Friday, November 30, 2007

I noted yesterday that the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) is attacking seven crucial doctrines found in the Bible.

The Roman Catholic Church is attacking:1. The Supremacy of God’s Words in the Bible2. The Sufficiency of God’s Son3. The Singularity of God’s Gospel4. The Sovereign Grace of God5. The Security of God’s Children6. The Sanctity of God’s Church7. The Severity of God’s Judgment

I want to address the first two today and hopefully, bit by bit, equip you and encourage you to reach out with love, compassion, humility and an open Bible to your Catholic friends.

First, The Roman Catholic Church is attacking the Supremacy of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible.

This matter of attacking the Word of God is no foreigner to today’s contemporary evangelicalism and all the fads and new church movements that have risen and fallen as of late. Yet, every attack on the Word of God has failed and failed miserably. Is it no wonder that the Word of God has been attacked for thousands of years and yet it still stands true. It still stands the same. It doesn’t need to adapt to culture or any other contemporary mindset? Let us recall the words of Isaiah:

Isaiah 40:8 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.

So, to the matter at hand, the RCC is attacking the supremacy of God’s Word as revealed in the Bible because, fundamentally, the RCC states that the Word of God is not the sole authority as having come from God (this is excluding general revelation, that God reveals Himself in and through creation and nature, that we would adhere to). The RCC has three supreme authorities. Yes they claim the Bible is one of them. The second is the Pope and whatever the Pope says. The third infallible authority is church tradition, that is, what has been passed down through the ages. Yet, the Word of God declares repeatedly:

2 Timothy 3:16-17 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

Matthew 4:4 4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.'"

1 Thessalonians 2:13 13 And for this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God's message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

Acts 17:11 11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so.

I give all those Scriptures to show from Scripture that Scripture alone is sufficient for life and godliness (notice the deliberate exclusion of the Pope, apostolic succession, church tradition). Be aware that the RCC church denies (and “anathematizes”) anyone who denies papal authority or church tradition as inspired! We must respond to this with:

Galatians 1:8-9 8 But even though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

Well, that took longer than expected, let me give a clear, crisp and concise answer to the second major attack of RCC on Biblical Christianity:

Second, The Roman Catholic Church is attacking the Sufficiency of God’s Son. Wow, we could spend days and weeks and months proving biblically that Jesus Christ alone (notice, again, the deliberate exclusion of Mary, the pope, tradition, priests, indulgences, confession, rosary, etc) saves a person from hell. Permit me to give a few clear Scriptures:

Acts 4:12 12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved."

John 14:6 6 Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.

Acts 16:31 31 And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved, you and your household."

Romans 10:9-11 that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved; 10 for with the heart man believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed."

Let it be known that when the RCC says that in order to be saved you must believe in Jesus PLUS anything else, that is clear-cut heresy. The disturbing reality of the RCC church is that it is so-called “Christianity” when, in reality, when you peel back the layers of tradition, popery, Mariolatry and other “olatries” you find a slide leading millions (and billions!) of souls to hell while thinking all the time that they are genuine “Christians.” Christian, be prepared. Trust in the supremacy of God’s Word and the sufficiency of God’s Son.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Peril of the Roman Catholic Church

This week in chapel at seminary I have been exposed to and learned about the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) and the doctrine that it teaches. I have been burdened and disheartened and discouraged by the false and deceiving doctrine that is being taught in this religion. The sad part is, this RCC is indoctrinating millions and millions of people with false truth so that they think they’ll go to heaven when in reality they will wake up in hell (no purgatory).

So, permit me for the next few posts to get some of this stuff mingling in my brain out. I’d like to give seven RCC attacks on what the Bible teaches. And this will, then, reveal to us that Roman Catholicism is, indeed, false religious system in the dress of “Christianity.” Unfortunately, millions and billions of souls have no idea that they are deceived. Here are the attacks:

The Roman Catholic Church is attacking:

1. The Supremacy of God’s Words in the Bible
2. The Sufficiency of God’s Son
3. The Singularity of God’s Gospel
4. The Sovereign Grace of God
5. The Security of God’s Children
6. The Sanctity of God’s Church
7. The Severity of God’s Judgment

It is my hope that over the next few posts that I can elaborate more not only on the RCC doctrines and beliefs (and heretical teachings) on these issues, but also offer a biblical and sound rebuttal to equip you to evangelize with love and patience your Roman Catholic friends.

Hebrews 10:10-14 10 By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; 12 but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. 14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

I need to say thank you to Colin Adams at Unashamed Workman who linked this magnificent quote from Spurgeon:

“Today there is not very much gospel about; the church has given it up; a great many preachers preach everything but living truth. This is sad; but it is a strong reason why you and I should teach more gospel than ever. I have often thought to myself - other men teach Socialism, deliver lectures, or collect a band of fiddlers, that they may gather a congregation; but I will preach the gospel. I will preach more gospel than ever if I can; I will stick more to the cardinal point.

The other brethren can attend to the odds and ends, but I will keep to Christ crucified. To the men of vast ability, who are looking to the events of the day, I would say, ‘Allow one poor fool to keep to preaching the gospel.’ Beloved teachers, be fools for Christ, and keep to the gospel. Don’t be afraid: it has life in it, and it will grow: only you bring it out, and let it grow.”
(Charles Spurgeon, quoted in Ryken and Wilson, Preach the Word, p205)

Great post here by my good buddy on church discipline in light of the meaning of 1 John 1:8-10. This is definately worth the read!
The Identification of a Man of God

I just want to bring one verse to our attention as we consider what it is that identifies a true man of God as revealed in God’s Word. God’s Word is absolutely clear and lucid. It is not ambiguous or unclear. Perhaps we have one of the clearest examples of this here in 1 Timothy chapter six.

Paul writes: 1 Timothy 6:11 11 But flee from these things, you man of God; and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness.

The first identification of the man of God is that he will pursue after the things of God. He flees from the things such as the love of money and the constant desire to get rich (vv 6-10). But what are these things that the man of God pursues after? Let it be known that this is a present imperative giving the idea that this is to be the constant pursuit.

  1. Righteousness – This is the same root word that we find in the NT for that great and theologically pregnant concept of justification. We are to pursue perfect righteousness (that is, forensically speaking, the righteousness that we have through faith in Christ which is imputed to us through Jesus’ death thus counting us righteous before Almighty God). Though the word for “righteousness” most often in Paul’s writings has the idea of righteousness in relation to salvation, here it most probably has the idea of moral and purity righteousness. We are to pursue that perfection which is clearly exemplified in the person of Christ and how He lived life on this earth thus reflecting the character of God.
  2. Godliness – The term here is used for reverence, respect, godliness or piety. Every place this term is used in the NT it always refers to piety towards God in a holy life. The Christian is to be pursuing hard after that Christlike character so as to be more conformed to the image of Christ (Rom 12:1-2).
  3. Faith – If the man of God is already a Christian then why is he to pursue faith? Have you ever wondered this? The man of God is to persistently and passionately pursue faith because it is through faith that one is saved. Not just in a forensic sense, but also faith in a trusting sense. The same word for faith and trust can be pistis in the NT. We are to pursue the constant faith trusting in Christ looking forward to that city which has foundations, whose builder and architect is God, as did Abraham (Heb 11:10). Let us be constantly pursuing that trust knowing that God is perfectly good in all his doings. As we can say with the psalmist, Psalm 119:68 Thou art good and doest good; Teach me Thy statutes.
  4. Love – The man of God is also to pursue love. Love is actively pursuing the welfare and benefit of others. This is the love that Jesus exemplified on the cross at Calvary for sinners. This is the love that Jesus demonstrated as he girded himself with a towel and washed the dirty feet of the disciples (including Judas who would betray him in a matter of hours). This is the love that Jesus demonstrated faithfully and graciously on behalf of sinners who deserve nothing but his wrath.
  5. Perseverance – The man of God is also identified by pursing perseverance. This is the kind of perseverance which is contained in what is known as the five points of Calvinism. The fifth point is the perseverance (or sometimes also termed as the preservation of the saints) of the saints. This means that the true believer in Jesus Christ will persevere to the end. He will continue to walk in Christ on earth. There will be hard times. Yes. There will be trials. Yes. There will be doubts and discouragements and detours at times. Yes. But the true man of God is identified by his perseverance and his pursuit of perseverance in the things of God.
  6. Gentleness – The final mark identifying a man of God is his gentleness. It is interesting that Paul puts this last on his list. Not because it is least important. But oftentimes Paul may emphasize a point or word by putting it at the end of the sentence. The man of God is known by pursuing gentleness. He is to be constantly pursuing gentleness. This is not in junction with what we find in our culture today. In fact, if I were to walk on a Friday night down in Los Angeles and ask people if a man ought to be gentle I can only imagine the kinds of responses I would receive (probably not gentle ones!). The man of God is to be pursuing gentleness for this is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23).

The man of God is identified by these different marks. May we be the kind of man of God as laid forth by the Apostle Paul here in this one verse in 1 Timothy 6. Soli Deo Gloria.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Call me crazy but recently I have found joy in reading commentaries for pleasure. Crazy huh. But it's true. I love just picking up a commentary and reading it. So, this afternoon in my free time before youth group to relax, I picked up MacArthur's commentary on 2 Corinthians. What a marvelous quote here for you to chew on from as he deals with chapter 12:1-4:

"The true measure of a man of God does not lie in his claims of visions and experiences with God, or the force of his personality, the size of his ministry, his educational degrees, or any other human criteria. A true man of God is marked by h ow much he has suffered in the way against the kingdom of darkness, how concerned he is for people, how humble he is, and how accurately he handles the supernatural revelation found in God's Word (2 Tim 2:15). Like Paul, such men patiently endure the suffering and humiliation of this life, knowing that such "momentary, light affliction is producing... an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison" (2 Cor 4:17).

Saturday, November 24, 2007

I am preaching tomorrow morning on Ephesians 2:1-10. I don’t think I have ever prepared a sermon before where I have had as much joy and excitement as I have experienced with this one. The text in Ephesians two is so rich, so abundant, so filled with jewels, pearls, diamonds and riches that I am bursting inside reading to let loose tomorrow morning. BEWARE!

The thrust of my sermon is this: We are so absolutely incapable of saving ourselves without the complete intervention of God in his mercy and grace bringing salvation to us which must result in a life lived in good works to the praise and glory of God.

The passage in Jeremiah is coming to light when he just couldn’t keep the Lord’s message in himself. He had to get it out:

Jeremiah 20:9 Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.

To God be the glory for this rich passage in His Word. My outline is as follows:

1. We are dead in sin (1-3)
2. We are helpless apart from God’s intervention (4-6)
3. We are made to demonstrate God’s glory (7)
4. We are saved by grace through faith (8-9)
5. We are saved resulting in a life of good works (10)

Pray for the Spirit to move in the morning as the gospel is presented!

Friday, November 23, 2007

A good quote summarizing the book of Hebrews:

"Believers in Jesus Christ, as God's perfect sacrifice for sin, have the perfect
High-Priest through whose ministry everything is new and better than under the
covenant of law" (see MacArthur Study Bible, p.1895).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Did you know? That in many places around the world there are three main religions. No one is excluded. You are either Muslim, Jewish or Christian. I know there are exceptions to this (such as India), but I'm generalizing to make a point. When I was studying in Israel for those two semesters one of the realities that I had to come to grips with is that, to the Israeli mind, Catholics are Christians. When I would talk to someone about Jesus being the Messiah, they would immediately follow that up with talk about Mary, relics, the saints, confessions, etc. I remember thinking to myself, "Why do these people think that we are all one religion?" Or put in another way, "Why do they clump us all together?"

Well, again, top news on is Warren Jeffs, the "prophet" of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, or FLDS. You can read the disturbing article here about him being sentenced to five years to life in prison. Why? Because he was accused (and found guilty) of using his religious influence over his followers to coerce a 14-year-old girl into marriage to her 19-year-old cousin.

My point in this post?

If I were a Jew living in Israel and had three people groups in my mind (Jew, Christian, and Muslim) I can honestly say that I would not want to be a Christian either -- if what I see on CNN or the News about "so-called" Christianity is what it's all about.

It is a shame that Christianity all over the world is so Godless and dishonoring to the Lord. It's a shame that the Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestantism are all gelled together as if we are one big happy family agreeing on everything. To this, I am shamed.

I am very discouraged about the state of "Christianity" in today's culture. For the rest of this post, I am indebted to a college friend of mine, David Gundersen, who noted on his blog last week similar thoughts from his heart:

Referring to his semester he notes some obscurities:

I won’t mention them all, but at least one is the piercing and above-average sense of frustration (euphemism) I feel with more than a few insipid characteristics of the conservative evangelical community. This has almost eaten me alive at some points this semester and has spun me in a variety of directions especially as I think about our future. Often my thoughts have reflected the heart of the arrogant, hypocritical, stone-throwing critic, but I’m holding out hope that the Lord will use the conviction that’s weighing heavy on my heart to stir up the pure passion of the righteous, zealous, Spirit-filled prophet. It wouldn’t be right or safe to say much more at this point. I think I could articulate my thoughts with clarity, but the grace, gentleness, and balance might be a bit elusive. So I need to wait. Suffice it to say that the conviction currently being assembled in my heart will probably end up serving as the foundation for upcoming life decisions that may be different than what I previously expected. Or maybe the same decisions saturated with different values. Either way, the Spirit is painting a clear picture in my mind of the person I don’t want to be. I think I will be thankful for this once the paint dries, and hopefully even before then.

May we step up and be different than the world. May we be true representatives of authentic, biblical Christianity so that people know that these other cults are false and leading to hell and that the truth revealed in the Scriptures are the only way to heaven.
If this is what the world sees as "Christianity," then no wonder the secular world wants nothing to do with what we are offering them. If what they see is the "church" falling into these sex scandals - and the leaders, at that - repeatedly, we are no different than the world. Why then would they want to deny self, take up cross daily and follow Jesus? Why would they want to live life differently and give up drinking and smoking and sexual pleasures when the "church" lives just the same lifestyle as they do (from their perspective).

This is the frontline news on my AOL newsbar. The headline reads: "Sex scandal rocks famed Megachurch!"

It reads:

The 80-year-old leader of a suburban Atlanta megachurch is at the center of a sex scandal of biblical dimensions: He slept with his brother's wife and fathered a child by her.Members of Archbishop Earl Paulk's family stood at the pulpit of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit at Chapel Hill Harvester Church a few Sundays ago and revealed the secret exposed by a recent court-ordered paternity test.

Not only is that bad, but it continues noting:

In truth, this is not the first — or even the second — sex scandal to engulf Paulk and the independent, charismatic church. But this time, he could be in trouble with the law for lying under oath about the affair.

So we have here a method of evangelism by the archbishop here:

The archbishop, his brother and the church are being sued by former church employee Mona Brewer, who says Earl Paulk manipulated her into an affair from 1989 to 2003 by telling her it was her only path to salvation.

Wow. Sick. Disgusted. Heinous. Yes, and it continues...

"It was a necessary evil to bring us back to a God-consciousness," said the younger Paulk, explaining that the church had become too personality-driven and prone to pastor worship.The flashy megachurch began in 1960 with just a few dozen members in the Little Five Points neighborhood of Atlanta. Now, it is in the suburbs on a 100-acre expanse, a collection of buildings surrounding a neo-Gothic cathedral.For years the church was at the forefront of many social movements — admitting black members in the 1960s, ordaining women and opening its doors to gays.

So not only is the leadership falling into sex scandals, repeatedly, but they are ordaining women and welcoming gays into their church body. The leadership was convinced that the church members were falling into "pastor worship" and so it is a good thing that this happened to sober them up a bit.

How sad is this. Here are some applications for us:

1) Pray for and protect your leaders. They need your prayer!
2) A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough -- guard yourself from giving into the first (and seemingly littlest) temptation! For after the first, the rest of the decisions down this long and spiral road are easier and easier.
3) Recognize that we as pastors and leaders and teachers of God's holy word will be judged more severely (James 3:1).
4) Flee from sexual immorality (2 Tim 2:22).

Monday, November 19, 2007

I heard this song this morning at The Master's College Chapel and was taken away in worship to the very throneroom of heaven by these lyrics. I encourage you to watch the video of Hillsong leading others in worship with this song. As you do, follow along in the lyrics here below:

Lord of Lords by Hillsong

Beholding your beauty is all I long for
To worship You Jesus with my soul's desire
For this very heart you've shaped for your pleasure
The purpose to lift your name high

Hear and surrender in pure adoration
I enter your courts with an offering of praise
I am Your servant come to bring you glory
As is fit for the work of your hands

Now unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
All of creation resounds with the song
Worship and praise him the Lord of Lords

Verse 2:
The spirit now living and dwelling within me
Keep my eyes fixed ever upon Jesus' face
Let not the things of this world ever sway me
I'll run 'till I finish the race

Chorus 2:
Singing unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
All of creation resounds with the song
Worship and praise the Lord
Now unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
All of eternity echoes the song
Worship and praise him the Lord of Lords

Holy Lord You are Holy
Jesus Christ is the Lord
Chorus 3:
Now unto the lamb who sits on the throne
Be glory and honor and praise
Call all the saints to join in the song
Worship and praise him the Lord of Lords

Lord of Lords
Lord of Lords
Lord of Lords

Revelation 5:8 - 14
8 And when He had taken the book, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each one a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.
9 And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy art Thou to take the book, and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.
10 "And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."
11 And I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands,
12 saying with a loud voice, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing."
13 And every created thing which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things in them, I heard saying, "To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever."
14 And the four living creatures kept saying, "Amen." And the elders fell down and worshiped.
To God be the Glory!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Tonight for our game time at youth group we are playing:

1. Everybody’s “IT” – It is the same as regular “tag,” except now everyone is “it.” So, when a person is tagged, he has to sit down and the last person who is “IT” wins! Should get them sweaty and tired after the first few minutes.

2. “Knots” – This is a the game where they all make a small circle to begin and put their hands in the middle. They have to grab on to another person’s hand (not their own) and the point of the game is to un-tangle so they can form a large circle. Yes, it can always be done without giving up.

3. “Line Soccer” – I will count off two teams and have them line up parallel to each other in our gym. Then I will number them off on each team. Then I will place a ball (or two, or three, whatever I decide) in the middle and call out a number. The person who has that number is to go to the middle and play one on one soccer against the other person and try to score in extra large goals. Meanwhile, the rest of the team who wasn’t called is playing goalie trying to keep the balls from going by.

Ah, the joys of being a youth pastor! :=)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Justification - "An instantaneous legal act of God in whcih he 1) thinks of our sin as forgiven and Christ's righteousnes as belonging to us, and 2) declares us to be righteous in his sight" (Grudem, Systematic Theology, 723).

Here is the link to Piper's great sermon at Evangelical Theological Society yesterday.
Today has just been one of those days when you think back on it and wish it could be that way every day.

This morning I woke up (late) and had a wonderful time in the Word. I found a verse and meditated on it as if I had never seen it before.

Psalm 119:130 130 The unfolding of Thy words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.

I love this verse. When I read it, I smiled and prayed through it and thought to myself, "This would be a wonderful verse to characterize what I see my ministry as." It is true that the unfolding (Lit in the Hebrew it is "the opening") of God's Words gives light. How true is that? Why do we miss this basic principle so often? Let us simply open the gates so that the truths of God's Word would come forth. That is my job to the youth. That is my desire. That is how I will receive light and how I can lead others whom I am teaching to receive light. The unfolding of God's Laws, it's that simple. I spent much time meditating on that verse this morning.

Then I took my wife to work (which is always sad). But then, I went to College of the Canyons ("COC") and met a good buddy of mine there and we played frisbee for about a good hour. Man, I am super out of shape. I was running around that football field trying to catch frisbees that he was throwing while gasping for air! Not really. But it is our custom to meet at COC (his name is "Geoffrey" too, oddly enough, though with the British pronunciation) to play frisbee on the football field. It was absolutely perfect weather today. It was in the 70's, blue crisp skies, gentle breeze. It was simply wonderful.

Then on our way out, we realized they were giving away FREE flu shots in the parking lot of COC. Now, when I see "FREE" in L.A., I hop all over it. So, Geoffrey and I both received flu shots, though he was very scared of the needle! Haha.

After receiving our safety and promised vaccinations that guarantee us to not get the flu this winter season (let's hope!), Geoffrey and I went to Jamba Juice (if you don't know what this is, well, it's only the best fruit smoothie place in the world!). At any rate, we got some smoothies and sat outside and talked and laughed and had a good time of brotherly fellowship.

Now, after you play an intense game of frisbee and get a flu shot, two men cannot simply make it on a "fruit smoothie." My wife, yes. Geoffrey and I, no. So, we went from Jamba Juice to Z-Pizza where we got some pizza and soda (Now we're talking!!) and had more wonderful laughs and talks.

And it's still only 1:00pm. See, now you know why I entitled the blog, "A good day." All glory to God!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Yes, Newsweek has an article entitled: "So Long, Gideons." The subtitle is: "The one thing travelers could reliably count on in their hotel rooms: a Bible in the bedside table. But like many traditions, this one may be dying.."

In the rooms of Manhattan's trendy Soho Grand Hotel guests can enjoy an
eclectic selection of underground music, iPod docking stations, flat-screen TVs
and even the living company of a complimentary goldfish. But, alas, the word of
God is nowhere to be found. Unlike traditional hotels, the 10-year-old boutique
has never put Bibles in its guest rooms, because "society evolves," says hotel
spokeswoman Lori DeBlois. Providing Bibles would mean the hotel "would have to
take care of every guest's belief."

Unfortunately, it is no surprise. Even more distressing is not the realization that they want to preserve space in the drawers by the hotel beds. No. They want to replace the Bible with other items. The article continues...

Edgier chains like the W provide "intimacy kits" with condoms in the minibar,
while New York's Mercer Hotel supplies a free condom in each bathroom. Neither
has Bibles. Since its recent renovation, the Sofitel L.A. offers a tantalizing
lovers' dice game: roll one die for the action to be performed (for example,
"kiss," "lick") and the other for the associated body part. The hotel's "mile
high" kit, sold in the revamped gift shop, includes a condom, a mini vibrator, a
feather tickler and lubricant. The new Indigo hotel in Scottsdale, Ariz., a
"branded boutique" launched by InterContinental, also has no Bibles, but it does
offer a "One Night Stand" package for guests seeking VIP treatment at local
nightclubs and late checkout for the hazy morning after.

The reason for hotels' shift in focus? Leisure travel is up, business travel
is down, and younger generations are entering the hotel market. Leisure now
leads business by more than 10 percent in U.S. hotel stays, according to travel
research firm D. K. Shifflet & Associates. With the lead in technology,
design and nightlife, the boutique market is where Generations X, Y and young
baby boomers want to be, says CEO Doug Shifflet. And with the boutique sector
booming (boutique hotel rooms have grown by 23 percent since 2001, compared to
only 7 percent for standard rooms), more traditional chains, which once catered
to business clientele, are now desperate to emulate.

Sofitel's brand, for example, is taking "a new direction," says Daniel
Entenberg, the "romance concierge" at the chain's flagship Los Angeles location.
He was brought in two years ago in an effort to reposition the entire company's
image. The chain once had Bibles in all guest rooms, but the corporate office in
Dallas recently removed them due to guest inquiries about why other religious
texts weren't available.

2 Timothy 3:1-4 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;

Read the full article here at Newsweek. And you can read Mohler's comments on his blog here.
Mark Dever, one of my great pastoral models, has a great article in the Baptist Press on being too relevant in our churches today. Here's a clip of the article:

"I would like to suggest that the most fundamental problem in the church is not that we are not relevant enough in relation to the world, but that the church is not distinct enough from the world. Our churches must reflect the character of God,"

And more...

"Instead of being directed by [visible] success, we should be directed by faithfulness. We should say, 'If the Lord doesn't like our product, we will change the product.' We shouldn't take the idea that if we don't have X number of conversions in our church, then we must be doing something wrong. I am glad Jeremiah didn't think that. And I am glad that Jesus Christ didn't think that. Let us remember that we are following the One who was crucified as a revolutionary."

I exhort you to read it and be challenged to stick to the Word as we do church ministry to the glory of God.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Proverbs 18:22 22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing, And obtains favor from the LORD.

Friday, November 9, 2007

I gotta tell you, it’s not too often that I quote introductions from books. I am the kind of guy who likes to get right to the meat of the steak, or better yet, right to the heart of the issue. But I can’t pass up this introduction by Phil Ryken, Senior Minister of Tenth Presbyterian Church (that is, the old church where Jim Boice used to preach). At any rate, here is what he writes in the introduction of his massive Exodus commentary:

There are times when I am preaching that I have especially sensed the pleasure of God. I usually become aware of it through the unnatural silence. The ever-present coughing ceases, and the pews stop creaking, bringing an almost physical quiet to the sanctuary – through which my words sail like arrows. I experience a heightened eloquence, so that the cadence and volume of my voice intensify the truth I am preaching.
There is nothing quite like it – the Holy Spirit filling one’s sails, the sense of his pleasure, and the awareness that something is happening among one’s hearers. This experience is, of course, not unique, for thousands of preachers have similar experiences, even greater ones.
What has happened when this takes place? How do we account for this sense of the smile? The answer for me has come from the ancient rhetorical categories of logos, ethos, and pathos.
The first reaction for his smile is the
logos – in terms of preaching, God’s Word. This means that as we stand before God’s people to proclaim his Word, we have done our homework. We have exegeted the passage, mined the significance of its words in their context, and applied sound hermeneutical principles in interpreting the text so that we understand what its words meant to its hearers. And it means that we have labored long until we can express in a sentence what the theme of the text is – so that our outline springs from the text. Then our preparation will be such that as we preach, we will not be preaching our own thoughts about God’s Word, but God’s actual Word, his logos. This is fundamental to pleasing him in preaching.
The second element in knowing God’s smile in preaching is
ethos – what you are as a person. There is a danger endemic to preaching, which is having your hands and heart cauterized by holy things. Phillips Brooks illustrated it by the analogy of a train conductor who comes to believe that he has been to the places he announces because of his long and loud heralding of them. And that is why Brooks insisted that preaching must be “the bringing of truth through personality.” Though we can never perfectly embody the truth we preach, we must be subject to it, long for it, and make it as much a part of our ethos as possible. As Puritan William Ames said, “Next to the Scriptures, nothing makes a sermon more to pierce, than when it comes out of the inward affection of the heart without any affection.” When a preacher’s ethos backs up his logos, there will be the pleasure of God.
Last, there is
pathos – personal passion and conviction. David Hume, the Scottish philosopher and skeptic, was once challenged as he was seen going to hear George Whitefield preach: “I thought you do not believe in the gospel.” Hume replied, “I don’t, but he does.” Just so! When a preacher believes what he preaches, there will be passion. And this belief and requisite passion will know the smile of God.
The pleasure of God is a matter of
logos (the Word), ethos (what you are), and pathos (your passion). As you preach the Word may you experience his smile – the Holy Spirit in your sails (Philip Graham Ryken, Exodus. Preaching the Word, ed. R. Kent Hughes [2005], 13-14)!
Do we love our flocks like this?

I learned something new yesterday. I was listening to a sermon in my preaching class on 1 Thessalonians 2. He was referring to verse 6 which says:

1 Thessalonians 2:7 7 But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.

Now Paul, in context, is reminding the Thessalonian believers as to how he ministered with and served alongside of them for a number of months and how they know what kind of fond affection Paul has for them (here in v.7 as well as a father to his children in v.11).

At any rate, there is just one word that I want to emphasize and, Lord willing, shed some light upon it. At the end of verse 7, Paul says that he was gentle among the believers there in Thessalonika as a “nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children.” What is interesting if you look closely at your English version is that the word “mother” is in italics, signifying its absence from the original Greek text. Knowing this, then, it could be read more literally, “as a nurse tenderly cares for her own children.” But then what exactly does this mean?

Well, I did some research and found out that the Greek word trophos was a word used abundantly in ancient Greek literature, from Homer, to the LXX, Philo, to Josephus, to the Church Fathers. So, here is what I found.

According to BDAG, it seems that the most common meaning of trophos was a “nurse.” Now, in the ancient Roman world, when a mother who had children was sick, pregnant or disabled for some reason and inhibited from taking care of her own children for a time, she would get a “nurse” (or trophos) to look over her children in her absence. It was imperative for the mother to get a dependable, respectable woman who was well-known to the family and with the children. This trophos would, in essence, treat the children as if they were her very own children. So here is my correlation.

I wonder if Paul doesn’t have this idea in mind as he writes to the believers in Thessalonika. He’s not saying that he acted as a tender, loving, selfless mother to the church. I think what he is saying is that he has been entrusted with the church by the real ultimate authority (i.e. “God”). Hence what he is saying is that he proved to be gentle among them as a “nurse would tenderly care for her own children. Remember, the nurse would care for the children as if they were her own.

So, men, pastors, elders, overseers, saints, are we loving the people of God with this kind of affection as being entrusted with this wonderful and awesome responsibility of taking care of the children of God?
Your pastor and friend,
Geoffrey R. Kirkland
November 9, 2007

Thursday, November 8, 2007

As I've been reading lately studying for an exam I'll be taking in a few weeks, I have come to appreciate, yet again, the profundity of the Old Testament. Longman and Dillard has an Introduction to the Old Testament with this as the last phrase of his introductory statement for Leviticus:

The book of Leviticus is often seen by the church as irrelevant to the
present day. In those few cases where it is considered significant, an
allegorical interpretation is used to "bridge the gap" between the time of the
OT and today. A close study of its contents, however, will reveal its rich
contribution to our understanding of God and the history of redemption without
recourse to allegory

I appreciate this statement so much. As I was remembering the book of Leviticus, this book helped me remember some of the key theological truths revealed in this masterful work:

1) The Holiness of God.

Leviticus 11:45 45 'For I am the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, to be your God; thus you shall be holy for I am holy.'" It seems as though this is a resounding chorus throughout the entirety of the book.

2) The Sacrificial system. The emphasis on sacrifice is not at all surprising since it is the most important activity of formal worship during the OT period (Longman and Dillard, 85).

3) The Priesthood. First of all, the teaching on priesthood in the book of Leviticus accentuates the overall theme of God's holiness. After all, the priests spend much of their time in the presence of the Holy One. Thus, as Longman and Dillard conclude: "Thus we may briefly summarize the main function of the priesthood according to the book of Leviticus: they were to protect the holiness of God in the camp" (p.89).

Let us bear in mind that the New Testament book of Hebrews reveals that Jesus Christ is the perfect high priest who offers himself as the perfect sacrifice:

Hebrews 9:26 - 28 26 Otherwise, He would have needed to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, 28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

Praise God that Jesus is the ultimate High Priest. Praise God that He has given a mediator, an intercessor, a priest to intercede between us and God, and, by the perfect sacrifice of himself, has procured salvation eternally for all those who would believe upon Him.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

“Becoming a Christian means being sick of your sin, longing for forgiveness and rescue from present evil and future hell, and affirming your commitment to the lordship of Christ to the point where you are willing to forsake everything… it isn’t just holding up your hand or walking down an aisle and saying, “I love Jesus.” It is not easy, it is not user-friendly or seeker-sensitive; it isn’t a rosy, perfect world where Jesus gives you whatever you want. It is hard, it is sacrificial, and it supersedes everything" (MacArthur, Hard to Believe, 132-33).
I am convinced that I have the greatest wife God ever could have given to me. Permit me to boast for a minute…

Not only is she working full-time for a Christian company so that her husband can study and go to seminary, but she also is counseling three women currently. This counseling also includes preparing the homework for the counselee and preparing the lesson that they are going to cover each session. Furthermore, she is teaching the women’s bible study at our church on Tuesday nights going through Biblical Counseling and idols of the heart. Finally (and just a “small” thing), she is currently writing her Master’s Thesis on “Self-Mutilation” for her Masters in Biblical Counseling degree from the Master’s College.

With all that to say, she still cares for me and makes me tea and coffee and French toast in the mornings when I’m sick! So, I think to myself, I must be one truly blessed guy. Then I pray to the Lord… God… are you sure you wanted to give me such a servant?

But I’m grateful He did. Soli Deo Gloria.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

So Time magazine has now picked up on an ongoing recent dialogue between John Piper and David Instone-Brewer.
Here's a clip and here is the link to the TIME article so you can read the whole thing:

Instone-Brewer radically reinterprets the first passage using, of all things, quotation marks. The Greek of the New Testament didn't always contain them, and scholars agree that sometimes they must be added in to make sense of it. Instone-Brewer, an expert in Jewish thought during Jesus's era, writes that Christ's interlocutors were not asking him whether there was any cause at all for divorce, but whether he supported something called "any-cause" divorce, a term a little bit like "no-fault" that allowed husbands to divorce wives for any reason at all. Instone-Brewer claims Jesus's "no" was a response to this idea, and that his "except for sexual indecency" condition was not a statement of the sole exemption from God's blanket prohibition, but merely Christ's reiteration of one of several divorce permissions in the Old Testament — one he felt the "any-time" advocates had exaggerated. Finally, Instone-Brewer tallies four grounds for divorce he finds affirmed in both Old and New Testaments: adultery, emotional and sexual neglect, abandonment (by anyone) and abuse.
What do all these men have in common? Well, probably many things. But one thing I am certain of is that they are all hanging on a wall in front of my desk where I study and prepare sermons. It is as if they are hovering over me as I prepare. I have the years and centuries of Godly expositors and exegetes of God's Word looking over me as I study, pray and write.

This is not my motive for preparing a good sermon. But it sure helps knowing that you've got five of the best expositor's in history looking down at you as you prepare a sermon.

To God be the Glory!

Monday, November 5, 2007

It’s sad when this has become a “Pledge” among pastors across the land. If you’re wondering what I’m referring to, just take a look at this new pledge that pastors across the globe are signing to:

• I will make the Bible my primary resource in sermon preparation and preaching.
• I may use other resources such as commentaries and web sites to enhance, not replace, my personal interaction with Scripture.
• As I study I will strive to accurately understand and honestly apply God's Word, allowing Him to uniquely proclaim His truth in a relevant way through me.

Shouldn’t that be our job anyway? Who says we have to make a pledge to each other? Shouldn’t 2 Timothy 4:1 instill enough fear in each preacher?

2 Timothy 4:1-2 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word;

With all this to say, however, I am encouraged to hear that men across the nation are gathering together to stay faithful to God's Word in sermon preparation and sermon delivery -- let's pray that this pledge is kept and not broken. Soli Deo Gloria.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Kenneth Gangel has an article entitled, The marks of a healthy church.

From the beginning, he noted that “Churches must face the future with total dependence on the sovereignty of God and the power of His Word, while being careful to avoid marrying the spirit of this age and becoming a widow in the next” (p.467).

Oftentimes, churches are measured in spiritual terms, follow biblical patterns of ministry, are based on theological foundations, focus on a ministry model, and adopt scriptural methods of leadership.

He says: “Church health does not begin with evangelism or missions – though both must follow. Biblical church health begins with a Christ-centered, Bible-centered congregation determined to be in their personal, family, and corporate life precisely what God wants of them, and it makes no difference whether their number is fifteen, fifteen hundred, or fifteen thousand” (p.470).

He concludes the article by wisely acknowledging, “Current thinking says that health in a church does not occur without contemporary and cutting-edge approaches to ministry. However, churches will never become spiritually healthy merely by means of paradigms or programs. The biblical commitments of each congregant, each leader, and each denominational official must first target God’s priorities and then allow Him to produce in those churches what He wants – from the inside out” (p.477).

You can read this article yourself here (it is 4th from the bottom).

Good quote by John Calvin here:

Calvin's doctrine of predestination did not make the preaching of the
gospel unnecessary; instead, it made preaching necessary because it was by the
preaching of the gospel that God had chosen to save the predestined.

My dear Lord, I can but tell Thee that Thou knowest I long for nothing but Thyself, nothing but holiness, nothing but union with Thy will.

Thou hast given me these desires, and thou alone canst give me the thing desired. My soul longs for communion with Thee, for mortification of indwelling corruption, especially spiritual pride.

How precious it is to have a tender sense and clear apprehension of the mystery of godliness, of true holiness! What a blessedness to be like Thee as much as it is possible for a creature to be like its creator!

Lord, give me more of Thy likeness; enlarge my soul to contain fullness of holiness; engage me to live more for Thee. Help me to be less pleased with my spiritual experiences, and when I feel at ease after sweet communings, teach me it is far too little I know and do.

Blessed Lord, let me climb up near to Thee, and love, and long, and plead, and wrestle with Thee, and pant for deliverance from the body of sin, for my heart is wandering and lifeless, and my soul mourns to think it should ever lose sight of its beloved.

Wrap my life in divine love, and keep me ever desiring Thee, always humble and resigned to Thy will, more fixed on Thyself, that I may be more fitted for doing and-suffering.

Author Anonymous

Thursday, November 1, 2007


I'm not sure why I have been thinking much on this issue lately... well, actually, I do - I am passionate about the gospel. And when there are those out in our culture who are missing the whole point of the biblical gospel, that disturbs me. Moreover, when there is a pastor of a "Christian church" who is missing the whole point of the gospel (and is more unclear than he is clear on any issues), then that really disturbs me.

Here is a phone interview with Doug Pagitt, a pastor of Solomon's Porch church in Minneapolis(and another headrunner for the Emergent Church). You can click on the link here to listen to a two part phone interview. It's sad, discouraging and you wonder... "How (and why!) do people come to hear this guy speak or converse or give his opinions(I deliberately refrain from using "preach") on Sundays?

Here is the link. Listen to it and let me know what you think. It's sad that these people at Solomon's Porch unfortunately have been taught a very diluted and partial gospel.

Here is a better and more biblical Gospel:
Ephesians 2:1-10 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus,
7 in order that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9 not as a result of works, that no one should boast.
10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
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