Psalm 127:1 Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.....
In a previous post we acknowledged that paganism contains the seeds of its own destruction, but if we chew on the words of Christ in John 14:15-31, we will be reminded that we have not been left as orphans and living our lives in post-Christian America will begin to seem a lot less like the "he left us, he left us!" scene from Jurassic Park and a whole lot more like reform in the midst of deconstruction which makes me think of Isaiah 61
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. 4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.......
Liberty is being proclaimed to the captives, good news for the poor, comfort for those who mourn that he may be glorified! What a beautiful picture of Christ and the gospel in the Old Testament and a reminder that he has come and that he is coming back. A prophetic message from a previous time in redemptive history, a time of deconstruction and restoration in Israel! Until he does come back for us, we wait patiently for him without panic or hand wringing as we look around at all of the trouble threatening us- the deconstruction of American life as we once knew it, generational poverty, drug addiction, churches turning inward as they struggle to survive, once faithful churches closing their doors, and other well-intentioned churches among us adopting the generic and therapeutic language of the culture in their attempt to be more appealing and attractive to people who have been hurt by sin and other sinners while worshiping and serving a different god in a christless christianity; a New Testament god who has been separated from the Old Testament to create a simpler christianity and a god who needs us to help people feel more accepted, who is more like us than the God of the whole Bible, and whose people are forgetting who God is (holy, holy, holy) and who we are- sinners who need Him to build His house through His Word, His Whole Word and nothing but His Holy and infallible Word. Which reminds me of and brings me to this:
John 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? 63 It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
Why do we have such a hard time believing in the power of God's Word? If we try to build His house by primarily filling bellies with things that merely satisfy physical and emotional needs while neglecting spiritual needs, what should we expect after they have eaten the things we provided them with that have not led them to find true satisfaction in the bread of life himself, Jesus Christ?
John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.
Reformation begins and ends with proclamation. The faithful proclamation of Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation by faithful ministers of the gospel who have been carefully selected based upon meeting the biblical qualifications of elders who have been trained to proclaim Christ and to shepherd His people, and who understand the importance of Biblical church government and accountability within the church so that the power that exists in the church is only Jesus Christ's and is not concentrated in any one person or group of persons because we are all fallible. Like the system of checks and balances found in the American system of government, this is what the Presbyterian system of church government seeks and when it does what it is supposed to do, it protects both the pastor from congregational witch hunts and the congregation from tyrannical pastors which is why we are Presbyterian by Conviction seeking reformation in West Tennessee, sort of like the English puritans who came to America as strangers in a strange land, who brought their ideas of religion and liberty with them, who are often misrepresented and misunderstood in our day, but who still say, "here we stand!" Not on the pronouncements of popes, or the decisions of councils, or the winds of popular opinion, but on "that word above all earthly powers", the Holy Bible, our only infallible rule of faith and practice and our Westminster Confession of Faith, one of our secondary standards, our guard rails of biblical historic Christian orthodoxy. Here we still are, calling upon the state to protect our Christian faith and focusing on our religion which shapes our personal and family identities while we live in covenant communities, striving to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Our purpose hasn't changed-
Wolf River Presbyterian Church endeavors diligently to promote a strong emphasis on exegetical preaching, most frequently through books of the Bible (II Timothy 3:16, 17). We will seek to incorporate substantive Bible study, a vital prayer life, and authentic fellowship into the life of the church (Acts 2:42), striving to see believers grow in their hunger for God’s Word, from the initial steps of Christian understanding to a mature faith (I Cor. 3:2; I Peter 2:2). Through an emphasis on the word of God we will strive to build one another up (Acts 20:32), teaching biblical principles as the foundation for holy conduct, beginning with the fathers and young men of our households (I John 2:13). It is our prayer that by equipping believers for the work of service in Christ’s Church (Eph. 4:12), mature believers may disciple and assist younger believers in their common goal – to give glory to God through the rearing of godly families (Deut 6:7), the demonstration of God’s mercy to those in need (Matt. 25:40), and the promotion of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15) first in our own community, and then in the world beyond (Acts 1:8).
"We shall be as a city upon a hill, the eyes of all people are upon us."~John Winthrop
So here we are, still standing, thankful to have literally made it on the map of missions, but there are still many mountains that need to be moved. Most of us believe that prayer is powerful, we tend to pray for health and safe travel, friends and family, but what if we believed that God would answer our most radical prayers? What if we asked Him to open the ears of the people who live in West Tennessee so that they would hear the Gospel, that the veil would be removed, and that the whole earth would be filled with God's glory!
Pastor Mark will NOT be leading worship services in Adamsville on the last Sunday of this month (May). However, you are more than welcome to join us for worship at Wolf River Presbyterian Church in Collierville, TN. In the mean time, we hope you will enjoy the sermon, "Having This Ministry" which is about veils being removed-
You can also learn more about living in post-Christian America here-
W. Robert Godfrey and Nathan W. Bingham take a few minutes to discuss the relationship between the church and state and how Christians can live faithfully even in a post-Christian culture.
We would like to invite you to explore Christ and Christianity with us as we grow in our knowledge of and love for our Lord. Please pray that the Lord would bless our Bible study, that it would grow into a true church. If you are looking for a good church home, we would like to be a good church home, we are asking God to provide the increase (1 Corinthians 1:3-6). We would love to have you join us, come as you are-
"But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
We meet every Wednesday evening at 7 pm and every Sunday evening at 5 pm for Bible study at 1st Presbyterian Church in Adamsville, TN 328 Old Stage Rd.
West Tennessee Reformed is a conservative Presbyterian church planting effort where Christ is preached consistently and where God speaks powerfully through his written word, The Holy Bible.