The Altar Call is Wherever You Find It
by Tim Roger, pastor
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Indian Trail, N. Car.
An acquaintance of Tim Rogers – pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, Indian Trail, N. Car. – wanted to chat with Pastor Rogers, so he asked Tim to drop by a sixth-grade football practice session, where the two could talk. Pastor Rogers recounts the visit:
“The last place I want to be at supper time is a sixth-grade football practice, but the pastor in me said go. When I got there, the man began explaining that when he was three-years-old, he was killing some ants one day and then became very remorseful about it. He wondered if the ants were in heaven, and if he would go to hell for being a murderer.
Concerned, he begged his parents to take him to church. They did, first to a Methodist church; and some time later, a Presbyterian one. The Methodist church accepted childhood remorse for killing ants as the boy’s salvation experience. The Presbyterian minister was not sure, but told the lad that because was doing good works, then he more than likely was saved.
This boy grew up to marry a woman who is a member of Ebenezer, where I am pastor, and even this church’s former pastor accepted his salvation and immersed him as a member of the church.
The man asked me if I thought he was a Christian, and I said that if he were depending on the remorse for killing ants as his conversion, then no.
You should have seen his head snap. He was shocked. He said: ‘Are you telling me I am not saved?’ I told him that only he could know that, and I couldn’t tell him what God was doing in his life. But, I told him the Bible says: ‘Whosoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ It does not teach ‘whoever feels remorse for killing ants shall be saved.’
He was astounded that I would point him to that verse. I asked him why, and he said that he could not get away from Romans 10:9-10; 13. He said those verses haunted him, and he wanted to know if I believed he had to verbally ask Jesus to come into his heart. I told him I not only believed it, but I believed the Bible teaches it in the verses he could not stop thinking about.
Because of our conversation and leading him to other Scriptures, right there on the sidelines of a sixth-grade football practice, the man asked Jesus into his heart. It was glorious. He told his son, and then told me he would tell his wife when he got home.
I wanted to share this with SBCToday readers as a reminder that, as you speak with others who are depending on anything for their salvation other than the work of Jesus on the cross, to be ready to share the true Gospel with them.”
by Walker Moore, president/founder, AweStar Ministries:
a missions ministry that has placed thousands of people on the
mission fields around the world as volunteers for the sake of the Gospel.
Many have been waiting to hear what the good folks at the Guinness World Records said about our climb with the cross to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Here is a snippet of their letter:
Unfortunately, what you have achieved with your team, albeit an excellent feat, cannot be recognized by Guinness World Records because it would be too difficult to replicate ….
Thank you and we hope you understand.
Guinness World Records
Now, isn’t that a hoot? My team and I accomplished something that Guinness World Records thinks would be too difficult to replicate. Isn’t that the point of a world record? It must be difficult to do, or every Tom, Dick and Ralph would be wearing a medal around his neck saying, “World Champion.” But the real point of my carrying the cross wasn’t to get a medal or recognition but to say thank you to Jesus for giving me an incredible 40 years of ministry.
by Dr. David L. Allen
Dean of the School of Theology
Professor of Preaching
Director of the Center for Expository Preaching
George W. Truett Chair of Pastoral Ministry
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
One of my favorite texts to preach is Hebrews 10:19-25. Its importance in the overall structure of Hebrews is difficult to overestimate. It is the opening paragraph of the third and final major section of the epistle: 1:1-4:13; 4:14-10:18; 10:19-13:25. On first blush, it appears to be somewhat involved in structure. But on further investigation, it turns out to be surprisingly simple and clear.
Hebrews 10:19-25 consists of two subparagraphs: verses 19-21 and verses 22-25. Verses 19-21 function as a summary introduction to verses 22-25 and also serve as a summary back reference of what the author has taught concerning the superiority of Christ as our High Priest. Two primary propositions are stated in 19-21: 1) We have boldness to enter the Holy Place by the blood of Jesus; 2) We have a Great Priest (Jesus) over the house of God. These two truths function as the grounds for the three commands that are given in 10:22-25.
Verses 22-25 comprise the second half of the paragraph and contain three parallel command forms (hortatory subjunctives in Greek): Draw near (22); Hold fast (23); Consider one another how we may stir up to love and good deeds (24). Each of these main verbs is modified by a number of other clauses.
Consider v. 22. We are exhorted to draw near and this verb is modified by four clauses in groups of two: 1) with a sincere heart; 2) with full confidence of faith; 3) having had our hearts cleansed; 4) having had our bodies washed. Though unstated, the one to whom we are to draw near is God. The primary focus is on corporate worship, but personal worship is not excluded. This “drawing near” has a subjective aspect and an objective aspect to it. Subjectively, the first two clauses indicate the attitude we as believers are to possess as we “draw near.” Objectively, the final two clauses indicate what God has already done for us to enable us to draw near (note the tense and voice in Greek): having had our hearts cleansed and having had our bodies washed with water (an OT metaphor of priestly cleansing and not a reference here to water baptism). On the basis of the objective truths we are able to draw near and should do so with the attitudes of sincerity and confidence.
In verse 23, we are exhorted to “hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” This proposition is further modified by the statement “for he who promised is faithful.”
In verse 24, we are exhorted to “consider one another how we may stir up to love and good deeds.” This is further modified by two participial clauses, one negative and one positive, in verse 25: 1) “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together; 2) encouraging one another. This final clause is followed by the final proposition in the paragraph: we are to do these things (probably a reference to all three commands) “all the more as we see the day drawing near (probably a reference to the return of Christ and the judgment it brings on unbelievers along with the accountability it brings to believers).
From this analysis we may lay out the outline structure of the passage as follows:
I. Draw Near (22)
A. with sincerity
B. with confidence
C. having had our heart cleansed
D. having had our bodies washed
II. Hold Fast (23)
A. because of the promise of God
III. Consider one another to stir up to love and good deeds
A. not forsaking assembling together
B. encouraging one another
C. do this with an eye toward the return of Christ and our accountability to Him
From this structure, you are now prepared to create a preaching outline which may or may not make use of the actual terminology in the text. The sermon will have three main points because the text has three main points. Point one is modified by four clauses which need to be reflected somehow in the outline and sermon. Point two is modified by one clause, and point three is modified by a pair of clauses expressing negative and positive means to accomplish the imperative. The entire passage concludes with a statement concerning the return of Christ which motivates us to a serious attempt to obey these three commands.
From this structural outline, relate how you would state the three main points in the text in your preaching outline!
by Dr. Randy White, pastor
FBC, Katy, Texas
Click HERE to read more.
Retracing our Baptist forefathers’ sacrificial steps
by Norm Miller
Guards led Felix to the water’s edge and into a boat. He didn’t struggle against the cords binding his hands.
Piercing January winds and the prospect of freezing Alpine water failed to quell Felix’s hot heart for biblical truth.
Minutes later, the guards shoved Felix’s hands down over his knees and forced a stick behind them, making survival of his fate impossible.
As the murderers readied to throw Felix overboard, he cited Jesus Christ, for whose truths he was about to die, saying, “Into thy hands, O God, I commend my spirit.”
Plunged beneath icy water, the body of Anabaptist Felix Manz sank as his soul bounded upward into the warm, welcoming arms of the Savior who died for him.
Manz’s crime? Rejecting infant baptism as meaningless, and preaching the New Testament baptism of believers only. The Magisterial Reformers dubbed this unjust death sentence “the third baptism.”
The site of Manz’s martyrdom is one of several stops planned for the Anabaptist Tour 2014, led by Dr. Emir Caner, president of Truett-McConnell College.
Leaving June 11 from Atlanta on an overnight flight to Frankfurt, the tour travels June 12 to Zurich, where the “Anabaptist Tour 2014: Retracing the Sacrificial Steps of our Forefathers” begins.
Assisting Dr. Caner on the tour are two other Anabaptist scholars, Dr. Jason Graffagnino and Dr. Michael Whitlock, both professors at Truett-McConnell College.
Amid the rugged beauty of Switzerland, the lives and accomplishments of significant Anabaptists such as Conrad Grebel, Felix Manz, George Blaurock, and Michael Sattler will plant a soul-stirring conviction of evangelism in one’s heart.
“When we enter the caves where our Baptist forebears secretly worshiped, and we stand at the edge of the Limmat River, where Mantz was murdered, then we’ll get a tangible grasp of our Baptist heritage and of the vision we are founding at Truett-McConnell College,” Dr. Caner told TMCNews.
“This is important not only for the sake of our heritage, but also for the sake of those who will be martyred in this century, which will be more than in all other previous centuries combined,” he added. “The Anabaptist Tour 2014 will then help us to understand and support the modern persecuted church.”
Other sites include the secret compartments, where Anabaptists evaded capture, and the prison cells for those arrested for New Testament truth.
“Each of these sites will stir the soul and offer a moving reminder of the cost of discipleship that those Anabaptist believers were willing to pay,” Caner said.
Other sites of historical interest and spiritual import include Vienna, Austria; Mikulov and Prague, Czech Republic; and Bonn, Germany.
The trip includes a Sunday worship service with 21st Century Anabaptists and two full days of free time to enjoy other sightseeing and souvenir shopping.
With only 18 seats available, President Caner believes the tour will reach capacity rapidly.
In addition to enhancing an appreciation for early Baptist history, the “spiritual impact is the primary reason for the Anabaptist Tour 2014,” Caner said. “The experiences and information on this trip will deepen our faith and broaden our understanding of our heritage as established and purchased by the lives and deaths of our Baptist forefathers.”
“When we see how far back persecution goes into our history, and the price paid for our religious liberty and the free church, we will understand that no other group paid a higher price than our predecessors, the Anabaptists,” Caner said.
Manz wrote to his fellow believers not long before his death:
“Thus it shall also happen to those who do not accept Christ, but resist Him, love this world, and have not the love of God. And thus I close with this that I will firmly adhere to Christ, and trust in Him, who is acquainted with all my needs, and can deliver me out of it. Amen.”
Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest in the June 11-24 tour,
and then mail to her attention your required $200 deposit* to:
100 Alumni Drive
Cleveland, Ga 30528
*make check payable to Truett-McConnell College,
and be sure to mark the check memo: Anabaptist Tour 2014.
Is your passport is up-to-date?