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What an Overseer Must Be

1 Timothy 3:1, 2

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Last time we studied how a man “must be” in order to serve as an overseer in one of God’s local churches today. Now we are going to focus on the individual qualifications, and study what they mean and why God put them in the list. I remind you all these qualifications are to define the man and his character in the present. You will remember the theology of the NT teaches that God looks on and deals with a person as they are now, not as they were, or even will be. We may not impose on Scripture anything Scripture itself does not say! To do so is clearly violating Scripture. Read Rev. 22:18, 19. Just FYI Jesus is quoting Scripture here from Deut. 4:2; 12:32; and Prov. 30:5, 6 which all say the same thing. I’m using the outline of two respected expositors who suggest 4 general statements that summarize the qualifications for overseers listed in these 7 verses. So, 1st an overseer must be:

I. OBEDIENT IN OBSERVABLE BEHAVIOR – 2, 3.  There are 4 criteria that others must be able to see in an overseer’s daily life. The first two qualifications deal with the man himself. So an overseer must now be: A. ABOVE REPROACH. This does not mean a man must be sinless, or obviously no man could ever be an overseer. To be above reproach a man must be, one who cannot be attacked (even by non-Christians) because of his moral conduct. A respected theologian says the life of an overseer should be one that is worthy of imitation. The TDNT defines this word as meaning “not to be taken hold of.” It means that the man is now a man whose moral character is such that no one can charge him with anything that would make him unfit to hold the office. To make matters more serious, the man must be above reproach in all these things! He doesn’t turn them on and off for his convenience and benefit depending on the situation. Whether the man is in church or with unsaved, ungodly people, or with his family or at work, he is always above reproach. As a man grows in Christ and releases more and more of his own personal life to the control of God The Holy Spirit, he becomes “above reproach.” Becoming what God wants a person to become is the result of a teachable spirit. God not only uses His inspired, infallible, inerrant Word to teach people, He also uses other Godly men and women as examples, teachers and counselors. If a man will not allow himself to be guided and taught by other brothers and sisters, his heart is hard and arrogant! It is the attitude to minister that drives an overseer to be above reproach. Read Prov. 15:31-33 and 18:12. What do pastor, elder, overseer, bishop, deacon all have in common? 1st they are all titles. No one is born a pastor, elder, or deacon – or any other position in the Kingdom of God. Salvation is the 1st step in being fashioned by God to wear one of these titles. 2nd they are all earned titles. God never awards honorary titles to men who haven’t earned them in God’s school of re-creation and transformation. 3rd all these titles are awarded by God. He, and He alone, chooses who will be His leaders of His family! Every true overseer is a man whose heart is humble and pliable in God’s hands. Do you know why it is non-negotiable that a man be subservient and humble in God’s hands, and must be now above reproach? Because he is the tool God uses to teach you those works of the ministry Paul addresses in Eph. 4. If a man can’t be taught, he can’t learn. If a man can’t learn, he can’t teach! And if a man can’t teach, he can’t be an overseer!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

 

Well Done

Matt. 25:14-21

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. It is the desire of every Christian to hear the words “well done good and faithful servant” from The Lord Jesus. It will be an “added bonus” to hear Him say, “Share in your Master’s happiness.” This passage from Matt. 25 offers us at least 3 truths concerning “good and faithful servants. Notice 1st

I. THE SAVIOR’S RESPECT. One writer says, The Master’s “well done” is the greatest reward a loyal servant could have hoped for. We don’t often speak of “respect” coming from the Lord to His servants, do we! Our focus is on the respect we owe the Savior for all He has done for us just in our salvation. But the Lord does respect His servants. Read Jn. 12:20-26. You see, anyone who gives their life in service to God the Son will be honored by God the Father! Read Psalm 91:1, that person – the one who lives in verse 1 is the recipient of all God provides according to this Ps. Notice v. 15, 16. Again you will notice the person who receives respect and honor from God, is the one who both honors and respects God. God bestows respect and honor upon only those whose way of life demonstrates they respect and honor God in their daily living. When any true Christian, but especially a recognized leader in the local church, lives their daily life in such a way that others know they respect and honor God, Paul says that person is above reproach! Notice that the Savior’s respect to is in response to:

II. THE SERVANT’S RELIABILITY. The TDNT defines the word “good” as an adjective that expresses the significance or excellence of a thing or person. From a biblical viewpoint “good” means “pleasing to God” when it is talking about man; and “kind” and “good” when it is talking about God. In the NT Jesus declares only God is good! God demonstrates his goodness toward all men in salvation. God’s goodness is always demonstrated to all people everywhere. A reliable servant is a person who: 1. Has come to Christ for salvation; and 2. Has established Christ as Lord and Master of all their life. In the OT “faith” is always how man reacts to what God does. Read Deut. 7:6-11. God’s action was His choosing, loving and caring for Israel. God is faithful by his very nature. Man, on the other hand, must learn to be faithful to God. As man obeys God, he learns that God’s response to his obedience is blessing. Man also learns when he disobeys God, God withholds His blessing, which is viewed as punishment or discipline. The best definition of a faithful servant comes from Jesus Himself, and is recorded in John 12:25. In the NT “faith” is how man reacts to what God has done – at Calvary. NT faith expresses itself in a life that knows it will spend eternity with Christ. In the OT a servant was a slave in the sense that we think of slave. However in the NT, and in the light of salvation, slave becomes bond slave; or one who could be free on their own authority, but chooses to remain a slave under the control of their master. Today we would say such a person is one whose daily life demonstrates they are dedicated to walking in harmony with Scripture. Finally, we see  

III. THE SERVANT’S REWARD. There are perhaps several lessons to be gleaned here, but the point is the servant’s perseverance for the entire time the Master was gone, is rewarded in a two-fold manner. 1st The master compliment is extraordinary him with “well done.” The servant did not do just what he had to do to get by, he excelled in all his work for his master. 2nd The masters compliment is extravagant. The good and faithful servant received a much more than he had! Have you ever noticed God always gives, not just more, but much more!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

An Overseer “Must Be”

1 Timothy 3:2

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. As we continue our study through Paul’s 1st letter to Timothy, we come now to the biblical qualifications for church leadership. I like what one expositor says concerning this chapter. He writes, “Paul’s instructions here weren’t not merely a manual for church organization, but they were an effort to guarantee that new leaders in the church would have 1-commitment to Christ, and 2-would encourage godliness and unity.” If a man has not established Christ as the unchallenged sovereign Ruler in his own personal life, he is more committed to himself than the Savior. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit Paul gives us the qualifications for overseers or bishops or elders; for deacons; and for women who help minister in the local church.This list of character traits is not Christianity 101! This is advanced Christian character developed over an extended period of time as a result of concentrated effort to becoming as much like Christ as possible in this life. Let’s consider the individual qualifications. Notice 1st:

I. AN OVERSEER MUST BE! This 1st qualification is almost always overlooked because we don’t normally think of “must be” as a qualification, but as a verb. The word “must” is the qualifier, or how the man is to be. In its simplest form “must” means The character or necessity of compulsion in an event. In the OT the word “must” is often used to indicate the mandatory response to God’s Law as in Lev. 5:17 “If anyone sins…he shall (must) bear his iniquity.” Paul often uses the word in his writings to indicate certain character qualities are mandatory to carry out a particular ministry or event. The whole concept of the word “must” is extraordinary in that it gives us a clear picture of the compelling drive that comes from deep within the heart of the individual to do the will of God. It is that all encompassing desire that becomes the driving force in a man’s life to 1st surrender all his life to God in service; and 2nd to give the Holy Spirit unrestrained freedom to conform the man to the image of Christ. As a man who “must” live his life in complete harmony with all of Scripture, learns and grows in his understanding of what God has called him to do, the drive or the “must”- in him grows more and more powerful throughout his life. Such a drive or “must” cannot be sufficiently explained, it can only be experienced! The best summary statement of the whole concept of “must” is best explained in Scripture when John the Baptist says, “I must decrease, and He must increase.” Now someone might say, “Pastor you are painting an impossible picture here. No sinful man, even a redeemed man, is capable of such a life and lifestyle!” To that I would reply, kindly but firmly, Oh yes a redeemed man is capable of such a life and lifestyle! Because God cannot demand anything of us that is beyond our human capability! To demand of us what we cannot do is contrary to God’s nature and character. God cannot set us up for failure! It is God Himself that tells us we can do all things, how? Through Christ Who strengthens us! An overseer must “be!”

The simplest definition of the word “be” is “I exist, or I am.” Does that ring any bells? God tells Moses, “I AM THAT I AM!” It is one way to put into words that God has no beginning and no end. This same verb form is used by Jesus throughout His earthly ministry to reveal His divinity! The one statement that, I believe, shows Jesus was with The Father from the beginning is found in John 8:58 when He says, I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I am!” In our text when Paul says of an overseer, he must be, the verb form is present, active, infinitive. God is telling us that any man who is called by Him to the office of overseer must demonstrate these character qualities present – now. Each one must now “be” how the man is! They must also “be” active. “Be” is also infinitive! These traits are so well established in a man’s life there is no evidence that he will ever forsake them, or turn them off in his life. All of these character qualities define the man now, in the present! Listen! They don’t define or suggest what  he hopes to become as an overseer; nor do they define what he was in the past! If God kept reminding us of what we were, He would not be a God of forgiveness! God tells us through the prophet Isaiah, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgression for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” 43:25; Beloved, here is a truth to remember: Our salvation delivers us from all our sinful past, and always points us to our sinless future with Christ! We are going to look at each of these mandatory character qualities God has imposed on His overseers. Each one has its purpose, and you “must be” aware of them especially “now” as you prayerfully seek to find the man God has prepared to lead you. Stay tuned for, as Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

 

Train Up a Child

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Deut. 11:18-25

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. In the grand scheme of things it seems as though our 1st Crusader Thursday on Sept. 8th was just last week. Time passes quickly doesn’t it! David says in Ps. 103, “for God knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.” Ask a child how long they think 18 years is and they will probably tell you about as long as one of my sermons! Why 18 years? Because at 18 years old, in our culture and society is when our children are graduated from high school and begin life on their own! So if we use Moses’ example and 80 years is our “minute” here on earth, we have just a couple seconds to teach our children before they begin life on their own. Reality is that by the time they reach mid-elementary, they have already begun to form their own convictions about life. We all know the “do what I say, not what I do” philosophy doesn’t work! On the other hand the “what you do speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you say” attitude does work! So, the question becomes; what do your children “hear you do!” So that brings us to our passage this morning in Prov. 22:6. Throughout Scripture God always puts the primary responsibility of instruction on the father! Teaching most often is Mom’s responsibility. What is the difference? Instruction is defining what must be learned; teaching is demonstrating how the instructions are learned. Now listen, watch, listen! Here is how God intends for this to work. Dad is responsible to get into the Word and study. As Dad learns what God expects from His adopted children, he has a 2 pronged responsibility: 1 = he must study the Scriptures and live its doctrines in his own life. Not only is a man responsible to study the Scriptures and live his life in harmony with them, he is responsible before God 2 = to teach to his wife how she is to teach Biblical principles to the children. So with that let’s consider:

I.THE PARENTS’ RESPONSIBILITY = train up a child. Almost without exception the Hebrew concept of the word train insisted that the child was to begin learning the simplest truths of right and wrong as early as possible in the child’s life. So, how early in is as early as possible in a child’s life. Read Isa. 28:9, 10. The point being made in Scripture is that it is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children the Scriptures. Our Crusader program is not now, and was never intended to be the primary means for your children to learn the Scriptures. We might be your assistant teachers, but your assistant is all we can be! So parents the question is; to what have you dedicated your children to learning about the truth of right and wrong to this point in their life? Your parental responsibility to train your child carries with it:

II. A PROPER ROUTINE = in the way he should go. Another way to say this is “in the way God intends for all people to walk during this life on earth.” The right direction in life can be found only through a personal relationship in salvation with The Lord Jesus Christ. People prefer to believe they can come up with their own way and their own terms by which they will please God. Those same people then expect God to bless them, and receive them into His heaven, because they have been deceived into believing God is only good, loving, merciful, and forgiving; and they have not been taught that because He is all of those things He must also be righteous and just punishing all sin and evil to the fullest extent! When parents themselves become men and women of God, they train their children to become men and women of God. Finally, let’s consider

III. PATTERN FOR RESOLUTION. Every Christian parent wants their children to grow up and live a life dedicated to Christ. When Christian parents dedicate their own lives to Christ and invest in their children’s lives while they are young and at home, parents often think, “of course my children will continue to live the way we are teaching them. We all know Christian parents who have experienced heartbreak when their children leave home and leave their godly training packed up and tucked away in the closet with other childhood memorabilia! Hence, 1 reason for the proverbs! One writer defines a proverb as a literary device whereby a general truth is brought to bear on a specific occasion. He continues, “many of the Proverbs are not absolute guarantees for they expressed truths that are necessarily conditioned by prevailing circumstances.” Here is a biblical truth to remember: Scripture always teaches us how to be wise from God’s perspective, but it never forces us to apply its wisdom to our daily living! The prophet Isaiah told Israel, “this is the way, walk in it.” But no where do we read God ever forced Israel, or anyone else, to follow Him! If He did God would be a legalist! Each week your children have come to Crusaders we have made a sincere and serious effort to direct each of them in the way they should go. Parents it is your great responsibility to continue to teach them that way for the rest of your life!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

Leaders Must Be Servants

1 Tim. 3:1-7

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. In general when we think of a leader, we tend to think of someone with power commensurate with their position, or title. As you might expect, God takes a different approach to His philosophy of leadership.

To be one of God’s leaders, a person must 1st learn to be a servant. Read Matt. 20: 25 – 28; and 23:8-11. Just a reminder here; the central theme of Paul’s message in 1st Timothy is, sound biblical doctrine results in godly living. Pastors are to local churches today, what overseers were to churches in Paul’s day. An overseer was not a new concept. In Acts 14 and 20, we learn the position of overseers was already established. The ESV correctly translates exactly what The Holy Spirit wrote using the word, “if anyone aspires…” The KJV says, “if a man desires the office of a bishop…” The NIV says, “if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer…” Aspire means “to reach out” or “to reach for something.” In Scripture it carries the meaning “a clear and concentrated will which in all sobriety takes reality into account.” It always expresses a driving force that can’t be ignored. It is used to express the determination an concentration of Jesus when He set His face like a flint toward Jerusalem. Meaning nothing could keep Him from going there to accomplish the mission for which He came. The English translations seem to indicate a man might seek this position because being an overseer, or bishop, or in 21st-century language a pastor, is a noble task. Holding the office is a noble task, but only if it is acquired and administered according to The Bible. The Greek word “episcopos” from which we get our English word Episcopal is translated “overseer” in verse 1; Bishop in v. 2; and elder in 5:19. Because the words are used interchangeably we believe all pastors are elders, but not all elders, or overseers, or bishops are pastors. What’s the difference? The simple answer is the call a man receives from God to become a pastor. Here is a biblical truth you want to learn and remember: a true elder, or a true pastor, never seek the office of their own desire! In both cases it is always God that brings the office to the man!

Now, let’s take a closer look at this office! Scripture emphasizes 2 distinct truths concerning an overseer. 1st is the determination to persevere. The Holy Spirit gives us some further insight into the word “aspire” in 2:8 where we are told all men are to pray with uplifted and hands. Reaching out the hands toward heaven indicates that the one reaching, recognizes God as sovereign over all creation, and his own position as subservient to God! The single most compelling reason that an overseer is determined to persevere is because when he is alone with God, the man has absolute assurance from God that he has been called to his position by God! The certainty of the call not only drives a man forward in ministry it creates within him a 2nd truth which is a desire to perform. Paul says to be called by God to be an overseer is to be commissioned for a noble task! In its simplest form noble means “sound, powerful, vigorous, and excellent.” In the OT it often referred to outward beauty; for example in Gen. 12, the Egyptians saw Sarah, Abraham’s wife, as very beautiful. In the NT the word immediately takes on a different and much more pointed and substantial meaning! The word good, or noble, is elevated in significance and impact because it is the word Jesus uses consistently to describe how a person represents the kingdom of God, through the characteristics of daily living. As you begin to understand the accountability placed on an overseer, you begin to see why the office demands the highest qualifications. It doesn’t make any difference whether you use the word overseer, bishop, elder, pastor, and listen, deacon, the position those words identify is extended only to a redeemed heart; and the desire to wear the title or occupy the position can originate only in the throne room of heaven, and be brought into a man’s heart by God Himself! God often extends a “call” to a man of God to minister as an overseer, elder or deacon in a local church without extending that specific call to preach. Read 2nd Timothy 4:1-5. Beloved, we are watching verses 3 and 4 happen before our eyes. By the very fact those people do such things, they are advertising to all true men and women of God they don’t have a clue, and they most certainly do not understand the biblical meaning of overseer. Let me show you one more truth you must know concerning an elder, or overseer, especially one who is called to the office of pastor. Read Heb. 13:17. Now read Mk. 13:32-37.. Notice that while the man is gone his servants are responsible for continuing the work they were given to do. That mandate to continue to work is given to all servants not just overseers. I trust this gives you some insight into the office of bishop, elder, overseer, and pastor!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

 

A Message to the Whole Church

1 Tim. 2:13-15

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. Paul is telling Timothy how to deal with the false teachers in Ephesus who are spreading lies and causing some of the women there to act in less than a desirable way during worship. It should be noted up front, the problems Paul deals with here are not to be blamed on the women being addressed. The truth is some of the church leaders in Ephesus had diverged so far from sound Biblical doctrine they had, as one writer so succinctly says, “lost all semblance of godliness. They were apparently influencing women to follow them in their practice of contentious, self-seeking rebellion. Paul wanted to see the practice of serious Christianity make a return to Ephesus.” We might say today, Paul was encouraging and praying for revival in Ephesus. As often as not when women depart from sound biblical teaching and doctrine, it is because of ungodly men who have taken advantage of them. It should also be noted that not all the women in the Ephesian church were out of line. There were a large number of spiritually mature women who worshiped there. His message addresses:

I. THE DIVINELY ORDAINED STRUCTURE V. 13. Paul goes clear back to creation to use biblical history to show the chronological order in which God created man and woman. Paul is pointing out in Gal., and he does so again in Eph. that just because Adam was created before Eve, she, nor any other Christian woman is deemed to be less important in her ministry in the home and now in the local church! Remove the ministries that women contribute to a biblical NT local church and it will likely shrivel and die. By the fact that Paul instructs women to learn quietly and submissively – meaning without interrupting the service, and having a teachable spirit – he is not only addressing their behavior, he is at the same time – if you will – “putting pressure” on the men to submit themselves to Christ in the fear of God. It is the responsibility of the men to teach the women how to be submissive. We teach our wives and daughters how to be submissive by showing them that we submit to God, and all His Word in our daily lives. Biblical submission is not one of those things a man tells a woman “do as I say, not as I do,” but rather “watch me and I’ll show you.” We also show our wives how to be quiet before the Lord when we demonstrate to them we have a teachable spirit. A teachable spirit is an attitude that says, I can and must learn from God and other godly Christians. A teachable spirit is a major prerequisite for anyone to hold any position of leadership in the home and especially in the local church! If my relationship with God is not as one of His adopted children, my fellowship with Him is as His enemy. If my fellowship with God isn’t right, my fellowship with others can’t be right. If I mistreat others to have my own way, then God will withhold His favor, blessing, and many other benefits of life from me. Paul also teaches in v. 14,  

II. DECEPTION LEADS TO SIN. He again refers to OT history returning to the Fall. He makes a distinction between “how” Adam and Eve fell into sin. The Greek words Paul uses for “deceived” could be translated “utterly deceived,” meaning completely mislead in such a way Eve thought she was not wrong. We might say Eve believed Satan because what He was telling her seemed so right, it couldn’t be wrong. Ever think like that? Paul himself was deceived by sin into thinking putting Christians to death was actually what God wanted him to do. Even though Paul’s heart was changed, and he became one of God’s greatest champions; all the evil he caused, and those who died because of his hatred for the Gospel, was not undone after his salvation. Paul ends this section exalting the high position of women when they display a  

III. DEDICATION TO SCRIPTURE – 15. I said a few weeks ago, No one in their right mind believes Paul is teaching women receive salvation through childbirth! If you think about it, Scripture tells us salvation is purchased by Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection, not His birth! Women are encouraged throughout Scripture and especially the NT to exercise their spiritual gifts in the ministry of the local church. They are also instructed how to properly exercise those gifts so they don’t misrepresent God’s ordained order in creation and in the family structure. When a Christian woman exercises her spiritual gifts in the right way she receives great reward and satisfaction from God. We must always remember, as God’s adopted children, our life is not about us, it is all about Him!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.

 

The Message of Baptism

Rom. 6:1-14

We invite you to join us for worship each Sunday morning at 9:30. You can download our service on iTunes or tune in for “The Good Word” each day on AM 1230 WSAL or on Hoosier Country 103.7 FM just after 8am. As many of you know a fundamental, Bible believing local church, which is what BCC is, observes two ordinances. Those two ordinances are The Lord’s supper or Communion, and the other is baptism, which we are going to observe today. Everywhere in the NT the method or mode of baptism was by immersion or being put completely underwater and brought back up again. I will explain why immersion is the only method of baptism that correctly and consistently represents our salvation. The Greek word for baptize, both in Scripture and ancient Greek literature means “to plunge, dip, immerse” something in water. Rom. 6 is arguably the best summary of the doctrine of baptism in Scripture. Let’s examine this simple yet rich and meaningful ordinance of baptism. Baptism is 1st:  

I. A PICTURE OF REDEMPTION. Read Rom. 6:1-11. Every adopted child of God must remember that their entire life is a declaration to everyone who comes in contact with them. The last part of V. 4 telling us that as those who are saved, we walk in newness of life. When any person is saved, meaning they stop trying to impress God with their efforts to be good, or do good deeds, and place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, as their only hope of being forgiven for their sins by God. Nowhere does Scripture ever even hint at the idea that miraculous event of God’s grace and mercy bringing spiritual life to a heart that was dead in sin to life – be kept a secret. So how is baptism a picture of our redemption? Read Rom. 6:3, 4. In the act of Christian baptism when a person is laid-back and immersed completely under the water, it is a physical symbol of the person’s death to their old way of life. As we know, 3 days after He was buried Christ arose from the dead. His resurrection is proof that God accepted all He did to purchase our redemption. In Christian baptism when a person is raised from the water, it is a picture of their own beginning of a new life in Christ. At the instant a person is saved, God immediately adopts them into His family. It is for that reason that when a person is baptized they immediately become a member of the local church family where they are baptized. The message of baptism is also:  

II. A PROMISE OF REFLECTION. From a biblical viewpoint to walk in newness of life can be interpreted as actively participating in the doctrine of perseverance! You remember the doctrine of perseverance means: those who are truly born again will continue to live as Christians until the end of their lives. Walking is a journey that consists of many individual steps, taken one at a time. Being conformed to the image of Christ can be interpreted as the doctrine of progressive sanctification. You will remember from our study that progressive sanctification is the work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more and more like Christ in our daily living. Read Rom. 8:26-30. Every Christian is going to be conformed – 100% – to the image of Christ. If the desire to be redeemed is real, the individual immediately has a desire to learn to reflect the image and life of Christ. The promise of reflection leads to:

III. A PROFESSION OF RELIANCE. Read Rom. 6:15-19. James tells us to “submit yourselves, therefore, to God.” In order to learn to walk in newness of life a true Christian learns to rely on God 1st. God is always faithful and trustworthy. You can always trust God to do exactly what He says He will, in exactly the way He says He will do it. Redemption, salvation is one of the 1st steps any person takes in learning to trust God. If you believe God can, and will, save you when you ask Him, you can also believe and trust God in everything else concerning this life and the next. Read Eph. 4:11-16. There is also a profession of reliance on other Christians who are older in the faith, to teach new Christians how to live, by being proper examples to them. Almost every book of Scripture tells us to make disciples by teaching those younger in the faith how to live as God tells us. The message of baptism is a public declaration of our desire to follow Christ and His teachings. All who pass through the waters of baptism are making a public profession of their allegiance to live a life in harmony with Scripture, so they properly represent God’s kingdom. May this be our constant desire as long as we live!

If we can help you with your spiritual questions, call us at 574-643-9419.