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The Testimony of a Raggedy Ann

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 12, 2014 at 9:27 am

RaggedyAnn

A Parable about Biblical Self-image

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord (1 Sam 2.12).

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom 3.10-12).

From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight (Psa 72.14).

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matt 10.30-31).

I came into this world as a gift from a loving mother to her infant daughter. My maker remembered that she used to have a Raggedy Ann doll when she was a little girl, and she loved it so well. Now that a precious little girl had been born to her, it only seemed right that she should have one too.

Now my maker’s sewing skills left a little bit to be desired, but she tried the best she could to take some scrap material from around the house and make me like the cherished Raggedy Ann of her childhood memories. In a few weeks, I was done, and I was gently placed in the crib beside her little baby girl.

Daughter did not pay much attention to me in those early days, but within a few months she was clutching me close during her naps. Not long after she learned to crawl, she was dragging me all over the house! It was a little tiring, but I sure liked the attention. Eventually Daughter became a toddler and graduated from a crib to her own little regular bed. Mother came every night to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight, and Daughter insisted that Mother kiss me too, every single time.

On Daughter’s sixth birthday, a rich aunt gave her an expensive porcelain doll, destined to become a collector’s item. At first I was a little jealous, because this doll was so much prettier than me, but I noticed that in no time, she was sitting all by herself on a shelf, while I continued to be loved and carried by Daughter.

You know, all this use can take its toll on a doll like me. Daughter liked to carry me around constantly by my right arm, and one day, it finally pulled off. She cried as if it were the end of the world, but Mother got out her needle and thread and sewed it right back on, as good as new. Another time something kind of bad happened. I know she didn’t mean to do it, but once Daughter left me out in the yard before a thunderstorm. Before she realized what had happened, it began to pour, and did I get soaked! Mother found me there and put me through the washer and dryer. That was an experience I’ll never forget, but when it was all over, though I was showing my age, I was clean and dry again. Once, the family cat got me and scratched off one of my eyes, but in no time Mother sewed another one right back on.

When Daughter was fourteen, Mother became very ill. She was so sick she had to stay in the hospital for a long time. Whenever Daughter came to visit her, she brought me along. Mother always kissed Daughter on the forehead before we left, and according to our long-established custom, I got the last kiss.

Just after we returned home from one visit, Daughter got the news that Mother had gone to heaven. Daughter clutched me to her chest and cried for the longest time. I became damp with her tears. Even though she was such a grown-up teenager, she still took me to bed with her, often crying herself to sleep. I was looking pretty shabby by then, but I knew Daughter loved me more than ever before.

Once as a young married lady, Daughter had a yard sale. She found that pretty porcelain doll in an old chest up in the attic, and she put it out with the other things. A nice lady came and bought it for twenty-five dollars. Then she looked up and saw me sitting in an upstairs bedroom window. “Oh, an old Raggedy Ann!” she exclaimed. “How much do you want for that one?” Daughter just smiled and said, “That one’s not for sale, ma’am. Raggedy Ann and I go back a very long time together, and though she doesn’t look like much, to me she’s priceless.” The window was open a little bit and so I heard this conversation. You can’t imagine how good it made me feel!

I realize that in myself I am really quite worthless, but I also know that I am Daughter’s most prized possession.

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA
http://cbcexeter.sermonaudio.com

2014 Keach Conference

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 31, 2014 at 11:30 am

Keach2014 (1)

What?  The Keach Conference is an annual theology and ministry conference presented by the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (RBF-VA).  It is open to anyone to attend.  There is no cost to attend, but participants are encouraged to pre-register.

When?  Friday evening-Saturday morning, September 26-27, 2014.

Where?  The 2014 Keach Conference will meet at the Covenant Reformed Baptist Church, 7336 Riley Road, Warrenton, VA 20187.

What is the 2014 theme?  We are continuing our ongoing series through the Second London Baptist Confession.  This year we are on Chapter Eight  “Of Christ the Mediator.”

Who are the speakers?  The speakers will be Pastor Jim Savastio of the Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky and Pastor Earl Blackburn of Heritage Baptist Church of Shereveport, Louisiana.

How do I register? Cost: FREE, Web: Register Now!

What is the schedule?  The schedule will be as follows:

Friday evening, September 26 @ 6:30 pm (Session I):

  • Message: The Glory of the Mediator – Jim Savastio
  • Message: “The Exclusivity of Christ” (LBC 8:2) & John 3:22-36 – Earl Blackburn
  • Fellowship and Literature Tables

Saturday morning, September 27 @ 9:30 am (Session II):

  • Message: “The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life & Ministry of Christ the Mediator” (LBC 8:3)- Earl Blackburn
  • Message:  The Pre-eminence of the Mediator – Jim Savastio
  • Question & Answer Session with the speakers
  • Lunch Break

Conference: Baptists, Confessionalism and the Providence of God

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 31, 2014 at 11:22 am

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November 13 -15th • Indianapolis, IN

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We are thankful and considered blessed to have such gifted men of God gathered together under one roof to discuss the various topics at this conference.  They range from all areas of expertise and knowledge, and personally hold to the doctrines as expressed in the
1689 Baptist Confession. You are sure to have every opportunity to get your questions answered.
1188380_origSam Waldron
Sam is one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY.  He also serves as the Academic Dean of and Professor of Systematic Theology at the Midwest Center for Theological Studies.
Sam received a Bachelor of Religious Education from Grand Rapids Baptist College in 1973, completed studies equivalent to a Master of Divinity at Trinity Ministerial Academy in Montville, New Jersey in 1982, and graduated from the Master of Theology program at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary in 1987.Sam enjoys reading, weight-lifting, walking, and spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. 
2343714_origSonny Hernandez
Pastor Sonny is currently the elder/teaching pastor at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
He has completed all the core requirements for the DMin and is pending completion in August 2014, from Tennessee Temple University. He has also earned a MDiv and a MATS from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.Sonny is deeply passionate about Scripture memorization, teaching the doctrines of grace, and studying theology that pertains to the 16th century Reformers, Puritans of early America, and Charles Spurgeon sermon writings.He has served in the Armed Forces since 1997, to include deployments to the United Arab Emirates and Iraq in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” He is currently serving as an Air Force Reserves Chaplain (Captain), and also serves as an adjunct university professor.
4358768_origGordon Taylor
Gordon served two Baptist churches as pastor during his almost 39 years of pastoral ministry. He was pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Greene, IA from 1969 to 1975. In May of 1975 he began a thirty-three year ministry at the Sycamore Baptist Church near East Moline, IL.While at Sycamore he led the church through a reformation, which culminated in adopting the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith in 1987. The church joined RBMS in 1995 and ARBCA in 1998.Gordon was appointed by the churches of ARBCA to serve as Coordinator in 2008.  Gordon and Rayna have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
3609733_origDoug Barger
Doug Barger is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband of one and a father of two.  Doug received his ordination from the Bible Study Chapel – Independent Baptist (Indpls., IN) in 2005 where he served as an assistant/teaching Pastor under Pastor Cleve Morton.
In 2010 he received the blessing of Pastor Morton and the church to leave and help start
Reformation Baptist Church (Knightstown, IN) where he currently serves in various roles.Doug is the current director of the Indiana Baptist Historical Society and contributes/edits the Baptist Witness Journal, the societies’ flagship publication in addition to operating a masonry construction company and cattle farm.

 

Click here for more information

Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors’ Conference

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm

scrbpc

The purpose of the SCRBPC is for the edification of confessional Reformed Baptist pastors and other interested men who are in the ministry or training for the ministry. The SCRBPC will function within the theological framework of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (2nd LCF) and The Baptist Catechism (BC).

Click here for more information

Does God love us just the way we are?

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Persecuted Christians and You

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

chains

Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

μιμνῄσκεσθε τῶν δεσμίων, ὡς συνδεδεμένοι· τῶν κακουχουμένων, ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι.

Do we care about persecuted Christians around the world? I mean really care—so that we think of them often, feel for them, pray for them, and do what we can to alleviate their suffering. Unquestionably, it is God’s will that we should.

Many in the USA are ignorant and apathetic about international concerns generally. Materialism and narcissism, to name just two perverse aspects of our culture, conspire to rivet our attention to our own physical and psychological needs and desires. We are prone to become terribly selfish and frivolous in our daily routine.

When news of persecuted Christians does occasionally penetrate our protective cocoon, we may wince for a moment, but we find that dwelling on such things is too uncomfortable to indulge for very long. So we quickly dismiss them and return to our private world.

Before the fall of man, Adam and Eve loved one another perfectly. Those two composed the whole human family in those days. They lived as one, joined together in mutual service and concern. He looked out for her best interests, and she, for his. It was the way things ought to be.

After they sinned, their unselfish love was ruined, and malice made its early and disturbing appearance in their sons. Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. When confronted by God, Cain impudently said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” as if he had no moral responsibility to promote his brother’s best interests. All Adam and Eve’s children ever since, naturally conceived, have suffered the same depravity.

Enter the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we believe it, we know that God has renewed our hearts and begun transforming us into the brother-lovers we were meant to be. Our capacity and actual practice of love is progressively restored. This is one of the clearest signs of a real Christian. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13.35).

That means we discover true and deep feelings of compassionate concern for the welfare of other people, especially our fellow Christians. This is more than the remnant of natural humanity which is found to some degree even in unbelievers. For the sake of Christ our Lord, and because He loves them, our hearts yearn that sinners might be saved and saints might be blessed. This ethical yearning prompts us to redemptive and compassionate action on their behalf.

No one has a more legitimate claim on our concern than severely-persecuted Christians, wherever they may be found. They are especially precious in the Lord’s sight, and they suffer the greatest injustice. With them in mind, Scripture says the world is not worthy of them (Heb 11.38). And what could be more unjust than violence against others just because they love God and His Son, Jesus Christ? These sheep led to slaughter are treading in the steps of the blessed Savior, the Just One crucified for our sins. They are the excellent ones of the earth.

Consider the counsel of our text about our relationship with them.

Remember Them

“Remember them that are in bonds,” or, “Remember those who are in prison” (ESV). This exhortation stands opposed to our natural forgetfulness.

The context constrains us to understand this as referring especially to persecuted Christians. Both the historical situation of the original readers (i.e., somewhat persecuted, cf. 12.4) and the immediate context (11.1 ff.; cf. 13.1-2, 5-6) justify this interpretation. To “remember” them here is not just to think of them, but to “give careful consideration to,” “care for, be concerned about.”[1] The same Greek word is used in the same way in Gen 30.22 (LXX) and Luke 23.42. It couples loving consideration with practical action, the inevitable fruit of sincere concern (Jas 2.15-16). 1 John 3.14-19 powerfully insists on the linkage between true Christian love and good works.

Sometimes all we can do for some is to pray, but how can we do less than pray? And we should seriously consider what else we might do.[2]

Relate to Them

The rest of Hebrews 13.3 stresses our need for empathy and solidarity with our suffering brethren. Its parallelism helps interpretation. Remember:

them that are in bonds, as bound with them

them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves in the body

They are “in bonds” and thus “suffer adversity.” You are to remember them with the same compassion and concern as if you were right there with them, for, after all, like them, you are “in the body.” The likely idea is that in this life, you are vulnerable to the same kind of suffering, so theirs should be a matter of special concern to you. “Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are ill-treated, since you also are liable to bodily sufferings” (ANT). Our remaining sin makes us less concerned for others, so we need to put ourselves, mentally, in their place. When we are deeply touched like this, we will be more faithful to remember our brethren with a compassionate response, and be more like Christ. Amen.

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA
http://cbcexeter.sermonaudio.com
 
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[1] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[2] One helping organization that has won the support of many discerning Christians is “The Voice of the Martyrs” (www.persecution.com).

Are church prayer meetings necessary?

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 22, 2014 at 11:48 am

prayer

Matthew 18: 19-20  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

The corporate mid-week church prayer meeting is all but absent in the churches of our day. The vast majority of churches no longer have one because they think it is either unpopular, irrelevant, or unnecessary.

Excuses for its cancellation abound. We often hear it said:

“The attendance is low, most people don’t come; we should not have a service that is unpopular with the people. It is a struggle for busy working people to make a mid-week prayer meeting; they don’t want it, and therefore we should cancel it.”

“Prayer meetings are irrelevant; we need to do the work of God through methods that are more relevant and impactful in meeting people’s needs and drawing them into the church. Prayer meetings are a relic of a bygone era.”

“A meeting devoted to prayer is unnecessary; we pray at church during our Sunday service and in our homes during the week, surely it is not necessary to pray more than this.”

The net result of such thinking is a dramatic reduction in corporate church prayer, to the point that prayer in the congregation is reduced to that which occurs in the morning worship, (most churches do not have an evening service on Sunday either) and focused, extended, and participatory prayer is entirely absent from the life of the church.

And yet, it is corporate, participatory, and extended prayer that is exactly what we desperately need in our day of spiritual weakness, apathy, and worldliness.

In the passage cited above, Jesus in the context is speaking of corporate church discipline, and corporate church prayer.

He expects that just as the church practices corporate discipline, that it will practice corporate prayer as well.

But must it practice it at a mid-week prayer service? Obviously, there is no command for it to do so, and it would be legalism to insist that it must. Some have prayer meetings on Sunday before or after the worship services, and some at other times.

But what must be insisted on is that the church needs to have times of focused, extended, and participatory prayer, and her failure to do so is a direct manifestation of her self sufficiency, complacency, and spiritual apathy.

We see prayer meetings of the church recorded in Acts 1:13-14, Acts 4:23-31, and in Acts 12:5,12. In each case, people did not just pray privately in their closets, but met together for corporate public prayer. The results were astounding in each case.

The early church understood the need for extended times of corporate prayer that were separate from and in addition to the regular corporate worship. We need to understand it as well. If you are thinking about canceling your prayer meeting, don’t. And if you don’t have one, start one up.

There are great benefits from doing so. Historically, revivals have begun out of corporate prayer meetings. Furthermore, they greatly deepen church unity – the people you feel the closest to, are the people you pray with the most. And most importantly, through them the Bride of Christ most intimately communes with her Lord, and receives grace from Him.

The spiritual condition of a church may be accurately gauged by her prayer meetings. If the spirit of prayer is not in the people, the minister may preach like an angel, but little will come of it. May God fill our prayer meetings with His presence, His power, and His Spirit, as His people gather to bow in His presence and seek His mercy and grace.

Pastor Max Doner
Sovereign Grace Bible Church
Lebanon, Oregon

Introducing the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 22, 2014 at 11:36 am

We Are Not Peddlers of God’s Word

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 18, 2014 at 11:02 am

David F. Wells

Churches which preserve their cognitive identity and distinction from the culture will flourish: those who lose them in the interests of seeking success will disappear.

In our churches we may have made a deal with postmodern consumers but the hard reality is that Christianity cannot be bought. Purchase, in the world of consumption, leads to ownership but in the Church this cannot happen. It is never God who is owned. It is we who are owned in Christ. Christianity is not up for sale. Its price has already been fixed and that price is the complete and ongoing surrender to Christ of those who embrace him by faith. It can only be had on his own terms. It can only be had as a whole. It refuses to offer only selections of its teachings. Furthermore, the Church is not its retailing outlet. Its preachers are not its peddlers and those who are Christian are not its consumers. It cannot legitimately be had as a bargain though the marketplace is full of bargain hunters.

For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God’s Word…” II Cor 2:17

No, let us think instead of the Church as its voice of proclamation, not its sales agent, its practitioner, not its marketing firm. And in that proclamation there is inevitable cultural confrontation. More precisely, there is the confrontation between Christ, in and through the biblical Word, and the rebellion of the human heart. This is confrontation of those whose face is that of a particular culture but whose heart is that of the fallen world. We cannot forget that.

David F. Wells, Above All Earthly Power’s: Christ in a Postmodern World, pg. 308-309

Addenda, Part 2: Clarification of “A Christian Wife’s Marriage Catechism”

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 15, 2014 at 11:29 am
“In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.”
Proverbs 10.19

 

Wisdom and my innocence require brevity in this statement of clarification.

  • True love is the essence of biblical righteousness.
  • “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matt 7.12).
  • Pastors and husbands ought to love and lead like Jesus without lording it over their charge (1 Pet 5.3).
  • Male chauvinism and egalitarian feminism alike pervert the plain sense of Scripture; we must not conform to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Rom 12.2).
  • The abuse of truth is no excuse for rejecting it.
  • Beware of twisting another’s words and then cursing your pretzel.
  • “We must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God” (Acts 14.22).
  • God hates oppression; He will expose and punish the finally impenitent on Judgment Day.
  • “Grace and mercy are never deserved” (R. C. Sproul).
  • My pastoral messages are fallible and should be received only insofar as they are consistent with Scripture. My errors should be rejected with a clear conscience,  while biblical truth ought to be received gratefully, however poorly it is presented.
  • Providence ordains that I should hear criticism, and even when it is unjustified, God uses it for my good and I should consider His purpose in it. I thank Him for all the comments He has sent me through you.
  • The divorce question is both complex and controversial, even among very discerning Christians, and no one needs me to make a pronouncement about it.
  • Online discourse should be loving, respectful, magnanimous, and rational.
  • May God deliver all His oppressed people from their abusers and preserve them while they suffer.
  • Let all churches firmly commit to a compassionate ministry of caring and to biblical church discipline in cases of domestic abuse.
  • I subscribe to the ecumenical creeds (Apostles, Nicene, Athanasian) and to the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith.
  • Rather than sustaining online debate, I ought to give priority to loving and leading my beloved wife and my precious congregation at Exeter, New Hampshire.

To my fellow Christians: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor 13.14).

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA
http://cbcexeter.sermonaudio.com

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Moderators of the RBF blog [not Pastor Meadows] have decided that readers have now had sufficient time and opportunity to offer their comments, so they are closed.

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