Being Protected from Temptation

Several years ago, I was helped by a friend when I asked him for something to read that would assist me in my fight against temptations in my life. He commended John Owen’s work, “Watching against temptation,” which I purchased as vol. 6 in his Collected Works, published by the Banner of Truth.

I came across it in my preparations for a sermon I preached on Sunday, the topic was “repentance.” And if there’s any remedy against temptation, it is repentance, which when done appropriately, has a fine dispelling power against all the wiles of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

For your encouragement, I’m posting a short excerpt from Owen’s essay here. I hope it helps you as it did me: as a reminder that we’re not in this business of following Christ for fun; it is a war, and it calls forth our whole beings and our best efforts. Continue reading

When (and How) to Leave a Church: a Pastor’s POV.

Recently there have been some families that have left our congregation. Which has me reflecting on the question: when should a person leave a church, and how should it be done? Here are a few tips:

  • don’t break up with your church over secondary or tertiary theological reasons.
  • don’t break up with your church by way of text message or email.
  • don’t just stop participating in your church without meeting in person with the “powers that be.” And you should seek them out rather than stewing and waiting for them to notice that you’ve been gone.
  • when you meet with them, encourage them; their work is hard. If they have sinned against you, confront them humbly and lovingly, but also with a heart of forgiveness. If you are both sincere Christians you will be spending eternity together in heaven; and it is very likely the issues that divide you now will dissolve in a few years.
  • don’t gossip (“share”) with others in your church about the reasons why you’re considering leaving the church; it isn’t healthy for them nor does it provide you sufficient motivation to go directly to the people, or address directly, the situations, which are giving rise to your questions and doubts.
  • If possible, work to stay in your congregation for seven years, so you’re not part of the trend of wandering (Protestant) church consumers. It takes seven years to make a season of time, and in a season you will have had an opportunity to make an impact on that congregation.

Continue reading