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November 2019

Whatever Happened to the Doctrines of Regeneration and Sanctification?

In last month’s newsletter, I included much of a sermon by Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones on prayer.  The sermon was based on the text in Isaiah 64:1 in which the prophet cries out to the LORD, “O that you would rend the heavens and come down.”   According to Lloyd-Jones, this was really a prayer that God would show Himself, in a sense, by working powerfully among His people.  And, as Lloyd-Jones applied it, this is the great need of the church today.  Thus, it is something for which all of the church must pray.

And yet it does NOT appear that this is the primary concern of the majority of churches in our day.  Times of corporate prayer do not appear to be on the rise but on the decline.  It is easy enough to get Christians to a dinner, festival, concert, or sports outing.  But it is not so easy to get Christians to pray regularly - or to pray together.

Why?  I think that the answer is simple.  We have lost our belief in the absolute necessity of the supernatural, powerful working of God among us.  Specifically, we no longer believe in the doctrines of Regeneration and Sanctification.  Or, it does not appear so.

The biblical doctrine of Regeneration teaches that for a man or woman to repent of sin and come to Christ for salvation, God must work an inner change in them.  This is what was prophesied by Ezekiel when he declared God’s word that “He would change the heart of stone into a heart of flesh” - that is, that He would transform the stubborn heart so that it would bow to the LORD and be saved (Ezekiel 36:25-27).  And this is what Jesus was speaking of when He told Nicodemus that “unless he was born again, he could not enter the kingdom of God” (John 3:3-7).  Supernatural change is necessary for salvation.

Similarly, the biblical doctrine of Sanctification teaches us that when God saves someone, He makes them a “new creation” so that “the old [life of sin] passes away” and “all things become new” (2 Corinthians 5;17).

Yet Christians have become so affected by secular culture - and so inundated with self-reliance and pragmatic methodology in our approach to ministry in the church - that we have at best, effectively pushed these doctrines to the background, or at worst, we no longer believe them.

And what is the result?  For one, there are people in many churches and denominations (including our own, the PCA) who argue that a person can be a Christian and still be gay.  Why?  Because God either cannot, or does not care to change the heart, the will, and desires.  We used to believe that He did, but no longer.

Further, because of our move away from these doctrines, we do not preach God’s Word faithfully, and we do not preach the  true Gospel .  Because we do not believe that God can and must change the heart in order for a person who hears the truth to be saved, we rely on what we can do to get someone to “be saved.”  This is why, for example, many now try to make the Bible compatible with the theory of evolution.  They think that intellectual types, or the younger generation will not listen to the church if it holds to positions that are despised and ridiculed by the secular scientific community.  Others try to tweak or edit out of the Bible the “offensive” or unbelievable parts.  Why?  Because they might cause someone to reject the Good News of Jesus Christ as simply a fable.

But if we understand that God can and must regenerate and sanctify lives (both of which involve miraculous internal and external change), we will understand that what the world needs is not more culturally sensitive or more intellectually acceptable presentations of God’s Word or the Gospel.  And we will know that there can be no acceptance of sin - either internally or externally - as just part of who we are.

We will preach not a new modern message, but the same one “once delivered to all the saints.”  And we will devote ourselves to prayer.

Pastor Dave

 

 

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Operation Christmas Child

Dayspring will be collecting shoeboxes for children around the world as follows:

Monday, Nov 18th - 4 to 6 PM

Tuesday, Nov 19th - 4 to 6 PM

Wednesday, Nov 20th - 4 to 6 PM

Thursday, Nov 21st - 4 to 6 PM

Friday, Nov 22nd - 4 to 6 PM

Saturday, Nov 23rd - 9 - 11 AM

Sunday, Nov 24th - 1 - 3 PM

Monday, Nov 25th - 9 - 11 AM

Call Mary Ellen at 478-394-0443 if you have questions or would like to volunteer to help with this project. 

Shoebox Packing Party - Bring a dish to pass and an interest in showing God's love to others on November 10th. We will stay after church to pack our 150+ shoeboxes and enjoy Christian fellowship together. NOTE: We will not meet in the evening following the packing party.

Donations Needed - The task of sending shoeboxes to over 100 countries requires some background work like printing gospel booklets, training teachers, and shipping the boxes across the ocean. We want to send at least $1350 along with our 150 shoeboxes in order to cover these necessary expenses. Please mark your donations in the collection plate as "Operation Christmas Child."

National Collection Week - The sign-up sheet is in the hallway for people willing to be the hands, feet, and smiles of God as churches and individuals bring their shoeboxes to us from November 18-25. There is a task for everyone and we need everyone's help to do a good job. See Mary Ellen if you have questions.

WIC – The WIC meeting will be held at the home of Lou Cindy Calhoun on November 12 at 7:00 PM. Dianne Elliott will provide refreshments. We will continue discussing “The Envy of Eve”. If you haven’t paid for your book, the cost is $8.00 payable to the church and can be given to Jill Haas.

Missions Conference 2020 is set for March 6, 7, and 8. Mark your calendars!!