Grace Experienced

It is exciting to be a part of the family of Grace Baptist Church. The beginning of the year offers numerous “beginnings” in and of itself. At Grace we have had quite the exhaustive list of events and ministries starting. The first Council of Elders had their first meeting last week, different studies and small groups have formed over the last month, and even our new Romans sermon series is underway. There is a great deal to be in prayer for at Grace, as well as a lot to be grateful for.

But let us not forget of why we remain excited, why we have the opportunity to serve, why we get to experience all of these beginnings. It is solely by the grace of God. This upcoming Sunday, it is the grace of God that stands at the forefront of the passage. As we continue to read through Romans, studying together as a church body, let us meditate on Scripture and Paul’s own beginning of his epistle to the church in Rome.

“Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace…”

We worship by God’s grace and let that be at the focal point of our worship this Sunday. As we prepare our hearts, let us also keep afresh the understanding that our time in God’s Word, our ability to study, our fellowship with the body of Grace Baptist Church can only be attributed to the grace of God.

What a fitting way to join together at Grace Baptist Church. To think and reflect upon the reason we even have such a word in our title. Let us not take God’s grace for granted, but allow a further dependency and reflection to drive us to deeper communion with Him.

Praise God, the Source and Giver of all grace, given through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
T’was Grace that taught…
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear…
the hour I first believed.
Through many dangers, toils and snares…
I have already come.
Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far…
and Grace will lead us home.
The Lord has promised good to me…
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be…
as long as life endures.
When we’ve been there ten thousand years…
bright shining as the sun.
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise…
than when we’ve first begun.

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Doulos and Diakonos Service

In our service yesterday, Pastor Miller presented us with two terms that are used in Scripture to describe the extent and longevity of a servant. This was derived from Paul’s use of the word doulosRomans Title Intro2.jpg in the first verse of Romans 1. With many english words used to translate Paul’s word (ie. slave, servant, bondservant, etc.) Pastor Miller discussed the differences of these common terms for servanthood, doulos and diakonos.

In his book, The Church and God’s Program, Robert L. Saucy conveys the connection between the words, while also writing of how they apply to the church’s ministry revealed in Scripture. This brief excerpt has many similar themes and connections to some of the points made in yesterday’s sermon, and also helps distinguish between the nature of the two concepts.


 

The following excerpt is from Robert Saucy’s book, The Church in God’s Program

(ranging from page 129-132) 

The ministry of Christ was characterized by the theme of service. Jesus came as the Servant of the Lord in fulfillment of the prophecies found in the servant songs of Isaiah (42:1-4; 49:1-6; 50:4-7; 52:13-53:12). By word and deed Christ fulfilled the great themes of obedience, witnessing and suffering, climaxing His servanthood with the giving of His life for the world. According to His own word, he “did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many” (Mk 10:45, NASB).

But Christ not only conceived of His own ministry as service; He made it clear that the same service was to characterize the ministry of His followers. Using His own ministry as the example, Christ instructed His disciples that the ministry does not consist in domination, but in service. In contrast to the world rulers who lord it over their subjects, Christ said, “But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you. Let him be your minister [diakonos, servant]; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant [doulos, slave]” (Mt 20:26-27).

The ministry in the New Testament church. The same concept of service appears in the ministry of the New Testament church. Three words [two for our purpose] in particular describe the service of all New Testament believers. The first is doulos, which means quite simply, a slave, one who serves because he is subject to the will of another. This expression is used primarily to denote the relationship of believers to their Lord. They are bondslaves of Jesus Christ (Ro 1:1; cf. Ja 1:1; Jude 1; Rev 1:1; 1 Pe 2:16). Voluntary subjection can be the only fitting response to the love of Christ who bought them of Himself. “For you have been bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Co 6:20, NASB)

Along with expressing the most absolute form of service to Christ, doulos also applies to service to men. Paul says, “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake” (2 Co 4:5). “I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more” (1 Co 9:19). Thus the ministry of members of the church is slavery both to Christ and to one another.

However, the most characteristic word to describe the work of the Christian ministry by far is diakonia, from which the term deacon is derived. The basic idea is the service of a table waiter, but it came to be used generally for service, commonly for menial tasks. The fitness of this word for the ministry of the believers is seen in its “special quality of indicating very personal the service rendered to another.” It comes nearer to expressing the concept of a service of love than any of the other Greek terms for serving.

By choosing the term diakonia to describe the work of the ministry, the early church deliberately steered clear of the any alternatives which would have pointed toward the concept of “office” and distinction in rank. After an examination of the other possible word choices, Schweizer concludes that in diakonia “the New Testament throughout and uniformly chooses a word that is entirely and unbiblical and non-religious and never includes association with a particular dignity or position.” Thus it can be applied to apostleship (Ac 1:17, 25; Col 1:25) as well as to all saints (Eph 4:12). It is the ministry of the word (Ac 6:4), of reconciliation (2 Co 5:18), of the new covenant (2 Co 3:6), as well as serving tables (Ac 6:1). All in the church serve in the capacity received individually from the Lord (Col 4:17).

Robert L. Saucy. The Church in God’s Program. Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. 1972: pp. 129-132.
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Gospel-Focused for Romans

Let us fix our gaze on Christ.


Paul authors the epistle of Romans. As he begins he thrusts all attention and glory upon the authority and power of Jesus Christ. His first verse highlights this: “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David, according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.”(Romans 1:1-4)

The Gospel is essential for us as we grow. Paul understood this and continued writing of our need to understand this. So let us not become accustomed to the tendency that as believers we do not need the Gospel as much now as we did when we were living separated from God. Rather let us be in constant contact with the Gospel, just as Paul reveals he is throughout the book of Romans:

  • Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God. (1:1)
  • For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son…(1:9)
  • For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…(1:16)

And that is just a few verses within his first chapter. Over and over Paul continues to show and write about the power of the Gospel. He writes of how he continues to let the Gospel penetrate his heart and how God uses the Gospel in Paul’s life for His eternal purposes.

  • On that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. (2:16)
  • For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…(3:23-24)
  • It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. (4:24-25)
  • But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (5:8)
  • We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (6:4)
  • Wretched many that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? But thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! (7:24-25)
  • For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh… (8:3ff)
  • So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (9:16)
  • Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10:9)
  • “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (11:26-27; ref. Isa. 59:20,21)
  • I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (12:1)
  • But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. (13:14)
  • So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. (14:8-9)
  • In Christ Jesus, then, I have reason to be proud of my work for God. For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me… (15:17-18)

So let us also do the same. Continuing to preach the Gospel to ourselves. Remaining astonished by the truth and power of the Gospel. Living unashamed for the Gospel. without wordsAllow this to be our prayer as we, the body of Grace Baptist church, begin and continue to study the book of Romans over the course of many months.

In his book, The Disciplines of Grace, Jerry Bridges has a chapter titled “Preach the Gospel to Yourself.” He writes, “To preach the gospel to yourself, then, means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in His shed blood and righteous life.” Let that be true of us!

Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith-to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ. Amen. (16:25-27)

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Mission’s Update: Dockery Family

This year began with Ken’s second heart surgery at the Cleveland Clinic. He is recovering nicely, but the distinct “click” of the new valve remains bothersome. Our family appreciates the many prayers and encouraging words. After two heart surgeries, Ken tries to balance hi health with family life, ministry, and work.

Renee remains busy with church and community outreach. She helps with City View’s children’s ministry and ladies’ Bible study. Her involvement in the church brings her joy and friendship. As for the community, she works part time at a local supermarket and loves seeing our neighbors at the cash register. In September, she trained for an completed her first half marathon.

Our children are all doing well and enjoy a variety of activities. Drew lives in New York City and plans to graduate from college in May. He is applying to work in China this summer and attend seminary next fall. Kelly finished her third semester of college and works many hours as a home health care aid and as an employee at a clothing store. She spent this past summer in Kenya and Ethiopia, where medical missions taught her about the needs of people around the world. Erin is almost finished with high school and is now in the college search process. She has made some visits but has not made a final decision. Last spring, she traveled to China on a mission trip with her grandpa and taught English in Chengdu middle schools. Derek is no in the tenth grade and stays busy with academics and sports. He joined the golf team this fall and seemed to enjoy it. A few weeks ago, he received his driver’s license.

CityView Baptist Church | Downtown Cleveland

City View Baptist Church continues to grow on a steady basis. This past year, we rejoiced in many spiritual victories. Several followed the Lord in baptism and other joined the church. Our greatest joy is the large number of young people, who have connected with the church, and their enthusiastic help and involvement. Their energy keeps us young and their spirit brings us joy.

We with you the happiest New Year. May God bless you richly

The Dockery Family

December 2015

Blumenstocks in Asia

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January Update: How to pray this month

Happy New Year! As we enter 2016, we look forward to a busy year for our family and for ABTS. Jim’s thesis will be entering it’s most labor-intensive stage, ABTS will be starting new cohorts in Papua New Guinea and Manila, and we will be embarking on a renovation project for the new ABTS headquarters. Thank you for your prayers and partnership, and please pray with us that we will be faithful to God’s calling and leading throughout the year. Karen’s parents visited Chiang Mai in December, making for a wonderful Christmas with family. It is always encouraging having family visit us on the field.

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Dec. with family

Praise

We really enjoyed our time with Karen’s parents last month. We were also able to take a much-needed rest as we anticipate a busy few months ahead. Praise God for sustaining and encouraging us this Christmas season.

Prayer

Jim will be teaching Christian Worldview in Delhi from February 5-14. Pray for his preparations, for the students who will be attending, and for Karen and Ella as they stay in Chiang Mai. Pray, too, for the graduation and board meeting which will take place in Delhi after the class.

Continue to pray for the office renovation process. We are now developing plans for the project, including outfitting the classroom, building one more office on the balcony, and creating a library and study space for students. Pray for us as we seek the right contractor and for God’s provision for this project.

Copyright © 2016 Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, All rights reserved.

Philadelphia Thinkers

 

On the first Sunday of 2016, we spent time in the one 10:45 service to reflect on what God is doing in the life of Grace Baptist Church. We got to witness the many different avenues that God blessed Grace though during 2015. We were refreshed on the core values of the church and the purpose, mission and goal the Grace family works towards and believes in. We were challenged not to settle for our own comforts and desires, but to continue to think towards mission, proclaim the Gospel, and ultimately live for the glory of God. It was offered to us to be Philadelphia thinkers, rather than to fall into the trap of having a Laodicean thought process.

Let us not take this lightly. Yesterday, we saw how God worked financially, numerically, and more so spiritually in the life of Grace that left us encouraged and excited about what is to come. This encouragement and excitement should fuel even more of a desire to live a life that has at its core the purpose of glorifying God in all we do (1 Corinthians 10:31); a mission that is constantly making and multiplying disciples (Matthew 28:19-20); and a goal of exemplifying the One who came to be our supreme example (1 Peter 2:21-25).

The “State of the Church Address” yesterday was hopefully uplifting, as we heard and saw a variety of different data sets and figures come across the screen. From budgets to giving, we saw God at work. From membership to social media accounts, we saw God at work. From Grace Global Ministries to volunteers in the GPS, and Radiate and Ablaze programs, we saw God at work. Let us not lose sight that God is at work as we move forward, and let us not become apathetic of showing God our immense gratitude.

As people start a new year there is a great deal of reflection and reevaluation that occurs. This time is conducted on the basis of what successes, failures, and missed opportunities took place the previous year. Even as we got to look forward yesterday, we also took time to refresh on what is at Grace Baptist Church’s core, and where Grace expects to live out those beliefs.

Let us continue to be proactive in clinging to our Biblical beliefs and convictions, keeping in perspective that it is solely because of God’s grace that we here at Grace get to live towards such a glorious and eternal end, and be involved in His purpose, His mission, and His goals for our lives.

The six core values were supported by Scripture, and as we pursue living out these values, lets us also be diligent in our time with our Savior and in His Word.

  1. Repentance (Mt. 3:8; 2 Cor. 7:9-10; Rev. 3:19)
  2. Worship (John 4:23-24)
  3. Transformation (Rom. 12:1-2)
  4. Community (Acts 2:44; 1 Cor. 12:12)
  5. Service (1 Cor. 12:14ff; 1 Pet. 4:10)
  6. Mission (Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 1:8)

God, we thank you for the blessings that you have given to us here at Grace Baptist Church. As we move forward, let us not forget or become apathetic about the purpose of bringing You alone glory, the mission that You set forth in Your Gospel, and the goal that You have for Your church. We thank You for Your grace that we saw at Grace in 2015 and will see in the upcoming year. We praise You from whom all blessings flow. Amen.