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C-section Christians

C-section Christians

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Is there another way in besides repentance?
Is there another way in besides repentance?

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Published by: Rev. J. Patrick Bowman on Jul 01, 2013
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08/09/2013

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C-section Christians
 by Rev. J. Patrick BowmanThe Holy Spirit quickened a new phrase to my heart this morning as I was waiting upon Him. He said,
“My church is full of C
-section Christians
.”
Of course He was not referring to natural birthing andmedical C-sections, but as an illustration of what is happening in the church today. He then invited me toponder with Him the meaning of those words and expound on it.A C-section birth avoids the restriction and fight through the birth canal to the fuller life outside of thewomb. We have teachers today that are eager to usher people into new life without the exchange of the
old life. Repentance is the birth canal and it’s never without pain or stru
ggle, but it is the
way. And it’sGod grace that leads us through it. Many are teaching that God’s grace leads us around all obstacles, all
restrictions, all pain and all suffering and therefore when those things manifest in the Christian life, they
are “not of God.”
Yet, to the contrary, the Bible shows us that grace carries us through things. Only Godcan make all things work together for our good (Rom 8:28).I am going to take the time here to build up a case for repentance as the gate, the birth canal, tosalvation and the new birth. As we compare what John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Apostles preached towhat is being taught in some circles today, we will see a stark contrast in the practice and application of repentance.
Let’s start with the prophet
 
John the Baptist. John’s message was one of repentance.
 Matthew 3:1-12 says:Now in those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea saying,
Repent,for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet,saying,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make Hispaths straight.
Now John himself had a garment of 
camel’s
hair, and a leather belt about hiswaist; and his food was locusts and honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea,and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River,as they confessed their sins. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming forbaptism, he said to them,
You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath tocome? Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you cansay to yourselves,
We have Abraham as our father
; for I say to you, that God is able from thesestones to raise up children to Abraham And the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; everytree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. And as for me,I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and Iam not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And Hiswinnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His thrashing floor; and He willgather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
(NASB)Mark 1:1-8, says it this way:The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,
Behold, I send My messenger before your face, who will prepare your way: the voice of one
 
crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.
And Johnwas clothed with
camel’s
hair and wore a leather belt around his waist, and his diet was locustsand wild honey. And he was preaching and saying,
After me One is coming who is mightier thanI, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals. I baptize you with water;but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.
 Luke 3: 1-18 states:Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilot was governor of Judea, and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip was tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene, in the high priesthood of Annasand Caiaphas, the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness. And hecame into all the district around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for theforgiveness of sins; as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet,
The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Everyravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shallbecome straight, and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.
Hetherefore began saying to the multitudes who were going out to be baptized by him,
You broodof vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Therefore bring fruits in keepingwith repentance, and do not begin to say to yourselves,
We have Abraham for our father,
for Isay to you that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. And also the axeis already laid at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cutdown and thrown into the fire.
And the multitudes were questioning him, saying,
What thenshall we do?
And he would answer and say to them,
Let the man who has two tunics sharewith him who has none; and let him who has food do likewise.
And some tax-gatherers alsocame to be baptized, and they said to him,
Teacher, what shall we do?
And he said to them,
Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.
And some soldiers were questioninghim, saying,
And what about us, what shall we do?
And he said to them,
Do not take moneyfrom anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.
Now whilethe people were in a state of expectation and all were wondering in their hearts about John, asto whether he might be the Christ, John answered and said to them all,
As for me, I baptize youwith water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of Hissandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. And His winnowing fork is in His handto thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burnup the chaff with unquenchable fire.
So with many other exhortations also he preached thegospel to the people.John in his gospel intertwines the testimony of John the Baptist with his own revelation of Jesus. Howcould he not, as they are inseparable. Specifically about John the Baptist, we are introduced to hisministry in John 1:6-8, 15, 19-27:
 
There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came for a witness, that he mightbear witness of the light. He was not the light, but came that he might bear witness of the light.(Jn 1:6-8)John bore witness of Him, and cried out, saying,
This was He of whom I said, He who comes
after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.”
(Jn 1:15)And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem toask him,
Who are you.
And he confessed and did not deny, and he confessed,
I am not theChrist.
And they asked him,
What then? Are you Elijah?
And he said,
I am not.
 
Are you theProphet?
And he answered,
No.
They said then to him,
Who are you then, that we may givean answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?
He said,
I am a voice of onecrying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord,
as Isaiah the prophet said. Nowthey had been sent by the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him,
Why then are youbaptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?
John answered them saying,
Ibaptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes afterme, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.
(Jn 1:19-27)We see that at no time did Jesus refute
John’s
call to the people for repentance. In fact, in bothMatthew and Mark we see that after Jesus was tempted in the wilderness His first words recorded in Hispublic ministry were words of repentance. Mark 1:14-15
says, “
Now after John had been taken intocustody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying,
The time is fulfilled, and thekingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.
’”
Jesus message of repentance was thefoundational message of His ministry. It was a seamless move from the announcer to the announced,from the herald to the heralded. The change of command had come and
God’s
orders remained thesame.
I’d like to make several observations regarding the above scriptures, as well as references to Jesus’
ministry and the ministry of the apostles, and the contrast I see today in many ministers, ministries, andchurches. I had one home church leader tell me that worship now replaced preaching as the way Godspoke to people and how glad he was not to have to carry that burden any longer
. I’ve known of othergroups where anything above a conversational tone was considered “too preachy” for their church
culture. So, is preaching necessary? The prophets thought so. Jesus thought so. The apostles thought so.The book of Acts is a chronicle of the preaching of the Gospel and the demonstration of the kingdom.
First of all, John came as a preacher; in the Greek, to proclaim as a herald (Strong’s G2784). I’m not
saying a sermon (oops, another bad word) has to be yelled, but the true anointing to preach carries
enough unction with it to get a person’s attention rather than put them to sleep.
The Bible shows
countless examples of servants of God proclaiming God’s word either prophet
ically or in the ministry of preaching. It is primary for salvation.For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are beingsaved it is the power of God. For it is written,

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