you have not finished your answer to the previous question. Then, finish your answer to the previous question. Five, never express anger. Overall, take your solemn oath to testify to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth seriously. Six, think before you speak. Wait five full seconds before you begin. It also gives you time to think about your answer. Seven, if there is an objection, listen to it very carefully. You only know what you have seen or heard. Eight, do not testify about what you think or feel, unless you are specifically asked “what you thought” or “how you felt.” These are all rules. There were more, but these are some of what are expected for a witness in a court of all. If we are going to witness, we have similar responsibilities.