Well, not bipolar, in the psychology sense, but in the sense of what is presented up front. Today, there was a speaker in for the vacationing pastor. The speaker shared a sermon basically on the definition of the gospel. I believe he was spot on with his sermon. He used Ephesians 2:1-10.
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience- among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
He stated his desire was to clearly tell what the gospel is. He then spoke first of our depravity, our sin before we came to salvation. Next spoke of the gift of salvation, and that God gives it through faith in Christ, and not at all of works. He then explained that our service beyond this is not works for salvation, but works that are also a gift of God to us. We are given works but we desire to do them once saved. However, we still have our sin nature, and we still have to deal with this. The good news, then, comes after the bad news. The bad news is before salvation we are sinners following the course of the world, following Satan, and following after our own fleshly desires. In contrast to our sin nature, to our selfishness, there is a “but” which shows our vast difference to God. But God, “being rich in mercy” and because of the “great love” for us even though we were dead in our sin…made us alive in Christ. This contrast, this salvation from our death and our depth in sin is the gospel. We are not saved by anything we do. He hammered this point home though he speaks softly. It was wonderful to hear, and he commented a couple of times that even long time Christians need to be reminded of the gospel. In fact, he reminds himself daily. Cannot remember the verse he quoted, it was in Romans…but he says he reminds himself daily.
This man is not a preacher, but he is a professor at a local college. He is a serious Christian. He left our former church for issues such as someone on the board publishing attacks on Christians who believe in the literal 7 days of creation…and because of Rob Bell influence in the youth side of church. He fought hard for a few years, was a young elder (ironic, isn’t it). He is a quiet, gentle man, but is also willing to take a stand. He and his family had to leave our former church. Since the little church plant has very few people it seems there is not always another pastor available so they asked him to speak. He spoke well.
The worship leader, music leader, whatever he is called, really bothered me though today. He did the usual set of songs, some seemed right on, others I could not sing, had to evaluate them a bit more. In the middle of the “set” he suddenly said, “let’s just have silence for a bit.” What? Silence. I just whispered to my husband, “why?” My 8 year old son nervously laughed. I don’t get this silence for no reason garbage. Sure, it’s not going to reach out and make me into a meditating (in the eastern way) person. Still, I believe the introduction of silence with no explaination is inappropriate. I have to wonder if this is conditioning for contemplative. Actually, I don’t wonder much at all, I believe it is conditioning for that. This has happened at this church before. This is one of the two we are considering. I am trusting God to show us where to go, and my husband really likes this church because of the pastor and the couple who we basically “followed” to this church.
More questions have to be answered.
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