At the heart of what it means to be a Christian is to receive a new identity. In Jesus, we do not lose our true selves, but we become our true selves, only in Him.
Christian selfhood is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves. It’s defined in terms of what God does to us and the relationship He creates with us and the destiny He appoints for us. God made us who we are so we could make known who He is. Our identity is for the sake of making known His identity.
Are you awake and free from the false messages of American merchandising? Or has the omnipresent economic lie deceived you so that the only sin you can imagine in relation to money is stealing?
The greatest enemy of hunger for God is not poison but apple pie. It is not the banquet of the wicked that dulls our appetite for heaven, but endless nibbling at the table of the world. It is not the X-rated video, but the prime-time dribble of triviality we drink in every night… For when these replace an appetite for God Himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable.
God is not jealous like an insecure employer who fears that his employees might get lured away by a better salary elsewhere. God’s jealousy is not the reflex of weakness or fear. Instead God is jealous like a powerful and merciful king who takes a peasant girl from a life of shame, forgives her, marries her, and gives her not the chores of a slave, but the privileges of a wife – a queen. His jealousy does not rise from fear or weakness but from a holy indignation at having His honor and power and mercy scorned by the faithlessness of a fickle spouse.
When God stands as witness to the covenant promises of a marriage it becomes more than a merely human agreement. God is not a passive bystander at a wedding ceremony. In effect he says, I have seen this, I confirm it and I record it in heaven. And I bestow upon this covenant by My presence and My purpose the dignity of being an image of My own covenant with My wife, the church.
Here are six things [submission] is not, based on 1 Peter 3:1-6:
1. Submission does not mean agreeing with everything your husband says.
2. Submission does not mean leaving your brains or your will at the wedding altar.
3. Submission does not mean avoiding every effort to change a husband.
4. Submission does not mean putting the will of the husband before the will of Christ.
5. Submission does not mean that a wife gets her personal, spiritual strength primarily though her husband.
6. Submission does not mean that a wife is to act out of fear.
There is a hearing that barely gets started and the Word is gone before you get out the door. There is a hearing that lasts until there is a hard time in life, and then one turns from God to other messages. There is a hearing that flourishes until the riches and pleasures of this life choke it off. And there is a hearing that defeats the devil, endures trial, scorns riches and bears fruit unto eternal life [see Luke 8:4-18].
If we want the meaning and the worth and the beauty and the power of the cross of Christ to be seen and loved in our churches, and if the design of the death of His Son is not only to reconcile us to God but to reconcile alienated ethnic groups to each other in Christ, then will we not display and magnify the cross of Christ better by more and deeper and sweeter ethnic diversity and unity in our worship and life?
Is masturbation wrong? Let me address the issue mainly for men. I cannot imagine sexual orgasm in the loins without sexual image in the mind. I know there are nocturnal emissions, which I regard as innocent and helpful, but I doubt that they are ever orgasmic apart from a sexual dream that supplies the necessary image in the mind. Evidently God has constituted the connection between sexual orgasm and sexual thought in such a way that the force and pleasure of orgasm is dependent on the thought or images in our minds. Therefore in order to masturbate, it is necessary to get vivid and exciting thoughts or images into the mind. This can be done by pure imagination or by pictures or movies or stories or real persons. These images always involve women as sexual objects. I use the word “object” because in order for a women to be a true sexual “subject” in our imagination she must in reality be one with whom we are experiencing what we are imagining. This is not the case with masturbation. So I vote no on masturbation. There may be other reasons why it is wrong. For now I rest my vote on the inevitable sexual images which accompany masturbation and which turn women into sexual objects. The sexual thoughts that enable masturbation do not help any man to treat women with greater respect. Therefore masturbation produces real and legitimate guilt and stands in the way of obedience.
To fear the Lord is to tremble at the thought of offending him by unbelief and disobedience. It is the feeling that God is not to be trifled with… Those who fear God shudder at the thought of speaking that way about their Majestic Father. Anything that dishonors God is anathema to those who fear God.
We ought not speak too long about God with our minds before we turn and speak to God from our heart. We must stir a lot of prayer into the stew of our theology.
[Jesus Christ] did not ransom everybody. He gave his life a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). He did not propitiate the wrath of God against everybody. But He laid down His life for the sheep. They are scattered throughout the world in every tongue and tribe and people and nation.
I am aware that some killing is endorsed in the Bible. The word for “murder” in Exodus 20:13 (“You shall not murder”) is the Hebrew rahaz. It is used 43 times in the Hebrew Old Testament. It always means violent, personal killing that is actually murder or is accused as murder. It is never used of killing in war or (with one possible exception, Numbers 35:27) of killing in judicial execution. Rather a clear distinction is preserved between legal “putting to death” and illegal “murder.” For example, Numbers 35:19 says, “The murderer shall certainly be put to death.” The word “murderer” comes from rahaz which is forbidden in the Ten Commandments. The word “put to death” is a general word that can describe legal executions.
We learn from Paul in Ephesians 5:31-32 that, from the beginning, manhood and womanhood existed to represent or dramatize God’s relation to His people and then Christ’s relation to His bride, the church. In this drama, the man represents God or Christ and is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. The woman represents God’s people or the church. And sexual union in the covenant of marriage represents pure, undefiled, intense heart-worship. That is, God means for the beauty of worship to be dramatized in the right ordering of our sexual lives.
God gave the law originally as a railroad track to guide Israel’s obedience. The engine that was supposed to pull a person along the track was God’s grace, the power of the Spirit. And the coupling between our car and the engine was faith, so that in the Old Testament, like the New Testament, salvation was by grace, through faith, along the track of obedience (or sanctification).
What is the one thing that cuts us off from heaven? The answer is unbelief. Not trusting God. Not living “by faith in the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us” (Gal. 2:20). So what does [1 Peter 1] verse 5 mean then when it says we are “protected [from losing our final salvation] by the power of God through faith.” It means that God’s power protects us for salvation by sustaining our faith. The only thing that can keep us from heaven is forsaking our faith in Christ, and turning to other hopes, other treasures. So to protect us God prevents that. He inspires and nourishes and strengthens and builds our faith. And in doing this he secures us against the only thing that could destroy us; unbelief, lack of trust in God.
There is no necessary connection between being an effective leader and being more intellectual or more competent than your wife. Leadership does not assume it is superior. It assumes it should take initiative. See that the family prays, and reads the Bible, and goes to church, and discusses spiritual and moral issues, and learns to use the means of grace, and grows in knowledge, and watches your example in all these things.
Sin is lawlessness. In other words sin is man’s refusal to submit to God’s law, that is, God’s Word. It is insubordination.
God’s interest is to magnify the fullness of His glory by spilling over in mercy to us. Therefore the pursuit of our interest and our happiness is never above God, but always in God. God’s greatest interest is to glorify the wealth of His grace by making sinners happy in Him.
Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships – exults – over the Word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit. My job is not simply to see truth and show it to you. (The devil could do that for his own devious reasons.) My job is to see the glory of the truth and to savor it and exult over it as I explain it to you and apply it for you. That’s one of the differences between a sermon and a lecture.
Every day 1,300 black babies are killed in America. Seven hundred Hispanic babies die every day from abortion. Call this what you will – when the slaughter has an ethnic face and the percentages are double that of the white community and the killers are almost all white, something is going on here that ought to make the lovers of racial equality and racial harmony wake up… O that the murderous effect of abortion in the Black and Latino communities, destroying tens of thousands at the hands of white abortionists, would explode with the same reprehensible reputation as lynching.
Questions to ask a pro-choice legislator:
1. Are you willing to explain why a baby’s right not to be killed is less important than a woman’s right not to be pregnant?
2. Are you willing to explain why most cities have laws forbidding cruelty to animals, but you oppose laws forbidding cruelty to human fetuses? Are they not at least living animals?
3. Are you willing to explain why government is unwilling to take away the so-called right to abortion on demand even though it harms the unborn child; yet government is increasingly willing to take away the right to smoke, precisely because it harms innocent non-smokers, killing 3,000 non-smokers a year from cancer and as many as 40,000 non-smokers a year from other diseases?
4. And if you say that everything hangs on whether the fetus is a human child, are you willing to go before national television in the oval office and defend your support for the “Freedom of Choice Act” by holding in your hand a 21 week old fetus and explaining why this little one does not have the fundamental, moral, and constitutional right to life? Are you willing to say to parents in this church who lost a child at that age and held him in their hands, this being in your hands is not and was not a child with any rights of its own under God or under law?
The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier. No one sins out of a sense of duty when what they really want is to do right.
The jealousy of God for your undivided love and devotion will always have the last say. Whatever lures your affections away from God with deceptive attraction will come back to strip you bare and cut you in pieces (Eze. 16:38-40). It is a horrifying thing to use your God-given life to commit adultery against the Almighty. But for those of you who have been truly united to Christ and who keep your vows to forsake all others and cleave only to Him and live for His honor – for you the jealousy of God is a great comfort and a great hope. Since God is infinitely jealous for the honor of His name, anything and anybody who threatens the good of His faithful wife will be opposed with divine omnipotence.
The mere mention of the word carries a huge weight of sorrow and loss and tragedy and disappointment and anger and regret and guilt. Few things are more painful than divorce. It cuts to the depths of personhood unlike any other relational gash. It is emotionally more heart-wrenching than the death of a spouse. Death is usually a clean pain. Divorce is usually unclean pain. In other words, the enormous loss of a spouse in death is compounded in divorce by the ugliness of sin and the moral outrage at being so wronged.
When Ephesians 5:22 says, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord,” the word as does not mean that Christ and the husband are the same. Christ is supreme; the husband is not. Her allegiance is first to Christ, not first to her husband. The analogy only works if the woman submits to Christ absolutely, not to the husband absolutely. Then she will be in a position to submit to the husband without committing treason or idolatry.
What can you do Saturday evening and Sunday morning and on the way to church [to prepare]… for hearing the Word of God preached?
1. Pray that God would give you [a] good and honest heart (Eze. 36:26; Jer. 24:7).
2. Meditate on the Word of God. Read portions of your Bible with a view to stirring up hunger for God.
3. Purify your mind by turning away from worldly entertainment (Jas. 1:21).
4. Trust in the truth that you already have (Jer. 17:7-8).
5. Get a good night’s rest on Saturday night.
6. Forebear one another [before the service] without grumbling and criticism.
7. Come in a spirit of meek teachability (Jas. 1:21).
8. Be still as you enter the room and focus your mind’s attention and heart’s affection on God (Psm. 46:10).
9. When the worship service begins, think earnestly about what is sung and prayed and preached (1 Cor. 14:20; 2 Tim. 2:7).
10. Desire the truth of God’s Word more than you desire riches or food (Psm. 19:10-11; Pr. 2:3-5).
The source of my authority in this pulpit is not…my wisdom; nor is it a private revelation granted to me beyond the revelation of Scripture. My words have authority only insofar as they are the repetition, unfolding and proper application of the words of Scripture. I have authority only when I stand under authority. And our corporate symbol of that truth is the sound of your Bibles opening to the text. My deep conviction about preaching is that a pastor must show the people that what he is saying was already said or implied in the Bible. If it cannot be shown it has no special authority.
Missions is the overflow of our delight in God because missions is the overflow of God’s delight in being God.
Why Scripture memorization is so essential to the Christian life:
1. Conformity to Christ (1 Sam. 3:2).
2. Daily triumph over sin (Psm. 119:9,11).
3. Daily triumph over Satan (Mt. 4:1-11).
4. Comfort and counsel for people you love (Pr. 25:11).
5. Communicating the Gospel to unbelievers.
6. Communion with God in the enjoyment of His person and ways.
The first spiritual step on the Calvary road of radical obedience to Jesus is repentance. Repentance includes remorse for inward corruption and sin. Repentance is not only remorse. It is a change of mind and heart about sin and righteousness and about Christ. It is a turning from the broken cisterns of the world to the fountain of life.
They will object: does not the Old Testament promise that God will prosper His people? Indeed! God increases our yield so that by giving we can prove our yield is not our God. God does not prosper a man’s business so he can move from a Ford to a Cadillac. God prospers a business so that thousands of unreached peoples can be reached with the gospel. He prospers a business so that twelve percent of the world’s population can move a step back from the precipice of starvation.
God has commanded us in his word, “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). And He told us why. He said in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” In other words, when you murder a human, you attack God who makes every human in his image.
God and man in covenant worship are represented by male and female in covenant sexual union. Therefore, when man turns from God to images of himself, God hands us over to what we have chosen and dramatizes it by male and female turning to images of themselves for sexual union, namely their own sex. Homosexuality is the judgment of God dramatizing the exchange of the glory of God for images of ourselves.
Missions is the automatic outflow and overflow of love for Christ. We delight to enlarge our joy in him be extending it to others. As Lottie Moon said, “Surely there can be no greater joy than that of saving souls.”
The reason the use of your money provides a good foundation for eternal life (1 Timothy 6:19) is not that generosity earns eternal life, but that it shows where your heart is. Generosity confirms that our hope is in God and not in ourselves or our money. We don’t earn eternal life. It is a gift of grace (2 Timothy 1:9). We receive it by resting in God’s promise. Then how we use our money confirms or denies the reality of that rest.
What women rightly long for is spiritual and moral initiative from a man, not spiritual and moral domination.
Once upon a time tolerance was the power that kept lovers of competing faiths from killing each other. It was the principle that put freedom above forced conversion. It was rooted in the truth that coerced conviction is no conviction. But now the new twisted tolerance denies that there are any competing faiths; they only complement each other. It denounces not only the effort to force conversions, but the very idea that any conversion may be necessary. It holds the conviction that no religious conviction should claim superiority over another.
We are not saved by producing faith on our own and then making that the basis of our new birth. It is the other way around, which means that God is at the bottom of my faith; and when it disappears for a season from my own view, God may yet be there sustaining its root in the new birth and protecting the seed from destruction.
The aim of this exposition is to help you eat and digest biblical truth that will make your spiritual bones more like steel,
double the capacity of your spiritual lungs,make the eyes of your heart dazzled with the brightness of the glory of God and awaken the capacity of your soul for kinds of spiritual enjoyment you didn’t even know existed.
If we were made to watch a doctor pull off the little baby’s legs and arms one by one and place them on the table like a dentist removing cotton from your mouth – if all Americans were made to see what it really is, the pro-life goal of abortion being unthinkable (not just illegal) would be much nearer.
The dismembering of a human being routinely in 30 minutes on an outpatient bases – or any other way – is barbaric. Four blocks from our church all year long – like churches within smelling distance of Auschwitz or Dachau or Buchenwald.
When there is a famine of the word of God in the land the spiritual nutrients that enable the eye to spot sin as sin is gone. And the spiritual protein that gives strength the moral muscle of the soul to do what is right is missing. The spiritual eye becomes diseased through malnutrition, and the clear lines between sin and righteousness begin to blur. The moral muscle of the will atrophies, and weakens, and the result is that the beckoning of the world wins because there is no strength to stand against it. When the ministry of the word goes wrong, many are caused to stumble.
The challenge before us then is not merely to do what God says because He is God, but to desire what God says because He is good. The challenge is not merely to pursue righteousness, but to prefer righteousness. The challenge is to get up in the morning and prayerfully meditate on the Scriptures until we experience joy and peace in believing “the precious and very great promises” of God (Rom. 15:13; 2 Peter 1:4). With this joy set before us the commandments of God will not be burdensome (1 John 5:3) and the compensation of sin will appear too brief and too shallow to lure us.
What makes divorce and remarriage so horrific in God’s eyes is not merely that it involves covenant-breaking to the spouse, but that it involves misrepresenting Christ and His covenant. Christ will never leave His wife. Ever. There may be times of painful distance and tragic backsliding on our part. But Christ keeps His covenant forever. Marriage is a display of that! That is the ultimate thing we can say about it. It puts the glory of Christ’s covenant-keeping love on display.
I do not elevate the time or mode of baptism to a primary doctrine.
It astonishes me how many Christians watch the same banal, empty, silly, trivial, titillating, suggestive, immodest TV shows that most unbelievers watch – and then wonder why their spiritual lives are weak and their worship experience is shallow with no intensity. If you really want to hear the Word of God the way He means to be heard in truth and joy and power, turn off the television on Saturday night and read something true and great and beautiful and pure and honorable and excellent and worthy of praise (see Philippians 4:8). Then watch your heart unshrivel and begin to hunger for the Word of God.
The deepest problem of our lives, whether heterosexual or homosexual, is the terrible exchange of the glory of God for images (Romans 1:23). The exchange of the truth of God for a lie (Romans 1:25). The disapproval of having God in our knowledge (Romans 1:28). Failed worship is our worst disorder. This is beneath all the maladies of the world. Repairing this, not first our disordered sexuality, is our main business in life.
A Christian is not a person who experiences no bad desires. A Christian is a person who is at war with those desires by the power of the Spirit. Conflict in your soul is not all bad. Even though we long for the day when our flesh will be utterly defunct and only pure and loving desires will fill our hearts, yet there is something worse than the war within between flesh and Spirit – namely, no war within because the flesh controls the citadel and all the outposts. Praise God for the war within! Serenity in sin is death. The Spirit has landed to do battle with the flesh. So take heart if your soul feels like a battlefield at times. The sign of whether you are indwelt by the Spirit is not that you have no bad desires, but that you are at war with them!
When the heart full of God’s love can draw on the mind full of God’s word, timely blessings flow from the mouth.
What could God give us to enjoy that would prove Him most loving? There is only one possible answer: Himself! If He withholds Himself from our contemplation and companionship, no matter what else He gives us, He is not loving.
Since God made man like Himself, man’s dominion over the world and his filling the world is a display-an imaging forth-of God. God’s aim, therefore, was that man would so act that he mirror forth God, who has ultimate dominion. Man is given the exalted status of image-bearer not so he would become arrogant and autonomous (as he tried to do in the fall), but so he would reflect the glory of His Maker whose image he bears. God’s purpose in creation, therefore, was to fill the earth with his own glory. This is made clear, for example, in Numbers 14:21, where the Lord says, “All the earth shall be full of the glory of the Lord,” and in Isaiah 43:7, where the Lord refers to his people as those “whom I created for my glory.”
The most fundamental task of a mother and father is to show God to the children. Children know their parents before they know God. This is a huge responsibility and should cause every parent to be desperate for God-like transformation. The children will have years of exposure to what the universe is like before they know there is a universe. They will experience the kind of authority there is in the universe and the kind of justice there is in the universe and the kind of love there is in the universe before they meet the God of authority and justice and love who created and rules the universe. Children are absorbing from dad his strength and leadership and protection and justice and love; and they are absorbing from mom her care and nurture and warmth and intimacy and justice and love – and, of course, all these overlap.
A few words to those among us who have homosexual desires:
1. Acknowledge the presence and pain of a disordered sexuality, with all the ambiguity of where it came from – much like other disorders and disabilities – and do not define your God-given personhood by your disordered sexuality.
2. Put your faith in Christ alone for the forgiveness of all your sins and for the gift of God’s righteousness and for the fulfillment of all his promises to you (Romans 1:16-17). The only sinner who can successfully battle his sins is a justified sinner. In other words, you fight against sexual sins from relationship, not for a relationship.
3. Begin to reorder your entire life around the centrality of the glory of God as your highest treasure. Homosexual sinning, like all other sinning, is an echo of exchanging the glory of God for other things. So restore the sun of God’s glory to its place at the center of your soul and all the planets of your desires will begin to return to their God-given orbit.
4. Resolve to live a chaste and, if necessary, celibate life by the power of God’s Spirit, with the confidence that if God does not heal now, he will in the age to come; and all the patience of purity of will be worth it (Romans 8:18). May God grant all the single people (and married!) at Bethlehem a passion for purity.
5. Seek wholesome friendships with both sexes, especially in groups… The more we do things in groups rather than pairs, the more opportunities we create for wholesome non-sexual relationships.
6. …There are ministries like Outposts here in our cities that have insights and experience and encouragement and Biblical counsel from a depth of awareness that goes beyond what most of us can bring. This may be something God would use in your life.
7. Take a bold and compassionate stand for truth…and hold up God’s purposes for human sexuality, namely, as an expression of Christ’s love for the Church dramatized in the covenant love of marriage between one man and one woman.
Having held the glory of God in contempt through ingratitude and distrust and disobedience, (those without Christ) are sentenced to be excluded from the enjoyment of that glory forever and ever in the eternal misery of hell.
Lack of intensity in preaching can only communicate that the preacher does not believe or has never been seriously gripped by the reality of which he speaks – or that the subject matter is insignificant.
Suicide is pursued out of [the] principle of self-love. In the midst of a feeling of utter meaningless and hopelessness and numbness of depression the soul says: “It can’t get any worse than this. So even if I don’t know what I will gain through death, I do know what I will escape.” And so suicide is an attempt to escape the intolerable. It is an act of self-love.
How do you glorify God through exercise?
1. It fosters gratitude for legs, heart, and lungs. The older I get the more keenly aware I am of how fragile I am. And every breath I take, if I were able to maintain consciousness of truth, I would give thanks to God that he has given me these.
2. What are your motives in doing it? [Is it] the desire to be both mentally and physically at peak performance for Christian ministry.
3. How [do] you do it? [Modest attire? Noisy? Too rough?]… In other words, are you exercising in a loving way?
4. Finally, do you have an eye to turning it into ministry? In other words, can you draw somebody in with you who needs some help with their discipline? Are you willing to stop along the way to help somebody, like the good Samaritan? Are you willing to do some evangelism along the way so that you stop and share Jesus?
Faith is the evidence of new birth, not the cause of it (cf. 1 Jn. 2:29; 3:9; 4:2-3, 7). Since faith and repentance are possible only because of the regenerating work of God, both are called the gift of God (Eph. 2:5, 8; 2 Tim. 2:24-26).
Expository means that preaching aims to exposit, or explain and apply, the meaning of the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible is God’s word, inspired, infallible, profitable—all 66 books of it. The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people’s lives. The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God’s word.
The law of our land today is that any abortion is legal in America until birth if the mother can give reason that the pregnancy or the child will be an excessive burden or stress on her well-being. Since that ruling 14 years ago Thursday, about 20,000,000 babies have been aborted in America.
The abortion industry kills as many Black people every four days as the Klan killed in 150 years.
The Bible-oriented preacher wants the congregation to know that his words, if they have any abiding worth, are in accord with God’s words. He wants this to be obvious to them. That is part of his humility and his authority. Therefore, he constantly tries to show the people that his ideas are coming from the Bible. He is hesitant to go too far toward points that are not demonstrable from the Bible.
Sin gets its power by persuading me to believe that I will be happier if I follow it. The power of all temptation is the prospect that it will make me happier.
If the most ultimate meaning of marriage is to represent the unbreakable covenant-love between Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:22-33), then no human being has a right to break a marriage covenant. When the impossible day comes that Christ breaks His vow, “I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20), then, on that day, a human being may break his marriage covenant. This explains why Jesus does not settle for the divorce provision of Deuteronomy 24:1-4 (Mark 10:3-9), but says, “What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9). In other words, since God is the One who decisively makes every marriage, only God has the right to break a marriage. And He does it by death. Which is why the traditional and biblical marriage vows have one and only one limitation: “till death do us part,” or, “as long as we both shall live.”
The visible people of God are no longer formed through the natural birth but through new birth and its expression through faith in Christ. With the coming of John the Baptist and Jesus and the apostles, the emphasis now is that the spiritual status of our parents does not determine our membership in the covenant community. The beneficiaries of the blessings of Abraham are those who have the faith of Abraham. These are the ones who belong to the covenant community.
The root that nourishes fruitful hearing is the root of faith. Hearing begets faith and faith begets better hearing. Trusting in the truth you already have is the best way to prepare yourself to receive more. So when you pray and meditate and turn off the TV, consciously fix your heart on the promises of God and trust him Saturday night and Sunday morning.
The only sinner who can successfully battle his sins is a justified sinner. In other words, you fight against sexual sins from relationship, not for a relationship.
If a preacher leaves his people where they are, seeking satisfaction in family and job and leisure and toys and sex and money and food and power and esteem, when suffering and death strip it all away they will be embittered and angry and depressed. And the worth and beauty and goodness and power and wisdom of God, the glory of God, will vanish in the cloud of murmuring, complaining, and cursing.
When I pray for revival I pray first for the most radical thing: The utter devotion and allegiance of your hearts to Christ. That you would love Him so deeply and long for Him so passionately that His coming would be your great hope, and death would be gain, and life would be for Christ and His kingdom.
The deepest need that you and I have in weakness and adversity is not quick relief, but the well-grounded confidence that what is happening to us is part of the greatest purpose of God in the universe – the glorification of the grace and power of his Son – the grace and power that bore Him to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done.
The impulse to create the world was not from weakness, as though God were lacking in some perfection which creation could supply.
Preaching is God’s appointed means for the conversion of sinners, the awakening of the church, and the preservation of the saints. If preaching fails in its task, the consequences are infinitely terrible.
If your children are still small or yet to come, realize that, in large measure, their healthy sexuality hangs on your healthy attention and teaching and touching and loving. I say this especially to you fathers. For both boys and girls, the development of a healthy sexuality hangs more on strong, loving, godly male figures in their lives than on the women in their lives – though both are very important. Biblically and experientially and psychologically this can be shown – that the role of the father (or of some crucial man) is paramount for normal sexual development of boys and girls.
The manual of operation for the Christian war-time mentality is the Bible. It was inspired and authorized by the Commander, and contains all the truth needed to win people over from the enemy camp, deprogram their old thought patterns, train them in strategies of righteousness and equip them with armor and weapons to defeat Satan and liberate his captives
The root of our sinfulness is the desire for our own happiness apart from God and apart from the happiness of others in God.
The key to Christian living is a thirst and hunger for God. And one of the main reasons people do not understand or experience the sovereignty of grace and the way it works through the awakening of sovereign joy is that their hunger and thirst for God is too small.
Jesus indicates that the way to think about self-denial is to deny yourself only a lesser good for a greater good… In other words, Jesus wants us to think about sacrifice in a way that rules our all self-pity. This is, in fact, just what the texts on self-denial teach (Mk. 8:34-35)… Saint Augustine captured the paradox in these words, “If you love your soul, there is a danger of its being destroyed. Therefore you may not love it, since you do not want it to be destroyed. But in not wanting it to be destroyed you love it.”