Pastor Jay had this to say about the conference (6 minute audio): [audio:http://media06.sa-media.com/sermons022/421101015290prev4.mp3]
The pastors wanted to share the main session with you all. Though it was a conference aimed primarily at pastors there is much we can all learn from the main sessions. In particular the two main sessions I will highlight below.
The first is one that dealt with what Pastor Jay was talking about in the audio above:
He began by quoting Ephesians 3:10-11: “. . . so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . .”
How does your church make the gospel visible?
You can lose the gospel by not proclaiming it clearly, but you can also work against the gospel by the life your congregation lives.
A manifestly unhealthy church undermines our proclamation of the gospel.
1. God (Holy, Loving, Authority)
Distinct lives point to a distinct God. Our lives should be marked by God’s holiness and by the fruit of the Spirit. Our distinct lives should make clear what the gospel is like. Holiness is freedom.
Is your church marked by such holiness?
Part of the way we’re supposed to be distinct from the world is how we love.
Authority is meant to be good and life-bringing. 2 Sam 23:3-4
Our right use of authority in our congregation reflects God’s authority.
On the other hand, authority may be abused or absent. This represents a lie about God.
Do our churches show the world around us something better with regard to authority?
Trust can be extended and honored. Authority and love can go together.
2. Human Beings (Created in God’s Image and Fallen)
We were made in the image of God, and that value should be reflected in our churches. We should have relationships across typical boundaries.
Our congregational life should also acknowledge that we are fallen. We are not the assembly of the self-righteous. Is humility honored in your congregation?
An understanding of depravity sets us up to understand church membership, because we are already redeemed but God is not yet finished. It frees people to confess their sins to one another. We know there’s something not right, and we’re the ones who can tell the truth about that.
3. Christ (His Person and Work)
We are the people who bear his name and his purpose. We are his body, his temple. How do we make Christ visible? Through our teaching and our constant worship.
Our lives together should provocative. How do we help each other know that we love God? It’s by loving each other inconveniently. God has loved us by purchasing us with Christ’s blood. How is God’s love for us in Christ being reflected in our churches?
We demonstrate our love across differences and across denominations.
4. The Right Response to the Gospel (Repentance and Faith)
We are to teach and model repentance and faith.
We repent of our selfishness. The Christian life is personal but not private.
Congregations are groups of people acting upon things they cannot see. It is a community based on God’s promises. The Word should be central in our churches. Sermons should be central because they hold our God’s promises to us.
Do you want to see your church do better at evangelism? Then help your church be a better church. Our churches are meant to depict the truth of the gospel. We are to be the appearance of the gospel to the world. This is the clearest picture the world sees of who God is and his will for their lives.
Do not miss the importance of the local church for the gospel.
Dever ended by quoting John Newton, the full quote of which is:
I am not what I ought to be — ah, how imperfect and deficient!
I am not what I wish to be — I abhor what is evil, and I would cleave to what is good!
I am not what I hope to be — soon, soon shall I put off mortality, and with mortality all sin and imperfection.
Yet, though I am not what I ought to be, nor what I wish to be, nor what I hope to be, I can truly say, I am not what I once was; a slave to sin and Satan; and I can heartily join with the apostle, and acknowledge, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”
studied to be a pastor for four years but neglected to actually get saved. He abandoned church ministry plans and did secular TV, radio and stand-up comedy for 6 years. Gratefully, God saved Todd (from hell and stand-up comedy). Since then, Todd has combined his pastoral training and media skills to host Wretched Radio and TV. Todd has one wife, three children and a dog.
is Executive Director of Grace to You. He teaches regularly as a lay pastor at Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, CA. He has been closely associated with John MacArthur since 1981 and edits most of Dr. MacArthur’s major books. Phil is a trustee of the UK-based Martyn Lloyd-Jones Recordings Trust, a member of FIRE, husband to Darlene, and father of three sons (all now adults with their own households, and all still active members of Grace Community Church).
is a missionary who has pioneered evangelistic outreaches in the war zones of Mozambique, Angola and Sudan. Often travelling by off road motorbike, Peter has travelled hundreds of thousands of miles to deliver Bibles to persecuted Christians in Africa and Eastern Europe. In the course of his missionary activities Peter has been ambushed, come under aerial and artillery bombardments, been stabbed, shot at, beaten by mobs, arrested and imprisoned. On some mission trips he has flown far behind enemy lines to the beleaguered Nuba Mountains in Central Sudan with tonnes of Bibles, books and relief aid. He has then walked throughout the war devastated Nuba Mountains showing the Jesus film in Arabic, proclaiming the Gospel, training pastors and evading enemy patrols.
The influence of two loving Christian parents coupled with the challenges of Cerebral Palsy led Justin to begin inquiring about salvation at an early age. Shortly after a visit with his then pastor, Dr. John G. McCall, God graciously saved Justin at age seven. God’s call on Justin’s life to vocational ministry came in November 1995 while attending Mississippi State University.
Having joined the staff of AiG (UK/Europe) in August 2005 as a writer and speaker, Paul is now AiG’s Senior Speaker in the UK. He is a regular contributor to the AiG website and Answers Magazine and has written a number of books, including ‘The Six Days of Genesis’ and ‘Truth Lies and Science Education’. While touring the UK, he is in demand on Christian TV. Paul and his wife Geri have five children.
is a founding elder and preaching pastor for Sovereign Joy Community Church in Keller Texas. He is devoted to the exegetical, expository, verse by verse preaching of the Word of God. He and his wife, Trisha, live in Dallas/Fort Worth.
After planning to make a life time career out of teaching, the Lord had other things in store for her. In 2005, she joined the staff with Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort at Living Waters Publications and The Way of the Master in Bellflower, California. From that point forward she has not returned to teaching and is currently on staff with Kirk and Ray.
Every year our elders go to one conference per year for a time of refreshment and edification. Last year they went to The Sheperd’s Conference 2009 and this year they are going to Together for the Gospel 2010 (T4G).
Q: What is T4G?
A: T4G began as a friendship between four pastors. These friends differed on a number of theological issues, like baptism and the charismatic gifts. But they were committed to standing together for the main thing—the gospel of Jesus Christ. So they began a conference which occurs every two years and aims principally at encouraging other pastors to do the same—to stand together for the gospel.
Here are some highlights from the last T4G in 2008:
Pastor Emilio Ramos had the privilege of preaching in a chapel service at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar Missouri at the end of January.
It wasn’t like most of his messages that we hear during church service, as he was asked to give a little background about himself. Below is a 3 minute clip from his intro where he talks about how our church was started:
He was asked to give the students of SBU a message on how they can impact their community. Emilio looked to Acts to see how the Apostles impacted their community… namely, teaching and spreading doctrine! (3 minute clip on this below):
How should Calvinists deal with Arminians? Is it possible to stand firm for Reformed theology without causing offense? If you’re a Calvinist now but were an Arminian before and a Calvinist caused offense against you in explaining their theology, would you have been as apt to lay hold to the doctrines of grace?
Dr. James White answers a call on The Dividing Line show regarding this subject and offers some great advice. Watch the 7 minute video below: