Teaching about the various cults in our churches is undoubtedly a useful enterprise and helps Christians understand the errors that are so prevalent in our own day. But it is ultimately positive teaching about the Christian faith that will serve as the best protection against heresy, for we can never cover all the possible errors that false teachers might come up with.
For at the heart of Christian ministry must always be the molding of people into the image of Christ, and the full and faithful teaching of God’s truth is the means the Spirit uses to accomplish this goal.
Confidence and our status with Christ should never lead us to presumption on God’s grace.
Effective preaching about “the last things” maybe one of the best ways to help Christians internalize a worldview that puts eternity and this world in there right proportion.
This is the way it always is with false teaching. False teachers cannot force their opinions on anybody. They can only persuade people to adopt their ways of looking at things. And false teaching, of course, often has an attractive veneer. People like new ideas; and false teaching, by definition, trades in new ideas. People also like teaching that might make them feel less guilty about their own sins and failings. And certainly the false teachers of [biblical times and our day hold] out this advantage.
False teaching is often revealed in false living… Following bad doctrine leads to bad practices.
Christian maturity is not indicated by the infrequency of temptation but by the infrequency of succumbing to temptation.
[A] “trial” refers to any difficulty in life that may threaten our faithfulness to Christ.
The biblical writers…suggest that all persons will inevitably “mourn” for their spiritual state. They can wait to mourn until it is too late, when God has brought His judgment on the earth. Or they can mourn now, turning sorrowfully from their sin so that they will have no occasion to mourn when the Lord returns.
The faith exercised in prayer is faith in the God who sovereignly accomplishes His will. When we pray, our faith recognizes, explicitly or implicitly, the overruling providential purposes of God. We may at times be given insight into that will, enabling us to pray with absolute confidence in God’s plan to answer as we ask. But surely those cases are rare – more rare even than our subjective, emotional desires would lead us to suspect.
In His message of the kingdom, Jesus announced the overwhelming, amazing wonder of God’s sovereign grace reaching down to reclaim sinful people for Himself. But no one emphasized as strongly as Jesus the need for people touched by God’s grace to respond with radical, world-renouncing obedience. Both the gracious initiative of God and the grateful response of human beings are necessary aspects of the gospel.
God’s gracious acceptance of us does not end our obligation to obey Him; it sets it on a new footing. No longer is God’s law a threatening, confining burden. For the will of God now confronts us as a law of liberty [James 1:25] – an obligation we discharge in the joyful knowledge that God has both “liberated” us from the penalty of sin and given us, in His Spirit, the power to obey His will.
Faith is a dynamic, powerful force, through which the believer is intimately united with Christ, his Lord.
Wisdom is the means by which the godly can both discern and carry out the will of God.
The OT law is not to be abandoned. Indeed, it must continue to be taught (Matt 5:19) – but interpreted and applied in light of its fulfillment by Christ. In other words, it stands no longer as the ultimate standard of conduct for God’s people, but must always be viewed through the lenses of Jesus’ ministry and teaching.
[Trials are] intended to produce, when believers respond with confidence in God and determination to endure, a wholeness of Christian character that lacks nothing in the panoply of virtues that define godly character [see James 1:2-4].