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The Reign of God is universal, absolute, and total. He is not a constitutional monarch like the Queen of England just as He is not a despotic ruler kept in place by force or martial manipulation. The Reign of God is based on His right ownership because He is responsible for creating all things (1). If the universe had a title deed it would list Yahweh, Christ, and the Spirit as the responsible owners. His reign is universal (2). His reign is absolute (3). His reign is total (4).

As  legitimate king over a legitimate realm He is also lawgiver. Because He is righteous and free of any evil, His heart is good. Therefore the law as a reflection of the heart of God is good. To rejoice in the law is to rejoice in the goodness of the heart of God. 

As a legitimate king of a legitimate realm who who has issued a legitimate law, God is also the legitimate Judge (5). In his roles as judge he has decreed what has gone wrong (sin), what He has done about it (substitutionary atonement), and how to remove the penalty of sin (repentance). He is also faithful to warn us that persistent rebellion against Him will be judged according to the standard of His law, and the penalties that is spells out (wrath of God, eternal separation).

So from the vantage points provided above we can now explore the evidence that is set forth in Scripture that bolsters the claim that God is indeed a real and legitimate potentiate. In other words if He is king, then we would expect His word to carry the weight and authority of one whose will is ultimate, non negotiable, non contingent, and final. Theologian Larry Petegrew provides 8 essential understandings regarding the decree of God (6). 

  1. Single: “the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11)

  2. Comprehensive: “works all things” (Eph. 1:11), including the ordination of the good actions of people (Eph. 2:10) as well as sinful acts (Prov. 16:4; Acts 2:23; 4:27–28), events that are contingent from a human perspective (Gen. 45:8; 50:20; Prov. 16:33), the means and ends of acts (Ps. 119:89–91; Eph. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13), and the length (Job 14:5; Ps. 39:4) and place of a person’s life (Acts 17:26)

  3. Unconditional and not based on outside influences: “according to the counsel of his will” (Eph. 1:11; see also Acts 2:23; Rom. 8:29–30; Eph. 2:8; 1 Pet. 1:2)

  4. Eternal: “who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began” (2 Tim. 1:9; see also Eph. 1:4)

  5. Effectual: “declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose’” (Isa. 46:10; see also Ps. 33:11; Prov. 19:21)

  6. Immutable: “he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back?” (Job 23:13–14; see also Ps. 33:11; Isa. 14:24; 46:10; Acts 2:23)

  7. Ordaining sin and controlling its effects: “God gave them up . . .” (Rom. 1:24, 26, 28; see also Pss. 78:29; 106:15; Acts 14:16; 17:30; Rom. 3:25)

  8. Purpose of the decree: to manifest and bring praise to God’s glory (Rom. 11:33–36; Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; Rev. 4:11)

Thus we see there is sufficient evidence to accept the claim that God is king. As king he reigns over a realm, exercising His will expressed through His law, His kingdom has citizens, and a mission. These things will be explore in subsequent articles.

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  • (1)  Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

  • (2) Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.

  • (3) Psalm 115:3 Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.

  • (4) Daniel 4:34(b)-35 for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

  • (5) Matthew 25:31-46

  • (6)  Larry D. Pettegrew, “The Doctrine of God,” unpublished notes (Sun Valley, CA: The Master’s Seminary, n.d.), 169–71. Retrieved from https://www.crossway.org/articles/8-characteristics-of-the-decree-of-god/ on June 5, 2020

 

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Orland, Church Plant, and Prayer

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Orland is a small town an hour and a half north of Sacramento. It’s one of those towns with a church on every corner. Despite the number of churches, a growing number of people are gathering together ask the Lord if it’s His will for them to plant a church. Led by Pastor Anton VanStraaten, they have been meeting for months as a bible study and are now interested in taking next steps.

Anton reached out to Pastor Scott to discuss whether we could help launch a church in Orland. Pastor Scott and Robert traveled to Orland to meet with 25 believers to teach the principles of church planting on Easter Sunday. For over two hours Robert and Scott spoke and answered questions. In the end there was an apparent enthusiasm among the people in Orland for church planting.

Anton is from South Africa and trained with Scott at the Master’s Seminary. Married, with two daughters, Anton has been Pastoring for years in Orland. A consummate lover of the Church, Anton has been led to plant a new fellowship that focuses on seeing the lost saved, the saved matured, and the matured multiplied to the glory of God.

Church planting and revitalization is a core ministry of Anchored Bible Church. Whether it’s a local church merger, planting upstate, or training church planters in Ukraine, our church provides help. One of the ways we help is by supporting our Pastor and enabling him to minister to no only our own church, but others believers. But he’s not the only one called to serve! You are too! We believe firmly in the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5). According to your ability will you commit to one or all three of the opportunities?

1) Pray: for Pastor Anton and the body of believers in Orland.

2) Participate: in future meetings to help establish their leadership teams

3) Provide: time, talent, and treasure to encourage the saints in Orland

You can do one or all. By doing all you may discover you have more to contribute and provide that you ever thought possible!

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Pastor Scott Appointed as Board Member

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On Monday night the Central Valley Baptist Association nominated and then appointed Pastor Scott to the Board of Directors. The unanimous vote he received was a big encouragement and indicator of the Lord’s will. In the midst of a precipitous decline in the number of churches in the Central Valley, a reality that mirrors nationwide trends, the Board is tasked with reforming the culture of the CVBA as the mission of the association focuses more and more on church planting, church revitalization, and church strengthening.

Pastor Scott is also heading a focus group looking into the need for a Director of International Missions position and the creation of an Overseas Mission Board. God is at work around the World and there is frequently a greater response to the ministries of indigenous ministers than there are trained pastors, or resources available to meet the need. The CVBA has been involved in numerous partnerships throughout its history that are providing guidance and direction presently as the focus group researches what opportunities exist for future ministry.

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Press Release: Joint Service with ABC Modesto and True Light

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Our nation is divided, but we are not

Fault lines fracture our lives. Literal ones like the San Andreas fault threaten to shake us into oblivion. Likewise, symbolic ones threaten to shake us too. Race, neighborhood, affluence, and poverty are just some of the many fault lines brought to mind by the news cycle. With the most sensational stories receiving the attention, you may be asking, “who is my neighbor?” More importantly, you may be tempted to ask, “Should I even care?” Fueling a growing sense of alienation is the desire to belong in a community with other people. Who can bring us together? What is powerful enough to not only smooth the fault lines, but possibly heal them as well?

Modesto is a community that is shaped by fault lines. North-South, West-East, white-latino, 95350-95351, sober-intoxicated. Why? Because that’s the nature of sin in all of its forms. It divides, segregates, builds prejudices, and fuels anger. It makes an “other” out of your “neighbor” and turns those whom Jesus died to save into “them.” Against this bleak backdrop, God is doing something glorious.

In every zip code, God has his people. And His people are “our” people. And “our” people represent a community that is looking at the fault lines and covering them–not with ignorance, but with understanding. “Our” people–that is fellow Christians–from other parts of our town, are healing the fault lines with Christ-inspired love. This isn’t a “Kumbaya” love fit only for the mountaintop experience. This is love where it matters most, love that allows “others” to become “ours,” to turn “them” into “us.”

As a sign and declaration that we have received this love from God, we are going to show Christian unity on June 24th by combining with True Light Community Church for a joint worship service. This is what Modesto wants. This is what we need. We need to be reminded that above every horizontal fault line is the massive reality that those who love Jesus are community and family. A single morning of fellowship isn’t going to solve all of the problems that plague our community and nation. However, it will remind us that we know that the Gospel is the answer to the sin that divides and that it works to unite God’s people as one!

 


Service Details

Where: 1417 Harris Ave, Modesto

When: Sunday, June 24th

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