Posts Categorized: Articles

Old Testament Tithing Vs. New Testament Giving

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

Is “tithing” the duty of the Christian?  In this article we will examine every important passage on tithing in the Bible and get answers to a lot of our questions on it.  What does the Bible teach about tithing before the giving of the Mosaic Law?  What does it teach about tithing under the Mosaic Law?  What does the Bible teach about tithing in the New Testament? Further, what does the Scripture teach about giving under the New Covenant, and how is it different from tithing under the Old Covenant?  Read on and see!

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The Doctrine Of Scripture

Posted by & filed under Theology.

How do we know we can trust the Bible?  Why do Catholics accept writings that Protestants reject?  What does it mean when we say the Bible is inspired of God?  These notes were prepared to answer questions like these. 

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The Doctrine Of God

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Who is the God of the Bible?  What is He like?  This is a huge question, and we only begin to scratch the surface in these theology notes on the Doctrine of God.   

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The Doctrine Of Sin

Posted by & filed under Theology.

These notes delve into the relationship between Adam’s transgression, and how it affects the human race (if at all).  Are we really held responsible for Adam’s transgression?  If so, what are the consequences of our guilt? 

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The Doctrine Of Jesus Christ

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Who really is Jesus Christ?  Did He exist before being born into this world? What is the incarnation all about?  Is Jesus really the God who made all things?  Did He ever sin?  What offices does He function in?   

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The Doctrine Of The Holy Spirit

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Who or what is the Holy Spirit?  Is He a force, or power, or an actual person?  Is He equal with God, or merely another way of talking about God’s power?   What about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit? Is that something that a believer receives subsequent to salvation, or at the moment of salvation?  How does the Spirit sanctify believers?      

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The Doctrine Of The Application Of Redemption

Posted by & filed under Theology.

What is the “calling” of God? Does the Bible use that term in more than one sense?  Can this calling be resisted?   What are elements of true conversion?  What does it mean to be justified? Adopted? Sanctified?  Will true saints persevere to the end?  What is the meaning of glorification?       

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The Doctrine Of The Church

Posted by & filed under Theology.

What is the Church? When was it formed?  Why does it exist?  How is it to govern itself?  What are its ordinances?  What is the mean of baptism and the Lord’s Supper?  How is the church to discipline erring members?         

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The Doctrine Of Last Things

Posted by & filed under Theology.

We come finally to the confusing and perplexing subject of the Doctrine of Last Things?  What are the events associated with the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ?  When will the rapture take place? When does the millennium take place?  In these notes the strengths and weaknesses of 4 major millennial views are given. We hope these notes bring clarity of thought and help to you as you seek to understand the Last Things more clearly.           

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John Newton’s Letter to a Friend in 1762 on the Inefficacy of Knowledge

Posted by & filed under Theology.

To be enabled to form a clear, consistent, and comprehensive judgment of the truths revealed in the Scripture, is a great privilege; but they who possess it are exposed to the temptation of thinking too highly of themselves, and too meanly of others, especially of those who not only refuse to adopt their sentiments, but venture to oppose them.

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Notes on Systematic Theology

Posted by & filed under Theology.

The following notes were written to train up new leaders in the basics of sound biblical and systematic theology. I pray they might be a source of spiritual knowledge and growth in your life. Prepare yourself though– there is a lot here! But if you take the time to study through this material, you’ll have a wealth of good, sound theology. You can also find this material in smaller articles under Resource Center, Articles.  There it has been broken down to a single doctrine (e.g. The Doctrine of Scripture).  I gleaned material for these notes from many different sources, and due to a faulty memory, have not been able to footnote them in these notes. Please excuse me. 

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A Charismatic’s Quest For Truth

Posted by & filed under Theology.

This past summer (1998) I celebrated my 20th year as a Christian. For nearly the first ten years of my Christian life, I belonged to a charismatic church. As a young believer, I eagerly devoured the teaching I received. However, as I matured in my faith and my knowledge of Scripture increased, I found myself rethinking many of the doctrines I embraced so readily in my youth. In this article I want to describe three such doctrines, and how I came to believe differently through a careful study of God’s Word.

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The Canons of the Synod of Dort

Posted by & filed under Theology.

The Decision of the Synod of Dort on the Five Main Points of Doctrine in Dispute in the Netherlands is popularly known as the Canons of Dort. It consists of statements of doctrine adopted by the great Synod of Dort which met in the city ofDordrecht in 1618-19. Although this was a national synod of the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, it had an internationalcharacter, since it was composed not only of Dutch delegates but also of twenty-six delegates from eight foreign countries.

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Spurgeon’s Catechism

Posted by & filed under Theology.

A Puritan Catechism also known as “Spurgeon’s Catechism” compiled by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Heir of the Puritans”, “Prince of Preachers”

Though written about 200 years after the Puritan era, the work of Charles Spurgeon which we commonly refer to as “Spurgeon’s Catechism” was originally given the title by him of “A Puritan Catechism.” This was due to his great love of the Puritans and their writings and the fact that study of their catechisms and statements of faith were part of his inspiration in compiling his own catechism which was published in late 1855, when Spurgeon was only 21 years old. On October 14th of that year, Spurgeon preached “Sermon No. 46” to several thousand who gathered to hear him at New Park Street Chapel. The text that morning was, “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations” (Ps. 90:1). When the sermon was published it contained an announcement of this catechism.

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Jesus Christ – The Righteous Judge

Posted by & filed under Evangelism.

The most awesome event imaginable will take place on Judgment Day – that day in which every man, woman, boy and girl will stand before the Lord Jesus Christ to receive their final sentence, either of everlasting happiness and glory, or everlasting misery and torment.

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Does God Desire The Salvation Of All Men?

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Does God really desire the salvation of all men? Over the last two thousand years of church history there have been two major views held by Christians regarding this question. A closely related question is, “Why are certain people saved rather than others?” Calvinists claim that the deciding factor in a man’s salvation is God’s will while the Arminian just as decidedly affirms it is man’s will. The question really comes down to, “Does God’s sovereign will or man’s free will ultimately determine who will be saved?

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The Sinners Desperate Need for Sovereign Grace

Posted by & filed under Theology.

During the summer of 1991, my mind was arrested by the truths of sovereign grace. For a full year I could think of little else. I found myself delighting in God’s unconditional election, particular redemption, effectual calling, and final preservation of His people. However, these glorious truths would have little luster, and make no sense, if it were not for the Biblical teaching on the sinner’s desperate condition. It is not until we understand how serious the bad news actually is, that we are able to adequately appreciate how wonderful the good news is!

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Christ in Genesis, part 4 (Christ – Our Heavenly Bridegroom)

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Christ – Our Heavenly Bridegroom

Bible commentators have long seen in Genesis 2: 18-25 a picture of the union between Christ and His church. Before you brush aside that suggestion as the product of a fertile imagination, consider how the apostle Paul viewed Adam’s marriage to Eve. In Ephesians 5:22-25 Paul tells the wives to be subject to their own husbands, as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church. He goes on to tell the husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her.

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Christ in Genesis, part 3 (Christ – The Tree Of Life)

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Christ – The Tree of Life

Out of all of God’s creation, only two trees were given special names – the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The Lord God planted both of them in the midst of the garden. Evidently He wanted these two trees displayed in a very prominent position so that man might have free access to them. Notice that God gave no command that man should not eat from the Tree of Life. It would seem, rather, that He gave man every encouragement to come and partake of it, rather than the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.

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Christ in Genesis, part 2 (Christ Our Sabbath)

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Christ – Our Sabbath

Over the past two thousand years there has been much disagreement and controversy over the subject of the Sabbath. During the 17th century, the Puritans sought to enforce the Sabbath by having the civil magistrate fine offenders. The Seventh Day Adventists have historically taught that Sunday worship is the mark of the beast, and all that bear that mark will be cast into the lake of fire. Today, many churches will not fellowship with or partner in the spread of the gospel together with those churches that don’t hold their particular view of the Sabbath, although 99% of their doctrine is identical.

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Christ in Genesis, part 1 (Christ the Creator)

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Christ – The Creator

To be sure, Christ is the focus of the gospels, epistles and Revelation, but surely not an Old Testament book like Genesis. Not so fast! Jesus Himself taught that He was the central sum and substance of the Old Testament scriptures. He stated emphatically, “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me… For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote of Me” (Jn.5:39,46).

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The Suffering and Glory of God’s Servant

Posted by & filed under Theology.

Isaiah chapter 53 is one of the most wonderful and precious chapters in the entire Bible. Martin Luther, the great reformer, said that it ought to be written on parchment of gold and lettered in diamonds. It has been referred to as the “golden passional of the Old Testament” and the “holy of holies of Isaiah.” Nowhere in the Old Testament does the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ shine more brilliantly than in Isaiah 53.

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The Role of Women in Church Meetings

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

If the Bible teaches that our church meetings should be open and participatory, what role should the women play? This is a good question, and one that needs answering. There are two passages in the New Testament, which seem to place restrictions on women in the meetings of the church.

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Observing The Lord’s Supper

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

As I officiated over the Lord’s Supper on that predictable Sunday morning in November of 1995, I had a nagging feeling that something was not right. This particular communion Sunday proved to be little different from others we had celebrated in the past five years of my ministry as a teaching elder at Milpitas Bible Fellowship (MBF). I had read testimonies of saints in centuries past who found deep and intimate fellowship with Christ through this holy ordinance. I had believed and taught that the observance of the Lord’s Supper was a very special and significant occasion in the life of every local church. Why then, wasn’t it more powerful in my own life? The stark reality was that my own observance of the Lord’s Supper was neither very special nor significant.

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Discovering Participatory Church Meetings

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

The traditional Protestant worship service today strongly resembles a show business performance. In both we find ushers, programs, music, costumes, lighting, a chorus, a stage, a script, an audience, and a master of ceremonies. (Christian Smith, Going To The Root, Herald Press, p.88.) The congregation sits passively as the audience while the pastor performs. When the congregation is permitted to participate in the meeting, they are restricted to singing in unison, antiphonal readings, dropping money into the offering plate, and taking notes during the sermon. The ordained clergy are expected to perform all significant ministry. Meanwhile, ninety-nine percent of God’s people attend worship services Sunday after Sunday for years on end, without ever contributing any true spiritual ministry to the body of gathered believers.

Is this the way God intended for His church to meet?

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Discovering Interactive Teaching

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

The modern day “sermon” lies at the very heart of most contemporary “worship services.” It comes replete with many distinguishing characteristics. It often takes the form of a lengthy gospel message, being a “preaching” rather than a “teaching.” Additionally, it is usually delivered in a monologue lecture format, with no opportunity for feedback or dialogue from the congregation. Furthermore, there is no opportunity for anyone to question the teacher, evaluate the teaching, or spontaneously contribute an insight on the subject being taught. Morever, many believers today tacitly assume that the pastor is the only one who is uniquely qualified and gifted to teach the Word of God to the congregation. Finally, we assume that the way pastors deliver their teaching to the church is virtually the same as the way Christ, His apostles, and the early church taught their congregations.

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Discovering the Purpose of Church Meetings

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why the church of Jesus Christ assembles together? More importantly, have you ever searched the New Testament to seek the answer to that question? Many Christians reveal cloudy thinking when they state that the purpose of the meetings of the church is to worship, evangelize, or listen to a sermon. These may be the primary reasons for most church “services” today, but are they the purposes given in Scripture?

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Marriage And Divorce

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

I think we can all readily agree that the modern problem of divorce has hit epidemic proportions. In fact a few years ago I read that a jewelry store in Southern California was actually renting wedding rings! The problem of divorce has been getting worse and worse as the 20th century has sped by with very little, if any, relief in sight for this problem. Along with divorce comes multiple other problems, including the breakup of families, insecurity, loneliness, estrangement of children, and single parent families.

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How to Deal With Lust

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

We live today in a sex-crazed age where unbridled indulgence in sexual passion abounds. Lust is being promoted through the most powerful media ever known to man. Our preoccupation with sex is being used by advertisers to sell their products like the toothpaste ad which states that it “gives your mouth sex appeal”. Another ad sells shaving cream and declares “Take it off; take it all off.” Another sells detergent nicknamed “The Stripper!” Sexual lust seems to be the uninterrupted theme of our society’s entertainment. Americans have adopted the playboy philosophy – “if it feels good, do it — anything is OK, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.”

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How To Deal With Anger

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

Man’s first crime was that of murder. Gen.4:8 says “And Cain told Abel his brother, and it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him”. In our own day, we have seen the arrests of mass murderers whose names have become household words. Over 25,000 murders are committed in the U.S. every year. That’s approximately 70 a day! If we were to add suicide (self-murder) and abortions (pre-birth murder), the numbers would be staggering! Violence and killing fill our television and movie screens! Admittedly, most of us will never commit an actual murder. But Jesus is teaching us in this passage that if we manifest unrighteous anger, contempt or slander towards someone else, we have the seeds of murder growing already in our heart.

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The Master Artist

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

As good as these human artists are at their craft, I want you to direct your gaze to an even greater One. This Artist is not just good. He’s not just great. He’s the best there is! He’s perfect! He doesn’t just produce a work of art that closely resembles what He has in mind. He produces a work of art that is exactly what He has in mind! In fact, no one else is even in His league. He’s far greater than Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Rembrandt, or Picasso. This Artist is able to take any piece of canvass and transform it into a masterpiece. In fact, every work He begins ends up as a masterpiece. I’m speaking, of course, of God Almighty!

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The Believer’s Marathon

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

As difficult and grueling as a marathon might be for a runner, the Bible records another marathon that every Christian must run which is just as challenging. It’s the Christian Life, and it will take just as much discipline, fortitude and determination to snap the winner’s tape in heaven as it takes someone to finish the Boston Marathon down here!

In Hebrews 12:1-2, the main thought is found in the words “let us run.” All the other verbs in this text are secondary. They all spin off of this phrase “let us run.” God is calling us to run the Race of Life! He’s calling us to give the Christian life everything we’ve got, so that one day we will cross the finish line in heaven with joy!

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How To Study The Bible

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

The Bible is the most popular book the world has ever known. Year after year more Bibles are printed and sold than any other book in the world. In spite of the Bible’s popularity, however, comparatively few people actually read it. In the February 1, 1990 edition of USA Today, a poll taken only three months previously was cited indicating that only eleven per cent of Americans read the Bible every day, and more than half read it less than once a month or never at all. Why would the world’s most widely published and distributed book be read so infrequently?

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How Can I Be Sure I’m A Christian?

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

I think you will quickly agree with me that there are few questions that are as vital as this one! Whether or not you are a Christian will determine your eternal destiny. Whether you will spend eternity in the bliss of heavenly happiness or in the torments of the damned in hell will be determined by whether or not you proved to be one of God’s own people! With that much at stake, you bet it’s important that you’re SURE that you are a Christian! I want to be of some help to you in determining a solid, biblical answer to this question.

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What Is A Christian?

Posted by & filed under Christian Life.

What is a Christian? In our day and age there are numerous answers being given to that question. Some believe that anyone born in the United States is a Christian. Others believe that anyone who attends a Christian church is a Christian. Still others believe that anyone who lives an honest and upright life is a Christian. All of these definitions are faulty at best and eternally damning at worst.

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Jim Jones and Ted Robinson

Posted by & filed under Apologetics.

Recently I spent some time studying the life of the Reverend Jim Jones, leader of the People’s Temple which received worldwide news coverage after the 1978 mass suicide of 913 individuals in Jonestown, Guyana. What I read fascinated, angered, saddened and terrified me. The more I read, the more I saw definite parallels with Ted Robinson, pastor of Faith Community Church which my wife and I attended from 1980 to 1988. My wife and I rose in the ranks over time to become elders and part of the inner-circle of committed members at Faith Community. As I have studied the life of Jim Jones, I have been shocked and alarmed to observe so many parallels between the two men, but also relieved to find some important contrasts as well; these observations have helped me to formulate some important principles for anyone thinking about joining a church.

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A Weekend With the “Moonies”

Posted by & filed under Apologetics.

One of the characteristics of children that I have always valued is their readiness to take another person’s word at face value. In this respect, there is a wonderful innocence that is beautiful to behold in small children. It is only as we grow to adulthood that we lose that quality. Sooner or later we all must learn that it is not safe to take everyone’s word at face value. There are many people in this world who prey upon the gullible and unsuspecting.

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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ: Myth Or Fact?

Posted by & filed under Apologetics.

If someone is able to successfully dislodge the foundation stone of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the whole edifice of Christianity will come tumbling down. The apostle Paul said as much over 1,900 years ago when he penned these words: “…if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins… If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied” (1Cor.15:17,19)

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House Church

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

If the longing of your heart is to experience church-life New Testament style, then this booklet is written for you. It describes some of the exciting discoveries that the people of Milpitas Bible Fellowship made in the summer of 1996, that radically changed their whole perspective on what it means to be the church.

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New Testament Giving

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

If it is true that tithing was part of the Old Covenant worship of Israel, and has no practical bearing upon New Covenant Christians, the question naturally surfaces, “what does the New Testament actually teach about giving?” Surely the place for New Covenant believers to begin in their quest to understand God’s revealed will regarding giving is in the New Testament Scriptures.

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Biblical Eldership

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

Who does God want to lead His church? How is the church supposed to be governed? What is an elder and how is he related to a pastor? What is an elder supposed to do? How can we know who God has called as an elder? These are all important questions that need answering if we are to govern our church according to the will of God. Thankfully, the Bible has not left us in the dark in these important matters!

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The Ministry of Deacons

Posted by & filed under New Testament Church.

“You know, Lord, how I serve you with great emotional fervor in the limelight. You know how eagerly I speak for you at a Women’s Club. You know how I effervesce when I promote a fellowship group. You know my genuine enthusiasm at a Bible study. But how would I react, I wonder, if you pointed to a basin of water and asked me to wash the calloused feet of a bent and wrinkled old woman day after day, month after month, in a room where nobody saw and nobody knew.”

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