Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

If I could just keep the first part of the first resolution!

Happy New Year!

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edward (1722-1723)

Being sensible that I am unable to do anything without God's help, I do humbly entreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these Resolutions, so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ's sake.

Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God's glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriad's of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new invention and contrivance to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances don't hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do anything out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger to irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do anything, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

(Resolutions 1 through 21 written in on setting in New Haven in 1722)

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power; might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God's glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to east away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit anything, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say anything at all against anybody, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that in Prov. 20:6, "A faithful man who can find?" may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, always to do what I can towards making, maintaining, establishing and preserving peace, when it can be without over-balancing detriment in other respects. Dec.26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narration's never to speak anything but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord's day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do anything that I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or no; except I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly in any respect have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God's, agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12. Jan.12, 1723.

44- Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan.12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan.12 and 13.1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eve: and to be especially careful of it, with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peace_able, contented, easy, compassionate, generous, humble, meek, modest, submissive, obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable, even, patient, moderate, forgiving, sincere temper; and to do at all times what such a temper would lead me to. Examine strictly every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5,1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or no; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether ~ have done my duty, and resolve to do it; and let it be just as providence orders it, I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July ii, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty; and then according to Eph. 6:6-8, do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man; "knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord." June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan.14' and July '3' 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those "groanings which cannot be uttered" (Rom. 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those "breakings of soul for the longing it hath," of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be wear', of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton's 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what good I have got by them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak.

Aug. 17, 1723

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

True Repentance

From a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon entitled "Faith And Repentance Inseparable," delivered July 13, 1862.



HT: http://www.thedailyspurgeon.com

Monday, December 28, 2009

The BIBLE Driven Church (Jeff Noblit)



Full message can be heard here

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Meaning of Christmas


For many of us, Christmas is one of our favorite times of the year. It is nice to get a break from our normal routines and to spend time with our family and friends. Many families have special Christmas customs and traditions, involving decorations, meals, songs, and the exchanging of gifts with loved ones. All of these things are very nice, but is this the true meaning of Christmas?

It seems that every year the stores put up their Christmas displays earlier and earlier, and that each year there is increasing pressure to buy more and more expensive gifts. There also seems to be a competition to see who can put up the largest and most elaborate display of decorations. With all of these things, it is very easy to lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas.

But as we strip away the layers of glitter, commercialism, and tradition that surround the celebration of Christmas, the holiday's true meaning becomes easier to see. Here we can see a star that reminds us of the star that the wise men followed two thousand years ago while seeking the newborn King. Who is this King? As the angels said to the shepherds, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11). Christmas is the day that we celebrate the birth of the Christ--Jesus the Son of God.

What was the reason that Jesus left his home in heaven to come to this world? Was it simply to do good works, or to leave an example for us to follow? No, "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). He came to deal once and for all with the problem of sin that separates every one of us from God. "But I'm not a sinner!" you might say. Have you ever lied? Have you ever had an impure thought? God's Word is very true when it says, "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23).

Yes, we are all sinners, and if judged on our own merits, would all come short of heaven. Sadly, many people don't realize that "Every one of us shall give account of himself to God" and that "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him" (Romans 14:12; John 3:36). But here is where the distractions of the holiday disappear completely and the true meaning of Christmas becomes clear to see. Christmas is all about God's great love for us and the priceless gift that He offers to all.

This gift, the gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23), was purchased when Jesus, the sinless Sacrifice, died on the cross for our sins. Now He is risen from the dead and offers eternal life to everyone who will confess their sins to Him and trust Him as their Saviour. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). If you have never made Jesus your Saviour, do it now. Then you can celebrate the true meaning of Christmas!

Scripture verses quoted from the King James Version (KJV).

Source: Moments With The Book, www.mwtb.org

Monday, December 21, 2009

John Piper - Why Christmas?



Full video @: http://tiny.cc/OQn1b

Where Does the Story of Christmas Begin?

Listen to Albert Mohler answer the question: Where Does the Story of Christmas Begin here.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

Santa Preaches The Gospel




Movie script quotes with scripture references

"Sure. Well, I mentioned that Christmas is all about the birth of Jesus Christ. He was born about 2000 years ago, and the bible tells of how he was born in a manger." Luke 2:7

"In the book of Matthew it says of Mary, she will bear a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. All this took place to fulfill, what the Lord had spoken by the prophet. Behold, the virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which means, God with us." Matthew 1:21-23

"Another name in the Bible given to Jesus is the Word. In the book of John it says, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made." John 1:1-3

"God is holy, and just. His justice, which is perfect, demands payment for sin which is ethernal punishment in hell. We deserve this punishment, because the bible says we are all sinners. So, Jesus was born of the holy spirit by the miracle of the virgin birth, and lived the perfect life we could not live." Romans 6:23, Romans 3:23, Matthew 1:23

"Exactly, and He took the punishment for our sin by dying on the cross. We know that Jesus sacrifice on the cross saved us, because God raised him from the dead on the third day." Isaiah 53:6, Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3-5

"Well,Jesus said in Mark 1:15, to repent, and believe the gospel. This is how a person can be saved, and go to heaven."

"Well, you're just a make believe snowman. He loves people. As he says in the book of John. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

"To those of you who are listening, I pray that you will turn away from your sin, and believe this good news today. Then you will receive the gift of eternal life. It is the greatest gift you will ever receive. May the Lord bless you this Christmas season." Romans 6:23

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Truth of the Nativity by John MacArthur

The story of the first Christmas is so beloved that singers and storytellers across the centuries have embellished and elaborated and mythologized the story in celebration. However, most people now don't know which details are biblical and which are fabricated. People usually imagine the manger scene with snow, singing angels, many worshipers, and a little drummer boy. None of that is found in the biblical account.

Christmas has become the product of an odd mixture of pagan ideas, superstition, fanciful legends, and plain ignorance. Add to that the commercialization of Christmas by marketers and the politicization of Christmas in the culture wars, and you're left with one big mess. Let's try to sort it out. The place to begin is in God's Word, the Bible. Here we find not only the source of the original account of Christmas, but also God's commentary on it.

We can't know Jesus if we don't understand He is real. The story of His birth is no allegory. We dare not romanticize it or settle for a fanciful legend that renders the whole story meaningless. Mary and Joseph were real people. Their dilemma on finding no room at the inn surely was as frightening for them as it would be for you or me. The manger in which Mary laid Jesus must have reeked of animal smells. So did the shepherds, in all probability. That first Christmas was anything but picturesque.

But that makes it all the more wondrous. That baby in the manger is God! Immanuel!

That's the heart and soul of the Christmas message. There weren't many worshipers around the original manger--only a handful of shepherds. But one day every knee will bow before Him, and every tongue will confess He is Lord (Philippians 2:9-11). Those who doubt Him, those who are His enemies, those who merely ignore Him--all will one day bow, too, even if it be in judgment.

How much better to honor Him now with the worship He deserves! That's what Christmas ought to inspire.

Unvarnished Truth

Luke 2:7 sets the scene: "[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

That verse is explicitly concerned with a lonely birth. There were no midwives, no assistance to Mary at all. The Bible doesn't even mention that Joseph was present. Perhaps he was, but if he was typical of first-time fathers, he would have been of little help to Mary. She was basically on her own.

Mary brought forth the child; she wrapped Him in swaddling cloths; and she laid Him in a manger. Where usually a midwife would clean the baby and wrap Him, there was no one. Mary did it herself. And where usually there would have been a cradle or basket for the baby, there was none. Mary had to put Him in an animal's feeding trough.

When Christ entered the world, He came to a place that had some of the smelliest, filthiest, and most uncomfortable conditions. But that is part of the wonder of divine grace, isn't it? When the Son of God came down from heaven, He came all the way down. He did not hang on to His equality with God; rather, He set it aside for a time and completely humbled Himself (Philippians 2:5-8).

Unlikely Testimony

Luke 2:8-20 describes the experience of the shepherds when Jesus was born. Think about that for a moment. Out of the whole of Jerusalem society, God picked a band of shepherds to hear the news of Jesus' birth. That's intriguing because shepherds were among the lowest and most despised social groups.

The very nature of shepherds' work kept them from entering into the mainstream of Israel's society. They couldn't maintain the ceremonial washings and observe all the religious festivals and feasts, yet these shepherds, just a few miles from Jerusalem, were undoubtedly caring for sheep that someday would be used as sacrifices in the temple. How fitting it is that they were the first to know of the Lamb of God!

More significant, they came to see Him the night he was born. No one else did. Though the shepherds went back and told everyone what they had seen and heard, and though "all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds" (v. 18), not one other person came to see firsthand.

Scripture doesn't describe how the shepherds' search for the baby Jesus actually unfolded, but it's not unreasonable to assume that they entered Bethlehem and asked questions: "Does anybody know about a baby being born here in town tonight?"

The shepherds might have knocked on several doors and seen other newborn babies before they found the special Child lying in the feeding trough. At that moment, those humble men knew for certain that the angels' announcement was a word from God. After their encounter with Joseph and Mary and Jesus, the shepherds couldn't help but tell others about what the angels had told them. They became, in effect, the first New Testament evangelists.

The shepherd's story is a good illustration of the Christian life. You first hear the revelation of the gospel and believe it (Romans 10:9-10). Then you pursue and embrace Christ. And having become a witness to your glorious conversion, you begin to tell others about it (Luke 2:17).

May God grant you the life-changing spiritual experiences and the ongoing attitude of enthusiasm and responsiveness that causes you to tell others that you, too, have seen Christ the Lord.

Adapted from God's Gift of Christmas.

Source: http://www.gty.org
© 1969-2009. Grace to You. All rights reserved.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Half a Gospel is no Gospel at all - Alistair Begg

Alistair Begg is the senior pastor at Parkside Church near Cleveland, Ohio. He can be heard daily and weekly on the radio program, Truth For Life.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Purpose Driven Life - John MacArthur



HT: http://watcherslamp.blogspot.com

What Happened At Christmas?

Pastor Mark Driscoll continues the series entitled: Luke: Investigating The Man Who Is God. This clip is taken from Part 7: The Birth Of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

"Merry Christmas” Rather than “Happy Holidays”?

Should Christians Care About Whether Retailers Say “Merry Christmas” Rather than “Happy Holidays”? by Ken Eastburn

To some, this may seem like a ridiculous question and to others this question is of the upmost importance. It is one that has recently been asked by an increasing number of Christians with the help of folks like Liberty Counsel and Focus on the Family. Liberty Counsel recently released their “Naughty and Nice” list indicating which retailers do not recognize Christmas (“naughty”) and which do (“nice”) as part of their Friend or Foe campaign while Focus on the Family launched a new website allowing consumers to rate how Christmas-friendly retailers are. That way, when we go shopping, we know it is going to be with a retailer who doesn’t offend us by saying “Happy Holidays” or “Seasons Greetings.”

After all, if we’re going to indulge our consumerist greed on the occasion of the birth of our Savior, we need to make sure we’re doing it with those retailers who say words we like, right?

Well, now that I’ve said that, you probably guessed that my answer to the question is, “No, we shouldn’t care.” But if you’re on the other side of the fence, allow me to explain why I feel this way:

Only Pharisees Clean the Outside of Cups While Leaving the Insides Filthy

As I’ve noted elsewhere, Jesus and Paul were both surprisingly silent on how secular culture conducted itself. Paul even went so far as to say that the Christian has no business judging those outside of the Church (1 Corinthians 5:12-13). This exposes our faulty thinking. You see, the only reason why we care about whether secular businesses say “Merry Christmas” rather than “Happy Holidays” is because for some reason we expect non-Christians to act like Christians. Even worse, we actually want non-Christians to act like Christians and are willing to throw around our collective weight to ensure that it happens.

So what’s the problem with that? It is a self-defeating goal. It is like tolerance…if it works, there is no reason to solve the real problem – in this case, their unbelief and/or their unwillingness to commit to Christ. Jesus said that this was cleaning outside of the cup while leaving the inside (the part that matters) filthy. He said that to the Pharisees (Matthew 23:25-26). Do we really want to go down this road?

Boycotting Non-Christian Retailers Sends The Wrong Message

I’m surprised that neither Liberty Counsel or Focus on the Family ever stopped to ask this simple question, but that’s okay, I’ll ask it for them:

What message is being sent to those “naughty” retailers when Christians boycott their stores?

There are a few that come to mind: do what we want or else; if you don’t cater to us exclusively, we’ll take offense; we will love you if/we will hate you if; etc. But guess which one isn’t being communicated? That’s right, the Gospel message – you know, the one that says that even while we were sinners, Christ died for us? The one that says that God loves us no matter what we do? That the gift of salvation is readily available to anyone who will believe and repent, committing to follow Jesus and make him Lord?

You know, the one that we are to be preaching at all times, in all circumstances, to all people?

Turns out, when we’re busy boycotting people and throwing our weight around to ensure their demise, we cannot simultaneously communicate the love of God to them. Now, I’m not saying that by giving them your money, you are communicating the Gospel to them. I’m just saying that boycotting them doesn’t communicate it and it can’t. At the very least, if you were to shop at one of these retailers, you could communicate the Gospel to the employees there and that could turn the business around.

Which brings another point to the forefront: just because a retailer doesn’t say “Merry Christmas” doesn’t mean there aren’t Christians employed there. And if you’re boycotting the retailer, are you not also harming your brothers and sisters in Christ by ensuring the business, and by extension the employees, don’t make as much money? We could be putting other Christians out of work for the sake of two words.

Is it worth it?

It Is A Distraction From Our Real Goal

Just after Jesus was resurrected he appeared to his disciples and gave them these instructions:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

I just cannot square this “Merry Christmas” uproar with the Great Commission. I cannot see how boycotting retailers for not saying words we like is creating disciples. Can you? Can you tell me how this is advancing the Kingdom of God? Can you tell me how God is pleased with us when we bully non-Christian retailers into “respecting” Christian beliefs to the exclusion of all others? Can you tell me why Jesus would engage in this type of activity?

If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

What do you think? Is the phrase “Merry Christmas” important enough for us to pick a fight about it? Why or why not?

You can comment here or at the source below.

Source: http://leavethebuildingblog.com

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Whoever believes will be saved - John Piper



They Will Be Taught Of God
John 6: 41-51
December 6, 2009
Full video here.

HT: Truth Matters

Monday, December 7, 2009

Why Did Jesus Have To Die? - Thabiti Anyabwile

Thabiti Anyabwile is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman in the Cayman Islands. He was previously an assistant pastor at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, DC).



HT: http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Agony by Leonard Ravenhill

Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) was an English Christian evangelist and author who focused on the subjects of prayer and revival. He is best known for challenging the modern church and his most notable book is Why Revival Tarries.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Shepherds

While they faithfully looked after their sheep at night in the fields outside of Bethlehem, suddenly "the glory of the Lord shone round about them," and an angel proclaimed in their ears a message of good tidings for all.

What the Shepherds Heard Luke 2:8-14

"Fear not," said the angel, expressing Heaven's desire. Sin has produced fear in man's heart, but this message is intended to dispel it.

"I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." What a contrast with earth's news! Heaven's message--the Gospel--is truly "good news," and the reception of it brings joy to all!

"Unto you" introduces a personal appeal. "Is born this day in the city of David," tells a specific and definite fact. "A Saviour" reveals the necessity of the Gift. "Which is Christ the Lord" shows how wondrous in grace and majesty is the Person!

Then a sign was given to them, that they should find this glorious Saviour "wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." Suddenly, all was confirmed to them by a multitude of the Heavenly host breaking forth in chorus: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."

What the Shepherds Did Luke 2:15-20

What they heard stirred them to an immediate decision. They said, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which the Lord hath made known to us." They could not be neutral about the matter; they dared not be indifferent concerning it. Faith in the message led them to instant action.

"They came with haste." The glory of the revelation from Heaven had gripped their hearts. Faith's acceptance of the message compelled them to go to Bethlehem with urgency. Such faith was rewarded, for they "found ... the Babe lying in a manger." Christ the Lord, the Subject of Heaven's "Good Tidings"--and the Object of their search--was before them.

"They made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this Child." Their testimony was the result of their faith. Returning to the fields to take up their responsibilities, they are now filled with a new joy, and are heard "glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."

Dear Reader, the message from Heaven is still being proclaimed. "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners" (1 Timothy 1:15). On Calvary's cross, where He "suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18), He finished the work necessary to redeem you from sin. Now He is risen from the dead--no longer in the manger, on the Cross, or in the tomb. He lives! And ...

"Now from the Glory He waits to impart
Peace to the conscience and joy to the heart;
Waits to be gracious, to pardon and heal
All who their sin and their wretchedness feel."


Will you believe the message as the Shepherds did? Will you now come to the Saviour through repentance and faith and be eternally blessed? Repentance is turning from your sins and all efforts to save yourself, realizing that you are on a path that leads you away from God. Faith is putting your trust in Jesus Christ and the work He accomplished on the cross as all that is necessary for your salvation. Jesus says, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

"Thousands have fled to His spear-pierced side,
Welcomed they all have been--none are denied;
Weary and laden, they all have been blessed;
Joyfully now in the Saviour they rest."


--D.T.J.

Scripture verses quoted from the King James Version (KJV).

Source: Moments With The Book, www.mwtb.org

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It Will Cost You Everything

What does it cost you to follow Christ? Everything. Steve Lawson preaches on Luke 14 on the Cost of Discipleship. The sad reality is that many people are just part of a crowd, many are in the crowd of those who listen to Piper, Washer, Conway, MacArthur, yet they themselves have not truly submitted to the Lordship of Christ. Search yourself out this very day... have you come to saving faith? Or do you just wish you had the reality of Christ that you see others have? Don't be part of the wrong crowd.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

An Early Christmas Gift

From The Desk of Pastor Ron Bridge

A few days ago I received an early Christmas gift. It was a request to do a funeral service (actually the graveside service) of a woman I knew only briefly some years ago. I am writing this on Friday, November 27; the service will take place tomorrow morning. I suppose most people would not classify such a request as a gift, so an explanation is due as to why I think it is.

I first met this lady when she was already in her mid-eighties. She and her husband attended RBC for a few short months and then moved out of state to a retirement community. During those few months I had opportunity to visit them in their home and on one occasion she asked me if she could be saved. I am always thrilled when I have an opportunity to share the gospel with anyone, but especially so when it is evident that the Lord has been moving in a person's heart to draw them close to the throne of grace. But this time it was different. As I asked a few preliminary questions it became obvious that she had been carrying a very heavy burden for a very long time - the burden of uncertainty.

As her story unfolded I went through a series of emotions - my first reaction was anger, then sadness and deep compassion. I had a hard time holding back the tears. She grew up the daughter of a fundamentalist pastor, who, at the end of each sermon gave an invitation, what is generally known as an alter call. However, she never felt called to go forward, even though in her heart she believed the gospel. After yet another such invitation and her failure to go forward, her father walked to where she was sitting and said if she did not go forward she could not be saved. She never did go forward in that or any other church. Seventy years later she was still carrying
the burden of uncertainty concerning her standing with the Lord.

I asked: Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God? Do you believe that He died for your sin? Have you asked His forgiveness? Is He Lord of your life? Without hesitation she affirmed these things and had believed them for decades. It was then my privilege to affirm her standing as a child of God. I will never forget the reaction from both her and her husband. You will forgive me for saying no more than it was one of the most tender moments I have known in my ministry.

It has been several years since the evening the Lord used me to lift so heavy a burden from one of His precious children. Time has passed, the events of that night forgotten. The soul of this dear lady passed into the presence of her Savior last week and her body will be laid in the earth tomorrow. Her husband called and asked me to conduct the graveside service, but to me it was God who called. He called to remind me of the privilege He has given me as an under-shepherd of His sheep.

This Christmas I will receive gifts from those who love me and I will appreciate each one, but none as much as the gift from the One who loves me best. God has given me the gift of eternal life through the gift of His own beloved Son. He has called me to serve Him by serving the church and He reminds me sometimes in very special ways, and sometimes in very ordinary ways of how great a blessing this is. Thank you Lord for an early Christmas gift, but most of all for the best gift of all (2 Cor. 9:15).

From: The Mustard Seed - December 2009

Make War! (John Piper)

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. -Romans 8:13



HT: Truth Matters

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The True Face of Evil

by David Robertson

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you’d have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, it takes religion.” So writes the Nobel Prize-winning American physicist Steven Weinberg. His observation has become a standard mantra of the new atheism. So how should a Christian respond? We will leave the Muslims, Hindus, Mormons, and Jedi Knights to respond for themselves, although we note in passing that it is another fundamental belief of the atheist creed that all religions are essentially the same — hence the oft repeated statement or accusation that “atheists do not fly planes into skyscrapers.” It may have escaped the new atheists, but neither do Presbyterians, Catholics, or Southern Baptists!

In The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins repeats Weinberg’s claim that religion is a virus that infects the human race and causes otherwise “good” people to behave in a way which is dangerous and evil. Given Dawkins faith in empiricism, what is his evidence for this sweeping condemnation? His major evidence appears to be 9/11 and Fred Phelps of Godhatesfags.com infamy. The new atheists also declare that we are all implicated in the “extremist” forms of Christianity (and Islam) because we keep silent and because they are just being consistent with the Scriptures! Apart from the danger of taking our theology from atheists, let me point out unequivocally that Fred Phelps has nothing whatsoever to do with any form of biblical Christianity. His “gospel” is a self-serving rant from the pit of hell and is utterly repudiated by all biblical Christians.

We could have endless fun ridiculing the inconsistencies and ad hominem attacks of Dawkins and his friends, but that would be like shooting ducks at a fairground, and some of our brethren do not think it is “nice.” (Although the methodology of Elijah in 1 Kings 18:27, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened,” does have a lot to commend it.) So, what other approach can we take?

We could point out that Dawkins’ view is a simplistic and fundamentalist Hollywood fantasy view of the world that divides humanity into the good guys and the bad guys.

We could admit mea culpa, and agree that religion has done a great deal of harm. Furthermore, although we would not accept that all religions are the same, we must also acknowledge that many bad things have been done in the name of Christianity and that the name of God has often been blasphemed amongst the Gentiles because of those who have inconsistently professed the precious name of Christ.

And then we could swap accusations, gently reminding our new atheists that when atheism has become the state philosophy, it has rarely lead to an outbreak of love and peace. Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Hitler, and others who also shared the belief that religion is a virus that needs to be eradicated, are hardly shining examples of the good that atheism has brought to the world. At least they were consistent in following their prophet Nietzsche who declared, “I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty — I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind.”

We could point out that Western civilization, including the science and morality that Dawkins and the new atheists profess to love, is rooted in Christian teaching. We could indicate the numerous examples of Christians who have built hospitals, set up schools, and provided multiple social work programs. Dawkins, of course, would argue that people would have done this anyway and that atheists are just as moral and virtuous as Christians. Thus we end up in a kind of spitting contest where Christians could easily demonstrate that we build more schools, paint more pictures, and heal more people than members of American Atheists. But that would ultimately prove nothing. As Christopher Hitchens points out, one could just as easily argue that Hamas provides a great social welfare program in the West Bank.

We need more than this. The proof that Christianity is a force for good rather than evil is found in the outworking of the great biblical doctrines — the teachings about Christ and humanity that provide us with the explanation as to why our world is in such a mess; the motivation for us to do something about it; and the means whereby we can.

Total Depravity

In the words of George Thorogood, we are “bad to the bone.” We do not believe in “good empires” and “bad empires,” “good” people and “bad” people. We accept the biblical teaching that all humans and all areas of human life are infected by sin. Religion is not the virus. Sin is. As a result, religion becomes a tool for human sinfulness. Rather than the simplistic and foolish optimism of the new atheism, we know that human beings are inherently and deeply flawed. Christless religion only adds fuel to the fire, but take away all religion and we will still have the fire. As G.K. Chesterton so masterfully wrote in a letter to The Times: “Dear Sir, What’s wrong with the world? I am.” The loss of this basic doctrine thanks to an unjustified Enlightenment optimism was a major factor in the genocidal regimes of the twentieth century, the failed atheist century. The philosopher John Gray, no friend of Christianity, summarizes it neatly: “As we understand it today, utopianism began to develop along with the retreat of Christian belief” (Black Mass: Apocalyptic Religion and the Death of Utopia).

Idolatry

Human beings have a sense of God. The law of God is written in our hearts. Even Dawkins admits that there is an inherent God consciousness in children, but he attempts to explain it away by regarding it as an “evolutionary misfiring.” The biblical explanation is much simpler. We are created in the image of God. We are created with a capacity for relationship with our Creator. We do have a “God-shaped hole.” The trouble is that we attempt to fill that hole with anything or anyone except God. We invent our own religions, we create our own idols, and we even deify ourselves. It is little wonder that the hole is not filled and that the result is discord, frustration, anger, and brokenness. Idolatry is false religion. It is an argument for, rather than against, true religion.

The Cross

Jesus Christ and Him crucified is the divine surgery that fixes the problem. We do not need to be patched up. We do need forgiveness, grace, mercy, a new heart, and a new birth. The cross deals with every aspect of human sinfulness, individually and communally. It is through the cross that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts. The Beatles were right to sing, “All you need is love.” They just did not know what they were singing about. This is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent His Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sin.

The Sovereignty of God

Jesus is Lord and Savior. Everything comes under His lordship. There is no area of life that is not His. Therefore those who belong to Him, go on to live for Him in every area of life — in education, family, work, sport, politics, healthcare, social work, and entertainment.

Rooted in these great biblical doctrines we then go on to produce fruit. Christians are not utopians or religious moralists. We do not think that we can legislate to make people moral, or that there is some kind of religious band-aid that will soothe over the deep wounds in humanity. Neither are we pietists who retreat into our religious communes. We are salt and light in a world that is tasteless and dark. Because we have come to know the love of Christ, we cannot but reflect and share that love. The love of Christ constrains us. According to his secretary, Traudl Junge, Hitler despised the church because “only mankind and above all the church have made it their aims to keep alive the weak, those unfit to live, and people of an inferior kind.” Exactly. The history of the Christian church is full of people who, having been ransomed, healed, restored, and forgiven, are then set free to serve the living God and do so by going on to keep alive the weak, heal the sick, fight injustice, feed the hungry, visit the prisoners and demonstrate in their life, words, and deeds the mercy and compassion of God.

It is ironic that in 2007 members of the British Parliament listed as their favorite summer reading two books: the first being Dawkins’ The God Delusion, the second, William Hague’s wonderful William Wilberforce. Whilst the Dawkins rant exemplifies the irrational and deeply rooted hatred of humans for God, the life of the great anti–slavery campaigner Wilberforce demonstrates what a powerful force for good is a forgiven sinner in the hands of a gracious God. Wilberforce exemplifies the great argument of Jesus against the new atheist creed that all religion is de facto evil: Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

From: Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine.
Website: www.ligonier.org/tabletalk

Monday, November 23, 2009

"If Calvinism is True, Why Evangelize?"

"God has called me to preach His word and if I knew that all the elect had a yellow stripe painted down their backs, then I would give up preaching the Gospel and go and lift up shirt tails!"

- Charles Haddon Spurgeon



HT: http://www.lanechaplin.com/

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Prayer Closet

Paul Washer talks about seeking God until he allows himself to be found.



HT: http://battle4truth.wordpress.com

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Excerpt From The Great Privilege (Paul Washer)



The full message can be seen here.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Assorted Attacks on the Bible (Romans 1:18-32)

by John MacArthur

Gods Word. Inspired. Inerrant. Infallible. Christians have always labored to defend it. The first step, recognize those attacks in every form. From the overt frontal assault to the covert inside job we must never be caught off guard. Attacks come from the critics, the cults, the charismatics, and the culture.



Watch the rest of the video here: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Videos/T8290-320

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No Thanksgiving!

What attitude is fostered by removing God from His rightful place as Creator and Lord? Without a doubt it is one of unthankfulness. In fact, ingratitude always accompanies departure from God. In (Romans 1:21) we read that turning away from God's testimony of Himself in creation, which renders the heathen without excuse, made them "unthankful" as well as vain, foolish and darkened.

One of the signs of the last days is that men will be "unthankful" (2 Timothy 3:2). Not many would question that this condition exists today. And the rapidity with which this attitude is permeating all levels of society, accompanied with selfish, hateful words and riotous deeds, only manifests how steadily unthankfulness is engulfing this Christless world.

Apostasy is the giving up of truth once nominally held. This is what Christendom is guilty of today. True, there is the "form of godliness," but "denying the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5) which reveals it is merely a degenerating profession of "Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Corinthians 1:24).

Only a ministry of Christ can produce an attitude of thankfulness in the heart and cause an expression of true thanksgiving with the lips. The rejection of such ministry only further opens man's sinful, selfish heart to display itself more fully, just as it is doing today.

How is it with you, dear reader? Are you marked out by "No thanksgiving" in your heart and life? Or are you truly grateful for the grace and the mercy God has shown to you in His blessed Son?
Have you been cleansed from your sins (1 John 1:7), and like the leper who was cleansed from his leprosy, returned to give the Lord Jesus thanks for His merciful kindness (Luke 17:11-19)? Have you received His marvelous gift of eternal life (Romans 6:23), and do you join in with those who exclaim, "Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift" (2 Corinthians 9:15)?

Do you realize that every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above? Are you therefore known as "giving thanks always for all things" (Ephesians 5:20)? If so, you are a product of divine grace, and for this you will be eternally thankful, never ceasing to be amazed that He should have ever loved you (Revelation 5:9-14).

If, however, "No thanksgiving" characterizes you, be warned that you are in danger of the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" (Luke 13:22-28) in hell forever. Then there will be no opportunity nor cause to give thanks. "For in death there is no remembrance of Thee: in the grave who shall give Thee thanks?" (Psalm 6:5). Turn now to God in repentance and by faith "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). By thus accepting Christ as your personal Saviour, you will be able to join in the following ascription of grateful, eternal Thanksgiving:

"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins" (Colossians 1:12-14).

As you can see, dear friend, though the terms "no thanksgiving" and "unthankful" may not at first seem too bad, especially since the whole world is characterized by them, they are indeed a serious, solemn warning that we are living in the last days of God's grace, just preceding His righteous judgments. May you heed this warning, and be one of the thankful "few" who find life in Christ (Matthew 7:13,14).
--D.T.J.

Scripture verses quoted from the King James Version (KJV).
Source: Moments With The Book, www.mwtb.org
No Thanksgiving or Thankful

Thoughts on celebrating God during Thanksgiving

What are your thoughts on celebrating God during the Thanksgiving holiday? -John MacArthur


Source: http://www.gty.org

CJ Mahaney The Cup of Christ

What was in the cup Christ talked about in the garden of Gethsemane?



HT: http://www.againsttheflowmedia.com

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Presumptuous Synergism: Save A Soul For $48

By Jim Bublitz

It's that modern synergistic mindset again, but maybe a little more bold.

Here's a ministry that's so confident in their crusades and evangelism campaigns that they are convinced of their ability to predict how many souls will be saved through their efforts. What's more, they've also done the math to determine how many donation-dollars will be required for each soul saved.

On their website, the leader of the ministry states: "I was [visiting a church] and made the statement that for every $48.00 given to [our ministry] someone will get saved. A couple after the service said to me, 'Why don't you start a Soul-A-Month club. We would like to send you $48.00 a month.' Ministry born!"
More on their website:
http://www.baileysmith.org/soulamonth.asp

Their flawed thinking is the logical out-flowing of a belief called "synergism" that's wide-spread in modern times. It means that God and man cooperate together to cause salvation to occur. And since synergists usually believe that God is trying his hardest to save everyone, then the only thing that's really needed is for man to decide to "choose Christ". The ministry (above) goes so far as to claim they've determined a ratio of "dollars to decisions".

If we go back a couple of hundred years in Christian history, we find a completely different mindset called "monergism". The Reformers and Puritans were monergists (as opposed to synergists), believing that God causes man to be born again, without any assistance from man. One of the passages in scripture where this is taught is John chapter 3 where Jesus tells Nicodemus that "the Spirit blows where it wishes". It means that God decides the who, what, when, and where of being Born Again. A great scripture-packed website dealing with this old truth is: www.monergism.com

Some noteworthy monergists include:
John MacArthur, RC Sproul, John Piper, D. James Kennedy, Charles Spurgeon, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Martin Luther.

Noteworthy synergists include:
Billy Graham, Joel Osteen, Tim Lahaye, Charles Stanley, Jerry Falwell, John Wesley, Charles Finney, Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, and the Catholic church.

In fact, here's a demonstration of synergism in action. This is a quote from Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life:

"Wherever you are listening to this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. "Jesus, I believe in You and I receive You." Go ahead. Just say "Jesus, I believe in You and I receive You." If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God!"

Warren's emphasis is placed here on something that man does, and when man does it, he's the determining factor in the salvation of his own soul. Again, very different thinking than in centuries-past.

Originally posted at http://www.oldtruth.com on August 20, 2005

What is the Gospel?

The gospel of Christ in general is this: It is the good tidings that God has revealed concerning Christ. More largely it is this: As all mankind was lost in Adam and became the children of wrath, put under the sentence of death, God, though He left His fallen angels and has reserved them in the chains of eternal darkness, yet He has thought upon the children of men and has provided a way of atonement to reconcile them to Himself again...Namely, the second person of the Trinity takes man's nature upon Himself, and becomes the Head of a second covenant, standing charged with sin. He answers for it by suffering what the law and divine justice required, and by making satisfaction by keeping the law perfectly, which satisfaction and righteousness He tenders up to the Father as a sweet savor of rest for the souls that are given to Him...And now this mediation of Christ is, by the appointment of the Father, preached to the children of men, of whatever nation or rank, freely offering this atonement unto sinners for atonement, requiring them to believe in Him and, upon believing, promising not only a discharge of all their former sins, but that they shall not enter into condemnation, that none of their sins or unworthiness shall ever hinder the peace of God with them, but that they shall through Him be received into the number of those who shall have the image of God again to be renewed unto them, and they they shall be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
Jeremiah Burroughs

...and Heaven have mercy on us all - Presbyterians and Pagans alike - for we are all dreadfully cracked about the head and desperately in need of mending.
Herman Melville Moby Dick

We must not suppose that if we succeeded in making everyone nice we should have saved their souls. A world of nice people, content in their own niceness, looking no further, turned away from God, would be just as desperately in need of salvation as a miserable world.
C.S. Lewis

We must have the full message. . . 'deliver the whole counsel of God'. . . . It starts with the Law. The Law of God ... the demands of a righteous God, the wrath of God. That is the way to bring men and women to conviction; not by modifying the Truth.... We must confront them with the fact that they are men and that they are fallible men, that they are dying men, that they are sinful men, and that they will all have to stand before God at the Bar of Eternal Judgement....And then we must present to them the full-orbed doctrine of the Grace of God in Salvation in Jesus Christ. We must show that no man is saved 'by the deeds of the Law', by his own goodness or righteousness, or church membership or anything else, but solely, utterly, entirely by the free gift of God in Jesus Christ His Son. . . . We must preach the full-orbed doctrine leaving nothing out-conviction of sin, the reality of Judgement and Hell, free grace, justification, sanctification, glorification. We must also show that there is a world view in the Bible ... that here alone you can understand history-past history, present history, future history. Let us show this great world view, and God's Eternal purpose.... Let us at the same time be very careful that we are giving it to the whole man ... the gospel is not only for a man's heart, that you start with his head and present Truth to it ... Let us show that it is a great message given by God which we in turn pass on to the mind, to the heart, to the will. There is ever this danger of leaving out some part or other of man's personality... Let us be certain that we address the whole man-his mind, his emotions and his will.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones The Weapons of our Warfare pg. 21-22

HT: http://www.monergism.com

The Scandal of Grace - John MacArthur

So it is today, this church, the church of Jesus Christ is not made up of good people, it's made up of bad people. It's not made up of people who think they're righteous, it's made up of people who know they're not. It's not made up of the people who have attained to a certain acceptable degree with God, it's made up of people who know they could never attain to an acceptable place before God.

It's not made up of people who think they're good, it's made up of people who know they're wicked. It's not made up of people who have achieved righteousness on their own, it's made up of people who have received righteousness from God as a gift. This is the gospel.

Excerpted from: The Scandal of Grace video part 2.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

True Faith Perseveres - John MacArthur

It is crucial to understand what the biblical doctrine of perseverance does not mean. It does not mean that people who “accept Christ” can then live any way they please without fear of hell. The expression “eternal security” is sometimes used in this sense, as is “once saved, always saved.” R. T. Kendall, arguing for the latter phrase, defines its meaning thus:

Whoever once truly believes that Jesus was raised from the dead, and confesses that Jesus is Lord, will go to heaven when he dies. But I will not stop there. Such a person will go to heaven when he dies no matter what work (or lack of work) may accompany such faith. (Once Saved, Always Saved, p. 19)

Kendall also writes, “I hope no one will take this as an attack on the Westminster Confession. It is not that” (p. 22).

But it is precisely that! Kendall expressly argues against Westminster’s assertion that faith cannot fail. He believes faith is best characterized as a single look: “one need only see the Sin Bearer once to be saved” (p. 23).This is a full-scale assault against the doctrine of perseverance affirmed in the Westminster Confession. Worse, it subverts Scripture itself. Unfortunately, it is a view that has come to be widely believed by Christians today.

John Murray, noting this trend a half-century ago, defended the expression “perseverance of the saints”:

It is not in the best interests of the doctrine involved to substitute the designation, “The Security of the Believer,” not because the latter is wrong in itself but because the other formula is much more carefully and inclusively framed. . . . It is not true that the believer is secure however much he may fall into sin and unfaithfulness. Why is this not true? It is not true because it sets up an impossible combination. It is true that a believer sins; he may fall into grievous sin and backslide for lengthy periods. But it is also true that a believer cannot abandon himself to sin; he cannot come under the dominion of sin; he cannot be guilty of certain kinds of unfaithfulness. The truth is that the faith of Jesus Christ is always respective of the life of holiness and fidelity. And so it is never proper to think of a believer irrespective of the fruits in faith and holiness. To say that a believer is secure whatever may be the extent of his addiction to sin in his subsequent life is to abstract faith in Christ from its very definition and it ministers to that abuse which turns the grace of God into lasciviousness. The doctrine of perseverance is the doctrine that believers persevere. . . . It is not at all that they will be saved irrespective of the their perseverance or their continuance, but that they will assuredly persevere. Consequently the security that is theirs is inseparable from their perseverance. Is this not what Jesus said? “He than endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.”

Let us not then take refuge in our sloth or encouragement in our lust from the abused doctrine of the security of the believer. But let us appreciate the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints and recognize that we may entertain the faith of our security in Christ only as we persevere in faith and holiness to the end. (Redemption Accomplished and Applied, 154-55)

Any doctrine of eternal security that leaves out perseverance distorts the doctrine of salvation itself. Heaven without holiness ignores the whole purpose for which God chose and redeemed His people:

God elected us for this very purpose. “He chose us in him [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph. 1:4). We were predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ in all His spotless purity (Rom. 8:29). This divine choice makes it certain that we shall be like Him when He appears (1 John 3:2). From this fact, John deduces that everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself just as Christ is pure (1 John 3:3). His use of the word “everyone” makes it quite certain that those who do not purify themselves will not see Christ, nor be like Him. By their lack of holiness they prove that they were not so predestinated. The apostle thus deals a crushing blow to Antinomianism. (Richard Alderson, No Holiness, No Heaven!, p. 88)

God’s own holiness thus requires perseverance. “God’s grace insures our persevering`but this does not make it any less our persevering.” Believers cannot acquire “the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” unless they “press on toward the goal” (Phil 3:14). But as they “work out [their] salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil 2:12), they find that “it is God who is at work in [them], both to will and work for His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Source: http://www.gty.org

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Behold Your King

The Old Testament includes about 60 different prophecies, with more than 300 references, of the coming of the Messiah. Here is a short clip highlighting 22 of them which the Lord Jesus Christ fulfilled.

The Heart of the True Christian (Mark Kielar)

Mark Kielar on Jonathan Edward's Resolutions 37 and 56.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent, what sin I have committed, and wherein I have denied myself: also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec.22 and 26, 1722.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.



Taken from the message: The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

9 Ways to Know the Gospel of Christ Is True

1. Jesus Christ, as he is presented to us in the New Testament, and as he stands forth from all its writings, is too single and too great to have been invented so uniformly by all these writers.

The force of Jesus Christ unleashed these writings; the writings did not create the force. Jesus is far bigger and more compelling than any of his witnesses. His reality stands behind these writings as a great, global event stands behind a thousand newscasters. Something stupendous unleashed these diverse witnesses to tell these stunning and varied, yet unified, stories of Jesus Christ.

2. Nobody has ever explained the empty tomb of Jesus in the hostile environment of Jerusalem where the enemies of Jesus would have given anything to produce the corpse, but could not.

The earliest attempts to cover the scandal of resurrection were manifestly contradictory to all human experience—disciples do not steal a body (Matthew 28:13) and then sacrifice their lives to preach a glorious gospel of grace on the basis of the deception. Modern theories that Jesus didn't die but swooned, and then awoke in the tomb and moved the stone and tricked his skeptical disciples into believing he was risen as the Lord of the universe don't persuade.

3. Cynical opponents of Christianity abounded where claims were made that many eyewitnesses were available to consult concerning the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.

"After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep" (1 Corinthians 15:6). Such claims would be exposed as immediate falsehood if they could. But we know of no exposure. Eyewitnesses of the risen Lord abounded when the crucial claims were being made.

4. The early church was an indomitable force of faith and love and sacrifice on the basis of the reality of Jesus Christ.

The character of this church, and the nature of the gospel of grace and forgiveness, and the undaunted courage of men and women—even unto death—do not fit the hypothesis of mass hysteria. They simply were not like that. Something utterly real and magnificent had happened in the world and they were close enough to know it, and be assured of it, and be gripped by its power. That something was Jesus Christ, as all of them testified, even as they died singing.

5. The prophesies of the Old Testament find stunning fulfillment in the history of Jesus Christ.

The witness to these fulfillments are too many, too diverse, too subtle and too interwoven into the history of the New Testament church and its many writings to be fabricated by some great conspiracy. Down to the details, Jesus Christ fulfilled dozens of Old Testament prophecies that vindicate his truth.

6. The witnesses to Jesus Christ who wrote the New Testament gospels and letters are not gullible or deceitful or demented.

This is manifest from the writings themselves. The books bear the marks of intelligence and clear-headedness and maturity and a moral vision that is compelling. They win our trust as witnesses, especially when all taken together with one great unifying, but distinctively told, message about Jesus Christ.

7. The worldview that emerges from the writings of the New Testament makes more sense out of more reality than any other worldview.

It not only fits the human heart, but also the cosmos and history and God as he reveals himself in nature and conscience. Some may come to this conclusion after much reflection, others may arrive at this conviction by a pre-reflective, intuitive sense of the deep suitability of Christ and his message to the world that they know.

8. When one sees Christ as he is portrayed truly in the gospel, there shines forth a spiritual light that is a self-authenticating.

This is "the light of the knowledge of the glory of God" (2 Corinthians 4:6), and it is as immediately perceived by the Spirit-awakened heart as light is perceived by the open eye. The eye does not argue that there is light. It sees light.

9. When we see and believe the glory of God in the gospel, the Holy Spirit is given to us so that the love of God might be "poured out in our hearts" (Romans 5:5).

This experience of the love of God known in the heart through the gospel of Him who died for us while we were yet ungodly assures us that the hope awakened by all the evidences we have seen will not disappoint us.

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Background of the Shocking Youth Message - Paul Washer

On Oct. 26, 2009, Paul Washer shared some of the background behind the "Shocking Youth Message" given in 2002 which has been viewed well over a million times and has greatly impacted a large number of people around the world.



HT: http://www.reformedvoices.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Rebuilding Some Basics of Bethlehem: The Centrality of the Glory of God

By John Piper November 4, 2009

We use the term “glory of God” so often that it tends to lose its biblical force. But the sun is no less blazing, and no less beneficial, because people ignore it.

Yet God does not like to be ignored. “Mark this, then, you who forget God, lest I tear you apart, and there be none to deliver!” (Psalms 50:22). So let’s focus again on the glory of God. What is it? How important is it?

What Is the Glory of God?

The glory of God is the holiness of God put on display. That is, it is the infinite worth of God made manifest. Notice how Isaiah shifts from “holy” to “glory”: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3). When the holiness of God fills the earth for people to see, it is called glory.

The basic meaning of holy is “separated” from the common. Thus, when you carry that definition all the way to the infinite “separation” of God from all that is common, the effect is to make him the infinite “one of a kind”—like the rarest and most perfect diamond in the world. Only there are no other diamond-gods. God’s uniqueness as the only God—his God-ness—makes him infinitely valuable, that is, holy.

The most common meaning for God’s glory in the Bible assumes that this infinite value has entered created experience. It has, as it were, shined. God’s glory is the radiance of his holiness. It is the out-streaming of his infinite value. And when it streams out, it is seen as beautiful and great. It has both infinite quality and infinite magnitude. So we may define the glory of God as the beauty and greatness of God’s manifold perfections.

I say “manifold perfections” because specific aspects of God’s being are said to have glory. For example: “the glory of his grace” (Ephesians 1:6) and “the glory of his might” (2 Thessalonians 1:9). God himself is glorious because he is the perfect unity of all his manifold and glorious perfections.

But this definition must be qualified. The Bible also speaks of God’s glory before it is revealed in creation. For example, Jesus prays, “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed” (John 17:5). So I would suggest a definition something like this: God’s glory is the outward radiance of the intrinsic beauty and greatness of his manifold perfections.

I am aware that words are poor pointers here. I have replaced one inadequate word with two others: glory with beauty and greatness. But we must try. God has revealed himself to us in words like “the glory of God.” And he does not want them to be meaningless.

We must constantly remind ourselves that we are speaking of a glory that is ultimately beyond created comparison. “The glory of God” is the way you designate the infinite beauty and the infinite greatness of the Person who was there before anything else was there. In other words, it is the beauty and the greatness that exists without origin, without comparison, without analogy, without being judged or assessed by any external criterion. It is the all-defining absolute original of greatness and beauty. All created greatness and beauty comes from it, and points to it, but does not comprehensively or adequately reproduce it.

“The glory of God” is a way of saying that there is objective, absolute reality to which all human admiration, wonder, awe, veneration, praise, honor, acclaim, and worship is pointing. We were made to find our deepest pleasure in admiring what is infinitely admirable, that is, the glory of God. The glory of God is not the psychological projection of human longing onto reality. On the contrary, inconsolable human longing is the evidence that we were made for God’s glory.

How Central Is the Glory of God in the Bible?

The glory of God is the goal of all things. “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). All things were created for God’s glory (Isaiah 43:6-7).

The great mission of the church is to declare God’s glory among the nations. “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!” (Psalms 96:1-3; Ezekiel 39:21; Isaiah 66:18-19).

What Is Our Hope? Seeing the Glory of God

Seeing the glory of God is our ultimate hope. “We rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Romans 5:2). God will “present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy” (Jude 24). He will “make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory” (Romans 9:23). “He calls you into his own kingdom and glory” (1 Thessalonians 2:12). “Our blessed hope [is] the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

Jesus, in all his person and work, is the incarnation and ultimate revelation of the glory of God. “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). “Father, I desire that they . . . may be with me where I am, to see my glory” (John 17:24).

What Is Our Hope? Sharing in the Glory of God

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed” (1 Peter 5:1). “The creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). “We impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory” (1 Corinthians 2:7).“This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). “Those whom he justified he also glorified” (Romans 8:30).

Summary

Seeing and sharing in God’s glory is our ultimate hope through the gospel of Christ.

Hope that is really known and treasured has a huge and decisive effect on our present values and choices and actions.

Get to know the glory of God. Study the glory of God, the glory of Christ, the glory of the world that reveals the glory of God, the glory of the gospel that reveals the glory of Christ.

Treasure the glory of God above all things.

Study your soul. Know the glory you are seduced by, and know why you treasure glories that are not God’s glory. Study your own soul to know how to make the glories of the world collapse like Dagon (1 Samuel 5:4) in the pitiful pieces on the floor of the world’s temples.

Hungering to see and share in more of the glory of Christ, the image of God,

Pastor John

By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grace In The Law Of God – The Third Commandment

by Greg Mills

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain. – Exodus 20:7 (ESV)

I. The third commandment specifically condemns the profanity that has become the socially accepted norm in our day.

Exposition With Application
I. The verb translated as take has the sense of use, or employ. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

II. The name of God carries a host of meanings in Scripture.

A. His proper name
B. His titles: Creator, Judge, Savior, Shepherd
C. His attributes: holiness, wisdom, faithfulness
D. His Word, Psalm 138:2
E. His grace and mercy toward sinners, John 17:6
F. His majesty revealed in creation, Psalm 8:1

The name of God is either God Himself, or anything by which He is made known. Anything that pertains to God, His will or His worship is included in His name.

III. The primary meaning of the word translated vain is emptiness, worthlessness. It can also mean falsehood or wickedness.

IV. To take God’s name in vain then, is to use it in any irreverent, trifling, or wicked way.

The third commandment insures that everything God uses to make Himself known is treated with reverence.

V. In the first petition to the Lord’s prayer, Hallowed be Thy name, Jesus reaffirms the third commandment.

VI. This commandment is broken in two general ways.

A. Using God’s name in a trivial way.
B. Swearing by God’s name, either
1. To that which is untrue, or
2. When it is unecessary to do so

VII. There are legitimate reasons to swear by God’s name: courtroom testimony, marriage vows, oaths of office. God Himself sanctions swearing by His name when it is appropriate: Isa. 45:23; Jer. 4:2; Phil. 2:11

Christ’s injunction against swearing prohibits frivolous, unnecessary oaths and enjoins believers to cultivate a reputation for being true to their word.

VIII. God’s name is also used in vain when

A. Worship lacks the proper decorum, solemnity and reverence.
B. When preaching or teaching is vague, compromising, or speculative.

Application
I. The third commandment, like all the rest, has a deeper application than our outward words and actions. It extends to the thoughts and meditations of our hearts. (Mal. 3:16)

II. Un practice, anytime we use the name of God

A. Our purpose is to be His glory
B. Our speech is to be solemn, intelligent, informed and with forethought.

III. We never use God’s name

A. When it’s not necessary to do so
B. To sanction our own superstitions, or speculations.

IV. The tongue is impossible for the natural man to control. James 3:8. Profanity is the evidence of a polluted soul. Matt. 18:18-20.

The only way this stain can ever be removed is through faith in the finished work of Christ.

HT: http://5ptsalt.com

The Unbridled Gospel - 1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Article 1: God's Right to Condemn All People
Since all people have sinned in Adam and have come under the sentence of the curse and eternal death, God would have done no one an injustice if it had been his will to leave the entire human race in sin and under the curse, and to condemn them on account of their sin. As the apostle says: The whole world is liable to the condemnation of God (Rom. 3:19), All have sinned and are deprived of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23).*

(*All quotations from Scripture are translations of the original Latin manuscript.)

Article 2: The Manifestation of God's Love
But this is how God showed his love: he sent his only begotten Son into the world, so that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

Article 3: The Preaching of the Gospel
In order that people may be brought to faith, God mercifully sends proclaimers of this very joyful message to the people he wishes and at the time he wishes. By this ministry people are called to repentance and faith in Christ crucified. For how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without someone preaching? And how shall they preach unless they have been sent? (Rom. 10:14-15).

Article 4: A Twofold Response to the Gospel
God's anger remains on those who do not believe this gospel. But those who do accept it and embrace Jesus the Savior with a true and living faith are delivered through him from God's anger and from destruction, and receive the gift of eternal life.

Article 5: The Sources of Unbelief and of Faith
The cause or blame for this unbelief, as well as for all other sins, is not at all in God, but in man. Faith in Jesus Christ, however, and salvation through him is a free gift of God. As Scripture says, It is by grace you have been saved, through faith, and this not from yourselves; it is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Likewise: It has been freely given to you to believe in Christ (Phil. 1:29).

Article 6: God's Eternal Decision
The fact that some receive from God the gift of faith within time, and that others do not, stems from his eternal decision. For all his works are known to God from eternity (Acts 15:18; Eph. 1:11). In accordance with this decision he graciously softens the hearts, however hard, of his chosen ones and inclines them to believe, but by his just judgment he leaves in their wickedness and hardness of heart those who have not been chosen. And in this especially is disclosed to us his act--unfathomable, and as merciful as it is just--of distinguishing between people equally lost. This is the well-known decision of election and reprobation revealed in God's Word. This decision the wicked, impure, and unstable distort to their own ruin, but it provides holy and godly souls with comfort beyond words.

Article 7: Election
Election [or choosing] is God's unchangeable purpose by which he did the following:

Before the foundation of the world, by sheer grace, according to the free good pleasure of his will, he chose in Christ to salvation a definite number of particular people out of the entire human race, which had fallen by its own fault from its original innocence into sin and ruin. Those chosen were neither better nor more deserving than the others, but lay with them in the common misery. He did this in Christ, whom he also appointed from eternity to be the mediator, the head of all those chosen, and the foundation of their salvation. And so he decided to give the chosen ones to Christ to be saved, and to call and draw them effectively into Christ's fellowship through his Word and Spirit. In other words, he decided to grant them true faith in Christ, to justify them, to sanctify them, and finally, after powerfully preserving them in the fellowship of his Son, to glorify them.

God did all this in order to demonstrate his mercy, to the praise of the riches of his glorious grace.

As Scripture says, God chose us in Christ, before the foundation of the world, so that we should be holy and blameless before him with love; he predestined us whom he adopted as his children through Jesus Christ, in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, by which he freely made us pleasing to himself in his beloved (Eph. 1:4-6). And elsewhere, Those whom he predestined, he also called; and those whom he called, he also justified; and those whom he justified, he also glorified (Rom. 8:30).

Article 8: A Single Decision of Election
This election is not of many kinds; it is one and the same election for all who were to be saved in the Old and the New Testament. For Scripture declares that there is a single good pleasure, purpose, and plan of God's will, by which he chose us from eternity both to grace and to glory, both to salvation and to the way of salvation, which he prepared in advance for us to walk in.

Article 9: Election Not Based on Foreseen Faith
This same election took place, not on the basis of foreseen faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, or of any other good quality and disposition, as though it were based on a prerequisite cause or condition in the person to be chosen, but rather for the purpose of faith, of the obedience of faith, of holiness, and so on. Accordingly, election is the source of each of the benefits of salvation. Faith, holiness, and the other saving gifts, and at last eternal life itself, flow forth from election as its fruits and effects. As the apostle says, He chose us (not because we were, but) so that we should be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

Article 10: Election Based on God's Good Pleasure
But the cause of this undeserved election is exclusively the good pleasure of God. This does not involve his choosing certain human qualities or actions from among all those possible as a condition of salvation, but rather involves his adopting certain particular persons from among the common mass of sinners as his own possession. As Scripture says, When the children were not yet born, and had done nothing either good or bad..., she (Rebecca) was told, "The older will serve the younger." As it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated" (Rom. 9:11-13). Also, All who were appointed for eternal life believed (Acts 13:48).

Article 11: Election Unchangeable
Just as God himself is most wise, unchangeable, all-knowing, and almighty, so the election made by him can neither be suspended nor altered, revoked, or annulled; neither can his chosen ones be cast off, nor their number reduced.

Article 12: The Assurance of Election
Assurance of this their eternal and unchangeable election to salvation is given to the chosen in due time, though by various stages and in differing measure. Such assurance comes not by inquisitive searching into the hidden and deep things of God, but by noticing within themselves, with spiritual joy and holy delight, the unmistakable fruits of election pointed out in God's Word-- such as a true faith in Christ, a childlike fear of God, a godly sorrow for their sins, a hunger and thirst for righteousness, and so on.

The above articles were taken from the Canons of Dort (1618-1619)

HT: http://stevenjcamp.blogspot.com