Shallowford Free Will Baptist
Friday, September 21, 2018
For the Glory of Christ Alone
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What Is the Most Important Part of Our Church Vision?
 
 





Pastor's Page

 
                                                                                                                                                                                  September 18, 2018

 

Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.

~John 13:20

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               Jesus is on His way to His death. The Lord’s Supper has already been initiated. The disciples’ feet have been washed. The quietness of that Upper Room is only filled with the sound of the Lord’s voice as He begins His final teachings to His disciples. The hand of Judas was open the very table where the Lord Jesus Christ offered the bread and the wine as His broken body and shed blood. A foreboding heaviness filled the room as Jesus spoke of His betrayer. The Lord knew which of the disciples were His. None of the forthcoming events would take the Lord by surprise. But His followers needed to understand that there would always be those who would turn away from the Word of God, even when they had followed so closely for years. They needed to know; they needed to understand – “that when it does come to pass, you may believe that I am He” (v. 19).

               Everything Jesus did was to foster a belief in Himself as the Savior of the world and in God’s plan of redemption. Sadly, even today, not everyone will heed the message of the Gospel. There will be those who firmly and consistently reject the Word. There will be those who are intrigued, but never willing to dedicate their lives to it. There would be those who would receive the Gospel gladly…until the cares of the world begin to choke the life from them. All of this is foretold that we might continue to believe in Him even when it does come to pass. Still nowhere does the Lord allow you and I a pass that will take away our responsibility to share. He is simply preparing us for how people might respond.

               Jesus qualifies everything in this verse with the words “most assuredly.” The original Greek records Him saying, “Amen, amen” (or “verily, verily” in the KJV). The point of these words is absolute truth. There is no deception or intent behind what Jesus is saying except for preparing His followers for what would come to pass. These words are true. They transcend all time and context. What Jesus has to say will happen. Let us be reminded that Jesus always speaks the truth as One who knows the beginning from the ending. We can rely upon His words not just in this passage, but in everything He spoke. And if we can truly trust in what He is saying, we need to prepare ourselves for the sure outcome.

               “Most assuredly, I say to you.” To whom? To His followers. To the ones entrusted with the ministry of the Gospel after His death. Sure, He was speaking to the 11 in this passage, but again His words transcend the immediate context. The Lord is speaking through the 2000 years of history since He spoke these words. And He is speaking to you and I, church, right now. What does He want us to know?

               “He who receives whomever I send receives Me.” There are two keys to what we read in this passage. First Jesus does indeed send His people out into the world to spread His Word. That is not a function that is reserved to some special class of Christian like a pastor or a missionary. This is the most basic act of worship that ANY of us could ever fulfill for the Lord. He speaks His will clearly in Matthew 28 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Amen” (vv. 19-20). Jesus has given us the command to make disciples (learners) as we are going into the world. We might have certain functional positions inside the church, but evangelism is not a ministry reserved for only a few. It is the absolute heartbeat of the body of Christ. We go into the world as Jesus’ ambassadors, teaching the world how they too can be saved and become a follower of Christ. Jesus is sending us all, brethren, to proclaim His Gospel.

               But that sending is with intent. He is not sending us just so that people can hear the Gospel. The Lord desires that people would RECEIVE the Gospel. His desire is the desire of His Father in heaven, that all men everywhere might be saved (1 Tim. 2:4). The intention of Jesus is that the word might turn to Him in saving faith. And thankfully there will be those who receive the Word of God. There will be those who will hear the message and turn to Jesus in faith. But that will most likely be a minority of people that we preach to, for “for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it” (Matt. 7:13b). We at times will be fighting a losing battle in a war that we have already won, but we must not be discouraged by those who refuse us. Let us rejoice when folks hear and receive the Gospel. Let us celebrate in those rare occasions when the Spirit of God does business with their hearts. Perhaps should we learn to crave these experiences more, we might be a little more willing to partner with God on this magnificent journey.

               So Jesus sends us to the world and some will receive us. Notice next that there is a more than just a surface reception. To receive His ambassadors is to receive the Lord Jesus Christ. I believe that we take the Gospel ministry a little too personal. Not that we shouldn’t be personally involved and concerned about what we’re doing. I simply mean that this is NOT our ministry; gospel evangelism is Christ’s ministry. When people reject us, they reject Jesus. When people laugh us to scorn, they laugh Jesus to scorn. When folks receive us, they also receive the Lord. There is a reciprocal relationship that we share with Jesus because we are His people. They will either receive or reject Jesus when they receive or reject us. And there is something that is oddly comforting in that. You see, when I try and talk to someone about spiritual matters and I find myself stuttering and stammering about the Gospel, I tend to start kicking myself and falling into a defeated attitude. But if the Lord is with us (the Creator of men’s mouths), He can use even my feeblest efforts to honor Himself in the Gospel. And there is no defeat in that. All I am seeking to do is to fulfill the will of the Lord for my life. I am called to proclaim the message, not to save people. Jesus is the only One who can do that. It is so comforting to know that He takes such personal interest in my efforts that He would equate the reception of my message with the reception of Himself. Truly Jesus is with us, even until the end of the age.

               But there is even more here. Jesus goes on to say, “and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.” That is, not only does Jesus participate in this process, but God the Father also participates in this process of evangelism. To receive our message is to receive Jesus, and to receive Jesus is to receive God. And it is not ONE way to receive God; it is the ONLY way to receive God. I have heard folks speak about God without considering Jesus. “Oh, I believe in God. I just don’t believe in Christianity as the only way to get to God.” Well, if Christianity isn’t the only way, then perhaps we have the right to speak along those lines. However, the Bible, even in this passage, indicates that Jesus is the only way. Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). If Jesus is not being truthful in what He is saying in the very next chapter then what He claimed to be “most assuredly” is suspect. Everything rises or falls on Jesus’ integrity. But Paul also tells us that Jesus is the only way. “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). There is only one pathway to the restoration between God and men according to Paul. It is Jesus Christ, the Mediator. None of us can claim to know God, to care about God, or to respect God without knowing about, caring about, and respecting His Son. To receive His Son is to receive God the Father. And by extension, to receive Christ’s ambassadors is to receive both the Son and the Father. When we consider that the Spirit plays an essential role in this salvation, the entirety of the Godhead is received when people receive our message! Likewise, the entirety of the Godhead is denied when people reject our message.

               The one uncertain variable in this whole process is what you and I will do with this information. First, do we really believe in that reciprocity of our message being God’s message? Do we believe that the Lord is partnering with us each and every time we share His Gospel? Secondly, do we believe that evangelism is a divine mandate that is so important that eternities literally hang in the balance on our obedience? Thirdly, do we truly believe that sharing the Gospel is the ultimate validation of our faith? Because if the message is not important enough to share with us, it isn’t really true for us. The Lord could have written His Gospel in the stars. He could have sent legions of angels into the world to share the “Good News.” But He didn’t. Stars cannot be saved. Angels cannot understand the Gospel in experience. Instead Jesus gave the Gospel to me and you, people touched intimately and absolutely by His grace. You know the way…because you’ve walked the way yourself. It is not a matter of knowledge, but of obedience. Can the Lord depend on us to present the opportunity to receive Him to the world? That is my challenge to you this week.

               May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your hearts!

 

 ~Bro. Benjamin 

 

Previous Postings                                                                  This Week's Sermons
September 18
September 11
September 4                                                                                 September 16 (AM)
August 28                                                                                     "The Son of Grace"
August 14                                                                                         Luke 15:11-24
August 7                                                                                           
July 31                                                                                          September 16 (PM)
July 24                                                                                           "Walk in the Light"          
July 17                                                                                          
Ephesians 5:8-10
July 3
                                                                                            

June 1                                                                                         September 19 (WED)                                                                                 

June 5                                                                                              Acts 16:19-34
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
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If you need a copy of any sermon from the past, email Bro. Benjamin with the date and title of the message listed below.
We will be happy to send you a CD of the sermon. Additionally sermons are available through the "Multimedia" Page


September 23 (AM) Rev. David Amburgey
September 23 (PM) Bro. Jeff Baumann
September 16 (AM) "The Son of Grace"--Luke 15:11-24
September 16 (PM) "Walk in the Light"--Ephesians 5:8-10
September 9 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Sinful Woman"--Luke 7:36-50
September 9 (PM) "The Imitation of Christ"--Ephesians 5:3-7
September 2 (AM) "Bring Your Lunchbox to Jesus"--John 6:1-14
 
August 26 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Widow of Nain"--Luke 7:11-17
August 26 (PM) "Imitators of God"--Ephesians 5:1-2
August 19 (AM) "The Church Jesus Would Join"--Acts:2:40-47 - Bro. Joey Cosme
August 19 (PM) "
What the New Man Looks Like, Part 2"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 12 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Centurion"--Luke 7:1-10
August 12 (PM) "What the New Man Looks Like, Part 1"--Ephesians 4:25-32
August 5 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Man with a Withered Hand"--Luke 6:1-11
August 5 (PM) "...What Now Is"--Ephesians 4:20-24
 
July 29 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Paralytic"--Luke 5:17-26
July 29 (PM) "The Baha'i Religion"
July 22 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Leper"--Luke 5:12-16
July 22 (PM) "What Once Was..."--Ephesians 4:17-19
July 15 (AM) "To the Least of These: a Lowly Fisherman"--Luke 5:1-11
July 8 (AM) "To the Least of These: Peter's Mother-in-Law"--Luke 4:38-39
July 8 (PM) "No Longer Children"--Ephesians 4:14-15
July 1 (AM) "To the Least of These: the Demoniac"--Luke 4:31-37
July 1 (PM) "You Have a Place; You Have a Purpose"--Ephesians 4:11-16
 
June 24 (AM) "The Fruitless Tree"--Luke 13:6-9 - Rev. David Amburgey
June 24 (PM) "Becoming a Hero in the Faith"--Galatians 5:22-23 - Bro. Johnny Amburgey
June 17 (AM) "To the Least of These: Joseph"--Matthew 1:18-25
June 10 (AM) "To the Least of These: Mary"--Luke 1:26-38
June 10 (PM) "Leading Captivity Captive"--Ephesians 4:7-10
June 3 (AM) "With Us in the Fires"--Daniel 3:13-30
June 3 (PM) "One in Christ"--Ephesians 4:1-6
 
May 20 (AM) "New Testament Christians"--1 John 2:12-17 - Rev. Ronald Wallace
May 20 (AM) "More Than We Could Ever Imagine"--Ephesians 3:20-21
May 13 (AM) "Moms After God's Own Heart"--Hosea 11:1-11
May 6 (AM) "Great Grace for the Least of These"--Matthew 9:9-13
May 6 (PM) "Becoming the Church"--Ephesians 3:14-19

April 29 (AM) "When You're Tempted to Worry"--Psalm 37:1-9
April 22 (AM) "Can You See His Face?"--Luke 22:54-62
April 22 (PM) "Grace Is Worth It All!"--Ephesians 3:8-13
April 15 (AM) "What's It Really About?"--Mark 3:1-6
April 15 (PM) "The Way Is Open!"--Ephesians 3:1-7
April 8 (AM) "Is Salvation Fair?"--Matthew 20:1-16
April 8 (PM) "The Greatest in the Kingdom"--Matthew 20:20-28
April 1 (AM) "The Resurrection & the Life"--John 11:1-44
April 1 (PM) "Today in Paradise"--Luke 23:39-43
 
March 25 (AM) "It Is Finished"--John 19:29-30
March 18 (AM)
"Father, Forgive Them"--Luke 23:32-38
March 18 (PM) "I Thirst"--John 19:28-29
March 11 (AM)
"Forsaken for Us"--Mark 15:34
March 11 (PM)
"We Are the Church"--Ephesians 19-22
March 4 (AM) "If It Be Possible..."--Matthew 26:36-47
March 4 (PM) "The Peace of Christ"--Ephesians 2:14-18

February 25 (PM) "Remember Who You Were"--Ephesians 2:11-13
February 11 (AM) "Faith Is a Family Affair"--Deuteronomy 6:1-9
February 11 (PM) "There Are NO Inactive Church Members"--Ephesians 2:8-10
February 4 (AM) "The Glory of Christ"--Matthew 17:1-8
February 4 (PM) "Prepositional Christianity"--Ephesians 2:8-10
 
January 28 (AM) "Lord of All Creation"--Psalm 102:25-28
January 28 (PM) "Great Reasons to Be Thankful"--Ephesians 2:1-7
January 21 (AM) "I See the Lord"--Isaiah 6:1-6
January 21 (PM) "All in All"--Ephesians 1:22-23
January 14 (AM) "Let's Make 2018 All About Him"--Proverbs 3:5-6
January 14 (PM) "What Paul Prays For, Part 2"--Ephesians 1:15-21
January 7 (AM) "Time to Start Over"--2 Corinthians 5:14-21
January 7 (PM) "What Paul Prays For"--Ephesians 1:15-21
 
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2017!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2016!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2015!
Click here for a list of available sermons from 2014!

Click here for a list of available sermons from 2013!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2012!
Click
here for a list of available sermons from 2011! 

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About Our Pastor
 
 
Bro. Benjamin Miller began his ministry at Shallowford Free Will Baptist Church in August, 2011. Prior to pastoring our church, Bro. Benjamin pastored at New Home FWB in Colquitt, GA. He received his B.A. in History from Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN. He then received his M.A. in Biblical Studies from Lipscomb University, a Church of Christ graduate school in Nashville. Bro. Benjamin enjoys spending time with his family, reading, and fellowshipping with the people of the church. He is a HUGE Braves fan! Our pastor has dedicated himself to becoming a student of the Word and to preaching the Word with passion, integrity, and real-life applications.
 
Bro. Benjamin married Jara in June 2002. She is a special educator at Mount Bethel Elementary School here in Marietta. She is a tremendous part of his life and quite active in our church. 
 
They had their first son, Thomas, in June 2008. Thomas was born prematurely, and is a testimony to God's amazing grace and provision. He is now a 3rd grader, and does well in school. His greatest ability is to reach out to those in his class in concern and in love.
 
Bro. Benjamin and Sis. Jara welcomed Nathanael in March, 2014. His name means "given by God" and he is absolute reminder of God's ability to bless individuals beyond measure.
 
We hope you'll take the opportunity to get to know our pastoral family!