Monday, March 30, 2009

Come join us!
We have seen already the first four attacks of the Roman Catholic (RC) church on the orthodox doctrines as found in Scripture. Here is the summary of seven of the attacks:

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

We will look at the next three attacks in brief.

Fifth, the Roman Catholic church is attacking the security of God’s children. This is not only a clear assault on the clarity of Scripture’s teaching on the believer’s security, but it also incorporates the doctrine of soteriology. By this I simply mean that when the RC church says that your salvation is not absolutely secure, that means that you, therefore, have some part to play in keeping yourself saved. With that in mind, on the contrary, consider:

Jude 1:24-25 24 Now to Him [Jesus Christ] who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

From this verse it seems as though Jesus Christ is the one who secures our salvation and keeps us safe. The RC church says that no one is ever absolutely and eternally saved from sin. That is what purgatory is for. When you commit a mortal sin, then you, essentially, lose your salvation until you do enough penance, confession and good works to merit yourself back. This is unfortunate, discouraging and anti-biblical.

According to the RCC, one who knows that he has eternal life has committed the "sin of presumption" (Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church, paragraph 2092). Regarding this issue of the believer’s security, one more strong support will suffice:

Romans 8:35-39 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Sixth, the Roman Catholic church is attacking the sanctity of God’s Church. The fact that the RC church claims to be just as authoritative as the Word of God in written form (i.e. the Bible). That the RC church says that both what the Pope says and also what he claims are infallible is another faith. It’s another religion. It’s a false religion. The Pope is not the head of the church. Peter is not the head of the church. Mary is certainly not the head of the church (cf. Luke 1:47). Jesus Christ is the Head of the church. Period. He shares His Headship with no one--certainly not the Pope.

Ephesians 1:22-23 22 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.

Colossians 1:18 18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.

Colossians 1:24 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ's afflictions.

May we all recognize that the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ (that is, those who are truly regenerate and have come to Christ as Lord and Savior by grace through faith and have turned from sin and submitted their lives to Christ) will obey and submit to Jesus Christ as the sole Head of the Church.

Furthermore, the church is holy. It is consecrated. It is set apart. Let us never forget Nadab and Abihu (cf. Lev 10) who came to offer a sacrifice before the Lord with strange fire. They came into God’s holy and awesome presence in an unsatisfactory way and God struck them and dealt with them severely. Oh how I can envision God’s judgment coming on the false church of Jesus Christ (cf. Gal 1:8-9).

Seventh, the Roman Catholic church is attacking the severity of God’s judgment. The sheer fact that Roman Catholicism teaches that a person can go to so-called “purgatory” (which really doesn’t even exist) to atone for sins is a blatant broadside upon the clear judgment of God.

Hear these severe verses of the wrath of God that we must understand:

Psalm 5:5-6 5 The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity. 6 You destroy those who speak falsehood; The LORD abhors the man of bloodshed and deceit.

Revelation 20:10 10 And the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are also; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

Revelation 14:9-10 "If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives a mark on his forehead or on his hand, 10 he also will drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is mixed in full strength in the cup of His anger; and he will be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.

The RC church attacks the severe judgment of God upon all those who reject Him. We know from the Sermon on the Mount that many will think they are believers to awake after death and shockingly and bitterly find that they will be cast forever into conscious, eternal torment hel and ultimately the lake of fire:

Matthew 7:13-14 3 "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. 14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it…. Matthew 7:22-23 22 "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' 23 "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

May we be love our Catholic friends and share with them the glorious gospel of salvation which all unbelievers need to hear! May we seek to do this with patience, love, gentleness and with biblical authority.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We have made mention of seven crucial biblical truths that are under attack by the Roman Catholic (RC) church:

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

We previously have touched upon how the RC church is attacking the supremacy of God’s Word as well as the sufficiency of God’s Son as the efficacious and sufficient sacrifice for sins. But today, I want to look at the next few:

Third, The Roman Catholic Church is attacking the singularity of God’s gospel. Here’s what I mean. To say that believing in Jesus Christ alone or, to use more biblical phraseology, that Jesus is “the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but through [Him]” is not enough is to attack the singularity of the biblical gospel. The RC church adds to God’s “gospel” indulgences to remit punishment for sin. This, however, is completely absent from the Bible. Moreover, the Bible is absolutely clear that there are no “indulgences” that can remit punishment for sin. That’s what eternal hell is for, and still, even that, can never fully satisfy the penalty and payment for sin. Listen to these texts:

Psalm 49:7-8 7 No man can by any means redeem his brother, Or give to God a ransom for him-- 8 For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever--

Hebrews 9:22 22 And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

So here, the only way to atone for sin is through the shedding of blood. It is another essential crux of the RC church to say that the Pope is the “head of the church.” Well, Scripture clearly says otherwise and, sorry to say, the pope is not infallible, inerrant or inspired by God when he speaks. Listen to God’s Words:

Colossians 1:18-20 18 He [Jesus] is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. 19 For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fulness to dwell in Him, 20 and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.

Ephesians 1:22-23 2 And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all.

So it is not the Pope here who is the head over all things given to the church, but rather it is Jesus Christ, the God-Man.

Fourth, the Roman Catholic church is attacking the sovereign grace of God. This is one of the clearest truths in all the Scripture and the RC church eliminates all of the glories of God’s grace from the inspired Word of God. The RC church says that God’s grace is insufficient to atone for all of our sins. To say it differently, God is impotent or incapable of forgiving us all of our sins at the moment of conversion. That is, to be brash, why they must go to confession and confess their sins before a (human and infallible!) priest, why they must do good works to merit their own salvation and why they must go to purgatory to purify sins after death before entering heaven. Scripture is convincingly true that there is no purgatory (it’s either eternal heaven or eternal hell), and there is no need to go to confession and confess sins before a human priest.

1 John 1:7 7 but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.

Luke 23:39-43 39 And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." 42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!" 43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."

May it be known that the RC church is attacking the sovereign grace of God in salvation which offers regenerate people forgiveness of sins in total. There is no sacrifice left to be accomplished. There is no need for another sacrifice. If there were, then the sacrifice of Christ on the cross would have been insufficient and, hence, we would be still dead in our sins and without hope (cf. 1 Cor 15:1-22).

It is my prayer that we understand these RC doctrines that are so false and so antithetical to the Scriptures and, with love and gentleness, confront these dear people with the truth so as to rescue them from the damning trap of Satan’s gospel wrapped in Christian garb which only leads to eternal hell.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I noted a couple of days ago 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 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

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 that the Pope has the authority to declare "inspired words." The third infallible authority is church tradition, that is, what has been passed down through the ages. However, this is in stark contrast with what we read in God's Word, for 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.

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."

Purgatory at the core distorts the sufficiency of Christ because the RCC teaches that one atones for sins in purgatory before entering into heaven. If this is the case, then that demands that Christ's death on Calvary's cross was insufficient to atone for all the sins of those who believe. This is a false gospel.

Furthermore, 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.

Monday, March 23, 2009

I posted a series of blogs about a year and a half ago on the Roman Catholic Church (hereafter, RCC) seeking to expose some (of the many!) of its flaws and where and how it contradicts what the Bible clearly teaches. So, because of the need again, I will post (and add and revise) them in the coming days.

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.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Simplicity of the Gospel.

The core of biblical Christianity is the reality that Jesus Christ bore the sins of His own people in full. That is to say, the simple gospel presented in the Scriptures is that all humans have sinned and are damned to eternal hell to pay for sin unless God Himself intercedes.

To my knowledge, every other world religion claims that man plays some part in salvation (paradise, utopia or whatever). But according to the Bible, this only damns a person to eternal hell because no man can ever work his way into eternal life. The simple reason for this is that all humans have sinned (Psalm 143:2). There is no one who does right before God and never sins (Ecclesiastes 7:20). So, this is where we as humans are in desperate need for God Himself to intercede if He wants to save us.

And this is precisely what God did—through Jesus Christ. Jesus is the Messiah who was foretold in the Hebrew Scriptures (i.e., the Old Testament). He is the image of the invisible God (Col 1:15) and the exact representation of God’s nature (Heb 1:3). Therefore, Jesus—being very God Himself—is the only One who is able to save sinners such as you and I from our sin.

He lived a perfect life without ever sinning but yet paradoxically he died a criminal’s death. He died the most horrific punishment having never committed one lawless deed—ever! And this He accomplished for sinners such as you and me.

This means of salvation is only attributed to the sinner’s life by “faith” alone (Eph 2:8-9) in Jesus Christ. Therefore, salvation is totally ‘outside of us’ and is accomplished in full by another in our behalf. When the sinner believes upon Jesus Christ with saving faith—as opposed to the mere intellectual knowledge or sheer temporal faith—he is instantly, supernaturally, and immediately justified by God. That means that the sinner is not only declared by God, the Perfect Judge, to be absolutely sinless but, on the flip side, the sinner receives the absolute perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ. This is the glory of salvation.

This, however, is not the end of the story for the Christian. The Christian, having been justified, then is a “new creature” and therefore “old things have passed away” (2 Cor 5:17). It is inevitable, then, that the redeemed sinner would endeavor to live a life to honor, obey, and serve the One who saved him from all of his sins. This is a life of obedience. This is a life of conforming to the image of Jesus Christ—what is theologically termed “sanctification.” This is the inevitable result of justification.

It is my hope today that God would stir your heart anew with the glory and the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Never forget that you—if you believe upon Christ—have been saved by God. For, after all, “salvation is of the LORD” (Jonah 2:9).

Monday, March 16, 2009

Persevere in the Practice of Daily Prayer

In the last number of months, with the demands of ministry and the obligations of school I have been reminded that I must persevere in the practice of daily prayer. This is the primary duty for all Christians—the businessman, the mother-at-home, the college student, the Jr and Sr High kid, and especially the pastor.

All believers must make it a daily ambition to pray to God. Prayer energizes the soul with a firm and steadfast trust in the Lord and His Sovereignty. Prayer reminds the sinner that He is not in control, the Almighty Omnipotent is. Prayer expresses to God that which we are unable and incapable of doing in our own strength and ability. But what a confident assurance every genuine Christian has, namely, God has all ability to accomplish anything to bring Him the greatest glory and to conform each of His children (i.e. “Christians”) to the image of Jesus Christ.

A prayerless Christian is an oxymoron—it cannot nor does it exist. A prayerless preacher of the gospel ought to step out of full-time ministry. Any person claiming God to be his Master and who neglects the Christian (essential) discipline of prayer is a prideful and arrogant person who thinks he can live the Christian life in his own (feeble, human, and fallen) strength. May we take the verses to mind from Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae:

Colossians 1:9-14 9 For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Let us persevere in the practice of daily prayer!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Packer, J.I. and Mark Dever, In My Place Condemned He Stood: Celebrating the Glory of the Atonement. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2007.

To reclaim with the centuries of Christians, the cross of Jesus Christ is, no doubt, the absolute centerpoint of evangelical (“biblical”) Christianity—period. In this much-needed in our modern liberal-bent, wishy-washy evangelical day, Packer and Dever put the infinitely glorious atonement of Jesus Christ, his penal substitution, the propitiation of the Father’s angry and fierce wrath, and the accomplished work done in place of the Christian by Jesus Christ hails as the thematic thread weaving every chapter together with breathtaking beauty. This work is absolutely needed because of the modern-day attack on the biblical doctrines of penal substitution and divine propitiation. In the book, JI Packer, Mark Dever, Ligon Duncan, Albert Mohler, Jr., and CJ Mahaney all unite and remind everyone that the truth has been and still is central in biblical Christianity,

Man of Sorrows! What a name

For the Son of God, who came

Ruined sinners to reclaim:

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,

In my place condemned He stood;

Sealed my pardon with His blood;

Hallelujah, What a Savior!

Indeed this has been sung since the mid nineteenth century and shall be sung til our Lord returns. As Mohler states in the foreward: “If we truly stand together for the gospel, we stand together for the fact that Christ died on the cross as our substitute, paying the infinite penalty for our sins we could never pay” (15).

Current evangelicals may be puzzled over the modern-day objections to this biblical truth. Western liberal unorthodoxy is essentially declaring that violence is always immoral and since the biblical doctrine of penal substitution at its very heart explicitly affirms that Jesus suffered severe, divine, and infinite wrath from God the Father, then this must—no doubt—be the most heinous account of human violence ever created. Truth be told, this is not a created account. Contrariwise, this is at the heart of the gospel. At the fore of the modern-day liberal critics is a misapprehension of the sinfulness of mankind. If we truly understood just how wretched we really are then we would understand the infinite wrath from Almighty God that we deserve in the eternal Lake of Fire.

The first chapter is really an introduction (and reiteration) of the doctrine of the atonement and penal substitution as the Scriptures speak of it. For the Apostle Paul, the reality that Christ bore our penalty in our place is the very heart and soul of the atonement. Hear what Paul says,

2 Corinthians 5:21 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Galatians 3:13 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us-- for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE "—

Galatians 2:20 20 "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

What these phrases have in common is the unified theme that Jesus Christ was crushed by the Father for sinners; that is, in the place of, or on behalf of sinners! What a redemption!

Packer then unPacks the “heart of the Gospel” for about 30 pages in chapter 1 talking about propitiation, God’s anger, the atonement, and what it means for us as sinful creatures who believe in Jesus Christ to be at peace with the Holy God of the universe!

The second chapter in the book talks about penal substitution and clearly, concisely, and cogently defines just what this phrase means and how the Scriptures do, in fact, affirm that Jesus Christ—the God-man—paid the infinite penalty that we sinful, immoral, and idolatrous creatures deserve by bearing the eternal and infinite punishment from the Father as our substitute.

Mark Dever follows Packer in speaking of the blood of Christ and how we are saved by being cleansed by His blood. He dealt with the critics and listed a number of opposing theories and viewpoints to penal substitution. Yet Dever confidently and rightly affirmed that penal substitution is “the dominant atonement image used in the Bible” (106). He concluded with exhorting the reader to be atonement-centered. It is, Dever argues, impossible for one to be ‘too-atonement-centered.” Therefore, we must center our lives around Christ’s atonement.

Packer concludes the work by giving a brief—albeit helpful—introduction to John Owen’s magnum opus, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ where he unswervingly and biblically and irrefutably affirms that Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary’s cross actually accomplished salvation for sinners. Therefore, as Owen asserts, when Jesus died on the cross, he finally and fully accomplished redemption and thereby saved His own elect only for eternal salvation.

In conclusion, I note Spurgeon and how responds to some criticisms from those who believe in universal redemption (unlimited atonement):

“We are often told that we limit the atonement of Christ, because we say that Christ has not made a satisfaction for all men, or all men would be saved. Now, our reply to this is, that, on the other hand, our opponents limit it: we do not. The Arminians say, Christ died for all men. Ask them what they mean by it. Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of all men? They say, “No, certainly not.” We ask them the next question—Did Christ die so as to secure the salvation of any man in particular? They answer “No.” They are obliged to admit this, if they are consistent. They say, “No. Christ has died that any man may be saved if…”—and then follow certain conditions of salvation. Now, who is it that limits the death of Christ? Why, you. You say that Christ did not die so as infallibly to secure the salvation of anybody. We beg your pardon, when you say we limit Christ’s death; we say, “no, my dear sir, it is you that do it.” We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. You are welcome to your atonement; you may keep it. We will never renounce ours for the sake of it” (quoted on 129).

I highly recommend this essential and extremely-needed work. It is simple enough that the newest Christian can read and comprehend, yet it is saturated with enough Scripture and theology that even the most brilliant of theologians have meat to chew on until that Final Day.

Till then, let us keep laboring for the biblical gospel where our Savior bore the Father’s wrath in place of sinners who believe in Him. This is cause for great glory and joy!

Your pastor,

Geoff Kirkland

Hear some sobering words from Mr. Spurgeon,

"If this be the Word of God, what will become of some of you who have not read it for the last month? Most people treat the Bible very politely . . . When they get home, they lay it up in a drawer till next Sunday morning; then it comes out again for a little bit of a treat and goes to chapel; that is all the poor Bible gets in the way of an airing. That is your style of entertaining this heavenly messenger. There is dust enough on some of your Bibles to write 'damnation' with your fingers.”

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Worship with your heart, not your actions.

Studying the book of Hosea has reaffirmed the biblical reality that outward actions and rote repetition earns no ‘brownie points’ with God. In fact, the contrary is true. God vehemently despises hypocritical worship—let’s call it for what it really is. Heartless worship is hypocritical worship. And that’s precisely what the book of Hosea condemns.

To be sure, Hosea chastises Israel for their harlotries and chasing ravenously after pagan gods. But when their harlotries are combined with the outward worship of Yahweh, Yahweh declares his hostile hatred of this syncretism.

I’m studying Hosea 8-9 this week and God’s Word confronted me anew with the simple truth that I must ask myself before I preach: “Is my worship before Almighty Yahweh genuine?” If so, praise God! If not, I had better do some repenting!

But Israel didn’t repent. They didn’t confess. They didn’t change. They didn’t return to Yahweh. They continued to rebel and run after fake gods and nonexisting deities. So should we bear this truth in mind. Let us not attempt to worship God while focusing on fake gods and nonexisting deities. Don’t go to church and outwardly worship God when your heart is focused on football or thinking about lunch or contemplating the work week. Pray and ask God to strengthen you and give you the ability (which he will give) to worship him genuinely from the heart. This is the kind of worship that God accepts. If one's heart is properly oriented, then I presume that proper actions and corporate worship will inevitably follow. Therefore, I say it again, worship with your heart, not your actions.

Monday, March 2, 2009

We returned last night from our '09 Winter Retreat and it was, no doubt, a memorable weekend. The theme for the weekend was Consider the Cross. We had five Bible studies centering on this theme with wonderful singing and prayer before each study. Dave Trepanier, one of my best friends, was our guest speaker and he did a phenomenal job. I'll post the sermon links here for you to listen if you so choose. Have fun considering the Savior of the Cross and some of the various nuances related to this unfathomable truth.
Happy listening!

PS--You may also want to check the youth group page on the church's website for pictures in the next few days!
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