Summary: This massage was preached on the Sunday Sovereign Grace Family Church was affirming the decision of the Elders to join the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.
Today is an historic for Sovereign Grace Family Church.
This church has been in existence for over half a century.
We began as Forest Christian Church in a different building and a different time in history.
Throughout the years, the denomination we were formally associated with became increasingly liberal, and in 1999 we decided we could no longer stand with them.
Then, in 2008 we went through a period of revival.
We began to see the need to fortify our doctrinal positions and begin to take strong stands on certain issues.
This did not please everyone --- but those among us who were fighting for the truth were most concerned about pleasing God.
In 2010, we changed our name to demonstrate the fact that we had, in many ways, become a new church.
We are Sovereign Grace - because we are committed to the historic principles of the Protestant Reformation, and specifically Reformed Theology which is centered on God’s sovereignty.
And we are a Family Church - because we are committed to the role of the family in the life of the church, the roles of fathers and mothers as the teachers of their families, and we are committed to being a church family.
Well, today we are going together to take another step in our continual reformation.
Our elders, after a long time of study and prayer, have decided to seek the congregational affirmation that we join the Fellowship of Independent Reformed Evangelicals.
As I said, this is an historic occasion, one that a decade ago would have been considered unreasonable to even consider.
Yet God, in His sovereign providence, has brought us to this very important place and time.
One of the great quotes which is used among Reformers is “Semper Reformanda” - always reforming.
The church has the responsibility to always be seeking to ensure that it never deviates from God’s Word, and is always willing to make reforms where necessary.
Today is a good and exciting day - today is a day of continued reformation.
In keeping with what we are doing, I want to address a question to ensure there is no confusion about the affirmation we are making.
The question is: What is a Reformed Evangelical?
The term evangelical means “Gospel believer”.
The “evangel” is the Gospel, and an evangelical believes and promotes the Gospel of Christ.
The title evangelical should apply to all Christians, because to be a Christian is to believe the Gospel.
Years ago, the term “born again Christian” was popularized... but it was really redundant because to be a Christian means you are “born again”.
In the same way, the term “evangelical Christian” is redundant, because a Christian is, by definition, one who believes and promotes the Gospel.
So, as Christians, we are evangelicals.
But what is a Reformed Evangelical.
When people discuss Reformed Theology, there are two sets of doctrines which are normally brought out in the conversation.
The first is the Five Solas
Soli Deo Gloria
The second is the Doctrines of Grace (TULIP)
Perseverance of the Saints
Over the past ten years, we have invested many hours discussing both of these lists and what they teach.
Today, I want to step away from these lists and distill down what really makes a a person a Reformed Evangelical.
People who believe and teach Reformed Theology often differ on certain aspects of theology, like eschatology and the practice of the ordinances, but there are some foundational principles which we all come together around.
The Complete Sufficiency of Scripture
2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
The word “breathed out” comes from the Greek Word “theopneustos” which means “God-breathed”.
The words of Scripture are the very words of God.
The Holy Spirit superintended the writing of Scripture so as to ensure that what we have is the truth, and it contains no error.
2 Peter 1:21 “For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
During the time prior to the Reformation, the ownership of a Bible outside the of the church was basically illegal.
During the inquisition, a person could be executed simply for reading the Psalms.
And the Bible was only allowed to be kept in the language of Latin, and not legally allowed to be translated into the common language of the day.
Many people today do not realize how much blood was spilled to bring you the bibles you have.
William Tyndale, the great Bible translator, was burned at the stake for translating and disseminating the Bible in English.