Friday, November 28, 2008

And this was my sermon last Tuesday at church. We are coming near the conclusion of this wonderful-- and understandable!--book in our study of the Sovereign Kingship and victory of Jesus Christ!

Here are some quotes I put on the outlines which I thought would also be profitable to post here for your enjoyment and musing. Think, ponder, consider, get excited for heaven (cf. Phil 3:20).

Todd Bolen: “Christianity would not be Christianity without its belief in heaven. Did you know that if salvation did not include the promise of heaven, that it would be a weak salvation indeed? This world is not our goal; the next is. If there was no heaven, we might be saved from the condemnation of sin, and we might be saved from the power of sin, but we would never be saved from the presence of sin. If there was no heaven, we would never be perfectly righteous. If there was no heaven, we would not be pilgrims and strangers in this land. If there was no heaven, we would have no hope.”

J.C. Ryle: The man who is about to sail for Australia or New Zealand as a settler, is naturally anxious to know something about his future home, its climate, its employments, its inhabitants, its ways, its customs. All these are subjects of deep interest to him. You are leaving the land of your nativity, you are going to spend the rest of your life in a new hemisphere. It would be strange indeed if you did not desire information about your new abode. Now surely, if we hope to dwell for ever in that “better country, even a heavenly one,” we ought to seek all the knowledge we can get about it. Before we go to our eternal home we should try to become acquainted with it” (Quoted in Alcorn, 5).

D.L. Moody said it this way: “there will be three things which will surprise us when we get to heaven – one, to find many whom we did not expect to find there; another, to find some not there whom we had expected; and three, and perhaps the greatest wonder – to find ourselves there.” (DL Moody, Heaven, 29).

Jonathan Edwards noted: Every Christian friend that goes before us from this world is a ransomed spirit waiting to welcome us in heaven. There will be the infant of days that we have lost below, through grace to be found above. There the Christian father, and mother, and wife, and child, and friend, with whom we shall renew the holy fellowship of the saints, which was interrupted by death here, but shall be commenced again in the upper sanctuary, and then shall never end. There we shall have companionship with the patriarchs and fathers and saints of the Old and New Testaments, and those of whom the world was not worthy…And there, above all, we shall enjoy and dwell with God the Father, whom we have loved with all our hearts on earth; and with Jesus Christ, our beloved Savior, who has always been to us the chief among ten thousands, and altogether lovely; and with the Holy Spirit, our Sanctifier, and Guide, and Comforter; and shall be filled with all the fullness of the Godhead forever!” (quoted in Alcorn, 329).

Jonathan Edwards concluded: “The enjoyment of God is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but God is the substance. These are but scattered beams, but God is the sun. These are but streams. But God is the ocean.”

I am so convinced and eager for heaven that I long for it. Remember what Paul said:

1 Corinthians 2:9 just as it is written, "Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Elizabeth looking at the Pacific...
Yes, this is sparkling cider...
I'm a very happy man...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Lord interrupted my quiet time with this beautiful portrait that He painted this morning:

Psalm 113:3-4 From the rising of the sun to its setting The name of the LORD is to be praised. The LORD is high above all nations; His glory is above the heavens.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

In my study for Acts 8 this Sunday morning, I came across this excellent insight by William Kistemaker:

"Philip puts a penetrating question to the Ethiopian Eunuch: "Do you understand what you are reading?" This question is basic to confirming the Christian faith, for the Christian knows Christ only through the Scriptures. By reading God's Word, he increases his knowledge of Jesus Christ, his Savior. Thus Philip begins with the Scriptures, explains their fulfillment in Christ, and leads the Ethiopian official to repentance, faith, and joy.

The task of the preacher is to show Christ to his audience. For precisely this reason, some churches have a plaque fastened to the pulpit just below the open Bible and visible only to the preacher. The plaque has the words, "Sir, we want to see Jesus" (John 12:21). The average member of a congregation listens to the preacher only on Sunday, during the worship service. He comes not to hear views on a number of topics that may or may not relate to his life; he has come to meet Jesus. And he meets Jesus through the faithful exposition of the Scriptures. The preacher must be a workman "who correctly handles the word of truth" (2 Tim 2:15, NIV) andopens the Word for his audience. The old adage is worth repeating:

Expound the Scriptures
Exhort the Sinner
Exalt the Savior

(Source: Kistemaker, Acts, NTC, 316-17).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

My youth group has journeyed through the book of Revelation with me for the last 6 months or so--week after week. We are coming to the conclusion of the book and to the conclusion of time as we now know it.

Last night I did part 2 of our study on hell: "The Shrieking Cries of the Tormented in Hell Manifested." (I have to give it some title to seize the reader's attention.)

Here was my outline (it was more or less a topical study on hell):

1. Hell will be conscious torment in the presence of God (Rev 14:9-10)
2. Hell will be everlasting, unending torment without rest (Matt 25:46; Rev 20:11)
3. Hell will be shameful and conscience-stricken torment (Luke 16:24-28; Isa 66:24)
4. Hell will be black darkness, a bottomless pit, and awful fire (Matt 5:22; 13:50; Jude 7; Rev 19:20; 20:10; Jude 13; Rev 9:1-2)
5. Hell will be where God is glorified to destroy unrighteous sinners (Rom 9:22-23)
6. Hell will be where sinners will think about the opportunities they had to repent (Luke 16:24-26)
7. Hell will be angry and furious hatred toward God and all of God's Sovereign holiness (Matt 11:22-24).
8. Hell will be an infinite punishment because of offending an infinitely Holy and Righteous God (Rev 14:10; Hab 1:13; Ps 7:11-13)
9. Hell will be a lonely abode without friends, relationships, respite, or deliverance (Matt 8:12)
10. Hell will be the most severe punishment that it is possible for the Almighty and All-Powerful God to possibly bring upon sinners (Rev 14:10)

I concluded the message with a clear gospel presentation.
1. Acknowledge that God is holy and hates sin--YOUR sin!
2. Acknowledge that you are a sinner and fall short of God's perfect standard for holiness.
3. Acknowledge that you are in need of a perfect Savior who died for you on Calvary's cross--Jesus Christ!
4. Acknowledge and believe in Jesus Christ with saving faith which evidences itself after conversion with a life of obedience and holiness to bring God the greatest glory!

After the gospel presentation, I ended with this sobering reminder and challenged my hearers to take action and believe:

Hebrews 10:26-31 26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." 31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

You can listen to the sermon here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

“Consider the Cross”

the 2009 CCC youth winter retreat

Date: Feb 26 – Mar 1, 2009

Location: Big Bear, California

Lodging: The Robinson’s Home

Cost: $165.00 (scholarships are available)

(includes 2 days skiing/boarding, food, lodging,

transportation, and weekend notebook).

Text Box: Questions? contact pastor Geoff: 661.755.3846 or

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -cut here - - - - - - - - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Name ________________________________ Age ________ Grade __________

Email ___________________________________ Phone Number ________________

Parent’s Names ______________________ Total Amount Enclosed _______________

Tentative Schedule of Events:

Thurs, Feb 26

7pm meet @ ccc

7:30 depart ccc

10:30 arrive big bear

Fri, Feb 27

7-8 breakfast

8-9 session1 “Consider the Savior of the Cross”

10-5 on the slopes—skiing or snowboarding

6-7pm dinner

7:30-8:30 session2 “Consider the Sacrifice of the Cross”

8:30à free time

Sat, Feb 28

7-8 breakfast

8-9 session3 “Consider the Supremacy of the Cross”

10-5 on the slopes—skiing or snowboarding

6-7 dinner

7:30-8:30 session4 “Consider the Significance of the Cross”

8:30à free time

Sun, Mar 1

8-9 breakfast

9:30-11 session5 “Consider the Demands of the Cross”

11-12 clean the house!

12:30 depart for ccc

3:30 arrive @ ccc

Monday, November 10, 2008

Tonight I have the (weighty) responsibility of preaching on hell. We've been going through Revelation in our Bible Study and we studied the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev 20:11-15) a few weeks ago. Tonight is part two of that sermon.

It's overwhelming. I'm not sure what else to say. It's overwhelming because it is so serious--and yet so many Christians think so lightly of hell. I have 10 points to my sermon tonight on hell. I've titled my sermon in such a way as to get their attention:

"The Shrieking Cries of the Tormented in Hell Manifested."

I've grown personally in my own study and I trust that many tonight will learn more about the horrors of being tormented by God forever in hell. I am thankful for God's grace. I'm thankful for Jesus Christ, who died in my place. I'm thankful that "I'm saved from the wrath of God through Him [Christ]" (Rom 5:9). Salvation is truly from the Lord (Jonah 2:9). Stay tuned for the update in coming days. I'll also post the sermon on our church website.

Till then, pray for me; that I would be clear, bold, unashamed, and Spirit-filled. At the same time, pray that I would be filled with God's Spirit so as to make the gospel overwhelmingly clear to those who will be present tonight to hear the gospel.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Called According to God’s Good Pleasure—A Study of 2 Timothy 1:9


tou/ sw,santoj h`ma/j kai. kale,santoj klh,sei a`gi,a|( ouv kata. ta. e;rga h`mw/n avlla. kata. ivdi,an pro,qesin kai. ca,rin( th.n doqei/san h`mi/n evn Cristw/| VIhsou/ pro. cro,nwn aivwni,wn(

Author’s Translation:

[God] who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but on the contrary, according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the eternal times.

It is evident from this text that the believer in Jesus Christ is saved by the sheer pleasure and grace of God. This is not a new concept. In the Old Testament, Israel was called by Yahweh to Himself simply because of His sovereign choice:

Deuteronomy 7:7-8 7 The LORD did not set his affection on you and choose you because you were more numerous than other peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 But it was because the LORD loved you

Just as God elected Israel to be His chosen people to the nations (Isa 42:6), so has God also chosen His own people—from every tribe, tongue, people, and language (Rev 5:9)—in order to be ambassadors for Him on earth (2 Cor 5:20).

I will endeavor to elucidate five marks of salvation from 2 Timothy 1:9. It is, to be sure, a theologically pregnant verse which demands the most scrutinizing and toilsome study—which this brief paper doesn’t exhaust, but hopefully this will shed light on some new areas of theology that may bring comfort and amazement as you understand more about God’s redemptive plan resulting in your greater awe and wonder of God’s election of you.

  1. Salvation is Based on God’s Initiative

We must understand that the reality of salvation being based upon God’s initiative is a common theme repeated in Scripture (Isa 43:3; Hos 13:4; 1 Tim 1:1; Tit 1:3; Jude 25). Specifically in this context, however, the phrase proving this is tou/ sw,santoj h`ma/j. The genitive participle refers back to the end of verse 8 (du,namin qeou/; the context of suffering hardship according to the power of God) is pointing back (anaphoric) to “God” (qeou; v. 8). That is why I choose to translate verse 9 as God who saved us. It is God’s doing. Salvation is God’s work. Even faith is a gift of God (Phil 1:29). Therefore, it is absolutely imperative that we unswervingly understand that salvation is monergistic, not synergistic. That is, that it is accomplished through the accomplished work of one—namely, God.

  1. Salvation is Grounded on God’s Electing Call

The next phrase to be studied reveals that salvation is grounded and instigated through God’s electing call, kale,santoj klh,sei a`gi,a|. We are saved by God who called us with (NIVto”) a holy calling, klh,sei a`gi,a. I think, given the context, that the dative construction is to be seen as means (by means of) rather than purpose/result (to/for). The point is not that Christians have been elected by God to live a holy life full of good works. No doubt, this is a theme in Scripture and a treasured reality (cf. Eph 2:10), but here, the point is not so much that God called us for the purpose of living a holy life but to show that in eternity past (see the end of v. 9), God called believers by means of His holy and perfect electing call! I believe that given the immediate context, this is the intended meaning. What, then, does it mean that God called by means of His holy calling? It means that—in eternity past—God elected believers unto Himself with a perfect, unique, monergistic, sovereign—thus, “holy”—call.

  1. Salvation is Accomplished is Not Because of God’s Foreknowledge

The next phrase to be understood from this verse unambiguously reveals that God has elected sinners unto Himself based on nothing that they would or could do. The phrase at hand is ouv kata. ta. e;rga h`mw/n. Again, I believe the point is not that believers are not saved according to works—though this is, to be sure, a repeated theme all through the Scriptures (Eph 2:8-9). Specifically, this verse is not a “proof text” that if a person lives a good life that he cannot work his way to heaven (though the concept is true and can be proven elsewhere in Scripture). Rather, this verse—given the immediate context—is clearly showing that God’s election in eternity past was not decided or determined based upon some foreseen “work” or “action” from individuals. In other words, God did not choose me because He saw my “works” and knew that I’d believe upon Him and, hence, chose me. The point here is that God—before the ages were ever established—elected individuals unto Himself not because of anything they would ever do (or could ever do). A commonly understood term for this is unconditional election. This is precisely what this verse is teaching.

  1. Salvation is Established Because of God’s Sovereign Purpose

So then, the question is asked, “If God didn’t choose me because He knew I would believe in Him, then why did God elect me?” Simple. avlla. kata. ivdi,an pro,qesin kai. ca,rin. Not to put too much emphasis on disjunctive markers but the contrastive particle avlla. is significant. It is stronger than the simple de. Not according to our works did he save us but—on the other hand—God saved us according to (kata) His own (note again, mongeristic salvation here, ivdi,an) purpose and grace. Again, it beckons us to recall God’s election of Israel in Deut 7:7–8 when God chose the nation unto Himself simply because “He loved them.” That’s it! No explanation needed! God chose Israel; God chose you; God chose me simply because He wanted to. God’s purpose demanded He elect you. God’s grace allowed Him to elect sinners like me and you. Of course, it’s understandable to see how the Apostle Paul, after giving a treatise on God’s future plans and faithfulness to His promises to ethnic Israel, exclaims in utter amazement and joy:

Romans 11:33 - 12:1 33 Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.

  1. Salvation is Enacting What Was Established in Eternity Past

This election was accomplished and attributed th.n doqei/san h`mi/n evn Cristw/| VIhsou/ pro. cro,nwn aivwni,wn. It’s all by grace! This salvation according to God’s purpose enacted by means of grace was given to us (*note the passive th.n doqei/san) in Christ Jesus. This salvation was given to the elect in Christ Jesus. Those who are in union with Jesus Christ are, in fact, the elect of God. But note the time that all this occurred, pro. cro,nwn aivwni,wn. I like the ESV which has “before the ages began” which is close to the original intent—before the eternal times in history and eternity past! God elected me and you—if you believe upon Jesus Christ and are forgiven of your sins—before the ages began! Not only does this reveal the utter omniscience of God (who knew us before the ages began) but also his Sovereign pleasure to elect and take joy in electing us unto Himself in eternity past! It is an accomplished action. It is inscribed in the Lamb’s book of life and it was penciled there before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8). Praise God!

Therefore, may we then take joy in our salvation recognizing that God has accomplished our redemption for us, based on His own purpose and grace—not according to our good works—from all eternity past!

Soli Deo Gloria!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

This is a great 2 minute video! It brings a good laugh too! :=)

Monday, November 3, 2008

According to a leading CNN article, this is apparently the case. Elizabeth Landau writes:
Sexual content on television is strongly associated with teen pregnancy, a new study from the RAND Corporation shows. Researchers at the nonprofit organization found that adolescents with a high level of exposure to television shows with sexual content are twice as likely to get pregnant or impregnate someone as those who saw fewer programs of this kind over a period of three years. It is the first study to demonstrate this association, RAND said.
A central message from the study is that there needs to be more dialogue about sex in the media, particularly among parents and their children, said Anita Chandra, the study's lead author and a behavioral scientist at RAND.

She goes on to note:
"We know that parents are busy, but sitting down and watching shows together with their teen, talking about the character portrayals, talking about what they just witnessed, and really using it as a teachable moment is really, I think, a good recommendation from this research," Chandra said.

It doesn't take very long for one to recognize and concur with Elizabeth that:
"We know that if a child is watching more than an hour of TV a day, we know there's a sexual scene in [the] content every 10 minutes, then they're getting a fair amount of sexual content," Chandra said.

Dr. Wimberly, professor at Moorehouse School of Medicine, writes:
"You cannot expect to have a sexually saturated society with all of your media outlets, but then, at the same time, be surprised when this influences people and their behaviors," she said. "If you're going to do it, then you need to make sure you follow it up with education that people need to make responsible decisions."
It's crucial that parents and guardians talk to their kids about these topics and teach morals and values, but they can do only so much in limiting the amount of sexual content that their teenagers see on television, Wimberly said. Youths will have exposure to these programs outside of the home, such as at friends' houses or on the Internet.

According to these quotes, we find that many young adolescent pregnancies are--in part, at least--attributed to the sexual content they are viewing on television. To be sure, according to a few recent polls, teen boys watch about 13 hours a TV a week whereas teenage girls only watch about 11 1/2 hours per week. Because we know what kind of content we find on TV these days--from sitcoms, to movies, to talk/late night shows, to the news, and to music videos, it is no surprise that sex is a leading theme in many of these shows. It can't be denied that we are, indeed, a sex-driven society. Everyone thinks about it. Everyone hears about it. Everyone sees it in some way, shape or form. And all of the hours and hours and hours that teens spend in front of a TV screen doesn't help--especially when Hollywood is promoting the godless and the unbiblical portrayal of what sex is really about.

This is where it is absolutely crucial for parents to teach, train, nurture, and educate our children regarding these issues. Sheltering them is not the issue. A naive child is a fool--according to Proverbs:

Proverbs 1:22 "How long, O naive ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge?

It is the naive one who is easily swayed to the house of the prostitute according to Proverbs 9.

What can be done? Obviously we can eliminate televisions, movies, etc. from our homes so our children don't see these things--or so we think. I'm amazed at how much (sexual) content some young kids know! Friends, billboards, movies, school, media all are throwing these ideologies and worldly wisdom at our children. Removing TV's is not the solution.

The biblical solution is training your children (teaching them!) in the "discipline and instruction of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). That's the answer! We must not--indeed, we cannot--hide all the cultural content from our children (nor should we want to), but we should use every occasion for a teaching opportunity so that our children learn discernment and filter everything through their biblical worldview which has been shaped and formed over time through the reading and study of the Scriptures with mom and dad. That means responsibility. That requires time. That requires a load on your shoulders--but that's precisely how God intended it to be done. Hear what he said through Moses to the Israelites:

Deuteronomy 6:7 7 You shall teach them [these words] diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.

That requires teaching children as a way of life--when you sit at home, walk along the way, lie down, and when you rise up. Take every opportunity to teach your kids that sex is good--but it is to find its activity only in the marriage relationship. Everything else dishonors God and is sinful therefore deserving of hell.

Yes television may impact teens today and attribute--in part--to young pregnancies, but we must take the Scriptures and make it our goal to inform and train our children with what God has to say about the matter so that they can discern right from wrong when they're confronted with sexual content in the "real world."
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