Friday, October 30, 2009

The Great White Throne Judgment - Steve Lawson

Steve Lawson gives this sobering message on Revelation 20 at the 2008 Resolved Conference.

Download mp3


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Christless Christianity - Dr. Michael Horton

A small portion of a four part lecture series given by Michael Horton on the subject matter of "Christless Christianity."

October 31st, 1517 Wittenburg, Germany

by Jim Elliff

It was October 31st, 1517 in Wittenburg, Germany.

Martin grasped a hammer and a long piece of paper covered with his writing. He walked out into the street and straight over to the castle church door. It was here that community messages were often posted.

Martin nailed his 95 points of discussion on the door. He only wanted to lay out his newly discovered views of the Bible to other church leaders in the Medieval Catholic church. He thought he was free to do so even though his thoughts were radical. After all, he was an Augustinian monk and a professor of theology.

Martin called himself a “stinking bag of maggots,” and certainly did not dream of being a leader in a revolution of thinking in Germany and across Europe that shaped history in a powerful way. But God had determined something far bigger than the monk Martin Luther expected when he penned those 95 Theses.

Without his knowledge someone printed his words on the newly invented Gutenburg press, distributing it all over Germany. Within a very few days, Martin found that he was the subject of everyone’s thoughts. In the cathedrals and great stone castles of his homeland, the pubs and peasant’s cottages—everyone was talking about the views of Luther. Without a signal to announce it, the Protestant Reformation had begun!

Just what was the Protestant Reformation all about? What did Luther and others protest?

The protesters were seeing something new about how a person is accepted by God—that is, new to them. They protested that the church had been teaching the wrong view about the most important issue of life. They discovered that the Bible says we are not accepted on the basis of our religious deeds, or even our good deeds along with our faith, but that we are accepted before a holy God only through faith in Christ.

“Through faith alone in Christ alone” began to be heard all over Europe. The people must transfer their confidence for salvation in the church’s religious traditions to Christ alone. The reformers wanted the people to return to the Bible’s plain teaching on how to be a true Christian. Because heaven and hell were at stake, the passions rose very high. Many would be persecuted and some even killed for this truth. But through it all, tens of thousands of people were converted to Christ and were assured of heaven.

We have been feeling the effects of the Protestant Reformation ever since. Many of our churches have their historical roots in the Reformation. Returning to the Bible as the source of understanding about how we are to relate to God has shaped nations. Perhaps no other religious period since the coming of Christ has been so influential as this one.

But many people, and even many churches, have forgotten the great lessons that were made so clear beginning on October 31, 1517. What difference can this mean to you nearly 500 years later?

This passage from the Bible is a good place to start. It describes God’s way to understand salvation:

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2: 8-9)

Through these 500 years since the Protestant Reformation, and throughout time, men and women, youth and children have come to Christ in this simple way—through faith alone in Christ alone. Placing our full confidence in Christ’s perfect life and sacrificial death for sinful people is the only way to God. It is not that good works are not important—they are a result of true faith in every believer’s life. But those works cannot save. Salvation is a gift of grace, not a reward for trying to be good.

Like Martin Luther, you may come by faith alone to Christ alone even now, all these years later. In fact, this is the very way the first New Testament believers came to Him!

Copyright © 2002 Jim Elliff
Christian Communicators Worldwide, Inc.

"Persecution or a Great Awakening" - Paul Washer

This is a video response to Ten Indictments {A Historical 21st Century Message} (Paul Washer)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


David Wilkerson, author of "The Cross and the Switchblade" and founder of the Teen Challenge drug rehabilitation program, preaches a strong word on the need for repentance! Oh, where are the preachers of righteousness nowadays??? May God turn the hearts of His people to a place of seeking His face once again in desperation, confession of sin, crying out for real holiness of heart, seeking His glory above all else, exalting Jesus Christ as Lord of ALL!!!

Lift Up Your Eyes! - Ken Silva

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (2 Corinthians 12:9, KJV)

A Time Where We Really Can Glory In Weakness

I don’t agree with everything A.W. Tozer taught; but minus his mystical bent, overall Tozer was one of the better teachers of the Bible concerning the more spiritual side of our walk with our Lord. It’s my belief that he was also speaking to our generation when he wrote circa 1960:

"Today more than ever we Christians need to learn how to sanctify the ordinary! In this cynical generation, people have been overstimulated to the place where their nerves are jaded and their tastes corrupted. Everything is common and almost everything boring. The sacred has been secularized, the holy vulgarized and worship converted into a form of entertainment."

Without question these are difficult times of growing spiritual blindness we are now living through. I say it this way because, in my opinion, the average person who would be bold enough to even dare call themselves a Christian often lives in such a way that, even if there were no God at all, their lives really wouldn’t be much different. They would still read the Bible on occasion, say a quick prayer or two, go about their daily lives, work, and relaxation time, with a certain level of morality; and whether God is there or not, it wouldn’t really change very much as to how they order their lives.

This sad state of “Christianity” here in America is actually the byproduct of the faulty fruit of the Church Growth Movement as expressed through the various arms of its Ecumenical Church Of Deceit steeped as it is in sappy semi-pelagianism and the resultant interfaith/interspiritual inclusivism ala the egregiously ecumenical Emerging Church aka Emergent Church de-formation of the Christian faith—now morphing into Emergence Christianity. But I offer you encouragement today that even with the visible church adrift our Lord is still in absolute control.

And I tell you the truth that what we are seeing is actually a spiritual affliction, an “infirmity” of sorts sent in order to drive His very precious sheep back to His feet. Beloved of God, do you remember Psalm 119:

Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept Thy Word. Thou art good, and doest good; teach me Thy Statutes… It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn Thy Statutes. (vv.67-68,71, KJV)

O how great and wonderful is our loving Lord, Who is giving us the chance in this generation, to be “made perfect in [our] weakness.” So, rather than being discouraged and exasperated as this apostasy grows, those of us who hear His Voice should instead “glory in” these spiritual “infirmities,” in order “that the power of Christ may rest upon [us].” So, can you see it now? The LORD God Almighty is still sovereign and these times we now live in have come about that we might be driven to His Word, and driven to our knees, in order that we as the Body of Christ—along with the Psalmist might:

lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: He that keepeth thee will not slumber. (Psalm 121:1-3, KJV)

Today I exhort you to lift up your eyes my dear brothers and sisters, and behold the coming power of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ upon His true Church.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Cost of Not Following Christ - Paul Washer

This sermon was preached at Berean Baptist Church of Livonia, MI. at their 2009 Missions Conference.

HT: Truth Matters

Thursday, October 22, 2009

What is the Heart of the Gospel?

Pastor John MacArthur (Grace to You) explains what is the heart of the Gospel (Justification by Faith Alone/Sola Fide) to Actor Kirk Cameron (The Way of the Master) from 2 Corinthians 5:21:

"God made Him (Jesus) who had no sin to be sin (offering) for us, so that in Him (Jesus) we might become the righteousness of God." (The Great Exchange: My sin for Christ's perfect righteousness).

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Hell's Best Kept Secret - Ray Comfort

Why do 80-90% of those making a decision for Christ fall away from the faith? What is the principle that Spurgeon, Wesley, Whitefield, etc., used to reach the lost? Why has the Church neglected it? Don't let anything stop you from listening to this incredible teaching.

Source and download:

Lord Lord? I Never Knew You - Paul Washer

Paul Washer preaching on the Narrow Way - Matthew 7:12-21

12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. 13 Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

15 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheeps clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. 18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
I Never Knew You

21 Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name? 23 And then will I declare to them, I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The False Gospel of Most Evangelical Churches

Courtesy of CrossTV ( Many so called "Bible believing" churches are preaching a gospel that is geared to gain "decisions for Christ" rather than preach a balanced (law & grace, true) gospel. Leaving many in attendance to follow a false Jesus (one that does not exist and therefore cannot save anyone from the wrath of God).

When is the Last Time You Boldly Spoke the Gospel?

Authentic Gospel Ministry involves courage in Gospel speaking. 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 poses a question for all of us: "When is the last time we have done something that required boldness in speaking the Gospel?" An excerpt from Jared Mellinger's message entitled "Real Church: Authentic Gospel Ministry." The full audio sermon series are available in the resources section of their website,

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Decisional Regeneration and Altar-Call Salvation

In the seventh chapter of Matthew (21-23), Jesus warns, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven (shall). Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name? And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness (sin, iniquity)!'

"I'm saved," the logic goes, "because I asked Jesus into my heart when I was 10, and even though I'm not living for him now, I'm going to Heaven because I prayed the prayer and walked the aisle." ANY TEACHING that suggests this is a damnable lie and is much a perversion of God's word as the distortion breathed by the serpent in Eden's garden. ...Notice that the verse above does not say "I knew you but because of your lawlessness, I became forgetful." He says, "I NEVER KNEW YOU!" Examine yourselves to see if you're in the faith. (2Cor 13:5)

This is part of the documentary "Amazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism". For more information visit:

Saturday, October 17, 2009

What Does The Sovereignty Of God Mean?

Interview with Ligon Duncan on the sovereignty of God.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


A challenging compilation with David Wilkerson, Jym Cymbala, Leonard Ravenhill, Keith Daniels, and Carter Conlon showing how far the church has fallen from the Biblical standard and the early church that Jesus built... This will impact you!


Monday, October 12, 2009

What is the greatest commandment?

The Essential Second
Matthew 22:37-38, 1 John 3:16, John 13:3-5
by John MacArthur

A well-known Peanuts cartoon shows Lucy accusing her little brother, Linus, of not loving his fellow man. "I love mankind," was his indignant response, "it's people I can't stand!" It is very easy to love the whole wide world, and it is easy to love the church. However, it may be very difficult to love one particular person. But the love our Lord calls you to exercise is a practical, personal kind of love that is expressed primarily to individuals.

A Jewish law expert once asked Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment?" You remember His answer: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment" (Matt. 22:37-38). Though that seemed to satisfy the question, Jesus wasn't finished. Without taking a breath, He added, "The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself'" (v. 39).

Love for God and love for your neighbor are vitally connected and cannot be separated- you cannot do one without doing the other. How important is this second commandment? James called it the "royal" or sovereign law-it towers over the rest. Paul said if you keep it, you will be fulfilling the demands of the entire Old Testament (Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14). Recognizing the command is one thing- understanding and practicing biblical love is another.

Love in Action

When I first came to Grace Community Church, I wanted badly to love everyone, but I couldn't figure out how to get the emotional feeling I thought was necessary. Some people were kind of irritating, and some even purposely made things difficult for me. I wanted to love them, but I didn't know how. One day I went to a man who was particularly difficult, put my arm around him, and said, "I want you to know something. If there's any way I can ever serve you, I'd sure love to have the opportunity." The opportunity came. My attitude toward him didn't change because of how I felt about him emotionally, but because of how I came to love him by serving him.

Loving others is not a question of patting someone on the back and saying, "You're so wonderful, so irresistible. I love you!" You show love by making personal sacrifices to meet someone's need. Sometimes I'm asked how I can minister to individuals in a large church. It is not by running around to everyone and expressing love, but by making sacrifices in my life to help them grow spiritually. I care enough about them to do what is necessary in my life to bring them into conformity to Jesus Christ.

If you still have doubts about what biblical love is, ponder this: Has God ever shouted, "I love you!" from heaven or written it in the sky? No; we see the love of God in Christ laying down His life for us. God put His Son on a cross on our behalf. That is how He expressed His love-through sacrifice. Since Christ "laid down His life for us... we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren" (1 John 3:16).

Death isn't always the price; sometimes love requires the sacrifice of your possessions, your time, or some other precious commodity. "But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?" (1 John 3:17). If you see someone who has a need, you must meet that need as far as you're able, or you prove yourself to be deficient in love.

"Well," someone interjects, "before we can love someone, we have to love ourselves. After all, the Bible says in James 2:8 we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves." That is a popular concept. But it is not what James 2:8 (or the rest of Scripture) teaches. Psychologists have made a business out of misinterpreting that verse. They say you must learn a "healthy" self-love to gain a good self-image; if you do not have a high regard for yourself, you will never be able to love other people the way God intended.

That's a serious misunderstanding. Those who advocate the saying, "learn to love yourself before you can love others," naively ignore what the Bible teaches about sin-that it is inherently self interested. To teach someone to love themselves is to justify or encourage the consuming sin of pride and to undercut any effort or desire to sacrifice self and love others.

So what does it mean to love others as you love yourself? Look at James 2:1: "My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism." The text goes on to give the illustration of a rich man and a poor man visiting a congregation and being treated differently. James is saying that as a Christian you are not to treat certain people with respect while you treat others with indifference. Rather, to fulfill the royal law, you are to treat everyone as you would treat yourself- the assumption is that you are already naturally inclined to treat yourself best. Whatever great sacrifices you make for your own comfort, you should make the same for the comfort of others, without respect to their status in life. It has nothing to do with the importance of loving self; it has to do with your service toward others.

Just stop, for example, and consider the lengths you go to make yourself comfortable. That is the same way you should meet the needs of others. The way you treat your own desires is the way you should treat the desires of others. You should love them in terms of self-sacrificing service, just as you make sacrifices for your own benefit.

Are you willing to do that? Are you willing to give up whatever it is that makes you comfortable in order to provide for the comfort of someone else? Are you willing to sacrifice the things you enjoy so another's needs may be met? That is loving your neighbor as yourself. It is not psychological; it is sacrificial.

Love in Humility

One vivid example of self-sacrificing love for others was given Jesus Himself. On the night before He suffered and died, the Lord did not tell His disciples in the upper room, "I love you. I'd like to give you a discussion of divine love and tell you how it works."

Instead, our Lord washed His disciples' feet. John 13:3-5 says, " up from supper, and laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself. Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded." God in the flesh was stooping to wash dirt off the feet of His weak, sinful disciples. Now that's love!

And that is precisely the kind of love the Lord demands of the rest of His disciples. After His amazing example of self-humiliation, Jesus said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another" (vv. 34, 35).

How had Jesus demonstrated His love for them? By washing their dirty feet; by taking the role of a slave; by doing the distasteful thing, the sacrificial thing. Loving one another is not just feeling little pangs of emotion. It is serving. When you willingly sacrifice what you want for the good of another, when you choose to fill the need of someone instead of satisfying your own need, then you really love (no matter what your emotions may be). That is what God expects.


Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Emergent Inebriates -
Some thoughts on "Pub Theology."

By Pastor Larry DeBruyn

As he begins to rip into "a screaming guitar solo," a band member sarcastically yells out at the audience, "Let's go to church boys!"[1] Welcome to Pub Theology. As the reporter describes it, Pub Theology is "a Sunday night show that's one part church and one part party." Among other posters on the barroom walls, one alludes and adds to the final verse of the biblical chapter on love. It reads, "Faith, Hope, Love and Beer." WARNING: The biblical text reads, "But now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love" (1 Corinthians 13:13, NASB).[2]

Being "shaggy-haired, body-pierced and colored with assorted body art," members of the Sunday evening pub rock group double as members of a mega-church's "worship team" on Sunday mornings. Confessing to love both Jesus and rock 'n' roll, band members will burn through a pack of cigarettes and exhort the audience to visit the bar and buy beer during Sunday night "church." Initially skeptical about hosting Pub Theology on Sunday nights, the bar owner now admits the band has turned an otherwise dead night into a profitable evening.

Regarding this new outreach -- the mega-church's ministerial staff approve of doing Pub Theology -- one of the band's members says: "We want to be sincere and authentic and be who we really are, whether that is wearing jeans and a T-shirt or having a beer. I think that is real," he continues, "and I don't think it is wrong or that God is unhappy about that." Sure . . . in contrast to "drunkenness, carousing," one fruit of the Spirit is "self-control" (Galatians 5:21, 23).

Relates another band member: "I can drink a beer and smoke a cigarette and play some of my favorite songs and hang out with my friends and maybe meet someone and tell them about Jesus."

Interestingly, most of the band members were raised in religious homes. In fact, two of its members are former PKS (That's an acronym for "preacher's kids."). Having been a former pastor, their father has now become the band's "roadie" (That's a term which refers to the managers and technicians traveling with the band.). The members account for the band's existence and approach to ministry for reason of their holier-than-thou Wesleyan upbringing -- you know, "I don't drink, I don't smoke, I don't go to R-rated movies, I don't dance."

On this point, and as a rebellious child of the '60s who too was raised in the legalistic environment of Western Michigan, let me say that I understand and somewhat sympathize with the band members' rejection of legalism. But all rebels ought to be cautioned that "rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry" (1 Samuel 15:23). We ought to be reminded that God doesn't make Christians from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. Though one's Christianity is defined by inner faith not outer works, Paul did write that Christians are God's "workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10).

Works are the issue of faith. Thus, we must not assume the opposite attitude from legalism, that of antinomianism (i.e., that God's grace cancels out any need to obey His moral and spiritual law). For as Paul asked: "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace might increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it?" (Romans 6:1-2). Contradicting antinomianism, the writer of Hebrews orders us to, "Pursue . . . holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled" (Hebrews 12:14-15, NKJV).

Nevertheless, the casual and alcoholically lubricated atmosphere of Pub Theology raises an important issue, for, as the reporter asks, "Does Pub Theology produce any lasting effects, or is it just a casual encounter with church in a bar -- a spiritual one-night stand?" All the band's claims of "doing ministry" notwithstanding -- they do field questions about Christianity from the audience and callers-in, give inebriated individuals rides home, and have even seen one rescued drunk baptized a few days later in their church -- Pub Theology shows every symptom of being a carnal "one-night-stand." (Note: I do not use the word spiritual.)

First, Pub Theology is not church. If it is, then where's the reading of Scripture, the apostles' teaching, prayer and observance of the Lord's Table? (Acts 2:42) But on this point, we can be certain that the band will avoid any impression of being too "churchly or preachy." But beer steins are no substitute for communion cups. In fact, to the true church the Apostle Peter announced that "the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousals, drinking parties and abominable idolatries" (1 Peter 4:3).

Second, Pub Theology is not theology. Reportedly, the band's opening song was Joan Osborne's one-hit wonder, "What if God was one of us?" The lyrics add, "Just a slob like one of us."[3] Imagine . . . God being a slob like the rest of the inebriated crowd at the bar. Given such a humanizing of God, what we're dealing with is not Pub Theology, but pub idolatry. "[T]he glory of the incorruptible God" is being exchanged "for an image in the form of corruptible man" (Romans 1:23, NASB). Do you think Joan Osborne's lyrical questions in any way resemble or affirm the great Christological passages of the New Testament? (John 1:1 ff.; Colossians 1:15-17; Philippians 2:5-11). By the way, these cited passages are comprised of theological statements extracted from early Christian hymns. Would the pub theology band sing them? I'd think they'd estimate that the lyrics of these biblical hymns are far too dogmatic, stodgy, and preachy for the "boys" at the bar! If the song "What if God was one of us?" gives any indication, probably none of the other music the band plays includes "psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs."

Third, Pub Theology is not Christian outreach. The Apostle Paul would not have employed carnal means to attain spiritual ends.[4] You can't fight fire with fire. He wrote: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God" (2 Corinthians 10:3-5, NIV; Compare Galatians 5:21 where Paul labels "drunkenness" a work of the flesh). The Apostle also ordered the Ephesians: "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord" (Ephesians 5:18-19). To the Roman believers he added that, "It is good not . . . to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles" (Romans 14:21).[5]

So we conclude: Given the atmosphere surrounding Pub Theology, the description of love as it exists on a poster at "Sunday-night-church-in-a-bar" might be parodied to read: Now abide these four, "faith, hope, love, and beer," but the greatest of these is beer!

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all quotations are taken from Robert King, "Faith, Hope, Love, Beer," The Indianapolis Star, September 27, 2009, A1, A14. Article may be viewed online. See Faith & Values, Robert King, "Pub Theology conveys Christian message in Broad Ripple," Indy, September 27, 2009,
[2] Wisdom testifies: "Every word of God is tested . . . Do not add to His words lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6, NASB). Compare Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; and Revelation 22:18-19.
[3] Lyrics online at:
[4] Those interested in pursuing the matter of the Christian and alcohol consumption are invited to read, "The Wrath of Grapes: The Christian and Alcohol Consumption." Online the article is available at:
[5] On this point, readers are invited to check out website article, "Was Paul a Pragmatist?" Online the article may be viewed at: or at Herescope


Friday, October 9, 2009

The Church Versus the World - John MacArthur

James 4:4, Luke 6:26, John 7:7, John 15:18-19

Why do evangelicals try so desperately to court the world's favor? Churches plan their worship services to cater to the "unchurched." Christian performers ape every worldly fad in music and entertainment. Preachers are terrified that the offense of the gospel might turn someone against them, so they deliberately omit the parts of the message the world might not approve of.

Evangelicalism seems to have been hijacked by legions of carnal spin-doctors, who are trying their best to convince the world that the church can be just as inclusive, pluralistic, and broad-minded as the most politically-correct worldling.

The quest for the world's approval is nothing less than spiritual harlotry. In fact, that is precisely the imagery the apostle James used to describe it. He wrote: "Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God" (James 4:4).

There is and always has been a fundamental, irreconcilable incompatibility between the church and the world. Christian thought is out of harmony with all the world's philosophies. Genuine faith in Christ entails a denial of every worldly value. Biblical truth contradicts all the world's religions. Christianity itself is therefore antithetical to virtually everything this world admires.

Jesus told His disciples, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you" (John 15:18-19).

Notice that our Lord considered it a given that the world would despise the church. Far from teaching His disciples to try to win the world's favor by reinventing the gospel to suit worldly preferences, Jesus expressly warned that the quest for worldly accolades is a characteristic of false prophets: "Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for so did their fathers to the false prophets" (Luke 6:26).

He further explained: "The world . . . hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil" (John 7:7). In other words, the world's contempt for Christianity stems from moral, not intellectual, motives: "And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed" (John 3:19-20). That is why no matter how dramatically worldly opinion might vary, Christian truth will never be popular with the world.

Yet in virtually every era of church history there have been people in the church who are convinced that the best way to win the world is by catering to worldly tastes. Such an approach has always been to the detriment of the gospel message. The only times the church has made any significant impact on the world are when the people of God have stood firm, refused to compromise, and boldly proclaimed the truth despite the world's hostility. When Christians have shrunk away from the task of confronting popular worldly delusions with unpopular biblical truths, the church has invariably lost influence and impotently blended into the world. Both Scripture and history attest to that fact.

And the Christian message simply cannot be twisted to conform to the vicissitudes of worldly opinion. Biblical truth is fixed and constant, not subject to change or adaptation. Worldly opinion, on the other hand, is in constant flux. The various fads and philosophies that dominate the world change radically and regularly from generation to generation. The only thing that remains constant is the world's hatred of Christ and His gospel.

In all likelihood, the world will not long embrace whatever ideology is in vogue this year. If the pattern of history is any indicator, by the time our great grandchildren become adults, worldly opinion will be dominated by a completely new system of belief and a whole different set of values. Tomorrow's generation will renounce all of today's fads and philosophies. But one thing will remain unchanged: until the Lord Himself returns and establishes His kingdom on earth, whatever ideology gains popularity in the world will be as hostile to biblical truth as all its predecessors have been.

Adapted from John MacArthur's book, Why One Way?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Milky Way - Jeff Noblit

Jeff Noblit introduces Hebrews 5 by talking about "The Milky Way" or the idol of shallow principles of Christianity.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Monday, October 5, 2009

Open Letter To Pastors by Anna Wood

Dear Man of God,

You’ve been given a great and fearful job by Almighty God. As I sit before you week after week, I hunger for spiritual meat. I can no longer stand a cotton candy diet. Teach me the deep things of God. I want the truth about myself: I am a sinner and all of my “good-deeds” are but filthy rags before the Lord. My efforts are nothing and will never be enough to take me to heaven. I need you to explain what you have spent so long studying. Tell me how to please Him, how to obey Him, how to honor Him. I don’t want to hear a single word about how to secure a good life. If I need motivating, I will turn to my husband.

Stop talking to me about God’s love exclusively. I know He loves me. Jesus’ death on the cross proves that. I need to know that He is holy and a consuming fire. I need to know that He demands holiness from His followers. To explain only His love is to make Him sound like Santa Claus. He isn’t. He is amazingly powerful and all-together beautiful God Who sacrificed His only Son for me! Tell me that. Tell me what I must now do to honor that sacrifice. Don’t be afraid to step on toes–Jesus never was afraid to do so. As loving and kind as He was, Jesus was also very confrontational when the need arose. He never once told someone that they needed to think more of themselves or strive to be happier. He told them that they were sinners who were defiling God’s laws. When He saw faith, He commended it and He gave His followers everything that they needed in order to grow spiritually; however, when He saw disbelief, He wasn’t ever shy about saying so.

Many in the church live in practical disbelief. We say we are followers of Christ, but we act as if we are living for ourselves. For the true follower of Christ, life will not be easy. We must die daily. We must take up our cross daily. We must die to self, to sin and to the world. The world, Jesus said, will hate us. Have you taught me how to live so that I will be hated? Have you taught me to obey God even when it hurts me? Have you taught me that His holiness is His first attribute and the one through which all of His other attributes must be seen and understood? Don’t comfort me or pretend that everything is okay. It isn’t okay. People are dying everyday without Jesus. That’s true in the world, of course, but it’s also true in the church. Too many of our churches have become nothing more than a social club pandering to the lifestyle of comfort and ease that we Americans seem to expect. People are sitting in your pews every Sunday who believe with all of their heart that they have been saved and that they have a “ticket” to heaven. After all, they said a prayer or they accepted Jesus into their hearts. You told them that was what they had to do. Did you also tell them that it had to be accompanied by repentance? Did you tell them that Jesus said that if we love Him, we will obey Him? Did you tell them that followers of the Way will be hated and persecuted and that if life isn’t harder for them in some way they may not be following Him? That if someone doesn’t hate them for who they are and what they represent–it may mean that there isn’t enough of a difference between them and the world to measure so no one feels threatened by them? If we aren’t reminding folks of Jesus, can it be said that we truly belong to Him?

Don’t be afraid to teach that we must separate from the world, that we will have different motivations when we belong to God. Don’t be afraid to tell us ladies that we must return to dressing modestly if we are going to please God. Tell us what we are doing to our brothers in Christ when we show up at church in halter tops and mini-skirts. Tell us what it does to our witness when we go out into the world dressed in a way that draws attention to our bodies rather than our character. Teach us the boldness that it takes to stand alone for and with God. Teach me how to obey God out of a heart of love rather than by following a legalist formula. Teach me that claiming “Christian liberty” and talking about God’s grace doesn’t mean that I have a right to live anyway I want to. “Shall we sin that grace may abound? God forbid.” That was Paul’s answer. It is still the answer today.

If we are not here to obey God, why are we here? Tell me, please. Remind me that we are here to obey God and grow in Christ-likeness, to edify the believers and to reach the lost. Help me to remember that amid the rush of my daily life. Help me to have my priorities straight so that I might be pleasing to Jesus in all that I do. Teach me to focus on heaven so that my life here on earth might make sense. Help me to know that I am made for another, better World. Help me to love God enough to want to live and die for Him. Tell me the truth about hell: a place prepared for the devil and his followers also awaits those who do not bow before an Almighty and Holy God in repentance and obedience. Help me to live in such a way that I might be prepared for heaven and may never hear those awful words, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.”

Preacher, you’ve been called by God to preach His Word. Now is the time to start really doing just that. As you do so, my everlasting thankfulness and my prayers will go with you.

God bless you,
Anna Wood
Soli Deo gloria


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Is Truth Worth Fighting for? - John MacArthur

Matthew 3:7-10, Galatians 2:11-14,
1 Kings 18:27, 1 Corinthians 4:8-10

No idea is more politically incorrect among today's new-style evangelicals than the old fundamentalist notion that truth is worth fighting for--including the essential propositions of Christian doctrine. In fact, many believe that arguments over religious beliefs are the most pointless and arrogant of all conflicts. That can be true--and is true in cases where human opinions are the only thing at stake. But where God's Word speaks clearly, we have a duty to obey, defend, and proclaim the truth He has given us, and we should do that with an authority that reflects our conviction that God has spoken with clarity and finality. This is particularly curcial in contexts where cardinal doctrines of biblical Christianity are under attack.

Incidentally, the core truths of Scripture are always under attack. Scripture itself clearly teaches that the main battleground where Satan wages his cosmic struggle against God is ideological. In other words, the spiritual warfare every Christian is engaged in is first of all a conflict between truth and error, not merely a competition between good and wicked deeds. The chief aim of Satan's strategy is to confuse, deny, and corrupt the truth with as much fallacy as possible, and that means the battle for truth is very serious. Being able to distinguish between sound doctrine and error should be one of the highest priorities for every Christian--as should defending the truth against false teaching.

Take such a stand today, however, and you will be scolded by a cacophony of voices telling you that you are out of line and you need to be quiet. The "war" metaphor simply doesn't work in a postmodern culture, they insist. Postmodern epistemologies start and end with the presupposition that any question of what's true or false is merely academic. Our differences are ultimately trivial. Only the tone of our discussion is not trivial. Every hint of militancy is considered inappropriate in these sophisticated times.

Taking a stand for the truth was equally unpopular in the first century. But that didn't stop the apostles from confronting error head on.

Take the apostle Paul for example. Paul was certainly fair with his opponents in the sense that he never misrepresented what they taught or told lies about them. But Paul plainly recognized their errors for what they were and labeled them appropriately. He spoke the truth. In his everyday teaching style, Paul spoke the truth gently and with the patience of a tender father. But when circumstances warranted a stronger type of candor, Paul could speak very bluntly--sometimes even with raw sarcasm (1 Corinthians 4:8-10). Like Elijah (1 Kings 18:27), John the Baptist (Matthew 3:7-10), and even Jesus (Matthew 23:24), he could also employ derision effectively and appropriately, to highlight the ridiculousness of serious error (Galatians 5:12). He was a sacred-cow tipper in the mold of Moses or Nehemiah.

Paul didn't seem to suffer from the same overscrupulous angst that causes so many people today to whitewash every error as much as language permits; to grant even the grossest of false teachers the benefit of every doubt;and to impute the best possible intentions even to the rankest of heretics. The apostle's idea of "gentleness" was not the sort of faux benevolence and artificial politeness people today sometimes think is the true essence of charity. We never once see him inviting false teachers or casual dabblers in religious error to dialogue, nor did he approve of that strategy even when someone of Peter's stature succumbed to the fear of what others might think and showed undue deference to false teachers (Galatians 2:11-14).

Paul understood that truth is worth fighting for. He stood for the truth even when it was unpopular to do so.

Excerpted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore.
© 2009 by John MacArthur.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Will a Loving God Condemn People to Hell?

Author: Derek Thomas

It is a question that came my way recently: will God really condemn good people to hell? And the answer is yes. However, we need to approach the answer with some deliberate sensitivity. First, we need to assert three inviolable truths taught in Scripture:

(1) Hell exists. No matter how distasteful hell may be to think about and talk about, no one spoke about it more than Jesus. Hell, according to Jesus, is a state of eternal, destructive punishment, in which God's punishment is directly experienced. Some Scripture passages of Jesus' include references to hell as a place of weeping and grinding of teeth (Matt. 8:12), of incineration (Matt. 5:22), and torment (Luke 16:23). Appalling? Yes, and it is meant to have that effect upon us - striking with terror at the thought of what could lie ahead outside of God's forgiveness.

(2) Hell is certain for all who reject Jesus Christ. There must be no equivocation here, for Scripture is clear: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (Jn. 14:6); "there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Speculations about what some call "anonymous Christianity" - that people are saved through Christ's work even if they have never heard of him - have no biblical basis whatsoever.

(3) Hell is a just punishment for sin. Low view of sin leads to questioning the appropriateness of such a drastic punishment as hell. "Good" people are sinners. On the scale of sinfulness, some are less sinful than others, nevertheless, "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Rom. 3:23). Truth is, we are all fit for hell unless God's mercy intervenes. We may find this truth harsh, and unremitting. It might offend our civility and sense of worth. But we tamper with Scripture's assessment of the human condition at our peril. To suggest otherwise seriously questions Jesus' competence (he was ignorant of human worth) or morality (knowing otherwise, he continued to frighten us by painting a darker picture than is the case). If Jesus is either of these, he is unworthy of our admiration let alone our faith.

This life's decisions are decisive. And our task as Christians is to proclaim the gospel to our fallen, guilty, hell-bent fellows. As Paul said, "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish... I am eager to preach the gospel to you also ... For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes" (Rom. 1:14-16). And again in Hebrews: "it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment" (Heb. 9:27).

It would be nice to think that hell does not exist, or that men and women may avoid it even if they do not have faith in Jesus Christ. But such thoughts are a delusion and, as J. I. Packer writes: "It is really a mercy to mankind that God in Scripture is so explicit about hell."