Quotes

God’s…promises are not simply random good intentions. Rather, God’s promises together point to and delineate a divine plan for history – a plan to rescue a people for the praise of His glory, and to effect that rescue, that salvation, through a judgment that God Himself would bear on our behalf. In other words, history is not cyclical, a “mere repetition” of archetypal patterns. Rather, history is heading somewhere. It’s linear. It’s developing and progressing toward an end that God has already prepared.

God's…promises are not simply random good intentions. Rather, God's promises [...]

By |2019-07-25T12:12:40-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on God’s…promises are not simply random good intentions. Rather, God’s promises together point to and delineate a divine plan for history – a plan to rescue a people for the praise of His glory, and to effect that rescue, that salvation, through a judgment that God Himself would bear on our behalf. In other words, history is not cyclical, a “mere repetition” of archetypal patterns. Rather, history is heading somewhere. It’s linear. It’s developing and progressing toward an end that God has already prepared.

As readers of words, and particularly as readers of God’s Word, our obligation – and privilege – is to read in such a way as to recover and understand the meaning the Author wanted to communicate.

As readers of words, and particularly as readers of God’s [...]

By |2019-07-25T12:09:18-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on As readers of words, and particularly as readers of God’s Word, our obligation – and privilege – is to read in such a way as to recover and understand the meaning the Author wanted to communicate.

Covenants are not merely contracts or promises. Rather, covenants are relationships under authority, with both obligations and rewards. The terms and benefits of the relationship are spelled out, and so are the consequences if the relationship is broken. But what is perhaps most significant about biblical covenants is that when God enters into a covenant, He must condescend to initiate it, He sets the terms, He provides the benefits, and He executes the judgment when the covenant is broken.

Covenants are not merely contracts or promises. Rather, covenants are [...]

By |2019-07-25T12:05:47-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Covenants are not merely contracts or promises. Rather, covenants are relationships under authority, with both obligations and rewards. The terms and benefits of the relationship are spelled out, and so are the consequences if the relationship is broken. But what is perhaps most significant about biblical covenants is that when God enters into a covenant, He must condescend to initiate it, He sets the terms, He provides the benefits, and He executes the judgment when the covenant is broken.

A life of resolve comes with a price tag. You will be tested by the lure of the world. But you must turn a deaf ear to the crowd and live instead for the approbation of Christ. There will always be a cross before a crown, sacrifice before success, and reproach before a reward. The call of discipleship will cost you popularity, possessions, and position. But God will use your commitment. The grace of God will be multiplied in you if you cultivate a fixed resolution to live for the glory of God.

A life of resolve comes with a price tag. You [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:59:02-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on A life of resolve comes with a price tag. You will be tested by the lure of the world. But you must turn a deaf ear to the crowd and live instead for the approbation of Christ. There will always be a cross before a crown, sacrifice before success, and reproach before a reward. The call of discipleship will cost you popularity, possessions, and position. But God will use your commitment. The grace of God will be multiplied in you if you cultivate a fixed resolution to live for the glory of God.

Although [Jonathan] Edwards had fought earlier against the biblical doctrine of divine sovereignty – a truth he once called a “horrible doctrine” – through personal study, he had become convinced that God irresistibly orders salvation of His chosen people, and he soon arose to be a guardian of this sacred truth.

Although [Jonathan] Edwards had fought earlier against the biblical doctrine [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:53:47-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Although [Jonathan] Edwards had fought earlier against the biblical doctrine of divine sovereignty – a truth he once called a “horrible doctrine” – through personal study, he had become convinced that God irresistibly orders salvation of His chosen people, and he soon arose to be a guardian of this sacred truth.

Dull. I find, by experience, that, let me make Resolutions, and do what I will, with never so many inventions, it is all nothing, and to no purpose at all, without the Spirit of God; for if the Spirit of God should be as much withdrawn from me always, as for the week past, notwithstanding all I do, I should not grow, but should languish, and miserably fade away. I perceive, if God should withdraw his Spirit a little more, I should not hesitate to break my Resolutions, and should soon arrive at my old state. There is no dependence on myself.

Dull. I find, by experience, that, let me make Resolutions, [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:46:55-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Dull. I find, by experience, that, let me make Resolutions, and do what I will, with never so many inventions, it is all nothing, and to no purpose at all, without the Spirit of God; for if the Spirit of God should be as much withdrawn from me always, as for the week past, notwithstanding all I do, I should not grow, but should languish, and miserably fade away. I perceive, if God should withdraw his Spirit a little more, I should not hesitate to break my Resolutions, and should soon arrive at my old state. There is no dependence on myself.

Our most merciful Father…sent His only Son into the world, and laid upon Him all the sins of all men, saying, Be Thou Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise; that thief which hanged upon the cross; and briefly be Thou the person which hath committed the sins of all men; see therefore that Thou pay and satisfy for them [all].

Our most merciful Father…sent His only Son into the world, [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:43:43-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Our most merciful Father…sent His only Son into the world, and laid upon Him all the sins of all men, saying, Be Thou Peter that denier; Paul that persecutor, blasphemer and cruel oppressor; David that adulterer; that sinner which did eat the apple in Paradise; that thief which hanged upon the cross; and briefly be Thou the person which hath committed the sins of all men; see therefore that Thou pay and satisfy for them [all].

The stakes in the current conflict over sex are more critical, more central, and more essential than in any controversy the church has ever known. This is a momentous statement, but I make it soberly, without exaggeration. Conflict over sex these days is not just challenging tradition, orthodoxy, and respect for authority in areas such as ordination, marriage, and gender roles. And it does not just affect critically important decisions like the sanctity of human life, the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture, the Trinity and the incarnation of Christ. Rather, war over sex among Christians is now raging over absolutely essential matters of faith without which no one can be a Christian in the first place – matters such as sin, salvation, the gospel and the identity of God Himself.

The stakes in the current conflict over sex are more [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:40:30-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on The stakes in the current conflict over sex are more critical, more central, and more essential than in any controversy the church has ever known. This is a momentous statement, but I make it soberly, without exaggeration. Conflict over sex these days is not just challenging tradition, orthodoxy, and respect for authority in areas such as ordination, marriage, and gender roles. And it does not just affect critically important decisions like the sanctity of human life, the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture, the Trinity and the incarnation of Christ. Rather, war over sex among Christians is now raging over absolutely essential matters of faith without which no one can be a Christian in the first place – matters such as sin, salvation, the gospel and the identity of God Himself.

The Bible is clear and consistent, affirming with one voice from cover to cover that homosexual activity is sexual immorality before God… If someone wants to advocate for homosexual activity, he or she must maintain that the Bible is irrelevant to modern humanity, inconsistent with our experiences, and thus insufficient as a source of truth and guidance for our lives – that the Bible is not only deficient; it is downright dangerous.

The Bible is clear and consistent, affirming with one voice [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:36:34-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on The Bible is clear and consistent, affirming with one voice from cover to cover that homosexual activity is sexual immorality before God… If someone wants to advocate for homosexual activity, he or she must maintain that the Bible is irrelevant to modern humanity, inconsistent with our experiences, and thus insufficient as a source of truth and guidance for our lives – that the Bible is not only deficient; it is downright dangerous.

We’ve already seen how sin began when God’s command was reduced to a question [Gen. 3:1]. At that moment the most deadly spiritual force was covertly smuggled into the world: the assumption that God’s Word is subject to human judgment.

We’ve already seen how sin began when God’s command was [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:34:33-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on We’ve already seen how sin began when God’s command was reduced to a question [Gen. 3:1]. At that moment the most deadly spiritual force was covertly smuggled into the world: the assumption that God’s Word is subject to human judgment.

Every single one of us has a heart that tends toward sexual sin. These tendencies produce different temptations in each of our lives. Some of us experience sexual desire for the same sex, and others of us are prone to fulfill [unbiblical] sexual desire with the opposite sex. Even the ways we want to fulfill those sexual desires vary among us. Without question, part of the mystery of this fallen world includes why certain people have certain desires while other people have other desires. We do not always choose our temptations. But we do choose our reactions to those temptations.

Every single one of us has a heart that tends [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:31:22-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Every single one of us has a heart that tends toward sexual sin. These tendencies produce different temptations in each of our lives. Some of us experience sexual desire for the same sex, and others of us are prone to fulfill [unbiblical] sexual desire with the opposite sex. Even the ways we want to fulfill those sexual desires vary among us. Without question, part of the mystery of this fallen world includes why certain people have certain desires while other people have other desires. We do not always choose our temptations. But we do choose our reactions to those temptations.

Ethnic identity is a morally neutral attribute. Black or white is not an issue of right or wrong, and any attempt to say otherwise should be opposed. However, sexual activity is a morally chosen behavior. To be sure, similar to how we have different skin colors, we may possess different dispositions toward certain sexual behaviors. But where our ethnic makeup is not determined by a moral choice or contrary to a moral command, our sexual behavior is a moral decision, and just because we are inclined to certain behaviors does not make such behaviors right.

Ethnic identity is a morally neutral attribute. Black or white [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:26:12-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Ethnic identity is a morally neutral attribute. Black or white is not an issue of right or wrong, and any attempt to say otherwise should be opposed. However, sexual activity is a morally chosen behavior. To be sure, similar to how we have different skin colors, we may possess different dispositions toward certain sexual behaviors. But where our ethnic makeup is not determined by a moral choice or contrary to a moral command, our sexual behavior is a moral decision, and just because we are inclined to certain behaviors does not make such behaviors right.

There is a foundation for all of God’s commands – His good character. For example: Why do we tell the truth? Because Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6) and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Why is marriage between one man and one woman? Because God created marriage to reflect and promote His marriage between Christ and His bride (the church) – (Eph. 5:32). The Christian life is not about keeping “outdated and arbitrary rules” (as portrayed by society). It’s not about “following my religion.” It’s about following a Person. We follow that Person by acting like Him. The commands in the Bible tell us how to act like God, as opposed to acting like those who oppose Him.

There is a foundation for all of God’s commands – [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:23:10-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on There is a foundation for all of God’s commands – His good character. For example: Why do we tell the truth? Because Jesus is the truth (Jn. 14:6) and Satan is the father of lies (Jn. 8:44). Why is marriage between one man and one woman? Because God created marriage to reflect and promote His marriage between Christ and His bride (the church) – (Eph. 5:32). The Christian life is not about keeping “outdated and arbitrary rules” (as portrayed by society). It’s not about “following my religion.” It’s about following a Person. We follow that Person by acting like Him. The commands in the Bible tell us how to act like God, as opposed to acting like those who oppose Him.

Of course all good parenting must point out error. We know the Law is a tutor (Gal. 3:24) and children with soft hearts will experience guilt. They will want the guilt removed. The solution to that must not be achieved in parental or self-inflicted punishment. The solution is to flee to Christ for grace and mercy.

Of course all good parenting must point out error. We [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:21:07-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Of course all good parenting must point out error. We know the Law is a tutor (Gal. 3:24) and children with soft hearts will experience guilt. They will want the guilt removed. The solution to that must not be achieved in parental or self-inflicted punishment. The solution is to flee to Christ for grace and mercy.

The best family devotionals are when dad leads, but has the least amount to say, gets everyone involved, engages hearts, encourages interaction and processes life with the family using the Word of God. Even the Puritans would say to keep our family devotionals “Sweet, savory and short!” Don’t bore and exasperate your children with the Bible and then expect them to love God’s Word. A wise parent knows the right time and right length to teach the Bible – formally or informally (Dt. 6:6-7). And he or she also knows how to listen during those times more than they speak.

The best family devotionals are when dad leads, but has [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:18:59-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on The best family devotionals are when dad leads, but has the least amount to say, gets everyone involved, engages hearts, encourages interaction and processes life with the family using the Word of God. Even the Puritans would say to keep our family devotionals “Sweet, savory and short!” Don’t bore and exasperate your children with the Bible and then expect them to love God’s Word. A wise parent knows the right time and right length to teach the Bible – formally or informally (Dt. 6:6-7). And he or she also knows how to listen during those times more than they speak.

Jesus clashed most with religious people, specifically the Pharisees. There was always storm when they were together. Religious people preach salvation by works. Jesus preached salvation by grace. Religious people are into the outward appearance. Jesus is into the heart. Religious people sent Jesus to the cross for their egos – pride. Jesus went to the cross for our salvation – humility.

Jesus clashed most with religious people, specifically the Pharisees. There [...]

By |2019-07-25T11:16:59-04:00July 25th, 2019|Comments Off on Jesus clashed most with religious people, specifically the Pharisees. There was always storm when they were together. Religious people preach salvation by works. Jesus preached salvation by grace. Religious people are into the outward appearance. Jesus is into the heart. Religious people sent Jesus to the cross for their egos – pride. Jesus went to the cross for our salvation – humility.

Our public assemblies were then beautiful; the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the Word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.

Our public assemblies were then beautiful; the congregation was alive [...]

By |2019-06-20T15:44:38-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Our public assemblies were then beautiful; the congregation was alive in God’s service, everyone earnestly intent on the public worship, every hearer eager to drink in the words of the minister as they came from his mouth; the assembly in general were, from time to time, in tears while the Word was preached; some weeping with sorrow and distress, others with joy and love, others with pity and concern for the souls of their neighbors.

Sex is good, but sex is not God. It will not ultimately fulfill. Like anything else that becomes an idol, it will always take more than it gives while diverting the human heart away from the only One who is able to give supreme joy.

Sex is good, but sex is not God. It will [...]

By |2019-06-20T15:33:59-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Sex is good, but sex is not God. It will not ultimately fulfill. Like anything else that becomes an idol, it will always take more than it gives while diverting the human heart away from the only One who is able to give supreme joy.

Even Christians who refuse to indulge personally in sinful sexual activity often watch movies and shows, read books and articles, and visit Internet sites that highlight, display, promote, or make light of sexual immorality. It’s as if we’ve said to the world, “We’re not going to do what you do, but we will gladly entertain ourselves by watching you.” It’s sick, isn’t it, this tendency that brings delight to us when we observe others in sexual sin?

Even Christians who refuse to indulge personally in sinful sexual [...]

By |2019-06-20T15:31:08-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Even Christians who refuse to indulge personally in sinful sexual activity often watch movies and shows, read books and articles, and visit Internet sites that highlight, display, promote, or make light of sexual immorality. It’s as if we’ve said to the world, “We’re not going to do what you do, but we will gladly entertain ourselves by watching you.” It’s sick, isn’t it, this tendency that brings delight to us when we observe others in sexual sin?

The two theologies thus conceive the plan of salvation in quite different terms. One makes salvation depend on the work of God, the other on a work of man; one regards faith as part of God’s gift of salvation, the other as man’s own contribution to salvation; one gives all the glory of saving believers to God, the other divides the praise between God, who, so to speak, built the machinery of salvation, and man, who by believing operated it.

The two theologies thus conceive the plan of salvation in [...]

By |2019-06-20T15:23:55-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on The two theologies thus conceive the plan of salvation in quite different terms. One makes salvation depend on the work of God, the other on a work of man; one regards faith as part of God’s gift of salvation, the other as man’s own contribution to salvation; one gives all the glory of saving believers to God, the other divides the praise between God, who, so to speak, built the machinery of salvation, and man, who by believing operated it.

Peacemaking suggestions when seeking conflict resolution with another: Pray before, during and after the time together (1 Thes. 5:17). Get together and talk about the matter face-to-face (i.e. not an email). Be sure to go to the individual in a loving and reasonable and gentle manner (1 Cor. 4:21; Eph. 4:2; 1 Tim. 6:11). Make sure your heart is right. Make sure you have removed the log from your own eye before you seek to remove the speck from your brother’s (Mt. 7:3-5). Go seeking to believe the best, hear the other side of the story (Pr. 18:17). Attack the problem not the person, value the relationship more than the issue. Deal with one problem at a time. Find common ground – I hope as Christians you both want God’s glory and unity – start there (1 Cor. 10:31)! Add how you may have contributed to the problem – people will always listen to how you might have wronged them (Pr. 28:13). Be prepared to extend and receive forgiveness if appropriate (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Seek to fully reconcile the relationship and put the matter behind you.  Remember, there is a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.

Peacemaking suggestions when seeking conflict resolution with another: Pray before, [...]

By |2019-06-20T15:04:49-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Peacemaking suggestions when seeking conflict resolution with another: Pray before, during and after the time together (1 Thes. 5:17). Get together and talk about the matter face-to-face (i.e. not an email). Be sure to go to the individual in a loving and reasonable and gentle manner (1 Cor. 4:21; Eph. 4:2; 1 Tim. 6:11). Make sure your heart is right. Make sure you have removed the log from your own eye before you seek to remove the speck from your brother’s (Mt. 7:3-5). Go seeking to believe the best, hear the other side of the story (Pr. 18:17). Attack the problem not the person, value the relationship more than the issue. Deal with one problem at a time. Find common ground – I hope as Christians you both want God’s glory and unity – start there (1 Cor. 10:31)! Add how you may have contributed to the problem – people will always listen to how you might have wronged them (Pr. 28:13). Be prepared to extend and receive forgiveness if appropriate (Eph. 4:32; Col. 3:13). Seek to fully reconcile the relationship and put the matter behind you.  Remember, there is a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation.

Escape responses focus on “me” and make me a “peace-faker.” Attack responses focus on “you” and make me a “peace-breaker.” But peacemaking responses focus on “God” and make me a “peace-maker.”

Escape responses focus on “me” and make me a “peace-faker.” [...]

By |2019-06-20T14:58:43-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Escape responses focus on “me” and make me a “peace-faker.” Attack responses focus on “you” and make me a “peace-breaker.” But peacemaking responses focus on “God” and make me a “peace-maker.”

When we seek to run away from our conflicts through the escape tactics, we fail to trust God and prefer the other individual. These “natural” responses are unbiblical, unloving, unproductive and unacceptable.

When we seek to run away from our conflicts through [...]

By |2019-06-20T14:57:22-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on When we seek to run away from our conflicts through the escape tactics, we fail to trust God and prefer the other individual. These “natural” responses are unbiblical, unloving, unproductive and unacceptable.

Personal benefits when conflict with others is handled properly: It has increased my tenderness to the pain and affliction of others. It has broadened my outlook that life is not as black and white as I often think. It has helped me to listen better and understand good perspectives that might differ from mine. It has encouraged me to search the Scriptures and be able to better articulate my beliefs. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and increased my faith in God and in His Word. It has taught me to work harder to be a more effective communicator to express my feelings. It has helped me consider other people more important than myself. It has helped me understand that relationships are more important than the conflict and compromising (when biblically appropriate) is more important than being right. It has increased my love for unity. It has manifested the love and power and forgiveness of God both received and extended. It has taught me that my desires and plans do not lie at the center of the world. And in many cases, when resolved correctly, it has even strengthened the specific relationship.

Personal benefits when conflict with others is handled properly: It [...]

By |2019-06-20T14:55:18-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Personal benefits when conflict with others is handled properly: It has increased my tenderness to the pain and affliction of others. It has broadened my outlook that life is not as black and white as I often think. It has helped me to listen better and understand good perspectives that might differ from mine. It has encouraged me to search the Scriptures and be able to better articulate my beliefs. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone and increased my faith in God and in His Word. It has taught me to work harder to be a more effective communicator to express my feelings. It has helped me consider other people more important than myself. It has helped me understand that relationships are more important than the conflict and compromising (when biblically appropriate) is more important than being right. It has increased my love for unity. It has manifested the love and power and forgiveness of God both received and extended. It has taught me that my desires and plans do not lie at the center of the world. And in many cases, when resolved correctly, it has even strengthened the specific relationship.

“I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. I don’t swear. Hallelujah, I’m a Christian.” If a telephone pole could talk, it might say the same thing. But a series of zeros do not make a Christian. A million negatives do not produce even one positive. We may pity the man with an empty mind. But what about the person with the empty heart?

“I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. I don’t swear. Hallelujah, [...]

By |2019-06-20T14:44:06-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on “I don’t smoke, I don’t drink. I don’t swear. Hallelujah, I’m a Christian.” If a telephone pole could talk, it might say the same thing. But a series of zeros do not make a Christian. A million negatives do not produce even one positive. We may pity the man with an empty mind. But what about the person with the empty heart?

Here are 10 specific ways you can pray today for members of our persecuted family: 1. Pray they will sense God’s presence (Heb. 13:5). 2. Pray they will know we are praying for them (2 Tim. 1:3). 3. Pray they will experience God’s comfort (2 Thes. 2:16-17). 4. Pray they will see God open doors for evangelism (Col. 4:3). 5. Pray they will boldly share the gospel (Acts 4:29). 6. Pray they will mature in their faith (Col. 1:28-29). 7. Pray they will be granted wisdom in covert ministry work (Acts 9:23-25). 8. Pray they will remain joyful amid suffering (Acts 5:41). 9. Pray they will be able to forgive and love their persecutors (Matt 5:44). 10. Pray they will be deeply rooted in God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17) (Voice of the Martyrs).

Here are 10 specific ways you can pray today for [...]

By |2019-06-20T14:38:07-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Here are 10 specific ways you can pray today for members of our persecuted family: 1. Pray they will sense God’s presence (Heb. 13:5). 2. Pray they will know we are praying for them (2 Tim. 1:3). 3. Pray they will experience God’s comfort (2 Thes. 2:16-17). 4. Pray they will see God open doors for evangelism (Col. 4:3). 5. Pray they will boldly share the gospel (Acts 4:29). 6. Pray they will mature in their faith (Col. 1:28-29). 7. Pray they will be granted wisdom in covert ministry work (Acts 9:23-25). 8. Pray they will remain joyful amid suffering (Acts 5:41). 9. Pray they will be able to forgive and love their persecutors (Matt 5:44). 10. Pray they will be deeply rooted in God’s Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17) (Voice of the Martyrs).

Although physical murder is obviously extreme, let’s not forget the words of our Savior when He said anger in our hearts toward another is murder in His eyes (Mt. 5:21-22). Think about this. If we have the attitude that we want someone out of our family or out of our church because of our own interpersonal conflict, are we not participating in the spirit of murder? Oh we may never pull the trigger, but are we seeking to eliminate people through more civilized means.

Although physical murder is obviously extreme, let’s not forget the [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:10:11-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Although physical murder is obviously extreme, let’s not forget the words of our Savior when He said anger in our hearts toward another is murder in His eyes (Mt. 5:21-22). Think about this. If we have the attitude that we want someone out of our family or out of our church because of our own interpersonal conflict, are we not participating in the spirit of murder? Oh we may never pull the trigger, but are we seeking to eliminate people through more civilized means.

[False religion goes] way beyond what the New Testament teaches, adding almost endless rituals, routines, ceremonies, regulations, because there’s nothing on the inside but you can create a bigger illusion that way.

[False religion goes] way beyond what the New Testament teaches, [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:12:31-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on [False religion goes] way beyond what the New Testament teaches, adding almost endless rituals, routines, ceremonies, regulations, because there’s nothing on the inside but you can create a bigger illusion that way.

Jesus did not accept religious people. In fact, He kept His fiercest threats for them. You see, Jesus was not about sentimentality; He was about truth. Jesus is truth personified. He is the living manifestation of the holy law of God, and as such, He perfectly understood that religion, spiritual teaching, contrary to the truth comes from hell and sends people there. Anything but the truth is a damning deception that has the greatest power to destroy souls forever because it gives the illusion that all is well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that of all the evils in the world, of all the sins in the world, of all the iniquities in the world, our Lord knew that religion was the worst — false religion — and especially false Judaism and false Christianity. And that’s why the severest eternal judgment will be rendered for the religious who perverted the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Jesus did not accept religious people. In fact, He kept [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:13:40-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Jesus did not accept religious people. In fact, He kept His fiercest threats for them. You see, Jesus was not about sentimentality; He was about truth. Jesus is truth personified. He is the living manifestation of the holy law of God, and as such, He perfectly understood that religion, spiritual teaching, contrary to the truth comes from hell and sends people there. Anything but the truth is a damning deception that has the greatest power to destroy souls forever because it gives the illusion that all is well. In fact, I would go so far as to say that of all the evils in the world, of all the sins in the world, of all the iniquities in the world, our Lord knew that religion was the worst — false religion — and especially false Judaism and false Christianity. And that’s why the severest eternal judgment will be rendered for the religious who perverted the Old Testament and the New Testament.

All false religion is based on works to achieve God’s favor. And when you base it on works you will either use God’s Word as a means to obtain God’s favor or ignore God Word and create your own expectations. Both are deadly because both short-circuit God method of grace.

All false religion is based on works to achieve God’s [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:25:02-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on All false religion is based on works to achieve God’s favor. And when you base it on works you will either use God’s Word as a means to obtain God’s favor or ignore God Word and create your own expectations. Both are deadly because both short-circuit God method of grace.

People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated and meaningless) rules? No! It’s about following Jesus which means living according to His nature so that our relationship with Him will be strong and our lives will be blessed. Don’t buy the lie! Not following Him is slavery. Following Him is liberation. Those weighed down with the most anxiety, guilt, shame and fear in life are those who are following Christ the least. External rules are a burden. There is no power to obey them. Rules do not change a heart. Our Lord changes our hearts. He gives us grace-empowerment. He provides purpose in doing it His way.

People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:14:40-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on People say to me, isn’t Christianity about following (implied: outdated and meaningless) rules? No! It’s about following Jesus which means living according to His nature so that our relationship with Him will be strong and our lives will be blessed. Don’t buy the lie! Not following Him is slavery. Following Him is liberation. Those weighed down with the most anxiety, guilt, shame and fear in life are those who are following Christ the least. External rules are a burden. There is no power to obey them. Rules do not change a heart. Our Lord changes our hearts. He gives us grace-empowerment. He provides purpose in doing it His way.

A full, true confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit through exposure to the written revelation, the external Scripture which He authored and accompanied by the internal heart work by which He regenerates, illuminates and sanctifies.

A full, true confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:15:23-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on A full, true confession of Jesus Christ as Lord is only possible by the work of the Holy Spirit through exposure to the written revelation, the external Scripture which He authored and accompanied by the internal heart work by which He regenerates, illuminates and sanctifies.

The sin is not in having more, the sin is being discontent. The sin is not in having wealth, the sin is in what you do with it. It’s not the amount, it’s the attitude… It’s not about what you have, it’s about how you feel about what you have.

The sin is not in having more, the sin is [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:15:48-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on The sin is not in having more, the sin is being discontent. The sin is not in having wealth, the sin is in what you do with it. It’s not the amount, it’s the attitude… It’s not about what you have, it’s about how you feel about what you have.

If you take joy, as an essential element, out of faith, hope, or love, you do not have Christian faith, hope, or love. Faith is the satisfying embrace of the trusted and treasured Christ. Hope is the satisfying foretaste of the future reward. Love is the overflow of joy in God that seeks to meet the needs of others, especially the need of eternal joy.

If you take joy, as an essential element, out of [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:16:47-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on If you take joy, as an essential element, out of faith, hope, or love, you do not have Christian faith, hope, or love. Faith is the satisfying embrace of the trusted and treasured Christ. Hope is the satisfying foretaste of the future reward. Love is the overflow of joy in God that seeks to meet the needs of others, especially the need of eternal joy.

Joy originates in God. It comes through Jesus his Son. And it is the fruit of his Spirit. Those who embrace Jesus as their Savior and treasure, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of the Father, enter into that Trinitarian joy.

Joy originates in God. It comes through Jesus His Son. [...]

By |2019-06-20T11:20:58-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Joy originates in God. It comes through Jesus his Son. And it is the fruit of his Spirit. Those who embrace Jesus as their Savior and treasure, by the power of the Spirit, for the glory of the Father, enter into that Trinitarian joy.

One measure of the greatness of a man is not only that he practices what he preaches, but also that he doesn’t consider himself above the ordinary means of grace that all Christians need.

One measure of the greatness of a man is not [...]

By |2019-06-20T11:16:12-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on One measure of the greatness of a man is not only that he practices what he preaches, but also that he doesn’t consider himself above the ordinary means of grace that all Christians need.

Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others… Or to say it another way: we do not merely seek to love in order to be happy, but we seek to be happy in God in order to love.

Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets [...]

By |2019-06-20T11:10:13-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Love is the overflow of joy in God that meets the needs of others… Or to say it another way: we do not merely seek to love in order to be happy, but we seek to be happy in God in order to love.

Don’t be greedy for the temporary and trivial things of this world. Find your joy in life in what really matters: Salvation from hell. The necessities to live. The opportunity to serve others. A strong marriage. A loving family. A good church. That’s the meaningful stuff that will warm your heart. And greed in those areas is actually good and furthers more joy. Pursue more; just pursue it in the right domains. Abundant life does not come in abundant possessions (Lk. 12:15). Pursue the abundant life that Jesus promised (Jn. 10:10).

Don’t be greedy for the temporary and trivial things of [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:18:22-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Don’t be greedy for the temporary and trivial things of this world. Find your joy in life in what really matters: Salvation from hell. The necessities to live. The opportunity to serve others. A strong marriage. A loving family. A good church. That’s the meaningful stuff that will warm your heart. And greed in those areas is actually good and furthers more joy. Pursue more; just pursue it in the right domains. Abundant life does not come in abundant possessions (Lk. 12:15). Pursue the abundant life that Jesus promised (Jn. 10:10).

Like a dog chasing its tail, we are running around chasing someone else who will always have more. And in the process of our misplaced priorities, we are empty, others are unloved (often in our family) and true God is ignored. Greed is a foolish investment. Plenty to live on, but nothing to live for.

Like a dog chasing its tail, we are running around [...]

By |2019-06-20T12:18:32-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Like a dog chasing its tail, we are running around chasing someone else who will always have more. And in the process of our misplaced priorities, we are empty, others are unloved (often in our family) and true God is ignored. Greed is a foolish investment. Plenty to live on, but nothing to live for.

Our Lord says to be on your guard against “every form of greed” in Luke 12:15. The way I see it, greed is the interlocking component that cements so many other sins together. If the heart is self-focused, looking for status in worldly stuff, it will be materialistic. More is always equivalent with success – admiration from others, joy in possessions, fulfillment in things.  Thus a materialistic heart will be produced. The heart will always want more. Greed is then the result. The comparison game will begin. The result will be more sins like boasting (because we have more) or coveting, jealousy and envy (because we have less) – leading to a general attitude sins like discontentment and ingratitude and selfishness. All this concludes (and comes full circle) with the worship of a false god, the chief sin of idolatry (notice the connection in Eph. 5:5 and Col. 3:5).

Our Lord says to be on your guard against “every [...]

By |2019-06-20T11:02:13-04:00June 20th, 2019|Comments Off on Our Lord says to be on your guard against “every form of greed” in Luke 12:15. The way I see it, greed is the interlocking component that cements so many other sins together. If the heart is self-focused, looking for status in worldly stuff, it will be materialistic. More is always equivalent with success – admiration from others, joy in possessions, fulfillment in things.  Thus a materialistic heart will be produced. The heart will always want more. Greed is then the result. The comparison game will begin. The result will be more sins like boasting (because we have more) or coveting, jealousy and envy (because we have less) – leading to a general attitude sins like discontentment and ingratitude and selfishness. All this concludes (and comes full circle) with the worship of a false god, the chief sin of idolatry (notice the connection in Eph. 5:5 and Col. 3:5).

Sin is the antithesis of God’s glory, a contradiction of His holy nature. It is all that falls short of God’s blameless character, amounting to nothing less than cosmic treason against the Creator.

Sin is the antithesis of God’s glory, a contradiction of [...]

By |2019-05-30T14:18:31-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Sin is the antithesis of God’s glory, a contradiction of His holy nature. It is all that falls short of God’s blameless character, amounting to nothing less than cosmic treason against the Creator.

In summary, God’s perfections constitute His essence, or character, which far transcends all created things in greatness. God’s essence is one indivisible whole, so that each and all of His perfections actively characterize God’s entire being. God’s perfections must be thought of as always actively present together and mutually influencing each other without any hierarchy, even when they are not all mentioned in a given passage of Scripture. God in His essential nature is truly beyond human understanding, and the only appropriate responses to studying even the fringes of His ways (cf. Job 26:14) are awe-filled reverence, worship, adoration, trust, and service.

In summary, God's perfections constitute His essence, or character, which [...]

By |2019-05-30T14:16:35-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on In summary, God’s perfections constitute His essence, or character, which far transcends all created things in greatness. God’s essence is one indivisible whole, so that each and all of His perfections actively characterize God’s entire being. God’s perfections must be thought of as always actively present together and mutually influencing each other without any hierarchy, even when they are not all mentioned in a given passage of Scripture. God in His essential nature is truly beyond human understanding, and the only appropriate responses to studying even the fringes of His ways (cf. Job 26:14) are awe-filled reverence, worship, adoration, trust, and service.

God’s jealousy is His zealous protectiveness of all that belongs to Him (Himself, His name, His glory, His people, His sole right to receive worship and ultimate obedience, His land, and His city).

God's jealousy is His zealous protectiveness of all that belongs [...]

By |2019-05-30T14:13:16-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on God’s jealousy is His zealous protectiveness of all that belongs to Him (Himself, His name, His glory, His people, His sole right to receive worship and ultimate obedience, His land, and His city).

God’s holiness is His inherent and absolute greatness, in which He is perfectly distinct above everything outside Himself and is absolutely morally separate from sin. This definition is centered on the concept of separation, which is signified by the Hebrew and Greek words for “holy.”

God's holiness is His inherent and absolute greatness, in which [...]

By |2019-05-30T14:10:55-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on God’s holiness is His inherent and absolute greatness, in which He is perfectly distinct above everything outside Himself and is absolutely morally separate from sin. This definition is centered on the concept of separation, which is signified by the Hebrew and Greek words for “holy.”

Humans do not bring in God’s reign, build God’s kingdom, hasten its final consummation, or hinder its advance. Jesus’ preaching announces that God is in action and that one’s ultimate well-being is tied to what God is doing, not what they are doing. They can only receive it and enter it or reject it and be swept away in judgment.

Humans do not bring in God's reign, build God's kingdom, [...]

By |2019-05-30T14:00:36-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Humans do not bring in God’s reign, build God’s kingdom, hasten its final consummation, or hinder its advance. Jesus’ preaching announces that God is in action and that one’s ultimate well-being is tied to what God is doing, not what they are doing. They can only receive it and enter it or reject it and be swept away in judgment.

Testing God is a lack of faith. It’s blasphemy for the created to demand that the Creator prove Himself to be worthy of our trust. True faith is not testing God, but trusting God, knowing that He is not obligated to prove His power and love at every turn.

Testing God is a lack of faith. It’s blasphemy for [...]

By |2019-05-30T13:58:01-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Testing God is a lack of faith. It’s blasphemy for the created to demand that the Creator prove Himself to be worthy of our trust. True faith is not testing God, but trusting God, knowing that He is not obligated to prove His power and love at every turn.

Satan tempts (to make us weaker), but God’s goal is to test (to make us stronger) and oftentimes we are tested by God permitting Satan to tempt us. In the Bible (Luke 4) we see Jesus being tested by God as He is led by God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

Satan tempts (to make us weaker), but God’s goal is [...]

By |2019-05-30T13:54:21-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Satan tempts (to make us weaker), but God’s goal is to test (to make us stronger) and oftentimes we are tested by God permitting Satan to tempt us. In the Bible (Luke 4) we see Jesus being tested by God as He is led by God into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

If you want to raise a Pharisee, just follow these simple steps (sarcasm!). 1. Make the Christian home all about rule-keeping (do’s and don’t’s), but never explain to them why we should follow God’s Word. 2. Add your own rules to God’s Word and make them more important than God’s Word. 3. Strictly enforce the rules on your children, but give yourself a pass. 4. Show your children nothing about grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. 5. Preach at them until they are blue in the face (bore them with the Bible) and never listen to what they have to say about God’s Word. 6. Make Jesus a burden rather than a blessing – make God’s Word a bondage rather than a liberation. 7. Give them no opportunity to think spiritually for themselves. 8. Fail to guide them in a spiritual worldview – teaching them how to process life with the Bible. 9. Praise their externals regardless of their motives. 10. Teach them to obey only because they have to and not because they should also want to as God’s commands come from a loving and trustworthy Father. 11. Make your disciple punishment rather than correction. 12. Demand self-reformation, rather than pointing them to Christ-transformation by grace. 13. Teach them to obey you as God rather than to obey God by obeying you. 14. Use Scripture and church as punishment. 15. Never pray for them. 16. Correct them more than you encourage them. 17. Beat your kids into external conformity, often to simply make yourself look good and do nothing to shepherd their hearts.

If you want to raise a Pharisee, just follow these [...]

By |2019-05-30T13:45:56-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on If you want to raise a Pharisee, just follow these simple steps (sarcasm!). 1. Make the Christian home all about rule-keeping (do’s and don’t’s), but never explain to them why we should follow God’s Word. 2. Add your own rules to God’s Word and make them more important than God’s Word. 3. Strictly enforce the rules on your children, but give yourself a pass. 4. Show your children nothing about grace, forgiveness, mercy and love. 5. Preach at them until they are blue in the face (bore them with the Bible) and never listen to what they have to say about God’s Word. 6. Make Jesus a burden rather than a blessing – make God’s Word a bondage rather than a liberation. 7. Give them no opportunity to think spiritually for themselves. 8. Fail to guide them in a spiritual worldview – teaching them how to process life with the Bible. 9. Praise their externals regardless of their motives. 10. Teach them to obey only because they have to and not because they should also want to as God’s commands come from a loving and trustworthy Father. 11. Make your disciple punishment rather than correction. 12. Demand self-reformation, rather than pointing them to Christ-transformation by grace. 13. Teach them to obey you as God rather than to obey God by obeying you. 14. Use Scripture and church as punishment. 15. Never pray for them. 16. Correct them more than you encourage them. 17. Beat your kids into external conformity, often to simply make yourself look good and do nothing to shepherd their hearts.

Recently I listened to a great sermon by Paul Tripp as he spoke about the need to shepherd our children’s hearts. When the heart is ignored and we concentrate only on the externals, he compared it to a child that has everything he needs and wants in his backyard, but has his face pressed up against the fence desiring the junk in the neighbor’s yard. Legalistic parents just try to build higher fences. Christian parents shepherd the orientation of the heart.

Recently I listened to a great sermon by Paul Tripp [...]

By |2019-05-30T13:42:14-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Recently I listened to a great sermon by Paul Tripp as he spoke about the need to shepherd our children’s hearts. When the heart is ignored and we concentrate only on the externals, he compared it to a child that has everything he needs and wants in his backyard, but has his face pressed up against the fence desiring the junk in the neighbor’s yard. Legalistic parents just try to build higher fences. Christian parents shepherd the orientation of the heart.

Legalism is adding your rules to the Word of God. And when your rules are added to the Word of God, these traditions almost always become more important than the Word of God itself. God is ignored. Self-righteousness is nurtured. Unity in Christ is shot because the focus now becomes our new rules. Our gaze is upon those who follow them the best or preach them the loudest.  

Legalism is adding your rules to the Word of God. [...]

By |2019-05-30T13:39:49-04:00May 30th, 2019|Comments Off on Legalism is adding your rules to the Word of God. And when your rules are added to the Word of God, these traditions almost always become more important than the Word of God itself. God is ignored. Self-righteousness is nurtured. Unity in Christ is shot because the focus now becomes our new rules. Our gaze is upon those who follow them the best or preach them the loudest.  

God will administer loving discipline for wrongdoing in order to keep His children from experiencing even more extreme consequences of sin. This discipline can be quite rigorous, because while the damage of sin unchecked can be so devastating, our wayward impulses can be so strong. There is an appropriate dread of divine discipline that motivates us to avoid sin. Still, in order for discipline to operate properly in the Christian life, we must remember that God’s discipline for his children is never punitive or damaging.

God will administer loving discipline for wrongdoing in order to [...]

By |2019-04-22T20:05:37-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on God will administer loving discipline for wrongdoing in order to keep His children from experiencing even more extreme consequences of sin. This discipline can be quite rigorous, because while the damage of sin unchecked can be so devastating, our wayward impulses can be so strong. There is an appropriate dread of divine discipline that motivates us to avoid sin. Still, in order for discipline to operate properly in the Christian life, we must remember that God’s discipline for his children is never punitive or damaging.

If thankfulness does not move us to serve God, then we do not truly understand who our God is and what He has done in our behalf. Without gratitude for Christ’s sacrificial love, our duty will become nothing more than drudgery and our God nothing more than a dissatisfied boss.

If thankfulness does not move us to serve God, then [...]

By |2019-04-22T20:02:52-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on If thankfulness does not move us to serve God, then we do not truly understand who our God is and what He has done in our behalf. Without gratitude for Christ’s sacrificial love, our duty will become nothing more than drudgery and our God nothing more than a dissatisfied boss.

Since God’s justice has been fully satisfied, the remaining purposes of His discipline are to help those dear to Him to know more of the riches of His grace, and to grow more like Him. Divine discipline is intended to benefit the wayward rather than to exact retribution for wrong.

Since God’s justice has been fully satisfied, the remaining purposes [...]

By |2019-04-22T20:00:06-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Since God’s justice has been fully satisfied, the remaining purposes of His discipline are to help those dear to Him to know more of the riches of His grace, and to grow more like Him. Divine discipline is intended to benefit the wayward rather than to exact retribution for wrong.

If Christ has borne whatever our sins deserved, and by doing so has satisfied God’s justice to the full, then God cannot, in justice, punish us for sin, for that would require the full payment from Christ and yet demand part of it from us… God does not chastise us as a means of satisfaction for sin, but for rebuke and caution, to bring us to mourn for sin committed, and to beware of the like. It must always be remembered that, although Christ has borne the punishment of sin, and although God has forgiven the saints for their sins, yet God may God-fatherly correct His people for sin. Christ  endured  the  great  shower  of  wrath,  the  black  and  dismal hours of displeasure for sin. That which falls upon us is as a sun-shine shower, warmth with wet, wet with the warmth of His love to make us fruitful and humble… That which the believer suffers for sin is not penal, arising from vindictive justice, but medicinal, arising from a fatherly love. It is his medicine, not his punishment; his chastisement, not his sentence; his correction, not his condemnation.

If Christ has borne whatever our sins deserved, and by [...]

By |2019-04-22T19:58:55-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on If Christ has borne whatever our sins deserved, and by doing so has satisfied God’s justice to the full, then God cannot, in justice, punish us for sin, for that would require the full payment from Christ and yet demand part of it from us… God does not chastise us as a means of satisfaction for sin, but for rebuke and caution, to bring us to mourn for sin committed, and to beware of the like. It must always be remembered that, although Christ has borne the punishment of sin, and although God has forgiven the saints for their sins, yet God may God-fatherly correct His people for sin. Christ  endured  the  great  shower  of  wrath,  the  black  and  dismal hours of displeasure for sin. That which falls upon us is as a sun-shine shower, warmth with wet, wet with the warmth of His love to make us fruitful and humble… That which the believer suffers for sin is not penal, arising from vindictive justice, but medicinal, arising from a fatherly love. It is his medicine, not his punishment; his chastisement, not his sentence; his correction, not his condemnation.

How would we feel if we pray on Wednesday nights for revival, but it comes to a church down the road? How would we feel if another church is baptizing more converts? How would we feel if the decrease in our ministry might be needed for great success elsewhere in the church? I can provide countless examples, but the point is clear. Are we in this for ourselves – Grace Bible Church, our family our own identity, own kingdom – or are we solely about the Lord’s glory and ultimately His kingdom? Pride is all about me and my circles. Humility is all about Christ and being content if He receives all the glory, even if that means my actions are unappreciated or overlooked.

How would we feel if we pray on Wednesday nights [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:49:12-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on How would we feel if we pray on Wednesday nights for revival, but it comes to a church down the road? How would we feel if another church is baptizing more converts? How would we feel if the decrease in our ministry might be needed for great success elsewhere in the church? I can provide countless examples, but the point is clear. Are we in this for ourselves – Grace Bible Church, our family our own identity, own kingdom – or are we solely about the Lord’s glory and ultimately His kingdom? Pride is all about me and my circles. Humility is all about Christ and being content if He receives all the glory, even if that means my actions are unappreciated or overlooked.

There are no specific churches or denominations in God’s kingdom. If you are saved, you are on God’s team. God’s children are your teammates. Support each other. Encourage each other. Rejoice when God is working, even if it’s not under the banner of your ministry or your church or your country. The prideful competitive spirit often sees the enemy not as demonic forces, but rather other believers because they can steal your fanfare. The humble God-honor spirit sees those who do not oppose as being with us and (as Jesus said) “for us” (Luke 9:50).

There are no specific churches or denominations in God’s kingdom. [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:48:15-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on There are no specific churches or denominations in God’s kingdom. If you are saved, you are on God’s team. God’s children are your teammates. Support each other. Encourage each other. Rejoice when God is working, even if it’s not under the banner of your ministry or your church or your country. The prideful competitive spirit often sees the enemy not as demonic forces, but rather other believers because they can steal your fanfare. The humble God-honor spirit sees those who do not oppose as being with us and (as Jesus said) “for us” (Luke 9:50).

We continue to confront sin and call for repentance, but we leave the final determination of judgment to God and as long as we have time, we cease from pronouncing judgment and plead with sinners to receive the mercy that we offer in the gospel… Mercy is at the heart of redemptive ministry. Mercy is to extend to all without regard for race, or status, or gender, or age. And mercy is to be offered patiently toward those who are ignorant in unbelief.

We continue to confront sin and call for repentance, but [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:45:48-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on We continue to confront sin and call for repentance, but we leave the final determination of judgment to God and as long as we have time, we cease from pronouncing judgment and plead with sinners to receive the mercy that we offer in the gospel… Mercy is at the heart of redemptive ministry. Mercy is to extend to all without regard for race, or status, or gender, or age. And mercy is to be offered patiently toward those who are ignorant in unbelief.

Discipling someone is walking them through life and teaching them to perceive all of its experiences with a divine insight.  That’s what discipleship is. It’s not a class on Thursday night, or any other night. It’s not two hours of reading a book. It’s interpreting life with the mind of Christ.

Discipling someone is walking them through life and teaching them [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:44:22-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Discipling someone is walking them through life and teaching them to perceive all of its experiences with a divine insight.  That’s what discipleship is. It’s not a class on Thursday night, or any other night. It’s not two hours of reading a book. It’s interpreting life with the mind of Christ.

Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ’s army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and talk fluently of his experience. It has been painfully forgotten that numbers alone do not make strength, and that there may be a great quantity of mere outward religion, while there is very little real grace. Let us all remember this. Let us keep back nothing from young professors and inquirers after Christ. Let us not enlist them on false pretenses. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end. But let us tell them no less plainly, that there is a daily cross in the way.

Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:42:30-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Nothing, in fact, has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ’s army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and talk fluently of his experience. It has been painfully forgotten that numbers alone do not make strength, and that there may be a great quantity of mere outward religion, while there is very little real grace. Let us all remember this. Let us keep back nothing from young professors and inquirers after Christ. Let us not enlist them on false pretenses. Let us tell them plainly that there is a crown of glory at the end. But let us tell them no less plainly, that there is a daily cross in the way.

For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by His fatherly care, that He is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond Him — they will never yield Him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in Him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to Him.

For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:39:43-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on For until men recognize that they owe everything to God, that they are nourished by His fatherly care, that He is the Author of their every good, that they should seek nothing beyond Him — they will never yield Him willing service. Nay, unless they establish their complete happiness in Him, they will never give themselves truly and sincerely to Him.

When God works in a Christian’s heart, our primary attitude toward unbelievers is not rejection, frustration or exultation over their destiny. It’s compassion. It’s being able to see them as an image bearer of God (regardless of how they look or what they may do) lost in this world and on the road to an eternal hell. And that is our motivation for evangelism. It’s because God has given us a heart for all humans and in that love we are compelled to get them the message of Jesus so they may be saved from hell. After all, that was God’s love toward you before you accepted Christ, right?

When God works in a Christian’s heart, our primary attitude [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:37:14-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on When God works in a Christian’s heart, our primary attitude toward unbelievers is not rejection, frustration or exultation over their destiny. It’s compassion. It’s being able to see them as an image bearer of God (regardless of how they look or what they may do) lost in this world and on the road to an eternal hell. And that is our motivation for evangelism. It’s because God has given us a heart for all humans and in that love we are compelled to get them the message of Jesus so they may be saved from hell. After all, that was God’s love toward you before you accepted Christ, right?

Now if you have a problem matching up that sovereignty of God with human responsibility, admit that you don’t know everything and the problem is solved. Because I also know that the gospel extends to the end of the earth and Jesus was the one who said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.” We understand the gospel invitation. We understand the call. We understand the tears of Jesus over those who wouldn’t come. We understand the responsibility of the sinner who rejects the gospel and perishes and he is being punished for his own choice. We understand that. How that harmonizes with this doctrine, I do not understand.  I may never understand it even in eternity because I will never be God. But I will let God be God and I will not redefine God on my terms… I also understand at the same time that God holds every sinner responsible for their own rejection and gives them the opportunity to receive Him. And it makes perfect sense to Him though it’s apparently paradoxical to me. But I will not err on the severe side of diminishing the sovereignty of God by eliminating this glorious truth.

Now if you have a problem matching up that sovereignty [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:00:55-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Now if you have a problem matching up that sovereignty of God with human responsibility, admit that you don’t know everything and the problem is solved. Because I also know that the gospel extends to the end of the earth and Jesus was the one who said, “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I’ll give you rest.” We understand the gospel invitation. We understand the call. We understand the tears of Jesus over those who wouldn’t come. We understand the responsibility of the sinner who rejects the gospel and perishes and he is being punished for his own choice. We understand that. How that harmonizes with this doctrine, I do not understand.  I may never understand it even in eternity because I will never be God. But I will let God be God and I will not redefine God on my terms… I also understand at the same time that God holds every sinner responsible for their own rejection and gives them the opportunity to receive Him. And it makes perfect sense to Him though it’s apparently paradoxical to me. But I will not err on the severe side of diminishing the sovereignty of God by eliminating this glorious truth.

Don’t let the doctrine of election get in the way.  We don’t know who they are.  Somebody said to Spurgeon, “You can’t preach that doctrine. You can’t preach that doctrine to everybody because they might not be elect.” And he said, “Well if you’ll go around and pull their shirt up so I can see if they have an ‘E’ stamped on their back, I’ll preach only to them.”  I don’t know who they are and so we go to the ends of the earth because this is a secret decree known only after faith, not before.  So I can with no hesitation cry out to all to come to Christ.

Don't let the doctrine of election get in the way. [...]

By |2019-04-22T15:57:26-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Don’t let the doctrine of election get in the way.  We don’t know who they are.  Somebody said to Spurgeon, “You can’t preach that doctrine. You can’t preach that doctrine to everybody because they might not be elect.” And he said, “Well if you’ll go around and pull their shirt up so I can see if they have an ‘E’ stamped on their back, I’ll preach only to them.”  I don’t know who they are and so we go to the ends of the earth because this is a secret decree known only after faith, not before.  So I can with no hesitation cry out to all to come to Christ.

Don’t impose on God your sense of what is fair. Fair sends the whole human race to hell. You don’t want fair. God is God and He’s the sovereign of the universe and He doesn’t abandon His sovereignty at any point, particularly in the realm of redemption. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

Don't impose on God your sense of what is fair. [...]

By |2019-04-22T16:01:23-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on Don’t impose on God your sense of what is fair. Fair sends the whole human race to hell. You don’t want fair. God is God and He’s the sovereign of the universe and He doesn’t abandon His sovereignty at any point, particularly in the realm of redemption. I will have mercy on whom I have mercy. I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.

The more you know Him, the better you know Him, the more confident you become, the more secure your joy is… Joy is related to your knowledge of God: little knowledge, little joy; much knowledge, much joy. The more you know of God’s glorious truth, of God’s great covenants and promises, of God’s plans, of God’s faithfulness, of God’s power, the more joy you experience in life… Our joy is connected to the goodness of the Lord. And the more you understand His grace and mercy and goodness, the more stable your joy becomes, no matter what circumstances may come.

The more you know Him, the better you know Him, [...]

By |2019-04-22T15:52:13-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on The more you know Him, the better you know Him, the more confident you become, the more secure your joy is… Joy is related to your knowledge of God: little knowledge, little joy; much knowledge, much joy. The more you know of God’s glorious truth, of God’s great covenants and promises, of God’s plans, of God’s faithfulness, of God’s power, the more joy you experience in life… Our joy is connected to the goodness of the Lord. And the more you understand His grace and mercy and goodness, the more stable your joy becomes, no matter what circumstances may come.

I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes – that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens – that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence – the fall of leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche. He who believes in God must believe this truth. There is no standing point between this and Atheism. There is no halfway between an Almighty God, who works all things according to the good pleasure of His will, and no God at all!

I believe that every particle of dust that dances in [...]

By |2019-04-22T15:47:58-04:00April 22nd, 2019|Comments Off on I believe that every particle of dust that dances in the sunbeam does not move an atom more or less than God wishes – that every particle of spray that dashes against the steamboat has its orbit, as well as the sun in the heavens – that the chaff from the hand of the winnower is steered as the stars in their courses. The creeping of an aphid over the rosebud is as much fixed as the march of the devastating pestilence – the fall of leaves from a poplar is as fully ordained as the tumbling of an avalanche. He who believes in God must believe this truth. There is no standing point between this and Atheism. There is no halfway between an Almighty God, who works all things according to the good pleasure of His will, and no God at all!