Wednesday, April 24, 2013

ARBCA GA 2013 - Day Two

Day two of the 2013 General Assembly began with a devotion by Pastor Patrick Harrison from Lafayette, New Jersey. Taking his text from 2 Timothy 1:1-9, he focused on the faithfulness of Timothy. Faithfulness was the hallmark of his life. He demonstrated it in his willingness to take a subservient role to his superiors. Pastor Harrison exhorted us to imitate the faithfulness of Timothy. He had a faith that was personal, sincere, and genuine. He maintained relationships that were spiritually beneficial and focused on those values that were eternal; he was well-nourished in the Word of God.

We conducted our annual ARBCA business meeting during the morning session. This was followed by a biographical sketch of John Chrysostom by Pastor Earl Blackburn from Shreveport. Chrysostom was the Bishop of Constantinople from 398-404. Referred to as the "Golden Mouth," he was known for his eloquent preaching while denouncing error and the "fashionable" Christianity of his day. He sought to maintain reverence in worship. While he was beloved by the common people his dogmatism created animosity among the elite, not the least being Eudoxia, the wife of Emperor Arcadia. This led to his eventual exile. His last words were, "Glory be to God for all things." We dismissed for lunch at 12:30 - sub-type sandwiches and chips.

We returned at 4:45 for the second of our theological discussions. The topic was "Two Kingdom Theology." The Christian lives in the realm of two kingdoms. While the Christian's allegiance is to the Kingdom of Christ, he is to acknowledge the legitimacy of the civil magistrate. This is consistent with our confession. While Christians may be involved in midst of their culture it isn't the church's business to insert itself into the culture. The issue of a "One Kingdom" theology is the position that the church (and the individual Christian) should expend energy in seeking to transform culture through their efforts. This is to see our role as that of co-redeemer. We reject the "One Kingdom" position. We are not able to make the ultimate change in our culture that can only take place through the Gospel and regeneration.

Supper today consisted of a taco meat over rice served with side trimmings of lettuce, cheese, peppers, etc. Dessert was a cherry crunch pie.
The evening worship service began at 7:00 p.m. with congregational singing. The singing of our assembly is always rich--a multitude of primarily male voices singing loudly, filling the heart with the praise of God. During the evening worship service Pastor Walt Chantry spoke on the "The Public Preaching of Christ." His text came from the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5-7. After setting an introduction describing the early preparatory years of Christ (Chapters 3-4) with Jesus entering the Temple at age 12, His baptism, and wilderness temptation, Pastor Chantry gave a verse by verse exposition of our Lord's sermon.
   (1)  Verses 3-11 - Jesus opens with benedictions to lift and encourage His hearers.
   (2)  Verses 13-16 - Special encouragement - Let your light shine that they might see your good works.
   (3)  Verse 17 - Jesus pivots and changes direction and directs attention upon Himself. In other words His sermon was Christ centered
   (4)  Chapter 6 - Practical instruction on worship, condemning the seeking of personal praise through our works, prayers, and fasting. The only proper motive is to be seen of God to His glory.
   (5)  Chapter 6:19 - Practical teaching on wealth demanding a sincere searching of the heart. Where is your attention, your priority? That which has captured your heart will direct your actions.
   (6)  Chapter 16:25 - Further practical teaching regarding worry.
   (7)  Chapter 7 - With this chapter we find the darker part of the sermon dealing with the question, "Who will enter." It isn't the one who says but the one that does. It is the righteous, not the lawless.
   (8)  Chapter 7:24 - The final illustration: The one who hears and does is building upon the Rock. What does your religious building look like? Are you doing our Lord's commands? Good works are evidence of true religion. Pastor Chantry closed with practical application regarding the lawlessness of our contemporary generation.

We ended our day physically spent but spiritually refreshed. Connecting with the brethren provides great opportunity for encouragement and gleaning from one another as iron sharpens iron.

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