White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Sunday, September 30, 2018

30Sep

God Confronts Sin

Lesson: Genesis 3.8-17, 20-24 Read: Genesis 3.1-24

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.

Genesis 3.6-7 (NRSV)

The story of Adam, Eve and the serpent is well known. The man and the woman did not trust God’s words. Instead, they were swayed by the serpent’s words and ate the fruit from the Tree of the knowledge of Good and Evil. This lesson focuses on God’s response to their tragic fall.

Humanity’s fall seems to be a simple tale of crime and punishment (Genesis 3). We are prone to interpret Adam and Eve’s actions with words like failure, disappointment and disobedience. But consider this: God’s mercy is evident throughout this passage. First, after eating from the tree, the man and the woman became aware and ashamed of their nakedness and attempted to hide from God. (It is futile to think they could hide themselves or their thoughts from God). We can imagine that God was aware, yet God called to them (Where are you, v. 9) and questioned them (Have you eaten from the tree, v. 11). God knew the answers to those questions; God was not seeking answers, but searching out their attitude. Was there regret in their response? Shame? Deception? The Lord would have been justified to render judgment immediately, but instead, God engaged in conversation. That was mercy. Second, and most profoundly, God chose to punish rather than destroy. The penalty for eating of the tree was said to be death (2.17; 3.3). Yet God chose not to cut them off but to continue his relationship with Adam and Eve. Men will toil, women will give birth in pain, and they will be cast out of the Garden, but God will still be their God and they will be his children.

There are severe consequences for sin but there is also mercy. And mercy is a sign of God’s love. Love is the reason for the creation. Love is the reason that God always confronts sin.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, September 30, 2018

30Sep

YOKE FELLOWS WITH CHRIST

This scripture is the focus for today’s sermon and worship. It is also my word to you as Pastor.

Philippians 1: 1-6,9-11; 2:1-15

1 Paul and Timothy, slaves of Jesus the Anointed One, greet you, our friends in Philippi—those set apart by Jesus the Anointed—and we greet the elders and deacons who serve with you. 2 Grace and peace be with you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus the Anointed.
3 Whenever you cross my mind, I thank my God for you and for the gift of knowing you. 4 My spirit is lightened with joy whenever I pray for you (and I do constantly) 5 because you have partnered with me to spread the gospel since the first day I preached to you.
6 I am confident that the Creator, who has begun such a great work among you, will not stop in mid-design but will keep perfecting you until the day Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, returns to redeem the world.

9 Here’s what I pray for you:
Father, may their love grow more and more in wisdom and insight—10 so they will be able to examine and determine the best from everything else. And on the day of the Anointed One, the day of His judgment, let them stand pure and blameless, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that ripens through Jesus the Anointed.

If you find any comfort from being in the Anointed, if His love brings you some encouragement, if you experience true companionship with the Spirit, if His tenderness and mercy fill your heart; then, brothers and sisters, 2 here is one thing that would complete my joy—come together as one in mind and spirit and purpose, sharing in the same love. 3 Don’t let selfishness and prideful agendas take over. Embrace true humility and lift your heads to extend love to others. 4 Get beyond yourselves and protecting your own interests; be sincere and secure your neighbors’ interests first.
5 In other words, adopt the mind-set of Jesus the Anointed. Live with His attitude in your hearts. Remember:
6 Though He was in the form of God, He chose not to cling to equality with God; 7 But He poured Himself out to fill a vessel brand new; a servant in form and a man indeed. The very likeness of humanity, 8 He humbled Himself, obedient to death— a merciless death on the cross! 9 So God raised Him up to the highest place and gave Him the name above all. 10 So when His name is called, every knee will bow,[a] in heaven, on earth, and below. 11 And every tongue will confess[b] “Jesus, the Anointed One, is Lord,” to the glory of God our Father!
12 So now, my beloved, obey as you have always done, not only when I am with you, but even more so when I can’t be. Continue to work out your salvation, with great fear and trembling, 13 because God is energizing you so that you will desire and do what always pleases Him.

14 Do all things without complaining or bickering with each other, 15 so you will be found innocent and blameless; you are God’s children called to live without a single stain on your reputations among this perverted and crooked generation. Shine like stars across the land.

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Thoughts

Posted Friday, September 28, 2018

28Sep

GOD calls us to be holy partners in what he is doing in the world. A partner is a sharer - someone sharing a common interest [in the work] and sharing in the blessing of the partnership. Working In GOD, with Him.

Sermon: Holy Partners In A Heavenly Calling - Pastor William J. Shaw

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Wednesday, September 26, 2018

26Sep

Giving Justly

Read: Second Corinthians 8.1—9.15

For you know the generous act of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by) his poverty you might become rich.

Second Corinthians 8.9 (NRSV)

During his second and third Missionary Journeys, the Apostle Paul took up a collection among the Gentile churches for the poor church in Jerusalem. Certainly there were poor believers among the Gentile churches so why did Paul think it so important to deliver this offering? He saw in this gift both an act of unity and a fulfillment of Scripture.

In Acts 11.28-30, Luke wrote about a famine affecting the region and the decision by the believers in Antioch to send relief to the church in Jerusalem. As Paul reached the end of his final mission tour, he planned to carry this gift personally and deliver it to James, the leader of the Jerusalem fellowship and the brother of Jesus (Acts 21.17-19). The Corinthians were among the first to pledge but among the last to actually give. Paul gave them some simple instruction to ensure the gift would be sizable and ready when he arrived (“Put a little aside on the first day of each week,” First Corinthians 16.1-4) and he offered encouragement when they were having second thoughts (“God loves a cheerful giver,” Second Corinthians 9.7). Knowing the tendency among the Corinthian Christians to boast about their excellence (8.7), Paul challenged them to make good their pledges by reminding them that the churches in Macedonia, who were less prosperous, had given an exceptional gift out of their poverty (8.1-2)! Why was this gift so important? Paul saw this generous act as a connecting bond between the Jewish believers in Jerusalem and the Gentile Christians around the world. The Gentiles had accepted a saving faith in Jesus. That faith had been nurtured in the covenant people of Israel for centuries. The Gentiles were the nations God promised to bless through Abraham (Genesis 12.3). The Jews were in great need in Jerusalem and the Greek churches had resources to share. These two communities had an adversarial history but now, in Christ, they shared a common life and destiny.

The model for our giving is always Jesus. He had all things and gave them up to dwell among us. He gave his very life for us. Can we not give to him our very best?

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Monday, September 24, 2018

24Sep

For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:4-5


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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2018

23Sep

God Creates Family

Lesson and Read: Genesis 2.18-24; 4.1, 2

And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; this one shall be called Woman, for out of Man this one was taken.”

Genesis 2.22-23 (NRSV)

Genesis 1.27 tells us that God made humans, both male and female, in his image. In our last lesson we saw “who” made Adam (God) and “how” the man was made (from the ground). In this lesson we will see not only “how” God made the woman but “why.”

God made Adam, placed him in the garden and gave him the command to tend it, and avoid the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It was God’s decision to make a helper for the man. Some early commentators have mispronounced God’s intent. Genesis 2.18 does not say “helpmate” but “help meet,” i.e., a helper who is meet or appropriate; a suitable helper who, along with Adam, would tend and till the garden (2.15). God then made a host of creatures and brought them before the man to see if any were suitable. Adam named them (a demonstration of human dominion over animals) but found no meet helper. Finally, God put the man to sleep, took a rib from his side and fashioned it into a woman. Adam was asleep; he did not consult with God on the woman’s creation. Once again, the Lord was the sole creator. When Adam saw her, he immediately recognized his appropriate partner—they were made of the same stuff, bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh (v. 23). In fact they were one. Family began from then and would be extended when Adam and Eve added children to the fold (4.1-2).

It is wise not to interpret too much significance to the order of creation. Males are not superior because they were made first. (Consider that if humans were the pinnacle of creation because they made on the last day, Genesis 1.27-28, then woman was the pinnacle of creation in chapter 2). Theologian Matthew Henry said it best, “The woman came out of a man’s ribs. Not from his feet to be walked on, not from his head to be superior, but from his side to be equal, under the arm to be protected, and next to the heart to be loved.”

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, September 23, 2018

23Sep

WHAT IS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION?
Matthew 10:39-11:1, 20-30

39 To find your life, you must lose your life—and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. 11 With that, Jesus finished instructing His disciples, and He went on to preach and teach in the towns of Galilee. 20 Then Jesus began to preach about the towns He’d visited. He’d performed some of His most fantastic miracles in places like Chorazin and Bethsaida, but still the people in those places hadn’t turned to God.

Jesus: 21 Woe to you, Chorazin! And woe to you, Bethsaida! Had I gone to Tyre and Sidon and performed miracles there, they would have repented immediately, taking on sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you this: the people from Tyre and Sidon will fare better on the day of judgment than you will. 23 And Capernaum! Do you think you will reign exalted in heaven? No, you’ll rot in hell. Had I gone to Sodom and worked miracles there, the people would have repented, and Sodom would still be standing, thriving, bustling. 24 Well, you know what happened to Sodom. But know this—the people from Sodom will fare better on the day of judgment than you will.

25 And then Jesus began to pray:
Jesus: I praise You, Father—Lord of heaven and earth. You have revealed Your truths to the lowly and the ignorant, the children and the crippled, the lame and the mute. You have hidden wisdom from those who pride themselves on being so wise and learned. 26 You did this, simply, because it pleased You. 27 The Father has handed over everything to My care. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son—and those to whom the Son wishes to reveal the Father. 28 Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Put My yoke upon your shoulders—it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. 30 For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Saturday, September 22, 2018

22Sep

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household,
Ephesians 2:19
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Thoughts

Posted Thursday, September 20, 2018

20Sep

Faith is not about life beyond earth. It is about GOD's concern for the earth and the people in the earth... God calls us to respond actively to his purpose of restoring/redeeming the Kingdom of GOD here on earth.

Sermon: Holy Partners In a Heavenly Calling - Pastor William J. Shaw

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Tuesday, September 18, 2018

18Sep

God’s Justice

Read: Romans 2.1-16

All who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous in God's sight, but the doers of the law who will be justified.

Romans 2.12-13 (NRSV)

What is justice? Is it ethical or judicial? Is it fairness as agreed to by the majority or is it to be found only in God? In his epistle to the Church at Rome, Paul attempted to describe God’s standard of judgment so that we might have a model, an example in our dealings with one another.

The Apostle Paul travelled throughout Asia Minor, Macedonia and Greece preaching; planting churches; training leaders; and serving many congregations. He did not, however, establish the Church at Rome. At the time of this letter (in the mid-50’ A.D.), Paul had not yet even visited that church. Fortunately, Paul had a large cadre of friends, associates, and fellow workers who resided in Rome (Romans 16). These relationships would enhance their capacity to hear and heed what Paul wrote to them. The Roman congregation was home to both Jewish and Gentile believers; no doubt there were some long standing prejudices that had to be addressed and overcome. For example, the Jewish believers could point to their experience with the Law of Moses as the “inside track” to God’s mercy. Paul, however, was a Jew who grew up in Tarsus, in a Gentile culture. He knew (from this dual experience) and preached (by the inspiration of the Spirit) that being a hearer of the law did not make one a doer of the law. In fact, God would punish all sinners whether they were Jews disobedient to the Law of Moses, or if they were Gentiles who disregarded the sense of conscience that God placed in them. God would not hold Gentiles responsible for a law they never received; they would be judged by the natural law they experienced in Creation.

The Lord our God has given all his children a variety of gifts and experiences and made us in a plethora of colors and cultures. Yet God is able to apply just judgments to everyone because God is not swayed by our status or stature. God shows no partiality. He is no respecter of persons (Romans 2.11). There is no doubting God’s justice.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence