Saturday, June 30, 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012

Meditate with Me on Isaiah 42:21

by John Piper

“The Lord was pleased, for his righteousness’ sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious.” (Isaiah 42:21). 

1. God’s righteousness inclines him to make his own instruction great and glorious. “For his righteousness’ sake he magnifies and glorifies his instruction.”

2. So we learn something crucial about divine righteousness. It is the consistent and compelling inclination to do what is right, which in God’s case is defined by his own infinite worth. No one outside God dictates what is right for him. What is right for God is what agrees with his infinite greatness and infinite value. Therefore, it is right (righteous) that his perfect instruction be magnified and glorified.

3. We also learn something about unrighteousness. It would be unrighteous of God to act in a way that diminishes his glory. If he made little of his instruction or failed to magnify it and glorify it, he would be unrighteous. He would be acting as if some instruction were greater than his. That would be false, and God would be a liar. That is what unrighteousness is: Acting a lie. Acting as if God were not infinitely great and glorious and valuable.

4. God loves to make his instruction great and glorious. He delights in it. It pleases him to make his instruction great and glorious. “The Lord was pleased to magnify his law and make it glorious.” He is not acting against his deepest desire, but in accord with it when he magnifies the value of his own word.

5. Thus God acts in freedom. Freedom is doing what one delights to do, and delighting to do what is right. Thus God does what is right and he delights to do it. He is free.

6. God’s nature is such that joy and righteousness are mutually defining. At his essence God is actively, infinitely delighting. And since what he has eternally delighted in is his own perfections standing forth in the Son, this delight is right. It is infinitely righteous. It is right that God delight infinitely in what is infinitely delightful. Therefore God’s being joyful and God’s being righteous are two ways of describing the same reality. He delights to do things because they are righteous. And he does righteous things because he delights to. “I practice righteousness. For in this I delight, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 9:24).

7. Therefore, the biblical call for us to rejoice in the Lord and to practice righteousness is ultimately one united call. It is rooted in who God is. We have been redeemed by Christ to be conformed to God — that is, to become creatures whose identity is most fundamentally righteous joy and joyful righteousness. We will in the end be perfectly free — doing what we delight to do, and delighting in what is right. We will join him from the heart and “for his righteousness' sake, magnify his law and make it glorious.”

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Friday, June 22, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Monday, June 18, 2012

Does God Believe In Religious Tolerance?

IT IS A WONDERFUL THING to live in a coun­try where there is freedom to worship God (or not) as you choose. Many people living in the world today do not have such liberties. But is our society's religious tolerance blinding us to the fact that it really does matter what you believe? The real question is: does God believe in religious tolerance?

 Jesus Is The Only Way To God

 "Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me" (John 14:6). Notice that Jesus did not say, "I am a way," just one of many ways to God. He said, "I am the way," the only way to God.

 All Other Ways End In Destruction 

Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate, for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that lead­eth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat" (Matthew 7:13). According to Jesus Himself, the way to Heaven is narrow and found by few, while the way to Hell is wide and trav­eled by many.

 God Demands Repentance

 "The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to re­pent" (Acts 17:30). Repentance means changing your mind. God says that if you follow any other way than His way, you are living in "ignorance" and need to change your mind. That doesn't sound very tolerant, does it?

The Truth Matters 

 "There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death" (Proverbs 16:25). Tolerance makes for a nice country to live in, but having the freedom to believe something doesn't make it true. Truth matters to God, and it is only by knowing, accepting, and following the truth that we can be spiritu­ally alive and free.

 What Is The Truth? 

 What is the truth about Jesus? He is God's one and only Son, who suffered and died be­cause of our sins: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoso­ever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16). "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18).
  What is the truth about us? God's verdict of mankind is not pretty. Without His salvation, we are all "dead in sins ... having no hope" (Ephesians 2:5,12). However, our sins will be taken away "if we believe on Him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; who was delivered for our of­fences, and was raised again for our justification" (Romans 4:24,25).

 Will You Accept The Truth? 

 You can go on believing some other "truth" about God and about yourself, or you can ac­cept what God says. It's your choice. Jesus said, "If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins ... If ye continue in My word, then are ye My disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:24,31-32). We urge you to turn to God and put your trust in Jesus Christ today: "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life" (Deuteronomy 30:19).


Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Father of Fathers

by Justin Holcomb
As we approach Father’s Day in places like the U.S. and the U.K., it is worth stepping back and considering the original father, God the Father, “from whom every fatherhood in heaven and on earth is named” (Eph. 3:15).

 Continue reading here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

What About Altar Calls?

by Thabiti Anyabwile

I’m sometimes asked by people why we don’t do “altar calls” at our services. Like the people who ask the question, the churches in my personal background pretty much all practiced “altar calls” at the conclusion of a sermon or service. I’ve seen them done in very poor fashion, and I’ve seen some pastors be really clear about the gospel, repentance, faith, and the fact that “coming forward” does not save. I date my own conversion to the preaching of Exodus 32, which concluded with an altar call.
So, why don’t we practice “altar calls”? I don’t think the pastor who practices an “invitation” at the end of a sermon is in sin, but he may not be acting wisely either. This list of reasons, compiled by Pastor Ryan Kelly of Desert Springs Church, is a pretty good summation of some of my thinking (HT: Z).

Continue reading here.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Evidence of Genuine Conversion

Listen or download the full message here.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How Good Is Good Enough? How Bad Is Too Bad?

Many people, while admitting they have sinned, think that they are still good enough to go to Heaven on their own merits. Others think they have sinned so much that they are too bad to go to Heaven.


Just how good does a person have to be to earn eternal life and live forever in Heaven? According to God’s standard (the only standard that really counts) a person would have to live an absolutely perfect life to earn eternal life. Not one lie; not one bad thought; not one disrespectful word to their parents, etc. Perfect.
Do you think you have fulfilled and maintained this strict standard? Romans 3:19 says, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Wow! The whole world stands guilty before God. No one can argue that they have lived a perfect life. No one … not you, not me, no one.
We don’t like to think about it, but it’s true …we all have sinned (Romans 3:10, 23). But, you may say, “I’ve never committed any terrible sins. I’ve been pretty good.” Perhaps you are right, but is pretty good, good enough? NO, it’s not! In fact, some sins that we consider minor are really major in the Lord’s eyes. Have you ever murdered anyone? Consider this: “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). Could it be that we are greater sinners than we realize? Could it be that we are not all that good after all? We need to keep in mind that, “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7).


Maybe you are one who thinks you have sinned so much that there is no forgiveness for you. We often offend people so greatly that they may refuse to forgive us, but God is love (1 John 4:8) and He loves to forgive. To those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord would assure us, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34). Under God’s inspiration, the apostle Paul wrote, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15). This tells us that the world’s greatest sinner has found forgiveness and is saved. If he can be saved then we can all be saved!
So, none are without sin, but none are without hope, either. The Lord wants “all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4). By now, you may be asking, “What do I have to do to be saved?” A sinner in Bible times asked the same question. The answer was simple, yet profound, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.” (Acts 16:31).
That’s it? That’s all there is to it? YES! The Lord Jesus did all the work. Simply put your trust in the finished work (death, burial, and resurrection) of the Lord Jesus Christ, and God will save you … right here, right now. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:9). Won’t you bow your knee to the Lord Jesus right now and confess that He is Lord? No matter how good you think you are or how bad you think you are, the Lord saves all those who come to Him in faith. “All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me; and him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). —C.T.C. (
See also "Believe On The Lord Jesus Christ"

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The Importance of Communion

by Pastor Ron Bridge of Rehoboth Baptist Church

“And they continued steadfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers (Acts 2:42). A very literal translation of 42b is: in the breaking of the bread. The inclusion of the definite article indicates that this bread was not the ordinary bread of mealtimes, such as we see in Acts 2:46 where bread in that verse is not preceded by the article. Communion was a vital part of the life of every Christian in Jerusalem. They had communion with the Lord through the study of the apostle's doctrine, and they had communion with the Lord in gathering around the Communion Table.

Less than two months had passed since the first celebration of the Supper on the night before Jesus was crucified, no doubt the memory of that evening was still vivid and they wanted to hold onto to it as long as possible. It was also a reminder, not only of what Jesus had accomplished for them in His death and resurrection, but also of His promise to return. Given these things, they joyfully obeyed the Lord's command to observe communion regularly. The celebration of the communion meal was essential to the Christians of the early church because it bound them to the Lord Jesus Christ as nothing else could. This is why it is still essential for Christians today.

The Lord's Supper keeps His substitutionary atonement fresh in our memory. When Jesus instituted this memorial celebration He did so by recalling the events of the original Passover when the angel of death passed over all those who were covered by the blood of the sacrifice. Christians, likewise, are covered by the blood of the perfect, once for all sacrifice, and as we participate in the Supper we are reminded afresh of just how great a price has been paid for our salvation. Because we still sin and need to confess our sins Communion reminds us, in a way that nothing else does, that we are forgiven. It reminds us of our dependence on Christ, of His gracious and merciful love for His people, and of His promised return.

In partaking of the bread and the cup the believer and the Lord are united in what is a Holy Communion. It is no ordinary meal. It is to be attended with a sense of awe and humility and reverence. It must not be treated lightly or shabbily - remember Paul’s rebuke to the careless Corinthians (1 Cor. 11:29)! We cannot imagine a member of that first church in Jerusalem ever treating the Lord’s Table with contempt - preferring to go to the beach, or sleeping in late rather than gathering with the saints to celebrate together -and with the Lord. They would, no doubt, have set aside many other things in order to partake of the Holy Meal.

The Lord’s own words in Luke 22:15 ought to be the prototype of how every Christian should consider the communion table: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you.” The Lord eagerly desires to have intimate communion and fellowship with His people. A good thing to ask is: Do we return the feelings He has for us?