Doug WakefieldPresident, Best Minds Inc
Doug has been in the financial industry for 29 years. The focus since 2005 has been on providing investment research and weekly commentary on world markets as well as specific recommendations on third party trading managers. Doug writes the monthly research newsletter, The Investor's Mind.
Note: Broad based financial planning is not a service of Best Minds Inc. Any information shared on today's program is opinion and should not be taken as financial advice.
Sometimes Christians get so wrapped up in the ways we have always done things that we lose sight of what is really important: the Basics. In no area is this more true or important than in the role of church. We go every week and “do our thing,” but how many of us have taken the time to see how God defines “church” and the requirements He has placed upon it?
First up today is our guest, Doug Wakefield, of Best Minds, Inc. to give us a healthy perspective on the economy, stock market ups and downs, and a refresher on what Christians need to be focusing on. In our second segment, we cover a few disappointing news stories practically condemning the liberal media of complicit bias. We also briefly review the job of a news-person today and the principles of journalism. (You’re not going to believe the Associated Press story – which they redacted – that led to fear, misreporting, and even violence all because of the anti-Trump agenda of the AP.)
In our third segment, we get back to the basics and explore exactly how God defines church and the marching orders He has given her. Are we fulfilling the commands for the church that the Lord has given us in His Word? (TRANSCRIPT FOLLOWS)
WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
One of the most frequent calls and emails I get from around the country is “Where can I find a solid biblical church that I can belong to?” But when I ask them what they should expect in a church many of them have no answer. Or their answers address one component of the church’s calling and ignore the others.
And to be completely frank with you I am not sure that a majority of pastors have taken the time to look at what the Bible says is the necessary role and duties of the church. Now certainly the major foundation for a church should be that it teaches the entirety of God’s Word in complete and correct context. But shouldn’t that start with the church and its leaders understanding and living what God’s Word lays out as the requirements of the church itself?
So let’s go back to the basics of what the Bible says the church should be.
Church is the Greek word “ekklasia” translated “a meeting of people who are called out”. We as a church are people who have been called out of disobedience to God and into a life increasingly holy and pleasing to Him. The Church is Jesus’ earthly vessel for His will to be increasingly done on earth.
What is the role of the Church?
Spreading the gospel and making disciples
- Matthew 28:19-20
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Proper discipline of members
- Matthew 18:15-17
“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.”
- Paul goes on to teach us in 1 Corinthians 5 that if there is an unrepentant sinner within the church who refuses to confess and repent after he has been confronted that he should be thrown out of the church for the benefit of the church and himself. Paul warns that failure to do so will eventually spread sin within the church and lead this man to eternal damnation.
Settling disputes among believers
- 1 Corinthians 6:1-7
“When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?”
Equipping believers to reject deception and being a vessel for the Holy Spirit’s work
- Ephesians 4:11-16
“And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
Build strong biblical marriages, teaching husbands and wives their correct biblical roles.
- Ephesians 5:22-26
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,”
Building up spiritual mentors and teachers.
- Titus 2:1-6
“But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled.”
In summary the church is called to:
- Share the gospel with the lost.
- Increase the level of holiness within its members (sanctification).
- Discipline and if necessary throw out members who are unrepentant.
- Settling disputes among believers.
- Equipping members to reject deception and become teachers of the Word.
- Building strong marriages and families.
One of the biblical principles I share in my book “The Death of Christian Thought” is what I call biblical conjunctives: That God gives us freedoms and benefits, along with responsibilities to those freedoms. When you find where the benefit and the responsibility intersect you have profitable truth and teaching.
Today too many Christians who attend churches want the benefits of fellowship without the responsibilities of fellowship. They expect to be served by the church but are unwilling to serve the church. This leaves pastors and elders carrying the entire burden—a nearly impossible task.
On the other hand there are a growing number of churches that are abandoning God’s calling for the church, and failing to fulfill the requirements we just outlined from the Bible.
Here is the bottom line: If we hope to influence a sinful world and lead them to the eternal hope of Jesus Christ we must strive to be the church that God defines in His Word. We can’t do things our way or just pick and choose what God commands of His church.
Leading people to the gospel and equipping believers to be light and salt in this sinful, dying world can only be accomplished if we embrace and live God’s definition of church and stop thinking we can pick and choose which commands to obey or ignore.
Jesus warned us that a vast majority of people would be banished to eternal hell, even those who claim to be Christians. It is time for church pastors, elders and we who are members to step up and embrace the calling and requirements God has placed on us as His church. Failure to do so might have dire eternal consequences for many.
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