Brian Allen

Spiritual Discipline: Transformation




Spiritual Discipline: Transformation

Today’s message focuses on killing sin and putting on Christ. In it we will look at the spiritual discipline of taking off the old man and putting on the new man:

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!  - assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:17-24

Paul ties this passage to the one prior that used the word “walk.” Note verses 1 and 17:

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called,

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.

As we move though this chapter, Paul links today’s subject with the purpose of gifts in the first 16 verses. So, Paul wants us to walk worthy of our calling, and he does not want us to walk like a Gentile. The biggest obstacle to using our gifts in the body is sin. Since every spiritual gift given to the church is packaged inside a sinner, the topic this morning is relevant to everyone who desires to use the gift(s) God has given them.

Spiritual Disciplines: Using Your Gifts




Spiritual Disciplines: Using Your Gifts

Last week Karl challenged us to be consistent students of the Word and to be diligent before God as we discipline ourselves in the work of our sanctification – the process of becoming like Christ. Today I would like to build on the foundation Karl laid, looking at the fourth chapter of Ephesians to discuss the argument Paul makes for being worthy of your calling in Christ.

I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.  Ephesians 4:1-16

Paul states God’s purpose for gifts in verse 13, then restates it in 14 and restates it again in verses 15 and 16.

1.       Positive: v13 - until all of us attain the unity of the faith

2.      Negative: v14 - until all of us are no longer undisciplined children following every new doctrine or scheme

3.       Positive: v15-16 - until all of us respond like Christ, building up the body until everything works as it should

This We Believe: The Church and The Ordinances




This We Believe: The Church and The Ordinances

Today we continue our overview of doctrine with the topic of the church and its ordinances.  When it comes to these doctrines, we are different than many denominations. There are some who don’t believe that the rite of baptism is important and don’t practice it and others believe who baptism is required for salvation. Still others agree with us that baptism is symbolic of what Christ has done, but their mode is different (sprinkle water vs immersion).

This We Believe: Humanity And Atonement




This We Believe: Humanity And Atonement

We believe humans were created by God in His own image as perfect, holy, and upright, able to keep God’s law, yet liable to fall. As the representative of the human race, Adam freely chose to disobey God, thereby plunging humanity into the death of sin, thus all men are now sinners by nature and practice, deserving eternal condemnation and unable to rescue themselves apart from God’s free and sovereign grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. We believe God created humans as male and female and ordained marriage to be a lifelong covenant between one man and one woman. Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

 

It is a very good thing that God created us after His image; it would seem that God places a great deal of importance on us because He created us after His likeness. He created us in a manner that is different than that of animals and that of the angels. While we don’t have a scriptural definition of what God means when He says that He created man in His image, there are some things that we can point out as possibilities

Living as the Church: End Times Error



Living as the Church: End Times Error

If a person has the wrong view of history, they will invariably have an incorrect world view.  For instance, if you believe that we are all the product of evolution, completely apart from God’s creative design, you will have a different moral compass than a person who believes that God has fearfully and wonderfully created us for a specific purpose.  One person could view human history as an endless cycle of repeating events that are summed up in what we call the rise and fall of world empires; another person may view the history of man as random events with no meaning and headed towards oblivion.  You likely know someone who views the world this way; where all events are pointless and have no meaningful consequences.

Without belaboring the point, most of us can see how our view of the past will have an impact on how we make decisions and live our life.  An incorrect view will lead to incorrect decisions and a wasted life.  The way we view the past extends to and colors our view of the future.  A person who believes all past events are random will extend randomness and meaninglessness to all future events.  In their view, the life of a fly would have as much meaning as that of a person.  On the other hand, a person who sees the past as God revealing Himself through historical events will likely understand that God is a God of Judgement, Mercy, and Grace and will know that future events will be handled in a way consistent with God’s attributes.  Everything that you learn about God from history as presented in the Bible can (and should) be applied to current events as well as future events.

FAITH: The Perfect Response to Grace

Faith: The Perfect Response to Grace sermon notes

Faith: The Perfect Response To Grace

Passage: Ephesians 2:8-9

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Brian Allen

 

Ephesians 2:8-9 is a great summary statement of how salvation works. Grace through faith. It is not the result of works, because if it was, we would boast. Before Paul gets to this summary statement, he has a lot to say about salvation.

Ephesians 1:3-2:7 presents the context of Paul's summary statements about salvation by grace through faith in Ephesians 2:8-9. The full sermon notes provided above will provide you with all of this background information, as will listening to the video or audio version above.

Scripture is filled with examples of faith being the perfect response to grace. One of those examples is Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11). We were dead, but God… We were slaves to Satan, but God… We followed our own passions, but God…. Because of God’s great love, He made us alive together with Christ. He does all the work. He raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in heavenly places. He has the access required! So that he might show His immeasurable grace towards us. It is all about His plan, His love, His grace.

And now we are back to Paul’s summary statement: 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. (Eph. 2:8-9) Grace is God showing up at Lazarus’ tomb. Faith is Lazarus believing Jesus and making his way out.

We have many examples of faith and only a short time, so I have to be selective. Hopefully, the ones chosen are of help to you. One example is from John 4, where Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman at the well. In this event, grace is Jesus coming to a well and speaking to the Samaritan woman. Faith is the woman believing that Jesus was the Messiah and telling her friends.

Today, grace is God providing you with a speaker who is declaring that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the living God. Today, faith is believing that Jesus has paid the price for you. All you need to do is put your faith in him.

Next week, many of us will be the provision of grace to children and families that attend VBS. Present Jesus in the best way possible.

Demonstrate His love for people around you and speak of Jesus! Faith may be the result of our efforts! Be praying that we are conduits of God’s grace in all of our endeavors and that faith is the result.

Living as the Church: Living Worthy of God

Living Worthy of God full sermon notes

Living Worthy of God

1 Thessalonians 2:17-3:13

April 8, 2018

Brian Allen (Holland); Tom Wright (Hamilton)

Sermon notes from Holland

 

We have been in 1 Thessalonians for several weeks now, and we’ve learned a few things about the church of Thessalonica. 

If we were to contrast the reputation of the church in Thessalonica to that of us, at Calvary Baptist Church, how would we stack up? We are likely the only representation that many people have of Calvary. In fact, churches don’t have reputations, people do. If we want to change the way people think about Calvary, each of us will need to change our individual reputations (consider Galatians 5:16-25).

The reality is, Calvary, that we are in a constant battle of removing those things that are holding us back and putting on those things that Paul refers to as the fruit of the Spirit. But, this reality doesn’t mean we should be satisfied or comfortable with our current status.

Remember back to 1 Thessalonians 1:3 when Paul mentions before God their “work of faith?” Believing that God will supply all the things in life we need falls into this category. It requires a great deal of faith to let God take care of our earthly needs as we spend time and resources on others.  It is a statement of faith when we put money in the Compassionate Care Fund, or in the Global Outreach fund, or the Haggai Project, or give to the overall church ministry via our general fund. So, where is your focus?

When there is community life energized by the passion of pursuing God, resulting in the passionate pursuit of others for Christ, one of the “side effects” is a deep bond of love for others with the same passions. The Thessalonian church’s passion was evident:

For you received the word in much affliction with the joy of the Holy Spirit so that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia.  For not only has the word of the Lord sounded forth from you in Macedonia and Achaia, but your faith in God has gone forth everywhere so that we need not say anything. - 1 Thessalonians 1:6-8

Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. - Matthew 6:21

When we invest in the kingdom, our heart will naturally be drawn toward those that have a similar passion. With whom do you spend time? Are you living with a focus that reflects a passion for God’s word?

Here are some indicators we can use to gauge the leaning of our hearts:

  1. What are you drawn to in your free time?
  2. What does it take to get you to miss church?
  3. Are you active in Equipping U?
  4. Compare your church giving to what you spend on your hobbies.
  5. Are your close friends ministry minded?

Besides that natural tendency to invest our time and resources into the things we love, there is a supernatural component to loving the people of God.

So, Calvary, are we like the Thessalonians, just needing to increase our love for one another? Are we like the church in Laodicea, lukewarm, not hot and not cold? Are we self-assured and needing nothing? Are we like the Corinthians who were acting like infants in Christ with obvious jealousy and strife within the ministry.

In a congregation of this size, it’s likely we are a mixture of all of these. Those of us who are leading ministries should set the tone. Let’s strive to be like Paul’s team as outlined in chapter 2; let’s be bold to declare the gospel of God regardless of circumstances. 

The point is this, if we are leaders in the body of Christ, we should be in love with Jesus and pointing everyone in our circles to love Him, too. Note that last sentence said “if we are leaders.” Everyone is leading somebody.

If you are 8, there are 6 year olds looking up to you. If you are 16, you have 12 year olds wishing they were you. If God has called you into His kingdom, then He has gifted you for ministry; therefore, you should endeavor to walk worthy of Him who has called you.

If we are serious about passionately pursuing Christ, then something dramatic will happen. We will love the study of God’s word, right? I am calling you out. This is called an exhortation.

Every one of you should be here at 9:00 am next Sunday for one of these opportunities:

  1. Discovering the God of Second Chances – taught by Shannon Overbeek
  2. Fatal Distractions: Overcoming Destructive Temptations – taught next week by Jon Whitmer
  3. Toward Redeeming Adverse Childhood Experiences: TRACE for men – taught by Joyce DeRidder
  4. FREEDOM: A Study in Galatians – taught by Jim Visser
  5. II Corinthians (JOY class) – taught next week by Brad Arnold

Be here to exhort and encourage others grow in their walk with Jesus. Let us be known for passionately pursuing Christ by falling in love with His Word!