White Rock Baptist Church Blog

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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Sunday, October 14, 2018

14Oct

Practicing Justice

Read: Ephesians 4.25—5.2; Colossians 3.1-17

In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Colossians 3.11 (NRSV)

Colossae was a town in Asia Minor, not far from Ephesus. Paul was not the founder of the Colossian church; it was probably his associate Epaphras (Colossians 1.7; 4.12). Paul wrote to this church to counter a false teaching, which he did not name but only characterized. It had a strict asceticism often found in some Greek philosophies (2.20-21); and it taught a strict observance of ritual like that found in Jewish traditions (2.16). The central theme of Paul’s letter was unity in the Christ: If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God (3.1).

In the practical section of this epistle, Paul sought to teach the Colossians how to steer clear of the false teachings they were exposed to. He contrasted human philosophies and traditions to the teachings of Christ. Since Christ is seated at God’s right hand, Paul urged them to seek the things that are above, not the things limited to the earth. “Put to death” or “render impotent” the evil desires, passions and impurities of the earth because they result in such things as anger, slander and malice (Colossians 3.5, 8). Paul suggested that they take off the practices of the “old man” like a garment and put on the clothes of the “new man”: compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience . . and above all, . . . love (3.12-14). In Christ, all believers are renewed in the image of the creator and in that renewal, there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!

Colossians 3.5-17 is similar to Galatians 5.19-23. In each of these sections of the epistles, Paul provided two behavioral lists back to back—a list of vices (things to avoid) and a list of virtues (things to do). In all these lists the Apostle is not just describing ideals or feelings, he is noting behaviors and actions. As the title of this lesson states, justice is not just an idea or a hope, it must be a practice. And it must be extended to all of God’s created peoples, without distinction and without prejudice.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 14, 2018

14Oct

Once more, greetings beloved.

I call on us to read again these verses from Hebrews as we draw near to the climax of our celebration of God’s grace and mercy “Through The Years. . .Until” NOW. These years total 120. But the now is not the end of God’s purpose for us. The now, in light of our history, challenges us to move on into the unfolding future in a joyful resolve to follow our Lord’s leading to the fulfillment of all His promises.

The focus of today’s message is the admonitions of Hebrews 10:21-25. Let us prayerfully share.

Hebrews 3:1; 6:1-12, 10:21-25 (THE VOICE TRANSLATION)

3 So all of you who are holy partners in a heavenly calling, let’s turn our attention to Jesus, the Emissary of God and High Priest, who brought us the faith we profess;

6 So let’s push on toward a more perfect understanding and move beyond just the basic teachings of the Anointed One. There’s no reason to rehash the fundamentals: repenting from what you loved in your old dead lives, believing in God as our Creator and Redeemer, 2 teaching about baptism,[a] setting aside those called to service through the ritual laying on of hands, the coming resurrection of those who have died, and God’s final judgment of all people for all time. 3 No, we will move on toward perfection, if God wills it. 4-6 It is impossible to restore the changed heart of the one who has fallen from faith—who has already been enlightened, has tasted the gift of new life from God, has shared in the power of the Holy Spirit, and has known the goodness of God’s revelation and the powers of the coming age. If such a person falls away, it’s as though that one were crucifying the Son of God all over again and holding Him up to ridicule. 7 You see, God blesses the ground that drinks of the rain and then produces a bountiful crop for those who cultivate it. 8 But land that produces nothing but thorns and brambles? That land is worthless and in danger of being cursed, burned to the bare earth. 9 But listen, my friends—we don’t mean to discourage you completely with such talk. We are convinced that you are made for better things, the things of salvation, 10 because God is not unjust or unfair. He won’t overlook the work you have done or the love you have carried to each other in His name while doing His work, as you are still doing. 11 We want you all to continue working until the end so that you’ll realize the certainty that comes with hope 12 and not grow lazy. We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God.

10:21-25 Since we have a great High Priest who presides over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with true hearts full of faith, with hearts rinsed clean of any evil conscience, and with bodies cleansed with pure water. 23 Let us hold strong to the confession of our hope, never wavering, since the One who promised it to us is faithful. 24 Let us consider how to inspire each other to greater love and to righteous deeds, 25 not forgetting to gather as a community, as some have forgotten, but encouraging each other, especially as the day of His return approaches.

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Thoughts

Posted Friday, October 12, 2018

12Oct

God knows all our faults and imperfections, and yet he takes imperfect people and puts them together to do his perfect will. He does it not by our strength, but by His strength.

Sermon: Unconditionally Committed - Pastor William J. Shaw
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Thoughts

Posted Wednesday, October 10, 2018

10Oct

If we love the LORD – it doesn’t mean leaving things as they are. It means loving the LORD in the future, working in the church now and then.
Sermon: Challenge? You Can Make It - Pastor William J. Shaw
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The Gist of the Church School Lesson

Posted Monday, October 08, 2018

08Oct

Loving and Just Behavior

Lesson and Read: Romans 12.9-21

No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Romans 12.20-21 (NRSV)

In Romans Chapter 12, we have another of the Apostle Paul’s famous lists. In verses 3-8 we have a recitation of Spiritual Gifts (see also First Corinthians 12 and Ephesians 5). Then in Romans 12.9-21 we have a detailed list of behaviors. These behaviors (the way we treat one another) should be manifest in any Christian community that claims those Spiritual gifts.

No matter how long Paul’s lists may be, they are never exhaustive. Often his lists are appropriate for, even specific to, the congregation he is writing to. There are perhaps as many as 25 individual behaviors described in Romans 12. They are detailed and specific, addressing the needs of the church in Rome but also are open to a wider interpretation. However, that wider interpretation was not intended for the world. Just as the Ten Commandments were given to Israel, these instructions are for the church. The Greco-Roman world of Paul’s day had its own codes of conduct; sometimes they are honorable and sometimes cruel. Paul expected the believers in Rome (who had come out of that world) to adopt a new ethic, a new behavior. Let love be genuine, . . . outdo one another in showing honor, . . . be ardent in spirit, . . . patient in suffering, . . . bless those who persecute you, . . . do not repay evil for evil, . . . live peaceably with all (12.9-18). If the followers of Christ could live in that new way and hold up that example to the world, the world would take note. Soon, the world would ask, “How can you show such love for each other? You are Jews and Greeks, circumcised and uncircumcised slaves and free born, barbarians and civilized, male and female.” And the Church could reply, “We are one in the Spirit, we are one in the Lord. And you’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

When we practice loving and just behavior, we can overcome evil with good.

Reverend Steven B. Lawrence

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Word From the Pastor

Posted Sunday, October 07, 2018

07Oct

Greetings, beloved in the Lord.

We move excitedly towards the formal conclusion of our celebration in 2018 of 40/50/60/120-year periods of our history as the White Rock Baptist Church. These periods had not been exhaustive, but they have been indicative of the richness of our journey, of the marvelous manifestations of God purposes for us in His grace.

There have been two dimensions/goals of our celebrations. First, the highlighting of and rejoicing in the constancy of God’s merciful hand upon us through the years. Second, the contributing of $120,000 BEYOND our normal giving in order to make needed repairs in our physical facilities. These gifts could be made at any time throughout the year, but Women’s Day, Men’s Day, Youth Day and Church Anniversary Day would be the focus days of response with “giving beyond.” Every gift is appreciated—those for regular ongoing ministry support AND gifts for work not included in regular offerings. Changing designations of our giving is the right of any member but such simply shifts from one challenge to another. Our need is wholehearted efforts to meet both challenges.

As we move into the final three weeks of our celebration, let us make our best efforts to give unto the Lord nothing less than our best in thanks and thanks-giving to God. Included is the commitment to submit to the whole council of God by reading and hearing the full book of His word! Bible Reading Begins Sunday, October 14 – Saturday, October 20.

Let us rejoice that we are one in the Lord!

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Verse for Reflection

Posted Friday, October 05, 2018

05Oct

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
Philippians 1:9-10 (Also in scripture from Pastor Shaw's 9/30/18 Sermon)


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Thoughts

Posted Wednesday, October 03, 2018

03Oct

Many times we are uncomfortable with judgement. When God works with us, we are under the eyes of his judgement - not in human terms, but in terms of improving us. God keeps working to perfect us.