Last week my family and I attended The Southern Baptists Founders' Conference Southwest held on September 26-28, 2013, at Heritage Baptist Church in Mansfield, Texas. The conference theme was 'Being a Disciple of Jesus Christ'.
As I think about what was said and how to apply it to my life, I'll share my notes with you over the next few posts.
The Cost of Worship presented by Dr. Fred Malone
From Romans 12:1-2, all of life is worship. The word of God lead to the Reformation and is the foundation of faith and life. Therefore, Christ-centered worship is word-centered. Hear the word, repent, and believe is not only the basis for salvation, but also for sanctification. The Book of Hebrews exhorts us not to be dull of hearing (the word of God) and not to forsake the assembling together. Thomas Watson: Hearing the word starts with believing in the Lord's Day.
Prepare for the Lord's Day on Saturday. Sunday morning: (1) read the word, (2) meditate on it (works of creation, our infinite Creator, God's holiness, Christ's redemptive love, etc.), and (3) pray (for God's presence at the worship service, for God to bless the preaching of His word, for the Holy Spirit to quicken the pastor, for my family, for the congregation, etc.). Actively pay attention to the sermon during worship so that the word is effectual to me; fight distractions and drowsiness (opiates of the devil) by remembering God's presence in the service.
The Fear of the Lord in Discipleship presented by Dr. Tom Ascol
Fearing God is vital to spirituality because it leads to holiness and the right worship of God. True discipleship arises out of a right fear of God. If you have no fear of God, then you are a slave to sin. To walk in the fear of the Lord is the same as to walk in the comfort of the Holy Spirit; this is biblical Christianity. Godly fear is implanted by God. Cultivate godly fear by: (1) prayer, (2) studying God's works, (3) meditating on what God has done in scripture, (4) studying God's character and attributes, and (5) studying the grace of god in Christ Jesus. God is not domesticated.
The Covenant with the Eye presented by Pastor David Dykstra
Job 31:1-4 is a picture of masculine godliness just as Proverbs 31:10-31 is a picture of feminine godliness. A man of virtue doesn't indulge in inappropriate sexual fantasy. The eye is the gate of imagination and the brain is the most erotic organ; therefore, Job made a covenant with his eyes because prevention is easier than treatment. Mark Twain: "I'm sorry I saw because I will always see it now."
- Set high standards.
- Don't tolerate sin; it will lead to the chastisement of God. In Matt. 5:27-30, Jesus tells us that fantasizing about other people deserves hell-fire. Therefore, identify how you fell in the past, impede yourself in the present, and imagine the consequences of sin in the future.
- Remember the omniscience and omnipresence of our holy God. Secret sin is a myth. We cannot see God, but He can always see us.
During the Q&A session, Pastor Dykstra (along with Dr. Ascol) affirmed that local church membership is not optional for the Christian. Some people will say that they don't need to be a member of a local church because they are a member of the universal Church. Pastor Dykstra pointed out that membership in a local church leads to membership in the universal Church, not the other way around. I thought this was timely clarification, especially for the American Christian who thrives on individuality and independence.