Why should we know God's Word?

In our day and age where anti-intellectualism runs rampant in the visible church, it is not surprising to see poll after poll verify what students of scripture have known for many years. The visible church does not know much about the scriptures they profess to believe in. This is sad considering many saints during the Reformation period lost their lives for the sake of being able to read and study God's word. Not to mention the many passages in scripture that speak as such:

Isaiah 66:2 This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
John 8:31-32 Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Psalm 19:7-8 The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
Psalm 119:9 How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.
Psalm 119:11 I have hidden Your Word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
Psalm 119:103 How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:130 The unfolding of your words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple.
Psalm 119:162 I rejoice at your word like one who finds great spoil.

The posts on this blog will address essential Biblical doctrines of the Christian faith. You can find much of the background for the posts here. My prayer for these posts is that the people who read them will be encouraged to open their Bibles and not just read a verse or two, but learn them and indeed, be transformed by them. As Jesus prayed, "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth." (John 17:17). This is my prayer as well.

Monday, April 09, 2012

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rob Bell - what's the big deal?

There's been a super abundance of words poured out regarding Rob Bell's now infamous book Love Wins, but if I may speak with candor, why all the fuss? I know your immediate reaction might be, "But Chris, it's heresy!" Well, I know that but liberalism has been pumping this stuff out by the metric ton for centuries so why all of sudden is there great amounts of copious writing? In my opinion, I think it is because many so-called Evangelical scholars have been giving the emergents (like Rob Bell) a pass in the sense that they have been treating them like brothers who ere in some points of doctrine. But the reality is, they are no different than the latest spiritual, psychological guru that Oprah has on her programs.

John MacArthur is one of the very few prominent Christian leaders to speak the whole truth on this man named Rob Bell: "If Christopher Hitchens or Deepak Chopra penned a book that scoffed at the biblical teaching on hell, we would not be surprised. So why would anyone be shocked or confused when Rob Bell writes Love Wins? Has Bell shown any more commitment to gospel truth, or any more devotion to the principle of biblical authority than Hitchens or Chopra?"

The answer is an emphatic NO and John is posting some blog entries to prove his point. You can see them at his excellent blog: http://www.gty.org/blog

It's one thing when men such as John Piper endorses Rick Warren as a sincere brother or Al Mohler signs the Manhattan Declaration or JI Packer signs the ECT, because these men are orthodox in their teaching of the gospel. But when a liberal, like Rob Bell, writes a piece of garbage seeking to debunk the Biblical teaching on hell, warn the flock and give the right teaching on hell but don't give the man any more publicity than a false teacher deserves.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No ONE good, NOT even one but God...

Though on the depravity of man, this short clip by Conrad Mbewe shows the grace of God still shines brightly and powerfully in the midst of this dark, depraved world.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

BREAKING NEWS! New ancient manuscript found!

From Justin Taylor's blog found here.
"In an exciting example of scholarly cross-collaboration and interdisciplinary research, textual critics and archaeologists have just published a translation of a recently discovered first-century letter, apparently authentic, written to the Apostle Paul himself. Scholars believe it was likely written in the late AD 40s or early 50s. The parchment was remarkably well preserved in a jar buried in a cave on the island of Satiricus. It is surmised that the author of the letter, Parodios, was an elder who had met Paul on one of his missionary journeys.
The translation, published here for the first time, reads as follows:

'Parodios, a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to our brother Paulos.
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our church recently received a copy of the letter that you sent to the church of Galatia. We hope you will not mind hearing our humble concerns. In the past we have noticed you are more interested in confronting people rather than conversing with them, but we hope you will receive this letter as an invitation to further dialogue.
First of all, we are uncomfortable with your tone throughout the correspondence. We know it is difficult sometimes to discern tone of voice from written communication, but you should keep this in mind as well. One could gather from your careless use of words that you are losing your temper. You certainly sound angry. This is unbecoming a spokesperson for the faith. As you say yourself, one of the manifest fruit of God’s Spirit is gentleness.
Aren’t you being a hypocrite to preach grace but not show it to our Judaizer brothers? They may not worship as you do or emphasize the same teachings you do, but our Lord has “sheep not of this fold,” and there is certainly room within the broader Way for these brothers. Their methodology may differ from yours, but certainly their hearts are in the right place.
You yourself know that our Lord required personal contact when we have a grievance against another. Have you personally contacted any of these men? Have you sat down to reason with them personally? Have you issued a personal invitation? Some of them may even reconsider their viewpoints if you had taken a different tack. We know that your position is likely that public teaching is open to public criticism, but we can do better than what is expected, can’t we?
In one portion of your letter, you indicate you don’t even know these persons! “Whoever he is,” you write. Our dear Paulos, how can you rightly criticize them when you don’t know them? It’s clear you haven’t even read their material, because you never quote them. We implore you to see that they are plainly within the tradition of Moses and of the Prophets. They understand the context of the covenant in ways you appear deaf to.
Similarly, we find your tone and resorting to harsh language not in keeping with the love of Christ. “Foolish Galatians.” “Let him be accursed.” “Emasculate themselves.” Really? Can you not hear yourself? You think this is Christlike? Does this sound like something our Lord would say? Do you think this flippant, outrageous, personal, vindictive manner of speech speaks well of God’s love or the church? It is clear you are taking this way too personally. Indeed, you ask the Galatians if you are now their enemy. Does everything have to be so black and white to you?
Paulos, what will unbelievers think when they read this letter? Do you think this will commend the gospel to them? This kind of harsh language just makes us look like a bunch of angry people. They see we can’t even love each other, and over what? Circumcision? This is a terrible advertisement for God’s love to an unbelieving world. You have given plenty of people permission now to disregard Jesus, if this is what his mouthpieces sound like.
We hope you will reconsider your approach. We know that you catch much more flies with honey than with vinegar. We are concerned that your ill-worded letter signals a divisiveness that threatens to fracture the church. We beg you to reconsider how important these minor issues are, and how in the future you may speak in ways that better reflect God’s love.
The grace—and the love!—of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brother.'"

The tongue is firmly planted in the cheek on this article, hence the parchment was found on the island of "Satiricus" (satire) and was written by "Parodios" (parody). But this does illustrate the "sincere" nature of many modern-day, professing Christians who wish to rebuke, correct the "harsh" Christians. May God always help us to stand up and speak up for the one true gospel, regardless how those within the visible church respond.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Achilles Hill

Great warnings from Piper below. I would also add to his list of "loose wires" the following along with an example or two:

First, a lack of concern for compromise on the creation account in Genesis 1-3. For example, a number of reformed leaders accept the false notion that Genesis is not a historical account but figurative or allegorical.

Second, a lack of discernment in false ecumenicism. For example, the Manhattan Declaration was signed by many big-name reformed leaders.

Third, tolerating heretics or not calling them what they are, wolves in sheep's clothing. For example, Piper himself inviting Rick Warren to his conference and many treating him like a brother in the Lord, as opposed to a false teacher. Also, NT Wright is treated as a brother by many as well, who is just misguided or confused on the gospel, but he is a teacher of a false gospel. No matter how nice, brilliant or how many orthodox doctrines you hold to, to miss the gospel is to miss the truth that sets you free. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Piper brings out a number of other good and wise admonitions.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Do you desire God?

Video speaks for itself

Friday, June 18, 2010

Consider the cost...

"Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, 'This man began to build and was not able to finish.' 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple." Luke 14:27-33 - Jesus

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Paul Washer on Prayer - Communion with God

I almost entitled this The Paul Washer you may not know because when a number of people think of him they often think of a scathing preacher who exposes today's Christless religion (what people call the "church"). He certainly does expose it and, like a prophet of old, speaks about its rebellion and heresies with vivid and strong language. BUT he does love the true church and her head, Jesus Christ, and speaks passionately about our need and God's delight for us to draw near to Him. This video is a prime example of this holy passion.

Brother and sister in Christ, you may not have time to watch all of the video but even if you only watch the first 5 minutes you will NOT regret it. I pray it encourages you and, yes, lovingly draws you into the presence of God in prayer.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Definitely Atoned For

When I have considered the debate on whether the atonement is "limited" or "unlimited" it has always baffled me why it is really a debate for true blue orthodox Christians. The word "limited" itself is oftentimes misinterpreted because people either think you are limiting the power of the atonement or limiting the gospel message to a chosen few. This gives us another reason why we should be precise with our language and seek to avoid words that can convey a distorted message. Even with that being the case, when someone says (like me!) that they believe in limited atonement, they do NOT mean the gospel message is proclaimed to a limited number of people, nor do they mean the power is limited in the least bit. But what they do mean is the application of the atonement is limited.

This is why I prefer to say I hold to particular redemption or definite atonement. Both phrases better convey what is meant by "limited" atonement, although they do ruin the TULIP acrostic many of us love (it is such a pretty flower:).

What do they convey and why isn't every dyed-in-the-wool believer on board with the better terminology? The second question I can't fully answer, but in reality every true believer to a degree does believe in a particular redemption. Why? Because every true believer does NOT believe in universalism and they believe it is only through the blood of Jesus that Christians are saved (What can wash away my sins, Nothing but the blood of Jesus!). The phrases clearly convey that when Christ died on the cross and propitiated the wrath of God on behalf of sinners, bearing their sins, atonement was definitely, 100% made and therefore only a particular  amount of people would be redeemed by that atonement. Otherwise, everyone would be in heaven since there is no more wrath of God against mankind, nor sin to be accounted for. Some may say, "That is Calvinist logic! There is nothing of the sort in the scriptures!" Is that so?

Go to my studies here and here which lays out what I believe is a strong Biblical, exegetical case for a definite atonement and particular redemption. If that is not enough, check out this lengthy and IMO irrefutable article by Brian Schwertley here.

One last thought to consider. If you are a Christian reading this, your sins have definitely been atoned for, correct? YES, you say. A second question then, have they been definitely atoned for in the same way a non-believer's sins have been atoned for? If you say, YES, then your God could bring your sins up against you on the last day the same way he will bring the non-believer's sins against them on the last day. For God will condemn the non-believer based on his sins.

Praise God that will not ever happen! His never-failing, irrevocable atonement not only forgave our sins, but gave us the promise that God will NEVER bring them back up again to condemn us. Psalm 103:12  As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord for His indescribable gift!

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Beware of the ME Monster!

This is not an explicitly Christian video but one with not a little levity. Keep Proverbs 17:22 & 10:19 in mind when listening:)

My Soul Finds Rest in God Alone

Psalm 116:7  "Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you."

Friday, June 04, 2010

Ten Indictments

It hit me the other day that I had not placed this sobering, prophetic message on my blog. It "hit" me because I have been blessed and encouraged by the ministry of Paul Washer and this is one of his most well-known online messages. This is not for the faint of heart though (which Washer message is?) but it is for anyone (or church) willing to take a hard look at themselves in the mirror. May God grant us repentance and revival for the glory of His Name!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Why people "leave" God

Dan Phillips over at the Pyromaniacs blog oftentimes posts unique yet Biblical and relevant blog entries. He did just that on people who at one point decided to follow Jesus, but then decided to stop following him for varied "reasons" (another example of BAD theology having dire consequences). IMO He hit the nail squarely on the head in the article. The article can be found here.

Here is a small portion of the well-done article:

All of the sad stories I've heard or read, by contrast, amount to this: I left God because He did not meet my expectations. Let's try on a few of the more popular specifics:
-Death might be a good reason to leave God if He had promised that men and women would never die. He did not.
-A tragic death might be a good reason to leave God if He promised to prevent all tragic deaths. He has not.
-Any death might be a good reason to leave God if He lacked the right to deal out both life and death. He does not.
-Misfortune might be a good reason to leave God if He promised His children, let alone everyone, exemption from misfortune. He does not.
-Inexplicable (by us) tragedy might be a good reason to leave God if He promised to prevent all such tragedies from happening. He does not.
-Hard events befalling believers of which no sense can immediately be made, and in which no good can immediately be seen, might be a good reason to leave God if He promised that such would never happen. He does not.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A gospel that does not offend has not been understood

Very true and Mark Dever explains, along with some helpful comments from John Piper.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

God Enjoyed - The Valley of Vision

A prayer from the Valley of Vision. A treasure trove of Puritan prayers.

Thou incomprehensible but prayer-hearing God,
Known, but beyond knowledge, revealed, but unrevealed,
       my wants and welfare draw me to thee,
       for thou hast never said, ‘Seek ye me in vain’.
To thee I come in my difficulties, necessities, distresses;
       possess me with thyself,
       with a spirit of grace and supplication,
       with a prayerful attitude of mind,
       with access into warmth of fellowship,
       so that in the ordinary concerns of life
       my thoughts and desires may rise to thee,
       and in habitual devotion I may find a resource that will
       soothe my sorrows, sanctify my successes,
       and qualify me in all ways for dealings with my fellow men.

I bless thee that thou hast made me capable
       of knowing thee, the author of all being,
       of resembling thee, the perfection of all excellency,
       of enjoying thee, the source of all happiness.
O God, attend me in every part of my arduous and trying pilgrimage;
       I need the same counsel, defence, comfort I found at my beginning.
Let my religion be more obvious to my conscience,
       more perceptible to those around.
While Jesus is representing me in heaven, may I reflect him on earth,
While he pleads my cause, may I show forth his praise.

Continue the gentleness of thy goodness towards me,
And whether I wake or sleep, let thy presence go with me,
       thy blessing attend me.
Thou hast led me on and I have found thy promises true,
I have been sorrowful, but thou hast been my help,
       fearful, but thou hast delivered me,
       despairing, but thou hast lifted me up.
Thy vows are ever upon me,
And I praise thee, O God.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It's a GOOD thing to have plodders in the church

So says Kevin DeYoung and I agree 100% with him. We have been speaking about membership in our morning services and my heart beats along the same lines as Kevin's. I encourage you to read the entire article found here, and here is a foretaste of the rich wisdom found in it:

"It’s sexy among young people — my generation — to talk about ditching institutional religion and starting a revolution of real Christ-followers living in real community without the confines of church. Besides being unbiblical, such notions of churchless Christianity are unrealistic. It’s immaturity actually, like the newly engaged couple who think romance preserves the marriage, when the couple celebrating their golden anniversary know it’s the institution of marriage that preserves the romance. Without the God-given habit of corporate worship and the God-given mandate of corporate accountability, we will not prove faithful over the long haul.

What we need are fewer revolutionaries and a few more plodding visionaries. That’s my dream for the church — a multitude of faithful, risktaking plodders. The best churches are full of gospel-saturated people holding tenaciously to a vision of godly obedience and God’s glory, and pursuing that godliness and glory with relentless, often unnoticed, plodding consistency."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Will you come?

We sang a great hymn at our Wednesday Night Service that I had not sung in a long time. It is called "Jesus I Come". The Biblical view of effectual calling teaches that God personally calls the sinner to Himself through the gospel of Jesus Christ, and effectively, completely brings the sinner to salvation. In other words, God draws the sinner to Himself and even though the sinner is grieved over his sins he joyfully, wholeheartedly comes to Christ in faith and repentance. We, sinners worthy of condemnation, have the joy and humble privilege of coming to Christ where we find full redemption, lasting joy, eternal life, perfect righteousness and a peace that transcends all understanding.  This song beautifully sums up many of the spiritual benefits we have in the glorious riches of Christ. I have listed the lyrics below and also a nice piano accompaniment for the song via youtube.

The joy of every Christian is to daily come to Jesus, who is always with us. The offer to every non-Christian is to come to Jesus for the first time in repentance and faith for a perfect, everlasting redemption. Either way, have you come to Jesus?

Out of my bondage, sorrow, and night,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy freedom, gladness, and light,
Jesus, I come to Thee;
Out of my sickness, into Thy health,
Out of my want and into Thy wealth,
Out of my sin and into Thyself,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of my shameful failure and loss,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the glorious gain of Thy cross,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of earth’s sorrows into Thy balm,
Out of life’s storms and into Thy calm,
Out of distress to jubilant psalm,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into Thy bless├Ęd will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward for aye on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

Out of the fear and dread of the tomb,
Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come;
Into the joy and light of Thy throne,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of the depths of ruin untold,
Into the peace of Thy sheltering fold,
Ever Thy glorious face to behold,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

A little humor...

For those of us who believe and have rigorously defended the doctrines of grace from the scriptures - this one's for you. :o)

HT James White

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Sovereign, Unconditional Election

A well done video that gives a brief apologetic for the doctrine of election and also shows the comfort and joy it brings to the chosen child of God.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

We were created for the praise, honor and glory of God

The Psalmist sings:
Psalm 67:3-5  Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! 

As ones who have been granted life, food, drink, shelter, the ability to move and think and so much more, we have plenty to praise God for. If we have been bought with the blood of Christ, having all our sins forgiven then there is absolutely NO reason we shouldn't ALWAYS be praising our God! He doesn't need us yet He has given us more than we deserve and we could ever ask for. How could our response not be of heartfelt, humble adoration and praise unto the King of Kings and Lord of Lord? How great is our God! To God alone be the glory!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

God does not need you for ANYTHING

I know the title does not boost anybody's self-esteem or make us feel as special as the world tells us we are (at least my momma thinks I am:). But when we consider that God is self-sufficient in all respects, meaning, He does not need mankind to fulfill some emotional longing, relationship void, physical necessity, mental deficiency or even to complete His plans. Then we begin to understand that God is a pretty special being and we are... uh... uh... compared to God, we aren't much of anything. We are but dust, sinful, rebellious, utterly dependent upon God for everything.

Then why are we here? God in His infinite wisdom, mercy, grace and power created us for His own glory and graciously includes us in His plans on this spinning ball we call earth. The problem comes when we think we are absolutely necessary for God's plans to succeed, and He really needs us to get the job done here on earth. Oh yeah, it is also foolish to think God really, really, really, really wanted a relationship to fulfill an unmet desire therefore He created us. His love is neither increased if we love Him back or decreased if we do not return His love. It is as infinite and eternal as His other attributes.

Once we begin to realize the infinite and self-sufficient nature of God, we will be more in awe of everything He has done for us. It will humble us greatly and we will cry out for more of His strength to accomplish His purposes, realizing there is nothing in us to fulfill them. We will trust less in ourselves and more in the God with whom nothing is impossible. We will rejoice again in the gospel that opened the way to God through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the God-man -- the ultimate example of God's self-sufficiency and our sin-sufficiency. We will quit striving in the flesh and be still and know He is God.

Listen to David's prayer, a man who understood God's self-sufficiency.
"Blessed are you, O LORD, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. 
Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O LORD, and you are exalted as head above all. 
Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. 
And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name. 
But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able thus to offer willingly? For all things come from you, and of your own have we given you. 
For we are strangers before you and sojourners, as all our fathers were. Our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no abiding. 
O LORD our God, all this abundance that we have provided for building you a house for your holy name comes from your hand and is all your own. 
I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. 
O LORD, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you."
1 Chronicles 29:10-18

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Latest in Sunday Service Innovation:)):

Mixed emotions on this one (hence the smile & frown in the title). On one level you can't help but laugh at such nonsense, but then on another level you become sad because it does represent a number of "churches" out there who practice this type of "worship" and "preaching". May God have mercy on such chicanery and bring the visible church to repentance.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Creation Sings

As we are in the middle of a beautiful spring let us remember that creation is to direct us to the creator.

"The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork." Psalm 19:1

"Praise the LORD! Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights!
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts!
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens!
Let them praise the name of the LORD! For he commanded and they were created.
And he established them forever and ever; he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all deeps,
fire and hail, snow and mist, stormy wind fulfilling his word!
Mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars!
Beasts and all livestock, creeping things and flying birds!
Kings of the earth and all peoples, princes and all rulers of the earth!
Young men and maidens together, old men and children!
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his majesty is above earth and heaven.
He has raised up a horn for his people, praise for all his saints, for the people of Israel who are near to him. Praise the LORD! " Psalm 148

Let us join in the praise of creation unto the one who not only created us but recreated us in Christ Jesus!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Good warning

As one who is convinced from scripture of the doctrines of sovereign grace and the sovereignty of God in all things. And also that Biblical theology is essential for Christians to mature in the faith, this video is sobering and necessary. Although it is addressed to the "young" his counsel is relevant no matter what age you are.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Beginning with God puts us into perspective

Do we think much of us? Do we drink the "I am special, wonderful, outstanding" kool-aid the modern day church dispenses? Yes, we are created in God's image and therefore different than animals (as opposed to what evolution teaches). But compared to the holy, eternal, majestic, almighty God we are nothing but dust with a short lease on this earth. The only thing great about us is the amount of sin and rebellion that has poured out from our lives. It was God who was rich in mercy, who sent Jesus to save us through His propitiatory sacrifice on the cross.  God did NOT do this because of anything in us, in fact, we were running away from the holy God as fast as our little legs could take us. Christians are saved only because of God's infinite love toward lowly, wretched creatures who were only deserving of hell. 

"Christians" who disagree with this should examine their own hearts to see if they have truly been born again. If you are having trouble seeing the wretched state of your own soul, John Calvin has a good remedy for such self-righteousness. It's worth the time to read:

"It is evident that man never attains to a true self-knowledge until he has previously contemplated the face of God, and come down after such contemplation to look into himself. For (such is our innate pride) we always seem to ourselves just, and upright, and wise, and holy, until we are convinced, by clear evidence, of our injustice, vileness, folly, and impurity. Convinced, however, we are not, if we look to ourselves only, and not to the Lord also —He being the only standard by the application of which this conviction can be produced. For, since we are all naturally prone to hypocrisy, any empty semblance of righteousness is quite enough to satisfy us instead of righteousness itself. And since nothing appears within us or around us that is not tainted with very great impurity, so long as we keep our mind within the confines of human pollution, anything which is in some small degree less defiled delights us as if it were most pure just as an eye, to which nothing but black had been previously presented, deems an object of a whitish, or even of a brownish hue, to be perfectly white. Nay, the bodily sense may furnish a still stronger illustration of the extent to which we are deluded in estimating the powers of the mind. If, at mid-day, we either look down to the ground, or on the surrounding objects which lie open to our view, we think ourselves endued with a very strong and piercing eyesight; but when we look up to the sun, and gaze at it unveiled, the sight which did excellently well for the earth is instantly so dazzled and confounded by the refulgence, as to oblige us to confess that our acuteness in discerning terrestrial objects is mere dimness when applied to the sun. Thus too, it happens in estimating our spiritual qualities. 

So long as we do not look beyond the earth, we are quite pleased with our own righteousness, wisdom, and virtue; we address ourselves in the most flattering terms, and seem only less than demigods. But should we once begin to raise our thoughts to God, and reflect what kind of Being he is, and how absolute the perfection of that righteousness, and wisdom, and virtue, to which, as a standard, we are bound to be conformed, what formerly delighted us by its false show of righteousness will become polluted with the greatest iniquity; what strangely imposed upon us under the name of wisdom will disgust by its extreme folly; and what presented the appearance of virtuous energy will be condemned as the most miserable impotence. So far are those qualities in us, which seem most perfect, from corresponding to the divine purity."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

"Be killing sin or it will be killing you"

That phrase is taken from John Owen's classic work, "The Mortification of Sin." Mortification means to put to death, and foundational to his book is Romans 8:13 - "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live."

John Owen was an ardent defender of justification by faith alone, but he was also passionate for holiness and communion with God and realized that sin was the greatest problem to these. As he said himself: "Sin sets its strength against every act of holiness, and against every degree we grow to. Let not that man think he makes any progress in holiness who walks not over the bellies of his lusts. He who does not kill sin in this way takes no steps towards his journey’s end." John Owen rightly continues on how we should take an aggressive stand against sin since it will be with the believer his whole life. It may not have us enslaved but until Christ returns it always "seduces, entices, fights, rebels" as long as we are on earth. So a man must "keep a diligent watch over his heart, its root and fountain" all the days of his life.

With that in mind, let me give you some ammunition in your battle against sin and fight for joy in the Lord. Here is some excellent advice from John Owen:

"Be much in thoughtfulness of the excellency of the majesty of God and thine infinite, inconceivable distance from him. Many thoughts of it cannot but fill thee with a sense of thine own vileness, which strikes deep at the root of any indwelling sin. When Job comes to a clear discovery of the greatness and the excellency of God, he is filled with self-abhorrence and is pressed to humiliation, Job 42: 5, 6. And in what state does the prophet Habakkuk affirm himself to be cast, upon the apprehension of the majesty of God? chap. 3:16. “With God,” says Job, “is terrible majesty.”  Job 37:22. Hence were the thoughts of them of old, that when they had seen God they should die. The Scripture abounds in this self-abasing consideration, comparing the men of the earth to “grasshoppers,” to “vanity,” the “dust of the balance,” in respect of God.  Isaiah 40:12–25. Be much in thoughts of this nature, to abase the pride of thy heart, and to keep thy soul humble within thee. There is nothing will render thee a greater indisposition to be imposed on by the deceits of sin than such a frame of heart. Think greatly of the greatness of God."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

John 1:1, "the Word was God" - An exegetical study

A little on the technical side, I know, but you never know who might actually be studying this passage or looking to refute the JW's heretical view of this text.

I.                   I want to very briefly hit on the technicalities of this phrase in John 1:1:
a.     “the Word was God.”
                                           i.      First, to clarify the clear meaning of the Greek.
                                        ii.      Second, to refute the erroneous views of Jehovah Witnesses who distort this translation since the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate author of this verse, was precise in this phrase.
II.                What is the clear meaning of the Greek?
a.     There are two nouns, God (theos) and Word (logos).
                                           i.      Word is the subject because it has a definite article in front of it, and God is the predicate, which modifies the subject because it does not have the definite article. 
b.     In Greek grammar, if there are two nouns in a sentence and one has a definite article and one does not then the one with the definite article is the subject.
                                           i.      If they both had the definite article, it makes them interchangeable.
1.    If that was the case in this verse the John would be equating the Word as the God, or the God as the Word which would be inaccurate.
                                        ii.      This would contradict the previous phrase, “The Word was with God,” which shows the clear nature of the trinity.
c.     Instead, and this is important; God is the predicate, which means it modifies the subject, the Word is of the very essence of God which is perfectly in line with the Trinitarian concept.
                                           i.      This is one of those phrases that Greek scholars will throw out there as reasons for learning Greek.
1.    Because it is worded in such a way in Greek, which is not easy to see in English.
2.    To succinctly illustrate what this is saying, we could paraphrase it, like the New English Bible does…
a.     “What God was, the Word was…”
d.     To quote New Testament scholar DA Carson…
                                           i.      “If John had included the definite article (in front of God, theos), he would have been saying something quite untrue.  He would have been so identifying the Word with God that no divine being could exist from the Word.  In that case, it would be nonsense to say (in the words of the second clause of this verse) that the Word was with God.  The ‘Word does not by Himself make up the entire Godhead; nevertheless the divinity that belongs to the rest of the Godhead belongs also to Him’ (Tasker p 45). “The Word was with God, God’s eternal Fellow; the Word was God, God’s own self.”
1.    That is, Jesus has all the attributes and qualities of God – He is coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit but He is not equal to the entire essence of God.
a.     He is the Son of God, the second person of the trinity.
III.             What about the errors of the JW translation?
a.     First, the way they translate it assumes that theos is NOT referring to the one true God, but to a godlike being.
                                           i.      This is clearly wrong.
1.    John could have used a different Greek adjective, theios, for this purpose.
                                        ii.      Instead, John used theos, and…
1.    Everytime theos is used in this immediate context and in the entire chapter it refers to the only true God.
a.     And John is clearly not advocating polytheism here. 
                                     iii.      He can only be referring to Jesus as God.
b.     Second, they make an obvious error in the grammatical construction.
                                           i.      They claim that just because the definite article is not in front of theos that this proves it should be translated ‘a god.’
1.    But the Greek and the context, again, argue against them.
a.     In essence, God is against them!
                                        ii.      The definite article is not in front of theos in vs 6, 12, 13, 18.
1.    Verses we obviously don’t translate ‘a god.’
a.     In fact, in the entire New Testament, there are 282 occurrences where theos does not have the definite article.
2.    They simply just picked and choose which translation best fits their heresy.
                                     iii.      As opposed to listening to God’s word tell us about Himself.
1.    May God grant all of us ears to hear the Word!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Whoa! Been a while...

since my last post. Hope no one thinks I was overly discouraged because John Piper was wrong. Don't worry, I am not:^) Lord willing, all Christians forsake the "Pope syndrome" of exalting any Christian pastor, author, blogger, conference speaker, etc. as infallible and speaking in ex cathedra. Only God's word is infallible, inerrant and the final authority on all matters of life - not John Piper, me or anyone else. Yes, we are all still sinners in need of God's infinite grace.

With that in mind, here is a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace. My main complaint is that he did not sing the entire song - he begins singing at around the 6:30 mark. I cannot vouch for everything he says about the song itself, but I can vouch for the great joy every Christian will receive from hearing again about God's wondrous, amazing grace!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

John Piper is wrong...

But so are we in so many decisions we make and when Judgment comes, our views on secondary doctrinal issues will probably be shown to be lacking as well. This is not a condemnation of John Piper, but a strong disagreement with him on allowing, IMO, a very destructive man to have a platform at his Desiring God conference: Rick Warren, the author the best selling book. The Purpose Driven Life.

As usual, a number of godly men have responded in a gracious yet truthful manner and I commend their articles to you. They sum up most of my reasons nicely. Remember though, there are no perfect Christians in Christendom, just a perfect Savior. Always be discerning.

Begin with Phil Johnson
Tim Challies
Chris Anderson here and here
Michael Horton and the White Horse Inn have documented a few of the issues with Rick Warren.

John MacArthur succinctly sums up the problem with The Purpose Driven Life:

Thursday, April 08, 2010

A conversation...

Here is a made-up conversation done by a godly man named Horatius Bonar. It is between a Christian and someone who is not a Christian. Even if you are a Christian it is well worth the time to read.

"How shall I be happy?" was the question of a weary soul who had tried a hundred different ways of happiness, and had always failed.

"Secure the favor of God," was the prompt answer, by one who had himself tasted that the "Lord is gracious."

"Is there no other way of being happy?"

"None, none," was the quick and decided reply. "Man has been trying other ways for six thousand years, and has utterly failed, and are you likely to succeed?"

"No, not likely; and I don't want to go on trying. But this favor of God seems such a shadowy thing, and God Himself so far off, that I know not which way to turn."

"God's favor is no shadow; it is real beyond all other realities; and He Himself is the nearest of all near beings, as accessible as He is gracious."

"That favor of which you speak has always seemed to me a sort of mist, of which I can make nothing."

"Say rather it is sunshine which a mist is hiding from you."

"Yes, yes, I believe you; but how shall I get through the mist into the sunshine beyond? It seems so difficult and to require such a length of time!"

"You make that distant and difficult which God has made simple and near and easy."

"Are there no difficulties, do you mean to say?"
"In one sense, a thousand; in another, none."
"How is that?"

"Did the Son of God put difficulties in the sinner's way when He said to the multitude, 'Come unto Me, and I will give you rest'?"

"Certainly not; He meant them to go at once to Him, as He stood there, and as they stood there, and He would give them rest."

"Had you then been upon the spot, what difficulties should you have found?"

"None, certainly; to speak of difficulty when I was standing by the side of the Son of God would have been folly, or worse."

"Did the Son of God suggest difficulty to the sinner when He sat on Jacob's well, by the side of the Samaritan? Was not all difficulty anticipated or put away by these wondrous words of Christ, 'thou wouldst have asked, and I would have given'?"

"Yes, no doubt; the asking and the giving was all. The whole transaction is finished on the spot. Time and space, distance and difficulty, have nothing to do with the matter; the giving was to follow the asking as a matter of course. So far all is plain. But I would ask: Is there no barrier here?"

"None whatever, if the Son of God really came to save the lost; if He came for those who were only partly lost, or who could partly save themselves, the barrier is infinite. This I admit; nay, insist upon."

"Is the being lost, then, no barrier to our being saved?"

"Foolish question, which may be met by a foolish answer. Is your being thirsty a hindrance to your getting water or is being poor a hindrance to your obtaining riches as a gift from a friend?"

"True; it is my thirst that fits me for the water and my poverty that fits me for the gold."

"Ah, yes, the Son of Man came not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance. If you be not wholly a sinner, there is a barrier; if you be wholly such, there is none!"

"Wholly a sinner! Is that really my character?"

"No doubt of that. If you doubt it, go and search your Bible. God's testimony is that you are wholly a sinner, and must deal with Him as such, for the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."

"Wholly a sinner, well!--but must I not get quit of some of my sins before I can expect blessing from Him?"

"No, indeed; He alone can deliver you from so much as even one sin; and you must go at once to Him with all that you have of evil, how much so ever that may be. If you be not wholly a sinner, you don't wholly need Christ, for He is out and out a Saviour; He does not help you to save yourself, nor do you help Him to save you. He does all, or nothing. A half salvation will only do for those who are not completely lost. He 'His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.' " (1 Peter 2:24)

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Two resurrection songs

These songs speak for themselves. Our response should be one of awe and adoration and praise unto our risen Savior!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Resurrection thoughts

Here are some thoughts on the resurrection taken from the scriptures. They are divided into 3 sets: the first may be considered an apologetic for Christianity, the second for unbelievers though believers can rejoice in them, and the third are specifically for believers. If you visit this blog and truly trust in Christ alone for your salvation, I'd encourage you to read them all, but especially the promises made to believers and be in awe of what Christ has accomplished.

Jesus Christ physically rose again therefore…
Jesus is proven to be the Son of God (Rom 1:4).
Jesus is preeminent over all things (Col 1:18)
Jesus will return again to judge the living & the dead (Acts 1:11, 17:31; 1 Peter 4:3-5)
Jesus’ words are shown to be fully trustworthy, also proving the truthfulness of the OT & NT scriptures since He testified to the former & promised the Holy Spirit to inspire the latter..

Jesus Christ physically rose again therefore ANYONE who believes in Him (entrust your life to Him in repentance & faith) He promises forgiveness of all your sins (Acts 5:30-31) & a perfect standing before a holy & just God (Rom 4:24-25; 10:9-11; 1 Peter 3:18). This resurrection promise requires you to repudiate ALL your good works, your so-called goodness & anything else you can pretty much think of that makes you think God will accept you into heaven. There’s nothing you can do except turn from all manner of works & trust only in Jesus Christ. If you trust in Christ alone, then you can claim the blessed promises the resurrection gives to believers: Eternal life, forgiveness of all sins, righteous standing before God, the Holy Spirit, joy in the Lord.

Specifically for those who truly & wholly believe in Christ: because Christ physically rose again...
We have the assurance of no condemnation (Romans 8:34)
We have an anchor for our faith & hope in God (1 Peter 1:20-21)
We are granted new life through our union with Christ (Romans 6:4-5)
We have the Helper, the Holy Spirit dwelling within (John 14:16-18)
We are given new life so we will bear fruit for God (Romans 7:4-6 & 8:11)
We have an eternal dwelling in glory (John 14:3).
Death has been forever defeated. Though we die, we WILL rise again to live eternally with Him (1 Thess 4:14; John 11:25-26, 1 Cor 15:53-55).
We will receive new & glorious bodies in the final resurrection (1 Cor 15:42-50).
We will forever sing of our risen Saviour, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power & wealth & wisdom & might & honor & glory & blessing!” (Rev 5:12, 22:3-5).

Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Cor 15:57-58)