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Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple, Open the Door and See…What Kind of People?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton
The Truth Network Radio
September 9, 2023 1:00 am

Here’s the Church, Here’s the Steeple, Open the Door and See…What Kind of People?

The Christian Worldview / David Wheaton

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September 9, 2023 1:00 am

Jesus declared to Peter: “I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it” (Matthew 16:18).

That’s a guarantee from the Son of God. In fact, the church is the only institution that Christ promises to build. Not nation-states, not political parties, not para-church Christian ministries—just the church.

The word “church” can be defined a few ways:

  • The building you drive by down the street where people gather to worship
  • The visible body of professing Christians, which contains “wheat and tares” (the professing church, Matthew 13)
  • The invisible body of genuine believers from every tribe and nation (the true church)

Aligning ourselves with Christ’s mission to build His church needs to be the believer’s priority. There’s a place for pushing back on the depravity revolution in our culture, working for political change, advocating for justice. But being a sanctified member of a sound local church should be top priority for Christians. That is God’s design and decree.

Paul wrote to Timothy: “I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15).

This weekend on The Christian Worldview, as we prepare to gather for TCW Movie Night on Saturday, Sept. 9 to watch The Essential Church, we’re going to hear from God’s word and some of the great preachers of God’s word as they point us to love and protect “the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth”.

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Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and see what kind of people? That is a topic we'll discuss today right here on the Christian Worldview radio program where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I'm David Wheaton, the host. You can receive our free weekly email and annual print newsletter, listen to past programs, order resources and support the ministry by going to thechristianworldview.org, calling our toll-free number 1-888-646-2233 or by writing to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Before we get to our preview today, just a final reminder that today, if you're listening to the program on Saturday, September 9th, we have our Christian Worldview movie night tonight at Fourth Baptist Church in Plymouth, Minnesota, where we will be showing the Essential Church documentary film. Doors open at 6. The film begins at 6.30. We'll have an intermission about halfway through with some light refreshments and a mini dessert, and then a short pastor panel after the film. Hope you can come to this.

It's a very, very good film. You can register if you'd like to come at thechristianworldview.org or just give us a call. We would appreciate a donation of any amount if you come, and be sure to invite your church and your elders of your church.

This would be an excellent film for them to see. DVDs will be available on site and other resources, and if you're not able to come, you can order the DVD of the Essential Church by just getting in touch with us. And as always, Christian Worldview partners automatically receive these featured resources, so if you're a Worldview partner, you don't need to get in contact with us.

It will be sent to you. One more announcement is we are coming up very quickly on the Christian Worldview golf event. This is our eighth annual event, and if you are a golfer, we'd love to have you come to this.

We still have some space available. This will include an afternoon of golf, followed by a meal and a message on the mission of the ministry. The silent auction fundraiser for this event is going to be open to everyone this year, so if you're interested in seeing some of the items there and experiences offered, just go to our website, thechristianworldview.org.

All right, now onto the preview for today's topic. Here's the church. Here's the steeple.

Open the door and see what kind of people. Now, Jesus declared to the apostle Peter in Matthew chapter 16, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. That's a guarantee from the Son of God. In fact, the church is the only institution that Christ promises to build, not nation states, not political parties, not parachurch ministries, just the church. That word church can be defined at least three ways. Number one, it's the building you drive by where people gather to worship. Number two, the church is a visible body of professing Christians, which contains wheat and tares.

That's from the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew chapter 13 that Jesus gave. And third definition of the church is that it is the invisible body of true, genuine believers from every tribe and tongue and nation in the world. That's called the true church. Aligning ourselves with Christ's mission to building his church needs to be the believer's priority. There is a place for pushing back on the depravity revolution in our culture, working for political change, advocating for justice and other things. But being a sanctified member of a sound local church should be top priority for Christians.

That is God's design and his decree. Paul wrote to Timothy, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. That's what the church is. So today in the Christian real view, as we prepare to gather for the Christian real view movie night tonight on Saturday, September 9th to watch the essential church film, we're going to hear from God's word and some of the great preachers today in the program as they point us to love and protect the church of the living God, which is the pillar and support of the truth. Now, one of the men we're going to hear from today is David Martin Lloyd Jones. You may have heard from him. He's a very well known preacher. This according to his website, MLJ trust.org, where they have tons of his sermons. He was born in December of 1899 and he went to heaven in March of 1981.

So he lived 82 years. He was a Protestant minister and preacher from Wales in England. He was also a medical doctor who was influential in the reformed wing of the British evangelical movement in the 20th century. For almost 20 years, I'm quoting here, he was the minister of Westminster Chapel in London. Lloyd Jones obtained a medical degree from London University and became a member of the Royal College of Physicians.

So he was a highly trained doctor. After struggling for two years over what he sensed was a call to preach in 1927 at age 28, Lloyd Jones returned to Wales, having married Bethan Phillips with whom he later had two children, accepting an invitation to minister at a church in Eber Avon, which is Port Talbot. Lloyd Jones is well known for his style of expository preaching.

He would take many months, even years to expound a chapter of the Bible verse by verse. His sermons would often be around 50 minutes to an hour in length, attracting many students from universities and colleges in London. Since his death, there have been various publications regarding Lloyd Jones and his work, most popularly a biography in two volumes by Ian Murray, who has been on this program in the past. And I can just tell you that Lloyd Jones is one of the most influential preachers of the last, oh, easily hundred years, and he's influenced a lot of the well-known preachers who are conservative biblically today. Let's get a first taste of Martin Lloyd Jones as he talks about the church being the only light of the world.

He's got a pretty strong accent, so listen closely. My friends, whatever we may remember or forget after tonight, let's remember this. The only light that is in this world tonight is in the true Christian church. Otherwise it is chaos. It is darkness. It is hopelessness.

It is a final despair. So he said that the church is the only light in this dark world. But is that how the churches perceive today as the only light of the world?

Well, absolutely not. Secular society perceives the church as merely a community group that attempts to do social good and perhaps a little bit religious. And that's why they deem the church non-essential, because it's more important to stay home and stay safe physically than to worship God spiritually, because they see it as just a community group. Now the evangelical church has a stronger view of what the church is, but still in too many evangelical churches and the evangelical movement, the church is perceived as a social community to help people, to give inspirational perspectives on Sunday so that you can be a better person, a better spouse, parent, so you can do good in your community.

You can have programs there to overcome addictions, whether alcohol or pornography and so forth. Most evangelical churches operate on a pragmatic principle. So they look around for the quote best practices and they try to appropriate those best practices in their own church to draw people in and not necessarily believers, just anyone to come in. And then they use non-biblical metrics of success, how people feel and what they experienced by coming to their services.

Do they like it? Are there a variety of programs that are offered? How many people are served?

How many events are held? What kind of donations are brought in? Is this church quote unquote successful that way?

Are people taking short-term mission trips and so forth? It's a very pragmatic evaluation of quote the success of a church. But our other preacher that we're going to feature today is John MacArthur, and he says just the opposite.

None of those things are the baseline for how a church should be evaluated, because ultimately the church is not about us, it's all about God Himself. If we're going to recover the passion, if we're going to recover the zeal for the truth, we've got to focus ourselves on the right things. And let me say this as simply as I can say it, you have to focus yourself away from yourself.

Building a church around felt needs is utterly contrary to Scripture. Focusing on you and your problems and your dilemmas and your circumstances and your situations is counterproductive. And while it may intend to help you, the unintended consequence becomes you are the one being worshipped. This is your problem. You are the center of attention. You are the center of focus. And then the unintended consequence is when you feel like you don't have any particular needs or they're not doing a very good job of meeting those needs, you don't need the church.

If they fail to deliver what you think you need, you check out. So we need to get back to what the really important matters of the church are. As the hymn writer said, you want to go to church to get lost in wonder, love and praise. You want to go to church to forget about yourself, to set yourself aside and to lose yourself in the glory and wonder of God. A God-centered preacher, a God-centered teacher, a God-centered worship is what you want in a church. When you look for a church, that's what you want. You want those who are consistently being brought before God, who are being brought into the very throne room of heaven to see His glory and His majesty and the wonder of who He is and His righteousness and His holiness. It's really sad when people don't understand the full glory of God because if you don't, if you don't understand the depth of the being of God, you can't rise to the heights of praise. And that's what dramatically alters life.

And John MacArthur there is exactly right. Church shouldn't be designed around you. Church should be designed completely around the wonder and love and glory and worship of God.

We go to church to get outside of ourselves and to worship the One who created us. When church is perceived as not meeting our felt needs, as MacArthur said there, then what happens is the go-getters in the church start a nonprofit parachurch ministry to solve the problem. They think they can do better than a church. So led by the doers with fundraising capabilities and led by those who are not biblically qualified to be elders of a church, they go about this new parachurch ministry with purpose and energy of the human flesh, not concerned very much at all about doctrinal fidelity, and then we wonder why parachurch ministries drift. What makes the church different is that there are qualifications for the pastors, the elders, the overseers of a church.

These are guardrails for keeping the church moving forward and staying on the narrow road that leads to life. And those qualifications are this, they're found in 1 Timothy 3 and elsewhere, but 1 Timothy 3 says it is a trustworthy statement. If any man, not a woman, aspires to the office of overseer, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer or pastor or elder then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperant, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money. He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity.

But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God? And not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil. And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church, so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Now, that's quite a list of qualifications that Paul raised to Timothy in 1 Timothy 3. Those are the qualifications for pastors and elders of churches, and they're all based on character. Every single one there is based on character, not business acumen, not dynamic, charismatic personality.

It's all character. And when you have that in place at churches, then you're going to have a much better chance of the church staying on the rails and going the right direction. This is why a top priority, even for a parachurch ministry like the Christian Real View, we are out to complement and communicate the exact same message of a biblically sound local church. So as we discuss issues of our day week after week in the program, we aim for believers to be stronger and strengthen their local churches. We aim for unbelievers to be saved and to join local churches. And we want churches themselves to listen, the pastors and elders, about what is taking place in society and within the professing Christian realm so that they can be sharp and sanctified and not go down wrong roads.

So the program is not just about Christians so you can think biblically and live accordingly for your own sake in your own home, but it's for you to do that in the structure of a solid local church. Church is so important to God and Satan relentlessly attacks it, whether it's through the secular government—and that's what this film will show, the government persecution of the church during the COVID pandemic—but that's not even the greatest threat to the church. In fact, persecution, as you'll see in the film, often winnows out the make-believers in the church and makes the true believers in actually the church stronger in the end.

It's this other area of attack that Satan launches against the church, the false teaching and false teachers, that's the greatest threat to the church, because when you have a low view of God and Scripture, which leads to man-centered preaching and methodology, that leads to all sorts of God-dishonoring compromise and apathy. And this is where we get to a second audio clip from one of Martin Lloyd-Jones' sermons, where he talks about how the doctrine of church is so important and prominent, and this is why so much space in the New Testament is devoted to the church. The New Testament gives great space to this Christian, of the nature of the Christian church.

You'll find that it's dealt with. Very extensively, this book of the Acts of the Apostles tells us about the origin, foundation of the church and the development, and all the epistles, in a sense, are nothing but treatises on the subject of the nature of the Christian church. So we should consider this, were it only for their reason, that it's given such prominence in the New Testament itself. And another thing you find in the New Testament is this, that that prominence is given to the doctrine of the church because so many of the problems and the difficulties that arose in the early church were mainly due to the fact that the people haven't realized the nature of the church. They hadn't realized the kind of thing into which they'd come, so the epistles have to keep on reminding them of what a church is. And it is because the doctrine of the church has been so neglected in this century in particular that we are confronted by this incredible confusion at the present time as to what is the nature of the Christian church. Again, that was Dr. Martin Lloyd-Jones, a great preacher from England back in the early part of the 20th century, and he says so many problems in the New Testament church that are depicted in Scripture because people didn't realize what they had inherited as believers, what the nature of the church was, just as people do today. He said the doctrine of the church has been so neglected today. And you see that people just start churches all over the place and just use man-centered church growth strategies to make it go. And they may draw lots of crowds, but these churches aren't faithful to God's design for the church. We'll take a short break for some ministry announcements. We have much more coming up. You are listening to the Christian Real View Radio program.

I'm David Wheaton. God's truth is enduringly true throughout all the generations. It transcends culture. The church is always going to be an embattled people. If it's swimming with the tide, it's not being the Church of Jesus Christ.

Look to the past, learn from the past, because the whole world lies in the power of the evil one. That was from the just-released documentary The Essential Church, which chronicles how three churches followed God's command to gather during the pandemic rather than comply with arbitrary government mandates. Normal retail is $12.99 plus shipping for this two-hour film. For a limited time, you can order the DVD for a donation of any amount to the Christian Real View. Order at thechristianrealview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Scripture commands that children are to be brought up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Offering biblically sound resources for children is one of our top ministry priorities. At our store at thechristianrealview.org, you will find carefully selected children's Bibles and books along with video and audio resources. Check out the Bible infographics for kids books, Little Pilgrim's Progress, and the popular Adam Raccoon set. Theo is a 15-episode video series addressing key doctrines of the faith that is a must-see for children and adults. Satan and the world are bent on capturing the heart and mind of your child.

Instead, get sound resources that will train them up in the way they should go. Browse and order at thechristianrealview.org or give us a call for recommendations at 1-888-646-2233. That's 1-888-646-2233 or thechristianrealview.org.

Welcome back to the Christian Real View, I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website thechristianrealview.org where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. We are discussing the church today on the program, and let's get to some fundamental aspects of the church. The first point is this, that Christ is the foundation or cornerstone of the church.

The church is based, it's built on Jesus Christ. Just a little more of that passage I read early in the program from Matthew chapter 16. Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he was asking his disciples, who do people say that the Son of Man is? And they said, some say John the Baptist, and others Elijah, but still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus said to them, but who do you say that I am? Now he's looking for who do they profess Christ to be, what's his identity?

Well of course Simon Peter chimes in right away and says, you are the Christ, the Messiah, the anointed one, the Son of the living God. And Jesus said to him, blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. Then he gets into this well known passage, I also say to you that you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. And so Jesus is using a play on words here.

The name Peter means little stone. And when Christ says upon this rock, he's referring to a large boulder. He's not referring to Peter as the Roman Catholic Church teaches and believes that Jesus passed church leadership on to Peter in the success of popes. That's not what Jesus meant at all.

Peter certainly didn't take it that way, never even claimed to be head of the church. Christ is the foundation, the cornerstone of the church upon which the church is built. So Christ is the foundation, the cornerstone of a building, but he's also not just the foundation, he is the head of the church. This is from Colossians chapter 1 and starting in verse 15, he, Christ, this is the great passage about the preeminence of Christ, he is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation, for by him, by Christ, all things were created both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities, all things have been created through him and for him.

Verse 17, he is before all things and in him all things hold together. And here's the verse, verse 18, he is also head of the body, the church, and he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he himself will come to have first place in everything. This says a lot about Christ, that he is the image of the invisible God, he is the creator, he actually created the world that God designed, he is the sustainer of all things, everything was created for his glory, but he's also the head of the body of believers on this earth, the church. And the head means that he's the one that leads, that he is the glory and gets the glory of the church.

It's like when you look at someone, you don't stare at their hands, you stare at their head, because that's where the glory of a human is, in their face and head, and Christ is the head of the church. The next fundamental aspect to touch on is that if Christ is the foundation and he's the head of the church, then true believers make up Christ's body. And this is referenced frequently in scripture, 1 Corinthians 12, for even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. Now you, talking to believers here, are Christ's body and individually members of it. Not only you're members of Christ's body, but believers have important roles in Christ's body. Ephesians chapter 4, and he, Christ, gave some as apostles, some as prophets, some as evangelists, some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service to the building up of the body of Christ. Body of Christ is another term for the church, 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. So Christians are individuals who are called to grow individually, but in the structure of a local church.

We're to be engaged and active members, part of a sound local church. So these are some of the fundamental aspects of the church, that Christ is the foundation and the cornerstone, he's the head of the church, true believers make up Christ's body, the church, believers have important roles in Christ's body, and then marriage itself is a picture of Christ and his church. And this is from Ephesians chapter 5, where it says, wives, be subject to your own husbands, and just watch here all the comparisons being made between husband and wife and Christ and his church. Ephesians 5, wives, be subject to your own husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church.

We've covered that. He himself being the savior of the body, but as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. Verse 25, more comparison here. Husbands, love your wives, here's the analogy, just as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for her, so that he might sanctify her, set her apart, make her holy, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she would be holy and blameless. And so there's this profound analogy and mystery here that marriage is like Christ and his bride, the church. Christ is head of the church, church needs to be in subjection to Christ, Christ loves his church, he seeks the church's sanctification, and he wants to present a holy church to himself. And so God saves sinners individually and brings them into his body of believers, the church. Which brings us to the next fundamental aspect of the church, is that the Christian life is then to be lived out in the context of a local church. The word for church in Scripture is ekklesia, which means called out assembly. The called out ones are being called out of the unsaved world at the point of regeneration or justification, and they're to be an assembly, which has the implication of gathering together in person. They're called out of the unsaved world to assemble together, and that's exactly what it says in Hebrews chapter 10.

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. Scripture knows nothing of a Christian who is not involved in a local body of believers. Now you might say, well, what about a home church? Well, if you meet at home for a church, that's fine.

There's lots of home churches around the world, but it absolutely must have the same structure of a church with qualified leadership, whether it meets in a home or a church building. And so when that church gets together, to go on to the next fundamental aspect is, what is a church to do? Well, Peter gives a sermon to the people, the Jews, near Jerusalem at the beginning of Acts, which is the start of the church. The church started the day of Pentecost when Christ sent his Holy Spirit.

We're going to get into that in a second. And after the sermon, the people who were listening said, now when they had heard this, the sermon by Peter, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brethren, what shall we do? And Peter said to them, repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself. Then he says in verse 40, Acts chapter two, and with many other words, Peter solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them saying, be saved from this perverse generation.

Those words are relevant for today. And what was the fruit? Well, here we see in verse 41, so then those who had received his word were baptized, and that day there were added about 3,000 souls to the church. They were continually devoting themselves, and here's what they did to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Four things that the early church did. Apostles' teaching, there was the preaching of the Word of God, there was fellowship amongst the believers, there was breaking of bread, remembering Christ's death and resurrection, communion, and there was also prayer, communication with God.

The four elements that should be in every sound local church. But I mentioned Pentecost, when Christ sent his Holy Spirit to empower the church. And here's what Martin Lloyd-Jones had to say about the church needing the power of the Holy Spirit. The church doesn't merely declare a number of truths and facts in her own strength and power.

If she does, she'll be useless. The thing that brings the church into being is the declaration of these truths in the demonstration of the Spirit and the power, the power that was filling Peter on this day of Pentecost. Now, my friends, this is something we need to remember at this present time. Some of us perhaps are tempted to think that all you need is orthodox truth. You do need that.

I'm going to deal with this. But we also need this power. For without this demonstration of power, your orthodoxy will be dead and it will be useless. Boy, is that well said by Martin Lloyd-Jones that the church doesn't just declare truth and facts. That can lead to a dead orthodoxy, that the church needs what Christ sent at Pentecost, the power of the Holy Spirit, which enables believers, enables churches to display the power of God on this earth, that He is the divine enablement, the divine helper to help us be and do what we cannot be and do on our own. That's what the Holy Spirit does. And I think this explains why churches rise and then fall. John MacArthur here describes his personal experience of being at Grace Community Church.

It's been over 50 years now. He's been in the same church. He talks about three stages of a church. With some exceptions, it's generally true that the first generation fights for the discovery and establishment of the truth. There's a real exhilaration, there's a real passion in that first generation, new Christians, people just awakening to the realities of divine truth.

There's a passion to learn it, to know it and defend it and fight for it. Ten, fifteen years of Grace Church, maybe even heading toward 20 years, we were really working hard to crystallize and clarify doctrine. That's why the church has such an extensive doctrinal statement, which is also the doctrinal statement of the college seminary. First generation was primarily committed to the development of the truth, to understanding the truth, to systematizing the truth fairly consistently with Scripture, not imposing it upon Scripture. And now we're in the second generation and what we're seeing now is this desire to maintain the truth, to guard the truth, to extend the truth. There came, I suppose, about year 20 at Grace Church, this desire to take the truth to the ends of the earth. We've got this sort of spiritual young man mentality you find in 1 John where he talks about the young men who are valiant for the truth. They know the truth and they want to fight for the truth and they overcome the evil one who is a liar and the father of lies and tries to, of course, destroy the truth. There's a third phase and historically this is kind of the way it flows.

The third generation is apathetic. You see people who go to church today only if it's convenient. They're really not energized by the discovery of the truth. They're not particularly energized by refining the truth. They're not very interested in protecting the truth and proclaiming the truth and extending the truth. They come wherever they can. They show up whenever they want. You take the preaching of the Word of God for granted.

You take the truth for granted because you weren't a part of the process, therefore it has no value to you. And that's when church life gets tough. That's when people are worried about whether the air conditioners blowing on the back of their neck or not, or whether they can find a parking place, or whether the service time interrupts the plans for the day, or whether the sermon's too long and they become absorbed in all that stuff. There's a time in the life of the church when that becomes the dominant characteristic of the church, because that third generation weren't a part of the struggle, and that is a frightening thing.

Maybe I'll die before I have to deal with too much of that. That's what someone who loves the church would say. They'd rather die than be in an apathetic church, because John MacArthur knows full well that a church should be dynamic. It should be exalting and glorifying God and His Son Jesus Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Not just prioritizing emotional response and trying to tweak the experience of those attending, but digging deep into God's Word, into the depths of the understanding and worship of the Holy God. And that's how John MacArthur says we need to choose a church based on a church that has a very high view of God.

Here's what that means. Don't look at style. It's seductive. It's, at best, style can only appeal to the flesh.

Substance is what you're after. And the first thing you look for in a church is a high view of God. One could spend his entire life discussing a high view of God. Proverbs 9, 10 says, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Everything starts with fearing God.

That's the beginning of everything. That's crystal clear in Scripture. The holiness of God is the first and central element in the church. The glory of God, the exaltation of God. If you do not have a lofty enough understanding of God that is rehearsed and repeated and lifted up before you all the time, and I'm not talking about in songs and choruses, I'm talking about a substantial theological, biblical grasp on God, then you do not have in place the greatest motivation to godly living. People don't live godly lives because some guy got up and gave a pep talk about the fact that he ought to live godly lives. People don't live godly lives because somebody got up and told there are lots of negative consequences and you might not be successful if you don't behave this way. People are motivated to live godly lives primarily from their view of God. When you get people together who understand the deep things of God and they begin to sing and to praise God, they're lost in wonder, love and praise, not so much over the musical form as over the gripping profundity of the Scripture and theology set to music. Shallow worship is the byproduct of shallow theology. Elevated, glorious, transcendent, captivating, emotional, enriching worship is the byproduct of a deep understanding of truth.

That's exactly right. The more you understand about who God is, His character nature, your height of worship just ascends higher and higher. We have one more segment and a powerful clip of that sermon from Martin Lloyd-Jones coming up so stay tuned. You are listening to the Christian Rule of your radio program.

I'm David Wheaton. There is a war ongoing. There are two sides in this war. There are those who are with Christ and there are those who are against Christ. And sometimes it's not always easy to see the difference. But as we go through this information about the great reset, I think you'll find out very quickly what side these great resetters are on. Their own words condemn them. Know that this has implications for everything.

For education, for health care, for your job, for business, for government, for law, for property rights, the social contract as Klaus Schwab will explain. That was journalist Alex Newman speaking at our recent Christian worldview speaker series event on being informed and prepared for the great reset. Alex's presentation is full of sound bites from those who are seeking to transform the world into a godless dystopia. You can download the audio of the event or order a USB thumb drive by going to our website thechristianwheelview.org or calling toll-free 1-888-646-2233. David Wheaton here inviting you to the Christian Wheel of You golf event on Monday, September 18th at Woodhill Country Club in Wysetta, Minnesota. This is a rare opportunity to experience a classic course in immaculate condition with challenging greens in a beautiful setting all in support of the Christian Wheel of You radio program. Golfer registration includes lunch on the lawn, practice range, player gift and 18 holes with cart followed by a meal and awards. Bring a foursome or we can fit you into a group.

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I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website thechristianwheelview.org where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter. Order resources for adults and children and support the ministry.

In this final segment, let's answer the question of the day. Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and what kind of people? I have one more extended portion of that sermon from Martin Lloyd-Jones where he answers that question. He talks about what kind of people constitute the church. And he says, it is those who have believed the gospel. And I just love hearing how great preachers explain the gospel.

So listen closely to what he says. What is a church member? Who are the people who make up the Christian church?

Are they in that position simply by birth or by heritage? Well, the New Testament is perfectly clear about this. Nobody is born a Christian. There's no such thing. We foolishly talk about Christian countries. There's no such thing.

No, no. This is what makes a church member what happened to these people. Here are people added to the church, you remember, 3000 of them added to those who were already in the church, the 120. And the answer is given perfectly plainly and clearly. Here are people who, listening to the preaching of the apostle Peter, were convicted. You noticed how the record put it.

Peter was apparently just expanding the scriptures and arguing on the basis of scriptures. And then we read, now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart. That means that they were convicted. They were made uncomfortable and unhappy.

Why? Well, no doubt most of these people were the same people who a few weeks before had been a part of the crowd that had been crying out concerning the Lord Jesus Christ away with him, crucify him, give unto us Barabbas. You remember the story. But now as they listen to the preaching of the apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, their eyes are opened and they're convicted and they're unhappy. They're in trouble. They see they've sinned against God.

They're pricked in their hearts. Now this is something that is essential before you can ever be a Christian. A Christian is a man, obviously, who has discovered a need. He's a man who's being convinced and convicted of his sin. You know, there seems to be a tendency today to think and to say that you shouldn't preach the law, you shouldn't preach to convict people of sin, that all you do is to invite them to come to Jesus and to accept what he offers. But you know the question that arises is this. Why should a man come to Jesus? The man in the street will tell you that he doesn't want it. Never had it so good.

Everything all right. He doesn't need your Jesus. He doesn't need your Christ.

So you see, you've got to answer this question. Why should anybody believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? And there's only one answer, and that is that he is convicted of his sin. That is why the majority of people in this country today never attend a place of worship such as this. They don't believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. Why not?

They've never seen any need of him. And you can offer them all inducements. They'll smile at you. They say, come along and you'll be happy and come along and you'll have new power in your life. They say, all right, Christian Science offers us the same thing.

And many other cults. There's only one reason why a man never comes to Christ, and that is that he's desperate. That he's in trouble. He's convicted of his sin.

He realizes that he's sinned against the holy God and that he's got to meet this God in judgment. My friends, that is the position. You may be very worried about what happened yesterday in Parliament. It's all right. It's right to be interested in these matters and to be concerned. But I'll tell you something that is infinitely more important than that, or whatever may be happening in the next budget. And that is that every one of us here tonight has got to die and stand before God in judgment. Can we do it?

How can we do it? I'm just going to jump in here for a second. I hope you can understand what he's saying through his accent, but he's saying who can constitute the church? And it's those who have been convicted of their sin. They heard Peter preaching as we read, and they were pricked in the heart. He said everyone is going to die and stand before God in judgment. Isn't that amazing how the same gospel that he was preaching, I don't know, 75, 80 years ago is the exact same gospel today, because we have the exact same need today. We're sinners, and how can we be made right with the holy God?

Well, Lloyd-Jones is going to explain that next. We know we're confronted by God in his holiness. He is not our absolute righteousness. He's shown it us in the Ten Commandments, and none of us have kept it. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The whole world lieth guilty before God.

Are we all convicted of this and convinced of this? They were pricked in their hearts. They saw their lost condition and they were terrified.

They were in agony. So they interrupt the sermon, and they cry out saying, men and brethren, what shall we do? This preacher, you see, didn't have to make frantic appeals at the end to get people to come forward. They interrupted the sermon, conviction of sin. Now, this is something that is the basis of church membership, that we're all people who have seen and have realized that we are sinners before a holy God, and that we can do nothing about it. And in some measure, we know something of this agony, and we have cried out, what shall we do? Then Peter had given them the answer, repent, confess it to God, acknowledge it, stated openly that you've seen the wrongness, you've changed your mind, tell God this, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, which is that you believe the message.

The Jesus of Nazareth, whom you've rejected, is none other than the only begotten Son of God, and that he came into the world in order to save us, that his death was not an accident, that there he had taken upon himself our sins and had borne our punishment in his own body on the tree, and that believing that we are forgiven, be baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And they believed this, and the result of that was that they'd been accepted into the church, baptized and received. But, you see, what is involved in all this is this, that they'd undergone a profound change. They're not the same people.

When they'd left home that morning, they were just as they'd always been. But when they went home after hearing this sermon and all this, they were different people altogether. In other words, the Christian is a man who is born again. He's born of the Spirit. He's undergone an entire change in his beliefs, his outlook, his desires, his everything. And these people now have joined the church. They've allied themselves with these apostles, these preachers and their company.

And this is now the big thing in their lives. I'm just going to jump in one more time. Wasn't that a powerful presentation of the Gospel? That you must be convicted of your sin against a holy God. You must repent of it and believe in Jesus Christ, what he did for you on the cross. And if you're listening to that today and you've never done that, obey Christ's command to repent and believe in the Gospel. Be born again. Believe in the name, the person, and the work of Jesus Christ.

Here's the remaining part with Martyn Lloyd-Jones. Now this is what is meant by a church. A church is a people, a gathering of people who have undergone this profound change called regeneration or rebirth. They're perfectly clear about their own sinfulness. They don't get annoyed when you tell them that they're sinners.

They don't hate you. If you hold them before the Lord to show them their condemnation, they say it's perfectly true. They are people who know that their only hope of forgiveness and of new life and of heaven and joy throughout eternity is that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. That's who they are. They're a new people.

They're not just ordinary people, not just nice, respectable, religious people. They're new people, and their whole life and being is centered upon this blessed Jesus, the Son of God. Do you see how he makes the point that you can be religious but not regenerated, not born again, not born of the Spirit?

It's an eternity of difference. As Jesus told Nicodemus, unless you have been born again, you cannot see the kingdom of God. And then the evidence of that is that you've been born again is that your life is changed. He continues, explaining this passage we read in Acts chapter 2. Well, now then, they must obviously give some demonstration of this. And we are told here, of course, that they did. And in what we are told further, we are given a very perfect account and description of the nature of the Christian church. What we are told about these people is this. They that gladly received his word were baptized, and the same day they were added unto them about 3,000 souls.

Then what happened? They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine, teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and of prayers. Later on, you remember, we noticed again, all that believed were together at all things common. Again, they continuing daily with one accord in the temple and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people.

This is the great characteristic of the church and of the members of the church. That was the great preacher Martin Lloyd-Jones from England. And if you couldn't understand his accent, we do provide transcripts of these programs.

Just get in contact with us to order a transcript. And he explained why we are doing this topic today and showing this film tonight, called The Essential Church. That will be on Saturday, September 9th at Fourth Baptist Church in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Just get in contact with us if you'd like to attend or if you'd like to order the film. We desire believers to have a high and holy view of God in Christ's church, thirsting for the teaching of the Word, joyful in fellowship, remembering the Lord's death and resurrection and being a praying church. So thank you for joining us today on the Christian Reel of Your Radio program. Let's anchor ourselves in the foundation and head of the church.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly and stand firm in the church. The mission of the Christian worldview is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript or find out what must I do to be saved, go to thechristianreelview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Reel of Your Radio is a listener-supported, non-profit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Reel of Your Radio partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianreelview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to The Christian Reel of Your Radio.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-10-27 11:41:36 / 2023-10-27 12:00:45 / 19

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