Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Benefits of Handing Out Gospel Tracts.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The Word of God reminds believers to always be ready to give a defense for the faith (1 Pet 3:15). Christians long for the unsaved to hear the gospel and to be converted. The gospel of God’s saving grace revealed in Christ goes forth in a myriad of ways. But one such way in which believers can proclaim the gospel and evangelize the lost is through the distribution of gospel tracts. A gospel tract is a printed piece of literature that presents the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ and calls the sinner to repent of sin, trust in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, and to follow Him.

In this short write-up, I endeavor to present some reasons why Christians should hand out gospel tracts. That is to say, there are many benefits in the handing out of gospel tracts. I will list fifteen of them.

1. A good gospel tract faithfully proclaims the biblical gospel.
 A good gospel tract is a piece of literature that faithfully presents the saving gospel of Jesus Christ. It will present man and his sin condition and urgent need for divine grace to rescue him from eternal punishment. It will show forth the person and work of Jesus Christ, His substitutionary work on the cross, and His bodily resurrection from the dead. It will call the sinner to repent of sin, trust in Christ alone, forsake all self-righteousness and follow Christ alone for salvation! Thus, a faithful gospel tract presents the gospel in print and imparts the gospel to people to take with them wherever they go.

2. A gospel tract can go places that you can't go. In the absolute sovereignty of God and in the glorious providence of God, gospel tracts end up in places that we just can’t go. Sometimes they end up in bathrooms, on an employee’s desk, even in a trash can in an office, or in a box of goods that someone purchases and finds when they get home and open that box. Gospel tracts are small and they travel where we often can’t. We can’t travel with people and go from person to person, but tracts can, and they often do. And God sovereignly uses this for His glory.

3. A gospel tract can clearly present the gospel in a cogent way. A well-written gospel tract is a concise and cogent presentation of the gospel that people can read. Sometimes we may forget a Bible verse or not quite remember the exact quotation of a text but a gospel tract never gets nervous and forgets what to say. It has one message and one purpose: to present the gospel in a clear, compelling, cogent and concise manner. And this, a good gospel tract always does!

4. A gospel tract doesn't take much effort to pass out. Going on missions trips around the world can take a tremendous deal of effort in preparation and traveling (and rightly so!). Gospel tracts don’t take much effort to pass out. They are small, simple, easy to distribute and anyone can hand it out. A small child can hand out a gospel tract and a bedridden person in a hospital can distribute it.  Almost anyone can hand out a gospel tract!

5. A gospel tract is often politely received by people (or, politely rejected). There is not anything too offensive about handing someone a piece of paper and often people will accept it. But if not, typically they will kindly refuse. Even still, it’s a diligent, faithful, and wise way to get the biblical gospel into people’s hands.

6. A gospel tract can find its way into people's homes when we can't. Someone may receive a gospel tract and put it in their purse or their pocket. Then, when they arrive home that night or perhaps the next morning they may find it and read it. We can’t proclaim the gospel in all the homes of the people that we see, but we can give out gospel literature that people can receive and perhaps they’ll find it and read it when they get home.

7. A gospel tract doesn't argue; it merely states the Truth & calls the reader to repent & believe. 
Quite simply, gospel tracts don’t share truth. They proclaim truth! They don’t argue. They announce the gospel! If people object to the gospel, the tract doesn’t argue, get rattled, veer off course or engage in silly arguments. Rather, the tract sticks to its message and continues to give gospel truth and to urge sinners to repent!

8. A gospel tract can be handed to anyone, at any place, at any time, with a smile. Anyone can distribute gospel tracts. The youngest of children to the eldest of adults and nearly everyone in between can take a piece of paper and hand it out to others. One can hand it out in a grocery store, to a cashier, to a stranger, to a passer-by, to someone sitting on a bench, to a law-enforcement officer, to someone in need, to a co-worker, to someone walking in a park, or an endless myriad of other possibilities. And, Christians can have a smile of warmth and a smile of brotherly-love in handing out the greatest message ever given to man to sinners in need of grace!

9. A gospel tract can allow the reader to refer to it again for Bible references and follow up. A good gospel tract has Scripture references and proves what it says with the Bible. Someone, then, can look up Scriptures that are printed on the gospel tract. And furthermore, ideally, a gospel tract would list a church or a ministry where a person could attend or contact for follow-up. It is simply stated so that follow-up can be had.

10. A gospel tract can be used by God to convert the lost and encourage the redeemed. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. The power is in the message. This message on a piece of paper can be used by God to convert a dead sinner’s soul or, perhaps, God may use the tract to encourage believers in the faith. Perhaps it may stimulate other Christians to get some tracts so that they themselves may proclaim the gospel!

11. A gospel tract sticks to the point and never gets sidetracked with silly arguments. The gospel tract that a Christian hands out does not get deterred by foolish arguments and endless speculations. It always sticks to the point because its message does not change. It presents the gospel and it keeps presenting that same gospel.

12. A gospel tract might be read by a person too arrogant to talk but too curious to let the literature pass him by. Perhaps someone with friends may be unwilling, or too arrogant/self-righteous, to talk with a Christian about eternal matters. But they may receive a piece of paper which they may read later on their own time. Perhaps someone next to them may be curious to see what a friend received that they’ll stick out their hand to receive the piece of paper so they don’t feel left out. Those who observe Christians handing out literature may be unwilling to talk (in public) but they may be too curious simply to feel ‘left out’. And so, they may receive one.

13. A gospel tract may be providentially used by God at the right time to sow gospel seeds in someone's soul. The harvest is plentiful, Jesus said. He also asserted that the laborers are few. Believers sow gospel seeds and some plant seeds, some water those seeds, and some see the sinner converted by God’s grace. But it always is God who produces the growth. But God uses His Word at the right time to sow gospel seeds in people’s hearts.

14. A gospel tract is a loving way to present the gospel to sinners in need of salvation from God's judgment. There really is nothing all that confrontational about handing out a pamphlet to another person. No one forces it upon another. It’s a simple, loving, compassionate, brotherly, and kind thing to do. It can be very warm and affectionate especially when the Christian may give a short statement when handing the tract to another: “Here, my friend, did you receive this yet? It changed my whole life! And I want you to have it!”

15. A gospel tract is an easy way to proclaim the gospel with a smile of brotherly love toward your neighbor. The gospel can be proclaimed with urgency, with passion, with fidelity and with earnestness and yet with a gentle, compassionate smile of brotherly-love. A friend can hand a gospel tract to a co-worker with a smile and express his loving care for his friend. A neighbor can hand out a gospel tract to someone living next door and verbalize his appreciation of him. And endless other possibilities may exist. So then, by handing out a tract a Christian engages in the proclamation of the gospel in a simple, easy, fervent, faithful, and loving manner.

“When preaching and private talk are not available, you need to have a tract ready. . . Get good striking tracts, or none at all. But a touching gospel tract may be the seed of eternal life. Therefore, do not go out without your tracts.”
    — Charles Spurgeon

“The very first service which my youthful heart rendered to Christ was the placing of tracts in envelopes, and then sealing them up, that I might send them… I used to write texts on little scraps of paper, and drop them anywhere, that some poor creatures might pick them up, and receive them as messages of mercy to their souls.”
    — Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Reminders for Christian Parents.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Parenting is just hard. It’s tiring. It’s busy. It’s laborious. It’s unending. It’s continuous. It’s demanding. But with all these realities, we as parents must remember that parenting is supremely rewarding! We won’t see the acorn sprout into a towering oak tree overnight but with earnest prayer, diligent labor, Christ-exalting zeal and loving discipleship, we trust God that He will do a mighty and supernatural work in the souls and lives of the children that He has entrusted to us.

So in this brief essay, I want to present five simple reminders to Christian parents.

1. Be a faithful Christian. (Piety)
Perhaps the simplest and most foundational reminder that I could proffer to Christian parents is simply to be a faithful Christian. Live what you speak. Practice what you preach. Emulate your Bridegroom. Love like He loved you. Forgive just as He forgave you. Pray as a child of God who loves intimacy with your God. Be faithful! In living a faithful Christian life — not perfect, but striving to be faithful! — your children will see this ongoing, continuous way of life in you. In a word: don’t undo by your conduct what you teach your children in your instruction. Conduct yourself with integrity and live as a faithful Christian!

2. Pray with fervent earnestness. (Prayer)
The preeminent weapon that every Christian parent possesses is prayer. Earnest, fervent, daily, constant prayer. No Christian parent should ever minimize the power of prayer nor should a Christian parent ever dismiss prayer as something less important. Prayer moves mountains. Prayer moves God. Prayer changes things. Prayer protects and powerfully effects great results! So dads and moms with your instruction, pray! Before you instruct, pray! After you instruct, pray! As you disciple, pray! Pray with an earnest spirit, a persistent tongue, and a believing heart! Pray with fervency and ask God to save and sanctify and to convert and change the souls that God has entrusted to you for the short years they live under your care. Don’t lose heart! Pray!

3. Impress Scripture on their minds and hearts. (Priority)
Moses spoke to the covenant people and told them to diligently teach God’s words to their children not just at formal teaching times but all throughout the day. Whether one sits in the house, or walks by the way, or lies down, or rises up, parents must impress biblical truths on the children’s hearts and minds. In fact, even Timothy learned the sacred writings from his mother Eunice as young as the infancy days (2 Tim 3:15). Children are never too young to learn nor are they too old to have Scripture impressed upon their hearts and minds. Parents, in all your doings for and with your children, always remember to bring God’s truth to bear in conversations, in hardships, in discouragements, in uncertainties, and in triumphs! This requires you to know your Bible so you can then impart that truth to your children! So then, travail in your own study of Scripture so you can teach your kids the panoply of truths from the Scripture.

4. Urge them to consider eternity.  (Perspective)
Life is too short to focus solely on the here and now. Eternity is so long that it behooves us to speak much and speak often of heaven and hell with our children. Urge them to consider their souls. Speak diligently about the glory of heaven and the torments of hell. Instruct your children diligently concerning the sinfulness of their hearts and the punishment that they deserve. Show them regularly the holiness of God and the blessed gospel of God’s love in sending His Son to die for sinners by bearing their curse and punishment. Plead with your children to not live for this world and lose their souls eternally. Urge them lovingly, winsomely, tenderly, and persuasively to consider the world to come and where they will live eternally. Show them Christ! Give them the gospel! Urge them to repent of sin and trust in Christ! Urge them to lose their lives now so as to gain them eternally! O parent, what a blessed privilege you have! Don’t forfeit this joyous work and labor of love!

5. Remember growth takes time.  (Patience)
As parents we want immediate results. Why? Because in this fast-paced world, we get everything else, so it seems, immediately and without much delay. But the souls of our children are like well-watered gardens that grow a healthy crop over time. The hearts of our children must be like a field that produces a vast harvest with much tending, care, work, labor, and effort. We pray that as we continue to till the hearts of our children that God would send the rain of the Spirit and produce a plenteous and bountiful harvest! May God use our diligent labors as parents as we pray for and with our children every day, and may He bless our efforts at leading our households in family worship consistently, and may He attend our conversations with our children as we individually speak to them concerning eternal matters with regularity and call them to turn from the things of this world, to flee from sin, to follow Christ, and trust in His righteousness alone to save from coming wrath. A seed in the ground takes time to grow into a large plant and so it is with our children’s hearts. Don’t grow weary in doing good. Growth takes time. Be diligent! Be constant! Be fervent! Be sober-minded! Be encouraged! Trust in God and labor for the souls of your children!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Necessity of Serious-Mindedness in Corporate Worship
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The wisest man who ever lived in ancient Israel spoke wisdom when he counseled believers to guard their steps as they go to the house of God and to draw near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools (Eccl 5:1). A little later, Solomon uttered another word of wisdom in the context of one’s attitude toward God in corporate worship: Fear God! (Eccl 5:7). Having an attitude of seriousness seems to be a concept that has long-since deceased in our entertainment-driven, fast-paced, consumeristic-mentality society that has even crept into the church. To be serious-minded does not mean to be sour nor does it mean to be angry or depressed. It does not mean that one must enter with a frown on his face or a chip on his shoulder. To be serious-minded means that one is overwhelmed with the sense of divine things that are taking place and with a very real sense of God’s almighty presence that exists when the people of God gather. To be serious minded means that one properly understands the gravity and weightiness of the corporate worship gathering as believers meet with the King of the universe and with the Author of salvation. This is not just another trivial meeting with a human friend. This is an encounter with the true, living, eternal God of the ages!

But the question remains: why should believers be serious-minded in corporate worship? In this brief write-up, I will provide five answers to that important question.

1. The Reverence Due to God.
The people of God should come to the house of God in worship with a serious mindset because of the reverence due to God. The prophet Jeremiah pronounced: “Who would not fear you, O King of the nations? Indeed, it is your due...But the LORD is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, and the nations cannot endure His indignation” (Jer 10:7, 10). When coming into the very presence of this Almighty God, believers should come soberly, seriously, and reverently as is proper to conduct oneself in the presence of the King of the nations before Whom the earth quakes! Revere and fear Him!

2. The Honor We Give to Scripture.
Another reason why believers must come into God’s presence with a serious mindset rather than a trivial and worldly mindset is because of the supreme honor that we owe to Holy Scripture. When the Bible is opened and read, God Almighty thunders His voice. In fact, the Scriptures declare that the voice of the Lord is upon the waters and the God of glory thunders. The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is majestic and it breaks the cedars. Yes, the voice of the Lord hews out flames of fire, it shakes the wilderness, and it makes the deer to calve. Yes, everything in His temples shouts: “Glory” (Ps 29:3-9). God’s people come to worship with a serious-minded demeanor because we joyously sit beneath the authoritative Word of the Living God as God speaks through His Scripture as it is read, prayed over, preached, and applied.

3. The Lowly Position of God's People.
God, by His powerful hand, made heaven as His throne and the earth as His footstool and as the sovereign Creator of all things He looks to the one who is humble, contrite of spirit, and who trembles at His Word (Isa 66:2). The proper position of the people of God in worship is not self-exaltation and self-centered (anthropocentric) worship; rather, it is to sit lowly, humbly, reverently, and willingly at the feet of God. When Christians gather to worship together there must be a sense of lowliness and awe amongst God’s people that would evidence itself in Christ-centered conversations, God-centered speech, Word-centered encouragements, and sermon-based conversations that afterwards. To be lowly is to be Christlike. To come to worship humbly and soberly is to be like Christ, a man full of humility (Phil 2:5-11).

4. The Eternal Importance of the Event.
Many people sit in pews to hear the Word of God expounded each week and prove themselves to be hearers of the Word but not doers of the Word. In so doing, they have deluded themselves and deceived themselves by their sitting in church in thinking that they are Christians because of their sacrificial services that they’re presented to God. But the Scripture says that believers must humbly receive the Word implanted which is able to save souls (James 1:21). Furthermore, believers must be hearers and doers of the Word (James 1:22). As God speaks through His servant-mouthpiece as he faithfully expounds the text, it will either encourage a man in his walk in salvation or it will aggravate and increase his condemnation. The ultimate importance of hearing God speak to His people through the proclamation of the Word is reason enough for people to come to worship with a sober-minded mentality rather than a trivial, worldly attitude.

5. The Joyous Sobriety of Heeding the Word.
In one of the most famous sermons ever delivered by a preacher, in His sermon on the mountain, Jesus concluded the discourse with a story of two builders: one is wise and one is foolish. The one who hears the words and acts on them is like the man who built a house, dug deep, laid the foundation on the rock and then when the flood came it could not shake the house because it had been well built (Luke 6:47-48). On the contrary, there was a person who hears the word but does not act accordingly (in obedience), he is a man who builds his house on the ground without any foundation, and the torrent burst against the house and immediately it collapsed and the ruin of that house was tremendous (Luke 6:49). The difference between these two builders: one listened and obeyed and the other listened and did not obey. In fact, just prior to this story, Jesus said: “why do you call me Lord Lord and do not do what I say” (Luke 6:46). Thus, the joyous event of hearing the Word is a reason to come to worship with a serious-minded demeanor but also the unspeakable importance of heeding that Word preached is a reason to sit seriously and be engaged and fight to be undistracted in the hearing of the Word. For truly the Lord gave this utterance: Blessed are those who read, and those who hear and those who heed the things written in the prophetic Scriptures (Rev 1:3).

May God use His Word and the glory of Christ to prepare us as His people for worship so that we would have lofty thoughts of our God, majestic worship for Christ our Savior, and a supreme love and affection for the Spirit who regenerated us by sovereign grace and power! Let us approach Him with reverence and with awe! Let us love Him dearly and worship Him gladly!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

The most happy Christian is an evangelistic one. The believer in Christ refuses to go to heaven alone. So he makes it his glad thought and incessant mindset to be a soul-winner. Every Christian, without exception, must see it as his blessed task to be a disciple of Christ and be a disciple-maker for Him! So, what exactly does evangelism look like in the life of the Christian? It will never look exactly the same because God has placed people in different settings in life where they can share the gospel but a few principles can guide one to a proper understanding of evangelism. The gospel message never changes but there are many different ways that believers can — and should! — take the gospel to the lost.

1. The JOY
Evangelism should spring from a joyful heart. The source of Christian joy comes from the believer’s union with Christ and the unchanging reality that one’s name is recorded in heaven, in the Lamb’s Book of Life. This unshakeable reality gives joy to the Christian’s soul and catapults him to a life of proclaiming the great deeds of the LORD!

Because God is absolutely sovereign over all things including the salvation of souls, Christians can evangelize with joyous confidence. Knowing that God has elected some to salvation is a glorious and freeing comfort when proclaiming the gospel to the spiritually dead and calling them to repent and believe in the gospel. Confidence comes from God and His regenerating power; not from us and our evangelistic methods. So, Christian, proclaim Christ! Speak of Him confidently! Speak of Him urgently and passionately!

All true born-again Christians can and should evangelize. Sharing Christ with the lost is not reserved for the missionaries only, or for the pastors, or for the full-time traveling evangelists. Rather, proclaiming the gospel is a blessed privilege that God has happily given to every one of His followers. If one is a Christian, then he knows enough to evangelize. The gospel is the simple message of God’s grace revealed in Christ who saves sinners by dying in their place and rising from the dead triumphantly. Every Christian who is truly a Christian understands the gospel message. Growth in knowledge is important and necessary, but evangelism does not require the knowledge of all the facts before one begins to evangelize. The simple gospel must be proclaimed and pressed upon the souls of sinners. Every true Christian can be proclaim the message that he himself has believed for the salvation of his own soul.

Every sinner who dies without repenting of his sin and trusting in Christ alone will forevermore suffer in the Lake of Fire. Every true Christian loves God and loves his neighbor and does not want others to agonize under God’s wrath in hell. Thus, believers have a burden; a burden for the souls of others! Whether young, old, rich, poor, and whatever the cultural and religious background, Christians long for souls to be won to Christ! A love for one’s neighbor and the desire for their soul to be saved from wrath should prompt Christians, with a God-given and Christlike burden, to proclaim the gospel to anyone and everyone so as to snatch them from the fires of divine judgment to come.

Believers must live with a constant readiness to proclaim the gospel. Christians benefit greatly by rehearsing the gospel to their own souls every day to remind themselves of God’s great grace, Christ’s great sacrifice, and the Spirit’s glorious power. And in speaking this truth to one’s own soul, Christians stand prepared and ready to give the gospel to those that God brings across his path. A believer must not merely wait for people to ask about the Christian message, though this is a blessing when it happens, but Christians must be ready and eager to initiate conversations with family, friends, neighbors, coworkers, and strangers and lovingly strive to present the character of God, the pervasiveness of sin, the condemnation that awaits sinners, and the gracious work of Christ at Calvary, and the need to repent and believe the gospel. Be ready! Be prepared! Be eager! Be hungry to win souls for Christ! Pray for these opportunities!

The gospel never changes. The message always remains the same. The truths of the good news never are altered. But the way in which that message reaches the lost takes a variety of forms. Evangelism refers to the speaking and presentation of the good news of salvation. This is not merely done by living a good life and people seeing Jesus in us. Nonbelievers cannot see Christ in Christians. This message must be told. It can occur through the handing out of gospel literature (tracts, pamphlets), the writing of letters with gospel truth to friends, neighbors, coworkers. The message comes to sinners when fathers and mothers instruct their children in the Word of God and impress the gospel truth to the hearts of young sinners. It happens through the sitting at a coffee shop and proclaiming the gospel to strangers. It can occur through the public proclamation of the gospel outdoors. The gospel goes forth as folks hold gospel signs that proclaim the gospel in a public venue. The gospel goes forth from the pulpit as faithful men expound God’s Word faithfully in a local church. The good news can be told in the writing of blogs, letters, articles, handouts, tracts, and distributing those to others. It happens through verbal conversations that Christians have with others and urging the hearer to repent of sin, trust in Christ, and follow Him. The message does not change but there are many ways in which that gospel message can reach the lost.

7. The DUTY
Christ commissioned all of His followers to go into all the world and make disciples. Every Christian is enlisted in the service of soul-winning. The blessed duty and joyous delight of every Christ-follower is to obediently, confidently, courageously, and patiently proclaim Christ and His crosswork to any and every sinner and urge them to die to self, take up their cross, and follow Christ. This is not reserved merely for the seminary graduates, or the pastors, or the professors. This is not a duty given only to missionaries or evangelists or the super-committed Christians. The duty to speak of Christ and His gospel rests upon every single Christian for this is what Christ uses to snatch sinners from the fire and bring them to heaven. How will people hear without someone giving the gospel to them? So, Christian, joyously and dutifully proclaim Him!

8. The LABOR
Toward the end of Christ’s ministry, He sent out 70 laborers and told them that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few. Therefore, believers are to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into the harvest. Amazingly, they were the answer to their own prayer! Christ commissioned and sent them out into His harvest as laborers. Every Christian is engaged in the labor of soul-winning. No greater blessing exists in all the world than for Christians to labor for souls! Nothing is as worthwhile and nothing is as eternally profitable than fishing for men’s souls by speaking of God’s holy character, and man’s vile sinfulness, and Christ’s sufficient redemption, and the Spirit’s sovereign grace! The labor is to speak much and speak often and speak tirelessly of Christ!

Countless millions right now, at this moment, as you read this, scream in torment in the fires of hell because they did not believe the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thousands and thousands die every day. Hell swallows up religious people, churchgoers, intellectually astute, arrogant self-righteous, and those caught up in false religion. O the urgency is great! And every Christian knows the fear of the Lord, the terror of the Lord, the holiness of the Lord, the righteousness of the Lord, and the wrath that is soon-kindled. Let believers emulate the Apostle Paul who persuaded sinners to be reconciled to God. He attempted to press home gospel truths upon the hearts, minds, consciences, and souls of sinners! He endeavored to win souls for the cause of Christ! Let us urgently speak of Him! Let us plead with sinners to see their helplessness before God, their condemnation that awaits them if they persist in unbelief, and the available redemption found in Christ alone, and the necessary response to repent of sin and trust in Christ and follow Him! If sinners be damned, let them at least leap over us into hellfire as we urgently plead with them to embrace Christ! Time is short! Life is soon-passing! Eternity is near! Hell and heaven are real! Dear Christian, urgently, faithfully, compassionately, tenderly, and earnestly plead with sinners to turn to God from idols to serve the Lord Jesus Christ who rescues from coming wrath!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Biblical Parenting —
 Foundational Essentials for Faithful Dads and Moms
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

My son, keep my words, And treasure my commandments within you. Keep my commandments and live, And my teaching as the apple of your eye.     —Proverbs 7:1–2

No one can overstate how important parenting is. God entrusts the important duty and joyous privilege of caring for His precious creatures by pointing them constantly, passionately, urgently, and Christocentrically to the gospel of grace. But how could one summarize biblical parenting? What are some foundational essentials for faithful dads and moms? This essay will provide a few.

1. INSTRUCT your children.
Teachers disseminate information to their pupils. Parents must, in like manner, pass on God’s truth to their children. The parents have the primary duty and responsibility in all of life’s ambitions and endeavors to take biblical truth and teach the next generation to fear the Lord. If parents do everything else and yet fail in this area, they have utterly failed as parents. God commands parents to teach the next generation (Ps 78:1-8) and teach them the fear of the Lord (Prov 1:7) and train up their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph 6:4).

2. INTERCEDE for your children.
A parent can do nothing more powerful and beneficial for the children than to pray regularly for their conversion. To intercede means that a parent brings the child before God’s almighty throne pleading for God’s grace to touch their souls, for God’s mercy to regenerate them, for God’s power to control them, and for God’s beauty to satisfy them. Parents must pray that Christ would savingly touch their children. Parents must pray that the children must pursue Christ as their supreme and highest ambition in life — above all else. Parents, if you neglect anything, neglect not the duty of praying and interceding for your children.

3. IMPLORE your children.
To implore is to beg and exhort. God commands all men everywhere to repent. On behalf of God, parents must use His Word and implore each of their children to repent and be reconciled to God. Parents must instill this in their children from the earliest days and implore them to trust in Christ and turn from their sin to be saved. Parents must implore each child to think rightly about God, to turn solidly from sin, to trust unreservedly to Christ, and to follow passionately the risen Christ. Parents must implore individually, at family worship, and in both planned and unplanned settings.

4. IMITATE for your children.
To imitate Christ is one of the most powerful tools that a parent has. As children see their parents pursue Christ and the knowledge of Him, and as they see the parents imitate Christ, walk as He walked, love what He loved, hate what He hated, obey just as He obeyed, pray as He prayed, children will be indelibly impacted by this. Parents must repent when they’ve sinned. They must ask for forgiveness whenever needed. They must imitate Christ before they can pass it on. Parents can never pass on to the children what they do not possess themselves — a Christlike and holy life.

5. INFORM your children.
No greater need could ever be taught to the children than the coming reality of heaven and hell. Parents must inform their children of the wrath to come and and the blessedness of heaven. Parents must urgently and passionately plead with their children to see God’s fury at sin and to fly to Christ quickly and unhesitatingly for refuge from the coming storm and then, and only then, will they find God’s mercy abundantly poured out and richly available to cover their sin and Christ as a propitiatory sacrifice. Parents have a duty to inform the children that life is short and eternity is long. Parents must declare to their children that as long as heaven endures, so will hell endure. As powerful and as overwhelming as God’s love and grace is in heaven, so powerful and overwhelming will his hatred and punishment be in hell. As glorious will it be to be in the immediate presence of God’s glory in the eternal beauty of heaven, so horrible will it be to be in the immediate presence of God’s wrath in the eternal torments of the Lake of Fire. Parents, if you love your children, tell them regularly to think often of eternity and their destiny.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Dear Daughters: Know This Husband.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

God has mercifully entrusted to me four daughters. They are precious and they are blessed gifts from God. My ultimate passion for them is to know Christ and to serve Him with all their might. I pray that they would not just know about God but that they would truly know God Himself and fall in love with Him more and more each day for He is the supreme joy and the fountain of infinite delights. This essay provides a father’s longing. Daughters: know Jesus Christ, the ultimate Bridegroom.

1. A loving bridegroom.
The Lord Jesus Christ is a loving bridegroom. He displays the true meaning of love. Far more than sappy emotions and flittering feelings, the love of Christ compelled him to self-giving action on behalf of His bride. He initiated. He sacrificed. He gave Himself. He unconditionally served His bride for her benefit. His is the ultimate, supreme love. Daughters: know this Jesus!

2. A sacrificing bridegroom.
A real comprehension of love is known by what Christ did at Calvary and it prompts all believers to intentionally sacrifice for others because this is how Christ demonstrated love. Jesus sacrificed for His elect. He sought His bride. He went after her. He had a singular mission: to obey His father and to redeem His Bride. He modeled a tireless life of selfless sacrifice!

3. A courageous bridegroom.
The Lord Jesus as the perfect bridegroom never cowered away in fear or trembled in the face of opposition from unbelievers. He courageously lived as a real man with an indomitable fear of God and a confident trust in Scripture. He knew that God sent Him and that God would protect Him. He lived courageously and confidently as He sought His bride, won His bride, and provided atonement for His bride.

4. A sober-minded bridegroom.
Christ lived a sober-minded life. He was absolutely resolved and determined to follow His God and obey God’s Word regardless of the cost and regardless of human response. He was a man who exuded appropriate seriousness, soundness of speech and piety of heart. He was humble, gentle, caring, compassionate, and firm. He did not trifle with the things of this world. The things of the ungodly never captivated the Savior. In all things, he lived sober-mindedly.

5. A gentle bridegroom.
Preeminently, the Lord Jesus, this blessed bridegroom, lived a gentle life. He had a lowly and gentle heart. He was meek, selfless, sacrificial, and divinely powerful. He had all strength to move mountains; for indeed, He created them! And yet He lived with such tenderness that He welcomed even the weakest of children and the most despicable of societal outcasts. He had strength but He always wielded that strength in a controlled way — always.

6. A holy bridegroom.
This bridegroom was wholly committed to the truthfulness of Scripture. He hid it in his heart. By the way he talked and through the way He rebuked wayward sinners and even His closest friends, He poured forth Scriptural truth from his lips. He prized the glory of God. He loved communing with the Father in prayer. He depended always and ever on the empowering of the Spirit of God. He cried out for strength, he endured through hardships, and he clung to the blessed promises of Scripture. Of all men, this bridegroom was a holy, devout, righteous, pure and godly man.

Precious daughters: I entreat you to know this bridegroom. Let this bridegroom captivate you with His love, ravish you with His tenderness, woo your heart with His promises, and instruct you in what to look for in a husband by how He lived His life. To prepare for marriage, strive with all your hearts to know this bridegroom. Worship Him! Love Him! Frequently serve Him! Let Him bathe you with His kisses and let Him sing over you with His covenant-love. If you do anything: strive — and never cease! — to know this blessed and glorious bridegroom!
This is one article in a forth-coming eBook on "Homosexuality: Providing Answers from the Sufficient Word to Many Common Issues"
Homosexuality & Persecution.
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

Let no one ever think that Jesus promised His followers comfort, ease, prosperity, and receptiveness from the world. He did, nonetheless, provide many promises to His people. But He promised that suffering would come, that they would receive hostility from the world, and that just as they treated Christ, so the world would also treat His followers. No believer who is light should expect warmth, acceptance, tolerance, and receptivity from those who are darkness.

1. The Intolerance of Tolerance.
Perhaps no wave of coming persecution in the western world is as widespread and sweeping as the one coming from the homosexual community. Those who live and herald their tolerance of all people, all backgrounds, all races, and all religions just cannot handle one group of people: bible-believing, resolute, devoted Christians committed to proclamation of the Word and the glory of God! Thus, those who champion their tolerance of everyone suddenly become intolerant of Christians. Their ideology drastically, publicly, undeniably breaks down by their own actions.

2. Defining Tolerance.
One might define tolerance as: “the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with.” Or, Mirriam-Webster defines tolerance as the “willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own.” Of course, multitudes of people, groups, institutions, charities and political agendas champion the necessary ingredient of ‘tolerance’. But they cannot tolerate true Christ-followers.

3. The Unambiguous Promise from Jesus Christ.
Let all Christians hear and heed the promises from the lips of Christ. He promised that in this world you will have tribulation (John 16:33) and that the Church has tribulation and poverty (Rev 2:9). Indeed, the world hates Christ’s followers (John 15:18-19). The Apostle John writes that believers must not be surprised if the world hates us (1 John 3:13). Paul affirmed that all who desire to live Godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted (2 Tim 3:12). These clear, undeniable statements unequivocally affirm that hardship, suffering, and rejection is the divinely given lot for all of His followers.

4. The Growth of the Church in Hostile Times.
All the while, Christians must not fear. Indeed, Christians must rejoice when mistreated and reviled for the name of Christ. When those in the world revile, slander, blaspheme, and mock Christians, surprise must not overtake us! Rather, we must pray for those who persecute us, turn the other cheek, love them intentionality, call them to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ alone, and seek to live godly as pilgrims in this present world while journeying to our heavenly Zion. For the blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. God purifies His church through affliction and He strengthens their faith through opposition. Let believers not cower away in fear but stand strong with Christlike courage, Spirit-given power, and God-exalting joy. This will glorify God!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Duties of the Minister of the Gospel
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
Christ Fellowship Bible Church

As a minster of the gospel of Jesus Christ, I do well to remember simple and essential truths from Scripture regarding my duties. I know myself and my tendency to veer off course, to pursue hobby-horses, and to do what’s comfortable and to neglect what’s difficult. But to remember God’s glorious, gracious, wise and clear precepts for me to follow as a pastor benefits me and the flock that God has called me to shepherd. Furthermore, it glorifies God for me to remember my God-given duties and my blessed responsibilities as a minister of the gospel. In this essay, I’ll list 5 of them.

1. Pursue God Supremely. (Pursuit)
The Apostle Paul exemplifies a shepherd-like heart with a supreme pursuit in his ministry. He noted that his preeminent desire is to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings (Phil 3:10). Thus, a pastor’s primary pursuit must not be to build the church, to preach good sermons, to be well-liked, or to be famous and desired. His ultimate ambition must lie solely in the glorious and blessed pursuit of God — and Him alone. Nothing else satisfies. Nothing else is as deep, as worthwhile, as exuberant, as heart-stirring, and as profitable as the pursuit of God! So, as a minister of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, my heart, my affections, and my time must be geared toward the supreme passion for God!

2. Study Scripture Faithfully. (Preaching)
Perhaps the ultimate responsibility of a shepherd is the faithful feeding of the sheep (2 Tim 4:2). He is to provide the food, guide the sheep to the food, and ensure that it is good, healthy food that will enhance their growth. Similarly, a minister of the gospel must sit himself in the chair as he prayerfully, daily, hungrily, and eagerly studies Scripture for his own heart and then so he can feed God’s flock through the preaching and teaching of Holy Scripture. This demands that I spend a bulk of my time alone, in a room, in the spirit of prayer, with my Bible open, searching, studying, praying over, convicted by, entreating God for illumination, filled with divine happinesses in my study of Scripture. I must study well to preach well to feed God’s precious sheep faithfully.

3. Shepherd Saints Patiently. (Pastoring)
One of the twelve disciples who lived life with Christ and journeyed with him in his public ministry was Peter who later exhorted the elders to “shepherd the flock of God among them” (1 Pet 5:1-2). To pastor well requires time, sacrifice, diligence, intentionality, love, care, and honest concern. To refuse to visit the sick, mourn with the hurting, and care for all of God’s flock is to neglect a vital and commanded part of pastoral ministry. No man can minister the Word effectively from the pulpit who is disattached from the flock of God personally. I must know them so as to minister the Word well to them. I must visit them, teach them house to house, meet with them, counsel their hearts, and point them to the Chief Shepherd!

4. Disciple Men Intentionally. (Passing on)
I am replaceable. No minister of the gospel is irreplaceable. We all pass on but the gospel does not pass away. Faithful ministers of the gospel must take God’s Word and disseminate it to God’s people so that faithful men are entrusted with the Word to teach other faithful men. The baton must be passed on. No man should labor alone. I must prioritize the discipling, the instruction, and theological truths to other men who can lead well in their own homes (with their wives and children) and then lead well in the local flock. Leadership is a shared ministry, never a one-man show. To glorify God, I must prayerfully, intentionally, and expectantly pour myself into other faithful men to see God grow them and use them for His glory!

5. Seek God Prayerfully. (Praying)
Can a man be alone? Can he be alone with integrity? Can he be on his knees frequently and for long periods of time? Does he believe in prayer? Does he believe that his fervent prayers actually move God and change things? If not, he has much to learn about the glory of God and the power of prayer. Let a minister seek God prayerfully for his own heart, for his purity, for his study, for his family, for his effectiveness, for the Spirit’s unction and empowering, and for the Lord Jesus Christ to exude forth in his life, conversations, messages, and counseling. Let every faithful minister remember Isaiah’s words to “give God no rest” and to learn from Hannah who “poured out her soul before the LORD”. Let us happily do likewise!

Subscribe to RSS Feed Follow me on Twitter!