Five Points Blog

Go to Jesus Outside the Camp


At the climax of the entire sermon of Hebrews, the writer makes a bold call to his readers: “Let us go to Him outside the camp.” I say it was bold because it was a call to identify with Jesus’ own suffering outside the sacred city of Jerusalem, on the dung heap of Golgotha for the sins of his people. Christ death on the cross, for the writer of Hebrews, not only saves effectually, but serves as our example.

In fact, it seems he means to draw tightly together our pardon and our pattern in the crucified Son of God. In verse 12 of chapter 13, he writes, “So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood.” Christ was the final and climactic sacrifice for the sins of the people. There need not nor cannot ever be another sacrifice for sin; Christ’s was the preeminent atonement.

Immediately the writer says, “Therefore.” That is, since Christ’s sacrifice effectively  sanctified his people, therefore “…let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.” Two things amaze: first, Christ is not back inside the camp after his death at Calvary, He is still outside the camp. When we go, we go to him. We never go alone.

Second, he bids us come and join him. We are not to remain inside the apparent safety of the Christian camp, because Christ did not. He endured reproach for God’s glory, we who are being remade into his image will gladly join Him in bearing that same reproach. I say the ‘apparent’ safety of the camp, because there is a danger in disobeying this text. There is a grave danger in shrinking back from following Christ, even when it means a call to come and die. Jesus said, “Whoever would seek to save his life, will lose it” (Mk. 8:35).


By What Authority Does Jesus Purify?


After Jesus cleansed the Temple with his violent and just anger against Israel’s sin, the Jewish leaders banded together to question Jesus. In the verses that follow, they interrogated him with this insincere question: “By what authority are you doing these things, or who gave you this authority to do them?” (Mark 11:28 ESV). I say it was insincere because they knew the answer.

When Jesus deftly countered their question with his own about John the Baptist’s authority, they were caught - like a wolverine in a trap of their own making. They couldn’t say John’s authority was from God, yet they knew it was. Because then they would have to admit that John was a prophet to be believed and not murdered. Much more the One John spoke of would also have to be believed: Jesus Christ standing in front of them!

Neither could they say John’s authority was from men, for then they would come under the scorn of all the people who knew he was from God. Their credibility among the very crowds they feared would be crushed.

What did they do? They committed spiritual suicide. They said: “We don’t know” (v.33). What a horrific sin to use ignorance as a cloak for unbelief. They did know and so do you and I.

Twice God the Father spoke audibly over His Son: “This is my beloved Son, listen to Him!” (Mark 1:11, 9:7). We’ve seen his authority over demons, to interpret the Scriptures, to present himself as King, to judge the temple and ultimately to offer himself as a ransom for sinners. He will soon declare what is always true: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me” (Matthew 28:19).

Do you happily acknowledge and live under Christ’s absolute authority? The moment you open the Scriptures to read, Christ’s authority is plain: it no longer will do to say, “We don’t know.”


Magnificat Morning: Contentment in All Seasons


And my God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Philippians 4:19-20

True contentment seems to be an elusive character trait.  Do you know anyone who is truly content? Are you? If you are like many, your contentment is most likely dependent on your circumstances. When life is going “your way” you’re content, when it isn’t, then you are not so content. You are not alone in this phenomenon! Yet, this is not the way it is supposed to be for women who seek to “pursue their joy in Christ alone”! What does God say about our being content in His Word? Can we really learn to be content, no matter what?

To help us answer these questions, the FPCC Women’s Ministry Team is excited to have Jodi Ware coming to explore the foundations of true biblical contentment. Every teen girl and woman is invited to come and be challenged by Jodi to embrace God’s provision regardless of our circumstances. We can learn to be content because our God is a Bountiful Provider!

Jodi is the wife of Dr. Bruce Ware, a professor of theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. She is involved with the music ministry and women’s ministry at their church, Clifton Baptist, in Louisville. Jodi also works with the Seminary Wives Institute as a registrar and teacher, and the Facility Wives at Southern. She loves walking, reading, playing the piano, and meeting one-on-one with women, engaging in “conversational ministry.”

This will be a relaxing and casual morning with great teaching, wonderful fellowship, light refreshments and a book table specific to our topic. Tickets will be available after the Worship Service and from the church office for $3 per person or $5 per family. We look forward to seeing you for this great morning of encouragement!

Check the event page for more information.


Third Pastoral Candidate


Dear Five Points Family,

Over the past several months, the Elders have been seeking the Lord and asking you to pray with us regarding the calling of a third pastor. The Elders have focused their search towards a man who is able to preach, teach, counsel, and lead with specific gifts in the areas of leadership and administration. He will join the pastors in carrying out the duties of the pastoral office with a primary focus on shepherding the organizational and administrative processes of the church.

Accordingly, the Elders have reviewed dozens of resumes and interviewed approximately ten individuals. Most recently, the Elders have spent substantial time interviewing one individual and we are excited to introduce him to you. Per the Five Points Constitution and Bylaws, we are formally entering the second phase of the process (Selection of Vocational Elders) as stated in Section 5(b): “The Council shall inform the congregation of candidates being considered to allow for prayerful and informed consideration of the candidate.” To this end, Mr. Brett Toney and his wife Kelina will be visiting Five Points on Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22. Brett will be teaching a combined Adult Bible Study Hour at 9:30am, April 22 in the Sanctuary and then the Toney’s will share their testimonies and answer questions for our Evening Family Gathering. Finally, we will fellowship with them during the subsequent White Horse Inn. In order for Five Points to prayerfully consider Brett’s candidacy, we invite you to participate in this exciting weekend in the life of our church.

After the Toney’s visit, the entire church (Elders and congregation) will spend two weeks prayerfully considering Brett as a candidate, after which the Elder Council will meet and decide whether to formally recommend him to the congregation for calling into office per Section 5(d). Should the Lord confirm his candidacy, the Elders will formally recommend to the congregation that Brett be called into office. We have set a tentative date of May 6 for a congregational vote.

Let me provide you with some background on Brett Toney. Brett and Kelina currently reside in Minneapolis, MN where he is finishing his Master of Divinity degree at Bethlehem College & Seminary. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies at Northwestern College in 2008. Brett has not served as a full-time pastor, yet he has served in pastoral ministry roles with increasing responsibilities since 2008. Since December 2009, he has served both as a Ministry and Pastoral Assistant to a lead pastor at Bethlehem Baptist Church. His roles have included significant administrative and pastoral responsibilities. The Elders have spent a substantial amount of time appraising Brett’s experience and giftedness. We strongly believe that his demonstrated giftedness in a large, multi-campus church has prepared him well to serve in the context of Five Points. He is eager to teach, disciple, counsel, and serve in full-time ministry. There is a strong unity amongst the Elders that his God-given giftedness and experience squarely meet the needs we are seeking in a third pastor. Please visit Brett’s website at http://about.me/bretttoney where you will find links to his resume, sermons and writings.

We count it a joy and privilege to serve alongside such grace-filled saints at Five Points. We are excited about what God is doing in our midst and for you to meet Brett and Kelina on April 21-22. We ask you to join us in prayer as the Lord continues to lead and build His Church for His glory.


Grace and peace to you,

Mark Kakkuri, Joe Slezak, and Mike Martoia
FPCC Personnel Committee


PASTORAL CANDIDATE SCHEDULE:

• April 22, 9:30am: Brett Toney teaching combined adult Bible Study Hour
• April 22, 5:45pm: Elder led Q&A during the Evening Family Gathering
• April 22, 7:00pm: White Horse Inn with the Toney’s
• May 6, 5:45pm: Congregational Vote (pending affirmation of candidacy)


I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
2 Timothy 4:1-5
 

 


The Temple Replaced


When Jesus entered into Jerusalem, it was in both justice and mercy. We often try to separate the two; but they are inseparable in Christ Jesus. His justice will not let sin linger. His mercy will not let sin’s guilt linger. Both are on display on the day when Jesus came to town.

In Mark 11 Jesus makes His triumphal entry as King. The very next day he proceeds to curse an out of season fig tree. Even the things that God made good, are under the Creator’s curse. The justice of God against a fallen world rises to the surface of our Lord’s mind as he moves resolutely toward the cross. It is fitting that when Christ dies, his death will “reconcile all things to himself whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross,” (Colossians 1:20) -  even fig trees.

And if his death reconciles lowly fig trees, then surely his death is able to reconcile hell-bound sinners like us. Jesus wasn’t so much concerned about botany as he was purity. The Jewish leaders had begun to use the Temple of the living God for financial gain. Jesus purified the Temple with divine anger and indignation. He reminded them, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, “ (Mark 11:17). The Father had plainly said the Temple was for sweet intimacy with His glory for his people and the foreigners who seek Him. But they had profaned that purpose, with the evil love of money.

Jesus didn’t just come to reestablish a building, but to replace it with himself. He said, “Something greater than the Temple is here” (Mt. 12:6). What an indescribable mercy, that our Lord would give himself to the same people who violated the gift of the first Temple! In Christ the twin glories of justice and mercy meet and meet us.


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