Orwell Bible Church

Blog

Ministry In The End Times–2 Timothy 4:1-5

Pastor Greenfield preached this message Sunday morning, February 18, 2007

The Bible has a lot to say about the end times, but it can be possible to wonder, “Well, that’s great, but what does that mean for us now?” Christians and churches should learn from Scripture what God wants and expects of them in these times, especially what he expects of the man who feeds, leads, and protects the flock—the pastor. God’s Word provides pastors with four important truths that give guidance on how they must minister in these last days.

A Pastor Will Answer For His Ministry, 4:1

Paul is addressing Timothy for the last time, and for that reason these words have special significance. Timothy receives a serious call by the words “I solemnly charge you.” What Paul tells Timothy isn’t merely a good idea or nice suggestion—this is a momentous, somber charge. Pastors today need to see the seriousness of their calling and reflect that in their fulfillment of it. This isn’t a matter of fun and games.

This serious call is made in the presence of a solemn court, made up of “God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead.” The preacher’s life is continually under the gaze of God and Christ—24 hours a day, seven days a week—not just for a few hours on Sundays and mid-week meetings. The day will come when pastors will stand before Jesus Christ and give an account for how they have fed, lead, and protected the flock entrusted to their charge.

Paul gives this serious call before a solemn court in light of Christ’s sure coming, “by His appearing and His kingdom.” Jesus is coming, and when he does, the truth Timothy must proclaim will be clearly seen and false teaching will be exposed for what it really is. Jesus will reign, and when he does, believers will faithfully serve him. These are definite, future realities that have significant, practical importance now! They demand that God’s work be done God’s way until Christ returns.

Since a pastor will answer to the Lord Jesus Christ, he had better do what is expected of him! What does Christ expect?

A Pastor Must Preach the Word, 4:2

Here Paul gives four essential aspects of the ministry Timothy and today’s pastor must fulfill in these last days. First, he must preach the Word. The activity is clear—preach, proclaim, herald. It is not the pastor’s place to harmonize God’s Word with culture or science, to philosophize, or debate. He must preach the Word—all of it, not just pick out some things and ignore others. This is what Jesus wants for his church, and this is what the church needs!

Second, today’s pastor in the last days must always preach the Word—“be ready in season and out of season.” His ministry of the Word is not to be conducted by taking polls to find out whether people are ready to hear the Word or what they want to hear. It doesn’t matter if the times are “good” or “bad”—God’s message must be proclaimed! The call is not to “impact the culture for Christ” or to “bring in the kingdom.” The call is to preach the Word.

Third, pastors must preach to save souls—“reprove, rebuke, exhort.” Earlier Paul told Timothy “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching; persevere in these things, for as you do this you will ensure salvation both for yourself and for those who hear you” (1 Tim 4:16). The salvation of people’s souls depends on the faithful ministry of the Word. To “reprove” is to point out sin. To “rebuke” is to tell people to stop sinning. To “exhort” is to urge people to live for the Lord. These essential activities of preaching are hard to do if the pastor only speaks in generalities or ‘positive’ themes. Preaching in the end times won’t seek to bring a stop to specific aspects of sinfulness but will focus on making the hearers feel good about themselves, to “live their best life now.” Such preaching will not save souls.

Fourth, pastors must preach with compassion and conviction—“with great patience and instruction.” When preaching the whole counsel of God, reproving, rebuking, and exhorting, pastors cannot lose their temper—they must reflect God’s attribute of patience and forbearance. The soil out of which true Christian living grows is doctrinal, theological, and biblical in content. Pastors are not told to merely encourage moral living; they must give the doctrinal foundation on which a truly Christian life can only be built.

A pastor has a solemn calling: always preach the whole counsel of God for the salvation of his hearers. While engaged in this ministry, he must remember Paul’s third truth to Timothy:

A Pastor Must Understand The Times, 4:3-4

There are three important facts the pastor needs to know. First, people will not want sound doctrine—“the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine.” This world is not going to get better; evil is going to increase! The fact that people will not want true doctrine does not give the pastor the right to give them what they want or change the message so it is acceptable to them. Pastors must continue to preach the Word!

Second, the pastor needs to understand that people will only hear what they want—“wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires.” Note where the blame lays—the hearers! Aaron made a golden calf because the Israelites demanded it (Exod 32:1). More often than not, people measure and evaluate a pastor by their own sinful feelings and desires. It should not be surprising that churches are formed on the basis of hip-hop music, beer, improving self-image, and thinking positively about oneself. That’s what people want!

Third, the pastor must know that people will reject God’s truth for lies—“they will turn away their ears from the truth and turn aside to myths.” They will actively reject God’s truth because their sin is reproved and rebuked. Refusing to listen to God’s truth, they will then invent a substitute that matches and supports their lifestyle.

By understanding the character of the times—that these last days will grow more difficult and sinful—a pastor must see the great need there is for preaching the Word of God in its fullness. The greater the darkness grows, the greater need there is for light. Pastors must not give people what they want; they must give them what they need—God’s Word!

There is one last truth a pastor in the last days must take to heart:

A Pastor Must Finish His Course, 4:5

The pastor in the end times must keep his head—“be sober in all things.” He must not be influenced by things that will divert and distract him from his holy calling of preaching the word. The pastor must not give up—“endure hardship.” The more evil these days grow (cf. 3:13) the stronger the current pastors must swim against. Pastors must win the lost to Christ—“do the work of an evangelist.” Sinners are saved through believing in Jesus Christ. How will they believe if they have not heard of Christ? How will they hear without a preacher? Pastors must finish the course—“fulfill your ministry.” They cannot go about their work in an uncaring manner. Pastors must throw themselves completely and fully into every aspect of their calling.

The kind of pastor a church needs in these end times is one who:

  • Recognizes the seriousness of his calling
  • Faithfully proclaims all of God’s Word
  • Does not bend to the times but faithfully ministers God’s Word in it
  • Devotes his life to doing God’s work God’s way

Why Christians Need Each Other

A Christian is a follower, a disciple of Jesus Christ. You become a Christian when you understand and accept as true these biblical truths: you have sinned against a holy God; the just penalty for your sin is eternal judgment in hell; there is absolutely nothing you can do to make things right between you and God; Jesus Christ, the God-man, lived a perfect life, died for your sins, and was raised from the dead; the only way you can be delivered, saved, from sin’s power and penalty is to turn from it completely and trust entirely in Who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross.

The moment you become a Christian, many wonderful and amazing things occur: you are united forever with Christ; you are declared righteous before God; you are placed into God’s family as an adopted son, gaining all the rights and privileges that come with that; and God begins a work in you of setting you apart from sin to Himself. Your relation to God is completely changed, and that for the better!

What about your relation to other Christians though? Do you need them? Do they need you? If you are a Christian, you do need other believers. God expects believers to grow in their faith and to do so by growing together in God’s Word. The growth and protection Christians need to experience occurs as believers assemble together as a local church—it won’t happen by individuals or families attempting to do it on their own. Christians and Christian families need each other to grow in their Christian faith.

This isn’t ultimately an issue of joining an organization as if it were a civic or social institution. This is an issue of your obedience to Christ and attitude toward Christ’s people. I’d like you to consider six reasons why you need the fellowship of other believers if you are one of Christ’s followers:

Believers Are Known As The Church

In the New Testament, Christians are always identified with other Christians. The images used to describe this essential relationship between Christians are a body and a family.

The Bible describes the believers in Rome as being “one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5). It describes every Christian in Corinth as being essentially connected to each other—“the body is not one member, but many. If the foot says, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,’ it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body…the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’” (1 Corinthians 12:14-15, 21).

Almost 250 times in the New Testament Christians are called “brother,” “sister,” or “brethren.” These Christians were from different cultures, backgrounds, and races. In a single church fellowship there would be men and women; poor and rich; slaves and masters; Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Yet they were “brothers,” “sisters,” and “brethren.” It didn’t matter what their status was in this world because they were related to each other in Jesus Christ: “you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26-28).

Christians associate with and are committed to each other simply because they are Christians! That’s what Christians do because that’s who they are—a body and a family.

Believers Assemble To Grow In Their Faith

Being a disciple involves following the teaching and example of Jesus Christ. Since Christ ascended into heaven, how are Christians to realize God’s plan for their life of being “conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29)? How is a believer to grow in his faith?

Right after Christ ascended into heaven believers were “continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Christ provided believers, the church, with pastors and teachers “for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).

Not only do believers assemble together to hear and learn from the preaching and teaching of God’s Word, they are actively involved in helping each other to grow in their faith—“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing” (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

Learning more and living more like Jesus Christ has an important effect: “As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming” (Ephesians 4:14). The result of growing stronger in one’s beliefs and Christian life is protection from wrong teaching and living. You will only be conformed to the image of Christ as God intended when you assemble with other believers and grow in God’s Word.

Believers Assemble To Obey Jesus Christ

Jesus gave believers special instructions before He ascended into heaven: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20). Read the book of Acts and you’ll see that as Christ’s commission was carried out it resulted in people being saved, baptized, and organized into local churches. Then these believers who assembled together carried out Christ’s commission by spreading the gospel in their region (1 Thessalonians 1:8).

Jesus also expects believers to remember His death and look forward to His return by observing the Lord’s Supper. In the New Testament, whenever the Lord’s Supper was observed it was when believers assembled together (Acts 2:42; 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

The New Testament teaches that obeying Jesus Christ’s orders was accomplished by Christians who had gathered together for that very purpose. This is how God expects His work to be done!

Believers Assemble To Worship The True God The Right Way

When the Bible speaks of believers worshiping they worship together (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians 14:24-25; James 2:2). This isn’t to say that you can’t worship God alone in your car—you can! Rather, almost all of the biblical references to believers’ worship are when they have assembled together for that very purpose.

Christian worship consists of believers’ joining together for the heartfelt magnification of God. Believers’ worship occurs when they gather together to hear the preaching and teaching of the Word (Acts 2:42; 2 Timothy 4:2-5); prayer (Acts 2:42); singing (Colossians 3:16); giving of finances to help believers and the cause of Christ (2 Corinthians 8-9; 3 John 7-8); and observing the Lord’s Supper together (Acts 2:42; 20:7).

Is it possible to heed these commands by yourself? If you read the passages, No! If there is a good group of Christians in your area who meet for these purposes, think about the fact that their worship of the true God is enhanced when more believers gather with them! You need other believers to worship the true God the right way, and they need you to worship with them!

Believers Assemble To Help And Be Helped By Each Other

What kind of needs do you have? Your needs are probably like many other believers. One of the neat things about Christ’s body (the assembly of believers, the church) is that it is designed to help and be helped by its members. Remember, Christians are described as a body and a family. If your body and family are functioning correctly, pain is felt and taken care of!

This same kind of care is also what God intends for a church—“God has so composed the body, giving more abundant honor to that member which lacked, so that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it” (1 Corinthians 12:24-26). If you read how Christians cared for one another in the New Testament, you’d find how they cared for each other’s physical needs (Acts 9:36, 39), financial needs (Acts 4:32-35), emotional needs (Romans 12:15), and spiritual needs (Ephesians 4:12).

The Lone Ranger was a resourceful, smart, and courageous lawman, but there were many times when he needed the help of a posse—and don’t forget about the many times Tonto came to his rescue! God’s plan is so wonderful that He has provided for every possible need we could have on this earth through His Word and His people, the church. You can’t be a “Lone Ranger Christian” because you need other believers’ help, and they need your help too!

Believers Assemble To Encourage Each Other To Continue In The Faith

The experience of people leaving or never joining a church is nothing new; it was present even in the New Testament! There were individuals then, as there are now, who really wanted nothing to do with a good church, who steered clear of other believers, who kept away and stayed away. Is that good? How can it be prevented?

God tells believers “let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:24-25). You can’t find a more clear and direct statement from God about believers’ need to assemble with other believers. There were people who said they were Christians but made forsaking the assembly of believers a habit, and God uses them as a negative example, something not to do. The positive side is that Christians assemble together to encourage each other to continue in the faith!

Before you read this pamphlet, were you of the opinion that you really didn’t see the importance of fellowshipping with other believers? Hopefully by now you do! Have you thought that you really didn’t have the time for that or felt that “church” isn’t really your thing? To believe either of these excuses shows either that you have some wrong priorities or that you’re really not a believer after all! “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

Christians associate with and are committed to each other because they love Christ and His people—their desire to be with other believers shows they are a believer. Committing yourself to regularly assembling with other believers is the real evidence of true love for Christ and His people. You will gain their help and encouragement to be faithful to Christ through the trials of life, and you will be able to encourage others as well.

If you profess to be one of Christ’s followers, you need other Christians and they need you! What fellowship of believers are you a part of

Download a PDF brochure of Why Christians Need Each Other

What We Believe About: The Church

We believe the body of Christ, the universal church, is made up of all believers in Christ (Col 1:18, 24). The church began on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-21, 38-47), will continue until the rapture (1 Thess 4:13-18), and is distinct from Israel (1 Cor 10:32). The church is the primary means through which God is working in this age (Eph 3:8-10; 1 Tim 3:15).

Members of Christ’s body are instructed to associate with one another in local churches (1 Cor 11:18-20; Heb 10:25). A local church is the visible expression of Christ’s body in any one place on earth (1 Cor 1:2, et al). It consists of true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 2:47; 5:14), who have been publicly immersed (Acts 2:41), share a common body of doctrine (Acts 2:42; Jude 3-4), and have an orderly walk (1 Cor 5:9-13; 2 Thess 3:6-14).

Local churches exist to glorify God (Eph 3:21) by winning the lost to Christ (Matt 28:19a; 1 Cor 9:14-23), building believers up in Christ (Matt 28:19b-20; Eph 4:11-16), and sending them out for Christ (Acts 13:1-3; 14:26). These purposes are fulfilled as the church meets regularly (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2) for worship, instruction, fellowship, ministry, and prayer (Acts 2:42, 47; Eph 4:11-16), as the gospel is spread (Acts 6:7; 8:4; 1 Pet 3:15) and new churches are established (Acts 14:23, 27; 20:17, 28; Gal 1:2; Phil 1:1; et al).

The local church is an autonomous (self-governing) body. It alone has the authority to observe and guard the ordinances (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 11:23-24), elect its own officers, leaders, and messengers (Acts 6:1-6; 14:23; 15:3; 1 Cor 16:3), ordain men to the ministry (Acts 13:1-3; 1 Tim 4:14), discipline its members (Matt 18:15-17; 2 Thess 3:6), settle its internal affairs (1 Cor 6:1-5), and determine its relationship to other religious groups (Acts 15).

The local church is congregationally governed and chooses biblically qualified men to serve in the offices of pastor (also called overseer and elder, Acts 20:17, 28; 1 Pet 5:1-2) and deacon (1 Tim 3:1-13). Pastors shepherd, oversee, and lead the congregation (Acts 20:28; Eph 4:11-12; 1 Tim 5:17; 1 Pet 5:1-3) and deacons help the congregation primarily in their material and temporal needs (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Tim 3:8-13).

The ordinances of the local church are baptism (immersion of believers, Acts 2:41; 8:38 ) and the Lord’s Supper (observing “close” communion, Acts 2:42; 20:7, 11). Every believer is to be baptized as a public portrayal and testimony of his identification with Christ (Matt 28:19). Every member is to observe the Lord’s Supper as a public remembrance of Christ’s death and anticipation of His imminent return, and they are to do so regularly, corporately, and meaningfully (1 Cor 11:17-34). No saving grace is present in or conferred through these ordinances.

Members of Christ’s Body are to be like their Head, Jesus Christ, Who has the preeminence in all things (Col 1:18). They are to demonstrate their love for God by loving one another (John 13:34-35; 1 John 3:14-16). Believers love by humbly giving preference to one another (Rom 12:10; Phil 2:1-8; 1 Pet 5:5), meeting one another’s needs (Acts 2:44-45; 1 Cor 12:26; 1 John 3:17-18), supporting those who go out for the sake of the Name (Titus 3:13-14; 3 John 5-8), and helping sister churches in their need (Acts 11:28-30; 2 Cor 8-9).

Members of Christ’s Body are also to be holy, separate from all that is sinful or morally unclean (Rom 12:1-2; Eph 1:4; 1 Pet 1:15-16). A local church maintains its purity and testimony through the discipline of unrepentant members (Matt 18:15-17; 2 Thess 3:6-15) and separation from organizations or individuals that reject the Christian faith (2 Cor 6:14-18; 2 Tim 2:19; 2 John 10-11) or disobey clear Scriptural teaching (2 Thess 3:6, 14).

What We Believe About: Salvation

We believe that God’s salvation of sinners wholly depends upon His grace through Jesus Christ our Lord (Acts 15:11; Rom 3:24; Eph 2:1-9), as there is not one who is righteous or seeks God (Rom 3:10-18; 5:8-10). Eternal life is a gift of God that cannot be earned in any way by man but is received by faith alone in Christ alone (Isa 64:6; Acts 18:27; Rom 3:28; 6:23; Eph 2:8-9).

Even though all sinners justly deserve nothing but eternal damnation, before the foundation of the world God was moved—solely by His grace, love, and according to His perfect will and good pleasure—to choose to save some to salvation in Jesus Christ (Acts 13:48; Rom 8:28-30; Eph 1:3-14; 2 Tim 1:9).

Through the gospel message the Holy Spirit convinced us of our sinful condition (John 16:8-11; Rom 8:30; Jas 1:18; 1 Pet 1:2-3, 23), the Father drew us to Himself (John 6:37, 39, 44, 65), and our hearts were opened to respond to the Word (Acts 16:14; 26:18; 2 Cor 4:6).

Having had our eyes opened to our rebellion against our holy God and truly seeing our hopeless and perilous condition before His infinite justice, we willingly turned from our wicked ways and trusted Jesus Christ alone for salvation (Acts 13:48; 20:21; 26:20; Phil 1:29; 1 Thess 1:9).

God forever united us with Christ in His body (1 Cor 12:13; Eph 2:16), justified or declared us righteous by the imputation of Christ’s perfect righteousness (Rom 5:1, 9, 19; 2 Cor 5:21; Phil 3:9), forgave all our sins (Acts 13:38-39; Eph 1:7; 4:32; Col 2:13) and brought us into His family (Gal 3:26; Eph 1:5).

God has separated us from the power of sin unto Himself (1 Cor 1:2; 6:11) and we must grow in holiness through the indwelling Spirit and our obedience to the Word (2 Cor 3:18; 7:1; Col 3:1-17; Heb 12:14; 1 Pet 1:14-17).

God preserves us secure in Christ (John 6:39; 10:27-30; Jude 1), enables us to persevere in Christ and never fall away (Phil 1:6; 2:12-13; Jude 21), thus assuring us of eternal life (2 Pet 1:3-11; 1 John 5:13) until we are forever with Him (Rom 8:30; Jude 24).

The gospel must be proclaimed, heard, and believed for anyone to be saved (Acts 11:14; Rom 10:13-17; 2 Tim 2:10). While the salvation of any sinner is due entirely to God’s grace (John 6:65; Acts 13:48), the damnation of every sinner is due entirely to their sin and unbelief (John 3:18; Acts 13:46).

Miraculous Gifts of the Spirit

There are a lot of different beliefs about what the Holy Spirit does and doesn’t do today. Many believe the Spirit is not God; they say He is just a force or one mode of existence God can take. Others who believe that the Holy Spirit is both God and a genuine person believe that all the miraculous things the Spirit did in New Testament times should be expected today, such as speaking in tongues, healings, and visions. Along the same line, there are many who say that the offices of apostle and prophet should not be restricted to just New Testament times, but they also are present today. How do we know who’s right? We need to look at what God has said in His Word, the Bible. Click here to learn what Orwell Bible Church believes about the Holy Spirit based upon Scripture.

In Scripture, a miracle is a supernatural act of God. They occurred sporadically, that is, they were not the norm in believers’ day-to-day lives. This is because miracles had definite purposes. Miracles were a special means by which God put His stamp of approval upon His messenger, showing without a doubt that the speaker was truly from God (Matt 11:2-6;  Acts 2:22); they were the means by which God gave His attestation and testimony that the messenger was from Him. Miracles also occurred in conjunction with a divine message (Acts 4:29-30) for the same purposes: by them God demonstrated and proved that the message was from Him (attestation, authentication, accreditation). Now that the Scriptures have been completed, they being all that is needed (sufficient) for living a life of godliness (2 Tim 3:15-17; 2 Pet 1:4), there is no longer any need for miracles to demonstrate and prove that the Bible is God’s written revelation to mankind.

In Scripture, the gift of tongues was the Spirit-given ability to a believer to speak immediately and fluently in a foreign language (Acts 2:4-6) he did not previously know. If what was spoken was not understood by the hearers it was to be interpreted, yet another Spirit-given ability (unlearned), so those believers who were present could benefit from what was said (1 Cor 14:27-28). Tongues were a sign to Israel that they were under the judgment of God, that He was turning to the Gentiles. It was the speaking in tongues that was the sign, not what was said. In the OT, for Jews to hear foreign tongues in their own homeland meant God’s judgment upon them. “In this light Isa 28:11-12 was warning of impending judgment. The ‘stammering lips and another tongue’ was God’s judicial sign of judgment upon them, because they hardened their hearts against the simple truths His prophet had spoken. It is in this light that we must understand Paul’s statement that tongues are a sign [1 Cor 14:22]. In Isaiah’s day God summoned Assyria to be His instrument of judgment. The sign of the Assyrian language in the streets and throughout the countryside heralded the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy. But in Paul’s day the Jews are again an apostate nation. They have rejected their Messiah. Now once again the sign of tongues appears and, to Jews familiar with the OT Scriptures, this meant only one thing—judgment” (Baxter, Charismatic Gift of Tongues, p. 44). John MacArthur states, “tongues were intended as a sign to unbelieving Israel. They signified that God had begun a new work that encompassed the Gentiles. The Lord would now speak to all nations in all languages. The barriers were down. And so the gift of languages symbolized not only the curse of God on a disobedient nation, but also the blessing of God on the whole world. Tongues were therefore a sign of transition between the Old and New Covenants. With the establishment of the church, a new day had dawned for the people of God. God would speak in all languages. But once the period of transition was past, the sign was no longer necessary” (Charismatic Chaos, p. 232).

An apostle was a man who was a witness of the resurrected Christ and chosen by Christ to spread the gospel, start and direct local churches, and be a channel of divine revelation. A prophet proclaimed God’s specially revealed message; some prophets were moved by God in the production of written revelation (2 Pet 1:20-21). The offices of apostle and prophet are no longer present today. These were given by Christ (Eph 4:11) for the establishment of the foundation of the church (Eph 2:20; 3:5). Once a foundation is laid, there is no longer any need to continue laying one.

What about the experiences one can have or emotions that one can feel? Neither emotions nor experiences must ever be the judge of the truthfulness of anything, whether a miracle allegedly occurred, some special gift or ability was given through the laying on of hands, or whether some unintelligible speech was from God. The truthfulness of anything is determined by objective, propositional statements. As God is truth, His Word is truth, and is therefore the standard by which all emotions and experiences must be measured as to their truthfulness (1 John 4:1-6). Dependence upon emotions and experiences can easily lead one astray from the truth of God’s Word (2 Thess 2:8-15—note how truth is set against experiences and emotions; Rev 13:14—Satan deceives [leads astray] people by great signs and wonders). Therefore, emotions and experiences must be interpreted and understood by what the Bible says. It is unbiblical to interpret and understand what the Bible says by one’s changing emotions and experiences.

Here is a pdf copy of this post: spiritual-gifts-today.pdf

Questions or comments? Please send Pastor Greenfield an email at thegreens@orwell.net

What We Believe About: The Holy Spirit

We believe in the eternal deity and personality of the Holy Spirit (2 Sam 23:2–3; Matt 28:19; 1 Cor 3:16; Heb 9:14). The Spirit convicts of sin through God’s Word (John 16:8–11; 2 Thess 2:13-14), imparts spiritual life in the new birth (John 3:3, 5; Titus 3:5), and is the earnest of salvation (Eph 1:13-14). In believers He permanently indwells (Rom 8:9; 1 Cor 6:19), controls through their obedience to the Word (Eph 5:18; Col 1:9-11), assures of salvation (Rom 8:14, 16), illumines their minds to welcome, apply, and obey the Bible (1 Cor 2:14-16), and intercedes for them (Rom 8:26). The fruit of the Spirit evidences His control of a believer’s life (Gal 5:22-23).

Since Pentecost the Holy Spirit incorporates every believer into the body of Christ (Acts 2:1-4; 11:15; 1 Cor 12:13) and distributes spiritual gifts to believers (Rom 12:6), God-given abilities for ministering to others in the local church (1 Cor 12:18; 1 Pet 4:10). Every believer receives one or more spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12:7) for edifying believers and serving in ministry (1 Cor 14:12; Eph 4:11-12). Certain of the gifts (e.g., tongues, prophecies, miracles, healing) were by their very nature miraculous, serving as signs or confirmations of the apostles and their message until the canon of Scripture (Acts 10:45-48; 2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:4) and the church’s foundation were completed (Eph 2:20). With these established, miraculous gifts are no longer needed and thus are not given (1 Cor 13:8-10).

How To Live, Colossians 3:17

This message was given by Pastor Greenfield Sunday morning, July 23, 2006.

Christians in the city of Colossae were wrongly being taught that they needed to keep a detailed code of rules in order to be right with God (read Colossians 2:8-23). The New Testament does not teach this though. Does this mean that believers have no authority over their lives? If you are a Christian, are you free to live however you want?

While the NT does not give a detailed code of rules necessary for being right with God, you are not free to live according to your own opinions, feelings, wishes, or desires (read Colossians 3:1-4). As a Christian Christ lives in you, and you must therefore live for Christ. In Colossians 3:17 the Lord tells us through the apostle Paul that every believer must live a Christ-honoring life. What’s involved in living a Christ-honoring life?

Living a Christ-Honoring Life Involves Everything You Say and Do

Language is a gift of God, one of the greatest evidences of being made in His image. It involves the ability to think about a subject, assert something about that subject, and then express that thought intelligibly and understandably to others.

I can say “Boy, that was smart” either as a complement or as an insult. The words are the same, but the meaning and intention are entirely different. God tells us that your communication must be honorable to Christ, whether done through talking, writing, or sign language!

Your actions are the result of considering what you would like to see happen. You can do a lot of things with a rubber-band—hold things together, play with it when bored, straighten teeth, put hair in a pony tail, or shoot it at someone! 🙂

When God tells us how we should live, the scope of His meaning involves every aspect of your life.

Living a Christ-Honoring Life is Consistent with Who Christ is

Every aspect of your communication and actions must be done “in the name of the Lord Jesus.” Name signifies everything that a person is known for and by. Jesus is the Savior of sinners and He is also Lord. For the Lord to save a sinner from sin, the sinner must repent of his sin and trust Jesus Christ alone as His Savior and Lord (read Romans 10:9-10). Jesus as Savior and Lord cannot be separated.

The Lord Jesus must be the one who controls every aspect of your life. Everything you communicate and accomplish must be done in a manner that reflects Christ’s character. In a word, your entire life must be a Christian life. Everything you communicate and do must scream out “I’m under the Lordship of Christ!!!”

Living a Christ-Honoring Life Gives God the Glory for Everything

The only Person through whom the one true God can legitimately be thanked is the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything you say and do must reflect and express your genuine, total, and complete gratitude through the only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to the one true and living God for saving your sinful soul.

Colossians 3:17 summarizes the result of Paul’s previous words (Colossians 3:10-16). The new life you have in Christ is seen in every aspect (3:10). The new “clothes” you “wear” are clearly evident (3:12). Longsuffering and love are visibly displayed (3:13-14). Christ’s peace and Word control your entire life (3:15-16).

What do your communication and actions say about who you’re living for? How are you living?

God Saves Believers to Serve Him and Minister to His People

Before our time of prayer on Wednesday evenings, we have been going through various New Testament passages that deal with every Christian’s ministry to the Lord and His people. Here is a summary of what we’ve learned:

God’s Plan And Expectation For All Christians

When God saves a sinner He adopts him into His family. This adoption gives the believer all the rights and privileges that come with being a member of God’s family. There are also responsibilities involved with being in God’s family! God saves and sanctifies Christians to zealously do good works by ministering to God’s people (Eph 2:10; 4:12; Titus 2:11-14).

Why We Minister For God

Why does God want every believer to minister to other believers? The primary reason is that God is glorified when every believer is ministering (1 Pet 4:11). Second, God’s intention for each local church involves every believer ministering to one another so the body is strengthened and unified (1 Cor 12:15-26; Eph 4:12-16; Heb 3:13; 1 Pet 4:10). Third, God wants every believer ministering as this helps them be faithful to the Lord and bear fruit for Him (Titus 3:14; Heb 6:11-12).

How We Are Prepared And Equipped To Minister?

Effective ministry that glorifies God, strengthens and unifies the local assembly, and helps believers’ own spiritual walk doesn’t just happen automatically. Each believer can minister to the body through a special gift or ability the Spirit gives at salvation (Rom 12:6; 1 Cor 12:7). As believers learn from and follow their pastors and teachers, they are equipped to minister effectively (Eph 4:12; Heb 13:7). Christians must let God’s Word control their lives in order to live a Christ-honoring life (Col 1:9-10) that is characterized by holiness (2 Tim 2:20-22).

How We Are To Minister

Believers must minister the way God wants them to minister to other members of His family. The only effective ministry is an obedient ministry. Believers’ obedient ministry to one another involves self-sacrifice (Phil 2:1-8; 1 John 3:16), conscious effort and faithful attention (Titus 3:8, 14), encouraging and building each other up (1 Thess 5:11), and prodding one another to love and service (Heb 10:24). Such ministry occurs through regularly assembling together (Heb 10:25) and tireless service (2 Thess 3:13; Gal 6:9-10).

The Life You Live

Who Are You?

Have you ever wondered why you’re alive, who God is, and what He expects of you?

Everything that exists in this universe was created by God Himself, not as the result of evolution. The Bible says that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

This means that even you were brought into existence by an eternal and perfect God. God made you so that every part of your life would be lived for Him, “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

The God who gave you life is the standard by which you are measured. He is holy, which means He is pure and without sin. He is also righteous—everything He does is right and good. He expects you, His creation, to also be holy and righteous in every part of your life.

What Are You Like?

Unfortunately, everyone has missed the mark God set for us, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Because we are all sinners we all deserve to die. Death is the judgment of sin, and death is separation.

Spiritual death is the separation that exists right now between you and God. Because of this, you will experience physical death, separation from this world. Eternal death is a never-ending punishment, an eternal separation from God in a terrible place called hell, “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8).

Sin creates a permanent stain you cannot remove; it enslaves you to do what it wants; it requires a payment that will take you an eternity in hell to pay; and it has reversed the relationship God made you to enjoy, causing you to now be God’s enemy.

What can you do to escape these consequences of your sin? There is absolutely nothing you can do to save yourself from sin’s awful consequences: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). Living a good life, being baptized, or going to church cannot repair this broken relationship and save you from sin.

How Can You Be Saved From Sin?

The only person who can save you is God, the one who created you and must also judge you for your sin. He loved you so much that He became a man—Jesus Christ.

He lived a perfect life on this earth, and died for you to pay the price for your sin. He died on the cross, was buried, and rose from the dead three days later. “For God so loved the world, that he gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

The only way you can be saved from sin’s consequences and have a new relationship with God is to turn away from your sin and trust Jesus Christ alone to save you.  

Turning away from sin requires a total change of mind and heart about your sinful ways. You must want nothing to do with sin because you recognize what it really is: rebellion against God.

To trust in Jesus Christ alone to save you involves understanding Who Christ is and what He has done for you. You must believe that you can do absolutely nothing to save yourself; that only Jesus can restore you to fellowship with God and rescue you from eternal death. It means that you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior—“if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9).

Will you turn from your sin and trust Christ alone? “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31).

If you have trusted Christ to save you, or if you have any questions, contact Orwell Bible Church for further help and guidance.

What We Believe About: Man and Sin

We believe God made man directly and supernaturally on the sixth day of the creation week apart from any evolutionary process (Gen 1:26-27). Man was perfectly made in the image of God to glorify Him forever (Gen 2:7; Eph 4:24; Rev 4:11), being composed of both material (body) and immaterial (soul/spirit) parts (Matt 10:28; 1 Thess 5:23; Heb 4:12; Jas 2:26), and possessing a mind, will, and emotions free from the corrupting effects and enslaving mastery of sin (Gen 1:31; 2:7, 15-25).

Sin is the failure to conform to God’s holy character and is the transgression of his holy will (Rom 3:23; 1 John 3:4). The first man, Adam, fell from his original righteousness and communion with God through disobedience (Gen 2:17; 3:1-19), bringing sin, guilt, and condemnation upon himself and mankind through their connection with him (Rom 5:12-19). Adam’s physical descendants inherited from him a corrupted sin nature from which all sin proceeds (Jas 1:14-15). Being a servant of sin (Rom 6:20), every person is sinful in his actions, nature, thoughts, and omissions (Rom 7:19; Jer 17:9; Gen 6:5; Eph 2:3; Jas 4:17).

All men are totally depraved and spiritually dead, alienated from God and the life that is in Him, their minds, wills, and emotions now thoroughly corrupted by and enslaved to sin (Rom 6:20; 8:5-8; Eph 4:17-19). The unsaved, left to themselves, are entirely unwilling and unable to submit to spiritual truth and seek salvation (John 8:42-47; Rom 3:10-18; 1 Cor 2:14). The consequence of sin is death (Rom 6:23): spiritual death, the separation of the person from God (Eph 2:1); physical death, the separation of the body from the soul (Jas 2:26); and the second death, eternal damnation in the lake of fire (Rev 20:14-15). Man is thus hopelessly lost apart from salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 3:3-7).

What We Believe About: Angels

We believe that God created all angels (Psa 148:2, 5). Angels are spirit beings possessing great intellect and power (2 Pet 2:11; Matt 22:30), are unable to reproduce, and were all originally sinless (Heb 1:14; Gen 1:31). God created all angels to serve and worship Him and to minister to His people (Isa 6:1-3; Rev 4:6-11; Psa 103:20; Heb 1:14); therefore, angels are not to be worshiped (Rev 19:10; 22:8-9).

We believe that Satan, a created angel, in pride rose up against God (Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 28:12-17; 1 Tim 3:6-7), became the author of sin (1 John 3:8), and led a large number of angels (demons) in rebellion against God (Matt 12:24-26).

Satan and demons are the enemies of God and seek to thwart His will (Gen 3:4-5; Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5; Matt 4:1-11; 2 Cor 11:13-15). They are the enemies of God’s people, accusing and opposing them (1 Pet 5:8; Rev 12:10; 20:7-9), inciting persecution (Rev 2:10), sowing counterfeits among them (Matt 13:39; 1 Tim 4:1), and tempting them to sin (1 Cor 7:5).

Satan presently reigns as god of this world (2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2), but is subject to and limited by God (Job 1:6-12; 1 John 4:4). At Calvary Satan and his cohorts were defeated and are now destined for the lake of fire (John 12:31; 16:11; Heb 2:14-15; Rev 20:10).

What We Believe About: Jesus Christ

We believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 5:17-18; 10:36). As God the Son He is coequal (John 10:30) and coeternal (John 8:58 ) with the Father. The eternal Son became incarnate in Jesus Christ (Matt 1:23), having been conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matt 1:20) and born of a virgin (Isa 7:14), so that He was and is sinless (Heb 4:15; 13:8). In the Person of Christ God and man are united with no mingling or confusion of the two natures so He is forever fully human and fully divine (Phil 2:5-8; 1 Tim 2:5).

Jesus Christ kept the divine law perfectly on our behalf by His personal obedience (John 15:10; Rom 5:19). His death on the cross (Matt 27:50) was a one-time (Heb 9:28 ) substitutionary sacrifice (Gal 1:4; 2:20) that fully satisfied God’s wrath toward sin (1 John 2:2). This sacrifice was sufficient for the sin of all mankind (Isa 53:6; John 1:29; 1 John 2:2) but is effective only for those who receive Christ with repentant faith (2 Thess 2:13; 1 Tim 4:10).

Jesus Christ rose miraculously and bodily on the third day (Luke 24:39; 1 Cor 15:4) and forty days later visibly ascended into heaven (Acts 1:11). He presently intercedes for all the saints (Rom 8:34), who wait for His return for them (1 Thess 4:13-18 ) and the establishment of His kingdom (Rev 19-20).