Search Results: Bible
If marriage were of human origin, then human beings would have a right to set it aside. But since God instituted marriage, only He has the right to do so. He has told us that marriage will not be dispensed with until the life to come. Nor can marriage be regulated according to human whims. Marriage as an institution (which includes individual marriages, of course) is subject to the rules and regulations set down by God. If He had said nothing more about marriage after establishing it, we might have proceeded to draw up such rules on our own. But He did not leave us in the dark; God has revealed His will about marriage in the pages of the Bible. Individuals may marry, be divorced and be remarried only if, when and how He says they may without sinning.
Few things are sapping the strength of the church of Jesus Christ more than the unreconciled state of so many believers. So many have matters deeply imbedded in their craws, like iron wedges forced between themselves and other Christians. They can’t walk together because they do not agree. When they should be marching side by side through this world taking men captive for Jesus Christ, they are acting instead like an army that has been routed and scattered and whose troops in their confusion have begun fighting among themselves. Nothing is sapping the church of Christ of her strength so much as these unresolved problems, these loose ends among believing Christians that have never been tied up. There is no excuse for this sad condition, for the Bible does not allow for loose ends. God wants no loose ends.
You must not exhort your congregation to do whatever the Bible requires of them as though they could fulfill those requirements on their own, but only as a consequence of the saving power of the cross and the indwelling, sanctifying power and presence of Christ in the Person of the Holy Spirit
Today, one of the greatest threats to evangelical preaching comes from the invasion of the church by Adler-Maslow, etc., self-image, self-worth dogmas. Passage after passage in the Bible has been distorted in order to conform to these teachings, with the result that you end up preaching man and his supposed worth rather than Christ. Sometimes that “worth” has been seen as intrinsic, sometimes it has been considered to be the result of salvation.
Christ is the sum of the whole Bible, prophesied, typified, prefigured, exhibited, demonstrated, to be found in every leaf, almost in every line, the Scriptures being but as it were the swaddling bands of the child Jesus.
All that was necessary to prohibit an abortion [in the Bible] was the command, “You shall not murder” (Ex. 20:13). Every Israelite knew that the preborn child was a child. So do we, if we are honest. We all know a pregnant woman is “carrying a child.”
The Bible tells us to base our assurance not on a prayer prayed or an aisle walked in the increasingly distant past. It tells us to look at our present and increasing love for others (1 John 4:8, 20), the present and increasing holiness of our lifestyles (Matt. 7:15-27; Heb. 12:14; 1 John 3:7-8), and the present and increasing orthodoxy of our doctrine (Gal. 1:6-9; 2 Tim. 4:3; 1 John 4:2-3; 15).
There’s not one door in the world closed where you want to witness for Jesus…Show me a closed door and I will tell you how you can get in I won’t however, promise you a way to get out…Jesus didn’t say, "Go if the doors are open," because they weren’t. He didn’t say, "Go if you have an invitation or a red carpet treatment." He said, "Go," because people needed his Word…We need a new approach to missions — an aggressive, experimental, evangelical, no-holds-barred approach…A pioneering spirit… I’m afraid we’ll have to go through a deep valley of need and threatening situations, blood baths; but we’ll get there. God will take away what hinders us if we mean business. If we say, "Lord, at any cost" — and people should never pray that unless they truly want God to take them at their word — He will answer. Which is scary. But we have to go through the process. This is how it has worked in the Bible for the last two thousand years. So we face potentially hard times, and we have to go through that…We play church and we play Christianity. And we aren’t even aware we are lukewarm…We should have to pay a price for our faith. Read 2 Timothy 3:12: "Indeed, all who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." The church has been much purified in countries where there was lot of pressure…All I can say is to be ready.
What are we to think of a passage like Romans 1:26-27? The Bible defines homosexual desires as “contrary to nature,” not an equal alternative orientation. Homosexuality is a “dishonorable passion” that “consumes” men and women, leading to shameless behavior. The strong emotional pull of lust and the affections shared between persons in a homosexual relationship – whatever those affections may be called – cannot properly be called “love.” After all, love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing” (1 Cor. 13:6) and homosexuality is wrongdoing.
The Old Testament authors do not hesitate to name God as the origin of calamity or trouble, often described by the same term for “evil.” For examples, God sent a similar “evil spirit” (like the one He sent on Saul – 1 Sam. 16:14) between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem (Jud. 9:23). The Bible does not attempt to answer the questions, Why does evil exist, and Where does evil come from? Instead, biblical authors attempt only to expose the nature of human sin, which they see as the ultimate origin of pain and suffering in the world.
[The Bible is] shallow enough for a child not to drown, yet deep enough for an elephant to swim.
Those who are truly sent by God…are marked by the fact that they are faithful to the message of the Gospel, exalting the Lord Jesus Christ, proclaiming to men the good news of salvation through Him, and bidding men to turn from their sins and come to Christ as Savior and Lord. They back all of their proclamations by the authority of the Bible, the Word of God, and they call Christians to lives of holiness while they themselves are living examples of holiness. Unless a man is divinely sent to preach the Word, his ministry will be ineffective to produce faith and life in those to whom he ministers. God must do the sending. I always tell young men who ask me about entering the ministry that they should never become ministers if they can possibly help it. If a man could be satisfied as president of the United States, as president of a bank or a college, as a pitcher for a big-league ball team, or in another position of honor or distinction, he has not been called to the ministry. God has not sent him. When God sends a man there is a yearning, churning, burning inside him. Like Paul he must cry, “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16). This must be the heart feeling of everyone who has been sent with the Gospel.
The shortest road to an understanding of the Bible is the acceptance of the fact that God is speaking in every line.
I choose to believe the Bible because it is a reliable collection of historical documents written down by eyewitnesses during the lifetime of other eyewitnesses. They reported supernatural events that took place in fulfillment of specific prophecies and claimed that their writing are divine rather than human in origin.
There are some things a man simply must be before he is qualified to assume the role of a Christian husband. For instance, he must be a Christian (2 Corinthians 6:14); he must be committed to biblical headship (Ephesians 5:23ff.); he must welcome children (Psalm 127:3-5); he must be a suitable priest (Joshua 24:15), prophet (Ephesians 6:4), protector (Nehemiah 4:13-14), and provider (1 Timothy 5:8; Titus 2:5). A man who does not possess – or at least show strong signs of – these and other basic characteristics does not meet the basic job description laid down for husbands in the Bible.
Multigenerational Vision by Voddie Baucham taken from What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham, copyright 2009, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 17.|Multigenerational Vision by Voddie Baucham taken from What He Must Be by Voddie Baucham, copyright 2009, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 17.
Men would sooner believe that the gospel is from heaven, if they saw more such effects of it upon the hearts and lives of those who profess it. The world is better able to read the nature of religion in a man’s life than in the Bible.
Sink the Bible to the bottom of the ocean, and still man’s obligations to God would be unchanged. He would have the same path to tread, only his lamp and guide would be gone; the same voyage to make, but his chart and compass would be overboard!
Despite the obvious emphasis of Scripture (in regard to suffering), we are bombarded by suggestions that the “successful” Christian living takes place in the realm of constant victory, health, wholeness, and financial prosperity. In response to this we are not to pretend that suffering doesn’t exist or that it might be instantly cured. Such notions are the product of empty heads and closed Bibles.
When the Bible speaks of fools and folly, it is referring not to mental deficiency but moral perversity… First, we deny God’s existence (Psm. 14:1), and then we deny life’s values.
Surely we only have to be realistic and honest with ourselves to know how regularly we need to turn to the Bible. How often do we face problems, temptation, and pressure? Every day! Then how often do we need instruction, guidance and greater encouragement? Every day! To catch all these felt needs up into an even greater issue, how often do we need to see God’s face, hear his voice, feel his touch, know his power? The answer to all these questions is the same: every day!
Homosexuality is no more right, holy or acceptable today than it ever was in Bible times. Neither is heterosexual fornication, adultery, or pornography-driven lust. It’s not just that sex outside of God’s plan for marriage (which is limited to one man and one woman, per the created intent in Genesis 1 and 2) breaks His law – His rules are given as a gift to keep us from breaking our hearts.
Some persons think they can know God by means of their own human reason. But reason is a blind ally spiritually. It has always been the great minds exercising their powers apart from the Word of God who have produced the great heresies. Some think they can discover God by listening to a so-called “inner voice.” But the voice is often nothing more than an expression of their own inner desires. Quite a few think that spiritual truths can be verified by supernatural events or miracles. But the Bible everywhere teaches that even miracles will not lead men and women to understand and receive God’s truth unless they themselves are illuminated by the Bible (see Luke 16:31). I believe that we can state categorically that there is no knowledge apart from Jesus Christ and that there is no knowledge of Jesus Christ apart from a knowledge of the Bible.
The great hymns of the church are on the way out. They are not gone entirely, but they are going and in their place have come trite jingles that have more in common with contemporary advertising ditties than the psalms. The problem here is not so much the style of the music, though trite words fit best with trite tunes and harmonies. Rather it is with the content of the songs. The old hymns expressed the theology of the Bible in profound and perceptive ways and with winsome memorable language. Today’s songs are focused on ourselves. They reflect our shallow or nonexistent theology and do almost nothing to elevate our thoughts about God. Worst of all are songs that merely repeat a trite idea, word, or phrase over and over again. Songs like this are not worship, though they may give the church-goer a religious feeling. They are mantras, which belong more in a gathering of New Agers than among the worshiping people of God.
Can God reveal Himself to humanity? And, to be more specific, can He reveal himself in language, the specifics of which become normative for Christian faith and action? With an inerrant Bible these things are possible. Without it, theology inevitably enters a wasteland of human speculation. The church, which needs a sure Word of God, flounders. Without an inerrant revelation, theology is not only adrift, it is meaningless. Having repudiated its right to speak on the basis of Scripture, it forfeits its right to speak on any other issue as well.
James Montgomery BoiceTaken from “Foundations of the Christian Faith-Book I” by James Montgomery Boice, page 72. (c)1986 InterVarsity Christian Fellowship of the USA, Revised edition. Used by permission of InterVarsity Press, P.O. Box 1400, Downers Grove, IL 60515. www.ivpress.com http://www.gospelcom.net/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=991. Get this book!
Inerrancy is not the most critical issue facing the church today. The most serious issue, I believe, is the Bible’s sufficiency.
The cross stands as the focal point of the Christian faith. Without the cross the Bible is an enigma, and the Gospel of salvation is an empty hope.
We are to believe and follow Christ in all things, including His words about Scripture. And this means that Scripture is to be for us what it was to Him: the unique, authoritative, and inerrant Word of God, and not merely a human testimony to Christ, however carefully guided and preserved by God. If the Bible is less than this to us, we are not fully Christ’s disciples.
Not that you are to read no book but the Bible. All that is true and good is worth the reading, if you have time for it. All, if properly used, will help you in your study of the Scriptures. A Christian does not shut his eyes to the natural scenes of beauty spread around him. He does not cease to admire the hills, or plains, or rivers, or forests of earth because he has learned to love the God that made them; nor does he turn away from books of science or true poetry because he has discovered one book truer, more precious, and more poetical than all the rest together.
Avoid works that jest with what is right or wrong, lest you unconsciously adopt a false test of truth and duty, namely, ridicule, and so become afraid to do right for right’s sake alone, dreading the world’s sneer and undervaluing a good conscience and the approving smile of God. Let your reading be always select; and whatever you read, begin with seeking God’s blessing on it. But see that your relish for the Bible be above every other enjoyment, and the moment you begin to feel greater relish for any other book, lay it down until you have sought deliverance from such a snare and obtained from the Holy Spirit an intenser relish, a keener appetite for the Word of God (Jer. 15:16; Psm. 19:7-10).
[The Bible] will lead us into all truth. It will deliver us from the fermenting errors of the day. It will save us from the intellectual dreams of a vain philosophy, from the morally corrupted taste of a sensational literature, from the superficially attractive novelties of spiritual mysticism, from the pretentious sentimentalisms of men who soar above all creeds and abhor the name of “law,” from Broad Church-ism, and High Church-ism, and no Church-ism. It will lead us into light and love, into liberty and unity, imparting strength and gladness.
“Not called!” did you say? “Not heard the call,” I think you should say. Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face – whose mercy you have professed to obey – and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.
I have only missed my morning watch once or twice this term… I can easily believe that it is next in importance to accepting Christ. For I know that when I don’t wait upon God in prayer and Bible study, things go wrong.
The Scriptures recognize both the sovereignty of God, and the free agency, and accountability of man. Consciousness assures us of the latter. The nature of God…proves the former. The Bible makes no attempt to reconcile the two.
Love is very much a matter of actions rather than emotions. However, although this emphasis on acts of love is certainly necessary, we can sometimes give the impression that love doesn’t involve any emotion – that it is entirely an act of the will, of one’s duty, regardless of how one feels. We can even promote the “I can love him but I can’t like him” type of attitude. The Bible does not support such an unbalanced concept of love…fervently, fondly, and affectionately (are used in the Bible) to describe the love Christians ought to have for one another… Obviously such a fervency of spirit cannot substitute for loving actions, but surely it should accompany them. We dare not settle for less.
Usually we think of methods of intake as falling into four categories – hearing the Word taught by our pastors and teachers (Jeremiah 3:15), reading the Bible ourselves (Deuteronomy 17:19), studying the Scriptures intently (Proverbs 2:1-5), and memorizing key passages (Psalm 119:11). All of these methods are needed for a balanced intake of the Word… [But] we must do more than hear, read, study, or memorize Scripture. We must [also] meditate on it (Joshua 1:8).
The Bible indicates that our thought lives ultimately determine our character. Solomon said, “For as he thinks within himself, so he is” (Pro. 23:7).
So while the Bible asserts both God’s sovereignty and people’s freedom and moral responsibility, it never attempts to explain their relationship.
The insurance companies refer to major natural disasters as “acts of God.” The truth is, all expressions of nature, all occurrences of weather, whether it be a devastating tornado or a gentle rain on a spring day, are acts of God. The Bible teaches that God controls all the forces of nature, both destructive and productive, on a continuous, moment-by-moment basis.
It seems the Bible goes out of its way to portray the kindness of God in stark contrast to man’s total undeservedness.
To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin and, therefore, consecrated to God. The word signifies separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated… To live a holy life, then, is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world. It is to live a life characterized by the “(putting) off of your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires… and (putting) on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22, 24).
Bible reading enables us…to enjoy communion with God as He speaks to us from His word, encouraging us, instructing us, and revealing Himself to us.
Because we are sinful by nature, we have developed sinful patterns, which we call habits. Discipline is required to break any habit. If a boy has developed the wrong style of swinging a baseball bat, he cannot just decide to change instantly. He has developed a certain habit, and much discipline – much correction and training – is required to break that bad habit and develop a new one. In the same way, our patterns of disobedience to God have been developed over a number of years and are not broken easily or without discipline. Discipline does not mean gritting your teeth and saying, “I’ll not do that anymore.” Rather, discipline means structured, planned training. Just as you need a plan for regular Bible reading or study, so you need a plan for applying the Word to your life.
As a young Christian I had the idea that all I had to do to live a holy life was to find out from the Bible what God wanted me to do and go do it. Christians with maturity will smile at this naïve assumption, but I see younger Christians starting off with the same air of self-confidence. We have to learn that we are dependent upon the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to attain any degree of holiness. Then, as we look to Him, we will see Him working in us – revealing our sin, creating a desire for holiness, and giving us the strength to respond to Him in obedience.
The Bible is full of God’s promises to provide for us spiritually and materially, to never forsake us, to give us peace in times of difficult circumstances, to cause all circumstances to work together for our good, and finally to bring us safely home to glory. Not one of those promises is dependent upon our performance. They are all dependent on the grace of God given to us through Jesus Christ.
We need to call sin what the Bible calls it and not soften it with modern expressions borrowed from our culture.
I acknowledge it often seems more difficult to trust God than to obey Him. The moral will of God given to us in the Bible is rational and reasonable. The circumstances in which we must trust God often appear irrational and inexplicable….Obeying God is worked out within well-defined boundaries of God’s revealed will. Trusting God is worked out in an arena that has no boundaries. We do not know the extent, the duration, or the frequency of the painful, adverse circumstances in which we must frequently trust God. We are always coping with the unknown.
As we prayerfully expose ourselves to the Scriptures, we begin to understand what God’s will is regarding our conduct and character. And then as the Holy Spirit applies His word to specific areas of our lives, and as we are obedient to His promptings, we begin to develop Bible-based convictions. Our values begin to change so that God’s standard becomes our delight and our desire.
The promises of the Bible are nothing more than God’s covenant to be faithful to His people. It is His character that makes these promises valid.
So while the Bible asserts both God’s sovereignty and people’s freedom and moral responsibility, it never attempts to explain their relationship.
The Bible does not deal specifically with abortion. For that matter, it does not deal specifically with infanticide, the killing of babies. Nor does it talk about parricide, fratricide, uxoricide (killing of one’s wife), nor genocide (the killing of a whole race). Examples of such crimes are mentioned, but not singled out for special treatment. In fact, the Bible does not even discuss suicide (self-killing). There are specific provisions against homicide – the deliberate taking of human life (“killing” or “slaying” is the usual expression). The Bible prohibits the taking of innocent human life. If the developing fetus is shown to be a human being, then we do not need a specific commandment against feticide (abortion) any more than we need something specific against uxoricide (wife-killing). The general commandment against killing covers both.
Any part of the human body can only be properly explained in reference to the whole body. And any part of the Bible can only be properly explained in reference to the whole Bible.
[In seeing to stay clear from cults]:
1. Avoid groups that reject or twist the Bible.
2. Avoid groups that demean or dilute the Bible.
3. Avoid groups that treat exotic or emotional experiences as the main feature of Christian life.
4. Avoid groups that idolize their human leaders.
5. Avoid groups that try to cut you off from your family.
6. Avoid groups that try to mix Christianity with other religions.
7. Avoid groups that try to mix Christianity with occultic practices.
While exegesis risks becoming a discipline removed from the demands of the pulpit, so homiletics cannot separate itself from hermeneutics. That would power the pulpit by personal inspiration instead of by historical, critical study of the Bible. Hermeneutics and homiletics must remain wed.
Convictions of personal conscience are those areas where a strict absolute is not laid down for us in the Bible. [Yet] having such personal convictions does not mean you cannot make a biblical argument for your position.
Thank God for the battle verses in the Bible. We go into the unknown every day of our lives, and especially every Monday morning, for the week is sure to be a battlefield, outwardly and inwardly in the unseen life of the spirit, which is often by far the sternest battlefield for souls. Either way, the Lord your God goes before you, He shall fight for you!
The amazing thing is that everyone who reads the Bible has the same joyful thing to say about it. In every land, in every language, it is the same tale: where that Book is read, not with the eyes only, but with the mind and heart, the life is changed. Sorrowful people are comforted, sinful people are transformed, peoples who were in the dark walk in the light. Is it not wonderful to think that this Book, which is such a mighty power if it gets a chance to work in an honest heart, is in our hands today?
The cliché, God hates the sin but love the sinner, is false on the face of it and should be abandoned. Fourteen times in the first fifty Psalms alone, we are told that God hates the sinner, His wrath is on the liar, and so forth. In the Bible, the wrath of God rests both on the sin (Romans 1:18ff) and on the sinner (John 3:36).
We do not give the subject of evil and suffering the thought it deserves until we ourselves are confronted with tragedy. If by that point our belief – not well thought out but deeply ingrained – are largely out of step with the God who has disclosed Himself in the Bible and supremely in Jesus, then the pain from the personal tragedy may be multiplied many times over as we begin to question the very foundations of our faith.
What is both surprising and depressing is the sheer prayerlessness that characterizes so much of the Western church. It is surprising, because it is out of step with the Bible that portrays what Christian living should be; it is depressing, because it frequently coexists with abounding Christian activity that somehow seems hollow, frivolous and superficial.
If any (or almost any) approach to God is as good as another, how do we make sense of the Bible’s insistence on monotheism, its consistent rejection of all forms of idolatry, and the missionary impulse — that the nations would turn to the true God — running from Genesis to Revelation? Most crucially, pluralism cannot do justice to the privileged place the Bible gives to Jesus Christ. Every knee must bow before Him. He will judge all peoples. The God of the Bible, revealed as Yahweh in the Old Testament and incarnated at Jesus Christ in the New, is nothing if not a universal God who accepts no rivals. To reject the unique person and work of Jesus Christ is to make an utter mockery of the Bible. To reject His claims is to reject God Himself and to steal from Him the glory that is rightly His. Ultimately it is to turn one’s back on the Bible and on the God of the Bible.
Jesus Christ – The Only Way and Our Only Hope by Tim Challies taken from Don’t Call it a Comeback, edited by Kevin DeYoung, copyright 2011, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 130.
By studying Proverbs and other portions of the Bible it often seems that discernment is a subset of wisdom. There seems to be a progression from knowledge, which refers to bare facts, to wisdom, which refers to understanding moral and ethical dimensions of facts and data, to discernment, which is the application of wisdom. Wisdom is a prerequisite to discernment. Discernment is wisdom in action.
To judge others is to decide that they are doing wrong because they do something the Bible doesn’t talk about or because you think you can guess what is in that person’s heart.
Truth is what God thinks; it is what God does; it is what God is; it is what God has revealed of Himself in the Bible. Truth is found in its fullest form in God, for He is truth; He is the very source and origin of all truth.
We need accountability. Left to our own devices, we will soon devise or succumb to all kinds of evil. As Christians we know that we need other believers to hold us accountable to the standards of Scripture. Passages such as Ecclesiastes 4:12 remind us that “a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” The Bible tells us that “iron sharpens iron” (Prov. 27:17) and that we are to “stir up one another to love and good works…encouraging one another” (Heb. 10:24-25). Life is far too difficult and we are far too sinful to live in solitude. We need community. We need accountability. And God has anticipated our need by giving us the local church as the primary means of this accountability.
General revelation communicates truth to everyone – truth that ought to lead each of us to turn to God. And yet nowhere in the Bible is there record of anyone turning to God on the basis of general revelation alone. This shows a problem with neither the revelation nor the Revealer, but rather, with the human being. All men reject this revelation of God.
God made His own Son to be sin that He might make the sinner a saint. All through the Bible it is revealed that Our Lord bore the sin of the world by identification, not by sympathy. He deliberately took upon His own shoulders, and bore in His own Person, the whole massed sin of the human race – “He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin,” and by so doing He put the whole human race on the basis of Redemption.
It is this most obvious aspect of our Lord’s teaching which has been forgotten or ignored by modern evangelism. Anxious to bring sinners to life, peace and joy in the Lord, evangelists have failed even to mention that Christ insists upon denial of self at the outset. Having failed to pass on our Lord’s requirement, and forgetting it themselves, evangelists have never questioned whether their “converts” with self-centered lives are true followers of Christ. Assuming that it is possible for a man to be self-indulgent and yet heaven-bound, Bible teachers look for some way to bring ego-centric men to a higher spiritual plane. Then self-denial is taught as the requirement for a second work of grace. But Luke 9:23-24 shows that unless a man lives a life of self-denial, he has not received a first work of grace.
The Bible as a whole speaks more of God’s holiness than of His love.
Because of our union with Christ, we are not hated. Weakness, wrongdoing, and failings cling to us, yes. But they do not establish who we are. We are the beloved of God. Though sin still exists in our lives, we have the status of the One who gave his life for us and to us – God’s own Son. And because of the love of that Child who now indwells us, we have the ability to change and progress in our Christian walk. Yes, there is still work to do, but as we seek to obey our God we must remember that we can obey him because of who we are. We are God’s beloved children for whom he gave his Son, and to whom he has given his Spirit. As the Bible says, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (I John 3:1).
All of this longing for guilt comes from the conviction that, if we will make ourselves feel bad enough and carrying a burden of remorse long enough, we will merit God’s grace. But who really wants us pressed down and paralyzed by a burden of guilt? Satan. He is our accuser (see Rev.12:10). Nothing pleases him more than for Christians to beat themselves down into paralyzing depression or unproductive despair. The Bible does not say our guilty feelings or compensating recriminations will make us right with God. God makes us right with God. He does not want us bowed down in despair. He is the lifter of our heads (Ps. 3:3).
The Power of Mercy by Bryan Chapell taken from Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell, copyright 2001, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 191.|The Power of Mercy by Bryan Chapell taken from Holiness by Grace by Bryan Chapell, copyright 2001, Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton Illinois 60187, www.crosswaybooks.org. Page 191.
[In the Bible] the word “child” or “babe” is significant. The Greek word used for the pre-born is the same as the born. God does not distinguish the soul of the pre-born from the soul of one who has been born. God sees both as souls – children – who He has created.
They who have no Bible may still look up to the moon walking in brightness and the stars watching in obedient order; they may see in the joyous sunbeams the smile of God, and in the fruitful shower the manifestation of His bounty; they hear the rending thunder utter His wrath, and the jubilee of the birds sing His praise; the green hills are swelled with His goodness; the trees of the wood rejoice before Him with every quiver of their foliage in the summer air.
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit (Proverbs 26:4-5, KJV)… Both statements are true, and are to be taken seriously. In the first proverb, we are taught that we ought not respond to a fool on his level, we ought not to allow ourselves to be brought down to the level of a fool by answering him as foolishly as he has spoken. On the other hand, we are to answer the fool in a way that gives him no dignity, no satisfaction, lest he take himself too seriously. A fool is to be deal with as a fool, but we should not be made fools also in the process.
Don’t ever forget that you cannot do what God has called you to do. You cannot parent that child, love that husband, care for that elderly parent, submit to that boss, teach that Sunday school class, or lead that small-group Bible study. God specializes in the impossible, so that when the victory is won and the task is complete, we cannot take any credit. Others know we didn’t do it, and we know we didn’t do it. We must always remember that we can only live the Christian life and serve God through the power of His Holy Spirit. As soon as we think we can handle it on our own, we become useless to Him. We have to be willing to get out of the way, let God take over, and let Him overshadow us.
We need revival:
-when we do not love Him as we once did.
-when earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
-when we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.
-when church dinners are better attended than prayer meetings.
-when concerts draw bigger crowds than prayer meetings.
-when we have little or no desire for prayer.
-when we would rather make money than give money.
-when we put people into leadership positions in our churches who do not meet scriptural qualifications.
-when our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
-when we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives.
-when we make little effort to witness to the lost.
-when we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.
-when we do not tremble at the Word of God.
-when preaching lacks conviction, confrontation, and divine fire and anointing.
-when we seldom think thoughts of eternity.
-when God’s people are more concerned about their jobs and their careers, than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salvation of the lost.
-when God’s people get together with other believers and the conversation is primarily about the news, weather, and sports, rather than the Lord.
-when church services are predictable and “business as usual.”
-when believers can be at odds with each other and not feel compelled to pursue reconciliation.
-when Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.
-when our marriages are co-existing rather than full of the love of Christ.
-when our children are growing up to adopt worldly values, secular philosophies, and ungodly lifestyles.
-when we are more concerned about our children’s education and their athletic activities than about the condition of their souls.
-when sin in the church is pushed under the carpet.
-when known sin is not dealt with through the biblical process of discipline and restoration.
-when we tolerate “little” sins of gossip, a critical spirit, and lack of love.
-when we will watch things on television and movies that are not holy.
-when our singing is half-hearted and our worship lifeless.
-when our prayers are empty words designed to impress others.
-when our prayers lack fervency.
-when our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
-when we aren’t seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God.
-when we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our own sin and the sin of others.
-when we are content to live with explainable, ordinary Christianity and church services.
-when we are bored with worship.
-when people have to be entertained to be drawn to church.
-when our music and dress become patterned after the world.
-when we start fitting into and adapting to the world, rather than calling the world to adapt to God’s standards of holiness.
-when we don’t long for the company and fellowship of God’s people.
-when people have to be begged to give and to serve in the church.
-when our giving is measured and calculated, rather than extravagant and sacrificial.
-when we aren’t seeing lost people drawn to Jesus on a regular basis.
-when we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
-when we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
-when we are unmoved by the fact that 2.5 billion people in this world have never heard the name of Jesus.
-when we are unmoved by the thought of neighbors, business associates, and acquaintances who are lost and without Christ.
-when the lost world around us doesn’t know or care that we exist.
-when we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.
-when the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages, and the church.
-when we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t think we need revival.
I am acknowledging that [the Bible] is not an ordinary Book I am about to read but a supernatural, and, therefore, I need the assistance of its Author.
The culture to which (the church) would conform in order to be relevant becomes so inextricably entwined with antagonism to the Gospel that to conform to it must mean a loss of the Gospel itself. In such a day, we must re-hear the Bible and re-imagine the concept of successful ministry not as necessarily immediately fruitful but as demonstrably faithful to God’s Word… Simply put, we need churches that are self-consciously distinct from the culture. We need churches in which the key indicator of success is not evident results but persevering biblical faithfulness. We need churches that help us recover those aspects of Christianity that are distinct from the world, and that unite us.
God will not be known if He does not speak, and we cannot know Him if He has not spoken a word that we can rely on. God must reveal Himself. That’s the point of the Bible. Because of our own sins, we could never know God otherwise. Either He speaks or we are forever lost in the darkness of our own speculations.