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Showing posts from November, 2012

The Way He Created (A Conversation with The Gospel Project)

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This week our church begins using The Gospel Project as curriculum for our Sunday School groups.  My intent here is not to replace the material (as it is good enough), nor to write a commentary on it (as it is understandable), but to only add to the conversation in a way that may help our students and teachers hit the topics from other angles.   My wife’s grandfather was a real craftsman with wood.  He had a small shed in his backyard that served as his creative retreat.  Inside his workshop were not only his countless number of tools but also piles of what looked to me to be scrap wood.  What appeared to be scrap to me, in his hands, given time, would become nice pieces of furniture.  Each piece reflected his vision and his skill.  Each piece also bore his mark.  Somewhere, hidden from view, he would sign his name and the year he made the piece.   Several pieces he made now serve in our home as functional cabinets, tables, and stools.  But they are more than this.  They are

Introducing God (A Conversation with The Gospel Project)

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This week our church begins using The Gospel Project as curriculum for our Sunday School groups.  My intent here is not to replace the material (as it is good enough), nor to write a commentary on it (as it is understandable), but to only add to the conversation in a way that may help our students and teachers hit the topics from other angles.   When it comes to origins the church has been deceived into believing that there is only one conversation worth having.  And that conversation, seems to be more of a debate than a dialogue.  Was the universe created by God?  The winner is determined only by whom can yell the most science at his opponent and thus beating him into empirical submission.   The opening chapters of Genesis are not a scientific shouting match.  This is the opening scene of a story.  As such the primary intent of the creation account is not to provide a scientific record.  The intent is to reveal the Bible’s main character.  The message is not, “This is how God

False Assurance

False Assurance from Brian Branam on Vimeo . What do we mean by eternal security? Is it "once saved always saved," "perseverance of the saints," or maybe "eternal life?" After John offers great affirmation in the first of 1 John 2, he finds it appropriate to warn them as well. His message- "Do not love the world." John wants to convey that there is a style of life that can disrupt fellowship, destroy assurance, and place them in spiritual danger. The "world" is passing away and when we are connected to it, we will be carried away and pass away with it.

Assurance Through Congregational Affirmation

Assurance Through Congregational Affirmation from Brian Branam on Vimeo . Great debate within the church over approaches to the gospel and salvation has created an atmosphere of great doubt within God's people. The result is often that our congregations become disillusioned and disengage from the church body. Instead the church should be a place of great affirmation to those who are actively following Christ. The simple truth remains that repentance and faith will always result in salvation and therefore the believer can be eternally sure.

Combating False Teaching

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Here are some points I shared Sunday night in a sermon about the dangers of false teaching (from 1 John 2).  False teaching is a common cause of doubt for many Christians.  If we are to have assurance of eternal life we must recognize what makes us vulnerable to false teaching, remain in the faithful things God has given us to combat false teaching, and recognize prominent false teachings.  19th Century Pastor J.C. Ryle shares 8 symptoms of false doctrine which reveal why we are in a climate that is particularly vulnerable to false teaching: There is an undeniable zeal in some of the teachers of error: their “earnestness” makes many think they must be right. There is a great appearance of learning and theological knowledge: many fancy that such clever and intellectual men must surely be safe guides. There is a general tendency to free thought and free inquiry in these latter days: many like to prove their independence of judgment, by believing novelties. There is a wide-

You Don't Say

You Don't Say from Brian Branam on Vimeo . In this message, the apostle John takes 4 statements, all beginning with the phrase, “If we say” and then compares them to the life that is produced. Each of these statements in the initial context, are birthed out of Gnosticism. Gnosticism argued that since the body was material and evil, and the soul was spiritual and good, that all you had to do was to “know” God (which is reflected in 2:4 “whoever says ‘I know Him) but that it really didn't matter what you did with your body. In this then, John gives us three evidences of the truly saved life: 1) They are responsive to God's Word. 2) They are sensitive to sin. 3) They exhibit a changing life.

Eternally Sure

Eternally Sure from Brian Branam on Vimeo . Something was going on in the early church that was causing a lack of assurance as well as a lack of holy living. False teaching was and still is the culprit. In our church culture the issue of salvation has become extremely cloudy with lots of competitive teaching. In 1 John we see the causes of doubt as disfellowship, immoral living, false teaching, and ignorance. John had an experience with Christ that led to his own assurance. This is the sort of assurance we desire. It is one that is closely tied to the nature of who Jesus is.