Thursday, December 11, 2014

Geoffrey R. Kirkland

Every pastor hears it. Every shepherd receives that phone call. Every minister faces the same question. Someone comes to the elder and says that he doesn’t feel plugged in because the church doesn’t ‘have what I need.’ Or, to phrase it slightly differently, a churchgoer may quibble: ‘I don’t feel as though I can relate all that well to others in your church. There’s not that many people my age’ (or, my season of life, etc.). Every man of God serving in leadership in Christ’s church has been there. He’s faced it. He’s dealt with it. So, how do you involve various and all age groups into the beautiful and unified body of Christ in a local assembly?

A local church will have lots of groups, from twenty-somethings, to high school students, to the divorced, to the widowed/widowers, to the middle-aged singles who have never been married, to the teenagers, to the empty nesters, to the hurting ones who have been divorced, to families with young children, to the young children themselves, and to senior saints.

What follows does not attempt to exhaust ideas as to how to incorporate various age groups but it does seek to provide some ideas as to how a local assembly can corporately worship together and consciously, deliberately, compassionately, and patiently extend the arms of Christian love to any and all ages in the body of Christ.

1. Teach on the BEAUTY OF THE CHURCH.
Jesus does not define the body of Christ by class, race, age, gender, cultural background, likes, hobbies, or interests. Rather, the church consists of all those whom Christ redeemed with His own blood. The church serves as a mosaic of God’s glorious power, majesty, and creativity. The church comprises both Jews and Gentiles who have come together in Christ to worship Christ! Teaching this, and reinforcing this with regularity, is necessary in reminding everyone of the church’s beauty, diversity, glory, and vastness.

Whether the instructions are directed to the five year old boys, or the teenagers, or the emotionally crushed divorcees, or the senior saints, all must hear the important reality that they must listen attentively to the Word of God. They must engage their minds. Jesus calls for it and demands it. Let him who has an ear, let him hear! Church leaders must call for young and old, regardless of the season of life, to pay attention to the Word preached as a precious jewel that was cast forth.

3. Instruct to show MERCY TOWARD ONE ANOTHER.
Ministers should patiently and tenderly instruct all ages to demonstrate supreme mercy toward one another. Older saints should have mercy toward younger families with toddlers. And teenagers and twenty-somethings must exude overwhelming honor and grace toward senior saints who move slowly down the aisle in the sanctuary. The body of Christ must live with mercy and compassion toward one another. A church that encourages all ages to be present in corporate worship must remember this with frequency and strive to confess failures and implement change where needed.

The same gospel that the stay at home mother of four needs is the same gospel that her one year old, three year-old, six year old, and eight year old need. This gospel is the same gospel for the eldest saints who grow ever closer to graduating to heaven and for the teenagers battling with the cultural onslaught of pressures, sins, and temptations. It’s the same gospel for the businessman as it is for the middle-aged single woman who has never been married. The gospel that saves is a gospel that far surpasses the entire universe of background, age, and past histories. The gospel is not bound to an age group. The gospel must never be changed, manipulated, altered, or more palatable for various age groups. The little ones learning to walk need to hear of God’s glory, His justice, Christ’s righteousness, His atonement, repentance and faith, and their full surrender to Christ for life in the same way as the empty nester couple remembers the glory of the gospel.

So how does one really plug into the church? Is church involvement really dependent upon one’s age? What a church has to offer? What programs the church presents? Are these really the issues that get people plugged in and keep them involved? Or is there something deeper — and more biblical — that can shed light on this? One should recall that Moses discipled Joshua. Paul discipled young Timothy. Godly men are to take spiritual truths and pass it on to other faithful men who can teach others also. Titus 2 commands older women to take younger women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, submissive to their own husbands — all so that the Word of God will not be dishonored. Imagine a church where older men (empty nesters, senior saints, fathers and husbands) came alongside of younger men (new believers, teenagers, young dads, new husbands, twenty-somethings) and walked with them weekly in the Word of God and in prayer. Consider the beautiful portrait of women meeting with other women for regular prayer, fellowship, discipleship, comfort, encouragement, and stimulation to love and good deeds. Singles could meet with young moms at their home while the kids are napping. Senior saints could reach out to the hurting divorcees. A culture of discipleship should repeatedly be reinforced in the local body. Indeed, the dads have the responsibility of shepherding and discipling their own children first and foremost. God instructs fathers particularly to instruct, discipline, disciple and pass on God’s Word, God’s works, and God’s ways to the children in the home throughout the week. In a church culture like this, not one person is left out. There is a place for everyone since the heartbeat of this kind of ministry is people-work, discipleship work, intentional life-on-life growth.

6. Pray for the UNCTION OF THE SPIRIT.
The only way true godliness can pervade the local church is when the Holy Spirit effectually implants His Word into people’s souls. Thus, the power to bring about change and growth in a local church resides in the Spirit of power. Believers must pray in the Spirit for godliness. Christians should cultivate holiness and prayerfulness in seeking to honor God and magnify Christ, all by the power of the Spirit through the reading and application of the written Word. The ultimate need of every soul irregardless of age, season of life, background, or status is the same. All men need the gospel of Jesus Christ. All must hear of their pervasive sin, God’s unbending righteousness, His supreme mercy, Christ’s once-for-all atonement, and the demand for repentance and faith in counting the cost to follow Him. The Holy Spirit raises the dead. He opens blind eyes. He unlooses mute mouths. He gives a heartbeat to the lifeless corpse. He makes men twice-born, that is, born-again. In the fabric of the local church, all believers must remember that the ultimate need that everyone has is the hearing, receiving, applying, delighting in, and submitting to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is made effective through the preaching of the Word and its application all by the effectual power (=unction) of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, instead of suggesting that a local church does not have the demographic preferences that one may hope to find and thus allowing that to serve as an excuse to leave a good, Bible-teaching local church, one should reconsider the importance of diligent and deliberate discipleship that biblically should come through the ongoing ministering of the Scriptures to one another. Indeed, every single Christian has the responsibility to warmly accept other believers into the fellowship regardless of these cultural (preferential) issues and strive to incorporate all people into the discipling web of interpersonal relationships built on Christ, Scripture, prayer and holiness. Amen.

Download the pdf essay here.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

“Holy to the LORD” [קֹדֶשׁ לַיהוָה]
The Mark of the Minister
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

In Exodus 28:36, God instructs Moses that he should make a plate of pure gold and shall engrave on it, like the engravings of a seal: ‘Holy to the LORD’. And this plate of pure gold shall rest upon Aaron’s forehead (v.38). In reflecting on a similar parallel for the minister of the gospel today, he should also have a sort of engraving that sets him apart as a man wholly devoted to the LORD.

In pondering this very phrase, I see a few marks that every minister of the gospel should have this engraved on him that distinguishes as singularly minded man with a God-given mission and a God-driven passion. In a word, the mark of the minister should be that he is a holy man entirely devoted to the LORD.

1. Holy in his SOUL
The man who serves as the minister of the Lord must be holy in his soul. This means that this man must be soundly converted; that is, set apart in his soul. He must be a new creation. The old things have passed. Old desires, wishes, ambitions, pursuits and interests are all delightfully superseded by a ravishing new nature that loves Christ Jesus.

2. Holy in his HEART
God requires that those who approach Him in worship must have clean hands and a pure heart. This no less applies to the ministers of God who have His Word, preach His Word, and call sinners to repent and follow Christ. This man must be set apart for Christ in the innermost recesses of his heart. His passions and affections long for Christ alone.

3. Holy in his THOUGHTS
That which permeates the minister’s mind are ravishing thoughts of Christ, mind-boggling realities of the gospel, supreme enjoyments of God’s character, and relentless compassions to urge the hellbound to be converted. This man is set apart in his thoughts. He has nothing else that consumes his mind save the holiness of his heart and life.

4. Holy in his MOTIVATIONS
The minister of the gospel lives for One. He fears no one but the LORD. His motives are for the glory of Christ. He always lives and thinks in the immediate presence of God. Thus, every motive, every intention, every purpose of his life should be set apart for Christ, for His glory, for His renown; not for self-promotion or self-aggrandizement.

5. Holy in his CONDUCT
If God has called a man out of darkness to Himself and has set him apart for the Master’s use, then the true minister manifestly and aggressively pursues holiness. He zealously fights for holiness. He must be holy in his life. He must be set apart from the world. He never strives to be like the culture; He must, by God’s divine mandate, be different, set apart, and entirely devoted to God’s work, in God’s way, in God’s likeness, for God’s glory. This demands his holiness.

6. Holy in his WORSHIP
The main worship leader in corporate worship is the preacher. He sets the tone for everything. He sets the key and carries the tune. He must be wholly given to adoration and praise as he response to God’s revelation in His Word. He occupies himself with God. He worships throughout the day. Worship describes him. And, worship delights him.

Download the pdf article here.

Friday, December 5, 2014

JC Ryle describes the day of judgment:

Believers and unbelievers, holy and unholy, converted and unconverted, are now mingled in every congregation, and often sit side by side. It passes the power of man to separate them. False profession is often so like true, and grace is often so weak and feeble, that, in many cases, the right discernment of character is an impossibility. The wheat and the chaff will continue together until the Lord returns. But there will be an awful separation at the last day. The unerring judgment of the King of kings shall at length divide the wheat from the chaff, and divide them for evermore. The righteous shall be gathered into a place of happiness and safety. The wicked shall be cast down to shame and everlasting contempt. In the great sifting day, every one shall go to his own place.

--Expository Thoughts on the Gospels: Luke (p.97-98).

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

This brief essay serves to ask heart-probing questions so as to gauge my heart and my love for Christ. May I rehearse these questions frequently so as to ensure sexual purity in the ministry for God’s glory and for the good of my soul.

1. Do I love Christ passionately?
I will always pursue what I love most. Do I love Christ or do I love sex? Do I love temporal, immediate, sexual pleasure more than I enjoy the lasting, eternal, full pleasures of Christ? If I am loving Christ passionately, fully, diligently, daily and savoringly then I will not live a life pursuing sexual immorality in any of its forms.

2. Do I really meet with God in prayer daily?
Not do I ‘say my prayers’; but, do I really meet with, commune with, fellowship with and enjoy intimacy with the Living God? Meeting with God and speaking to Him (prayer) and hearing from Him (Scripture) can safeguard us from the wily and seductive lures of immorality.

3. Do I spend too much time online simply 'browsing' blogs/sites?
With all the bad that exists online, there are tremendous and abundant resources for biblical study, theological dialogue and counseling tools. But even though I may not be looking for porn, it may come looking for me while I’m harmlessly browsing a blog or a site when a pop-up appears. Get online, study, then get off. Don’t browse aimlessly.

4. Do I enjoy marital intimacy frequently with my beautiful bride?
One of the God-given safeguards for immorality (physical or cyber) is the full, intoxicating lovemaking between a husband and his wife. Do I enjoy my wife? Do I serve her? Do I please her? Often? Regularly? Diligently? Passionately? If not, I’m already heading down a dangerous path. Begin now to invest all my efforts and passions toward my wife!

5. Do I have any relationships, occasions, or appointments where I may be alone with a woman other than my wife?
As I look at my calendar, my phone, my texting conversations, my Facebook messages, the pictures I peek at, is there anything where I may be alone with a women who is not my wife and I’m hiding it? If so, cut it off immediately! Flee and forsake it!

6. Do I have anything in my heart/life/mind/ministry that I'm unwilling to disclose to my wife?
A shepherd deals with sin constantly. Of course, his own sin first and then the sins of the flock that he shepherds. But is there any issue, relationship, conversation, woman that I’m afraid to disclose to my wife? Am I honest with her?

7. Do I welcome other godly men specifically asking me about my own sexual purity?
Not the simple question: “Are you pure?” Everyone could subjectively answer affirmatively to that. But are there men who really love me and men that I ask (and beg!) to probe into my heart, my desires, my internet searches, my internet usage, my relationship with my wife? Men, probe into my life! Men, ask me anything! Dig and dig and help me!

8. Do I hate it when I do sin sexually & do I repent of it seeking to mortify that hellish dragon?
What is my attitude when I do lust after a woman? How do I respond after I’ve fallen? Do I hate it? Do I despise it? Or am I ‘that guy’ with a ‘beloved/cherished/pet sin’ that I’m unwilling to slay with the death blow? To repent is to hate, forsake, confess and replace it zealously!

9. Do I earnestly pursue & diligently pray for aggressive holiness?
The greatest weapon is the Word and prayer! Hear from God (Scripture) and then speak to Him (prayer). Do I passionately, urgently, frequently, intentionally pray and beg God to make me pure, holy, above-reproach entirely? Do I pray this before I give in to lust? Pray before you begin the day for God to grant abundant purity in heart, mind and body.

10. Do I rehearse in my mind the devastating effects that falling sexually would have on my marriage, family, and ministry?
Countless consequences would crush me if I were to fall sexually! Rehearse them frequently! Remember them often! Fear lest you give into sin! Remember that I would dishonor Christ, I would lose the pastoral ministry, I would be disqualified, I would use the trust of my wife and my children. I would disappoint those whom I’ve discipled, led to Christ. People would see me as a hypocrite and as man unwilling to mortify sin. Satan would gleefully rejoice and the world would have yet another bit of ammo to shoot at the hypocrisy of ‘Christians’. O flee! Flee hard! Flee fast! And fear Christ and His discipline enough to passionately pursue holiness!

Download the pdf article here.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Beginning Sunday, December 7th, Christ Fellowship Bible Church will launch a verse-by-verse expositional preaching series through the Book of Revelation.

This study will help you understand the glory of Christ & His triumphant victory over the forces of evil.

CFBC takes a futuristic premillennial position regarding the hermeneutic (='how to interpret') the book.

Revelation 1:19 provides its own outline of the book:
Revelation 1:19 – "Therefore write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after these things.

Christ tells the Apostle John to write the things...
1. Which you have seen (PAST) — chapter 1
2. Which are (PRESENT) — chapters 2-3
3. Which will take place after these things (FUTURE) — chapters 4-22

Join us at 4:00PM every Sunday at CFBC. Or, if you can't join us, the sermons will be online at the media page.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

9 Motivations for You to Repent Now!
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Bible teaches that today is the day of salvation. Now is the acceptable time for sinners to repent. God always promises to forgive when sinners repent of sin but God never promises the sinner tomorrow so that he can repent of his sin then. So, this brief writeup lists nine compelling motivations for sinners to repent now. Come to Christ today! Turn from your sins now and live!

1. The shortness of time!
You must number yours days. Time on earth will not go on forever. People are not immortal. Humans are eternal beings but not immortal beings. You will live on forever. Your life, dear friends, is but a candle, for it’ll soon go out. Your life is but a shadow that quickly passes by. One’s existence is but a sunset that begins and after but a few passing moments it is gone. Your life is like steam on a hot cup as it goes up and then it’s gone forever. God lovingly beckons you to come now when he says: Today if you hear his voice: do not harden your hearts (Heb 3.7-8)!

2. The concern for your soul!
Thomas Watson helps us imagine this: O horrible day, when Jesus Christ clothed in his judge's robe shall say to the sinner, “Stand forth; answer to the indictment brought against you.” Have you forgotten that your soul will live on forevermore? You will everlastingly live in either eternal glory in heaven or eternal torments in hellfire. Do you live careless about your own soul? Do you apathetically live as to the future punishments that really, literally, and immediately await you at death? Death is sure. Your soul will live on. Hell is real. Out of care for your soul, repent today.

3. The evil of sin!
Sin is the ultimate treason against God. The vileness of sin manifests itself as it transgresses the Word of God, it incites the holy anger of God, and it fuels the fires of hell. Do you see your sin as treason against God? Do you view your sin — all of your sins and your sin nature — as rising up in protest against God’s sovereignty? Until your sin be bitter, Christ will not be sweet to you(Thomas Watson).

4. The awfulness of hell!
The rich man died and immediately entered hellfire. He lifted up his eyes while being in torment. He was in flames, in agony, and in eternal conscious punishment. He remembered his family, his brothers, the opportunities he had to repent, and he felt the flames of fire that engulfed him then and would be his pillows forevermore. All who die impenitent (=without repenting) will enter hell. All who hope to repent and die in that state will enter hellfire. All who plan to repent but never genuinely repent will die and perish forevermore. Hell is real and it is awful. It is dreadful and it is punishment from the Almighty hand of God upon every individual sinner without rest, without relenting, without ceasing, without mercy forevermore. O repent now!

5. The mercy of God!
God tenderly says that now is the acceptable time and today is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6.2). God’s mercy awaits penitents to come before Him with broken and contrite hearts. And God’s mercy engulfs the sinner and casts all his iniquities into the depths of the sea since He punished the sin upon Christ, the Lamb of God who offered an eternal redemption. You should repent today because God’s mercy is available! God graciously, tenderly, patiently commands you to repent! God’s mercy will not remain forever. The door will shut one day. The opportunity to reconcile with God will end one day. The gate will be closed and locked and will shut out forever all the impenitent. Do not refuse to repent! God’s mercy is available! Turn to Him now.

6. The love of Christ!
The heart of compassion that Jesus has ought to motivate you to repent today. Jesus told the paralytic: “Son, your sins are forgiven” (Matt 9.2). Jesus said to Simon regarding a great sinner in the city: “her sins, which are many have been forgiven” (Luke 7.47). The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins (Matt 9.6). Christ calls on men and women to come to Him! All who are weary and heavy laden, He beckons to come! All who thirst can drink bountifully in Him! The love of Christ which is sweeter than the most pleasant delight on earth should compel a sinner to come to Christ now. The love of Christ now calls you to come. The same Christ will one day bring a sword to slay all His enemies with unrelenting fury and justice and sentence them to eternal hellfire under His wrath. Now, the love of Christ calls you! Come to Him at once!

7. The joy in life!
An infinite bounty of perfect delights reside in God Himself. All joy is directly related to God and His glorious perfections! One cannot ever be happy till He finds happiness in Christ! One will never set his heart upon true joy until he leaves sin, forsakes it at once, hates it and all of its manifestations, and clings to Christ Jesus in true faith. J.C. Ryle stated that you’ll never be happy till “God is upon the throne, and sin cast down and put out of doors.” Do not linger in your unrepentant sin. Do not dally in your course of hidden sin. Do not suppress the cherished sins you refuse to mortify. Slay them for the greater joy of knowing Christ! Come to the Risen and Living and wondrous Savior immediately.

8. The hope of heaven!
The Word of God informs that there joy in heaven over a sinner to repents. As praise is the music of heaven, so repentance is the joy of heaven (Thomas Watson). May the joy of heaven abound as sinners come to the Savior today. This joy of heaven will eternally be enjoyed by every blood-washed sinner. This permits him to live with an enduring, steadfast, confident hope of heaven. All who repent from sin and trust in Christ have the sure destiny of heaven. You can live with expectancy. You can live with God-centered perspective and heavenly-minded ambitions. Repent now and have the hope of heaven! Repent today and have an unshakeable hope.

9. The stupidity of procrastination!
Many now reside in the flames of hell who once had hoped to repent and come to God. Lots of moral churchgoers have experienced the righteous justice of God because they procrastinated and thought they could repent and turn to Christ later in life. But that ‘later day’ never came. Indeed, a hard heart is the worst heart (Thomas Watson). Procrastinating is the vice that sends many ethical citizens and moral teenagers to hell. Many are now in hell—who purposed and intended to repent! (Watson). God tells sinners not to harden their hearts and not to refuse God who speaks to them. God spoke to the people in the wilderness but they refused to repent. They were stubborn and stiff-necked. They were obstinate people who died in the wilderness and perished forevermore. Christ came down from heaven so that men would look upon Him as the Bread of Life and feed upon Him now! God never promises tomorrow. He graciously grants you this moment! Look to your sinful condition and see your helplessness and hopelessness! Look to Jesus Christ and see His righteousness and His satisfactory atonement. Turn from your sins and live! Refuse to plan for this at a later time. Be diligent to come to God today! Leave everything and come now!

Download the pdf article here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

What To Repent Of?
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

1. Repent of your public, known sins.
Make it your ambition to come before the Lord and ask for His mercy for your public and known sins. That is, make known the sins that you’ve committed in public, that you know about, that others know about.

2. Repent of your hidden, private sins.
Uncover the hidden, deep, dark recesses of your private sins to the Lord. He sees it all and knows them all anyway. Uncover the deep blackness in the well of your heart. Bring it to light. Let the blackness of sin be cleansed by the crimson blood of Christ. Uncover and repent of these.

3. Repent of that ‘pet/darling/favorite’ sin that you won’t let go of.
Come to the Lord and earnestly beseech God’s mercy for that one sin that you repent of often. That ‘darling’ (pet, cherished) sin that you have, that you fight against, that you repent of often, and that you are most afraid of — or unwilling — to give up. Repent and surrender that to Christ.

4. Repent of your lack of serving family members at home.
True religion is lived at home. What you really are is evidenced by the pattern of conduct that you have with the family. Repent of the friction, the impatience, the lack of serving others, the selfishness, and the lack of compassion that you have demonstrated toward others.

5. Repent of your coldness of love toward the Father, Son & the Spirit.
God yearns that His elect Bride would passionately love Him with a blazing hot zeal. Sadly, many things distract us and cool our passion for God. Confess and turn from the coldness of your love to each of the members of the Trinity — the Father for His sovereign love, the Son for His glorious redemption and sufficient righteousness, and the Spirit for His regenerative power and His transforming work.

6. Repent of the littleness of your faith in fervent, ongoing, daily prayer.
Pray and repent of the littleness of your prayer. O that God’s people would increase in fervent prayer. Repent of the infrequency of your outbursts of prayer. Confess the redundancy and tendency of your prayers to become rote and heartless. Repent of this and seek to bring about change.

7. Repent of your laziness in bible-reading, bible-memorization, and bible-meditation each day.
To feast upon the Word of God is the greatest duty in which a Christian can engage. Repent of and expose to the Lord the laziness in Bible reading. Confess that there have been other entertainments, other distractions, and other circumstances that have crowded out and taken priority over your time communing with God in His precious Book. 

8. Repent of failing to redeem the time because the days of evil.
Come to the Lord on your knees and beg for His grace and mercy because of the frequent ways in which time is wasted each day. Repent and ask for God’s help to manage your time better, to be more evangelistic at heart, to be more eternal in focus, and to live more Christocentrically in life.

9. Repent of your missed opportunities to call sinners to repent & escape hellfire.
Come to the Lord and loathe the many missed opportunities that God has granted you to proclaim Christ and His saving gospel to the lost. Whether it be at a park, with a neighbor, to a complete stranger, to a homeless man on a corner, or to a coworker in the next cubicle, repent to the Lord and seek for his grace to forgive and for His power to equip you to make changes.

10. Repent of your complaining, mumbling & grumbling.
Christians battle the ongoing desire in our hearts to rule sovereignly. And when we do not get what we want, what we think we deserve, or how things suit our preferences, we tend to complain, mumble and grumble — verbally or silently. It may be a loud bewailing to others or a silent mumbling in the innermost sector of your heart. Repent of this sin and turn from it.

11. Repent of your frustrations, selfishness and lofty thoughts of self.
The sinful heart is an idol factory. Repeatedly, the Lord commands His people to humble themselves and to abstain from all pride. Come before the Lord with humility and carefully and specifically expose the selfishness, pride, and exalted thoughts of self. Seek God’s grace and forgiveness.

12. Repent of your refusal to stand up for truth when others mock your Savior.
In the cultural context that now prevails, many blaspheme God, take His name in vain, and speak ill of God’s Word and of God’s truth. Repent and bemoan the times that you stood silently and remained unwilling to boldly open your mouth to proclaim the truth of Christ and His gospel to the nonbelievers. Seek God’s grace and endeavor to turn from this sin from here on out.

13. Repent of your shallow repentance.
Come before the Lord and repent of your repentance. Repent of the shallowness of lip service. Repent of the mediocrity of heart-sorrow. Repent of the fear of consequences rather than a healthy fear of God. Repent of the littleness and infrequency of genuine, fervent, committed repentance. Seek God’s grace and His empowering to change.

14. Repent of the infrequent meditations on Christ, His beauty, His worth & His atonement on your behalf.
Come to God in shame at the infrequency of your meditations upon Christ. See the glory of Christ and the sufficiency of His death. Claim the righteousness of Christ and the propitiation that He won. Cling to the atonement of Christ and His spotless blood that was shed. Trust in the redemption that He accomplished and the eternal victory in His bodily resurrection. Repent that Christ has consumed so little of your thoughts, affections, delights, passions, and longings. Come to Him in repentance and plead for His mercy, grace, and help to change!

Concluding Note:
In coming to God through Christ by the enabling grace of the Spirit, when you repent you will find God as a loving Father passionately tender in His forgiveness, incessantly flowing in his compassions, and ever-embracing with his mercies. Repent of your sins and resolve to put them to death by trusting in Christ more, seeking His glory more, and feeling the all-surpassing worth and splendor of His person and cross-work. God lavishly forgives. He generously pardons. He tenderly embraces. He loves to drown penitent sinners in the ocean of His cleansing and in the fountain of His delights. Come to God in repentance and faith and turn from your sins resolvedly, decisively and diligently and look to Christ in faith to put sin to death, to gaze upon His warm delights and strive to be holy for His glory!

Download the pdf article here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Believe in the Absolute Sovereignty of God!
A Most Comforting Doctrine to the Christian
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Lord has given a number of psalms that focus on the theme of the LORD’s Kingship. These “Kingship Psalms” consist of Psalms 93-100. The psalms highlight, repeat, and underscore various features of the Lord’s reign, His character, His deeds, and His praiseworthiness. 

This brief write-up will provide eleven adverbs describing how the LORD reigns.

1. Exclusively
The Lord alone reigns. He shares His throne with no one else. No enemy or foe or fate could ever share the throne with the LORD. He reigns exclusively over all things in all creation.

2. Absolutely
The Lord reigns absolutely. His kingship is absolute. He rules as king independently and depends upon no one or nothing else for existence. He reigns with all control and with no co-dependence upon another.

3. Exhaustively
The Lord reigns over everything — every single proton and every galaxy. Every leaf and every mountain range. Every molecule, atom and dust mote as well as every sun, planet and person rests under His control. He rules over it all.

4. Intimately
The Lord reigns intimately. Unlike the Ancient Near Eastern deities of old who were cold, lifeless and uninvolved gods, the LORD God of Israel rules intimately in and amongst His people. He is involved in everything that happens.

5. Globally
The Lord reigns over every plot of ground and over every unknown corner of the endless universe. The Lord reigns over the cosmos and over the creatures. He rules over everything in the heavens, on the earth & under the earth.

6. Perfectly
The Lord reigns with meticulous care and with impeccable perfection. He rules without blemish and without injustice. His Kingship is the perfect kingship and can never be improved since He Himself is infinitely perfect.

7. Victoriously
The Lord reigns victoriously. No enemy can defeat the God of Israel. No god, enemy, nation, king, or fate could ever rise up in triumph over the Lord. He rules with might and He always has the victory. He rules supremely!

8. Wisely
The Lord reigns with inscrutable wisdom. None can plummet the unfathomable wisdom of God and none could ever counsel the Lord. He reigns perfectly, actively, knowledgeably and always and ever demonstrating perfect wisdom.

9. Providentially
The Lord reigns and works all things together to accomplish His decreed purposes that can never be — and have never been — thwarted. He works His sovereignly decreed will by seeing that all things work together to that end.

10. Compassionately
The Lord reigns as a loving King. He rules with love, with care, with concern, and with abounding compassions for His own. He loves His own. He died for His own, and He protects them. His heart affectionately yearns for His own.

11. Eternally
The Lord reigns without beginning or end. The Lord never began to reign nor shall he ever cease reigning. He always and ever reigns as King. He sits upon His throne as the ever-ruling Monarch. He is the eternal Sovereign.

Download the pdf article here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

The Pastor’s Primary Responsibilities
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

In this brief essay, I will set before you three primary responsibilities of every pastor.

1. Intercede for God’s Flock
To neglect to pray is to neglect the power source in a pastor’s ministry. For a minister to engage in many duties in his church and yet omit the regular practice of prayer demonstrates that he has no understanding of nor does he have any conviction of the importance of the ministry, his helplessless in the ministry, his humility in the ministry and God’s sovereignty over his ministry. A pastor must pray. A shepherd must intercede for God’s flock. Every Christian is a sheep that belongs to God and God has stated that every sheep in the fold belongs to Him. And God has entrusted His own blood-bought sheep to the care of His undershepherds — pastors. To lead is to model. And there is no greater way that a pastor can model Christlikeness for his flock than to show them how to pray; that is, to model a life of prayer for them. It is insufficient for a pastor to say his ‘prayers’. The common statistic that the average pastor prays less than 10 minutes a day cannot describe a man who is radically in love with Christ, desperately in need of His power, and singularly awed by the gospel of sovereign grace. No one must coerce the pastor to pray. No one must check in to certify that the minister is on his knees. The godly minister has callouses on his knees that no one ever sees. He spends time with his God alone in the early morning when many people lay still on their beds. The minister has an overwhelming amount of items for which he can pray. He certainly longs to worship God in prayer: to adore Him, to bless Him, to ascribe glory and power to Him. The minister confesses his own sin to God. He repents of his sin to God. He begs for God to examine him and show him in the inner recesses of his heart and mind and motivations so that he will be spotless, blameless, and above reproach. The shepherd must pray for his flock by name. He must know them. He must bring them before the throne of God. Jesus prayed for His flock, so should every godly minister. The exemplary leader must take hold of God in prayer, giving him no rest, until God blesses the ministry, the preaching, the shepherding, the counseling, the discipling, the evangelizing, and the fellowship. Indeed, a teaching pastor must pray throughout the week and wrestle with God in prayer to come with power upon the preached Word. He must pray for the anointing of the Spirit. He must pray for the unction of the Spirit. He must seek the face of God throughout his days of studying, discipling, mentoring, resting. The godly pastor communes with God regularly. He prays urgently, passionately, warmly, daily, and believingly. Christ modeled a prayer life, so should pastors.

2. Feed God’s Flock
The Lord Jesus told Peter no less than three times to shepherd and tend His flock. A primary responsibility of a shepherd is to feed the sheep. If he has everything in the world and yet he fails to feed the sheep, eventually they will starve and die. The pastor is called to tend God’s flock. The sheep do not belong to the pastor; they’re God’s. And God demands that the man of God ‘preach the Word’ in season and out of season. Even when masses turn away to what their itching ears desire and turn aside from the truth, the man of God must be faithful to fulfill his calling and teach with all authority. To feed is to provide sustenance. A shepherd can feed the sheep poisonous food but the sheep will most certainly die. The shepherd can feed the flock food lacking nutrition and the sheep will be malnourished, unhealthy and they soon will become sick and eventually they will die. So it is with a pastor. A pastor is to teach and preach. He must feed God’s flock. He must feed them the Word of God, the full counsel of God, biblical theology, and the unashamed, unflinching, unrestrained truth of Scripture. He must preach the Bible. This is what expository preaching means. The man of God expounds the meaning of the Word of God so that the people of God understand what God says in God’s Word and how their lives must be affected because of it. The pastor must study to show himself approved so he feeds the flock of God with the food of God as it rightly comes out of the Word of God so they can live lives to the glory of God.

3. Tend God’s Flock
The man of God must care for souls. To pastor is to conduct soul-care. To care rightly for God’s people, one must tend the flock with regularity and with compassion. The pastor is just called to do that, pastor the flock. Shepherds live with the flock, they care for the flock, they nurture the flock, they love the flock, they live with the flock, they ward off predators who could harm the flock, they know the flock by name and see them frequently. The pastor should live similarly among God’s people. He should live and conduct himself among and with the flock. He must know the flock. He must enter their homes to visit the flock. He must avail himself to the flock for counseling, for wisdom, for prayer, and for guidance. To feed is essential, but it’s not enough. Shepherds can feed the sheep, but good shepherds care for, protect, instruct in the way they should go, warn in the way they must avoid, and see how they walk. Shepherds must attend to those who are bruised and wounded. They must give must attention to the cast-down and the broken-hearted. Pastors cannot conduct this kind of soul-care only by preaching on Sunday with the flock. He must know them throughout the week. He must open the Word with the people with regularity. He must enter their homes and counsel them in the Word and he must open up his own home so as to model hospitality, godly living in the home, and family worship. This cuts to the core of the contemporary celebrity, traveling preacher who more often than not is away from the home, away from his flock, unable to meet with his people and thus unable to personally point them to Christ. May God’s pastors shepherd the flock of God among them. May God’s ministers teach God’s people God’s Word publicly and from house to house. If a pastor neglects this ministry, then he no longer is qualified to be called a ‘pastor.’ He may be a teacher, and he may be an expositor, but if he is not with his people then he cannot honestly be called a pastor of souls. He is to model for the flock Christlikeness. He is to point them to incessant and specific lives of prayer and communion with God. He is to instruct them in family worship, in godly living in the home, in marital unity, in parental duties, in the mortification of sin, and in the zealous pursuit of holiness. He should strive to win souls through fervent evangelism and model for the flock a compassionate heart for the lost. May God equip such men to fulfill their duties as pastors so as to glorify God by caring for His flock and serving them with God’s strength.

Download the pdf essay here.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis, MO) has just completed a three-part teaching series on the Lord's Supper.

Part 1 - The MEANING of the Lord's Supper  (listen | download)
Part 2 - The PREPARATION for the Lord's Supper (listen | download)
Part 3 - The SUBJECTS/PARTICIPANTS of the Lord's Supper (listen | download)

1. The Lord's Supper | A Philosophy of Ministry Paper of Christ Fellowship Bible Church

2. Children & the Lord's Supper | A Position Paper at Christ Fellowship Bible Church

3. Some Blessed Understandings When the Christian Participates in the Lord's Supper

More articles & write-ups

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Counsel to Those Looking for a New Church
Geoffrey R. Kirkland

It seems to be commonplace for people to be looking for new churches these days. With job transfers, moves, students heading away to college, and others who are looking for a new church for any host of reasons, people often find themselves on the hunt for a new church.

But how should one undertake this journey? Are there some helps that can guide folks in this search for a biblical church?

This brief write-up will provide some counsel for those looking for a new church.

Dealing with the precious and beloved Bride of Christ is no trivial matter. Christ died for His Bride and He jealously loves her, longs for her love and devotion in return, and promises to guard and keep her from the evil one. Since this is the case, in looking for a church, don’t treat your search for a church like a ‘buffet line’ where you pick and choose some things that suit your taste and don’t return there if something doesn’t meet your preferences. The church is glorious, beautiful, blood-bought, and set-apart. Therefore, as you embark upon the search for a new family to serve and join, you should pray much, pray biblically (saturating your mind with Scriptures) and pray fervently for the Spirit’s wisdom & guidance.

Some people relocate to a new city, state or area and must find a new church. Others, move to college and need to find a fellowship in that area. Still others leave a church for any myriad of reasons and seek to find a biblical church where they can sacrificially serve. If this is the case for you, one of the blessings of living in the ‘online era’ is that you can find churches online and weed out many of those that appear to be unsound. But when you find one (or a few) churches that seem biblical, find the ‘what we teach’ statement or the doctrinal statement on the website and read it prayerfully, carefully, diligently, and thoughtfully. This process cannot be overemphasized. Look for a church with much content online. More information is always better. Don’t find a church with three bullet points in the doctrine statement. Find a church that takes a clear stance on biblical truth and current issues. In this process, resolve to be a Berean and search the Scriptures with diligence to see if what a church’s doctrinal statement teaches is in fact faithful to the Word.

Another great blessing in this modern era is that you can go to the church’s website (after you’ve read the doctrine, pillars, distinctives, etc.) and listen to sermons at their media/audio page. Nearly every church has this. Do the hard work. Take the time. Be diligent and vigilant in this step. You should listen to at least a few sermons from the recent weeks/months as well as a few sermons from a year ago (that is, the previous sermon series) and then a few sermons from a few years ago. This will allow you to gauge the kind of preaching, the caliber of preaching, the seriousness of the preaching, the faithfulness of the preaching, and the expository nature of the preaching in that particular church. Don’t skim through one sermon; due diligence and devote yourself to this step. Ensure that a church you are looking at faithfully preaches God’s Word and pulls the meaning of the text out of the Scriptures. And, after explaining the text, see whether the teacher applies the text to the lives and hearts of the listeners. Make sure the biblical gospel goes forth with each exposition.

You can learn a lot about a person by perusing their Facebook page, their Tweets, the pictures they post online, and various blogs and articles they’ve written. You can ascertain much about a person’s hobbies, interests, thoughts, books they’re reading, and how they devote their time by doing this step of seeking to know the leaders and shepherds in that particular church. Research them all. Do diligence. Find out what they do online. Find out what they read, what they post to their wall, what they tweet, how they blog, and what they think about. This step is often sorely overlooked in our current day. But this step, when diligently taken and faithfully pursued, might in fact protect you (and your family) from being in a church where the shepherds aren’t really holy, above-reproach, godly, biblical men. Brethren, do the work. Follow this step.

How sad it is when a visitor comes to a church, meets the pastor and a few families, sits down for the service, shakes a few hands on the way out, and then never comes back again. In their mind, the music was not very good. The sermon was too long. They did not have a baptism. They did things a bit differently. But then again, you were only there for one Sunday. It would greatly profit you to visit a particular church for at least two months (that is, eight Sundays). Why? This way you can experience the rhythm of corporate church-life. You can see how and when they take communion (typically, if it is once a month, you’d see this done twice during the eight weeks you visit). You can know how the preacher exposits through various texts of Scripture. You will understand the church’s philosophy of music over these weeks. You will know the church’s view of God and how lofty their understanding of God really is. But it’s nearly impossible to gather all this information in just one visit.

Don’t just be a ‘Sunday-attender-visitor’. Plug yourself in. Go to the men’s breakfasts. Involve yourself in the ladies’ tea fellowships. Go to the mid-week prayer meeting. If the church offers home groups/care groups, find one and attend the group. Even stay around after church for a bit and chat with families, individuals, pastors, young people. You take the initiative and talk to people. So often we think that if no one reaches out to us that they are an ‘unfriendly church’. But this is simply selfish thinking. You take the initiative and go up to folks, shake their hand, ask how long they’ve been at the church, what they enjoy about it, how they’ve grown, how their love for Christ has deepened, and how their zeal for holiness has been enflamed while serving in the church. In a word, dear friends, when you go visit, involve yourself in the ministry. This is the only way to really get to know the ‘life of the Body’.

If you don’t receive three phone calls, two texts, four emails, and five Facebook friend requests, don’t think the church is cold, unspiritual, dead, and mean. Hopefully the church sends you a kind greeting and thanks you for visiting them. But the responsibility still rests on you to reach out to the pastor and elders to initiate a meeting with them (individually, or with their wives, if this is appropriate). You offer to take them out. You offer to buy them coffee/a meal. You offer to serve them. Ask them how Christ saved them. Ask them what they are currently reading in the Word of God and in other Christian literature. Ask them what their home-life is like. Seek to know what their prayer life is like. Ask them what their goal, vision, purpose for the church is. Get to know them better as shepherds; not their hobbies, but their heart. Do some diligence before the meeting and write out some important questions to ask them. Then, attentively listen, be slow to speak and even take notes if this helps.

Since you have taken the pastor and some elders out already to get to know them, you have already opened the door for communication. Keep this up. Don’t stop visiting after a month, never respond to their emails, and cease all communication. Remember, you are, after all, part of the larger body of Christ! Communicate! Speak truth to your neighbor, for you are members of one another. Even if, after the eight Sundays of attending that particular church, you feel that God is leading you elsewhere, be honest, be open, be clear, and be up front and communicate. This is not only polite; it’s just simply helpful for the shepherds of that church to know how to best care and pray for you.

After visiting a particular church and you sense that it is a biblical church — though not a perfect one! — you should inquire about their process for membership and seek to begin the process of joining the church. This not only is most beneficial for your own accountability and shepherd oversight but also for the local church to know who its sheep are. If you plan to make that your ‘home’ church and serve alongside of those Christians, then you should pursue membership because it’s biblical, it’s the best way to welcome accountability and pastoral oversight, and it’s a profitable way for the church leadership to know who ‘their flock’ is among them that they are to shepherd and care for. Meanwhile, resolve in your heart to serve faithfully in the local church. Recommit yourself, by God’s power and through the Spirit’s enabling, to faithful obedience in the body of Christ and promote unity, grace, joy, and gospel-centeredness in all that you do and say. Never gossip, slander or backbite. Always support your shepherds. Care for Christ’s precious Bride with heartfelt love, tangible sacrifice, diligent service and fervent hospitality. Then, watch as you grow.

Download the pdf article here.

A few months ago, Christ Fellowship Bible Church (St Louis) conducted a 5-part series on Roman Catholic Doctrine.

This series shows how many of the cardinal Catholic doctrines attack the biblical gospel.

1. Roman Catholic Doctrine Attacks the Sufficiency of Scripture (listen | download

2. Roman Catholic Doctrine Attacks the Sufficiency of Jesus' Death (listen | download)

3. Roman Catholic Doctrine Attacks the Singularity of God's Gospel (listen | download)

4. Roman Catholic Doctrine Attacks the Sanctity of Christ's Church (listen | download)

5. Roman Catholic Doctrine Attacks the Severity of God's Judgment (listen | download)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Posture of Worship —
 It May Not Be Everything; But It Is Something
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

New Testament believers quickly assert that worship of the one, true God no longer is limited to a particular location as it was in the days of Old Testament Israel. In former times, God required that His people worshiped Him in the place He so chose. Jewish men had to make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem three times a year for the Jewish feasts. Christians today boldly and rightly assert that that those who worship God must worship Him in “spirit and in truth”. Christ has come and has died so that His people, Spirit-indwelt believers, may approach the Father at any time and at any place.

Nevertheless, though God does not required a certain place or posture of worship as He spoke to ancient Israel, is there still benefit in worshiping God in various biblical postures? One would be unable to point to one verse in the Scriptures to command all believers to worship in a certain posture at all times. God does command worship, praise, thanksgiving, confession, adoration, petitions; yet God provides various expressions concerning the posture of worship. So, though the posture of worship may not be everything; we must remember that it is still something.

In Psalm 95, David commands believers to come and sing to the Lord, to shout joyfully, to come before His mighty presence with thanksgiving, and to sing joyfully to him with songs (vv.1-2). Jehovah is the mighty God and the great King over and above all other gods (v.3). He proves His supreme power and matchless sovereignty in that he holds the unsearchable depths of the earth in His hand as well as the mountain peaks. The sea and the dry land belong to Him for He made them all (vv.4-5).

In verse 6, the Holy Spirit commands believers to come, to lie prostrate, to bow down, and to kneel before the Lord. The outward act is only indicative of the inward heart. Any outward form or expression of worship without the inward heart and passion is cold rituals which God hates and rejects. But a heart that is aflame with love for God, for Christ, and for the Spirit, will manifest itself and express itself physically at times through certain postures of worship. Does the psalmist command that believers must always and only pray in this posture? By no means. For instance, Christ prayed standing, walking, looking upwards, hands raised and hanging from a cross. Yet Christ did, on occasion, fall down in fervent, heartfelt, passionate prayer while in Gethsemane.

Psalm 95:6 incorporates three words that can be beneficial and expressive postures of worship.
  • “Worship” [NASB] — The Hebrew word speaks of lying prostrate on the ground before a Superior as an expression of surrender and obedience.
  • “Bow Down” [NASB] — The Hebrew word here indicates one who has bowed low from the waist. It can speak of those who bow down to the ground just as Gideon’s men bowed to lap water (Judg 7.5).
  • “Kneel” [NASB] — Here the Hebrew word speaks of kneeling down as a camel would fall to his knees for rest (Gen 24.11).

To come before God’s mighty presence prostrate, or bowing down, or kneeling can benefit the believer in the following ways:
  1. It reminds the worshiper of his humility and surrender before the Almighty sovereignty of the King.
  2. It expresses the internal heart-attitude of the worshiper who falls down in full obedience to the Master’s bidding.
  3. It pictures one’s utter helplessness, impotency, and desperate dependence on God for His mercy, grace & power.
  4. It physically speaks to the believer’s heart that God’s sovereign will and decrees are good, just, right and true. 
  5. It powerfully expresses gratitude and gladness as the humble worshiper thanks God for redemption and propitiation.
Again, it is crucial to re-emphasize again that the posture of worship without the penitence in the heart is worthless worship. And God does not require a particular form or posture of worship every time a believer prays. Let us learn from the psalmist and come, bow down and kneel before the sovereign King. And though the posture of worship may not be everything; it is still something.

Download the pdf article here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

What To Look For In A Potential Spouse
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

1. Soundly Converted.
Since God created marriage to remain for life, in looking for a spouse you would do well to ensure that the person you find interest in is soundly converted. You want to make sure the person you would consider spending your life with is passionately in love with Christ, faithfully seeking His Word, and bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Your spouse will be the greatest tool of sanctification in your life. Ensure, for the joy of your heart, that the person is soundly converted.

2. Pursuing Christ.
You do not want to marry just anyone who calls himself a Christian. You must certify that the person pursues Christ more than they pursue you. Ladies, you would be wise to note if the man who pursues you has a greater love for Christ than he has for you. Does the person you are spending time with pursue Christ? Do they pursue Christ while they are with you? How do you know?

3. Godly Words.
In a potential spouse, you will have a happy marriage if you find someone who speaks ‘with grace.’ Do not associate with someone given to gossip, slander, blasphemy, and taking God’s name in vain. You can be sure that someone who tells you all the negatives of friends will certainly speak of all your negatives to others. Be warned! Find someone who speaks edifying words and who shuns corrupting/filthy speech. Spend time with someone who speaks good words, at the right time, which point you to Jesus Christ and to His gospel.

4. Humble Conduct.
Flee from a prideful, arrogant, self-centered person. Have nothing to do with a man who must be noticed. Do not give your heart to a woman who must be recognized by all her friends. Find a person who is humble in heart, who is Christlike in his attitude. Do not date someone who is independent, autonomous, and self-promoting. Find someone who is given to serve, who desires to sacrifice, and who is willing to admit when wrong. Pursue someone who quickly confesses sin and who humbly asks for forgiveness. Turn quickly from those who refuse to confess personal sin.

5. Resolves Conflicts.
Two sinners coming together in a one-flesh relationship will inevitably lead to conflict. Not all conflict is evil, nor does all conflict necessarily come from sin. However, the key is how a man and a woman handle conflict; that is, how do you resolve conflicts? Never date a person who pushes past conflicts, disagreements, arguments under the rug and forgets about it and moves on. The issue may be covered for a brief time, but be assured, it’s still there; and it’ll pop up again. You must date and find someone who is willing to sit down, talk honestly, listen humbly, and patiently work through conflicts and disagreements together. Even when there are miscommunications, how does a person handle those conversations? Find someone who resolves conflicts biblically, warmly, gently, eagerly, and humbly.

6. Serves in a Church.
The best place to find a spouse is in your church (assuming it’s a biblical, solid church). If you’re not involved in your church and actively serving, it will be hard for you to find someone who is (since you’ll not be there to see them serving!). But if you are serving actively and sacrificially, find someone who shows up to serve, eagerly desires to help, and who regularly demonstrates Christlike love towards one another. This only happens in the context of the local church. Anyone who is uninvolved in a local church, not faithfully attending, not faithfully sitting under the preached Word, and who is not pursuing discipleship relationships should be avoided. You should serve diligently and find someone else who does the same. This is what Christ calls us to do.

And, ultimately, remember that God sits as the sovereign King over heaven and earth. There is not one event under the sun that God has not ordained and orchestrated to bring about His glory and to accomplish His purposes. God works sovereignly and providentially. That means that God causes all things to happen for His glory and for the unfolding of His grand design. So do not lose heart if you are single — even if you’re old and still single. God is not unaware of your situation. Nor is God apathetic toward your situation. Rest in Him. Warm your heart in His love. Trust in His kind and sovereign mercy. Rejoice in Him!

Download the pdf article here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Profitable questions for an elder/shepherd leadership team to go through together with regularity.

[Or, even any discipleship relationship.]

Questions for Sexual Purity

1. Since you last answered these questions, have you viewed any immoral, impure or pornographic material online, on your cell phone or any other device in any way?

2. Since you last answered these questions, have you been in any questionable situation with a woman other than your wife that could be perceived as questionable?

3. Have you grown fond of and emotionally attached to any woman other than your wife even in the slightest?

4. Has your relationship with your wife been open in communication, healthy in sexual intimacy, and affectionate to serve her?

5. Has your mind and heart been pure as you have been out and about — work, lunches, cars, parks — as you have seen other women?

6. Have you lied about any of the answers you just gave?

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Preacher! Keep Your Heart Mindful of the Brevity of Life.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Psalm 90:12 — So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom.

If you do this it will most certainly result in the following...

1. You will live an upright life.
Keeping your heart mindful of the brevity of life will result in the man of God living a pure life before God. The minister of God’s Word will bear in the mind the piercing nature of God’s Word and the examining effect it has on the soul of man. Remembering that you may die at any moment should launch the man of God to a laser-beam focus of living uprightly, purely, godly, and devoutly. He must have this in his soul, in his heart, in his mind, and then with his life.

2. You will preach as if every sermon were your last.
The more the man of God remembers the stark reality that he may die before he ever steps foot in his pulpit again, the more he will preach with passion and conviction. Just as all men are destined to die, so the preacher is not exempt. He is bound to die and he must remember this reality with great frequency so that he will preach with utmost conviction and passion. He should preach as a man in love with Christ; not out of obligation because there’s nothing else for him to do. He should preach with such fire and with such zeal and with such emotion as if he knew he would die on Monday morning never to preach again.

3. You will persuade sinners & call for a response in every sermon you preach.
A godly minister believes what he preaches. He has persuaded his own heart and endeavors to impact his hearers as his own heart has been informed and transformed by the piercing power of God’s penetrating Word. This kind of preacher will persuade sinners with all his might. As if their salvation depended on him, he will plead for a decision. And the man will preach with such confidence knowing that the Spirit of God must draw sinners to repentance and give life for them to respond in saving faith. Yet he still pleads. And he begs. Then he beckons. Finally he then urges! Every minister of the Word should preach as if every congregant will die before they step foot in his church again next Sunday. He should preach to convert! He should expect God to save! He should beg God to transform! He should beseech the Spirit to regenerate! Paul was not ashamed to beg, and neither should the minister who has been gripped by the brevity of life.

4. You will take sin very seriously in your heart and in the lives of your people.
Sin kills. Sin brought death into this world and sin plunges sinners into the unending abyss of hell forevermore. The man who knows the brevity of life will not tolerate the least inkling of sin in his heart. He will strive to mortify it. He will uproot the weed from his heart. He will have no mercy on his iniquities. And after he deals with his own heart and life, he must allow no leaven in the flock of God. O the preacher must remember that a little leaven leavens the entire lump. Christ’s church must fight sin and Christ’s ministers must preach against sin and equip believers to fight sin with the God-given and Spirit-empowered resources that are available to them.

5. You will remember that you’ll stand before God and give a strict accounting for every word you said, how you handled God’s Word, how you preached it, and how you cared for God’s sheep.
Keeping an eye on eternity appropriately reminds the preacher that he will stand before the all-seeing God at the Judgment Seat. God will hold the man accountable for every word he said. Was every word spoken from the pulpit (in what was called a ‘sermon’ declaring the ‘Word of the LORD’) God’s word? Or was it the minster’s thoughts? Did the man handle God’s Word accurately? Reverently? Submissively? Obediently? Boldly? Did the man speak God’s Word to the people with no fear of man? Was the minister overcome with a dominating fear of God that propelled him to speak the truth of Scripture to anyone and everyone present? The minister must remember God will judge him for how he shepherded God’s flock — yes, they are blood-bought, precious, owned sheep. The man who remembers the brevity of life acutely remembers that he will stand before God and give an account — and that accounting may come before this day ends.

6. You will be defined as a ‘winner of souls’.
A wise man who honors God is a winner of souls. The believer obeys God’s command to proclaim the gospel to every person and see them repent and believe the gospel. The preacher who understands the imminency of the judgment seat will make it a priority to win souls on Sundays and on weekdays. He will proclaim the gospel in his sermons and on the streets. He will plead with sinners who have come to church and those who are outside of church. O the sheep that are headed for the slaughter are innumerable. And yet the man with an eternal mindset, understanding his life may end soon, glorifies God by seeking to win souls to the Savior and snatch souls from the fangs of the devilish lion and bring them to Christ’s loving arms.

7. You will invest more time in the only two things which live on forever: the Word of God and the souls of men.
Much of what the minister does is temporary; that is, it’ll burn. Much of what humans devote time, effort, resources, and thought to are earthly, fading, and quickly passing. But the minister who sensitively remembers that his life is a vapor and that his days are merely a handbreadth is one who consciously reminds himself of the two crucial elements which will live on forever: (1) the Word of God and (2) the souls of men. It is this man, impressed with these eternal realities upon his soul, who lives profitably and eternally during the few days that God has allotted to him. He spends more time reading the Word than reading about the Word. He spends time memorizing the Word and hiding it in the factory of his heart. He knows the Word of God endures forever. News, sports, programs, campaigns, and other activities that can quickly crowd a minister’s schedule must never usurp the primary place of the consuming of God’s Word deep into the fiber of the man’s soul. Furthermore, the souls of men will live on forevermore. The man who remembers the brevity of life will invest much in the souls of men. He will call men and woman, boys and girls, to examine themselves to see if they trust in Christ. He will exhort the old to die well. He will plead with the young to live for Christ. He will urge families to live purely. He will endeavor to live and speak and proclaim the gospel in all that he does because it is the gospel that is the power of God to salvation.

Download the pdf article here.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Someone once said that Christians should learn to plead with sinners to embrace Christ and escape hell. A child of God could faithfully give the gospel, speak of God and His character, man and His desperate need, Christ and His sufficient atonement, repentance and faith in clear terms, but one element that evangelists seem to omit is the urgent call for sinners to respond to the gospel! Paul said that he was not ashamed to beg! He pleaded with sinners to come to Christ. Whitefield loudly and lovingly wept as he urged sinners to turn to Christ and live! Spurgeon spoke of this kind of urgent pleading with frequency. The Puritan preachers spent a good deal of time in their sermons exhorting sinners to embrace Christ and follow Him. We should learn from these examples and do the same. We must call sinners to respond to the gospel.

How should Christians ‘call for a response’ when speaking the gospel?

1. Call for a response in OBEDIENCE TO SCRIPTURE.
Elijah called the pagans to ‘choose whom they would serve’: if Baal was god, follow him; if Yahweh was god, follow Him. Joshua told the children of Israel to ‘choose whom they would serve’ and he modeled it by saying that he and his household would serve the LORD. Jesus pleaded with His disciples to ‘compel sinners’ to come to the wedding feast. Paul pleaded with Herod to repent and come to Christ. As ambassadors of God Almighty, believers must take Paul’s words and beg for men and women to be reconciled to God. We must call for a response! We must plead with folks to embrace Christ! We must follow the example set before us by the Apostles: “Repent and believe the gospel!”

2. Call for a response in FOLLOWING CHRIST’S EXAMPLE.
The life and ministry of Christ unveils His heart as He pleaded with sinners repeatedly and patiently to come to Himself for salvation. Often, in the Temple against the backdrop of the hypocritical, works-righteousness system of Judaism, Christ would teach how He came down from heaven as the living Bread, as the water of life, as the door to heaven, as the Shepherd for the sheep, as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and he invited all to come to Him. If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me. He exemplified not only the clear and bold proclamation of gospel-truth, but he also modeled urgent and compassionate exhortations to respond to the gospel. We must do the same.

3. Call for a response in WARNING AGAINST UNBELIEF.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel that saves. The gospel of Jesus Christ delivers from hell. No other message on the planet can save from eternal perdition. No other Name given to sinners can deliver from damnation. No other substitutionary work can atone for sins and remove God’s just fury. The good news of Jesus Christ and His cross-work and His imputed righteousness is what saves. It is for this reason that every evangelist should incorporate into his gospel conversations a warning against unbelief. Repeatedly, Jesus said that whoever does not have the Son does not have the Father. Whoever rejected the Apostles in their itinerant preaching rejected the Son and whoever rejected the Son rejected the Father. No one can have the Father without the Son. None can say yes to the Son and say no to the Father. There is no way to come to the Father but through the one door: Jesus Christ. He alone is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No other path exists whereby one may come to God the Father. Tellers of the gospel must warn sinners of this! To not believe is to commit the sin of unbelief. To live in unbelief is to persist in willful sin. To refuse to bow the knee to Christ now is to live in unbelief and sin now. Christians should faithfully proclaim the gospel, diligently call sinners to respond to the gospel, and boldly warn sinners against rejecting the gospel and dying in the state of willful rejection of the truth (even after having heard the faithful gospel presented to them). Warn the sinner, O Christian!

4. Call for a response in COUNTING THE COST.
Jesus did not preach a gospel akin to many of the popular evangelists in the 21st century today. He never told His followers that they would enjoy wealth, happiness, better health, and certain peace in and of themselves. Rather, he told them to die to themselves. He commanded them to lose their lives. He told them to hate everything on earth in comparison with the supreme love they must have for Him alone. He required exclusive allegiance. He demanded that they forsake any and all other options of attaining righteousness. He warned them that they would die for the faith. He informed them that suffering would certainly come upon them. He spoke that they would be rejected, despised, mocked, and endure much hardship for the gospel. Yet he still called for sinners to respond to the gospel. Perhaps this is why many of the ‘followers’ (=disciples) of Jesus heard his teachings and then ‘left him and followed Him no more.’ A faithful gospel proclamation that models the heralding of Christ should include a plea to count the cost. Unless one gives up all his possessions (that is, a willingness to renounce everything and anything for the cause of Christ), he cannot be Christ’s disciple. O Christian, include this in your gospel call!

5. Call for a response in RELIANCE ON THE SPIRIT.
Jesus Himself preached that the Spirit gives life. No one can come to Me, Jesus said, unless the Spirit of God draws Him. One must be born from above and be born of the Spirit. Jesus believed that new life eternal does not come at a sinner’s own whim. No one enters heaven because of his own freewill. No one chooses Christ because he desires the fire insurance so as to escape hell merely. O Christian, evangelize with such a reliance on the Spirit that you understand that no dead sinner can come to life unless the Spirit of God regenerates him first. Life must first enter the sinner before he can call out to Christ in saving faith and be justified. Rely on the Spirit in all your gospel conversations! Pray passionately! Pray persistently! Pray constantly! Pray believingly! Call sinners to respond to the gospel with all the persuasive mechanisms you have — and yet realize that you can’t do anything in the slightest to save someone, or even make them desire it more. It fully rests on the sovereignty of the Spirit. So call for a response as you confidently trust in the Sovereign grace of the Spirit of God to take your words and bring life.

6. Call for a response in COMPASSION FOR THE SINNER.
A sick patient sitting in the doctor’s office may hear the news of a life-threatening illness that has come into his body and as the doctor gives him the news and the grave consequences, the doctor who really loves his patient will offer the one medicine that can deliver the person from death. He not only describes the only solution available; he urges the patient to receive it — immediately. The physician does this because he cares for his patients. And how much more must the child of God proclaim the gospel to the lost and hellbound out of great love for their immortal souls! The Christian has the only solution to escape hell. The child of God knows the only path to escaping the tidal wave of God’s rage. The believer possesses the only shield and refuge to protect from the flaming and soul-piercing darts of God’s eternal fury. In telling the good news of salvation, the Christian should call for a response out of deep compassion for the sinner. O may the sinner escape hell. O call for the rebel to run for refuge to Jesus Christ! O plead with the transgressor to come to Christ, the wrath-bearing sacrifice who died for His people and offers them His righteousness through repentance and faith in Him. O may the evangelist’s compassion boil! O may the proclaimer run after sinners and plead with them, hold to them, persuade them, and urge them to flee from the wrath to come with a Christ-like and a Christ-pursuing passion!

Download the entire pdf article here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The CFBC Retreat is only 2 days away (Aug 15-17th)!

The theme is: "Aggressive Sanctification"

Here are the 4 messages:

1. "Utilizing the means of grace in sanctification: to enhance the believer's joy in God" (Lincoln VerMeer)

2. "Sanctification in all its fullness- knowledge and practice. The motivation and means for growth in godliness" (Randy Kirkland)

3. "Sanctification & the power of the tongue" (Warner Aldridge)

4. "The reality, purity & theme of heaven as a powerful motivation for pursuing sanctification" (Geoff Kirkland)

The sermons will all be on the CFBC website:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Pray for the Sexual Purity of Your Elders
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God requires that all those who serve in the ministry of preaching and shepherding must be blameless. The men who serve God in the church must have no hidden life of sexual sin. Men of God speaking for God must strive to live above-reproach lives and turn from and flee any and all sexual temptations. Many in the pew may not be aware of the many ways they can pray for the elders — by name — to be sexually pure for the glory of God, for the joy of their souls, and for the purity of the flock. [*Note: in this essay, I assume that pastors/elders are interchangeable and though a church may have one primary teaching pastor, there are others who serve as shepherds with him.]

Below, I will provide 7 ways that you can pray for the sexual purity of your elders.

1. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE HOME
Your pastors need your prayer because they live in a home where the culture endeavors to infiltrate in countless ways. Pray for the home to be a dwelling of the righteous where God’s blessing would fall lavishly. Pray for every member of the family to be sexually pure and for the pastor himself to be sexually pure with every member of the home, with every person who enters the home, and with all forms of media which enters through the doors. Pray for the home to be a safe haven, a glorious refuge, a pure protection, and a dwelling of God. Pray that Joshua’s resolve would be your pastor’s resolve: “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

2. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE MIND
Every pastor knows what life is like to work in isolation. In fact, the man of God must be alone — with God. He must quiet his heart, his mind, his life, and isolate himself from other people so he can be alone with the Lord, in the careful study of God’s Word, and in the careful scripting of his sermon manuscript. Yet isolation can also come with a tempest of temptation. Pray for your elders to be pure in their minds. Pray that they would never have wandering minds while looking out the windows in the office and seeing a cause for temptation. Pray that your elders would never live for, look for, and long for a certain woman in the church (or outside the church!) that would take over his heart and mind. Pray that the minds of your elders would so love Scripture that the endless delights of Christ and His gospel would ravish your leaders so thoroughly that they really would be blameless.

3. Pray for their Sexual Purity ON THE COMPUTER
Your pastors probably spend much time on their computers. To be sure, your teaching pastor does. He types out his sermons, he does word-searches on his computer programs, and may in fact use the internet and various news sources for illustrations. None of these are bad. But temptations can flood a man while he is alone, on his computer, in his office, while no one is there. Pray for your pastors (all of them) to be utterly and completely pure on their computers. Pray that they would never look at pornography. Pray that they would never be tempted to click on any icon that could lead to immorality. Pray and beg for God to protect your shepherds while they do the necessary work of sermon preparation on their computers. Pray that all email correspondence, all Facebook interactions and direct messages, Twitter feeds, and every look at a picture on any social media site would be entirely God honoring as if Christ was sitting in the chair right next to your shepherd — because Christ is in fact there and sees it all.

4. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE COUNSELING SESSION
Every pastor must conscientiously guard from counseling alone with a woman. He must make certain that his wife or secretary understands that a lady is present and he should hand off a female counselee to another gifted woman who can carry on the counseling as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, even in initial counseling sessions (or even in counseling sessions with a few women or even with a married couple), the man must remain sexually pure. His thoughts, his demeanor, and his actions must always remain above reproach in every way. In times of pain and in broken marriages, it may be that some ladies may long for a man who will listen to them, give them biblical counsel, and pray with them. Pray that your elders would never fall prey to this sort of emotional affair but would remain utterly blameless in every respect.

5. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN THE OFFICE
Some pastors have their office in the church building along with secretaries, administrators and other staff. Being in the office nearly every day and interacting with someone of the opposite sex can lead to sinful emotional longings, unholy desires, and fanciful thoughts. If your pastor has an office in the building with a secretary, pray that he would be pure, above reproach and always respectful yet never flirtatious in the office. Pray that everything that occurs in the church offices would serve to heighten the glory of God, the gospel of Christ, and the Spirit of grace. Pray that every action performed, every word spoken, and every thought pondered would promote the magnificence of Christ and never one’s selfish and lustful cravings.

6. Pray for their Sexual Purity AT PASTORS’ CONFERENCES
Your pastor and elders probably attend a conference (or more) throughout the year. These can greatly benefit your leaders and encourage them in their faith and rejuvenate them in the ministry. Yet being away from family, alone in a hotel room, with the TV, Cable, and internet can serve as a very strong temptation. Even being in a foreign city, going out to eat, observing the surrounding venues near the hotel can bring temptations that he might have never dreamed of. Believe it or not, pastors are not immune to temptations. Elders are not immune when it comes to sexual desires. Pray that even while being away from his home, his wife and children, that he would remain pure, fleeing any and all temptations, having no interaction with anyone of any sorts of the opposite sex, and that he would remain pure for the glory of Christ and for the purity of the gospel.

7. Pray for their Sexual Purity IN BEING FAITHFUL TO THEIR WIVES
God commands husbands and wives to frequently engage in sexual intimacy. The only exception that the Word of God gives for a husband and a wife to abstain from sexual relations is for a brief season of prayer. But then they must come together again for enjoyment so that neither of them fall into sin by their temptations. Pray that your leaders would be faithful to their wives. Pray that they would love each other, delight in each other, and glorify Christ in their marriage in every respect. Pray that his wife would be his greatest delight and his greatest passion. Pray that your leaders would have eyes, hands, hearts, and minds only for their wives. Pray that Christ’s faithfulness to His bride, the Church, would gloriously manifest itself in your elders’ marriages.

Concluding Exhortation
The essay above provided some helpful principles as to how Christians can pray for their pastors and elders. Below, is a brief exhortation to pastors/elders to passionately pursue sexual purity for the glory of God. In other words, elders how can you replace sinful temptations by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ? Here are 6 practical thoughts.

1. READ the word.
Every pastor must read the Bible for his own soul before he reads the Bible to construct a sermon. Satisfying his own soul comes first before satisfying the souls of the entire flock. A man must guard himself and his doctrine. A man must watch out for himself and for all the flock. Reading the Bible frequently for soul-food keeps a man sensitive to God, sensitive to sin, and seeking more of Christ.

2. REPENT of sin.
A pastor should lead his flock and model for them in mortifying sin. He must root out all sin in his life. He must never allow any sin to take root and begin to dominate his life. He cannot walk (continue) in any known pattern of sin. The mark of a godly man is not sinlessness but the degree to which he hates his sin and the way in which he confesses and forsakes it. The man of God grows in his walk with Christ over time and yet sees more of his sin and utterly despises it.

3. REQUEST God’s help.
Just as a small child would request help of his father to accomplish a task far too great for him to handle on his own, so the child of God must request God’s help to flee immorality and all impurities. The man of God must flee sexual immorality and pursue godliness and purity. God always provides a way of escape in every temptation. So elders must pray and earnestly request the powerful help of God and the sufficient and powerful grace of Christ to resist temptations.

4. RELISH your wife.
One of the weapons that God gives to married men is to fight sin by enjoying his wife. Godly men must enjoy their wives. They must delight in their wives. Elders must cherish their wives more than the church. They must serve their wives more than they serve the church. If not, he has disqualified himself. So then, pastors should relish their wives as a way of fighting impurities.

5. REACH for accountability.
To isolate oneself is to have lost the battle. An isolated Christian is a defeated Christian. No one fights sin on his own. Just as a soldier who attempts to enter into the enemy’s territory on his own would most surely and swiftly die, so a professing Christian cannot attempt to live the Christian life alone. Elders must seek accountability. Pastors must have other men speaking in to their lives. Godly men must ask their pastors about their sexual purity — specifically and lovingly. All pastors should welcome these specific questions so as to aid in holiness.

6. REMEMBER your soul.
Remember, those who live in sexual immorality will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who engage in ongoing sexual sin and who refuse to repent of it will not inherit heaven. The pastor’s soul is at stake. He must be pure for the sake of his own soul before he can ever endeavor to teach and preach from the pulpit. Pastor, guard your sexual purity as if your soul depended on it.

Download the pdf here.
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