This Week in Christian History – Feb. 4th

A wonderful site called  Chrisianity.com has a section dedicated specifically to Church History and each week they publish a list of events which transpired in whatever current week we are in.  You are able to peruse key events by date, century, notable Christians and they even have a sections for kids concerning Church History.  I will attempt to post weekly what Christianity.com has considered worthy for “This week in Christian History.”  I believe knowing and learning from our Christian heritage is a key tool to our continued sanctification, and truly seeing what God has revealed to his children along the bumpy road of human history is a worthwhile venture.

856 – Rhabanus Maurus Wrote an Encyclopedia
Imagine writing an encyclopedia by yourself. In an age when books were scarce and learning low, Rhabanus Maurus did just that, laying a foundation of knowledge to build on. He was a scholar and monk in Charlemagne’s empire, trained by the famous Alcuin himself. When Rhabanus Maurus died on February 4, 856, he left an indelible mark on his world. Not only did his books live on, but so did the scholars he trained and the schools he founded. He was a major figure of what is called the… (Read more)
Read the full article here

1555 – John Rogers, 1st of Many Martyrs under Mary
John Rogers burned to death at a stake at Smithfield, England on the morning of February 4, 1555. Among the onlookers who encouraged him were his own children. What monstrous crime had earned him this cruel death? Born about 1500, Rogers was educated at Cambridge. He became a Catholic priest and accepted a position in the church at the time that the Protestant Reformation was in full swing. His conscience told him that certain teachings of his established Church were wrong and he resigned… (Read more)
Read the full article here

1874 – Frances Havergal Wrote “Take My Life and Let it Be”
“I went for a little visit of five days,” wrote Frances Havergal, explaining what prompted her to write her well-known hymn, “Take My Life and Let it Be.” “There were ten persons in the house; some were unconverted and long prayed for, some converted but not rejoicing Christians. [God] gave me the prayer, ‘Lord, give me all in this house.’ And He just did. Frances was a brilliant pianist and learned several modern languages as well as Greek and Hebrew. With all her education, however, she maintained a simple faith and never wrote a line of poetry without praying over it… (Read more)
Read the full article here

1993 – Missionaries Kidnapped in Columbia
“We had no idea we were living in a dangerous area,” said Tania Rich. “[W]e were just a normal couple doing what we thought we should with our lives.” (Read more)
Read the full article here


Announcements 2.4.11

Here’s the latest news and happenings in our class for this week:

Super Bowl Party – Feb. 6th

This Sunday night @5pm we will come together for food and fellowship at Shawn and Wendy’s pad.  If you have questions on what to bring or what team to root for email Andrea.  Otherwise, may our bellies be full, our chatter be uplifting and the Packers of Green Bay to be Victorious!

Prayer and Fasting (February) - started this week

Vincente Bejarano’s has organized a calendar this month for those who wish to participate in prayer and fasting.  Each person who signs up will be given at least one day to fast and pray each.  If you would like to participate, email Vincente at Vbejarano@gmail.com or track Vincente down at church on Sunday.

Things to ConsiderGrowing Relationships

Our church has been focused on nurturing and growing relationships with friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances for the past few weeks.  We want to continue to be open to how the Lord will use us in furthering His kingdom with Love and Truth. Please consider sharing the names (first name is sufficient) of those the Spirit has laid on your heart.  If you feel comfortable sharing the names of those we mean to pray for please supply them to Drew.

Weekly Verse – Psalms 53:2

“God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.”


“Christian Beliefs” – a new study

Class, on Sunday I introduced a new study which I will be slowly integrating into our Sunday school class.  The book which will center this new study is Christian Beliefs by Wyane Grudem.  Christian Beliefs is a condensed version of Grudem’s Systematic Theology, and focuses on “20 basics every christian should know” – summations of Biblically centered truths.   I will be posting questions at the beginning of the week so you will be able to ponder before we go over the topic on Sunday.

The book of Matthew will still be our main focus while supplementing occasional Sunday’s with Grudem’s Christian Beliefs.  Also, if you would like a copy of CB please let me know (church will supply), but please only request the book if your actually going to use it.  Please let me know if you have further questions.


Responding to False Teaching – Jude 17-25

What is the standard by which we judge teaching as Christians? It is an important question to ask considering the serious nature of the label “false.” Jude tells us to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3). Paul reminded the Ephesians that they were no longer aliens but citizens of God’s kingdom which is built on the foundation of what was proclaimed by the apostles and prophets (Eph. 2:20). The proclamation of the prophets was the reality of a coming Messiah who will restore the chosen people and renew their relationship with God. The message of the apostles pointed people to the truth that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah who died and rose from the grave in order to bring hope and salvation to all people. The message of the gospel sets the standard for all teaching. If what is being taught conforms to the message of the apostles and prophets, namely the gospel, then such teaching is true. If it does not then that particular teaching is false.

False teaching is a form of opposition to Christianity. And here is the truth about opposition…

We should not be surprised by false teachers and divisive individuals (vs. 17-19).

Jude refers back to the apostles’ word concerning ungodly men who will rise up to lead the church astray. It is not a word of specific prophecy but an understanding of the inevitability of opposition to the Christian faith. The Scriptures are riddled with examples of Christians facing opposition to their faith and warnings about false believers who become false teachers.

Before Paul went to Jerusalem, he called on the Ephesian elders to meet him Miletus in order to give them a final exhortation and farewell. In his farewell, he warned the elders about “wolves” and men from within who will attempt to lead them into error (Acts 20:25-31). He also warned Timothy about “hypocritical liars” who will come in “later times” to fool the church (1 Tim. 4:1). Peter writes to the scattered church and mentions false teachers who “secretly introduce destructive heresies” (2 Pet. 2:1-3). They are seeking to tarnish the truth of the gospel and exploit God’s people with fiction.

We know that Jesus faced opposition at nearly every step of his ministry. In fact, it was opposition from the Pharisees and religious leaders that led to his death. Stephen’s opposition brought him before the Sanhedrin where he rehearsed Israel’s own history to the religious leaders. In a reversal of the situation, he charged the religious leaders with having received the law but not obeying it (Acts 7:53). For his trouble, the group rushed Stephen and stoned him to death (Acts 7:57-60). Later, Acts 11 tells us that Herod Agrippa I set out to persecute the church in Jerusalem. “He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword” and imprisoned the apostle Peter (Acts 12:2-3).

Church history also bears witness to the opposition Christians face for standing for the truth of the gospel. John Huss was persecuted and eventually martyred in 1415 for speaking out against Roman Catholic abuses such as indulgences. Today Christians face opposition from a rising number of atheists and secularists that write books and hold lectures dismissing Christianity. Even more severe, Christian missionaries face persecution, imprisonment, and death in parts of the world where Christian faith is illegal.

It is easy to see that opposition is an undeniable part of our Christian heritage and identity. If you are a Christian then you will face opposition of some sort during the course of your life. Opposition comes with the territory for people who claim Christ as Lord and Savior. Attacks come from outside and within the church. Interestingly, both types of attacks come from the same fundamental position. Regardless of whether they are outside or within the church, people who do not have the Spirit are not Christians (Rom. 8:9; 1 Cor. 2:14). Their actions and teachings, when held against Scripture, will tell the truth about their professed allegiance and faith. Those people who betray God’s Word and teachings are not believers and should not be followed or trusted on matters of God and ultimate reality.

So how do we persevere under false teaching and divisiveness?

Build yourselves up in your faith. (vs. 20-21)

One of the best ways to protect yourself from erroneous teaching is to grow in your faith. How do we grow in our faith?

  1. Studying, memorizing, and meditating on the Word of God – It is a revelation of God and from God. As Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
  2. Prayer and Communion with God – Paul exhorted the Thessalonians to pray continually. His words imply constant state of communication with God. Such prayer increases faith because constant communication leads to a deepened relationship. Knowing God equips us to know what is true and what is false, what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is evil.

As you grow in your faith, you not only become equipped to ward off error but you also become sensitive to the need for others to come to faith.

As a result of our faith, we should rescue others from error and godlessness (vs. 22-23).

Our concern for truth and people should extend beyond our own situation. Our love for God and the truth of His Word should compel us to rescue others who fall prey to false teaching and ungodly patterns of living. Knowing the consequences of such teaching and actions should make it all the more urgent for us to proclaim the gospel and pray for the lost.

In the end, we must realize that all of this relies on the work of Christ (vs. 24-25).

If Christ does not come as the divine Son of God and the human Son of Man to die on the cross and rise from the grave then everything we devote ourselves to and proclaim is foolish. Christ is the hinge on which Christianity swings. He is the beginning of truth and he has sent his Spirit to guide us into everything that is true.


Announcements 5.25.10

Here’s the latest news and happenings in our class for this week:

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting – begins June 1st
Vincente Bejarano’s Sunday School class is organizing a 40 day fast in order to pray for our church, its leadership, and personal wisdom to live as Christians. Each person who signs up will be given one day to fast and pray. The goal is to have 40 members signed up by June 1st (when the fast begins). If you would like to participate, email Vincente at Vbejarano@gmail.com or sign up next Sunday morning when he brings the calendar around.

A Day with Habitat for Humanity
Thanks to everyone who was able to participate in the Habitat for Humanity service project this past Saturday. We had a great time rolling paint, putting up baseboard, and hanging doors.

Pray for Mission Trips – June through July
Our church will be sending two teams on mission trips this summer. The first team is headed to Puerto Rico on June 26th and the second team is headed to Cuba, NM on July 10th. Pray that the Lord will use them to further the kingdom.


Who Do You Say That I Am? – Matt. 16:13-20

This past Sunday we looked at the profession of Peter in comparison to the testimony of the wider crowd. The true identity of Jesus is an essential belief for the Christian. Eternity hangs in the balance when it comes to the identity of Jesus.

Who do you say that I am? (vs. 15)

This question is really the fundamental starting point when we think about Christianity. We can answer questions about the existence and origins of the world, affirm historical events like the flood or Jewish exiles, and recognize the benefits of prayer and still miss cornerstone of Christian faith. It is this question that Jesus poses when it comes to establishing his church.

Caesarea Philippi had long been known for its pagan worship. It had worshipped Baal, the Greek god Pan, and finally Caesar himself. The history of the city had proven its confusions on which god truly ruled reality. Jesus sets out to make his identity clear in a place where false gods had come and gone at varying rates. He calls for decision on his identity from those people who follow him.

So…what is so fundamental about Jesus’ question? The answer is the difference between ultimate life and death. If Jesus is merely a prophet then we have not been saved from our sins. His death on the cross would be nothing more than another horrible crucifixion in a long line of bloody Roman executions. Jesus could be respected but not worshipped. He would point the way but not be the Way. If that is true then we should not believe the Bible and should forget about Christianity all together. Yet throughout our study in Matthew (and found in many of the other books) we have seen Jesus constantly pointing out and embodying his role as the Savior.

Obvious misconceptions about Jesus’ identity existed amongst the people during his time. Some, like Herod Antipas, think that Jesus is John the Baptist raised from the dead. Some people see Jesus as a prophet continuing the long line of godly prophets such as Elijah and Jeremiah. They see Jesus as a messenger who will ultimately steer the Jewish people back in the right direction and be a sign of the reestablishing of Israel.

Many misconceptions about Jesus’ identity still exist today. Jesus has been called everything from a great teacher, moral leader, prophet, spiritual guru, and brother of Satan. While some of these are partially true, none of them get to the heart of who Jesus is.

Jesus’ identity is an essential and non-negotiable belief. If we do not get Jesus’ identity right then his work on the cross means nothing to us and our salvation does not exist. We are most to be pitied if we follow Jesus but do not believe him to be the Savior.

You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (vs. 16)

In contrast to many of the other answers, Peter says that Jesus is the Christ. It is the first time that this term has been used to directly address Jesus. Christ means “anointed one” and would have special significance to the Jew. It would connect people to the anointed king David and remind them of the Messiah who will come from David’s line to restore Israel. However, we have seen already that Jesus comes to save all people and not just the Jews.

Peter also calls Jesus the Son of the living God. The reference to him as the Son of God points to his divinity. He is not a mere man but a divine Son who has been sent from the Father in heaven to save humanity.

Jesus is the Son of the living God. Unlike the gods in Caesarea Philippi, this God is living and active in the world. Jesus’ incarnation is evidence of God’s action in the world. He was sent by God to be the sufficient sacrifice that the people needed in order to be made right with God.

Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. (vs. 17)

Upon Peter’s confession, Jesus goes on to make three pronouncements about Peter.

First, Peter receives the blessing of God’s revelation. This revelation and blessing is given to Peter by God and not by man. Again, Jesus is no mere messenger. Peter has received this revelation from Jesus who is God. All authority given to Peter is given by God by way of Jesus. Additionally, this blessing seems to point to God’s sovereignty over his revelation and ultimately salvation.

Second, Peter is the rock on which the church is built. Jesus personally addresses Peter as the rock of the church (since Jesus shows some wordplay with Peter’s name). Peter will play a foundational role in the establishment of his church as we see in Acts 2. Peter’s confession is crucial to his role as the building block of the church. Furthermore, Jesus says that hell and Satan will not overcome the church. Peter will establish the church and it will stand up to the greatest of foes without being torn down. It’s enemies will seek to destroy it but Jesus has already declared that the church cannot be overcome.

Third, Peter is given the keys to the kingdom. Peter is given the authority to declare the terms on which people may receive salvation. We must be careful not to see this in light of human succession where power corrupts and authority is used as a means of oppression. This authority is given by Jesus himself and thus Jesus has provided the proper means by which it will be carried out. After all, God is sovereign.

How does this apply?

  1. We must recognize Jesus as Lord and Savior in order to possess true salvation. Jesus is both human and divine. He was sent by the Father to be a sacrifice of atonement for our sins. Jesus’ identity is tied to his fate. His humanity makes him a sufficient sacrifice while his divinity makes him the perfect sacrifice.
  2. The teaching of the apostles is ultimately the teaching of Christ. The Bible is a book inspired by the Holy Spirit and endorsed by Jesus Christ. We can trust the Scriptures since they were handed down to the apostles by Jesus.
  3. We must proclaim the truth of Jesus’ identity in a world of religious confusion. It is only through Jesus that men and women can be saved.

Announcements 5.17.10

Here’s the latest news and happenings in our class for this week:

40 Days of Prayer and Fasting – starts this week
Vincente Bejarano’s Sunday School class is organizing a 40 day fast in order to pray for our church, its leadership, and personal wisdom to live as Christians. Each person who signs up will be given one day to fast and pray each. The goal is to have 40 members signed up. If you would like to participate, email Vincente at Vbejarano@gmail.com or sign up next Sunday morning when he brings the calendar around.

Habitat for Humanity Service Project – Saturday, May 22nd
We’ll be lending a hand to an ongoing home building project in the Franklin area. The work day will last from 8:00 am – 4:30 pm. Our tasks will include layout and prep beds for landscaping, cabinet and vanity installation, finishing the porch rails and steps, and site cleanup. It is still not too late to sign up. Email Jaclyn Warren (jaclyn.warren@belmont.edu) if want to join the project. She will be sending along specific details about the day this week.


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