Saturday, April 28, 2007

Preaching Conference and Alma Mater and Friends

We got back from an exciting week at Fairhaven's Preaching Conference. This year the College celebrated its 30 year anniversary. The services was packed with godly music and great preaching. Marcia and I were in the midst of so many good friends who love the Lord and are serving Him. It was also wonderful to see the new Recreational Center and marvelous renovations taking place. May God continue to bless Fairhaven Baptist Church and College. To God be the glory!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Servants of Jesus Christ (part 2)

Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:” (Phil. 1:1)

The Old Testament has a distinct phrase in reference to some Bible characters as being the ‘servant of the LORD.’ Moses is called ‘the servant of the LORD’ in Deut. 32:5 and in many other places. Joshua was also called this in Josh. 24:29. David also in Ps. 18:1 and in Ps. 36:1. Job was called ‘my servant’ in Job 1:8. Isaiah also in Isa. 20:3. The point is in the New Testament, Paul substitutes his name for these servants, and more importantly he substitutes the name Jesus Christ in place of Jehovah. The LORD of the Old Testament is revealed unto us as the Lord of the New Testament. Truly we have one Lord (Eph. 4:5).

Christ is worthy of service. And so I ask “how is your service towards Him?” In Gal.1:10 Paul puts a contrast between pleasing men or serving Christ. “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” Are we loyal enough to Christ to present Him as He presented Himself to the lost during His earthly ministry? Or do we hide His exclusive claims and fold under the pressure of wanting to be accepted by a world that hated Him? What exactly are we, but mere servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we work, we ought to work as unto the Lord. When we sing, we ought to sing as unto the Lord. Actually the New Testament deals with every aspect of our service and calls us to do it as unto the Lord, knowing that of the Lord we shall receive the reward and that because we are His servants (read Col. 3:24). As servants we are accountable to a higher authority, namely Jesus Christ. And so we must take care of what service we do for Him, how we do service for Him, and why we do service for Him.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Philippians Study - Servants of Jesus Christ (part 1)

"Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:" (Phil. 1:1)

In the text Paul descibes himself and his companion Timothy as being 'servants' of Jesus Christ. The word for servants in the Greek is δουλοι (pronounced as 'douli' which is the plural from of 'doulos'). It literally means 'slaves.' Paul (and Timothy) considers himself a 'slave' to Jesus Christ. "Doulos" is also translated bond 6 times in other passages (like 1 Cor. 12:13, Gal. 3:28, etc.) and 'bondman' once in Revelation 6:15. I am not an advocate for slavery. I think of the atrocities of slavery and cringe. However, slavery was a historical fact. Back in those days a person could become a slave by three ways: a person could be sold into slavery, conquered in battle and then made into a slave, or a person could be born into slavery. At any rate this illustration can picture our condition prior to faith in Christ. A sinner is sold in the market place of sin (Rom. 7:14). Sin conquered us, thus making every man a sinner, by nature and choice. And sin is passed on to every man since Adam that means we are all born sinners or that we are sinners by birth (Rom. 5:12; Ps. 51:5). All that until Christ came. He bought us with His precious and incorruptible blood (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). He conquered us by His grace, love and mercy (Jn. 16:33; 1 John 5:4). He taught us the significance of the new birth (Jn. 3:1-15) so that through Him we are born of the Spirit into the family of God. In all reality, every one who has placed their faith solely on the Lord Jesus Christ is classified as a servant, or bondman to Christ. We become Christians by faith and remain under Christ’s Lordship for all eternity. Christ Jesus owns us. Paul declares in 1 Cor. 6:19 “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”

Being servants of Jesus Christ is recognizing His ownership of our lives. God owns everything, including me and all that I posses. It all belongs to God, He simply allows me to be a steward over the things that He so graciously allows me to have. How many Christians don’t live up to this vital Bible truth? In fact, Jesus said in Matt. 6:24 that no man can serve two masters. The only way a person can get away from not becoming a servant to Christ is to not be saved. I suppose many do not want to be saved for this reason, they do not want to give up their lives for the Lord. They are not willing to repent and believe on Jesus Christ. I suppose many Christians are still debating and arguing with God about godliness and pursuing a life that is pleasing to God. They are not living out the reality of their spiritual condition. They are servants, but bad ones. But the truth of the matter is that serving Christ is the best thing a Christian can do. Why? because Jesus Christ is by far a better master. Matt. 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Remembering the Resurrection

"Who was delivered for our offenses, and was raised again for our justification." (Romans 4:25)

As we reflect on the Lord's resurrection, may we, along with Paul, be able to say that we want to know more about Jesus. The apostle put it this way: "That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings being made comformable unto His death."(Phil. 3:10). This resurrection power is available to all Christians through our risen Lord. This power enables us to 'walk in newness of life' (Rom. 6:4).

Friday, April 6, 2007

Hardecker Headlines: "Personal stuff"

Dear Blogworld,

Marcia and I are flying out to the Philippines and Australia for a three week missions trip in May. We are excited about the prospects of seeing the mission fields, being with the missionaries and nationals. As for me, I get to see my home town of Angeles City, Philippines, and spend seven days with my folks and friends. I am preparing to preach from the book of Philippians and teach several lessons from it. Marcia is working on her special music folder, and preparing to use her talents in playing piano and flute for the Lord during the course of the trip. This is exciting! I will get a chance to see the church that I love so dearly, because it is the church where I grew in the Lord after getting saved and baptized. If you could remember to pray for me, please do so. Ask the Lord on my behalf for a fruitful trip. And we will be careful to give God the glory!


Bill Hardecker