October 6, 2013-Let Christ Rule…In Your Life. Mentow/Quaker Revival Night 1

Let Christ Rule…in Your Life

Matthew 19:16-22

When we think about why we are here, we are here for revival.  Revival is not by its definition necessarily about person who do not know Christ but those what are not living for Him.  So as we start our time of revival and renewal is a call to those that know Christ but perhaps are not living for Him.  Many of us are happy to have a Savior.  We don’t what want to spend eternity separated from God in Hell, but to acknowledge Him as Lard and allow Him to have total control will change how we live.  It is that change that makes it difficult to choose Christ and even more so to live out that reality each and every day.

Revival is about recapturing and finding again our true life and purpose in Jesus Christ.  John the Baptist when questioned about Jesus’ followers baptizing and some of John’s own disciples following Jesus responded, “I must decrease that He may increase.”  John’s describes himself as getting out-of-the-way to make room for Jesus.  It was no longer John’s time but Jesus’ time to rule and reign.  Do we allow Christ to rule and reign in our lives or are we content to accept grace while holding on to our lives?

This issue can be a difficult one to get our heads around but even worse our hearts are what can keep us from making Christ Lord and not just Savior.  The decision to surrender is an easy one to make, but the heart to carry it out and actually surrender each day is a place where many of us struggle.  It is not a matter of just expressing a desire to do so, making any decision devoid of commitment and action is not a decision really.  Instead the words become empty, dead, and lifeless because they do not have the life of our commitment and yes our surrender.

There are many who do not trust fully in this life because they believe that we need the things of this world to be happy and content.  True contentment comes from trusting in our eternal life which is truly lasting.  It is in this trust of our eternal life that frees us from this world and helps us to be more alive.  We are live because of Him, we will live in eternity because of Him, and we can truly live now because of and for Him.  The giver of life at creation is still the giver of life now.  It is in Him that we have life and breath and move.  Our Lord is the giver of life.

For Christ to rule in our lives we must be willing to ask Him some tough question.  I do not say tough because they are tough for Him to answer but tough because if we listen to the answer they will expose our true heart.  Our hearts from Him cannot be hidden, so we may find it safer not to ask.  The rich young ruler dared to ask such a question, knowing that part of him was holding back.  He asks about eternal life and what good thing he must do to get eternal life?  Jesus then points Him to the one that is good and told the young man to keep the commandments and lists a few.  Have you ever known anyone who wanted to know which, are the important commandments so they can concentrate on them?  They young man is becoming confident and tells the teacher, I have kept them all since I was young, what do I lack?  This is a question about putting life into our faith.  Jesus responds with what the young man was not wanting to let go of his possessions and money, “sell what you have, and come and follow me.”

Where then does that put us?  We might be the ones who are very generous, so am I ok? The better way of examining this question is not to look at what I am giving, but rather what am I still holding out on, or holding on to?  Christ is does not want some of us but all of us.  For this young man it was money.  What is it that we are holding on to, that is really holding us back and holding us down?  What are we grasping on to so tightly that we cannot grasp, reach out for, or lay hold of what is more complete in Christ?  If we try to hold on to Christ and anything else we will be torn apart, a man cannot serve two masters.  In trying to do so in the end you will have served neither or even served yourself.

Let’s try on a few different shoes if you will.  Perhaps money is not what you are holding back on.  Is it past hurts, disappointments, lack of forgiveness, gossip, a grudge, pride, entitlements, a sense of self-righteousness, political angst or anger, a low opinion of others, family problems…what are you holding on to that doesn’t have the life that frees us in Christ?  When we let of that one thing we find that we are not left hanging but rather we are taking hold of that which has taken hold of us.  Like the hand of grace reaching down to grab Peter as he sinks below the water.

In today’s world we do not want to see Jesus as Lord.  There are too many that want to accept Him Salvation but do not want to think of Him as Lord.  We want a more mellow, watered down version of Jesus.  You know, the one that is our friend and not our Lord, the one we can come up with great bumper stickers or t-shirts for that says things like “Jesus is my homeboy.”  Jesus is not something we just stick on our car or a slogan we wear on a t-shirt, but Jesus is our Lord.  Our decision follow Him starts with the embodiment of that decision with our daily lives.  In other words to make this decision and live with it means we have to die to ourselves.  Galatians 2:20 I have been crucified with Christ…

What do we need to let go of to truly follow Christ?

Rev. Greg Soult

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October 6, 2013-Homecoming

Mentow Baptist Church Celebrated Homecoming with Dr. Fred Anderson from the Virginia Baptist Historical Society.  Dr. Anderson appeared in costume portraying Dr. William E. Hatcher.

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ON DR. W.E. HATCHER (1834-1912)

William E. Hatcher (1834-1912) was born in Bedford County, Virginia, but spent most of his life in Richmond, Virginia, where he served for 26 years as pastor of Grace Street Baptist Church, now called simply Grace Baptist Church.  Prior to coming to Grace, he was pastor of the Manchester Baptist Church, now Bainbridge-Shouthampton Church.

Hatcher and his brother, Harvey, attended the Richmond College in the 1850s.  Richmond College, now one branch of the University of Richmond, attracted numerous young Baptist men destined for the ministry.  During his college years, Hatcher led a religious revival on campus which resulted in the conversion of practically every student in the college.

Hatcher remained associated with the college as a trustee for 42 years.  He was president of the Board of Trustees from 1897-1908 and is credited with delivering the decisive speech which convinced the trustees to move the school to its present site in the West End of Richmond.

His interest in education led to the establishment of Fork Union Military Academy.  Hatcher maintained a home called “Careby Hall” near the Fork Union campus.

Hatcher became a prominent figure throughout the Southern Baptist Convention.  He was in great demand as a public speaker especially for church anniversaries, dedications and associations.  He wrote five books and served as junior editor of the Religious Herald, the Baptist newspaper in Virginia.

Soul Freedom-October 2, 2013

Soul Freedom-October 2, 2013 

Matthew 16:16-18

Soul Freedom

  • Personal Faith
  • Individual Competency
  • Priesthood of the Believer
  • Competency of the Soul before God
  • Conversion by Conviction
  • Individualism in Religion
  • Soul Competency

Soul Freedom

“…the historical Baptist affirmation of the inalienable right and responsibility of every person to deal with God without imposition of creed, the interference of clergy, or the intervention of civil government.”-Walter Shurden

Individuality is Essential

  • Soul Freedom affirms the sacredness of individual choice.

-Sometimes we are accused of being individualistic.

-Psalm 8 and other texts point to the worth of the individual

-We are created in the image of God

Personal Response is Necessary!

  • Jesus taught this
  • An individual comes to God not by force but by free will  (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:5-6)
  • This doesn’t exclude responsibility (Romans 14:12)
  • This doesn’t mean the Bible says whatever we want it to say.

-Study the Bible-history and grammar

-Look at the whole Bible

-Look at all sides

-Pray

-History, tradition, reason, works with Scripture

Conversion by Conviction

  • Soul Freedom means the right to choose (Matthew 15:16, 18, Romans 14:12)
  • Each individual’s conversion experience does not have to be the same.  We can’t all have Paul’s “Damascus” experience with God.

Believer’s Baptism

  • This is why Baptists rejected infant baptism.
  • It is the individual’s statement of faith.  Acts 8:12, 8:36-39, 16:33, 18:8

 Six Words to Describe “Soul Freedom

  • Personal-It’s yours!
  • Experiential-It’s an experience!
  • Voluntary-It’s your choice!
  • Pluralistic-It’s not about being top dog!
  • Not Moral relativism-It’s listening to others rather than doing all the talking.
  • Androgynous-It’s for men and women

-James Dunn

The Christian faith is person, experiential, and voluntary.  Baptists really do believe that you have to ‘make up your mind.’”-Walter Shurden (Joshua 24:15)

I may study the Bible under great teachers and share with devoted Christian friends, but I must finally judge what is truth, not because I find it agreeable to me, but because the inner witness of the Spirit convinces me.  I may profit by the testimony of another’s experience in the Lord, but I do not need and cannot repeat his experience.  I need my own.”-C. Brownlow Hastings

Homecoming Expressions

Homecoming Expressions

I was thinking about this month, October.  It is one of my favorite months of the year it is not super cold yet, and it is no longer hot.  It is a time where the leaves are full of vibrant color.  There are many fall-festivals and fun events for the family.  It is the month of my birth and pastor appreciation.  It is also the time of year where our church has its Homecoming Day.  Homecoming is a special time for old friends and new friends to gather together and remember their past and common identity, but also to dream about the future.  There is always great food by great cooks, and a fondness and familiarity that comes from knowing each other.  I always love to listen to people talk and their expressions, sometimes I use them myself.

A couple of weeks ago I was at a gas station.  The lady asked me how I was and I responded, “O I’m better than I deserve.”  She then responds, “I’m sure you are deserving person.”  It was a nice complement, but does it reflect a deeper truth in our lives?  I’m not even sure why I said it, maybe it is just one of those expressions that I have heard most of my life, or could it be a greater expression of God’s truth upon my life.

After this polite exchange I began to dwell on those words, “I’m doing better than I deserve.”  What is it that I deserve?  According to the Bible I am a sinner, and have been my whole life.  “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23.  The reality is that we are all sinners.

The better question may be, so what do we deserve as sinners?  Romans 6:23 provides the answer, “the wages of sin is death.”  Wait I am a sinner and deserve death!  Isn’t that a little extreme?  Not when we consider the holiness of God.  What is extreme is the second part of verse 23, “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Why is this gift so extreme?  God allowed His Son, Jesus to die in our place and for our sin.  The wages of sin did not change but who paid the penalty did.  Jesus Christ the perfect, holy, loving, Son of God.  I responded that day, “I am doing better than I deserve,” and it is true.  I am a sinner who deserves death, but was given a greater gift of life through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.  Every day that I recognize that I live free under the costly grace of Christ, I am doing better than I deserve.  That is not just an expression but an expression of my faith.

Whatever your favorite things about this season or the month of October are, I hope you will have fond memories of Homecoming.  In those memories there will be a time to relate to one another and hear stories.  In those stories I hope we listen for how God is trying to use our expressions to express Himself in fresh and new ways.  As we celebrate Homecoming, may we also celebrate revival our hearts, attention, and lives to Christ.  May we together as the body of Christ express His great gift of salvation to the world!