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Pastor's Points November 2018

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Dear Church Family,
I am setting here after a very long, tiring, amazing Sunday!  On this Sunday (October 28) we had two families join the church, one follow in baptism, and four people prayed for the forgiveness of their sins in our worship services!  And on top of all of that, one of our life groups prepared an awesome appreciation dinner for our pastors as well as April.  Then I got to host my life group in my home for an amazing time of fellowship and discussion of God’s Word this evening.  I would say that I have much to be thankful for.  God is so good to bless me with a wonderful church family.  I am so thankful that God allows me to be the pastor of Oakhill Baptist Church! Also, I want to take this time to thank all of you who   expressed your appreciation to me in the month of October.  Your cards, kind words and expressions of appreciation mean the world to me.  Thank you for caring for your pastors.  We appreciate it tremendously!

We are quickly approaching Thanksgiving and as we do I hope that you will spend some time thinking about all that you have to be thankful for.  If we stop and think, we have so much that we should thank God for.  On November 18th we are going to have the opportunity to gather as a church family for our annual Thanksgiving Fellowship.  I hope that you are planning on attending so we can gather as the church to thank God together for who He is and for what He has done for us!!  Do not forget to pick up your free tickets for this event.  All you need to do on this evening is come ready to enjoy some amazing smoked turkey (thanks Darrell Ommart) and bring a dessert to share with others!  This will be a great night of food, fun, and fellowship!!

In closing I want to say that I know that there are times in life which seem to make it hard to be thankful.  I understand that.  But I want to encourage you with a quote from Dr. Tony Evans as you consider the need to be thankful even in the middle of a desperately hard time.  Dr. Evans shares… “God says to give thanks in everything. That doesn’t mean you need to give thanks FOR everything. You don’t need to give thanks FOR that bad day. Or FOR that bad relationship. Or being passed over at work. Financial hardship. Whatever it is – you are not to give thanks FOR the difficulties, but rather IN the difficulties. That is a very important distinction, and one I think we often miss. Giving thanks IN everything shows a heart of faith that God is bigger than the difficulties and that He can use them, if you approach Him with the right heart and spirit, for your good and His glory.” –Tony Evans

 I love you and I love being your pastor,

 

Posted by Alan Scott with

Spiritual Development November 2018

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                 “What is the Difference Between Justification and Sanctification?” by Erik Raymond

In short, justification means we are declared righteous, while sanctification means growing in righteousness.

Justification refers to God’s declaration that someone is determined to be righteous in his sight. This justification is a one-time act whereby God declares a sinner like you and me to be not only not guilty but perfectly righteous before his high bar of justice. How does God does this and maintain his justice? The basis for the divine declaration is the doing and dying of Christ. God credits (or imputes) us with the righteousness (merit) of Jesus. We are justified by grace (a gift) through faith (trusting in Jesus). Some great verses are Rom. 3.24; 4.1-5; 5.1; 2 Cor. 5.21, Tit. 3.7.

Sanctification, on the other hand, is the continual process of being made more holy. It is the progressive conformity of the one who has been justified into the image of their Savior through the work of the Holy Spirit. Like justification, sanctification is a work of grace through faith. And, sanctification is possible because of the  finished work of Christ on our behalf. Some great verses are Rom. 6; 8; Tit. 3.5; 1 Thess. 4.3, 5.23; Heb. 12.14; 2 Pet. 3.18; Jud. 1.20.

What’s the differenceA few helpful things to remember about the two:
- Justification happens outside of you, you are declared righteous; sanctification happens inside of you, you are made righteous.
- Justification is not being made righteous, and it is not based upon what we do.
- Justification is a one-time event, and sanctification is a continual process. When we are justified, we are declared righteous positionally (that is, before God we are righteous). However, while we are positionally righteous, we are practically not perfectly righteous. While doubtless growing in grace, we are still, when compared to Christ, unrighteous. Sanctification then is the gradual conformity to the likeness of Christ. In other words, sanctification is the gradual process of becoming practically what we are positionally (righteous).

There are three quick reasons why you should understand this doctrinal distinction and not see it as simply splitting hairs.

In order to praise Christ - Whenever we think about the matters of the gospel and Christian living, we must remember that it all falls under the rubric of what Jesus died for. Therefore, it is vital that we do not deflate the glorious truth of the gospel. The Savior gave his life for your justification so that you might exalt in having your balance cleared and live in peace with God (Rom. 5:1). He also did this for you to secure your holiness (1 This. 5.23).

In order to guard the gospel - As Christians we are to defend and promote the gospel (Phil. 1:27ff). In order to defend it we need to know it (Jude 3). We must know what Christ did and the implications. It is a reflex for us as Christians to slouch into a works-righteousness that would obliterate the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The Roman Catholic concept of justification as a process is appealing to our pride. A lack of doctrinal precision on this matter makes one (and their churches by implication) vulnerable to compromise on the gospel. We know this is vitally important (Gal. 1:6ff)!

In order to encourage other Christians in holiness - To know who we are practically and are to become positionally drives us to dig into this glorious grace—not only in our lives but also in the lives of church members. To know what Christ has won for you will fuel you and encourage you to press into one another’s lives with the word of victorious grace in the gospel (cf. Rom. 6-8). Because of what Jesus has done God will never love you more than he does that first hour of faith. And, because of what Jesus has done, you who truly trust in Jesus are as secure in that imputed righteousness as Christ is. It is as if his righteousness is stitched to your own soul! And, you can mark it down, just as Christ has been resurrected, so too will you walk in newness of this resurrected life (Rom. 6).

Recommended ResourceChurch History in Plain Language by Bruce L. Shelley
Dr. Bruce Shelley makes church history come alive in this classic book that has become not only the first choice of many laypeople and church leaders but the standard text in many college classrooms. What separates Dr. Shelley's book from others is its clarity of language and organization. Church History in Plain Language treats history as the story of people—their motivations, the issues they grapple with, the decisions they make—and the result is that history reads like a story, almost as dramatic and moving as a novel. Yet there is no fiction here, Dr. Shelley was a respected scholar whose work was painstakingly researched and  carefully crafted for historical accuracy.

Church History in Plain Language makes history easy to follow and retain by dividing the Christian story into the great ages of the church. The continuing popularity of this book attests to its success in achieving its purpose—to make church history clear, memorable, and accessible to every reader.

Posted by Nick Scott with

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