Friday, March 31, 2017

Should I Ever Abstain from Communion?

"Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup." 
-1 Corinthains 11:28

The thought comes from a feeling that one should not partake of the Lord’s Supper, because of a sense of not properly preparing at that given time. Feelings that it is wrong to take the Lord’s Supper if one is struggling with sin. A common misunderstanding of 1 Corinthians 11:28 lies at the center of these feelings.

The warning in verse 11 cautions against partaking the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner, referring to the unrepentant self-centeredness of the Corinthians. The Corinthians were ignoring other members of the body. The same warning does not apply to those who are struggling with sin but are looking to the cross in repentance, hating their sin and yearning to be pleasing to God. When the understand of the people is that you must wait until you have been “good enough” or have gotten yourself into a moment of being “good enough,” we have turned this incredible reminder of grace into and ogre of legalism. No one is worthy. This is the point! Melancthon says it this way:

“Some will not venture to profess Christ until they can rather profess themselves. They wait for worthiness to come to the Lord’s table, not considering that it is unworthiness which they profess, along with Christ’s worthiness- their sins, along with His name for the remission of sins.”

The Lord's Supper reminds us again that Christ died for sinners like us. The requirement is that we come in faith and repentance. Too often, having stripped the Supper of any positive meaning, we are left only with the threat of divine judgment if we do it incorrectly. It is no wonder in such cases that many do not want to have Communion more frequently. They believe it won’t do anything for them if they take it correctly, and what’s worse, they suffer if they do it incorrectly. Judgment is real, but so is the truth of grace for the repentant.
If we have struggled this week and sinned (and we all have), that is all the more reason we need the Lord’s Supper. We need a tangible reminder that Christ has made provision for our sin. The only pre-condition for the believer to remain repentant. To refuse Communion is symbolical to reject the work of Christ. Therefore, the only time one should keep themselves from the Table is if he/she refuses to repent. Then, that person should realize he/she declares a refusal to submit to Christ and showing himself/herself as an unbeliever.
    Think of it this way. The Scriptures are not barring any who have ever danced with the Devil. We all have. You simply cannot come to the table still holding the Devil’s hand. As long as you repentant, come to the King’s table! Be reminded of the cost of your sin, hate it afresh, and be reminded that your Savior has paid the debt.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

God’s Provision for Our Church Family

 "And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
-Philippians 4:19

Last summer when Peggy Guffey passed away, it was a bittersweet moment for our church membership. She and her husband contributed significantly to the work of Christ and the church during their life and after they passed. Unexpectedly, the Guffey’s faithfully left Grace Baptist a significate gift from their estate. Many ideas had floated around on what to do with the cash gift. But them something unexpected happened over the weekend. Scott Heaton brought to the attention of church leaders that the adjoining property next door to the church became available as a for sale by owner. The property had not been for sale for 60 years.

Rounding up several leaders of our church, we checked into the property. After walking the property, all our leaders were in agreement this is a once in a generation opportunity. Normally I don’t like to lead fast as a pastor, but this was different. The owners had already had at least two cash offers to split the property up but were gracious enough to wait on our church to walk through the process.

So we worked with them on the best price contingent upon a congregational vote. The price was agreed to, and the Guffey Estate provided the means to pay cash for the property. Many of us had different ideas on what to do with the money, but now it seems clear that God had better plans than we did. How amazing is our God! In January, we began discussing the need to make room for people in our hearts and on our campus. Now God had provided an opportunity and the means those prayer requests. We not only had a chance to purchase the property, but the cash in had to pay for it. God was so pleased to provide this that he also provided the funds to make it all happen.

The Guffey family will now be able to bless countless people they have never met through their faithfulness in giving. What will your legacy in the area or stewardship be? Have you considered where you will give your estate when the time comes? We cannot take it with us after all, just manage it in the meantime. Would you consider giving a last gift to your local church for the continuation of Kingdom work?

The home and property had been shown several times before we could get to it. The property was bigger than we initially estimated. Having a livable home, swimming pool, and two garages, the property aids the church now and in the future. The home could be used as the church office, freeing up needed Sunday school space in the education wing and provide a much-needed conference room for staff, deacon, and committee meetings.

It is so exciting to see God working and moving in our church! I am also excited to announce the church affirmed to purchase the property next door by a 99% vote! It is such a joy and pleasure to pastor a church that unified for the Glory of God! God continues to be so good and faithful to us! We hope to close in the next 30 days.