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The Scriptures touch every aspect of life.  In this issue we will explore God's governance of every realm.

The Law of God Guides Every Aspect of Life


There is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign  does not declare, "That is mine!"  -A. Kuyper

To speak of a “Christian worldview” may sound foreign to many people who claim to be Christians.  This is because they are used to thinking about Christianity solely in terms of spiritual salvation.  

To be sure, salvation is a distinct aspect of the Christian faith, and an exceedingly prominent one at that!  Nevertheless, the doctrine of salvation does not encapsulate the whole of Christianity.
 
The Dutch theologian Abraham Kuyper expressed it best when he said, “In the total expanse of human life there is not a single square inch of which the Christ, who alone is sovereign, does not declare, 'That is mine!'”  Kuyper understood that Christianity dealt with all spheres of life, be it politics, family life, economics, recreation, or art.  

The Bible tells us that Jesus is Lord.  It also says that "the commandment of the Lord is exceedingly broad." (Psalm 119:96).  Thus, we must recognize that Jesus must govern, not just a small compartment of our lives, but every single detail.  

Kuyper himself was a living expression of this truth.  During his lifetime he not only served as a pastor and theologian, but he was also a politician, a journalist, and an active advocate in the realm of education.  He took his own statement to heart and sought to bring the Scriptures to bear in every field  and discipline that he could. 
 
To be sure, God has not left us in the dark when it comes to understanding the world in which we live.  As a testimony to this very fact, this issue of our newsletter will seek to give a brief glimpse into the wide angle lens of Scripture.  

In this edition we will take a birds-eye view of some of the more prominent spheres of life. We will touch on the civil magistrate, the world of commerce, and family life. None of these articles will be able to exhaust each topic, but they will at least serve as a primmer on how the Law of God acts as the authoritative word in each realm.
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God in the Marketplace

Doing Kingdom Work as an Entrepreneur


Having gone to what is now the largest evangelical Christian university in America, I can honestly say that I was often left with the impression that only those who entered into “full-time ministry” were in the will of God.

I was left with the feeling that only those who were going to become missionaries or pastors were really sold out for God and following God’s guidance for their lives.  

Maybe I was the only one who felt that way.  I cannot speak for others, but I have come to realize that God calls all of us to “full-time ministry” no matter what our vocation in life is.  

It goes without saying we cannot all be pastors or missionaries.  Someone has got to be the carpenter and tentmaker just like Jesus and the apostle Paul.  
 
So how are we to approach business and work from a Christian perspective?  First, we must understand that all work that is moral, legal and ethical is a blessing from God.  

There really is no such thing as sacred work and secular work.  That is an idea really not found in scripture.  What is found are people who are obeying God and those who are not.  

Today, many think of business owners in general as bad, which many in the media have promoted as the greedy 1%.  We must remember that it takes someone who is willing to risk capital in order to provide jobs to those who do not have the capital or cannot afford to risk capital.  

Our country was built on people willing to take risks with capital, and some of them became prosperous and some did not, which is a story we seldom hear about. We are always made to believe that owning your own business is the greatest thing in the world, but we are never told of the sacrifices many businesses must make to just survive every day.  

Free enterprise is not a perfect economic system, but it is the closest thing we have on this earth to the biblical concept, “If a man will not work, a man will not eat.”  
 
Socialism on the other hand, which is where we are heading in this country, has never successfully worked in any country or any century in which it has been tried. We need to stop vilifying business owners and rather say thanks to those who have had a vision to provide jobs to all of those who could not or would not take such risks themselves.  

The Bible is full of business principles that give us direction and guidance when it comes to money and business.  I think it is important however that we define what success is.  Joshua 1:8 says, “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous and then you will have good success.”  

In America, we often define success as a big home and lots of money, or a large IRA or 401k.  However, that is not how God defines success.  Success is defined by those who know God’s word the best and follow it the most.  

The Bible is full of godly people who were both wealthy and poor.  Job and Abraham are examples of the wealthy, and most of the disciples like Peter were just average men with average means.  Remember it was a poor woman who anointed Jesus’ feet that our Lord mentioned specifically as a memorial to her saying, “She hath done what she could.”  

One word of caution that should make us all take inventory of our motives and desire for wealth is I Timothy 6:7-10, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content.  But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.  It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves through with many pangs.” (NIV) 
 
All of our thinking has been influenced by an American culture that does not always follow the biblical pattern when it comes to money, business and investing.  Paul, through the inspiration of The Holy Spirit said it best, “Be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  

Unless God is in our thoughts regularly, we will not be able to discern between what God is saying and what the culture is saying when it comes business, money and kingdom living.

-Caleb Davenport

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King of Kings!

God & the civil magistrate


"For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same;  for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil."  (Romans 13:3-4)
 
The Bible teaches the following regarding civil government:
 
1. The civil magistrate is a servant of God.  (see above)

2.  As God’s servant, the civil magistrate is duty-bound to establish justice by punishing evil behavior and praising good behavior.  (see above)

3.  There is only one God-inspired standard which can serve as a guide for governing (i.e. defining “good” and “evil” and determining the measures to encourage the one and restrain the other): This is God’s immutable Law/Word which is especially revealed in the 10 Commandments and expounded and applied in biblical case laws, primarily in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy (the book of the law).

Psalm 19:7-8 says “The law of the Lord is [a]perfect, restoring the soul.  The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.”
 
Covenantal theology, a major theme of all of Scripture, teaches us that the law revealed by Moses and other Old Testament authors was given within a covenantal administration of God’s grace which included not only moral instruction, but ecclesiastical laws, promises, prophesies, advice for living, and civil laws and case applications of those laws.
 
God’s revelation also teaches us that New Covenant believers have the Law powerfully written on their hearts. (Jer 31:31ff. Heb 8:8-12)
 
Many evangelical Christian writers today state that state that the “moral laws” of God are valid in the New Testament, but the “civil laws” of God are no longer valid in the New Testament, unless re-stated in the New Testament. Yet the Scriptures make no such distinction between “moral” and “civil” laws.

Indeed, civil laws are simply case law applications of the moral law, whose penalties are applied by civil government. So murder is the moral law prohibition and the death penalty is carried out by the civil government.  Laws against bestiality and child- sacrifice are not explicitly repeated in the New Testament, yet few would deny that these crimes are still binding.
 
Still other “two-kingdoms” theologians state that Israel was governed by revealed statute laws of the Old Testament, but the “common kingdom” of modern civil societies is to be governed by “natural law.” Two questions we would ask in response: Do these natural-law principles contradict the revealed laws of God, and does the word of God explicitly make this change from revealed law to natural law in the civil realm? To both questions we assert that the Scriptures say no.   
 
Our Lord commented directly on the relationship of the OT Law to His initiation of the New Covenant:  â€œDo not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.  For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not [a]the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished." (Matthew 5:17)
 
In the final analysis, there are only two kinds of law- Theonomy (God’s law) and Autonomy (man making his own laws). God, our sovereign creator, does not give us the prerogative to create our own laws.
 
John Murray called it a fatal error “if it is thought that the Christian revelation, the Bible, does not come to the civil authority with a demand for obedience to its direction and precept as stringent and inescapable as it does to the individual, to the family, and to the church.” 
 
So, with the Psalmist we say to civil magistrates:

“ Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." (Psalm 2:10-12)

-Eric Wagner

See Our True Colors!

Check out the latest pics at our website.


Over the last few months we've been able to accumulate some good pictures of various activities & such.  It all starts with the Seder Meal that we participated in.  

We also have a couple pics of our first outing of the season to Charles Mill Dam. I know I'm looking forward to more fellowship and fun in the Sun in the upcoming months!

We also have posted some pictures of our friends in Romania.  You may remember that fall we purchased a heating system for this church.  Their pastor was kind enough to pass on a few shots of their congregation.


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Candy for the Ears

New Audio Series to Hit the Library


Providence has just implemented an initiative to bring our audio library into the 21st century.  We are in the process of transferring our superb selection of audio tapes over to CD / MP3.  

It is our hope that we can juice up your commute to & from work or make your exercise regiment spiritually profitable too.  

These resources have been highly profitable in the past for grounding the saints in the truth, and we want them to continue to be profitable for our members.

The first installment to come available is R.C. Sproul's insightful series Dust to Glory.  These studies provide you with a panoramic view of the Bible's story; from the creation of Adam out of the dust to the glorious consummation of Christ's Kingdom at the end of time.  

These studies are designed to help you understand the flow of the Scripture story. You will explore the major themes, events, and people of the Bible, which will in turn help you read and apply the truth of Scripture on your own.   

To often Christians have a disjointed view of the Bible.  Instead of seeing the unfolding drama and the overarching narrative, the Bible is a jumble of tales that occurred "long ago and far away."   Such a view not only damages the beauty of Scripture, it hinders us from benefiting from the full teaching Scripture has to offer.

Through each of these 20 minute messages you will gain encouragement and a comprehensive mastery of Scripture.  

Dust to Glory will be on the shelves soon! Look for it, and many other stimulating teachings, in the black shelves at the back of the church.


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Christ At Home

The unique beauty of a Christian Home


God has a very high purpose for family life on Earth.  Genesis 2:18 says, “It is not good for the man to be alone.”  He uses marriage to demonstrate intimate relationships, like the relationship between the three persons of the Trinity, and between Christ and the church.  He uses the parent-child relationship to demonstrate His connection to all His children.  But this is a two-way street.  

He also shows us how to relate to our spouse or our children through these same analogies- e.g. the oneness of the Trinity is a model for a married couple. Let’s explore these truths.
 
Our spouse must be our closest human relationship on earth.  All the Bible says about loving your neighbor, considering others more important than yourself, forgiving, laying down your life for a friend, and being one with a fellow Christian is primarily played out between you and your spouse, if you are married.  

Marriage is optional; God’s rules for marriage are not.  To change a Bible verse slightly, the one who does not love his spouse who he sees every day, cannot love any other person or God himself (see 1 John 4:20).  

This does not mean that every marriage will be wonderful, especially if only one spouse is following God’s law.  

Ephesians 5 commands husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the church, and for wives to submit to and respect their husband.  Often, if one spouse follows their respective command, the other spouse will respond in a positive way (sometimes after a long and hard road).  But this response does not always happen.  

None of the above guidelines are based on waiting for a good reaction from the person we love.  They are commands without conditions.  

Look at one of the models marriage is demonstrating- the relationship between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  The Godhead relationship provides a perfect example of oneness.  This is a major goal of every marriage- oneness.
 
What about the parent-child relationship? What is the difference between raising children in a Biblical way or in a worldly way?  From my Christian perspective, I may ask, “What is the purpose for non-Christians to raise children, anyway.”  I assume the main answer would be for them to feel a purpose in life.  Sometimes they think children are just accidents.  

The paradoxical truth is that even though Christians look for purpose in everything they do, they do not derive their ultimate purpose from raising children.  Rather, a Christian’s purpose is to glorify God. Getting married and raising children are major ways to fulfill this, especially if this is God’s will for someone.  

Bringing glory to God is the guide for relationships between spouses and between a parent and child.  That is why a Christian parent will primarily strive for a child to know God personally and to submit to God’s Word.  

A non-Christian parent may define success for their child in terms of money or education or marriage or morality. These are peripheral issues for Christian parents.  

A few questions for parents:  What is the most important blessing God wants to bestow on you?  It’s bringing you to eternal life.  After you have a future in heaven, how does God guide you, correct you, and love you through your failures? He has loving-kindness and endless forgiveness.  

In my own life, I’ve looked back at some ways I treated my children when they disobeyed, and shuddered to think of God treating me that way.  As parents love their children, the love of God is a standard to aim for.  But conversely, I’ve often learned about my own disobedience towards God’s law when I’ve carefully instructed my child, and then he disobeys because of  rebellion,  misunderstanding, or forgetfulness.  I ask myself, “Is that how God feels when I challenge His authority?”  

Through all these struggles, my main purpose is to get my children to know God better.
 
Have you ever thought, “It would be much easier to obey God if other people didn’t screw me up.”  The “other people” may be exactly how God wants you to learn obedience.  

Family relationships may be the biggest challenge we face, and praise God for that!  His purpose is fulfilled through that challenge.

-Brian Wennerstrom

 

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Providence Church meets in the Mifflin Community Center, which is located on St. Rt. 603 in Mifflin, OH.  
 
Services:  Sunday 10:30 am
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