Perusal* – Fall 2013, Fan or Follower?

(* perusal; to examine or consider with attention and in detail)

1 Corinthians 2:1-3, And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

Another school year is upon us and Flat Creek would like to welcome all of the area’s college students back to Lynchburg.  We especially welcome the class of 2017 to the beautiful geography of the Blue Ridge mountain foothills.  There is much to see in central Virginia so take some time to enjoy the landscape! We also trust that you will find a place to worship each Lord’s Day and hope that you consider Flat Creek Baptist Church where the marvelous truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is affirmed in song, prayer, and proclamation.

Are you a fan or follower of the Savior?  I am an unapologetic fan of the Fab Four, the Beatles.  Same can be said for the Eagles, Eric Clapton, and yes, even, (on the country side), Dwight Yoakum.  I enjoy most all types of music, but especially the Blues.  Am a fan of the Oakland A’s and San Francisco 49ers and a Va Tech Hokie Nation guy.  I am fans of these groups and teams.  Not so much Jesus Christ.  He is my Lord and Savior (they can’t be separated by the way) and I am His disciple….a follower of God the Son.  He is my Master and Redeemer, not my homeboy. 

Are you a fan-boy of Kevin DeYoung, John Piper, David Platt, John MacArthur, Mark Dever, R. C. Sproul, Al Mohler, Ravi Zacharias, or others?  These are men of faith and powerful preachers, but only men.  We enjoy reading and learning from such men at Flat Creek.  We glean from great men of old, Polycarp, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, C. H. Spurgeon, and many others.  But they are all sinful men redeemed by the grace of our Savior. To a man they will denounce the promotion of their names and point all to Jesus Christ.  We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses which are followers and disciples of God the Son.  Disciples learn how to follow the Savior.  We become like Him from the constant and repeated exposure to His Word. “One cannot doubt the Bible,” J.I. Packer warns, “without far-reaching loss, both of fullness of truth and of fullness of life. If therefore we have at heart spiritual renewal for society, for churches and for our own lives, we shall make much of the entire trustworthiness—that is, the inerrancy—of Holy Scripture as the inspired and liberating Word of God.”

The Bible liberates. “The truth shall make you free” is prefaced by, “you shall know the truth…”  Many disciples assume that the free nature of the Gospel taught by Jesus means I am free to do whatever I want, whenever I want, in any way I want. Of course this is simply our age old rebellion to the authority of the Trinity in our lives.  Non-conformity has become the new conformity, even among professing believers.  It begs the question, are you worshiping in a church that exposes you to expositional teaching and preaching?  Is every facet of the ministries of the church poised to point to the Son of God as revealed in the only reliable source of God’s truth?

We suffer from what C. S. Lewis called “chronological snobbery”, implying that only the most current approaches to worship are relevant.  The good, rich, and time-tested “old time religion” is outdated simply because it is not new or fashionable.  Today preaching, which is God’s anointed means of delivering the Gospel, is thought to be too confrontational, too outdated, too in-tolerant.  Music, drama, dialog have been substituted for proclamation of the Gospel. When music elevates a better understanding of Jesus, I can worship.  If music is the primary means of spiritual interaction it detracts from His glory.  When drama is used as a primary mode of worship, it detracts from the Savior.  We should talk about God’s word, but dialog will never replace preaching. Anything, other than learning of Him and growing as a follower of Christ through His Word, detracts from Jesus Christ and Him crucified.  Even an inordinate focus on the modes of worship will detract from our Savior.

Attending church for the sake of the music, drama, or dialog is akin to watching a football game for the sake of the refreshments.  It’s good, but not the reason we go to a game.  So let’s define preparation for Sunday worship.  Our prayers during the week should focus on the ministry of God’s word for the sake of the Gospel on the Lord’s Day.  Our preparation for giving on His day is for the purpose of supporting our local church and obedience to the Great Commission.  Giving is to be full of joy and expectation that our God can accomplish more with our collective resources for His glory in the Gospel.  Music is to supplement prayer and the Word, not entertain.  And preaching should elevate Jesus the Christ as He is exposed as Savior and we are exposed as sinners in dire need of God’s grace. 

The Greeks had a fascination with the spoken word, with athletics, and with the stage. Corinth so enjoyed being entertained that Paul was concerned that it would filter into and jeopardize the church.  Are we satisfied with entertainment? As a follower and not a fan we should ask a question; “Could I worship the Lord Jesus Christ in a church that has no music and focuses only upon the melody of God’s word as it is taught and preached?” If we answer “yes” to that question, then music, drama, skits, and dialog will find its proper place in our worship of the Savior.

Our sin desires to displace the Savior’s grace.  Our flesh desires to be entertained.  God is seeking to be worshiped by His accepted means - preaching and the administration of the ordinances of baptism and Lord’s Supper. As a follower of Jesus or perhaps seeking to become a disciple of Jesus join with us this Lord’s Day and jettison the fleshly desire for entertainment. Come and worship with the Flat Creek family.  Our music is selected to genuinely foster worship, a blend of good, theologically sound contemporary songs that complement age old hymns - all for the purpose of focusing on Jesus Christ and Him crucified as proclaimed in the Gospel.  

It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit will reveal the truth of scripture to you and that you might confess Jesus as Lord and Savior and enjoy the freedom He brings in obedience to Him.

Are you a fan or follower?   

Sola Deo Gloria! Pastor Carey