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Why Church History Matters

Apr 27th, 2016 | By | Category: Featured, The Inkwell: A (Gospel) Blog

ReformationDoorsTonight Pastor Cade will kick-off our Midweek Summer Sermon Series titled, “Going Pro(testant): Living the Truths of the Reformation.” The series is being designed as a unique blend of church history, historical theology, and expositional sermons. Over the course of the summer we’ll be exploring the great themes and biblical doctrines that were central to the Protestant Reformation. Each week we’ll be digging into one specific passage of Scripture and using the background, narrative, and biographies of the Reformation as important illustrative and connecting anchor-points to how these truths apply to our lives today.

The first sermon (from April 27, 2016) introduces the series by making an explicit and expository case for the relevance of church history for the lives of Christians. Before we begin a series like this, we want to be convinced that the Bible demands this type of study for disciples. Below is Pastor Cade’s first “listening-guide” to the series. Be sure to listen to the audio on our website for the sermon itself.

Going Pro(testant): Living the Truths of the Reformation
April 26, 2016
Here We Remember: We Learn From History in Obedience to Scripture
Hebrews 13:7-9

I. “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner

A lot of people find history boring. Many people thought history classes were the worst classes in high school. They’re filled with long lists of names, dates, and places that seem to have little relevance for living in the modern world. Sometimes the study of history can get bogged down in the minutiae of figures and statistics. It really is enough to make your head hurt.

And yet at the same time all of us are deeply rooted in history as well. We love good stories. We feed off of them. We cherish our memories. We like to talk about “old times.” Many of us would long to be able to return to the past to spend time with those who have gone before. For all of our aversion to history, we can’t seem to escape it. We’re haunted by it. And we’re made by it. We are the living products of yesterday.

So history is vital. Some teachers may have made it boring, but it is always relevant. We can never get away from it, nor should we try to. That’s especially true for Christians. We do not accept the worldview of a closed universe. We believe that the God who created all things has intimately involved himself in his creation – that he has acted within the history of our world – ultimately and definitively in the person of Jesus Christ and in the millions of mundane milliseconds in his relationship with his people. Not only that, but Jesus himself gives us the example of taking the history of God’s dealings with his people seriously (John 10:22).

II. “What’s past is prologue.” – William Shakespeare

And that’s not all. Not only does God work in history, and not only did Jesus model the significance of celebrating God’s work in history, but the Bible explicitly commands believers to be rooted and grounded in their history. Church History is not just an academic discipline and required seminary class for history nerds. Nor should pastors make the instruction in church history to their local churches a priority because it’s their personal hobby. The Bible explicitly commands us to take church history seriously. That means that our “topical series” in the coming months unfolding the riches of the Protestant Reformation isn’t merely interesting. It’s basic obedience. Hebrews 13:7-9 provides us with the prescription for historical discipleship. The author has been encouraging Christians to persevere and to continue steadfastly in their faith. He has given them the examples of the faithful saints of the past (Hebrews 11), he prompts them to not grow weary as followers of Christ by running their race with endurance, being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12), and he then provides explicit ways this encouragement is to be lived out. That’s where we find his command to learn from church history, and as we read his words we are told what to do and why this is good, gospel guidance:

1. Learning from church history overflows from loving and cherishing the Word of God. (v. 7a)

2. Learning from church history provides us with meaningful mentors to help us be faithful throughout our lives. (v. 7b)

3. Learning from church history demonstrates our confidence in the unchanging person, promises, and plan of Jesus Christ. (v.8)

4. Learning from church history guards us against Satan’s buffet of false-gospels. (v. 9a)

5. Learning from church history strengthens us in our love for and dependence on the grace of the gospel. (v. 9b)

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He is Risen!!!

Mar 21st, 2016 | By | Category: Featured, The Inkwell: A (Gospel) Blog

Indeed He is Risen!!!  There was a time when this was how people greeted each other on Easter.  The first person to speak would say, “He is risen!”  Then the other person would respond with, “indeed He is risen!”  Now we greet each other with, Happy Easter!  Does anyone know what that means?  What is an Easter?  Is it a type of rabbit, or chicken?

Actually the word Easter has its origins in the passover.  The Hebrew word is Pesach (פֶּסַח) meaning the festival of passover.  The Greek translation of Pesach (פֶּסַח) is Πάσχα and another Greek word used is Ανασταση which means upstanding, up-rising, resurrection.  Now let me ask you a serious question.  Aren’t you thrilled to find out that Easter is not the name of a cancerous tumor that grows on a chicken’s ovary.  I say that in jest, to bring to light the reality that most people don’t know where the word Easter came from or what it means.

For many people Easter is just another holiday they get to celebrate by eating big meals and watching the kids find eggs in the yard.  I will admit I love eating those great big Easter dinners.  I can remember how fun it was to point Tyler and Dustin in the direction of eggs I could see.  However Easter is about infinitely more than rabbits, eggs, and Easter baskets. So when you greet people with the words, “Happy Easter” it could bring to their minds anything from eggs, to dinners they had with their family.  However, if we greeted one another with the salutation of old, “He is risen”.  What do you think people would think about then?

That is what Easter is all about.  think about what it must have been like for the disciples of Christ on the third day.  There hearts were crushed when they saw their master die.  Some of them watched, others heard about how humiliating His death was.  They were convinced that He was the one.  So much so that they were arguing a few days earlier about who was going to sit at His right hand and His left hand in His kingdom.  This is why Peter pulled out his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the High Priest.  For them, it was all about throwing off Rome and setting up that earthly kingdom.  Jesus was the man who was born, according to the flesh, a son of David.  He was the man who could unify the Israelites and lead them into battle.

But now, He is hanging there.  His form so marred by the beating that He is hardly recognizable as a man.  His nakedness exposed for all the world to see.  His face covered with blood and spit.  The crowd cries, “He could save others, lets see Him save Himself.  Better yet, let God save Him, seeing how He claimed to be the Son of God.”  Can you hear them laughing as they taunted.  I wonder, Can you find yourself in that crowd?  Hey, you who said if we destroy the temple you could rebuild it in three days.  How you going to rebuild it when you are fastened to a cross?  Then He died.

Think about how defeated all of the followers of Christ were.  It was over.  Their hope was dead.  The one they loved was gone.  I mean they left their homes and jobs to follow Him.  They really believed there was something different about this guy.  He had command over the winds and the waves, but now He is dead.  Three days they have been in despair.  Trying to wrap their minds around what just happened.  They are probably thinking, “why didn’t He let us fight?  Why didn’t He even try to defend Himself in the courts?  Why didn’t He come down from the cross?  Why?  Why?  Why?

On the third day the ladies decided that they will go to the tomb to pay there respects one more time before going on with their lives.  To their amazement He is Risen.  The ladies run back to the disciples and become the first ones to greet with that magnificent sentence.  I can imagine her breathing hard.  Gasping for air and trying to get the words out.  They can see that something has happened.  She left this morning crying and defeated.  Now she is consumed with excitement.  Can you see her?  Can you hear the words as she cries them?  HE IS RISEN!  I can hear the disciples asking, Mary what are you talking about?  THE LORD!  I HAVE SEEN THE LORD!  HE IS  RISEN!  Writing these words makes the hair stand up on the back of my neck.  I can imagine that is exactly what happened to the disciples.  Peter and John took off running.

This changes everything.  I could imagine John saying that to himself as He outruns Peter to the grave.  And change everything, it did.  For the next forty days Jesus revealed Himself to His followers.  Once they saw Him it completely changed their lives.  Can you see them as they are walking through the streets of Jerusalem.  Or better yet can you hear them as they see their friends along the way.  What words do you hear them crying out as they begin running to the friend they saw in the distant.  HE IS RISEN!  Waving their hands in the air.  HEY!  HEY!  HE IS RISEN!  HE IS RISEN!

Should we be any less excited about sharing that news than the disciples?  Is it weird for us to great people with those words?  He is Risen!  I don’t think so.  That’s what Easter is about.  In fact that’s what every Sunday is about.  We come together and remind ourselves and each other that He is Risen.  We proclaim to the lost every Sunday that Jesus Christ died a ransom for His people.  That they placed Him in a tomb, and three days later He arose.

I hope this Sunday, and everyday for that matter, that the thought that fills your heart and mind is that He is risen.  I pray that the salutation that flows from your heart and out your mouth is, HE IS RISEN!  I pray the hair stands up on the back of your necks when you hear it spoken back to you.  INDEED, HE IS RISEN!

Because He Lives,

Toby

We want to invite everyone to our Good Friday and Easter services this week. The Good Friday service will be held on Friday, March 25th at 6 PM. The Lord’s Supper will be observed during this service.

Easter is Sunday, March 27.  The worship service schedule is as follows:

For anyone who needs a ride the van will leave the church at 6:15 and head to fire tower hill in the forestry.  For those driving if you have room for others in your vehicle, please meet at the church at 6:15 so others can ride with you.  The service will start at 6:30 and will be over around 7:30.

Breakfast at the church will start at 8:00.

Sunday School will be at regular time 9:45

Service will be at regular time as well 11:00

There will be no evening services.  Happy Easter!

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