Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
D.M. Lloyd-Jones, What is an Evangelical? The Banner of Truth Trust, p. 87-88.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Thursday, June 24, 2010
"Yet the church is not a failure; the church—the remnant of those who are faithful, who compose only a part of the wider, visible church, remain true to Christ and continue to do God’s work in the world. Jesus himself told us that the road to salvation is narrow and only a few enter, so we should not be surprised when there are far more who turn their backs than respond with joy. We mourn their loss but trust in God’s sovereignty in saving a people to himself. This I can guarantee: 100% of God’s people have been (or will be!) ministered to and shaped by the Word of God. Every one of them has heard the preaching of a minister of the Word or has read a Bible lovingly and obediently translated. Every one of them has been successfully ministered to by another Christian. Why then do we dwell so often and sometimes exclusively on our failures and shortcomings? Does this honor God and glorify him for the battles that have been won and the lives he has changed through us?"
Read the entire article here.
John Piper - A Sweet and Bitter Providence, pgs. 136-37
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
"The avoidance of this question about the age of the universe will come at the cost of our own credibility. But disaster ensues when the book of natural revelation is used to trump the book of special revelation. We would not be having this discussion today if these questions were not being posed to us by those who assume that general revelation is providing to us compelling evidence that forces us to reconstruct our understanding of the biblical text, that the assured results of science are forcing us to rethink what the Bible seems to say. Great caution is in order when we begin to cede to science. The assured results of science—what do they tell us about a virgin birth? About a resurrection? About sexual orientation? Are we going to submit special revelation to what science says in all of these areas? The end of this process is theological disaster.
When it comes to the confrontation of evolutionary theory and the gospel we have a head-on collision. It is our responsibility to give an answer to this question of why the universe looks old, but the most natural understanding comes to this: the universe looks old because the Creator made it whole. When he made Adam, Adam was not a fetus but a man. By our understanding this would have required time. But for God it did not. He put Adam in the garden, which was not merely seeds, but a fertile, mature garden. God creates and makes things whole. And secondly, it looks old because it bears the effects of sin, the flood, catastrophe. Creation is groaning and in its groaning it looks old and worn, giving us empirical evidence of the reality of sin."
Read the entire article here.
Monday, June 21, 2010
Saturday, June 19, 2010
1 Corinthians 13:4-7,13
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
"God's grace cannot be faithfully preached to unbelievers until the Law is preached, and man's corrupt nature is exposed. It is impossible for a person to fully realize his need for God's grace until he sees how terribly he has failed the standard of God's Law." - John MacArthur
“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” - Leonard Ravenhill
"Evangelism is not a gift. It is a matter of obedience or disobedience." - Mark Cahill
"It is my opinion that tens of thousands of people, if not millions, have been brought into some kind of religious experience by 'accepting Christ', and they have not been saved." - A.W. Tozer
"The greatest heresy in the American Evangelical and Protestant church is that if you pray and ask Jesus Christ to come into your heart, He will definitely come in." - Paul Washer
"If sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. And if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for." - Charles Spurgeon
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory."
Monday, June 14, 2010
"Resolved, never to do anything which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life."
"Spiritual pride in its own nature is so secret, that it is not so well discerned by immediate intuition on the thing itself, as by the effects and fruits of it; some of which I would mention, together with the contrary fruits of pure Christian humility. Spiritual pride disposes to speak of other persons' sins, their enmity against God and his people, the miserable delusion of hypocrites, and their enmity against vital piety, and the deadness of some saints, with bitterness, or with laughter and levity, and an air of contempt; whereas pure Christian humility rather disposes, either to be silent about them, or to speak of them with grief and pity. Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others; whereas an humble saint is most jealous of himself; he is so suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart. The spiritually proud person is apt to find fault with other saints, that they are low in grace; and to be much in observing how cold and dead they are; and being quick to discern and take notice of their deficiencies. But the eminently humble Christian has so much to do at home, and sees so much evil in his own heart, and is so concerned about it, that he is not apt to be very busy with other hearts; he complains most of himself, and complains of his own coldness and lowness in grace. He is apt to esteem others better than himself, and is ready to hope that there is nobody but what has more love and thankfulness to God than he, and cannot bear to think that others should bring forth no more fruit to God's honour than he. Some who have spiritual pride mixed with high discoveries and great transports of joy, disposing them in an earnest manner to talk to others, are apt, in such frames, to be calling upon other Christians about them, and sharply reproving them for their being so cold and lifeless. There are others, who in their raptures are overwhelmed with a sense of their own vileness; and, when they have extraordinary discoveries of God's glory, are all taken up about their own sinfulness; and though they also are disposed to speak much and very earnestly, yet it is very much in blaming themselves, and exhorting fellow-Christians, but in a charitable and humble manner. Pure Christian humility disposes a person to take notice of every thing that is good in others, and to make the best of it, and to diminish their failings; but to gave his eye chiefly on those things that are bad in himself, and to take much notice of every thing that aggravates them.
In a contrariety to this, it has been the manner in some places, or at least the manner of some persons to speak of almost every thing that they see amiss in others, in the most harsh, severe, and terrible language. It is frequent with them to say of others' opinions, or conduct, or advice--or of their coldness, their silence, their caution, their moderation, their prudence, &c.--that they are from the devil, of from hell; that such a thing is devilish, or hellish, or cursed, and that such persons are serving the devil, or the devil is in them, that they are soul-murderers, and the like; so that the words devil and hell are almost continually in their mouths. And such kind of language they will commonly use, not only towards wicked men, but towards them whom they themselves allow to be the true children of God, and also towards ministers of the gospel and others who are very much their superiors. And they look upon it as a virtue and high attainment thus to behave themselves. Oh, say they, we must be plain hearted and bold for Christ, we must declare war against sin wherever we see it, we must not mince the matter in the cause of God and when speaking for Christ. And to make any distinction in persons, or to speak the more tenderly, because that which is amiss is seen in a superior, they look upon as very mean for a follower of Christ when speaking in the cause of his Master. What a strange device of the devil is here, to overthrow all Christian meekness and gentleness, and even all show and appearance of it, and to defile the mouths of the children of God, and to introduce the language of common sailors among the followers of Christ, under a cloak of high sanctity and zeal, and boldness for Christ! And it is a remarkable instance of the weakness of the human mind, and how much too cunning the devil is for us!" - Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758)
Titus 3:1-11 "Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people. But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned."
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods, pg.131
Saturday, June 12, 2010
"What I have learned from about twenty-years of serious reading is this. It is sentences that change my life, not books. What changes my life is some new glimpse of truth, some powerful challenge, some resolution to a long-standing dilemma, and these usually come concentrated in a sentence or two. I do not remember 99% of what I read, but if the 1% of each book or article I do remember is a life-changing insight, then I don't begrudge the 99%."
Read the entire article here.
Elyse Fitzpatrick, Because He Loves Me
(HT Jared Wilson)
"Jesus is the divine curse-remover and creation-renewer. Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross broke the curse of sin and death brought on by Adam’s cosmic rebellion. His bodily resurrection from the dead three days later dealt death its final blow, guaranteeing the eventual renewal of all things “in Christ.”
The dimensions of Christ’s finished work are both individual and cosmic. They range from personal pardon for sin and individual forgiveness to the final resurrection of our bodies and the restoration of the whole world. Now that’s good news—gospel—isn’t it? If we place our trust in the finished work of Christ, sin’s curse will lose its grip on us individually and we will one day be given a renewed creation. The gospel isn’t only about reestablishing a two-way relationship between God and us; it also restores a three-way relationship among God, his people, and the created order. Through Christ’s work, our relationship with God is restored while creation itself is renewed. This is what theologians mean when they talk about redemption. They’re describing this profound, far-reaching work by God.
Of course none of this is available for those who remain disconnected from Jesus. Sin’s acidic curse remains on everything that continues to be separated from Christ. We must be united to Christ by placing our trust in his finished work in order to receive and experience all the newness God has promised. For, as John Calvin said, “As long as Christ remains outside of us, and we are separated from him, all that he has suffered and done for the salvation of the human race remains useless and of no value for us.” But for all that is united to Christ, everything false, bad, and corrupting will one day be consumed by what is true, good, and beautifying—and this includes the material world."
Tullian Tchividjian - Unfashionable
Friday, June 11, 2010
Thursday, June 10, 2010
"So when Pastor Ortlund says, “What proves that that gospel hermeneutic has captured our hearts is that we are not looking down on other believers but lifting them up, not seeing ourselves as better but grateful for their contribution to the cause, not standing aloof but embracing them freely, not wishing they would become like us but serving them in love,” I’m completely with him. What’s amazing about the Gospel is not what it makes of other people (for good or ill): it’s what it makes of me, which is that I am acceptable to God, and therefore I am acceptable to other people – not a lost cause which other people should rightfully shun.
In my own right, my own merit, I am a lost cause who ought to be shunned. Anyone in their right mind should not associate with me for what I am on my own – because I’m a loser on my own, morally, socially, and spiritually.
But in Christ, by what Christ has done, I have the right expectation that I am right with God – and that other who are like me in this regard are also right with God and therefore in the same standing and beautiful family that I belong to.
That expectation should make me generous to others spiritually, not stingy. And it should, as Pastor Ortlund says, make me a joy to be with."
Read the entire article here.
Wednesday, June 09, 2010
Greg Gilbert, What Is the Gospel? (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010), 44.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
Cheap grace means grace sold on the market like cheapjacks’ wares. The sacraments, the forgiveness of sin, and the consolations of religion are thrown away at cut prices. Grace is represented as the Church’s inexhaustible treasury, from which she showers blessings with generous hands, without asking questions or fixing limits. Grace without price; grace without cost! The essence of grace, we suppose, is that the account has been paid in advance, and, because it has been paid, everything can be had for nothing. Since the cost was infinite, the possibilities of using it and spending it are infinite. What would grace be if it were not cheap?
…Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.
Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer - The Cost of Discipleship, pp. 45-47
(HT Internet Monk)
Monday, June 07, 2010
*A Must Listen To*: Coming To Grips With Our God Who Has A Love-Hate Relationship With Sinners by Randal Pelton
Psalm 5:5; 11:5, John 3:16, Proverbs 6:16-19
"Man's basic problem is preoccupation with self. He is innately beset with narcissism, a condition named after the Greek mythological character Narcissus, who spent his life admiring his reflection in a pool of water. In the final analysis, every sin results from preoccupation with self. We sin because we are totally selfish, totally devoted to ourselves, rather than to God and to others."
Sunday, June 06, 2010
Friday, June 04, 2010
Thursday, June 03, 2010
"Paul argues that a potter has the authority and right over the clay to make a wide range of vessels from the same lump. Verse 21: "Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?" The argument here is basically: Potters know more than clay about what is wise to make. I say this because Paul asks in verse 20, "Who are you, O man, [that is, a mere man, a mere piece of clay] to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’" In other words, the argument is simply this: we humans don’t know enough to elevate our values and our standards and our insights to the point of judging God and saying: You used your sovereignty in an unwise, unrighteous way. That’s argument number one. There is an infinite, qualitative difference between potter and clay that makes it foolish and wrong for clay to criticize the choices of the potter."
Read the entire article here.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
D. M. Lloyd-Jones, Romans: An Exposition of Chapters 7.1-8.4 (Edinburgh, 1973), page 61.
(HT Ray Ortlund)
"My biggest concern about the effects of the prosperity movement is that it diminishes Christ by making him less central and less satisfying than his gifts. Christ is not magnified most by being the giver of wealth. He is magnified most by satisfying the soul of those who sacrifice to love others in the ministry of the gospel.
When we commend Christ as the one who makes us rich, we glorify riches, and Christ becomes a means to the end of what we really want—namely, health, wealth, and prosperity. But when we commend Christ as the one who satisfies our soul forever—even when there is no health, wealth, and prosperity—then Christ is magnified as more precious than all those gifts.
We see this in Philippians 1:20-21. Paul says, “It is my eager expectation and hope that . . . Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Honoring Christ happens when we treasure him so much that dying is gain. Because dying means “to depart and be with Christ” (Philippians 1:23).
This is the missing note in prosperity preaching. The New Testament aims at the glory of Christ, not the glory of his gifts. To make that clear, it puts the entire Christian life under the banner of joyful self-denial. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Mark 8:34). “I have been crucified with Christ” (Galatians 2:20).
But even though self-denial is a hard road that leads to life (Matthew 7:14), it is the most joyful of all roads. “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (Matthew 13:44). Jesus says that finding Christ as our treasure makes all other possessions joyfully dispensable. “In his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.”
I do not want prosperity preachers to stop calling people to maximum joy. On the contrary, I appeal to them to stop encouraging people to seek their joy in material things. The joy Christ offers is so great and so durable that it enables us to lose prosperity and still rejoice. “You joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one” (Hebrews 10:34). The grace to be joyful in the loss of prosperity—that is the miracle prosperity preachers should seek. That would be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That would magnify Christ as supremely valuable."
Read the original post here.
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
"Pollution kills people. Pollution dislocates families. Pollution defiles the icon of God’s Trinitarian joy, the creation of his theater (Ps. 19; Rom. 1).
Will people believe us when we speak about the One who brings life and that abundantly, when they see that we don’t care about that which kills and destroys? Will they hear us when we quote John 3:16 to them when, in the face of the loss of their lives, we shrug our shoulders and say, “Who is my neighbor?”
Read the entire article here.
"God entrusts us with the earth as He entrusts us with our bodies, and He intends for us to take care of both. If you are conservative, then doesn’t it make sense to try to conserve your own health, your family’s health, and the health of the world we inhabit? (That “conservation” became a liberal term instead of a conservative one is counterintuitive.)
Perhaps because many environmental activists scorn the Bible and Christian beliefs, we have ignored our stewardship job description, as if it were somehow incompatible with the gospel. But it was God, not an environmental extremist, who delegated to us the responsibility of creation care. It was God, not an animal rights activist, who entrusted animals to us. Just as John 3:16 is inspired by God, so is Proverbs 12:10: “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.”
Read the entire article here.
"Worldly grief is not good grief. It leads to death. Because worldly grief does not allow us to see our offensiveness to God, we don’t deal with our sin in a vertical direction. And therefore, we don’t get forgiveness from God, the lack of which leads to spiritual death. Worldly grief deals with symptoms not with the disease. Worldly grief produces despair, bitterness, and depression because it focuses on regret for the past (which can’t be changed) or the present consequences (which can’t fully avoid) instead of personal sinfulness (which can always be forgiven).
Ironically, if we say “I can’t forgive myself” it’s probably a sign of worldly grief–either unbelief in God’s promises and the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, or regret that is merely focused on my loss and what other people think of me and not on my sin before a holy God.
We hate to look at our sin, but when we refuse to deal with our sin, we are only hurting ourselves. Sorrow over loss of money does not bring it back. Sorrow over personal failure does not make it all better. Sorrow over negative reactions from others does not make them like us again. But sorrow over sin can lead to repentance and repentance leads to mercy and mercy means a fresh start.
So, yes, God wants us to feel guilty when we are guilty. But he doesn’t want us to feel guilty when we are not. And when we are, he doesn’t want us to wallow in our sin. He wants us to run to the cross, confess it, be cleansed, and enjoy a clean conscience."
Read the entire article here.