Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Establishing the Authentic Gospel

Establishing the Authentic Gospel is based on Richard Bennetts own 14-year search for the true Gospel as a priest, including, in particular, his struggle with man-centered Evangelicals. Citing names, Richard gives examples of humanistic ways in which modern Evangelists give a so-called gospel. These illustrate the wholesale departure from the true Gospel that is taking place in the modern world. Permeating Richards address is the Lords invincible Gospel of grace.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Wasted Faith by Jim Elliff

Wasted Faith is written to help those who claim to be Christians know for sure they are in God's family. It is sober look at the nature of authentic faith and its various counterfeits.

"What is most alarming is the risky willingness of many professing Christians to gamble eternity on an emotional one-time experience, a 'sinner's prayer' properly prayed, or a feeling of substantial relief at a juncture in time, without ever taking a serious look at what is evident now, at this moment. Is eternal life of so little value that it seems unnecessary to examine ourselves for the evidence of it?" (from Wasted Faith)

Listen to the rest of the book here:

Monday, September 28, 2009

The True Gospel - Chris White

In 1 Corinthians 15: 3,4
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures,

Jesus' words in Mark 1:15 come in the form of an urgent command: "The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." After His resurrection from the dead, He tells His disciples: Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)

Notice that following repentance is the remission of sins (Romans 6:1-12). This is why on Pentecost, AD 31, Peter instructs the assembled crowd, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

Likewise, Paul teaches the men of Athens: Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead. (Acts 17:30-31;

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, (Acts 3:19)

The problem is "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Rom.3:23). Man, in his lost, sinful, condemned state, has failed to glorify God. Until a person becomes personally exceedingly sinful in his own eyes, he will never see his need for repentance. Eph.2:1 says man is spiritually dead; Rom.3:10 and Isa.64:6 tells us no one is righteous before a holy God; Rom.3:19 says all stand guilty and condemned before God; Eph.4:18 declares all sinners are separated from God whose hearts and minds are blinded so that they cannot understand God or the things of God.

It should also be stressed that repentance itself is not a human act, but comes only from God (Rom.2:4) -- it is a divine gift of God (Acts 5:31; 11:18; 2 Tim. 2:25).

17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son. (John 3:17-18).

Jesus Did not come to condemn sinners he came to save them.

Matthew 11:28-30

28"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

The following 3 scriptures are good summeries of the gospel message in my opinion.

Romans 5:8-11

8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! 10For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:17-21

17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Titus 2:11-15

11For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. 15These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Francis Chan - Balance Beam

This is a challenge to the lukewarm church and to Christians playing it safe.


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Lloyd-Jones on Seriousness in the Pulpit

From D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching & Preachers, pp. 85-86:

The preacher must be a serious man; he must never give the impression that preaching is something light or superficial or trivial….What is happing [in the act of preaching] is that he is speaking to them from God, he is speaking to them about God, he is speaking about their condition, the state of their souls. He is telling them that they are, by nature, under the wrath of God–”the children of wrath even as others”–that the character of the life they’re living is offensive to God and under the judgment of God, and warning them of the dread eternal possibility that lies ahead of them. In any case the preacher, of all men, should realize the fleeting nature of life in this world. The men of the world are so immersed in its business and affairs, its pleasures and all is vain show, that the one thing they never stop to consider is the fleeting nature of life. All this means that the preacher should create and convey the impression of the seriousness of what is happening the moment he even appears in the pulpit. You remember the famous lines of Richard Baxter: “I preached as never sure to preach again, and as a dying man to dying men.”…You remember what was said of the saintly Robert Murray McCheyne of Scotland in the last century. It is said that when he appeared in the pulpit, even before he had uttered a single word, people would begin to weep silently. Why? Because of this very element of seriousness. The very sight of the man gave the impression that he had come from the presence of God and that he was to deliver a message from God to them. That is what had such an effect upon the people even before he had opened his mouth. We forget this at our peril, and at great cost to our listeners.


Confronting Error with Condemnation, Not Conversation

How would you describe Jesus to someone who has never heard the Gospel before? Would you start with His miracles? The virgin birth? His sacrifice on the cross? You probably wouldn't start by describing His conflicts with the Pharisees. In fact, thats not a part of Christs life and ministry that we hear much about these days. The popular image of Jesus today is passive and peaceful, but that doesnt begin to capture the full picture of what Gods Word says about His Son. So grab your Bible, take a seat, because today John MacArthur is going to re-introduce you to a Jesus who wasnt always nice...

Continue watching here.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Timing of God's Providence by R.C. Sproul

How many times has God come through for you when you least expected it? On this edition of Renewing Your Mind, Dr. R.C. Sproul reminds us of the irony of God's providence in history in behalf of his people.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How God Does Not Save Men

By Donald Grey Barnhouse
References: Ephesians 2:8-9

Download mp3

Source: Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

How May I Know I Have Understood The Gospel And That I Am Elect?

by A.W. Pink

First, by the Word of God having come in divine power to the soul so that my self-complacency is shattered and my self-righteousness is renounced.

Second, by the Holy Spirit convicting me of my woeful, guilty, and lost condition.

Third, by having had revealed to me the suitability and sufficiency of Christ to meet my desperate case and by a divinely given faith causing me to lay hold of and rest upon Him as my only hope.

Fourth, by the marks of the new nature within me - a love for God; an appetite for spiritual things; a longing for holiness; a seeking after conformity to Christ.

Fifth, by the resistance which the new nature makes to the old, causing me to hate sin and loathe myself for it.

Sixth, by avoiding everything which is condemned by God's Word and by sincerely repenting of and humbly confessing every transgression. Failure at this point will surely bring a dark cloud over our assurance causing the Spirit to withhold His witness.

Seventh, by giving all diligence to cultivate the Christian graces and using all diligence to this end. Thus the knowledge of election is cumulative.


Mortifying the Flesh

Listen to Alistair Begg on Mortifying the Flesh and Building Hedges Against Sexual Sin.


Monday, September 21, 2009

The Case Against the R-Rated Church

If you think things in the world are bad, take a look at the church. Listen to an interview with John MacArthur on "The Case Against the R-Rated Church".

Download mp3


Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Sin of Silence

This is an excerpt of a message delivered by Reverend/Dr. Laurence White on September 6, 2000 at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri

by Dr. Laurence White

Let me begin with a story about an incident that took place a few years ago as the president of a Christian university addressed the crowd. "Today is November the 9th, the 50th anniversary of the 'kristal nacht'...the night of the broken glass. On this day in 1938, Nazi thugs moved through the cities of Germany smashing the windows of German homes and shops, burning the synagogues. Innocent people; men, women and children were beaten and killed simply because they were Jews. I was there as a young man," the president went on to say, through tears, "There were many of us who were Christians then, but we did nothing." He went on to quote the words inscribed at the Auschwitz memorial in Poland, a place where so many died. "Never again", he pleaded.

My friends, it is happening again. It is happening again today in our beautiful America, so richly and abundantly blessed by a gracious God. It is happening today as the innocent are slaughtered in a holocaust that has seen well over forty million little boys and girls brutally done to death. It is happening again as families are fractured and marriages are broken, while self-obsessed people pursue the immediate gratification of their every desire. It is happening again as militant homosexuals pursue absolute approval, complete acceptance, and preferential legal treatment for their perversion. It is happening again as our young people have lost their way, and often their lives, in a maze of alcohol and drugs; and the corridors and classrooms of the high schools of our land are littered with the bodies of murdered teenagers. It is happening again as the nation's leaders wallow in decadence and deceit, while the people look on in apathetic indifference.
While the killing goes on and the nation is led down the path of destruction, the church and her pastors stand silent and afraid. This country that we love, our America, is fighting for her life. Not against the military power of foreign enemies, but against the principalities and powers of this dark age. You and I, as sons and daughters of the Lord Jesus Christ, are being called upon to take a stand at this moment of crisis. And let there be no one among us who doubts the urgency of this hour. To compare what is happening in America today to Nazi Germany is no mere flight of rhetorical exaggeration.

This nation is heedlessly stumbling toward third millennium darkness. Look around you and read the signs of the times. Look beyond the walls of our beautiful sanctuaries, and the comfort of our padded pews to see the chaos, the corruption, and the confusion that reigns throughout our culture. We live in a society where passions are riderless horses, uncontrolled and uncontrollable in which there is a desolation of decency; in which love has become a jungle emotion, lust exalted to lordship, sin elevated to sovereignty, Satan adored as a saint, and man magnified above his Maker. Americans have come to dwell in an Alice in Wonderland world of fantasy and self-delusion. Everything has been turned upside down and inside out in our America. Right is wrong, wrong is right; good is bad, bad is good; normal is abnormal, abnormal is normal; true is false, false is true. We are fast degenerating into a decadent culture obsessed with selfishness and sin, death and destruction.

In the face of this relentless onslaught of evil, the church of Jesus Christ has grown timid and afraid. We have abandoned the truth of God's word, compromised the stern demands of His law, tailored our message to meet the felt needs of sinful men, and prostituted ourselves and the Gospel that we profess to proclaim for worldly popularity and success. We, as Christian pastors, seem to have forgotten that God did not call us to be popular or successful...God called us to be faithful. Faithful preaching never comes in the form of safely vague, pious platitudes. Faithful preaching must identify and denounce the false gods of this world that call upon our people to bow down before them every day. God did not call us to be successful CEO's, protecting institutional peace and tranquility, bringing in the bodies and the bucks by avoiding controversy, and telling everybody what they want to hear. God called us to proclaim His word, to be vigilant watchmen standing high upon the walls of Zion, sounding forth the clear clarion call of the trumpet; calling out God's people to war against the host of evil advancing all around us. We as the Christians of America, we as the Pastors of America, have failed in this responsibility before God. Our country is paying a dire price for that failure; make no mistake about it brothers and sisters, we are responsible.

The great reformer Martin Luther once declared that the preacher who does not rebuke the sins of the rulers through God's word spoken publicly, boldly and honestly, strengthens the sins of the tyrants; becoming a partaker in them and bearing responsibility for them.

When Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, he scornfully dismissed the church, and her pastors as an irrelevant force which posed no threat to the Nazi agenda for that great nation."I promise you", he boasted in his inner circle, "that if I wish to I could destroy the church in just a few years. It is hollow, it is rotten, and false through and through. One push and the whole structure would collapse. We should trap the preachers by their notorious greed and self-indulgence. We shall thus be able to settle everything with them in perfect peace and harmony. I shall give them a few years reprieve, why should we quarrel? They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantage. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves, they will betray their God for us. They will betray anything for the sake of their miserable jobs and incomes." - Adolf Hitler
The dictator's words proved to be tragically accurate. The great majority of Christians in Germany looked the other way and minded their own business. They blended in and went along following the path of least resistance. They did that which was expedient, practical and safe while their country was dragged down into a swirling maelstrom of barbarism and death. Germany lay in ruins; her great cities bombed out of existence. Cathedrals that had stood for a thousand years reduced to piles of broken brick and rubble. In the face of monstrous evil, he who keeps silent fails in his responsibility before God and shares in the guilt.

The moral meltdown that has overtaken America has been met with a deafening silence from the pulpits of America and the people-pleasing preachers who presume to stand in them. This desolation of decency could not have occurred if the pulpits of this land were once again aflame with righteousness. To use Alexis De Toqueville's famous words, "By our apathy, by our acquiescence, and by our ignorance, the church of Jesus Christ has consigned itself to irrelevance and impotence in the ongoing struggle for the soul of America."
Our political leaders deal in trivialities and superficial nonsense, practicing the feel-good politics of deliberate ambiguity; while the destruction of our families, the perversion of our most basic moral principals, and the murder of innocent unborn children goes on and on and on...........

The issue before us as Christians and as Christian pastors is faithfulness to the word of God and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ. To speak to the great moral issues of our day is an integral and essential part of that God-given responsibility. To fail to do so is nothing less than a denial of the Lordship of Jesus.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

On the New Calvinists

John Piper speaking at the Religious Newswriters Association September 11, 2009

Also listen to Collin Hansen and Carolyn James along with a Q&A with reporters here.

John Piper. © Desiring God. Website:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Response to "Man Vs. God" Article in The WSJ

Author: Ravi Zacharias

In response to the essays presented by Richard Dawkins and Karen Armstrong in "Man Vs. God" (Saturday, September 12), I would add that the combination of Dawkins and Armstrong as presenting two contrary views on the existence of God is in itself a "creative act." For one, God is a fairy tale and for the other "at least it's a nice fairy tale." One may as well have asked Bin Laden to write his thoughts on America and then ask Chavez for a counter perspective. Amazing. Even by today's media manipulations, that raises the benchmark.

Let me just respond with two thoughts. Dawkins says: "What is so special about life? It never violates the laws of physics." Let's grant him that for the moment. But the fact of physics is that however you section physical concrete reality, you end up with a state that does not explain its own existence. Moreover, since the universe does have a beginning and nothing physical can explain its own existence, is it that irrational a position to think that the first cause would have to be something non-physical?

More can be said, but for the sake of brevity may I ask one more question?

The position that both Armstrong and Dawkins would be compelled to concede is that moral categories do exist for us as persons. It is implicit in their writings. So I ask, if personhood is of value and if our personal questions on moral values are of value, then must we not also concede that the value-laden question about intrinsic value for humanity can only be meaningful if humanity is the creation of a person who is of infinite worth to bequeath that value to us as persons?

In other words, our assumptions about our worth and the worthiness of our questions of good and evil cannot be the offspring of Naturalism.

But these are the gaps atheists conveniently ignore. They value their Physics but devalue their Physicist. They are quick to blame a person for evil but are loathe to attribute goodness to the ultimate person.
That is, either our questions are rooted in personal worth or not. If they are, then God must exist. If they are not, then our questions are self-defeating.

That is why G.K. Chesterton said: When belief in God becomes difficult, the tendency is to turn away from him. But in heaven's name to what? Dawkins and Armstrong are brilliant examples of making something out of nothing but it shows they are borrowing from something that they deny exists.

A spiritual, moral first cause is a reasonable position much more than the questions that smuggle in such realities without admitting it.

Maybe that's why two brilliant minds, Anthony Flew and more recently A.N. Wilson, left the atheistic fold. They saw the hollow word-games that flew in the face of reality as we also intuitively know it.


Ambition Hinders Life and Ministry by E.M. Bounds

Ambition is one of the greatest hindrances to the Christian life and especially to preaching because it is born of self and nurtured by pride. It manifests itself in various ways: the desire to be a great preacher, to have the first place, to be a leader, or to secure places of honor or profit veils itself under many disguises. It is christened with the surname "laudable", and comes into the church, then works its selfish, worldly schemes. A person may be a Christian by name and a church member, but if he is driven by ambition, he is an infidel at heart and worldly. The days of the prevalence of ambition in the church have been days of supreme church worldliness and extreme apostasy.

There is much in a name, and the true and wise Christian will not allow this corrupter of the faith to enter, though clothed in a garb of innocent names. Christian faith has kindled and consecrated the flame of holy zeal, stimulating and giving ardor to effort. True zeal is a heavenly fire, the purity of which disdains all earthly adulterations. Zeal crucifies self-- it fixes its eyes on both God and his glory. As Christ died for sin once, so the Christian by crucifixion dies to self and says, "Perish every fond ambition." In every moment of his life, in every vision of his eye, in every impulse of his heart, and in every effort of his hand, the Christian is to be true to the fact of this self-renouncing commitment.

Ambition is the one thing that affected the power, peace, and piety of the apostles of the Lord. We see its effects noted in their envies and strife. A few instances are recorded, but how much unrecorded jealousy and alienation was produced, we can only conjecture. We have the record of its existence and Christ's rebuke in the early part of their career and its violence breaks out under the shadow of the cross. The bitter thoughts of his death are mixed with the strife of his disciples for place and his solemn charge against the religious phase of worldly ambition. The washing of the disciples' feet was the last act of personal training that Christ used as the remedy for ambition in his disciples.

Ambition destroys the foundation of Christian character by making faith impossible. Faith roots itself in the soil where selfish and worldly growths have been destroyed. "How can ye believe," says Christ, "which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor that cometh from God only?" (John 5:44). In this statement is shown the impossibility of blending faith with the desire to receive honor from men.

The entrance of this alluring element of human honor draws the heart from the honor that comes from God and sweeps away the foundations of faith. When the eye seeks things other than God, when the heart desires things other than God--this is ambition. No man can serve these two masters; no man can combine the ends of self and of God. He may think he can; he may seem to do so; but no one can perform this spiritual impossibility.

Ambition enthrones pride, and that is the throne on which Satan sits. Humility is destroyed by ambition. The history of the church attests to the fact that humility has no place in the church or the man that is ambitious. Humility is not a virtue of those who have sought to be put in the calendar of earthly saints. No ambition is so proud as a religious ambition, and none less scrupulous. No church can be more thoroughly apostate than the church whose leaders have come into their places though the way of ambition. No ambition is so destructive as that which comes in under the guise of religion. Ambition is worldly, though it may be disguised under the name of Christianity. It easily deludes its possessor under the plea of a wider field of influence and usefulness; but the presence of ambition, like the soil of Sardinia, spoils even the honey.

If ambition can be religious and can preach, then it must do so without love, for love and ambition can no more unite than can light and darkness; they are as essentially at war as Christ and Belial. "Love seeketh not her own," while ambition is ever seeking its own, and not infrequently it seeks with all its heart that which is another's. Love in honor prefers one another, but ambition never does.

If Jesus Christ is to be our model preacher, if our attachment to him rises to anything above an impure sentiment, then the mind that was in him must be in us. He was without taint of ambition. We have this attitude of Christ to ambition set before us:

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. - Philippians 2:5-8

The whole history and character of Christ are in direct antagonism to ambition.

If Paul is to serve as an example for preachers, it is at the point of freedom from all forms of ambition that his example is the most emphatic. He puts the whole inventory of ecclesiastical and earthly goods in one catalog and renounces them all in this strong language: "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ" (Phil. 3:7-8); and as though this were not enough, he takes us to the cross, where every earthly thing perished in pain, shame, and utter bankruptcy, and declares; "I am crucified with Christ."

Many things often are often allowed to come into our faith and our ministry to defame them, but nothing is more deadly to us than ambition. It has in its bad embrace the seeds of all evil. It has insincerity and hypocrisy. It is a tyrant. Of all the evils that grieve God's Spirit and quench his flame, ambition may be reckoned among the chief, if not the very chief. The fact that ecclesiastical pride, church sentiment, and church worldliness will allow ambition to be christened at church altars and have the stamp of innocence and of virtue, ought to be alarming.

Is the desire for ecclesiastical advancement ambition? If not, what is it? We may say it is a laudable ambition! Can a qualifying word change the evil nature of this dark and fallen angel? Does an angelic garb make Satan an angel? We may say we want a more honorable place to do more honorable and larger service for Christ. Is not this Satan clothing himself as an angel of good? The honor of a service done for God is in no way dependent on its honorable nature or largeness. The honor of service for God depends only on the spirit in which it is done, and that spirit is one in which self-pride and ambition are crucified. Self in us looks to the future to largeness and honor. Christ in us looks to the present to fidelity and zeal for the work at hand and has no eye for self and future.

Can the preacher preach without faith? If he preaches with ambition, he is preaching without faith, for in Christ's service faith and ambition cannot co-exist. Can the preacher preach without love? If he preaches with ambition, he is preaching without love, for ambition and love have neither union nor concord. Can a preacher preach without humility? If he preaches with ambition, he is preaching without humility, for ambition is the very essence of pride. Can a preacher preach without consecration? If he preaches with ambition he must, for ambition is a thing to be crucified and not consecrated. Ambition must be daily crucified because it never can be consecrated.

Ambition changes the whole nature of ministry and floods it with worldliness. Instead of the ministry being an institution where the highest Christian graces are to be produced and the loftiest virtues exhibited, ambition transforms it into a ministry where self is the mainspring and every grace is blighted.

With ambition, the church is no longer an institution to save men, where the preacher, like Christ, exhausts himself to secure this end; but it is changed into an institution to confer position on men, and all its holy places are then polluted by the grasping, selfish hand of ambition or they are trodden by its unhallowed feet.

-- E. M. Bounds


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Seeing the Glory of Christ Changes Us

"The Life-Giving Voice Of The Son Of God" by John Piper
John 5:25-36

HT: Truth Matters

Monday, September 14, 2009

An Intimate Hour with God by Jim Elliff

The Lord invites us to know Him better. What a privilege! If the joy of heaven is in knowing the Lord's presence without any sin to hinder us, surely seeking His presence now must be the greatest possible pursuit.

Do you feel your need to pray? A person who has no need to pray cannot be living by faith. Prayerless-ness says, "I am sufficient in myself for everything required of me." But is that so? And do you not grieve God by your persistent self-sufficiency? The Bible says, "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Heb. 11:6)

The following suggestions are designed to help you spend an extended time in prayer and meditation with God. You may spend this hour alone or with others. The order is not essential, but does provide a helpful way to progress. This tool may be used daily or for special times of retreat with God. Some may wish to follow this hour with more intense Bible reading.

It is sometimes good to kneel or to lie down before the Lord. "Come let us bow down. Let us kneel before the Lord our God, our Maker." (Ps. 95: 6) Walking while praying can also be helpful, or sitting in a comfortable chair so that all the focus can be on God. Be sure and find a quiet place.

1. Come in Christ's Name

The audience we have with the Father is entirely based upon the merits of Christ. In other words, it is solely because Christ lived perfectly, died satisfactorily, and rose again victoriously for us that we have the privilege of addressing the Father. Because God accepts Christ, He can accept us in Him. "…He made us accepted in the Beloved." (Eph. 1: 6b)

Don't just say the words, but actually trust in Christ as your mediator. Express in some detail your dependence on Christ's worthiness and on His substitutionary work on your behalf.

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ….For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father." (Eph. 2:13, 18)

2. Delight in Him

Express your wonder and delight in God. Praise Him for His character and His power. Do not thank him at this time for His activity in your life, but focus on the person of God and His attributes: His Love, Patience, Immensity, Strength, Holiness, Grace, Glory, Knowledge, Wisdom, Goodness, etc.

"Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart." (Ps. 37: 4)

3. Express Your Longings to Him

Tell God what you desire above all other things. Express your deepest longings for fellowship with Him and for holiness of life, or whatever is in your heart. This is not a time to pray about everything you need, but to make known your deepest, long-term desires. You may wish to personalize Ephesians 1: 15-23 as a guide.

"As the deer pants for the water brooks, so pants my soul for You, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God." (Ps. 42: 1-2a)

4. Read a Psalm

You may wish to use one of the "Psalms for the day," according to the day of the month. Add 30 to the day of the month to arrive at 5 Psalms for the day (i.e. on the 15th, the Psalms would be 15, 45, 75, 105, and 135). It may be helpful to read the Psalm you choose out loud.

5. Sing to Him

Use a hymnbook, recall a chorus or hymn from memory, or make up your own song from the Scriptures.

"Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness; come before His presence with singing." (Ps. 100: 1-2)

6. Intercede for Others

Those who have asked you to pray for them
The leaders of your church
The missionaries you know
The leaders of our country
Those who are unsaved
Your family members
Your friends
Those in trouble or grieving, etc.

"Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you…" (1 Sam. 12: 23)

7. Place Your Day Before Him

If you are praying in the morning, you may wish to place every aspect of the day before the Lord, one item at a time. "Lord, please give me patience with my daughter when she comes to breakfast, help me show her love and kindness." "Lord, when I try to make that sale at 2:00 this afternoon, help me to speak as a Christian would speak, and give me wisdom." By going chronologically through every possible event of the day, you are learning trust Him in the details of life.

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths." (Pr. 3: 5-6)

8. Petition Him for Other Special Needs

There are matters needing attention in your own life and in the lives of others, the church or your group. Tell these to God and ask for His guidance, deliverance, endurance, wisdom, or whatever it is that you need. It is at this time that you will want to deal with any repentance God is requiring. Expect Him to give you grace to overcome. "Be zealous therefore, and repent" (Rev. 3: 19b) Ask with faith and genuine humility.

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4: 16)

"…Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full." (Jn. 16: 24b)

9. Meditate on His Word

To meditate means to ponder, reflect, contemplate, or think over slowly, the Words of God. If this is your only Bible reading time, continue reading the passage that is next for you in your plan. Read at least a chapter of Scripture. Look for the key verses and meditate on them, asking God to show you what they mean. Mark them in your Bible and ask God to help you remember what He is showing. Pray that He will give you a way to humbly share these truths with others. Read to obey.

If you are in a group, allow a period of quiet so that each person may read the Word. The leader may wish to suggest the passage for use with the group. If there is time, insights may be shared with each other.

"Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper." (Ps. 1: 1-3)

10. Offer Thanks to Him

Even if there have been difficulties in your life, the Lord has been good to you. Express to God your appreciation for specific acts of kindness He has done in the light of what you truly deserve.

"Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name." (Heb. 13: 15)

You may help others learn how to pray by copying this guide and leading others through it, adding your own personal insights. See if God will use you to make intercessors for the Kingdom.

Copyright © 2000 Jim Elliff
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Ten Shekels and a Shirt

Paris Reidhead preaches what could be called one of the most influential sermons of the 20th century. The real point of this sermon is an indictment of individuals and organizations practicing humanism behind a mask of Christianity! “This sermon should be preached on a regular basis in every church in America!”

Listen to the full sermon below.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

What We Can and Cannot Judge

Following is an excerpt taken from an article by Bob DeWaay called:

Discernment in an Age of Deception
Defining the Believer's Biblical Call to Judge

The full article can be found here and I strongly recommend reading it as this topic is so often taken out of context.

What We Can and Cannot Judge

We have seen that we are not to judge motives. We are not to judge relative degrees of personal piety. What these have in common is the factor that they are unknown. Motives are hidden. Only God knows the heart. We do not know who is more righteous or pious than whom.

We are not to accuse someone of sin without two or three witnesses. The criterion for two or three witnesses exists to keep one person from bringing false witness against another and having them wrongly come under church discipline. But if there are witnesses, the facts are considered "known" and judgment can be made. In every situation, the hope is for repentance and restoration of the individual. Paul wrote, "This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses" (2Corinthians 13:1). As verse 2 of this passage shows, the issue was about "those who have sinned."

There is another issue about wrong judgment. According to Romans 14 we are not to judge matters of conscience that are not universal commands. Here is what Paul wrote:

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One man has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. Let not him who eats regard with contempt him who does not eat, and let not him who does not eat judge him who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and stand he will, for the Lord is able to make him stand. (Romans 14:1-4)
Later in this chapter of Romans Paul warns against judging one's brother on matters that fall under the category of Christian liberty - food and the observance of certain days (Romans 14:4-10). It would be wrong to exclude a weaker brother from fellowship because he has a more active conscience in certain areas where the Bible legitimately allows liberty. But, if that weaker brother demanded that his scruples be followed by everyone else as a condition of fellowship, he would become an illegitimate lawgiver and should be withstood and ultimately, if he remained unrepentant, expelled from fellowship.

What is wrong with illegitimate law-givers is that they are claiming to know that someone is sinning when they are not. This is tantamount to making one's self God's lawgiver. To judge like this is to claim to know (that some certain action of another person is sin) what one does not know.

However we can judge what is true or false, sinful or righteous, based on what has been revealed in Scripture. Publicly proclaimed teachings can be judged to be false and should be publicly refuted. Paul did this. Paul told Timothy to do this. Paul gave all elders the responsibility to do this. The church must be warned about wolves when they arise, whether from inside the church or without. Likewise prophecy must be judged by the objective criteria of the Bible (1Corinthians 14:29; 1Thessalonians 5:21).

There is important action to be taken: We can and we must judge what we can know objectively, but we must not judge what we cannot know objectively. Ask yourself when you make a judgment, "can I know this with certainty"? If the answer is no, we cannot judge. If the answer is yes and the issue concerns Biblical doctrine or sin, we not only may judge; we must judge. Publicly proclaimed teaching falls into this category.

HT: From the Lighthouse

Friday, September 11, 2009

Remembering 9/11 - A Solemn Tribute
by Steve Camp


The Heavens (and the Hubble) Are Telling the Glory of God by Albert Mohler

The images now flowing from the Hubble Space Telescope are simply stunning. Vast nebulae appear as delicate butterflies and the vast reaches of the universe are coming into new focus. All this comes after a feat of modern engineering and expertise as a rescue mission to the telescope last spring replaced two cameras and repaired broken equipment. The rescue mission cost approximately $1 billion, but the life of the orbiting telescope was extended at least five years.

No one envisioned this kind of longevity for Hubble when the telescope was first put into orbit in 1990. Named for astronomer Edwin P. Hubble (1889-1953), the telescope's location in orbit around the earth avoids the distortions of the earth's atmosphere.

Now, with images streaming from the Hubble, scientists are elated and NASA is relieved. "The hair was standing up on the back of my neck to see the potential of this telescope," said John Grunsfeld, one of the astronauts who fixed the telescope back in the spring. Heidi Hammel of the Space Science Institute said, “We’re giddy with the quality of the data we’re getting." Astronaut Mike Massimino simply said, "Thank God, we didn't break it."

It is easy to see why. The images are simply amazing, even to a non-astronomer. These visions have never been seen by human eyes before. In these and so many other ways, this generation has glimpsed the grandeur of the creation like no generation before us.

One interesting facet of the publicity around the new images from Hubble is the inadequacy of the comments offered by so many. Consider this portion of an account by the Associated Press:

The butterfly photo shows details, such as gassy folds in what looks like butterfly wings, that the Hubble previously could not see, said Hubble senior scientist Dave Leckrone.

The glow in that photo and others is hot gas and dust pushed out from the stars, Leckrone said. In a way, it's like a lightbulb, with the star as the filament but the overall glow from the gas, he said.

The images, especially the butterfly, don't just show science, but can evoke a sense of spirituality, Leckrone said.

"What I see is the grandeur of creation, however it got there," Leckrone told The Associated Press.

The Associated Press offers a very credible news story on the Hubble excitement. But consider the statement provided by Dave Leckrone: "What I see is the grandeur of creation, however it got there." As the report indicates, Leckrone suggested that the Hubble images should evoke "spirituality," and not merely a respect for science.

Leckrone may well be speaking honestly about his lack of concern for "how it got there," but I doubt that is all there is to it. How can intelligent people consider the grandeur of the cosmos without pondering, "how it got there?" In the end, the "how" question (or the "who" question) determines the meaning of the cosmos itself. If the universe (and what lies beyond) is merely an accident of physics, the grandeur is simply in the sheer unlikeliness of it all. Beyond this observation, little more can be said. We are left to ponder the cosmos as a freakish accident that provides human beings (also accidents) with an opportunity for amazement.

If, on the other hand, the cosmos is the work of a sovereign and holy Creator, the cosmos is itself a reflection of His character and power -- and the theater of His glory.

According to The New York Times, astronaut K. Megan McArthur reacted to the images coming from the newly-repaired Hubble with this: “I’m in awe of the human ingenuity that could conceive of such a thing and then make it happen." Well, the human ingenuity displayed in the Hubble is indeed impressive -- deeply so. But how do we explain even the wonder of this human ingenuity? Furthermore, how can one's wonder stop at human ingenuity? The real wonder is not Hubble, but what Hubble has allowed us at last to see.

"The heavens are telling the glory of God," sings the Psalmist, "and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands." [Psalm 19:1, NASB] Every atom of creation cries out the glory of God. The Hubble Space Telescope now shows the glory of God in the universe in a new dimension -- and in breathtaking color and complexity. To see these images is to view the work of the Creator in a glory newly disclosed, newly visible to human eyes.

To read of the vast distances and dimensions seen and measured by Hubble's technology is to be reminded just how small our planet really is -- and how even smaller we humans are. As the Psalmist reflected: "When I consider your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars which you have ordained; What is man that You take thought of him, and the son of man that You care for him?" [Psalm 8:3-4, NASB]

The cosmos does reveal the glory of the Creator -- indeed it is inevitably so. The heavens -- and Hubble -- are telling the glory of God. He who has eyes to see, let him see.


Photo credit, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration). Main Hubble page with images available here.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Josiah Grauman Story (John MacArthur)

We believe that God is holy and perfect. He has commanded us to be completely perfect, just as He is (1 Peter 1:16). Yet we have not lived a perfect life, nor can we...nor can anyone (Romans 3:23). Yet though we have sinned and so deserve to receive the wrath of God forever in hell (Matthew 5:22), we believe that He has made a way to reconcile us to Himself. He sent His Son Jesus to live the perfect life that we could not live, and then die the death that we deserve so that anyone who believes in Him could have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus Christ died on the cross, not because He deserved to die, but rather to receive the punishment that we deserve, thereby freeing us from all condemnation (Romans 8:1). Now that in the justice of God we have already died for our sin (Since Jesus died in our place, Galatians 2:20), we eagerly await the day when God will resurrect us, just as He did His Son, and bring us to heaven where we will worship Him forever (2 Corinthians 4:14). To Him be the glory forever.



Monday, September 7, 2009

Disinterestedness by Jim Elliff

Disinterestedness. This compelling word is not about what you might expect. We have all seen (and been) the disinterested student, expressionless, gazing into some unknown blank space outside the classroom, waiting out the final eternal moments of the professor’s pedantic, sleep-inducing hum. That describes a use of the word, but not our use. What we wish to say with this word is immensely desirable; it was once employed to describe the best of conditions of the believer. The following intriguing story from the pen of Archibald Alexander illustrates.

In the middle colonies, mid 1700’s, there were no schools for the training of preachers as there were in the east. William Tennent, Sr. began what was soon called “the Log College” to address the need, and trained his own sons there—first, the famous Gilbert Tennent, then John, and finally William, Jr. After young William finished, he was preparing for his ordination examination when his studies began to affect his health. He so became emaciated, “and at length was like a living skeleton.” A young physician attended to him and became a warm friend. Little hope was left for him after some time and his spirits began to fail. He began to “entertain doubts about his final happiness.”

Princeton professor, Alexander, vouching for the realiability of the story, related the following: “As he was conversing one morning with his brother in Latin on the state of his soul he fainted and died away. After the usual time he was laid out on a board...and the neighborhood was invited to attend his funeral on the next day. In the evening, his physician...returned from a ride in the country” and was deeply disturbed. Upon feeling some unusual warmth in a certain place, he “insisted that the people who had been invited to the funeral should be requested not to attend.” Gilbert believed this to be absurd, “the eyes being sunk, the lips discolored and the whole body cold and still.” The doctor prevailed and used every possible means to treat the patient, night and day.

The third day came and still there was no life. “The people were again invited, and assembled to attend the funeral. The doctor still objected, and at last confined his request to delay to one hour, then to half an hour, and finally to a quarter of an hour. He had discovered that the tongue was much swollen and threatened to crack, “ and “was endeavoring to soften it, by some emollient...with a feather, when the brother came in, about the expiration of the last period, and mistaking what the doctor was doing for attempting to feed a spirited tone said, ‘it is shameful to be feeding a lifeless corpse;’ and insisted that the funeral should immediately proceed. At this most critical moment, the body, to the great alarm and astonishment of all present, opened it’s eyes, gave a dreadful groan and sunk again into apparent death. This put an end to all thought of burying him.” In about an hour this happened again and he went back into the former state. “Mr. Tennent continued in so weak and low a state for six weeks, that great doubts were entertained of his final recovery.” About 12 months later, “his sister..was reading the Bible, when he took notice of it and asked her what she was reading. She answered that she was reading the Bible. He replied, ‘What is the Bible? I know not what you mean.” William, she discovered, had forgotten all details of his earlier life and therefore had to start learning English and Latin like a schoolboy. However, during that period, all of a sudden, he had a shock in his head and completely regained his senses and memory.

Alexander asked Tennent personally for any explanation he could give. Though Tennent almost never spoke of his experience because it was so precious, here were his words: “While I was conversing with my brother on the state of my soul, and the fears I had entertained for my future welfare, I found myself, in an instant, in another state of existence, under the direction of a superior being, who ordered me to follow him. I was accordingly wafted along, I know not how, till I beheld at a distance an ineffable glory, the impression of which on my mind it is impossible to communicate to mortal man. I immediately reflected on my happy change, and thought,—Well, blessed be God! I am safe at last, notwithstanding all my fears. I saw an innumerable host of happy beings surrounding the inexpressible glory, in acts of adoration and joyous worship; but I did not see any bodily shape or representation in the glorious appearance. I heard things unutterable...I then applied myself to my conductor, and requested leave to join the happy throng; on which he tapped me on the shoulder, and said, ‘You must return to earth.’ This seemed like a sword through my heart. In a instant, I recollect to have seen my brother standing before me, disputing with the doctor. The three days during which I had appeared lifeless seemed to me not more than ten or twenty minutes. The idea of returning to this world of sorrow and trouble gave me such a shock, that I fainted repeatedly.”

Listen now to his expression of our subject, disinterestedness. In correspondence from another who had talked with Tennent he quoted him as saying, ‘For three years [following recovery] the sense of divine things continued so great, and everything else appeared so completely vain, when compared to heaven, that could I have had the whole world for stooping down for it, I believe I should not have thought of doing it.

This long story, whether you believe it to be credible or not, illustrates in an exaggerated sense what disinterestedness is about. It is the product of an absorption of mind so deep that the world and normal temptations have no appeal. Paul said that we are to set our minds on things above, not on the things on the earth; for you have died [that is, to sin] and your life is hidden with Christ in God...” Col. 3:1-3. To be disinterested is to obey this verse or to set your mind persistently on things above. Francis Schaeffer wrote that believers should live their lives as if they had died and gone to heaven and the returned again. Just how would you respond to your normal temptations after having seen heaven?

It is true that you are disinterested in some temptations even now. For instance, there may be no appeal toward taking illegal drugs. Your disinterestedness in the case likely has nothing to do with spirituality, but is the same as the freedom from temptation which an unregenerate man may have. It is entirely natural. Do not boast of anything noble on that account. However, when we are tempted and seek to know and love God, and like Moses long to see His glory, and out of that occupation of our minds have no further love for that previous temptation, we have experienced something of the reality of the very highest form of freedom from sin. It is one thing to love sin and to force ourselves to quit it; it is another thing to hate sin because love for God is so gripping that the sin no longer appeals. The latter is repentance; the former is reform. It is repentance that God requires. Repentance is “a change of mind.” To love and yet quit it is not the same as hating it and quitting it. Your supposed victory over a sin may be simple displacement. You may love one sin so much (such as your pride) that you will curtail another more embarrassing sin which you also love. This may look spiritual, but there is nothing of God in it. Natural men do it every day.

All of this leads me to this one appeal: Seek the face of God above all. Paul said that knowing Christ was his highest calling (Phil. 3) and it must be ours. Revival is a visitation of God; it is God showing up. Sin is dropped, society is cleansed, families are mended, because people have encountered God. The disinterestedness we seek is found in the revelation of God.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Can We Trust the 66 Books of the Bible?

Watch this short interview with John Piper given on May 26, 2004


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Is the Reformation Over? by R.C. Sproul

Is the Reformation over? There have been several observations rendered on this subject by those I would call “erstwhile evangelicals.” One of them wrote, “Luther was right in the sixteenth century, but the question of justification is not an issue now.” A second self-confessed evangelical made a comment in a press conference I attended that “the sixteenth-century Reformation debate over justification by faith alone was a tempest in a teapot.” Still another noted European theologian has argued in print that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is no longer a significant issue in the church. We are faced with a host of people who are defined as Protestants but who have evidently forgotten altogether what it is they are protesting.

Contrary to some of these contemporary assessments of the importance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, we recall a different perspective by the sixteenth-century magisterial Reformers. Luther made his famous comment that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is the article upon which the church stands or falls. John Calvin added a different metaphor, saying that justification is the hinge upon which everything turns. In the twentieth century, J.I. Packer used a metaphor indicating that justification by faith alone is the “Atlas upon whose shoulder every other doctrine stands.” Later Packer moved away from that strong metaphor and retreated to a much weaker one, saying that justification by faith alone is “the fine print of the gospel.”

The question we have to face in light of these discussions is, what has changed since the sixteenth century? Well, there is good news and there is bad news. The good news is that people have become much more civil and tolerant in theological disputes. We don’t see people being burned at the stake or tortured on the rack over doctrinal differences. We’ve also seen in the past years that the Roman communion has remained solidly steadfast on other key issues of Christian orthodoxy, such as the deity of Christ, His substitutionary atonement, and the inspiration of the Bible, while many Protestant liberals have abandoned these particular doctrines wholesale. We also see that Rome has remained steadfast on critical moral issues such as abortion and ethical relativism. In the nineteenth century at Vatican Council I, Rome referred to Protestants as “heretics and schismatics.” In the twentieth century at Vatican II, Protestants were referred to as “separated brethren.” We see a marked contrast in the tone of the different councils. The bad news, however, is that many doctrines that divided orthodox Protestants from Roman Catholics centuries ago have been declared dogma since the sixteenth century. Virtually all of the significant Mariology decrees have been declared in the last 150 years. The doctrine of papal infallibility, though it de facto functioned long before its formal definition, was nevertheless formally defined and declared de fide (necessary to believe for salvation) in 1870 at Vatican Council I. We also see that in recent years the Roman communion has published a new Catholic catechism, which unequivocally reaffirms the doctrines of the Council of Trent, including Trent’s definition of the doctrine of justification (and thus affirms that council’s anathemas against the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone). Along with the reaffirmations of Trent have come a clear reaffirmation of the Roman doctrine of purgatory, indulgences, and the treasury of merits.

At a discussion among leading theologians over the issue of the continued relevance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone, Michael Horton asked the question: “What is it in the last decades that has made the first-century gospel unimportant?” The dispute over justification was not over a technical point of theology that could be consigned to the fringes of the depository of biblical truth. Nor could it be seen simply as a tempest in a teapot. This tempest extended far beyond the tiny volume of a single teacup. The question, “what must I do to be saved?” is still a critical question for any person who is exposed to the wrath of God.

Even more critical than the question is the answer, because the answer touches the very heart of gospel truth. In the final analysis, the Roman Catholic Church affirmed at Trent and continues to affirm now that the basis by which God will declare a person just or unjust is found in one’s “inherent righteousness.” If righteousness does not inhere in the person, that person at worst goes to hell and at best (if any impurities remain in his life) goes to purgatory for a time that may extend to millions of years. In bold contrast to that, the biblical and Protestant view of justification is that the sole grounds of our justification is the righteousness of Christ, which righteousness is imputed to the believer, so that the moment a person has authentic faith in Christ, all that is necessary for salvation becomes theirs by virtue of the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. The fundamental issue is this: is the basis by which I am justified a righteousness that is my own? Or is it a righteousness that is, as Luther said, “an alien righteousness,” a righteousness that is extra nos, apart from us — the righteousness of another, namely, the righteousness of Christ? From the sixteenth century to the present, Rome has always taught that justification is based upon faith, on Christ, and on grace. The difference, however, is that Rome continues to deny that justification is based on Christ alone, received by faith alone, and given by grace alone. The difference between these two positions is the difference between salvation and its opposite. There is no greater issue facing a person who is alienated from a righteous God.

At the moment the Roman Catholic Church condemned the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone, she denied the gospel and ceased to be a legitimate church, regardless of all the rest of her affirmations of Christian orthodoxy. To embrace her as an authentic church while she continues to repudiate the biblical doctrine of salvation is a fatal attribution. We’re living in a time where theological conflict is considered politically incorrect, but to declare peace when there is no peace is to betray the heart and soul of the gospel.

From Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. © Tabletalk magazine.
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

MacArthur on the Purpose Driven Life

John MacArthur explains what is wrong with the Purpose Driven Life.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jesus Died! - Paul Washer

This is an excerpt of Paul Washer's sermon "The Greatest Words in all of Scripture"

An audio mp3 of this clip can be found here, compliments of:

How Can a God of Love Send Anyone to Hell?

Albert Mohler answers the question "How can a God who is loving and good send anyone to hell?" He was asked to address that question when he preached recently at Idlewild Baptist Church in Tampa, Florida. Here is the video of that message.