Reflections on Avoiding the Trap of Meaningless Christianity
by Craig Tanner
Today’s sermon, "Reflections on Avoiding the Trap of Meaningless Christianity " (Matthew 15:1-20) by Craig Tanner. This is a stand alone sermon....Download
Our Purpose: Temple Baptist Church exists to bring glory to God through lives transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
TBC is not a building or meeting place, but a body of baptized believers transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The church exists for the display of the the glory of God because we are created for His glory (Isaiah 43:7, 20-21; 1 Cor 10:31). Believers become living proof of God’s glory so that He may be known and praised, which is His ultimate goal in salvation (Isaiah 48:9-11; Matt 5:16; Eph 1:3-6). In other words it is not about us, it is all about Him (Psalm 115:1).
This then is ultimately our purpose: to preeminently proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in everything that we do, as ambassadors to a lost world, in order that we might make disciples whose lives are so completely transformed by the work of the Holy Spirit that they display God’s glory in the world, to the praise of our Father in heaven.
Our Vision: We believe God gets glory when believers live in a manner that manifests His infinite worth. To that end we strive to live in a manner that is worthy of the gospel of Christ (Phil 1:27). A life worthy of the Gospel is impossible apart from genuine faith, passionate worship, and wholehearted obedience.
Genuine Faith: Faith is a trust in or reliance on God and the finished work of Christ for salvation, through His death and resurrection. It implies a complete reliance on God that leads us to relinquish trust in ourselves and place our trust in Jesus Christ. The Book of Hebrews tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God (Heb 11:6). Paul reminds us in Ephesians that without faith we cannot be saved (Eph 2:8). It is through faith in Jesus that we receive forgiveness of sins, it is through dependence on Christ alone that we are justified before God, and it is in this act of faith that we are made righteous (Rom. 3:22, 25; Gal. 2:16; Phil. 3:9; John 3:16-36; Acts 10:43; 16:31). It is our response to the Gospel. It is belief in action.
Passionate Worship: Genuine faith in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross leads us to passionately worship the God who saves us. Scripture says that God is worthy to be praised (Ps 18:3). Worship is quite literally ascribing worth to someone or some thing. Jesus says that worship of God is done in “spirit and truth” (John 4:24). It is not confined to a certain place nor does it have anything to do with a particular style or form. A danger we face is confusing external ritual with the internal truth of worship. Singing songs, reading Scripture, praying together, and hearing a message preached on a Sunday morning is not worship in of itself, rather these things are our outward expressions of the worship that begins in the heart. Quite simply our attitude, rather than our actions, is what is central in passionately worshipping God. The reverence and humility that God deserves comes from a heart transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Psalm 29:2).
Wholehearted Obedience: Showing reverence and honor to God through worship is only one part of a much larger picture. Ultimately we cannot truly honor God unless we submit to Him and obey Him. Jesus Himself teaches that love for God is measured by obedience (John 14:15, 21, 23-24, 31; 15:10). To obey means we both “listen to” and “act upon or obey His commands”. God is glorified when believers bear fruit, which is evidence of genuine faith and passionate worship (John 15:8). Jesus says that if we are unwilling to take up our cross (die to our self-will) and follow him in obedience (embrace God’s will regardless of the cost), then we are not worthy of him (Matt 10:38). A life worthy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is one marked by genuine faith that produces passionate worship and wholehearted obedience (Rom 1:5; Eph 2:8-10; James 2:14-26).
Our Core Values: Everything we do as a church is centered around these three core values: Truth, Spiritual Formation, and Missional Living.
Truth: We value truth, understanding that its highest expression is found in the person of Jesus Christ. We mature in our understanding and application of the truth through devoting ourselves to expositional teaching and preaching, diligent study of God’s Word, genuine worship, effective prayer, rightly administered church ordinances (baptism and the Lord’s Supper), devout fellowship, and participating in activities that honor and glorify God.
Spiritual Formation: We value the application of truth in our daily lives that gives evidence of the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. As disciples of Jesus Christ we strive to be devoted to the life-long process of maturing in our relationship with God.
Missional Living: In obedience to the call of God we desire to live on mission for Him. This is essential as it pertains to intentionally fulfilling the mission of Jesus in the world by continuing that which He came to do, reconciling people to God. We are sent out into the world to engage the culture in which we live with the Gospel message.